Name: Matt Hardison Title: Executive vice president, marketing and sales Company, city: Amtrak; Washington, D.C. Number of employees: 21,200 Recent project: Testing technology to deliver the first true broadband WiFi on board a train First job: Hauling hay Little-known fact about you: I finished my Master of Business Administration degree in Lima, Peru.
Essential business philosophy: Strive relentlessly to deliver what our customers want. Best way to keep a competitive edge: Stay on top of what’s happening in the broader passenger transportation industry. Yardstick of success: Providing safe, on-time and high-quality transportation, with quality measured by customer satisfaction and financial performance
Matt Hardison as a Traveler
What is the most important item you take when traveling? Anticipation How do you spend your time on board? Talking with employees and customers, working and reading What is your favorite restaurant in the world? My own grill What is your favorite destination in the world? The train!
Tell our readers about Amtrak’s ‘500 Destinations. Infinite Stories.’ campaign. What inspired the campaign? Launched September 2015, this is the first master brand campaign Amtrak has fielded in approximately 15 years. We want to educate consumers about the breadth of Amtrak’s national train system and all of our corridor routes across the United States as well as our overnight, long-distance services. The campaign communicates our message clearly and consistently across all channels including TV, print, digital and social media. The campaign was created in coordination with Amtrak’s advertising agency of record, FCB Garfinkel New York. Our 30-second TV spot aired in prime time on select ABC and NBC program premieres as well as Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune and select cable systems. We are running national TV ads and advertising with Hulu and Orbitz. Nationally, our 15-second videos will be featured on YouTube, Hulu, Facebook and Tremor to reach geo-targeted audiences. Our social media strategy includes a call to action for passengers to share their stories on the train using the hashtag #AmtrakStories; engagement and specific content on Amtrak’s Twitter, Facebook and Google+ social media handles; and a landing page on Amtrak’s blog specific to the campaign. Although Amtrak has near-universal brand awareness, it hasn’t always been a top-of-mind option for travelers, particularly outside of the busy Northeast Corridor. To inspire travelers to regularly consider train travel as a top method of transportation, the campaign showcases the comfort, freedom, service and value of train travel by telling stories about experiences only rail travel can provide. What benefits does the Amtrak Guest Rewards credit card from Bank of America offer? We are excited to offer two Amtrak Guest Rewards credit cards so our customers can choose the card that fits their travel needs and spending preferences. Both feature no foreign transaction fees and EMV chip technology. The Amtrak Guest Rewards World MasterCard offers a complimentary companion coupon, one class upgrade and a single-day ClubAcela pass upon account opening; 20,000 Amtrak Guest Rewards bonus points after spending $1,000 in purchases within 90 days of account opening; three Amtrak Guest Rewards points per $1 spent with Amtrak; two points per $1 spent on other eligible travel purchases; one point per $1 spent on all other purchases; and a 5 percent rebate on Amtrak redemption travel. More details are at amtrakguestrewards.com/apply. Tell us about the loyalty program’s improvements in 2016. It’s been 15 years since we launched the Amtrak Guest Rewards program coincident with the start of Acela Express service. We’ve simplified and modernized it to keep current members satisfied and attract new ones. Members can now redeem points for Amtrak travel based on ticket price, and on amtrak.com, customers can toggle between cash and points payment options while they build their itineraries. New program features include point-earning bonuses for business-class (25 percent) and Acela first-class (50 percent) travel and eliminate blackout dates. Find more details at amtrakguestrewards.com/rideon.
TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
WalletHub compared the 100 largest U.S. cities across 24 key metrics to determine the best destinations for an upcoming Oktoberfest celebration. The brand’s study found the estimated cost for an American to attend Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany, is $5,000. Munich boasts a $1.43 billion annual economic impact on Munich. During Oktoberfest, nearly 2 million gallons of beer are consumed and more than 510,000 whole roast chickens eaten.
Qantas will start using a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner on its Sydney–Santiago route starting in late June 2020.
United Airlines announces a number of new routes.
On Location Experiences makes it easy for travelers to head to London or Mexico City for upcoming NFL games. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium hosts the Chicago Bears and Oakland Raiders Oct. 6, and the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers Oct. 13; Wembley Stadium hosts the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Rams Oct. 27, and the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars Nov. 3; and Estadio Azteca hosts the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers Nov. 18.
Welcome to Rhodes, a medieval treasure beautifully preserved throughout the centuries. Rhodes is the capital of the Dodecanese, an island ideal not only for those who want to relax, but also for those looking for an action-packed holiday! With its bright green hills, rich green valleys and uninterrupted line of golden beaches, Rhodes is truly a blessed place. “The sun island” has more sunshiny days and milder temperatures throughout the year than any other location in Greece. It is, after all, one of the country’s easternmost places and among the first to welcome summer on its impressive beaches. Add in the excellent facilities for tourism, the island’s special blend of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites, the most important being the Medieval (Old) Town, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and you’ve got the perfect holiday destination. While on Rhodes, don’t miss a daytrip to nearby Sými. An island of sponge divers and seamen, Sými used to have 30,000 inhabitants before the Second World War and was the richest island in the Dodecanese, despite its small size. Today, Sými attracts many visitors thanks to its beautifully preserved Neo-Classical buildings and the famous Archangel Michael monastery at Panormitis.
Hotel brands all over the world have pushed for sustainability. For many, it began with reducing single-use plastics, like straws. InterContinental recently announced the end of in-room miniature toiletries.