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What is our core mission?

What is our core mission?

Old Nov 28, 16, 11:20 am
  #1  
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What is our core mission?

In another thread, Carol referred to "our core mission". I don't want to drag that thread off topic, but I do think it would be a good idea for us to decide what our core mission is.

A few years ago this would have been a no-brainer: it was points and miles. As loyalty programs have decreased in value, I don't believe that is true anymore. Yes, you will find posts about how to reach the next status level and when to use your miles and when to pay cash, but these are becoming increasingly rare and are being replaced by posts discussing how to get the most comfort for your money or how to travel at the lowest cost.

We want to know which seats on a particular airline's 777 are the most comfortable.

We want to know if it is better to take El Al in Biz Class TLV-VCE, get true Biz Class seats, and have a non-stop trip or if it is smarter to fly TLV-FCO-VCE on Alitalia, get poorer seats and a difficult connection, but pay $452 instead of $948.

If a poster is a smoker, he wants to know where he can be guaranteed a smoking room in Budapest and if he is a non-smoker how he can be certain of getting a room which is truly smoke free.

It seems to me that today's core mission is not "points and miles" but "convenience, comfort, and price". Indeed, this might require a re-thinking of how we order our forums. If someone wants to fly from JFK to PRG, and isn't overly concerned about status, the Delta Forum will not be very helpful to him.

I don't know, or claim to know, how the forums should be set up given this new reality, but I do think some thought should be given to this.

Last edited by Dovster; Nov 28, 16 at 12:34 pm Reason: typo
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Old Nov 28, 16, 11:59 am
  #2  
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This is a very insightful post. I welcome active discussion about it. I think a lot about the changing landscape of points and miles. Opportunities are diminishing. How should this site evolve?
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Old Nov 28, 16, 2:26 pm
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For reference:

About Us (link)

FlyerTalk features discussions and chat boards that covers the most up-to-date traveler information. An interactive community dedicated to your favorite topic: travel! That's right: all travel, all the time. The FlyerTalk forums are open for business 24 hours, 7 days a week. Even better, all travelers -- from vacation travelers to mileage junkies -- are welcome in the community. Just choose a forum and you can get to the business at hand: conversing about programs, how to make the most of your miles and points, general travel, airports, destination and dining information.

From FlyerTalk Rules' introduction

Introduction (link)

Welcome to FlyerTalk. Built by and for frequent travelers, FlyerTalk is the world's largest website devoted to discussing how to optimize the use of miles, points and status for the enhancement of your travel experiences. It is an extraordinary resource for the frequent traveler.

<snip>

We hope you enjoy your time with us — learning and sharing the many ways to leverage miles, points and status to upgrade your travels.
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Old Nov 28, 16, 2:42 pm
  #4  
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I first became a member of FlyerTalk not because of the miles and points — as was the original intention and “core mission” of Randy Petersen — but rather how I can get more value out of travel.

It just so happens that miles and points were a significant component of my perception of getting more value out of travel — and as Dovster pointed out, that significance has been waning in recent years.

Travel has always been a passion of mine which has always been first and foremost during my tenure as a member of FlyerTalk; and it always will be my passion — regardless of whether that passion is fueled by miles and points; by attaining elite level status; or by significant discounts...

...so therefore — at least, in my view — the links which JDiver has posted basically personify the core mission of FlyerTalk.
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Old Nov 28, 16, 4:11 pm
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
For reference:

About Us (link)

FlyerTalk features discussions and chat boards that covers the most up-to-date traveler information. An interactive community dedicated to your favorite topic: travel! That's right: all travel, all the time. The FlyerTalk forums are open for business 24 hours, 7 days a week. Even better, all travelers -- from vacation travelers to mileage junkies -- are welcome in the community. Just choose a forum and you can get to the business at hand: conversing about programs, how to make the most of your miles and points, general travel, airports, destination and dining information.

From FlyerTalk Rules' introduction

Introduction (link)

Welcome to FlyerTalk. Built by and for frequent travelers, FlyerTalk is the world's largest website devoted to discussing how to optimize the use of miles, points and status for the enhancement of your travel experiences. It is an extraordinary resource for the frequent traveler.



We hope you enjoy your time with us — learning and sharing the many ways to leverage miles, points and status to upgrade your travels.
The part I placed in bold face is no longer really true. Yes, we discuss miles, points, and status but FT is no longer devoted to those discussions. You will find many more posts discussing convenience, comfort, and cost than you will miles and points.

For most of my time on FT, miles, points and status were important to me. Indeed, they should have been because the various programs offered real value. That is no longer true. I was a PM on Delta back when it was the highest level and a Diamond at Hilton (obtained by spending on my Amex Surpass).

Today I am a Gold at Hilton only because I am too lazy to downgrade my Surpass card and have no status at all with any airline. I was supposed to reach Silver with El Al in December but because of the possibility of a strike I cancelled my ticket and will be flying Alitalia instead.

Not reaching Silver means nothing to me. The last time I flew in Economy was in 2009 and being in the front cabin gives me everything that a top tier passenger would get. Until 4 years ago, I could get into the front cabin by buying an M fare ticket and upgrading with SkyMiles. Then, 3 years ago, I had to get a more expensive B ticket to earn enough SkyMiles to keep upgrading. Two years ago, I found that having the status and the SkyMiles was enough for a r/t to LAS only if I flew on one particular day in the year and returned on another specific one.

I'm sorry, but while that may help with comfort and cost it definitely is not convenient. Delta devalued SkyMiles so much that it was no longer worth my while to earn any. El Al's program also offers me very little. I'll continue to fly Biz Class but those three "C"s (comfort, cost, convenience) will be my determining factors, not points or miles.

What is true for me is true for most others here. Okay, they may be flying in Economy but they are still looking for the three "C"s, and their posts on FT reflect that fact.

Exchanging information about these three "C"s has got to become our core mission or, as loyalty programs continue to offer less and less, there will be no reason for anyone to come to the site.
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Old Nov 28, 16, 5:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Dovster View Post
It seems to me that today's core mission is not "points and miles" but "convenience, comfort, and price". Indeed, this might require a re-thinking of how we order our forums.
I completely agree. The forum organization isn't intuitive and could be improved upon. For example we have hotel related topics scattered in two different places in Miles & Points (Hotel Deals and individual hotel loyalty programs) plus another (Luxury Hotels) in Travel & Dining. I can appreciate major changes will create major headaches for users but hopefully like traffic artery road construction it would help improve flow and navigation.
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Old Nov 29, 16, 10:02 am
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My posting of the intro to the rules and "about" information was strictly informational, rather than tomespouse any particular viewpoint in this discussion. As a Moderator of this forum, I will refrain from taking positions; if I participate otherwise, it will to offer information members can hopefully use in discussion and making recommendations.

As a Moderator of the American Airlines | AAdvantage forum, I do believe a significant part of our content is related to comfort, in addition to status, earning and use of award miles. A significant number of our threads, for example, is about the various aircraft and their seats, in air meals and beverages, lounges and their amenities (both comfort), hub airports and their use, connections, baggage handling and rules (convenience), price and various related issues (cost and to a degree convenience).

I've not actually quantified the extent the threads are separable by "miles and points" vs "the three Cs" but I think if I did it would support Dovster's contentions. They might loosely fit into the rubric "the enhancement of your travel experiences". Our destination and special interest fora would seem to fit this, and it appears from a member perspective the Hotel fora also encompass a lot of "3C" discussion, beyond miles, points and status.

Interesting discussion! Thanks for initiating it.
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Old Nov 29, 16, 10:46 am
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Originally Posted by JDiver View Post
. Our destination and special interest fora would seem to fit this, and it appears from a member perspective the Hotel fora also encompass a lot of "3C" discussion, beyond miles, points and status.
I believe that hotels would be the easiest part of travel to be adopted to a 3C format.

Yes, keep the HHonors, Starwood, etc, forums but limit posts in them to discussion only of the loyalty programs and system-wide changes.

Unless HHonors points are the most important thing for a member about to visit Atlanta, he is not going to be interested in both the downtown Atlanta Hilton and a Hampton Inn at the airport. Instead, open sub-forums in the South destination forum for 4-5 star, 2-3 star, and economy facilities.

(In fact, we might want to create smaller destination forums -- the South is a very large area. Why not give each state its own -- complete with the above-mentioned sub-forums?)

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Old Nov 29, 16, 1:09 pm
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What about FT is so broken that this place needs a major re-organization? FT seems to have managed to incorporate miles and points and the "three Cs" without a forum shake-up or even a published adjustment of "core mission".

If the purpose of re-formulating FT's "core mission" is to re-organize the FT forums, keep in mind the so-called Pottery Barn rule: if you break it, you own it.
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Old Nov 29, 16, 3:45 pm
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
What about FT is so broken that this place needs a major re-organization?.
It's not broken -- just outdated.

Decades ago, people had big radios in their living rooms to listen to shows featuring Jack Benny and Fred Allen. If you have one of those antique radio you might find it is in perfect working condition but Benny and Allen are no longer on the air.

We used to come to FT primarily to learn how to get more and better benefits from our frequent traveler programs but, like Benny and Allen, they are no longer available.

It is time to put that well-remembered and well-loved wooden radio in an antique collection and buy a flat screen HDML television to get the content which interest people today.
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Old Nov 29, 16, 8:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Dovster View Post
It's not broken -- just outdated.

Decades ago, people had big radios in their living rooms to listen to shows featuring Jack Benny and Fred Allen. If you have one of those antique radio you might find it is in perfect working condition but Benny and Allen are no longer on the air.

We used to come to FT primarily to learn how to get more and better benefits from our frequent traveler programs but, like Benny and Allen, they are no longer available.

It is time to put that well-remembered and well-loved wooden radio in an antique collection and buy a flat screen HDML television to get the content which interest people today.
FT membership numbers and post counts indicate that FT is outdated? Even if those metrics may indicate that FT is outdated, perhaps the outcome of having become outdated is due to some cause(s) beyond just travel industry loyalty program devaluations. While it does make sense to evaluate the people, processes and technologies to address concerns about obsolescence, the implementation of a "fix" to address such concerns may end up being responsible for the place becoming outdated.
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Old Nov 30, 16, 1:30 am
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Originally Posted by GUWonder View Post
FT membership numbers and post counts indicate that FT is outdated?
Not yet, but post content certainly does.

You and I are perfect examples. You have over 80,000 posts and of the last 100 that you made only 3 touch on miles and points even in a very tangential manner.

I have over 50,000 posts and I doubt that in my last 1,000 (and certainly not my last 100) you will find even one advising or questioning about miles and points.

Both of us, however, have made numerous points about the 3Cs (I am including your posts about going through security lines, which definitely impact comfort and convenience).

If there was an IBB dedicated to discussing I Love Lucy it would make no sense to keep it in the same format (with forums specifically dedicated to Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel) when members stopped watching the re-runs and now only want to talk about House of Cards.
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Old Nov 30, 16, 2:40 am
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Originally Posted by Dovster View Post
Not yet, but post content certainly does.

You and I are perfect examples. You have over 80,000 posts and of the last 100 that you made only 3 touch on miles and points even in a very tangential manner.

I have over 50,000 posts and I doubt that in my last 1,000 (and certainly not my last 100) you will find even one advising or questioning about miles and points.

Both of us, however, have made numerous points about the 3Cs (I am including your posts about going through security lines, which definitely impact comfort and convenience).

If there was an IBB dedicated to discussing I Love Lucy it would make no sense to keep it in the same format (with forums specifically dedicated to Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel) when members stopped watching the re-runs and now only want to talk about House of Cards.
Looking at my posting habits or yours may not be representative examples of what generally atttacts/retains/repulses members on FT and what makes this place outdated or not. [For me it's higher than 3 out of the last 100, by the way, on miles and points in some way; but my post's proportion on miles and points vs other travel stuff on FT has always been rather different relative to the average member on FT.]

Post content by the collective membership base across (much of) the board may indeed be telling, but the "three Cs" have already been a part of FT and have been since before I even started posting on FT.

It was the miles and points and travel deal dynamics that have been the primary driver of FT's earlier success/growth, but the "three Cs" -- something that does include miles and points -- have been part of this place for as long as I've been posting.

I'm not sure travel loyalty program devaluations are a good reason for FT to try to deliberately be a B movie actor in travel related spaces already largely occupied and dominated by A movie actors. It may be akin to taking on FT in the miles and points space and ending up like insideflyer.com.

Last edited by GUWonder; Nov 30, 16 at 2:50 am
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Old Nov 30, 16, 4:20 pm
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Originally Posted by Dovster View Post
In another thread, Carol referred to "our core mission". I don't want to drag that thread off topic, but I do think it would be a good idea for us to decide what our core mission is.
kokonutz raised a similar topic on the Talk Board forum last year that didn't seem to gain any traction:

What is the Strategic Plan for FlyerTalk? What is the vision? Do we need one? ...

Might be worth reading for those that haven't reviewed it. Some very good points were made there and kokonutz clearly put a lot of time into it.
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Old Nov 30, 16, 7:00 pm
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Originally Posted by tom911 View Post
kokonutz raised a similar topic on the Talk Board forum last year that didn't seem to gain any traction:

What is the Strategic Plan for FlyerTalk? What is the vision? Do we need one? ...

Might be worth reading for those that haven't reviewed it. Some very good points were made there and kokonutz clearly put a lot of time into it.
Hopefully the TalkBoard forum isn't disappeared. There's a lot of information about this place that can be found in those discussions.
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