Efficiently showing empathy in consumers’ desperate moments

nytimes-com

Source: nytimes.com

The question is how many companies in the hospitality industry are dynamic enough to be Omni-present during certain life events of consumers? As a company, it is necessary to be fast in your approach and move exactly in the direction of accommodating consumers’ needs and preferences. For instance, it is very important as a company to plan and prepare for changes that occasionally occur in the life of every consumer. These may include airport crises, death of spouse, change in financial state, pregnancy, vacation, Christmas, graduation and many more (Beltman, R., & Peelen, E. (2013).

According to the flandersnews.be (2016), the unfortunate twin terror attack at Brussels airport and metro station left many stranded and homeless. “With Brussels Airport closed for a second day Wednesday many people are stranded in Brussels.  Hotels in the Belgian capital are offering rooms free of charge to stranded visitors and commuters” (Flandersnews.be (2016)). This shows a good example of dynamism and being Omni-present.

However, after a terrible crisis such as a terrorist attack, offering free accommodation alone won’t erase the drastic event from the travellers’ memory. His decision to travel again next time via the same means/airport will immediately decrease and this will reduce sales for the industry. A good example is the Paris attack which according to IBT (2016) caused a rapid reduction in hotel bookings in Paris. “The city consequently saw luxury hotel bookings drop by 50 percent and experienced a 30 percent drop in hotel bookings overall”, according to ITB (2016).

Nevertheless at the end of the day, life must still go on. There are many people getting married, being pregnant, graduating, going on vacations, preparing for Christmas and new year celebrations therefore as a hospitality industry, it is necessary to be there for these life events as well.

dhgate-com theodysseyonline-com

Source: dhgate.com                     Source: theodysseyonline.com

Hotels must think like the consumers. Immediately the crises is over, they must think of their next move to win back more customers once again.  Therefore in this case, offering sales reduction or discounts after a rapid drop in hotel bookings would rather cause the company more money. Hence a possible solution would be maybe to offer extra individual added value to every luxury booking. Example, a personal butler who will assist the couples/family with everything they need during their stay at the hotel and/or a promise to give them free discounts on their next bookings.

Some of the things other hotels do include change the architectural design of the hotel, building new technologies and inviting random people to come try it out for free or at discounts (such as “Connie” the robot concierge at the Hilton hotel, who offers advice on best restaurants and attractions nearby), or improve their customer service by engaging more with the consumers.

Overall, more people will continue to travel and rent more hotels by the upcoming years however it is necessary that hotels  improve their standards to show massive interest in the life events of these consumers.

 

References:

Flandersnews.be (2016). Faces put to Zaventem terrorist suspects. Retrieved on 22nd September, 2016 from http://deredactie.be/cm/vrtnieuws.english/News/1.2608743

International Business Times (2016). Belgium Tourism Economy 2016: After Brussels Terror Attacks, Will City Struggle To Draw Tourists? Retrieved on 22nd September from http://www.ibtimes.com/belgium-tourism-economy-2016-after-brussels-terror-attacks-will-city-struggle-draw-2341084

Ars Technica (2016). IBM Watson now powers a Hilton hotel robot concierge. Retrieved on 24th September from http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/03/ibm-watson-hilton-robot-connie/

Peelen, E. & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management.

 

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