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Posts from the ‘Travel’ Category

Customer loyalty: When systems don’t match and the difference of a single person

airlineCustomer loyalty. A key component of many corporate marketing strategies and an important area of focus for most. It’s a key ingredient to a company’s long-term sustainability and a puzzle most attack through partnering up with customer loyalty companies to create programs – from large to small, simple to complex – to encourage customers to keep coming back. Yet, despite all of the planning, strategy, and systems that get put in place to enhance customer loyalty, it often all still comes down to the details and individual experiences. As a result, it really pays to invest in the basics:

  1. Make sure the loyalty program aligns with the product or service itself – activating loyalty rewards should be seamless and deliver the experience promised, otherwise, you could potentially do more harm than good
  2. Invest in the people at the front lines dealing directly with customers – at the end of the day, they are your biggest asset or liability when it comes to ensuring customer loyalty. A single person can make all the difference in a positive or negative way.

To highlight both points, I’ll draw upon an experience I had a little while ago with an airline that has engaged another company to run their loyalty program. Read more

McWedding under the Golden Arches?

Health and nutritional issues aside, a lot of people love their McChicken, McNuggets, and McFlurry – but what about a McWedding?

Ever since Hong Kong allowed weddings to be held outside City Hall and places of worship in 2006, residents are getting creative with where they can say their “I do’s”. One couple who had met and dated at a McDonald’s location later decided to have their wedding there last year. Their special day triggered Hong Kong’s McDonald’s to start to offering wedding packages for other McDonald’s fans.

As CNN reports, the first packages were made available in January of this year. And the response? You’d be suprised. Already, between fifty and sixty couples have started their McWedding planning with McDonald’s. Couples can order a full McDonald’s catered meal, an apple pie stacked wedding cake, and have an assortment of wedding games for the bride and groom. No alcohol is allowed. Instead, toasts are made with soda pop or milkshakes, but no one seems to mind.

In a recent article by The New York Times, the cultural reasons for the McWeddings are discussed by anthropologist Gordon Mathews.

“The generation getting married today grew up doing their studying at McDonald’s,” Mr. Mathews said. “That was one of the chain’s prominent roles in the 1980s and 1990s — as a safe haven where students could study and stay off the streets.

“In the U.S. and other places, middle-class or upper-middle-class people look down on McDonald’s,” he said. “But Hong Kong is different. A McDonald’s wedding wouldn’t be seen as tacky here.”

The article points out that “if anything, McDonald’s is seen as a relief from strict cultural rules”, and a greater emphasis is placed now on just having fun. Whatever the cultural underpinnings, young Hong Kong brides and grooms-to-be can now get married under the golden arches for a mere $1,280. If that’s not another selling point, I don’t know what is.

So what say you? Would you opt for a McWedding?

Happy birthday, Canada!


Photo credit: © Vivian Chan

Yesterday was Canada’s 143rd birthday. As my mom was visiting from out of town, we had the brilliant idea of taking her to Niagara Falls for the celebration. It seemed that our brilliant idea was shared by the entire region of Southwestern Ontario, as we entered the gridlock that was Queen Elizabeth Way – the highway to the beautiful Niagara Falls. Inch by inch, we made our way towards the Falls – escaping eventually for a pitstop at one of the many wineries on the way. Some pitstop: perched comfortably on stools, sipping back a selection of aromatic Ontario wines, overlooking the swaying vines of the Niagara Region. Beautiful. If ever there were a pitstop I wouldn’t mind doing more often, it’s that one. Highly recommend.

After a few more hours, and a stop-over in the picturesque Niagara-On-The-Lake, we arrived. As expected, Niagara Falls was packed with people sharing our Canada Day vision. I’m not a big one for crowds – all of the pushing, bumping, and fighting to carve a path through to a vague notion of “over there”. But for Canada Day, I was willing to make an exception. As the night fell everyone thankfully started to slow down. The clammoring was more about settling in for a spot to see the fireworks than moving to a more advantageous viewing point of the Falls. Luckily, the sky above is more spacious than the physical space on the ground, and when it came time for the first whistling firework to be launched, no one was fighting for space… or at least, no one needed to. A spectacular display overhead brought a rucus of Oooo’s and Ahhhh’s over the illuminated Falls, and also served as a good reminder of why we had all come in the first place.

Happy birthday, Canada!

Bæjarins bestu pylsur: Best hot dogs in Iceland… possibly the world?

Photo credit: © Vivian Chan

Despite its beautiful waterfalls, powerful geysurs, clear glacial water, and delectable local cuisine – one of the most popular stops for locals to visit in around Reykjavik is Bæjarins bestu pylsur: a hot dog stand close to the harbour.

We biked past the stand on our bike tour of Reykjavik, and I couldn’t help but notice the ever-growing long line-up of people at this quaint little red and white stand on the edge of what looked like a parking lot. “What’s going on there?”, I asked our guide. Turned out she was stopping already to talk to us about the stand… Iceland’s best hot dogs, hailed by some as being also the best in Europe. She encouraged us to try it later in our stay. Read more

15 things I’ve learned about Iceland

Photo credit: © Vivian Chan

Within 24 hours of being in Iceland, I was already blown away by how unique this country is. Not that other places do not have interesting things about them – on the contrary – but never have I been somewhere where within moments of arriving, I was hit with so many “really!?” moments. Coming away from our trip, these are the top fifteen things we learned about Iceland. Read more

Diving in Silfra, Iceland

Photo credit Dive.Is

When most people think of Iceland, they don’t necessarily think of diving. The water averages out to be around 2-4 degrees Celsius – which is almost as cold as it gets for diving. That said, because of the cold water temperatures, if you’ve got the steel to do it, it’s an incredible diving experience. You’ll never get water that’s clearer – especially at the Silfra rift.

Read more

Best seafood in town: Reykjavik’s Fish Company

One of the things we’ve found, being in Reykjavik is that there is no shortage of fantastic places to eat. After a long day of diving, we went to check out the Fish Company on a recommendation from our dive guide the other night. “If you want the best seafood in the city, you should go to the Fish Company”, he said. Having dined there, I would say that if you want some of the best seafood in the world, go there. It was incredible. Read more

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