The most difficult thing about maintaining a lifelong relationship with the customer based on loyalty and trust is by first compiling the correct information about the customer. Most organisations know this process as “the big data”. Furthermore, it just doesn’t end by having the big data, it goes further than that. “Typical of these customer data is that they are used by the entire organisation and therefore form part of the infrastructure of the company” (Beltman, R., & Peelen, E. (2013).
As already mentioned above, customer profiling is the best way if an organisation wants to know more about their clients, for a lifelong relationship. On the other hand, it can be entirely ruining for the organisation if the data gets mixed up. Imagine a regular guest books a hotel online, receives the confirmation and everything but on the day of arrival the receptionist assign him to the wrong room because they had mixed up his last name with another client’s? The company can either loose the customer (because he is likely not going to book with the hotel anymore), or he might also give a bad review about it and not recommend it to any of his friends/family.
It is always good to ensure that as an organisation, you have a quality customer database for a good customer profiling. Quality customer database involves; current, complete, correct and unique data (Beltman, R., & Peelen, E. (2013)).
Another good example of ensuring the quality of a customer database is related to newsletters. A hotel once sent a newsletter to a German speaking author concerning special offers for loyal customers. The problem about this newsletter was that it was completely in English. The other thing was that it was also meant for loyal customers however, this German author had not stay in any of the group’s hotel for so many years (Michael Toedt, (2013)). Hence this means the hotel didn’t do their homework at all. They didn’t update their customer profile with the current, complete and unique data for the German author.
Sometimes when the data is not enough to complete the customer’s profile, companies buy extra data from external suppliers (Beltman, R., & Peelen, E. (2013)). However it is good if as a company you compile your own customer database based on their past histories with your company. Hilton compile their customer profile based on an IT system “OnQ” which they created since the year 2002. “The information used by this system helps front desk to access of 180million records and get the answer right away” (LinkedIn Corporation, 2016). The OnQ helps them to give better customer service, gives the employee better idea about the customer, facilitates in critical recoveries, availability of customer history, match customer reservations to their tastes and preferences and lastly helps in paying extra attention to VIP’s (LinkedIn Corporation, 2016).
Overall, customer profiling is very important to the hospitality industry for the above reasons.
Michael Toedt (2013). Big Data; Challenges for Hospitality Industry. 2nd edition
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. Edinburgh Gate: Pearson Education Limited.
LinkedIn Corporation (2016). Hilton OnQ System. Retrieved on 2nd October, 2016 from http://www.slideshare.net/vibhavk1991/hilton-37396577