Editorial Board   Guest Author

Ms. Ferguson

Allison Ferguson

Senior Strategist, Merkle Inc.

Allison Ferguson is an accomplished and results actualized strategist known for leading the design and execution of data- and analytics-driven CRM, Loyalty and Digital Marketing strategies for leading brands with proven results that grow market share and customer engagement with designed programs and experiences.

Ms. Ferguson is currently a Senior Strategist and thought leader with 500friends, a Merkle-owned loyalty solutions company. There, she works with clients to lead loyalty program design and organizational transformation across industry, business model and level of market maturity.

Ms. Ferguson helps clients primarily in hospitality, retail and financial services companies shape, evolve, deliver and measure customer loyalty strategies and programs and experiences.

Ms. Ferguson has 20 years of loyalty marketing, CRM and analytics experience including 10 years of brand-side experience with IHG and Leading Hotels of the World, and 10 in loyalty consulting, most recently with Accenture. At Leading Hotels of the World, she led a global team to redesign the brand's Leaders Club program, serving the world's most experiential travelers in 500+ of the world's most aspirational hotels.

Ms. Ferguson has a unique perspective that loyalty has evolved into a true marketing science that enables authentic and value-driven connections between brands and customers, brands and brands, and between customers and one another. She is deeply passionate about facilitating and shaping the best ideas from her client organizations in order to create a genuine value exchange with customers.

Ms. Ferguson considers herself a value creator and problem solver and takes great pride in the many brands she has served.

Please visit http://www.merkleinc.com for more information.

Ms. Ferguson can be contacted at 443-542-4200 or aferguson@merkleinc.com

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.