At the beginning of 2015, which will continue to bring to the hospitality industry again some challenges, I would like to take this opportunity to ask some thoughts on the topic “customer orientation” for discussion.

The concept of «treating different customers differently»

In early nineties, Don Peppers and Martha Rogers published their book «The One to One Future» speaking of managing customers rather than products, differentiating customers not just products, measuring share of customer not share of market, and developing economies of scope rather than economies of scale.

This concept is also known as «one-to-one marketing».

One-to-one marketing refers to marketing strategies applied directly to a specific consumer. Having knowledge of the consumer’s preferences enables suggesting specific products and promotions to each consumer. One-to-one marketing – according to Peppers/Rogers – is based in four main steps in order to fulfill its goals: identify, differentiate, interact and customize.

  • Identify: In this stage the major concern is to get to know the customers and prospects of a company, to collect reliable data about their preferences and how their needs can best be satisfied.
  • Differentiate: To get to distinguish the customers in terms of their lifetime value to the company, to know them by their priorities in terms of their needs and segment them into more restricted groups (communities).
  • Interact: In this phase it is needed to know by which communication channel and by what means contact with the client is best made. It is necessary to get the customer’s attention by engaging with him in ways that are known as being the ones that he enjoys the most. Peppers/Rogers call it «the learning relationship».
  • Customize: It is needed to personalize the product or service to the customer individually. The knowledge that a company has about a customer needs to be put into practice and the information held has to be taken into account in order to be able to give the client exactly what he wants.

What could this mean for the hospitality industry?

Basically, people do not differ in their actions, no matter whether it is about consumer goods or tourist services. A person will behave more or less in the same way and has the same expectations of the customer experience.

But each person is different from the others by its own needs, attitudes and behaviors. These needs, attitudes and behavior goes beyond the usual socio-demographic segmentation and allow a much more sophisticated segmentation of groups of people.

Today we are dealing with a new type of customer, what we call The Social Customer and which is becoming increasingly important. He is more informed, more connected, more engaging and more demanding (see also my previous post related to this topic).

As a result, hospitality firms must deal with this basic principle of “treat different customers (guests) differently”, if they want to stay competitive and to stand out from the plethora of offerings.

The challenges are many and varied, and assumed that one is dealing with the “one-to-one marketing” approach mentioned above.

An interesting solution approach

hoxell-011-180x138I discovered last year an interesting approach based upon the hotel software Hoxell. The owner of the Hotel Dante in Lugano/Switzerland – Carlo Fontana – developed a solution, creating great experiences for guests, improving their perceived services and is by far the best way to keep the best customers, and attract new ones.

Hoxell provides huge potential to enhance the overall Guest Experience by treating different guests differently and by engaging both actors of Hospitality – Guests and Staff – throughout the multiple touch points during a stay.

Once the reservation agent has to insert and check the quality of the reservation into the PMS (hotel property management system), the details will be transferred onto the hoxell platform, which will take care – from this moment on – of the entire relationship by covering all touch points.

The «Guest MyPage» is thus generated and may include different actions:

  • Customization of the stay
  • Quick check-in Form
  • Active Reservation Details
  • Weather forecast and useful information for the arrival
  • Contact Team Form

What’s in for the customer (guest)?

As guest I can document by personal preferences.
As guest I receive customized information prior to my stay related to the location.
As guest I have a better feeling of being welcomed and understood.

 

Hoxell_myPage_myStay

 Customizing your stay

Hoxell_myPage1

Personalized communication across the entire guest journey

Hoxell_myPage2

Making your staff visible to the guest

Hoxell_myPage3

Personal thank you from the hotel manager at the end of the stay

What’s in for the hospitality firm?

Optimized processes and full transparency across all channels and actors.
Increased guest loyalty across higher customer experience.
Increased recommendation rate by guests.

Conclusion

«Treat different customers differently» is also possible in the hospitality industry. Technology supports the hospitality management in the innovation process.

Innovation and disruptive thinking is needed to stay in business.

 

Share4you specializing in customer management is able supporting you on the journey towards one-to-one marketing in your company. You can reach us easily on www.share4you.ch or writing directly to rene.lisi@share4you.ch. We are looking forward serving you.

 

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