The Lead: Competing with Airbnb, Airlines’ New Fees

Competing with Airbnb

Hoteliers are finding Airbnb Inc., an online marketplace for lodging, a strong threat to their businesses. A full-service, 367-room hotel called Public opened this summer on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, and Ian Schrager, Public’s owner and veteran hotelier, plans to compete with Airbnb with competitive room rates. Public has no front desk, no concierge, and no luggage attendant which helps keep costs low.

Our View: Competing with industry disruptors and game changers requires leaders to formulate offensive and defensive strategies. Disruption should be treated as both an opportunity and a threat. It helps to think like an entrepreneur and understand that outside-the-box thinking will help leaders keep pace with or even outpace their disruptors.
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Airlines’ New Fees

Travelers should be wary of buying a bargain fare for flights as new fees could nullify their savings. Some airlines have started a gate-service fee which charges travelers who buy their cheapest fare a fee if they have a carry-on bag that doesn’t fit under their seat. The fee is $25 for the standard baggage fee (for the first checked bag) and an additional $25 penalty.

Our View: New pricing structures need to be communicated with customers to avoid complaints and damages to your brand that could lose you customers. Making only a small amount of changes per year and communicating changes well in advance so customers are not surprised are a couple of ways banks charge fees without threatening customer satisfaction.
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Google to Purchase Part of HTC

In efforts to crack the handset market, Google said it will buy a part of struggling Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp. for $1.1 billion in cash. “We are investing for the long run,” said Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh. About 2,000 HTC employees who had already been working on the Pixel smartphone line will join Google.

Our View: Transitioning acquired employees into the new company’s procedures methodically over time can help them overcome resistance to change. The new employees will adopt new policies and procedures when leaders assign a company representative that employees respect to demonstrate effective collaboration.
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Grocery Home Delivery Directly to Your Refrigerator

Walmart partnered with a security company called August, which makes locks that can be monitored on a smartphone. Deliveries made by a Walmart driver to a customer who isn’t home can receive a one-time passcode for the smart lock that’s authorized by the customer in order to place the packages inside the home and away in the kitchen. The door locks automatically once the driver leaves.

Our View: Leaders face the challenge of balancing privacy protections with technological conveniences. When businesses are transparent about what information they collect from customers, why they collect it, and how they’ll use it, consumers can make better decisions regarding the complex system of privacy protection habits and taking advantage of modern conveniences.
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Tesla’s Supercharging Stops Gaining Proximity to More Amenities

Currently, Tesla owners can charge their cars in just thirty minutes, and while most electric-car owners require at least an hour, thirty minutes is still a long time compared to the expediency of a gas station. Tesla plans to ease this burden by building their Supercharging stops near restaurants and coffee shops.

Our View: Leaders who focus on the customer experience outpace their competitors. The current trend shows that customers place value and service over price. With the exception of companies that want to be seen as a low-cost provider, making customer service the top priority can make price less relevant.
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