brand development • marketing • public relations • social media • advertising • direct mail • graphic design • websites

Dear Friends,

As we enter the new decade, we’re all looking forward to a fresh start. The past year has been rough, but not without some good lessons. Many of us have been forced to run our businesses with a new level of prudence and fiscal responsibility, emerging now with leaner operations more focused on the bottom line.

Recently, I was at the MPI New England Meetings Outlook program, where panelists presented a rather sober picture of economic recovery in the travel and hospitality industry. There was a lot of talk about the “new normal,” and Gary Leopold of ISM cited some interesting trends. His assertion that “service is the new sales” resonated with me. Over the years, I’ve always attracted new clients by taking really good care of the ones I have.

But how do you stay on top of guest service, if your restaurant or hotel is strapped for cash and short staffed? One way is to continually measure your customers’ satisfaction and then promptly respond to their feedback. SURVEY ON THE SPOT is a new product using iPhone and smartphone technology to capture on-site insights for service-oriented organizations. With a little help from me and my team, SURVEY ON THE SPOT was recently featured on CNN and listed among USA Today’s Top 10 Travel Trends for its TSA Survey measuring consumer satisfaction at airport security screenings. Keep an eye out for more news about this innovative consumer survey application in coming months.

In signing off, I encourage you to keep up the good fight and follow the example of the forward-thinking companies featured herein. Always be proactive in your marketing efforts. Reach out to new and existing customers with cost-effective strategies including public relations, co-branding, social media and email communications. At the same time, make advocates of your existing clientele by listening and responding to their needs. Those who persevere and work on both fronts will maintain their market share and reap greater rewards when the economy turns around.

Happy New Year,

February 2010