One of the greatest challenges in the hotel industry nowadays is the ever-growing number of competitors. Hotel managers are facing a problem: ‘’What can I do to differentiate my hotel from the others?’’ It became a standard for every hotel to offer facilities like a bar, restaurant and room service, this is not considered a luxury anymore. So what is the next step that has to be taken when you are operating in the hotel industry? Of course you can offer a low cost service, and convince customers to spend the night in your hotel for the lowest price (operational excellence). But there is another way to bind the customer to your brand: customer engagement management (Kandampully, 2000). In this article we take a closer look at this essential strategy in the hotel industry.
The understanding customer intimacy was introduced by Treacy & Wiersema. According to their book ‘Customer Intimacy’ this strategy is one of the three value disciplines that can lead to market leadership (Customer Intimacy, 2016). Develop, build and maintain a relationship with the individual customer is key within this strategy. Every person has different preferences and interests and to expand the involvement of your relationships, you should react to every customer adapting to these preferences. The ultimate goal is to build and maintain a relationship between the brand and the customer. You basically create a ‘have it your way’ feeling for every customer.
Give more than what is expected, is an important principle when you want to create loyal customers. It is all about the customer’s wishes and giving them a certain amount of service they wouldn’t expect in advance. The more you go beyond their expectations, the bigger the chance the customer feels connected to the brand (Wat is customer intimacy?, 2016).
Digitalization is an important trend according to customer engagement management. The newest technology offers the opportunity to genuinely get to know your customers. You can gather data from the moment the (potential) customer visits your website till the moment they check out in your hotel. This provides a closer look into the wishes and needs of every single customer and in this way an organization can personalize their approach towards the customer.
Because in the end, a hotel succeeds or fails based on the satisfaction throughout the customer’s stay.
In the end, if the customer is likely to think: ‘’Wow, this company truly understands me.’’ You not only reached customer intimacy, but (even better) emotional loyalty with your brand. Emotional loyalty is a psychological preference and affective attachment (Davey, 2014). An emotional loyal customer is more likely to stay loyal to your brand, even if there are potentially better alternatives to choose.
Customer Intimacy. (2016). Opgeroepen op September 18, 2016, van VerduinCRM: http://www.verduin.nl/crm-kennisbank/wiki/bid/159876/Customer-intimacy
Davey, N. (2014, Mei 1). Emotional vs transactional loyalty: Is it more important to win hearts or minds? Opgeroepen op September 18, 2016, van MyCustomer: http://www.mycustomer.com/experience/loyalty/emotional-vs-transactional-loyalty-is-it-more-important-to-win-hearts-or-minds
Kandampully, J. (2000). Customer loyalty in the hotel industry: the role of sutomer satisfaction and image. MCB University Press.
Wat is customer intimacy? (2016). Opgeroepen op September 18, 2016, van Team Loyalty: https://teamloyalty.nl/kennis/wat-is-customer-intimacy/