Travel Tags, Inc. Appoints Chris Shimek, VP Global Operations

INVER GROVE HEIGHTS, MN – Travel Tags, Inc. announces the appointment of Chris Shimek as vice president of global operations. Mr. Shimek is succeeding Ken Dishno, who will be retiring after a remarkable career of 11 years of continuous service to the company and its employees.

A talented individual, Mr. Shimek has more than 25 years of experience in business strategy and execution. 

“Chris is an excellent addition to our organization,” said Al Rausch, president of Travel Tags, Inc. “With a focus on integrity, honesty, people development, strategy and process, we have no doubt he will deliver immediate and high-impact results.”

Mr. Shimek has a passion for continuous improvement and excellent experience with the tools, techniques and methodologies that focus on waste reduction and elimination.  His approach is hard on process, easy on people – always assuming positive intent.  With a collaborative and team-oriented mindset, he will be a great fit for TTI, both culturally and professionally. He will focus on operational excellence and world class performance in the categories of Safety, Quality, Delivery and Cost. 

“I am excited to join such a recognized leader in the card manufacturing industry,” said Shimek. “As we continue to expand and explore new markets, I plan to instill my proven methodologies and techniques to bolster the operational excellence at each of our facilities.”



TAGS:   Chris Shimek, Leadership Team


2016’s Best Gift Cards

Gift cards are supposed to make gift-giving simpler, reducing the need to worry about the recipient’s tastes and what specific items he or she might already have. But not all gift cards are created equal, which might help explain why nearly $1 billion in value went unused in 2015, despite gift cards being the most popular type of present for the ninth consecutive year.

So in the interest of helping you find the best gift cards for any occasion – whether a birthday, holiday, graduation, etc. – we [WalletHub] compared the 50 most popular options across five major categories: 1) card popularity; 2) average discount; 3) average resale value; 4) retailer appeal; and 5) shipping fees.


2016's Best Gift Cards

1. Amazon Gift Card
2. Visa Gift Card
3. iTunes Gift Card
4. American Express Gift Card
5. Walmart Gift Card
6. Target Gift Card
7. Starbucks Gift Card
8. Google Play Gift Card
9. Netflix Gift Card
10. eBay Gift Card

[Check out the rest of the TOP 50 list at and the Methodology behind this year's findings]


Source:, November 10, 2016 - by John S. Kiernan

651 554 8533

TAGS:   holidays, trends


Mobile Continues to Grow at Starbucks, but Rewards Program Change Triggers Questions

Mobile payments now account for 25% of transactions at Starbucks Corp.’s U.S. locations, up from 20% a year ago, but a recent 1% decline in transactions had Starbucks executives fielding questions from analysts Thursday about what caused the slippage.

Nothing to worry about, folks, was the message the brass tried to convey at the Seattle-based coffee giant’s conference call to review results for fiscal 2016’s fourth quarter ended Oct. 2. The decline, according to company president and chief operating officer Kevin Johnson, was the result of customers consolidating formerly separate orders onto one ticket in order to take advantage of the restructuring of Starbucks’ loyalty program “rather than an actual decline in traffic in our stores,” he said.

Under the new My Starbucks Rewards plan that took effect in April, customers earn more “stars” based on the value of their orders, not the number of purchases they make as under the old plan. That change prompted some customers, including groups of people, to put formerly separate purchases onto one ticket paid by a rewards plan member.

Despite explaining that nuance and even though Starbucks reported a 4% increase in same-store U.S. sales and 6% growth in average tickets, Johnson and Matthew Ryan, executive vice president and global chief strategy officer, faced several more queries about transaction drop-off and the loyalty program. One analyst wondered why mobile payments, even though they were up 5 percentage points from 2015’s last quarter, hadn’t increased their share from the third quarter. The loyalty program change accounted for part of that, Ryan said.

Another analyst observed that, based on his conversations with family and friends, only a small number of Starbucks customers actually belong to My Starbucks Rewards. As of the third quarter, the program had 12.3 million active U.S. members, and membership was up 18% in the fourth quarter. But Ryan indicated the program still has plenty of upside. “We know that very few of our customers, relatively speaking, have become members, and that to us represents an enormous opportunity moving forward,” he said.

Ryan predicted that the program will grow as customers get familiar with the new plan and Starbucks adds new features. He also said that Starbucks saw no attrition in so-called “disadvantaged people” during the rewards program conversion. In this context, the disadvantaged are those customers who will earn rewards more slowly than they did in the past, typically those who are relatively infrequent, low-ticket Starbucks visitors.

Including the 25% share from mobile devices, some 33% of Starbucks’ U.S. tender now comes from the Starbucks mobile app and closed-loop prepaid cards registered for My Starbucks Rewards. Unregistered prepaid cards account for another 5% of tender. Mobile Order & Pay, a pay-ahead service through the mobile app, now accounts for 6% of transactions.

Starbucks reported net income of $801 million in the fourth quarter, a 23% increase from $652.5 million a year earlier, on $5.71 billion in revenues, up 16% from $4.91 billion.

[Continue reading at Digital Transactions online.]


Source:, November 3, 2016 - by Jim Daly

651 554 8533

TAGS:   Loyalty, Rewards and Membership, trends