David vs. Goliath, Leveling The Playing Field In Attracting, Retaining Hotel Guests
David M. Brudney, ISHC, a nationally recognized spokesman for hotels and a veteran with four decades of experience, is the principal of David Brudney & Assoc. of Carlsbad, CA
David M. Brudney, ISHC, June 2000
Real world? Big v. small has become a "reality-check" and cost
issue. Surveys indicate that all hotels spend as much as six times
more to capture new guests as they do for repeat guests. I believe
todayís hotel mantra should be "letís optimize every guest experience so
guests canít wait to return - - and tell a friend!"
Smaller independents and boutique hotels are able to hold their own
and, in many cases, outperform chain properties all over the U.S. by
focusing on a combination of solid guest identification, needs-and-wants
assessment, satisfaction, recognition and reward programs.
"getting to know their existing customers better"
Successful Independent and boutique hotel operators have realized that
limited dollars, resources and distribution channels make it near impossible
to compete with mega-chain brands and their sophisticated, attractive frequent
guest programs. Rather than attempt to go head-to-head in the global,
national, regional and local market places, smart independent and boutique
operators are protecting and expanding market share by getting to know
their existing customers better - - their needs, their preferences and
the primary reasons for their patronage and loyalty. This vital information
is now being recorded electronically and, when deemed absolutely necessary,
manually by hand.
There may be a multitude of reasons for why todayís hotel guests select
a small independent or boutique hotel over a chain-affiliated property.
The reason could be price. Availability. Location. Possibly,
a friendís recommendation. All things being equal, however, I believe
that more and more guests are making hotel selections based upon comfortability,
recognition and service. Status is a whole other issue, one to be
addressed in a future article.
"build a solid data base on all guests, electronically
Here are some good tips for independents and boutique hotels for both
attracting and retaining todayís (and tomorrowís) guests:
insist on a clean, safe, efficient, user-friendly operation
(owners) donít assume, inspect what you expect
if on site food and beverage can not be presented and delivered correctly,
on time and affordable, insist that all guests are introduced to neighborhood,
value-priced F&B options
learn as much as possible about guests and guest needs, desires
build a solid data base on all guests, electronically or manually
new data base mining companies can help match preferred guest profiles
and deliver lists of hundreds of prospective new guests
customize an appropriate reward program for your preferred guests
communicate with guests via e-mail or direct mail between visits
recognize and thank guests at both check in and check out
develop a satisfied guest "sales force" to spread the word amongst family,
friends and co-workers
insist general managers make local sales calls daily
seek out new, advantageous, neighborhood marketing partnering relationships
More and more owners, operators and franchisees are turning to established,
hands on, professional operations and marketing consultants for help today
in implementing successful new concepts and programs.
About David Brudney & Associates
David M. Brudney has become a charter member of Laguna Strategic Advisors and was a founding member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants. Brudney is a veteran sales-and-marketing professional concluding his fifth decade of service to the hospitality industry. Brudney advises lodging owners, lenders, asset managers and operators about hotel sales and marketing best practices and standards of care, and conducts reviews of sales-and-marketing operations throughout the world. Brudney is a professional speaker, teacher, mentor and sales trainer. Previously, Brudney held sales and marketing positions with Hyatt, Westin and Marriott.
Contact: David M. Brudney, Principal
David Brudney & Associates
Carlsbad, CA 92009
Email David Brudney
Web Site: www.DavidBrudney.com