A business executive with more than two decades of experience working with private and public boards, John B. Richards provides services in the real estate and hospitality industries. John B. Richards has been instrumental in leading numerous projects, such as driving the initial North American expansion of Starbucks.
Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks, believes that profits are not the only way to measure the success of a company. An integral part of Mr. Schultz’s business philosophy is making a priority of caring for customers, the community, and employees.
Starbucks personally and professionally invests in its employees by providing access to an affordable education. Starbucks works in partnership with Arizona State University to offer free tuition on a four-year college degree to its employees who work more than 20 hours per week for the company. Arizona State is a respected accredited institution that has received public recognition from the US Department of Education.
John B. Richards, currently principal at the New England Consulting Group, has worked in an executive capacity with a range of the world’s best-known hospitality and lifestyle brands. His more than 20 years as a marketing and branding executive, CEO, and board member include service at Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, Starbucks, and Four Seasons Hotels. During his 10 years as chief marketing officer and executive vice president of operations for Four Seasons, John B. Richards grew the company from eight to a total of more than 40 properties. Today, Four Seasons continues on that trajectory, with more than 100 hotels in popular vacation destinations around the world.
Among these new properties is the five-star Four Seasons Hotel Tianjin, close to the business district. The port city of Tianjin is the fourth-largest city in China and one that has placed much recent focus on building its commercial sector. Foreign investment in the city has gathered strength, due to its entrepreneurial climate and positive market outlook.
Additionally, Tianjin offers visitors a rich history with much visual interest. Historic buildings in the French, Spanish, and Italian styles offer reminders of its past as a European colonial outpost, and point to its continuing role as a truly international city.
Blue World Voyages CEO John B. Richards is a well established presence in the Scottsdale, Arizona, community who has engineered growth strategies for a number of leading corporations including Starbucks and Life Time Fitness. In the recent LinkedIn article “Where does your Loyalty Program stand? Is anyone safe?,” John B. Richards shed light on the challenges of building brand loyalty within a disruptive digital marketing environment.
While software-driven big data provides actionable, real-time insight into customer performance hierarchies, this alone is not enough to maintain loyalty among today’s easily distracted consumers. The most effective approach uses a holistic combination of “high impact information” and focused engagement that emphasizes building meaningful relationships.
Ideally, these relationships involve several factors that create “a lifetime of value,” including purchase quality, frequency, and growth, as well as the overall depth of the connection. While data-driven approaches can better target offers, branding, and rewards, engagement is a “high touch” undertaking that requires exceeding expectations in the actual product or service delivered. Over-engineering loyalty awards can have a negative effect when the consumer is bombarded with complex and confusing information, and even erode a customer’s brand allegiance.
A leader in executing loyalty-driven corporate growth, John B. Richards has executive experience that spans companies such as Elizabeth Arden-Red Door Spa, Starbucks, and Four Seasons Hotels. Presently CEO of Blue World Voyages, John B. Richards guides a recently launched cruise line that stands at the cusp of a new trend toward voyages that place an emphasis on health and wellness.
The company envisions a growth arc that begins with the launch of its initial 5-Star vessel in 2018 and follows with two additional ships in the next four years. The fleet will plan itineraries based on criteria that include accessibility to outdoor activities such as hiking, marine sports, golf, and cycling.
As Mr. Richards describes it in a Maritime Executive article, this approach stands out as “authentically different” for the way in which wellness is embedded into the travel routes. Active lifestyle cruising is a concept that fits demographic trends, with Baby Boomers giving way to health-conscious Generation Xers, millennials, and even younger consumers. This evolving demographic promises to redefine a number of hospitality and service industries, with an emphasis on technologically connected and health-driven consumers.