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 September 2019...

Hotel Group Meetings: Uncommon Destinations

The last few years have been good to the Hotel Group Meetings industry and that trend is expected to continue into 2019. Planners are brimming with confidence due to an expanding economy and increased job creation, which typically results in a boost in corporate meetings. Given this promising outlook, planners are trying to outdo themselves to satisfy the high expectations of their clients. One notable trend is to integrate unusual settings into the meeting experience, hosting groups at local zoos, aquariums, museums, event centers, or other outdoor facilities. The goal is to embrace uncommon destinations, rather than a typical hotel conference room, so that meetings can be memorable, unique and stimulating. This is also part of another trend which is to support all things local - from hosting events at landmark city venues; to catering through local restaurants, food trucks and microbreweries; to hosting off-site excursions like agri-tours, athletic events or scenic 5k routes. However, though the setting might be spectacular, there are still some bedrock components that must be provided to ensure a successful meeting. Free, high-speed Wi-Fi is still one of the most requested services. Planners have to make sure that a comprehensive communication infrastructure is in place so clients can easily connect - and stay connected - to the network throughout the entire meeting experience. Also, technology tools can be used to streamline the booking, registration, and check-in process, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) materials can be utilized to ensure seamless access to conference events. There are also numerous software tools that encourage audience participation, as well as integrating polls, Q&A, surveys and games into speakers' presentations. The September Hotel Business Review will examine issues relevant to group meetings and will report on what some hotels are doing to promote this sector of their operations.