Starbucks Invests in Its Employees



Tianjin Hotel – A New Five-Star Four Seasons Property


Tianjin Hotel pic
Tianjin Hotel

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.

The Importance of a Holistic Approach to Building Brand Loyalty

Brand Loyaltypic
Brand Loyalty

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.

Blue World Voyages’ Unique “Active Lifestyle” Cruise Concept


Blue World Voyagespic
Blue World Voyages

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.