Sweet Food Hotel is aspiring to adopt the home concept as a way of attracting and retaining more customers. I was called upon as a consultant and I did some research on some of the aspects to consider in process of implementing home concept in Sweet Food Hotel. The findings revealed that home concept is all about adding services and features and amenities that can bring a home-like environment in the hotel. Based on the analysis, it was proposed that Sweet Home should make the booking process easy, enrich the hotel with many features like those founds in home, ensure that the customer service is trained well on how to welcome customers and tailor services to fit different clients.
Background to business
The concept of home is one of the strategic tools that can be applied in hospitality industry to attract more clients and retain existing customers. Home concept is emerging concept and is based on the fact that most tourists tend to exhibit some fear when they are in foreign country or new place and such fear may hinder them from enjoying their time. Consequently, if home concept is adopted, tourists would always feel like they are home and will be able to consume more services and products hence increasing the sales and profits. That is why Sweet Food Hotel is aspiring to adopt home concept. I was contracted to research and give proposal and this report will reflect the findings.
The hotel that has employed me as a consultant is called Sweet Food Hotel. Currently, the hotel invested enormous amount of money to update the design of the rooms and add technological tools. Half of them do not have a desk or chair, the furniture is now flexible, the customer can access his account Netflix or Hulu on the television and the room service is available from a digital tablet. One floor is dedicated to " well-being rooms Features an aromatherapy machine, an anti-light shower head, daylight lighting and allergen-free bedding. The local cuisine is in the spotlight at the restaurant, the bar becomes a meeting room during the week and the configuration of coffee encourages interaction. The goal of the leaders being to transform the hotel into a place of life anchored in the community, the new facilities and animations have been experienced by customers and residents. The hotel management consulted me on how they can achieve this goal. I proposed the concept of home experience as a solution. The paper will focus on how this concept will help Sweet Food Hotel attract and retain more customers. The paper will first focus on the concept of home experience and the second part will propose some of the recommendations that can be made by the hotel.
In the hospitality industry, it is expectation of the management to bring positive customer experience, even bluffing (the so-called "wow" effect) is a guarantee of customer satisfaction, loyalty and CRM performance (Inglis, Termansen & Molbech, 2005). However, in hotel industry attracting many foreign tourists, the customer experience may be hindered by the notion of being in “foreign” place. This hindrance can significantly affect the sales volume and profits. based on the fact that most tourists tend to exhibit some fear when they are in foreign country or new place and such fear may hinder them from enjoying their time. Consequently, if home concept is adopted, tourists would always feel like they are home and will be able to consume more services and products hence increasing the sales and profits.
The concept of Home
The notion of experience can thus be commonly understood as the fact of performing an action, motivated in this by practical and emotional objectives. Remove a form of re-learning learning while vibrating during this skill acquisition. In all social and human disciplines, the notion of experience is the subject of a conceptual treatment whose defining limits are constantly evolving. In marketing, the definition of experience has been the subject of conceptual thinking since the mid-1980s (Benjamin, 2016). It is rooted in the currents of research relating to the economy and social psychology in particular. The concept of consumer experience began to take a prominent place in marketing thanks to the seminal article by (Trejos, 2013). This experiential view of consumption makes it possible to propose new categories of strategic and operational levers for economic and institutional players. Indeed, marketing researchers present the experience as a new differentiation tool to enrich the notion of positioning, presented in a traditional way as an essentially cognitive approach. For tourism researchers, the question of experience is often apprehended by the prism of authenticity (authenticity of the object consumed or lived), tourists seeking a transcendent experience, bringing feelings emotional and source of learning. Like the " old pilgrims", tourists are looking for authentic experiences and sacred places transported in an off-time and a daily out-of-place. The consumer is looking for a product that meets his expectations, according to his needs and his budget, on the basis of the best value for money. He is thus perceived as "an individual who thinks logically, follows a thoughtful and reasoned process to solve problems to arrive at solutions.” (Jotisalikorn, Zabihi & Invernizzi, 2005). Decision-making - the act of purchase - is explained by models of hierarchy of effects, in which the consumer evaluates the characteristics of the product, those of functional order in particular, compares them rationally (Seal, 2013).
Home experience is unique form of experience economy which is becoming a strategic tool for luring customers to hotels, restaurants and the rest rooms. Most customers are family members. Some are from foreign countries and may be anxious about being in a new country. Some have children and expects a place where children can play. The client needs to feel safe in the hotel, trust in the equipment that is coming from the service in question. This is something that is enhanced with a close deal, with a smile whenever they are served, with many amenities, with the most cutting-edge technology, with an exquisite cleanliness. If the treatment is distant, surely, they will miss their home more and hotel will not become their "family" or “home” for a few days. Home concept gives hotels competitive edge. For example, by designing these new generation youth hostels, JO & JOE is positioning itself in a niche with many new players, and is also competing directly with Airbnb.
One of the recommendations is to fluidify the stages of customer journey when booking hotels. This is one way of bringing “home experience”. Because it feeds on all the interactions between the brand and its customers, the customer experience is inseparable from customer journeys (Chen, 2014). The customer journey, as its name suggests, refers to all the steps that the customer goes through between the search for the destination and the stay, through the reservation. Increasingly demanding, customers expect hoteliers and tourism stakeholders in general a customer journey that is both multi-channel and seamless. To meet this expectation, hoteliers must both: Enrich the contact channels, whether by creating a Facebook page, an Instagram account, a mobile application, a livechat; Make sure that the passage of a channel to another is intuitive and fluid. Example: being able to easily access the site's booking pages from Facebook (Solomon, 2016). As a hotel owner, it is important to adapt to changing consumer behavior. Consumers are now cross-channel, they use multiple channels and are constantly switching from one channel to another. The enrichment of customer journeys and their fluidification are a key element to improve the customer experience. The simplification of the CRM processes is also an element allowing to streamline customer journeys. More and more hotel chains are rethinking their check-in and check-out processes (FLH Group 2018). Some players in the new technologies offer solutions such as accelerating the customer's check-in by pre-filling the basic administrative information. Consequently, whether for the assignment of rooms to be prepared or quality inspection, more and more hotels are turning to digital solutions. These software products make employees more autonomous and efficient and improve customer satisfaction. The system provides for all arrivals of the day, the moment at which the customer leaves and the prioritization of the rooms (MF 2018). This type of software can also identify grilled bulbs, for example. In short, the automation of tasks will reduce the workforce.
The second recommendation is for the hotel to enrich the services offered during the hotel stay. There are two central services in the hotel industry: catering and accommodation. As essential as they are, these services are not enough today. To offer a memorable customer experience and to differentiate themselves, hoteliers must expand their range of services, for example on the model of "boutique hotels". The time when customers used to look for cyber cafes is over. Today, customers need more comfort and some of the ways of bringing such comfort is by ensuring that the room has wifi hotspot and USB plug ins just like the case of Hilton hotel (Hilton 2018). It should be noted that the growing interest in health and well-being should encourage the rise in popularity of Resourcing and wellness establishments. Some hoteliers have adopted alternative means to increase the comfort of their guests, for example, some employ sleep experts (IHG 2018). In the hotel industry, improving the customer experience means enriching the services offered: a fast and reliable internet connection, a gym, a spa, the sale of local products, various support services, cooking classes, yoga, etc. One could add in the list, very far from being exhaustive, the services related to the CRM: for example to give the possibility to the customer to give his opinion on the hotel from a digital terminal. One example is the Japanese hotel & AND HOSTEL, which has relied on the Internet of Things and has deployed technologies that allow the customer to lock, order, light and turn off the light, use the television, trigger music using only one smartphone. The widening of the range of services offered allows hotels to transform what was only a place of residence into a place of experience. Similarly, designing these new generation youth hostels, JO & JOE is positioning itself in a niche with many new players, and is also competing directly with Airbnb. As a way of enriching the services, Hotel Indigo combines authentic local experiences, modern design and intimate service with the peace of mind and consistency of staying with one of the world’s largest hotel groups (IHG 2018).
The third recommendation is to tailor the services to customers' expectations. In the hotel and tourism industry, the most important thing is to offer services that meet the specific needs and expectations of your customers. This is how you will best and most quickly improve the customer experience. One way of achieving home concept is by expanding the services to cover virtually everything that is found in a typical home. This is what Meriton Suites has adopted. Meriton Suites have self-contained and featuring a gourmet-kitchen with everything that can be found in modern homes (Meriton Suites 2018).
The fourth recommendation is by building good relationship with customers. Home is an environment where family members lives as friend. Too many hoteliers and tourism stakeholders continue to be uninterested in their guests, or so little. This is a profound mistake (Lakzy, 2015). Knowing your clients is what allows them to offer them relevant services, in line with their expectations, needs, interests, habits and their profile. How to develop this customer knowledge? The best way to know what your customers think, what they are and what they like is to ask them directly! Developing customer insights through questionnaires helps demonstrate to the customers that hotel care about them, that you listen to them, that their satisfaction is important to the hotel (BILA 2018). With questionnaires, you can also quickly identify problems and factors that degrade the customer experience. Let's sum up. Customer experience is now the main issue and the main differentiator for the hotel and tourism industry. Improving the customer experience involves working on customer journeys and enriching the services offered in line with customer expectations. This requires the deployment of a real customer knowledge strategy.
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