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On the importance of thanking customers

(Airlines) Permanent link

OK, gang: Raise your hand if you’ve received a hand-written thank-you note from Richard Anderson.

The CEO of Delta was talking about the importance of thanking your customers in a Q&A in the Sunday edition of the New York Times. We might have missed it altogether if it hadn’t been for the headline on the Times' home page: “He wants subjects, verbs and objects." (Oooh! A story about punctuation? Nope, a conversation with an airline executive about the right way to put together a PowerPoint presentation.)

Anyway, the feature is called "Corner Office," and the idea is to get CEOs talking about leadership and management.

Anderson, who comes off calm, cool and collected in the interview (he doesn’t lose his temper, he likes to get beyond the résumé in hiring decisions, etc.) had this to say about business lessons learned:

"You’ve got to be thankful to the people who get the work done, and you've got to be thankful to your customers. So, I find myself, more and more, writing hand-written notes to people. I must write a half a dozen a day."

And …

"If you just focus on getting your job done and being a good colleague and a team player in an organization, and not focused about being overly ambitious and wanting pay raises and promotions and the like, and just doing your job and being a part of a team, the rest of it all takes care of itself."

PS: One more on communication:

"And a lot of what we do in communication, when you write e-mail, you need to express yourself very clearly so people understand whether we’re going to L.A. today or we’re going to Boston today."

Um … yeah, what he said. 

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In Hawaii, tough times could mean higher hotel tax

(Hotels, Hawaii) Permanent link

Hawaii’s Democrat-dominated Senate voted overwhelmingly to increase the hotel tax from 7.25% to 8.25% on July 1, and then to 9.25% on July 1, 2010.

The measure, along with other tax proposals, addresses a budget shortfall in Hawaii.

The vote was 19-5, with three Democrats opting to side with the Senate’s two Republicans, reports the Pacific Business Journal.

Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican, said she might veto the bill, but the Senate has enough votes to override the veto.

Naturally, the hurting hotel industry in Hawaii is none too pleased.

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Tweets, blogs and shortwave radio

(Airlines, Caribbean) Permanent link

Caribbean watchers took note recently when Winair announced plans to suspend its St. Maarten-Nevis service, and then abruptly rescinded the move after talks with the Nevis tourism ministry.

Even more notable: A pal with a shortwave radio says he first heard the story on an English-language shortwave news broadcast from Cuba.

Shortwave radio? It still exists in this age of tweets and blogs?

It's alive and well, in Cuba and elsewhere, and this little story reminds us that Cuba is not as "isolated" as defenders of the U.S. embargo might think. It's participating in, and reporting on, the economic life of the Caribbean even as we "tweet."

-- Bill Poling 

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Southwest surprises a longtime employee

(Airlines) Permanent link

The folks who might be the most surprised or excited by Southwest's entry into the New York City market are some of the airline's oldest hands.

Consider the comments by Bill Owen, the airline’s lead schedule planner, on the airline’s Nuts About Southwest blog.

"As a longtime Southwest Airlines employee, I have to admit that the now-certainty of Southwest flying to LaGuardia is just darn near surreal to me," Owen said. "I would have NEVER bet that this would happen five or 10 years ago -- but Southwest Airlines continues to evolve and adapt to changing market conditions."

-- Michael Fabey

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