Category Archives: hospitality

It’s Emotion And Not Price That Keeps Customers Coming Back!

I recently interviewed Adel Gutman, VP of Sales and Marketing with HKHotels & Hospitality and was impressed, to say the least, how she and her staff emotionally immerse themselves in their clientele.

Look at their reviews and you’ll agree that emotional “connection” is not lip service.

Holding on to a new customer has never been harder than before…or more important. Research shows that the key to attracting customers isn’t price. It’s emotion.  People stay faithful to brands that earn both their rational trust and their deeply felt affection.

One of my favorite hotels hardly advertise, rarely tweets on Twitter, posts on Facebook or has a rewards programs.

When I book with them I receive a personalized email, not a canned one, that welcomes me back and suggests that they look forward to my return.  At check in an additional hotel representative often comes to the front desk to greet me.  When I arrive at my room there’s a welcome message from housekeeping informing me that they are available whenever I need them.  Guest room rate…$129.00.

Frederick F. Reichheld, author of the widely read The Loyalty Effect: The Hidden Force Behind Growth, Profits and Lasting Value, showed that making loyalists out of just 5% more customers would lead, on average, to an increase in profit per customer of between 25% and 100%.

Is it safe then to assume that no matter how hip your hotel or how comfortable your bed, the key is to emotionally engage your customers?

I visited a new concept restaurant a couple of weeks ago and ordered a meal to go.  When I got home and opened the container I found that it didn’t contain the meal I ordered.  I was not a happy camper, especially since my last meal was a bowl of oatmeal.

I hopped into my car, headed back to the restaurant, and marched up to the check-out counter to make things right.  The cashier looked at my receipt, looked up and called me by name, calmly apologized for the inconvenience that they had caused me, and asked me if I would like the kitchen to prepare the correct order.

My blood pressure subsided slightly, my to go box came out quickly, and I was presented with a $25 gift certificate for my troubles.  In addition, the cashier asked for my telephone number, and shortly after I returned home I received a call from the floor manager apologizing for the mishap and invited me to enjoy a complimentary cocktail upon my return.

How could I possibly write this off as a bad experience when now I am emotionally bound to give them another chance?

So what are your thoughts about emotion vs. price?

Tom Costello is the CEO, Partner & Co-Founder of Groups International, a company that provides marketing, consultative services, and technology solutions to the group and leisure travel markets.  Connect with him on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter or contact him by email.


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