Love it! I totally agree w/ digital disturbing the hospitality industry, although I’d argue that SPG is the leader in leveraging technology to deliver the highest levels of service. Having spent probably close to 500 nights at a combo of SPG, Marriott, and Hilton the last 2 years, I’m one of those people who wants efficiency AND service. SPG is fundamentally a digital brand, bringing technology into its service element via its app.
I think SPG initially announced Keyless back in 2014 for rollout in 2015, I remember using it in 2015 at the NYC W properties. Ws tended to be among the more tech first subchains I’ve encountered. The SPG ambassador service (the highest service level for 100+ platinums) gives you a personal SPG assistant that can be reached via the app directly, phone, or even text. I’ve also seen Westins, Ws, and St. Regis properties use apps like WhatsApp to directly engage w/ the front desk or concierges. SPG also recently integrated loyalty earning schemes w/ Uber and Delta, trying to create a vertical alliance from Plane to hotel.
One area which I think would be great to expand which i don’t believe anyone is doing is in ordering and late checkout requests. The ability to order food from my phone or device either from the gym at the hotel or on the way back to the hotel would be great. Also, requesting a late check out or morning call, or extra shampoo all still require a whatsapp or call downstairs, if we could do this via the app that would be great.
Love it Aviad. In terms of smart maintenance and false positives, could you do some form of real time double check via an expert at Lockheed or at base. Similarly, have a 2nd system on board compute the probability of this system malfunctioning, e.g., if its a common part that needs fixing parts are automatically sent but if its unlikely/rare that the failure be happening the plan does not initiate the spare part until it gets back on the ground for a technician to sign-off on. Obviously, this only exasperates the cyber security issue. I’m curious why the maintenance data is an issue, assuming there is already an open channel of communication from plane to the base, could you not tack on to that same open channel to communicate maintenance data?
Great read! The economics of DV is super interesting, especially the risk vs return. In essence there are 3 distinct bodies that are acting in parallel. DV, BCG, and B Cap, however, the reputation of BCG is tied to all three, which leads me to think if DV misses the goal on a project does BCG’s reputation take the hit? Moreover, if B Cap investments flop or the fund goes under does DV or BCG refuel it or let it fail? Also does the success the start-up have the potential to tarnish an existing client relationship BCG might have? Clearly the opposite is true, not to mention there is a large client market here that is underserved, as most BCG clients are actively thinking and spending on innovation.
Great post! I’ve personally been on both ends of crowdfunding and KickStarter can definitely expand. I think in a way its seen as the old established brand, but could have sub-marketplaces (e.g., Kickstart Social, Kickstart Personal Donations) that cater to other forms of crowdfunding. In terms of personal donations GoFundMe has had success and could perhaps be purchased and rebranded as a Sub Kickstarter marketplace, similarly w/ Tilt. I think this space is ripe for some mergers and I’d love to see them expand next into either w/ a social platform (e.g., facebook) or mobile payment provider (e.g., venmo). I think the combined access to our digital life and our physical wallets will break all the barriers of crowdfunding.
Great read, this is an exciting industry to watch with the changes in regulations, volatility in fuel prices, and M&A going on. Southwest is an interesting company, in terms of climate change. I love the points you make about what they are currently doing, but am skeptical of their intent. Most airlines are cutting cost but mainly to cut consumption of fuel, which tends to be their biggest driver of cost. If we look at Southwest, two question immediately come to mind. First, as you point out weight is a huge driver of fuel consumption and ultimately of emissions, however, Southwest is the only airline major us carrier to give 2 free checked bags. This promotion in a way encourages consumers to pack heavy, which increases emissions, albeit from a business point of view does differentiate them and reduces the time to board which helps keep them competitive. Second, there is scale benefits in aircraft, meaning a new A350/787 will have a better per seat carbon emission than Southwest current 737 fleet, or even its upcoming 737MAX I speculate. Why hasn’t southwest moved to larger aircraft? The skeptic in me thinks its due to the incremental cost of maintaince it would incur by having to service a 2nd aircraft type.
Great read, and very relevant given the latest ICAO decision last month (CORSIA). Also, the EPA just came out in July essentially laying the foundation for significant restrictions on airline emissions in the next few years. I’d assume domestically we are looking at falling in line w/ the Trend of the Paris Treaty and holding emissions to below 2020 levels conservatively. If with the election we maintain a blue white house, I’d assume a more aggressive stance by the EPA. Ultimately, I’m dubious of biofuels as per your points they aren’t there yet, require heavy capital investment, and have 2nd and 3rd order ramifications on the environment. (e.g., depleting farmland of nutrients and impacting the cost of food around the world). I think there is still a substantial amount of runway to be covered in terms of new materials to bring down the weight of airframes, including in the cabin. There is a huge opportunity in air routes, holding patterns, take off, and landings are inefficient. One opportunity is electronically assisted take-off, this is when the plane burns the most fuel and is an area where alternative technology already exists.
Great read. I agree with a lot of the new tech airbus is using in its A350 and A320neo programs but these gains are limited heavily by customers access to capital and airbus’s manufacturing timeline. This past October the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN Body, built on the Paris treaty and created legislation limited international air travel emissions going forward at 2020 levels. With the growth in international air travel companies will need access to the new A350 asap given its the best suited for long haul routes. Currently, many of the A350s on order a positioned to replace A340s and B757/767. I am dubious of airbus’s ability to efficiently take these old planes out of service, if not we are not replacing but simply adding to the emissions. One idea is to have a trade in program where Airbus allows operators of older aircraft to trade up, and/or Airbus can retrofit old aircraft w/ newer materials to lower weight at least to mitigate in the short run. Currently several carriers will just sell older planes to low cost carriers in developing countries, a practice which expands access to air travel in the least clean way.
Given their size Carnival can really drive change in this industry. When it comes to travel/hospitality I find that been “green” really helps them actually save money. Carnival ships’ long lives allow them to take additional capital expenditures to invest in new efficient technology. Simple things like 100% LED light bulbs, better insulation to mitigate heating/cooling, and minimal clean water usage will have cost savings and will start to set precedent for peers. One practice Starwood employs is the green choice around linens/sheets/towels, essentially they allow you to opt out of housekeeping coming by, which saves cost for them and is much greener. It forces the consumer to reuse items like toiletries, towels, and makes the consumer manage their own waste to a certain point. To incentivize consumers who normally wouldn’t do this, their is usually a loyalty perk like points which are given for every time the consumer doesn’t use housekeeping. Other alternatives could be composting on the ships themselves as well as wind or solar technology being utilized given these ships spend so long at sea.
Drought in SoCal is a real problem we face year after year. The environmental arguments aside there is an ethical question here around profiting from water. The cost of desal has roughly come down by 50% over the last decade but still Poseidon is charging about 2x the cost of wholesale water from the local providers. This essentially will create an access problem for a lot of communities, which will only further hurt small to medium businesses. In terms of climate, the Carlsbad plant is one to watch, there is a plan to use solar panels on its roof to offset its energy consumption. Also, the current Encinitas plant which is the oldest in the region is going offline in 2017, allowing for new cleaner energy to power the Carlsbad desal in the coming years.
This was a tough decision for San Diego, and I don’t think a full “win” for the community. Ultimately, droughts have been so difficult that it was “good enough” and we just couldn’t wait for a better option.