“Customer loyalty does still exist,” say the industry’s top hoteliers

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As consumer get more savvy and price conscious, are the days of the loyal guest gone? Where do you stand on customer loyalty, does it still exist? 

 

Philip Turner, managing director, Chestnut group

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“The Chestnut Group) is a young business, not yet five years old, but we are becoming increasingly attentive to the loyalty shown by some of our customers. Journalists have used the adjective ‘Chestnutted’ to describe one of our properties, and we definitely have a growing crowd of ‘Chestnutters’ who pride themselves on having visited all of our properties. We are looking at a series of options to reward loyalty that include ‘by invitation’ dinners and the opportunity to preview new openings – to further involve them in our journey.”

 

Sandra Mueller, hotel manager, Le Manoir

“I believe that our industry has gone through challenges in terms of brand loyalty. Guests will only return and recommend a hotel/restaurant that they know they can trust. We cannot all cater for all types of customers.  With hotels for the millennial market opening everywhere, the invention of near staff-less hotels and Airbnb you would think that we have reached a saturation of different experiences available. But who knows what the future may bring?  For us, we have seen a shift from expensive experiences to exclusive experiences: our well-travelled guests are looking for authentic escapes, delivered by genuine people.”

Dan Brod, co owner Talbot Inn and Beckford Arms 

“Customer loyalty to our brand is really the most important thing that we (meaning the whole of our staff) seek to achieve every single day with every single guest. We achieve this by offering genuine hospitality at a good price, and while we are offering a great experience to our guests, they will be loyal to our brand however that is expressed. This does need to be constantly maintained rather than assumed and often I think this is where unfocussed management goes wrong.”

 

Mike Warren, managing director, Harbour Hotels

“Many of guests are brand loyal, often visiting multiple properties within the Group. We have recently invested in a CRM system, to ensure in-depth customer knowledge, creating a personalised communication and experience for all guests. We have also introduced a number of small touches that become synonymous with the brand, such as complimentary in-room gin and sherry, ensuring that our guests feel valued. This creates brand loyalty, essential for repeat business.”

 

PJ Kenny, general manager, The Hoxton

“Definitely. And once you get it right, you just need to work on keeping up that loyalty. Customer loyalty is an integral part of business here at The Hox, but it has to be earned and goes beyond measurement platforms and loyalty programs — we don’t use either of those. You need to earn trust and build on this foundation, and in return you gain loyalty through culture within the property. A loyal customer can be the best sales person you can never employee, as they have equal power in today’s ‘social media age’. It is one of the key components in this ever growing ‘influencer’ culture world.”

 

Brian Garvan, regional director for Northern Europe, Wanup

“Customer loyalty has a very important role to play within the hospitality and travel sectors. However, as the industry continues to evolve, it’s important that hotels are selecting the most effective ways to drive loyalty in order to take advantage. At Wanup, we understand that in order for guests to remain brand loyal they are looking for personalisation, exclusive experiences and less restrictions, which we feel independent hotels and smaller chains often implement best as they know their customer first hand.”

 

 

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