Asian-Americans Represent Significant Opportunities for Hotels and Beverage Brands

By Yuriy Boykiv Co-Founder and CEO, Gravity | January 31, 2016

As competition in the hospitality industry grows fiercer by the day, many hotel chains are looking for any edge they can find to win the support of key markets. Customers from varying cultural backgrounds have different expectations when they utilize hotel services, and even the slightest details can have a lasting impression on these demographics. Everything from room amenities to supplemental or complementary services can be adjusted to fit the needs of multicultural audiences. Even something as simple as the choices of beverages that a hotel offers to its guests can easily sway guest perceptions one way or the other.

Multicultural beverage marketing can be a difficult segment to break into - particularly for the travel and entertainment industries. Fortunately, there's a special on tap.

According to a recent Pew Research report, Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing segment of the marketplace. Since the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, 51 percent of new immigrants have come from Latin America and a quarter from Asia. Asian-Americans are projected to eventually overtake the size and importance of the Hispanic market.

Opportunities abound for marketers in this arena. Save for the occasional cliche-rich, half-hearted Lunar New Year promotion, no brand has ever seriously courted Asian-American consumers with the same seriousness and rigor they have shown general-market, Hispanic, or African-American drinkers. But opportunities are ripe for first movers.

Thanks to the number and affluence of Asian-Americans, it's surprisingly simple - and absolutely worth it - to reach them in the media. Here's why America's fastest-growing consumer segment is a worthwhile target and how you can best cater to it.

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.