Hilton Customer Service Case Study

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Customer Service in Travel and Tourism

Hilton Hotels Case Study

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The ‘Understanding Travel and Tourism’ case study provides useful background information about Hilton Hotels. The first three sections of this case study are based on two presentations on the theme of ‘Reach Beyond’ given to employees of Hilton Hotels UK and Ireland as part of a major staff training programme.

Benefits of Good Customer Service

Guests tend to leave or defect from Hilton because:

• they become dissatisfied or
• a competitor is thought to be better or because
• a guest simply doesn’t care (in every market there are people who just don’t care about brand choice) or • the guest has no choice e.g. the location is not right for the traveller or, for business travellers, because company policy is to use another hotel chain.

What satisfies guests?

Every guest is different, however research by Hilton Hotels has identified some ‘drivers’ that influence whether a guest is satisfied with the stay or not.

Drivers of Guest Satisfaction – UK
Relative Impact on Overall Satisfaction

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The Importance of Loyalty

Guest survey research by Hilton suggests that in a typical year only 5% of existing customers remain loyal, however loyal customers tend to spend more and they account for 10% of revenue. Loyalty is important because satisfied and loyal guests:

• will make an effort to do business with Hilton
• give 80% or more of their business to Hilton
• ignore competitive offers, advertising and discounts • tend to be willing to accept higher pricing structures • remain with Hilton 8-10 times longer than unloyal guests • are worth 100 times more than unloyal guests, in the long term

It is worth noting that the importance of loyal guests is recognised by most travel and tourism organisations, and many often carry out promotions aimed directly at repeat customers.

One way Hilton Hotels rewards loyalty and encourages repeat bookings is through the Hilton HHonors membership scheme, through which customers can receive points and other benefits. The more a customer uses Hilton Hotels, the bigger the rewards.

Handling Complaints

If no action is taken following a complaint, 52% of guests making a complaint are likely NOT to return. Once a complaint has been handled satisfactorily, 94% of customers making a complaint will return. This is almost the same percentage of customers likely to return when there is no problem and no complaint.

This slide gives more detail about Hilton Hotels’ findings from research into the handling of problems and complaints.

How may I help you?

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ICT and Customer Service

Hilton Hotels uses ICT in many ways. Just a few examples are:

• Hilton Hotels’ e-learning training programme that can be accessed by all staff members • the use of powerful software programmes for analysing the results of research into customer satisfaction levels • providing excellent ICT amenities for business travellers • making it easier to book the Hilton brand by improvements to websites and computerised reservations systems, and ‘fair deal’ agreements with external booking agencies.

In 2002/3 Hilton developed a local language website for Hilton International in the UK - www.hilton.co.uk. The re-designed site featured lots more information. It was localised to make sure the offers were relevant and attractive for UK customers. The details on each hotel are updated at the hotel, rather than centrally, as is common practice. This ensures that the customer is getting all the most up-to-date and relevant details about the hotel and its offers as soon as possible.

As part of the successful launch, the website www.hiltongroup.com promoted the new-look website...
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