How Prepared Is Revenue Management for the Emergence of the Connected Customer?

By Ally Northfield Managing Director, Revenue by Design | September 30, 2018

Today's biggest consumer segments are those that have been constantly connected since birth – this is not just the millennial generation but those that succeed them and these are defined as the connected customers. They live in a digital age that is always on, with digital blended into every element of their world. Within this world, expectations of any digital interaction with a supplier or online platform is driven by the need for a seamless experience, about an experience that is meaningful, on point and interpretive of their needs, at that point in time. Which may not be the same need the next time they interact.

What Is The Connected Customer?

The connected customer lives in a world of instantaneous response, seeks instant gratification, thrives on communication that is personalised and relevant to their situation, and demands the ability to choose the product they want from the channel that they choose. How prepared is the revenue management community to read consumer intent and respond with an element of personalisation? Do existing technology solutions support delivering on these requirements?

How Does The Revenue Manager Role Evolve In The Face Of Changes In Customer Expectations?

The revenue role is becoming more dynamic, decisions need to be made with higher frequency, and a high level of engagement, or risk a customer moving on to a competitor product. In the recent "State of the Connected Customer" research published by Salesforce, 76% of 6,700 consumers surveyed expect businesses to understand their needs and expectations, and over 84% of customers expect to treated like an individual not a number. Customers expect the right value to be presented to them in the right way at the right time.  A straight discount off a room rate no longer hits the spot, something that is offered to everyone no longer has the same appeal. When considering what needs to be in place to deliver this, there are four key areas to consider to future proof the revenue role; data, technology, distribution, and loyalty

Data

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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.