Name: Tom O’Toole
Title: Senior vice president, marketing and loyalty, and president, MileagePlus
Company, city: United, Chicago
Number of employees: More than 85,000
Recent project: Introducing new product features, a new brand advertising campaign, new digital channels, onboard WiFi and new onboard media
First job: Movie theater usher
Little-known fact about you: I like football and cars.
Essential business philosophy: Decide what needs to be done and do it.
Best way to keep a competitive edge: Get out of the office and into the world.
Yardstick of success: Credibility
Tom O’Toole as a Traveler
What is the most important item you take when traveling? My iPad
How do you spend your time on board? Reading
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? Tidepools on Kaua’i, Hawaii
What is your favorite destination in the world? Kaua’i, Hawaii
What is new at United? This is a great time at United. Three months ago we launched our largest brand advertising campaign in more than a decade, redefining the iconic “Fly the Friendly Skies” tagline. “Flyer friendly” now means user-friendly for today’s travelers and expresses the convergence of technology, product features and customer experience.
As we build the world’s leading airline, we are raising our customer experience through investments in service training, all-new digital channels, new aircraft, global satellite WiFi, premium-cabin lie-flat seating, Economy Plus seating, expanded overhead bins, onboard power outlets and more. Plus, we’re opening new United Clubs, renovating United Clubs and upgrading our gate areas.
What new MileagePlus initiatives has United launched? Our MileagePlus frequent-flyer program continues to lead the industry. Global Traveler readers named MileagePlus the world’s best frequent-flyer program in 2013 for the 10th consecutive year. In 2013, for the fourth year, IdeaWorksCompany’s annual study named MileagePlus as offering the most saver-award availability among the global U.S. carriers.
In 2013, we launched RewardsPlus with Marriott, the industry’s largest-ever combination of frequent-traveler programs, offering reciprocal elite status for our top Premier travelers and Marriott’s top customers. We also joined with Mercedes-Benz USA to offer incentives to MileagePlus Premiers when they purchase or lease certain new Mercedes-Benz models, and to offer a tarmac-transfer service to many Global Services members making connections at our largest hubs. Plus, we introduced the MileagePlus Small Business Network, through which businesses, in addition to individuals, can earn and redeem miles. These initiatives are just part of this year’s advances, and there are more developments in the works.
What is the most challenging aspect of keeping your frequent-flyer program innovative? The most challenging aspect is continuing to advance United’s business and loyalty program in economically sound ways, executing new developments at our scale, and recognizing the differing types of our very wide and diverse range of customers.
Over the last three–four weeks, Portugal made significant strides in slowly, but surely, reopening the country for travel. As of May 18, Portugal further loosened restrictions by ending the country’s COVID-19 State of Emergency status while continuing social distancing.
According to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, small businesses create two-thirds of net new jobs and account for nearly 48 percent of the U.S. private sector workforce. And small- and medium-sized businesses outpace all other sectors as one of the fastest-growing in the United States. InterContinental® Hotels Group (IHG) goes above and beyond to create opportunities for this segment with its IHG® Business Edge program, voted Best Small- to Mid-Sized Business Program in Global Traveler’s 2019 GT Tested Reader Survey awards.
United Airlines introduces United CleanPlus, a partnership with Clorox and the Cleveland Clinic. The company is committed to putting health and safety at the forefront of the entire customer experience, and hopes to deliver an industry-leading standard of cleanliness. This partnership brings together Clorox and some of the country’s top medical experts from the Cleveland Clinic to help guide United Airlines’ new cleaning, safety and social distancing protocols.
At FXExpress Publications, Inc., we can’t wait to #ComeBacktoTravel, and we can’t wait for the travel industry and others to #ComeBacktoGT. Join us over the next several weeks as we entice you with photos from some of the places we’re most excited to visit. Take a visual journey through some of the Florida Keys’ most breathtaking sights with us, just in time for the June 1 reopening.
United Airlines’ environmentally friendly efforts lessen the impact on local U.S. communities.
A first of its kind in the region, The Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi launched a safe and clean certification program. The program seeks to uplift and standardize cleanliness and hygiene levels across all businesses and organizations in the tourism sector, including hotels, malls and other attractions. DCT Abu Dhabi will offer certifications that ensure compliance of standardized hygiene levels, and the program will roll out in phases, with the first dedicated to hotels.
Finding a beachfront Punta Cana all-inclusive resort for all ages can be daunting when you want to take home great memories with loved ones but also experience a sophisticated escape. Now, you can have both thanks to a new resort: Finest Punta Cana.
Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection is celebrating the heroes. Travelers can nominate the unsung heroes in their lives for a chance to be selected for one of 25 complimentary, seven-night European river cruises for two through July 31.