This is Part II of Glenn Haussman's look at the TSA and its impact on the hospitality industry. To read Part I, click here.
The hotel industry must do its part to encourage people to travel more often. Because if they do not feel amazing about packing a bag and flying to your hotel, you’re missing out on a beefier bottom line.
We can all work together to accomplish this goal, and the easiest way possible is to join forces with the TSA to help promote and push their terrific PreCheck program to your guests.
Say what you will about the whipping boy government agency du jour. But if this issue continues to pervade the airline business, it will destroy YOUR hotel’s bottom line. (See my column on that issue here.)
Do Your Part!
The TSA is struggling to keep up and it’s not all their fault. It’s now up to the hotel industry to band together and partner with the TSA to help them enroll customers in the PreCheck program.
PreCheck makes me feel like a VIP strolling up to a Las Vegas club at midnight: Skipping the mile-long line and being escorted right through in a move reminiscent of Moses parting the Red Sea.
And it will do the same for your customers that are not yet in the program. Once they’re registered, they’ll think of your hotel every single time they step into an airport—inextricably linking your brand with other parts of the travel experience, which will help you grab more share of wallet.
Hotel Brands Must Get Involved
It’s odd that hotels have the most to gain from pushing loyalty club members to join PreCheck, yet have essentially done nothing in this realm. The lodging business wants to believe it is in a different silo, but it’s not. You depend on the airlines delivering you guests, so smart business tactics means getting involved now.
In 2012, Loews Hotels did just that, and I loved it. They provided their YouFirst Platinum loyalty rewards members complimentary enrollment in the Global Entry program and paid the PreCheck application fee.
"Partnerships are integral to the way we do business as a brand," said Loews Chairman Jonathan Tisch, at the time. "Our collaboration highlights the importance of the public and private sectors working together to improve hospitality for all our guests, whether that be at our hotels or traveling through an airport."
I just wish other companies would get on board (pun intended) and do something similar. I’ve been speaking to the TSA during the past few weeks and they want to work with you to benefit us all.
Currently, TSA is enrolling about 10,000 people a day, but it must double that number to make a meaningful difference, and the hotel industry must help the agency achieve by end of 2019 to enroll the 25 million most frequent travelers who generate 50 percent of all airline trips. These are YOUR customers!
Here’s how bad the hotel industry is in its program participation. The TSA has something called a Market Penetration score. That score is the multiple of the cumulative engagement score times the company's marketshare within its segment. The engagement scoring ranges from 1 point for general promotion, 2 points for targeted enrollment messaging to loyalty customers, 3 points for enrollment facilitation and 4 points for enrollment rewards in terms of reimbursement or redemption.
Airlines are doing an amazing job at 79 percent, travel management companies, such as American Express Travel, are scored at 34 percent, while credit card companies score a 38 percent penetration rating.
Hotels are at a lowly 5 percent. With the most to gain, that is a number that must go up, and I challenge hotel companies to get involved. Right here, right now.
Be Your Customer's Hero
So while your guests are complaining about crazy-long security wait times, you have the opportunity to be a hero and let them know, if they join PreCheck, they’ll be a VIP. Did you know the average wait time in March was five minutes or less for 95 percent of PreCheck passengers?
The question is not if you should do it, but how are going to do it? Contact me directly and I will put you in touch with my great contacts over at TSA.
It’s like the Benjamin Franklin political cartoon from 1754. Join or die.
The next move is ours. I hope we make the best of it.
Find me at [email protected] or on Twitter and Instagram @TravelingGlenn and let’s work together on making a serious difference here to improve all our lives, and your profits.
Glenn Haussman is editor-at-large for HOTEL MANAGEMENT. His views expressed are not necessarily those of HOTEL MANAGEMENT, its parent company Questex Media Group, and/or its subsidiaries.