President – Product, Partnership and Marketing Practice
Jay Sorensen‘s research and reports have made him a leading authority on frequent flier programs and the ancillary revenue movement. He is a regular keynote speaker at the annual MEGA Event, spoke at IATA Passenger Services Symposiums in Abu Dhabi and Singapore, and has testified to the US Congress on ancillary revenue issues. His published works are relied upon by airline executives throughout the world and include first-ever guides on the topics of ancillary revenue and loyalty marketing. He was acknowledged by his peers when he received the Airline Industry Achievement Award at the MEGA Event in 2011.
Mr. Sorensen is a veteran management professional with 32 years experience in product, partnership, and marketing development. As president of the IdeaWorksCompany consulting firm, he has enhanced the generation of airline revenue, started loyalty programs and co-branded credit cards, developed products in the service sector, and helped start airlines and other travel companies. His career includes 13 years at Midwest Airlines where he was responsible for marketing, sales, customer service, product development, operations, planning, financial analysis and budgeting. His favorite activities are hiking, exploring and camping in US national parks with his family.
Managing Director – Financial Consulting Practice
Bob Bahlman is a senior executive with a diverse financial background and 23 years experience in strategy development and implementation, contract negotiation, financial and business restructuring. Most recently, he was the Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Controller for Midwest Air Group which is a $400 million publicly traded airline group serving more than 50 cities throughout the United States under the Midwest Airlines brand. His extensive finance experience includes these areas: treasury, business analysis, tax function, general and revenue accounting, SEC reporting, internal audit, investor relations, fuel procurement, risk management, information technology and properties and facilities management. Bob has implemented broad-based restructuring strategies to include long-term lease and debt renegotiation, raising new capital through equity placements and managing the process of cost reduction. His work included the delicate balancing act of preparing a bankruptcy filing while working, successfully, to avoid a bankruptcy filing.
Consulting Affiliate – Loyalty Program Strategy and Development
Matt is an experienced leader, mentor and consultant in the development and management of global loyalty and CRM programs for high-value brands, with a focus in the luxury travel, hospitality and financial services sectors. Working across the globe, Matt has delivered winning CRM and loyalty strategies for Asiana Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and British Airways.
He has also led strategic loyalty marketing projects for hotel groups including IHG, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Shangri-La Hotels & Resorts, Sino Group of Hotels and Wyndham Hotel Group. In the gaming industry, Matt conceptualized and brought to fruition the CRM strategy for Okada Manila, the largest luxury Integrated Resort in the Philippines. Results driven with a proven ability to translate data into strategy, and lead measurable multi-market programs and campaigns, Matt has experience in emerging markets in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, South Korea and Singapore, as well as Europe and the Middle East. For the Asia countries listed, he has resided in all with the exception of Hong Kong. He is currently based in the Seattle area.
Michael Smith – Consulting Affiliate
Credit Card, Loyalty Fraud & Travel Insurance Specialty
Michael Smith applies over 20 years of marketing and financial experience to projects such as co-branded credit cards, ancillary revenue opportunities, and frequent flier programs. Since 2003 he has helped airlines, car hire companies, hotel chains, and travel insurers realize greater revenue through the introduction of new products. Michael is regarded as a leading expert on the partner agreements associated with frequent flier programs and the online sale of travel insurance.
Michael is also Executive Chairman of the Airline and Travel Payment and Fraud Summit. This event has been central in identifying the frequent flier program / loyalty fraud issue and helping industry executives understand how to combat the problem. He participates in industry wide airline fraud manager as an instructor. Prior to his consulting career, Michael was responsible managing the extensive portfolio of travel partners for the Executive Club program of British Airways; this included the co-branded credit card relationship with American Express. He helped establish and develop agreements with major travel brands such as Avis, GE Travel Insurance, Marriott Hotels & Resorts, and Starwood Hotels & Resorts. He is experienced with the process of establishing partner agreements, negotiating marketing fees, and creating promotional and exposure opportunities for partners.
Edward Jacob – Consulting Affiliate
Passenger Operations Practice
Edward Jacob is a senior executive with a diverse corporate background and 40+ years experience in baggage services, ramp operations, airport vendor relations, corporate real estate, and catering operations for domestic and international airlines. For 21 years, he worked for American Eagle Airlines, the wholly owned regional subsidiary of American Airlines. Edward’s most recent role at the carrier was Regional Managing Director for Customer Services. He was responsible for airport services for one of the world’s largest regional airlines, managed a staff totaling 500 employees, and administered a $30 million annual operating budget. Edward’s experience also includes 21 years working at Aer Lingus as a manager.
Edward has extensive knowledge of FAA, TSA, and OSHA federal safety regulations. In addition, he has consulted for a major Middle East carrier on its hub airport baggage system project. He has a particular interest in the development of wireless tracking systems to improve baggage services. Edward’s expertise has resulted in crucial improvements for clients and past employers for revenue growth, profitability, operational performance, safety, and team building goals. He lives near Chicago with his wife, has two children, and four grandchildren. Edward is a member of the Rotary Club of Chicago – O’Hare and remains ever fascinated by the airline industry.
Writer and Editorial Consultant
Eric Lucas is an international travel, natural history and business writer and editor whose work appears in Michelin travel guides, Alaska Airlines Magazine, Westways Magazine and numerous other publications. Founding editor of Midwest Airlines Magazine, he is the author of eight books, including the 2013 Michelin Alaska guide. Eric has followed and written about the travel industry for more than 25 years. He lives in Seattle, Washington, where he grows organic garlic and heirloom corn; visit him online at TrailNot4Sissies.com.
More Resources and Service
Through its consulting affiliates, IdeaWorksCompany coordinates the delivery of additional services related to ancillary revenue, a la carte pricing, and loyalty marketing.
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