Love Makes the Profits Come In
By Bonnie Knutson Professor, The School of Hospitality Business/MSU | October 2008
When was the last time you ever heard someone say...
"Man, do I ever love my gas station!"
"WOW, I can't tell you how much I love my telephone company!" Or even...
"I sure do love doing business with your company!"
Chances are you have rarely - if ever - heard love associated with any business, let alone the hotel business. The "L" word is too warm, too fuzzy, and too mushy. Business has to be hard-nosed, bottom line oriented. Right? Well, maybe that has been true in the past. But all that is beginning to change because consumers have changed. They are far more sophisticated and more demanding; they are no longer content just be satisfied. Your guests want to be WOW-ed. They want a great hotel experience. They want a relationship with the hotel brand to who they give their business. They want to love you.
More than a decade ago, marketing consultant, Chip Bell, wrote a best seller called, Customer Love. In it, he argued that it is not enough for customers to like a business; it is not enough for them to be satisfied with the quality of the product and the service delivering it. Being satisfied with the experience - i.e. liking it - is not sufficient to generate repeat business or positive radial (word-or-mouth) advertising. In fact, some research shows that 85% of people who say they are satisfied doing business with you will still leave for your competition. That is scary for any hotelier in this highly competitive economic environment.