Hotel Chains Need An "Enable The Customer To Buy" Strategy, Not A Moribund Sales Strategy
The future threat is not the OTAs, it is the power of the consumer
London, England- 15th November, 2013
Hotel chains' marketing budget is now in the hands of their customers. Yet hotel management executives' continue to trade brickbats with online travel agents over "unsustainable revenue leakage" and invest in more sales people and skills.
The customer today can see the hotel's cards. The abundance of information freely available to the consumer means a leisure traveller can check the best available rate for 149 hotels in Shanghai within the next minute, the wedding planner can readily benchmark the cost of a reception at five of Manhattan's best properties in less than sixty minutes, the Investment Bank's Procurement Team can analyse preferred deals with upscale hotels in Hong Kong within 24 hours.
James Berkeley, Managing Director of Ellice Consulting Ltd, who assists hotel chains profitably grow asserts, "Selling hotel rooms is no longer a black box. Top management in dynamic hotels need a mindset change. The focus must be on enabling the customer to buy. Create excitement, provide value and make it easy to purchase the hotel's offering. Stop trying to take something from the customer to justify your self-worth. Hire and train people with the skills and volition to enable the customer to buy."
His strong anecdotal evidence is that many hotel chain executives are expanding way too much time and energy in an adversarial relationship with online travel agents such as Booking.com, Expedia and others. He argues powerfully that if they focused that same level of energy and attention on successfully implementing an "Enable The Customer To Buy" strategy, they would dramatically out-perform their peers, and provide significant increased value for the managed hotel's other customer, the owner.
Berkeley provides CRM - Customer Relationship Magnetism. He helps executives and their managers agree on desired outcomes with their highest-potential customers, evaluate the options, always understand where the power lies in any customer relationship at any given point in time, what options are available and how to direct that power to accelerate the conversion of opportunities into closed business. Taking success practices applied in the insurance, wealth management, gaming, retail and quick service restaurant sectors, he is now actively translating those same results for hotel operators, who aspire to dominate their target market:
- 20% plus increased average customer expenditure per stay
- Cost neutral investment (dollars shifted from push marketing to pull marketing)
- Near instant positive impact on operating margins, irrespective of geography
- Dramatic reduction in customer acquisition overhead up to 20% of total budget
- Stronger and more powerful relationships with high-potential leisure, group and business customers
- Exponential increase in repeat business and referral opportunities
- Significant peripheral opportunities (alliances with business, cultural institutions, exclusive and intimate offerings unique to the individual property or brand and so on)
While client confidentiality is respected at all times, he is happy to discuss the impact of "Enabling The Customer To Buy" strategies and other trends in operational performance on your immediate business performance.
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