I’m just back from a trip to Canada – part holiday, part business for my husband. The trip has reminded me of the importance of building the customer relationship. We were being entertained by a supplier, but the main purpose of the trip was to build trust; we got to see the production process, meet the team and get an insight into their operation. And in turn they got to hear more about what is important to their customer and what more they can do to develop the sales potential. Although this supplier has no direct competition (they have developed a new product) they do have to compete for my husband’s time and effort involved in selling the product.
What has this to do with the hospitality management? Two things:
Firstly we must never forget that the competition may not be the hotel or restaurant down the road, but may be the option to stay at home, get married on a beach, go camping, hold that meeting as a webinar.
Secondly the importance of building a relationship with your customers. This does not mean flying them half way round the world, but demonstrating that you value their custom, and sharing with them some of your story, your values, getting to know your team, spending some time talking to them and getting to know what is important to them. This builds trust and loyalty, and is a key step in building a lasting long term relationship with your customer and the prospect of repeat business.
Building the guest relationship is covered in more detail in the Hotel Success Handbook