[INTERVIEW] CEO Mark Ross-Smith of Status Match (Air Canada Promotion)

Today, we feature Mark Ross-Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Status Match. Today, he shares with us how Status Match was created, as well as providing us details on a current promotion with Air Canada. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions Mark, keep up the good work! 

1) Please tell us about yourself and your role with Status Match.

I’m CEO and Co-Founder of Status Match. But the more interesting story is how Status Match came to be…

2) Yes, so what is Status Match about and what prompted you to launch this venture?

Back in 2014 I had relocated to Hong Kong, and wanted a status match with Cathay Pacific (which made sense as I would relocated to HKG!).  Cathay told me to go jump.  That was the beginning of my mission to make it easier to shift business from one airline to another.  Over the coming years, I started a blog, Travel Data Daily, where I published thought-leadership articles on loyalty,  data analytics and airlines.  That led to speaking opportunities in the airline industry, and eventually, I had the opportunity to run the Malaysia Airlines Enrich loyalty program.  What I’d realised is that almost no airlines have a proper status match process.  It was dis-jointed, or didn’t exist.  When I left Malaysia Airlines, I teamed up with two industry colleagues (Phil Gunter, who ran the Virgin Australia program, and Stuart Dinnis, who ran the Virgin America program, and we created Status Match.  Fundamentally, it’s bridging two worlds: “loyalty program owners” and “frequent travelers”.

3) We understand that there is a current Air Canada status match promotion happening now, can you please tell us more?

As the Canadian border re-opens and travelers are welcome to visit Canada again, Destination Canada embarked upon an initiative to target high-value American travelers. This resulted in a partnership between Destination Canada (the Government tourism body for Canada), Air Canada, and Status Match. Essentially it’s three brands coming together to do what they do best, which ultimately results in a better travel experience for travelers heading to Canada.

4) What can we look forward to with Status Match in the near future?

We’re on a mission to make status matching easy for everyone. Gone are the days of emailing the airline, begging for a status match, waiting 20… 30… 50 days for a reply (if you ever receive a response at all!).  Airlines, and hotels have traditionally been very poor at the status match experience, and we’ve fixed it.  We want status match requests to happen quickly, transparently, and in  a way that benefits the loyalty program operator as well as the customer.

Think about it, if a customer who has spent $15,000 to earn Platinum status with a competitor emails you asking for a status match, how insane is it to not reply to that customer, or wait WEEKS to give them a status match? That is the very definition of a poor customer experience.  For most people requesting a status match – it’s the fist time they are taking that brand seriously – so loyalty programs NEED to offer a great customer experience, and that’s where we step in by running all of the technology, validation, process and customer experience on behalf of the loyalty program owner.

5) Any closing thoughts?

Status Matching is not going to change the world, but it can bring a few moments of joy to a traveler’s life, when the airline has a beautiful customer onboarding experience. When a customer can get a status match within minutes (instead of weeks or months), it creates one of these moments of joy (yugen moment) for the traveler.  That small emotional moment then blossoms into a relationship with the loyalty program/airline in ways that are not possible through traditional marketing.  If our platform can help improve the lives of travelers in some small way – then it’s all been worthwhile.

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