Miscellaneous Ramblings by Tony Clegg Butt of Travel News – July 2014

Posted on July 17th, 2014
Categories: News

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Pity the poor loyalty cardholders of a number of large European international airlines. We had clients who wanted to use their hard earned miles, to upgrade to business class only to be told, that there were no seats available in either direction until early 2015.

Which begged their question ‘Why do we support these airlines, earn the miles and then are unable to use them?’ These particular clients would have taken any flight, within reason, to get this done – they were planning their travel around frequent flyer bonus miles travel being available. They were not.

So what’s the point?

In my youth, I worked for an airline that was one of the pioneers of the loyalty card business. We knew then, that you had to have inventory available on EVERY flight in the system 365/7 for members to redeem their points. A minimum of two seats in times of plenty, when flights were expected to be full – and a sliding scale in low season when we wanted our customers to redeem their points. We even offered two-for-one deals in the depths of the low season so customers could burn their points.

It worked a treat, but it was a constant battle with the other departments within the airline.

The bean counters hated it; they just couldn’t understand or grasp the concept of reward for loyalty. Then fortunately as so often happens, frequent flyer programmes assumed a life of there own, so successful were they.

In today’s airline world, you have investors looking for maximum return, which obviously puts pressure on airline management to eek out every last drop of revenue – and that my friends is the primary reason that rewards tickets are as rare as hen’s teeth. Now where did that silly saying come from?

Talking of which. I was recently in Scotland, my wife is of that tribe, attending my number one daughters senior school leavers ball. The theme for the evening was The Great Gatsby. My daughters asked me to wear my kilt, a Scottish tribal garb I’m entitled to wear. I said no way; I didn’t see any kilts in The Great Gatsby I say. But dad!!!! I said to them this was akin to carrying coals to Newcastle (another old saying) then had to explain what that meant to them.

I did say it was an old saying.

I’m told, that on two consecutive evenings in Nairobi that there were lectures on conservation and by default poaching by two eminently qualified folk – whose voices are well respected in both these fields.

On evening one, expert one talked of Armageddon, poaching was out of control and elephants should be considered a seriously endangered species. On evening two, expert two said completely the opposite and said that despite the present levels of poaching, elephant numbers were stable, based on historical statistical data.

Both these experts make valid points – I know most of us would side with expert one, that poaching is out of control in this country and for that matter across the entire continent. The impression given is that government lacks the capacity to stop it – but I say that the tide is turning and that the security arms of government are making headway in their fight against well armed, well organized gangs of poachers. Not an easy task, but it is not for a lack of trying.

In America’s war against drugs, they targeted the sources of these illicit drugs, what we need to do is the opposite. Target the end user markets that drive the demand for ivory and other wild animal products. They need to be educated that ground elephant tusk does nothing for them despite what Confucius might have once said. That scientist’s as opposed to conservationists should be at the forefront of this campaign. To educate people, with scientific rational, that they are wasting truckloads of cash on these worthless potions.

A friend had the bright idea to send Kenyan school children to China in a class room campaign starting with the very young, in the hope that in a decade or two these young adults would be able to sway opinion against these age-old traditional medicinal myths.

All good to great ideas I’ll agree – but when same friend tells me that one million, yes one million, ivory chopsticks are manufactured every year in China I despair, big time. I’m even stuck for an answer.

I wish there was an easy answer…

There is a campaign called ‘Why I Love Kenya’ part of the Kenya Tourism Federations* efforts to promote the country during these dark days. It is primarily a social media campaign driven by you, the people who love Kenya.

Their Facebook page is a good place to start, for you to tell the world why you love this country so much. Lots of people have posted their favourite images, and talked the talk. The world is watching – do your bit! Click HERE to go to this page.

* The Kenya Tourism Federation is the apex umbrella organisation for the private tourism sector.

To read this month’s Travel News Click HERE