On a recent trip that took me through Narita Airport,
I made a quicker than usual exit from the plane and trek through the airport. And not because I had another plane to catch — but because I am the proud new owner of a Priority Pass airport lounge access card.
I am always impressed with the efficiency of the Narita International Airport — one of the world’s 50 busiest airports in 2015 processing some 35 million passengers — but that doesn’t mean I want to be immersed in all of its traffic, no matter how efficient. The more time I can spend in a slightly quieter, less hectic environment with free food and drink, the better.
What surprised me upon entering the lounge — and I realize I’m late to the game here — was that there was an even more premier portion of the premier lounge — a section that had even more room to breathe with comfier looking chairs for those of even higher status within the program.
I am just one customer of many who increasingly values not being treated as one of the herd. And companies are finding that customers are willing to pay extra to stand one step above the norm. Some of the proudest posts you’ll find on social media — even from those who don’t post often — are exclamations of victory when they’ve reached a certain status level of a frequent flier program.
Our island economies are doing well, as any government official, business owner or investor will tell you, including our congresswoman and governor on Pages 9 and 10. This means more competition is entering every segment of the marketplace. Just compare the number of coffee shops, airlines or logistics companies on island compared to five years ago.
The old stamp customer loyalty card may not be enough anymore. Just think: How many coffee shop cards are in your wallet? I currently have seven. While I use them all enough to consider my business to each “loyal,” my business to any of them is certainly not exclusive, as I’m sure they would prefer. And so it becomes a matter of reciprocation. If a business offers me a better seat in the house, a shorter wait in line or a higher quality ingredient, I’ll advance their card a spot or two in my wallet or maybe even do away with the competitors’ cards all together.
You’ll read in this issue about how Guam’s hotels, for one, are investing in premier services and seeking ways to deliver the level of service that a repeat customer expects. And speaking of new businesses opening on island, we’ve developed a section of the magazine called “New to the Community” to help you keep tabs on the latest businesses to open doors.
In addition, we hope you’ll find business inspiration from our seven powerhouse Businesswoman of the Year nominees and the momentum they’re bringing to their industries and community. A special congratulations to Sophia Chu Wigsten, our 11th Businesswoman of the Year, who is not only setting an admirable standard for the next generation of females in the workforce, but for Guam’s leading industry.