CEO Q&A: Jonathan Tisch, Loews Hotels (Extended)

Jonathan Tisch, CEO of Loews Hotels, speaks with Danielle Drolet about achieving customer loyalty and the internal impact of CSR efforts.

Jonathan Tisch, CEO of Loews Hotels, speaks with Danielle Drolet about achieving customer loyalty and the importance of CSR.

What is the hospitality industry's biggest challenge today? How can internal comms play a positive role?
The biggest challenge is how to differentiate our brand from others. We do that by being true to our standards, not just with our guests, but internally. When we say Loews loves pets and Loews loves kids, we mean it. You can feel that the second you walk into our offices and the instant you step foot in any of our hotels. Hospitality to us means warmth, genuineness, and going above and beyond.

Social media seems to saturate every business plan today. What are some pitfalls that hotel executives should watch out for when implementing a social media initiative?
Many times, the goal for any executive implementing a social media plan is to acquire as many followers as possible. Social media for Loews is about quality, not quantity. We prefer to be truly “liked” and “followed” by creating loyalty to our brand by engaging our guests – both current and potential.

A Tweet or writing on someone's Facebook wall will never replace a hand-written “Thank you” note, but it goes a long way. We strive to communicate with our guests in every forum possible to ensure they always come back.

More than 20 years ago, you introduced a CSR program called Loews Hotels Good Neighbor Policy. Once a revolutionary idea, CSR is now accepted by many more companies as a needed part of their business plan and company mission. How have you refreshed this particular program to better reflect today? What other new CSR related initiatives/activities have you implemented?
In my book, “The Power of We,” I talk about the importance of partnerships. The collaboration of business and civic service is the best way to create lasting success that empowers employees, satisfies customers, contributes to communities, and improves the bottom line.

At Loews Hotels, we've partnered with DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit website where public school teachers describe specific educational projects for their students and donors can choose the projects they want to support. The best part is that the donor will hear back from the classroom they supported with photos and cards so they can actually see the benefit of their donation.

What is the biggest trend you're seeing in the CSR field right now?
It's no longer a trend, it is a necessity to be a good corporate citizen. Prospective employees want to work in an environment where the organization has a sense of its roots in the community and corporations understand the importance of social responsibility and their obligations to their respective communities.

As host of Plum TV's "Beyond the Boardroom with Jonathan Tisch," what seems to be on the forefront of CEOs minds right now?
As a CEO, I firmly believe that the greatest asset any company has is their organization. No successful CEO has accomplished greatness alone. And, creating partnerships with customers, coworkers, and communities where you do business is the key to any achievement.

In terms of PR, the changes in the world of media and the way we communicate to our customers are something on the forefront of every CEO's mind. The days of just writing a press release and simply buying advertising are long gone. This is an era where you can't just talk “at“ your customer, you need to effectively engage and communicate with them using all the technology and tools available.

Can you talk about any upcoming campaigns for Loews Hotels? Why are they being rolled out? How are they different from ones you have done in the past? Who do they target?
We are ready for summer! Particularly in New York, the winter doesn't seem to end and during summer, every day is a new day of your own invention. That's the inspiration behind Summer of Loews. Guests at every Loews hotel are invited to “Come invent your day.”

No matter who you are or what you do – from a family of four on the hunt for adventure, to a romantic couple in need of some quality time, or an entrepreneur on the go, Loews' concierges are serving as summer specialists creating individual itineraries based upon guests' interests.

The real fun, however, starts right inside each Loews destination. In addition to uniquely local offerings, hotels are dedicated to celebrating the “hot” season with a variety of cool games and prizes, special menus, and more.

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