We’re officially in the dog days of summer. That peaceful time of year where everything quiets down, Europeans don’t have to work and I wait desperately to see who will win "Master Chef."
It’s also a huge month for vacations, and with folks flooding the airport, it’s a good time to reignite the issue of why the hotel industry must get behind the TSA and support enrolling people in Pre✓.
Irritated people in long TSA precheck line look like they doubt they live in a capitalist society.— Mur Lafferty (@mightymur) August 3, 2016
The hotel industry is inexorably tied to the airline industry whether we like it or not. (I've written about this before.) And the only way we can find maximum success and profitability is helping make travel easier.
It’s become an important issue for me because too many people are reducing the numbers of trips they take as the hassle of traveling wears on them. This is a problem that can be solved. (Read my first piece on this topic here.)
Fortunately, since the second quarter of this year, this concept is becoming more apparent with more hoteliers and major brands. Last week I had the opportunity to chat with John Sammon, chief marketing officer at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), on my No Vacancy with Glenn Haussman podcast.
Sammon says much is changing.
“There has been a significant jump in [industry participation] since we started talking in May. It’s a real testament to how the hotel industry is paying attention,” Sammon told me. He had contacted me after reading one of the above stories and, together, we are trying to affect change in the hotel business regarding this issue.
I've said it once and I'll say it again: PreCheck/Global Entry might be the best thing ever.— Ryan Ewing (@FlyingHighRyan) August 3, 2016
He is right to be excited, too. On July 1, members of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group’s rewards program, Club Carlson, got the opportunity to register for Pre✓. And, instead of dolling out the $85 application fee, which covers five years, members can use 65,000 Gold Points instead.
Shortly, Hilton Worldwide is set to announce a similar program to redeem HHonors points as a way to pay the enrollment fee.
Meanwhile, airlines seem to be rounding out their commitment to the program. Southwest Airlines’ program is up and running (it’ll cost 9,000 points), and United Airlines are also jumping in on this Pre✓ program.
Sammon says with the latest two airlines on board, every major airline now participates in some way to encourage travelers to join Pre✓.
The same should happen within the hotel business.
Sammon says the TSA keeps a scorecard to measure the four most critical sectors for the program: airlines, travel management companies, credit cards and hotels. When Sammon and I started talking back in May about how to generate more interest in this program, the hotel industry’s score was five percent. Compare that to airlines, which at that time was at 79 percent. Hotel industry penetration now stands at 37 percent. That’s an amazing jump in such a short period of time.
One company looking to impact change that’s not a hotel brand is Sonifi (stylized SONIFI). Synonymous with in-room entertainment, Sonifi is planning to run videos promoting Pre✓ to one million hotel television screens, Sammon says. That’s pretty darn cool.
But there is a lot more work to be done. Join the fight!
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.