As the world changes, customer demands are always changing and increasing, and while being customer-focused is important, being customer-centric is about gaining a deep knowledge of customer needs, behaviours, and more.
By doing this, hospitality businesses can use data-driven insights to deliver real value to their customers, which can lead to better retention and loyalty.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what customer-centricity means for the hospitality industry. We’ll then look at some key statistics that prove how customer centricity can make or break your business, before discussing ways you can improve your customer experience.
What does it mean to be customer-centric in the hospitality industry?
Put simply, customer-centricity is about putting customers at the center of every business process and decision.
By embedding this customer-centric approach into your company culture and making customer relationships a top priority, hospitality organisations can generate value for their guests, build lasting relationships, and offer more personalised experiences in the future.
However, businesses that are serious about doing this must understand that it means redefining the whole organisation’s orientation and culture. It means teaching and encouraging employees at all levels to fully engage with customers at all times.
It also means using data to build a 360-degree view of customers so you can create a seamless omnichannel experience for them. For example, giving them more ways to make a booking online, through social media or through an app. Or ensuring swift responses to online queries or issues.
A 360-degree view allows you to understand your customer on a personal level, which in turn facilitates segmentation to group them into specific enticing offers that promote a rebook/revisit.
Statistics that prove customer-centricity can make or break your business
It’s clear from the above that customer-centricity won’t be achieved overnight and can mean a lot of extra work for hospitality businesses.
So why should you care about fully embracing customer-centricity?
Below we’ve pulled together just six statistics that prove customer-centricity can make or break your business:
- Almost two-thirds (62%) of consumers say they would and have recommended, chosen, or paid more for a company that provides a personalised service
- Over half (53%) of consumers prefer apps to find accommodation for their holidays, business trips, and weekends away. Therefore, providing an omnichannel experience is important to them
- Companies with a customer experience mindset can drive their revenue up by as much as 4-8% higher than their competitors
- Customers changing companies due to poor service costs businesses in the US an average of $1.6 trillion a year, and this figure includes lots of hospitality businesses
- The top reason that customers switch to different hospitality brands is because they feel unappreciated
- Plus, loyal customers are five times more likely to purchase from a company again, and four times more likely to recommend services to a friend. As such, turning new customers into loyal ones through great customer experience is absolutely crucial
From these statistics, we can see that building a loyal customer base is important, and a strong personalised experience is the way to go about it.
Ways to embrace and improve customer-centricity in your hospitality business
Keeping all of the above in mind, let’s now look at how you can embrace customer-centricity in your hospitality business.
Don’t just focus on ROI
While return on investment (ROI) is important when it comes to your business, it’s important to remember that there are other metrics you need to be monitoring.
Looking at your return on relationships (ROR) is also important, and by this, we mean looking at aspects such as return customers, online reviews, customer engagement, and email open rates, etc.
This will give you a better insight into how your efforts are translating into returning, loyal customers.
Communication is key
In today’s digital world, we understand that customers want to have a say in what they consume, as well as where, when, and how they are marketed to.
However, it’s about more than just sending them information and marketing, it’s also about ongoing dialogues and building relationships. For example, they expect quick responses to queries, bookings or complaints, whether they make these over the phone, web, email, or social media.
Upgrade your offerings
In order to acquire and retain new customers, you need to continue surprising and delighting your customers, as well as keeping up with their changing demands and expectations by updating your offerings and services.
Because ultimately, loyalty is never completely won. If you don’t bother to keep up with your guest’s wants and needs, there is nothing to stop them using other businesses – even if they’ve been a customer for years.
Renovation isn’t just about the buildings
Whether you’re a hotel, restaurant, bar, or any other hospitality venue, it’s crucial to remember that doing some renovation to your physical buildings and spaces is no longer enough to be innovative.
If you hope to impress your guests and improve customer-centricity, then you need to also consider the more emotional and relational ways of improving your service to satisfy your customers. For example, offering late-checkout, so guests don’t have to rush or partnering with other brands that your customers also enjoy. This takes their emotions into consideration as much as their physical surroundings and can massively contribute towards an immersive customer experience.
Understand that value is more important than price
Today’s consumers care more about value and experience than price, and many are willing to pay more for convenience and an overall better experience. By understanding this and embedding this into your company culture, your business can better meet the needs of customers, rather than trying to cut corners in order to offer a budget (or at least competitive) price.
If you’d like to know more about how you can build a 360° view of your customers in your business, you can check out our comprehensive guide here.