Survival of the fittest
By Giovanni Angelini
In today’s world, organizations of every kind are experiencing huge difficulties in attracting and retaining clients. In this environment, offering a good product or a useful service is no longer enough. Today, consumers are looking for something more that will enrich their life and for value propositions.
Also, in today’s rapidly changing world, which is making life so difficult for those of us who run organizations, is also making lift hard for our customers therefore we constantly need to learn and implement new ways of creating stronger-lasting tied with our customers and always provide real value.
The hotel industry is constantly evolving and it is a must for us to respond on time and this applies to many aspect of our business: new technology; well-being; taste; ambiance; quality of products; efficiency; security & safety and many others. Our ultimate goal is to attract and retain a guest for life.
Everyone knows (or think they know) the hotel business: We have all stayed in hotels, experienced great and not so great service and developed strong opinions about what we like and do not like, very subjective.
Hoteliers get to know and cater to some of the most personal needs of their clients which in some cases create some interesting challenges. In many cases, hoteliers are responsible for their clients’ total well-being; physical, emotional, psychological and this is around the clock, not only during office hours.
We all know that great hotels are made by the employees. Therefore, a happy, passionate, motivated and efficient work force will continue to be critical in hotels, cannot make silly savings in this important areas. It is a must that all employees are aligned on what we want to achieve and are totally customer-focused. Training, training, training is essential but also other basic necessities such as incentives and a pleasant working environment is necessary. If the members of your team are not happy, your customers will not be happy as well.
Our business is not about product features, it is about the customer experience and normally people remember experiences and many times little things can mean a lot. We must provide hassle-free stay in our hotels and understand what the customer wants.
Going beyond any printed list of services provided is what we constantly strive to achieve and this is what we should regularly promote and practice. Rules should serve the business, not vice versa. Purpose of the rules is to enhance customer service, not for convenience/control or for easy administration.
How hotels are marketed
More properties will strive to bring a higher level of service to meet their guests’ needs and create a lodging experience. Word of mouth will always be the top referral for properties also have to accept the fact that the web has changed the traditional way of doing business/promoting and selling our services
We are going to see further development of niche markets. ‘Boutique/lifestyle hotels’ is kind of an overused word, but in the broader context, there is a lot of interest by the large brand in creating hotels that operate in that market, which is more attuned to the individual needs of guest rather than by the big box approach. (If they will be profitable in the long run is another story)
As much as everybody has said they are adopting online marketing, and to a degree, everyone has, the acceptance and embracing of online marketing will become a much greater focal point in future and there is no way back, respond or be left behind.
E-commerce groups are getting stronger and stronger, more sophisticated and are hiring the best people to find ways to “squeeze” on rates, charge high commission and going after your own customer’s database and this is alarming. On top of this you have the budget minded traveler who shops for the lowest rate online and knows how to get it and he has final decision where to stay. We must accept the fact that customers have more and more choice where to stay.
There will always be online wholesale discounters (and the online travel agencies-OTAs) who tries very hard to get the highest commission from the hotels. Business with those companies must be built on relationships, agreement between the two parties must be a win-win situation. (Airlines, with their no book fee, are doing a better job than hotels in this area)
Due to the present financial/economic situation, we are facing more and stronger discipline among the consumer and “value perception” has become critical and in some cases customers are shying away from the deluxe-expensive establishments. We are seeing a growing middle class in Asia who will be very rate-conscious travelers. Overbuilt situation (supply), importance of distribution channels and related costs, inventory and rate management, intelligent partnership, avoidance of brand erosion, make it easier for the consumer and be smarter than the other has become the name of the game. Be prepared for tough negotiations and have to accept that some source of revenue like telephone, internet access and others are disappearing fast.
We’re going to see a demand for directors of revenue management who have a full understanding of online marketing with a much better knowledge of what is going on. There is convergence occurring between demand creation and demand management. It’s overwhelming – gone are the days when the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing. Must adapt to the new trends i.e. quality of data’s, loyalty/recognition programs, access/management of distribution channels, promotion of own web site/direct bookings, don’t play a catch-up with the OTAs but be as quick as they are to respond/act, smart packaging, rate parity, best rate guarantees, continuous innovations, consistency and remember that buyers knows what they are buying and must sale on the way the consumers want to buy. Plus continue to build win-win relationships/partnerships.
With the pervasiveness of multinational hotel and other hospitality corporations in today’s global economy, the need for capable managers with a mindset to manage companies/hotels, people and functions across cultures will inevitably increase. Labour costs will increase and the war for talent will get stronger. Better than average total compensation is expected. In addition to career growth, people wants more and more free time for themselves and quality of life becomes a driving factor.
Growth / Expansion:
It is anticipated that in the short and medium term the present overbuilt situation in most destination will continue as every hotel groups/chains have taken the position (which in one way is correct) “to grow or be left behind” therefore every hotel group goes out of their way to “steal” business from others in particular from the individual or small hotel operators. Using an old saying “survival of the fittest and of the smartest” is what we will be facing. The power of the brand will be utilized/taken advantage more and more for both; expansion and market share as the consumers are looking for reliable brands in their travels.