Love Makes the Profits Come In

By Bonnie Knutson Professor, The School of Hospitality Business/MSU | October 28, 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.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.