Since 1994 when the customer index was created, the hotel industry score for client satisfaction has decreased from 75 to a four-year low of 71 in 1997, where it stayed in 1998. The service industry, in general, noticed its customer satisfaction score growth 6.6% to 72.2% this year. While the hotel industry’s score for client loyalty grew one point from last year it is still lower that of the last years. Ron McNair, partner, Arthur Andersen’s business consulting hospitality industry practice, attributes decline in client satisfaction to some industry trends. He stresses that record occupancy levels and sell-outs during high demand periods forced many properties to hit future clients, leaving them to find other facilities.
McNair pointed out that with the unprecedented amount of blenders and acquisitions — $8.7 billion in 1998 and $32.4 billion in the first quarter of 1998 — most hotel firms have concentrated on the problems of getting rather than on improving the customer experience. Moreover, a wide choice, minimal variety between properties, competitive marketing programs and present occupancy issues supply consumers with many options and little inducement to stay loyal to a concrete hotel company.
The customer index lodging industry also found out that customer expectations concerning the obtained quality of service remained the same over the last five years. Besides, the value of the received service the customers pay for left much to be desired. McNair has pointed out that while the prices for hiring rooms grew up dramatically, the quality service did not improve. The customers indicate that they do not get the desired additional convenience for the high prices they are paying.
About 20% of customers surveyed for the ACSI told that being hotel clients, they express complaints about their living from the arrival to departure time, to the neatness and decoration of the rooms to maintenance. The matter is the service level determines whether a client comes back. The present task is to train employees to be able managing with the client’s needs quickly and effectively. Otherwise many clients decide their issues by choosing another hotel on their next trip. Tracking complaints is one of the major components of managing the whole customer relationship.
McNair stresses that it is significant to track and analyze customer complaints and desires in order to prevent the issues to recur. It is necessary to develop best techniques for solving problems and sharing the techniques in the company, and then employees can resolve customer issues fastly and effectively. This peculiarity may become the difference between a one-time visitor or a permanent client. That is why one of the mottos of the the hotel managers is “making guests feel at home”. Earlier, this only meant providing a client with a clean room and a comfortable bed. As lifestyles have changed hotels mush respond by adding to their facilities and services. The examples of household trends that have become usual in hotels are air conditioning, remote control television, pay-per-view movies, and Internet access.
While examining today’s model houses you will often find an oversized whirlpool tub and a gym room. Once considered an extravagance, these facilities are now examined as ordinary as haircuts. Besides, progressive hotel facilities often provide a menu of services created to do everything to satisfy the customer’s needs to restore “personal balance and harmony”. All department managers in the hotel struggle to attract and keep customers and make them come back again. As competition, technology, and market expectations evolve, the attempts of managers should be directed to the client attraction. While becoming more general, hotel services are still considered to be a luxury, and customers expect to get a high level of personal service.
Taking into account the fact that modern life is changing fastly hotel managers should find the ways to gain profits while offering high-level service to the customers, so that they would wish to come back again. Future gains in pricing will require to be excused by improvements in the whole atmosphere of the hotel, including the physical facilities, equipment, fittings, and variety of services offered.