Fully realized marketing plans help managers define the customer segments most important to their financial and strategic goals, according to a new study.
Posted Feb 27, 2006
Hospitality managers can maximize profits and staff in busy and slow seasons to ensure a consistent customer experience, according to a report released Monday by analysis firm Best Practices. According to "Benchmarks for Best Practices in Hotel Management," a study examining hotel management in the Caribbean market, using well-planned business systems and formalizing them for customer service, fully realized marketing plans will help managers define the customer segments most important to their financial and strategic goals.
"General training for specific jobs is given for all hotels, but price points and service levels can create ambiguity and confusion about what activities are required specifically for each role," the report states. To eliminate this confusion, Best Practices recommends:
Establishing a step-by-step behavior for greeting, interacting with, and solving problems for guests in all situations. Customer-facing employees should be trained on this common standard.
Creating a plan for handling complaints that enables fast resolution, prevents multiple negative experiences for individual guests, and captures the details of such events to enable analysis of customer experience shortcomings.
Developing active methods for monitoring customer satisfaction. The report explains that probing for passive dissatisfaction helps hotels catch subtle or unforeseen problems in customer experience and will help drive customer loyalty.
"This roadmap for employee behavior delineates what customer service excellence is within the organization and provides a clear framework for all customer-facing employees to follow when dealing with guests," the report states. "In addition, this framework empowers employees to make decisions that will benefit the customer and the organization."
A hotel will further benefit from fine-tuning any discounts given in the off-season by using statistical forecasting to determine the price that will drive maximum volume, according to the report. This forecasting model, known as yield management, helps prevent charging prices that are too low during the off season. "Yield management software also aids in driving capacity utilization planning by determining the number of rooms that should be reserved for full price customers and the number set aside for discounting segments," the report says.
Abiding by a couple of hiring principals will also help hotels improve their performance, according to the report. "Seek people that strive for personal development and [are] ambitious in career advancement [and] focus on behavioral characteristics in new employees--and do not compromise when evaluating for the desired standards."
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