Subject and purpose of study:
Despite all the conventional methods of analyzing the customers with all the physical and social and other factors, the actual statistics seem to differ tremendously from the estimated outcomes. This is because we as humans seem to bank heavily on emotions. Once the customer has some sort of emotional attachment with the outlet for whatsoever reasons, he is not going to opt for other places. The customer might now be considered loyal to the outlet.
The customer wouldn’t prefer going to any of the competitors because he feels he has some sort of bond with the outlet. This emotional umbilical cord is very powerful as it is one of the easiest and the most effective ways to maintain customer loyalties. As they say, it is easier to retain the existing customers than it is to create new ones. The existing customers would always walk in with that feeling of homeliness and once this feeling of theirs is respected and catered, all the outlet has do is cash in. Existing customers don’t mind paying a little extra also because they’ve already grown used to the ambience and the way the outlet is run. Therefore, it should be profoundly important for the hotels and restaurants, to see to it that they lock in the customers as their regular guests. The hotels have to work hard to make sure that the customers don’t take away the business elsewhere.
The loss of a regular customer is colossal. The hotel is just not losing that one customer but a lot more than that. All those people whom he had recommended the hotel in course of years would also develop negative thoughts and opinions about the outlet. This might be a very serious issue and often devastating for the hotel chains.
Loyalty as such is the key factor in most businesses, but its impact is more clearly visible in the business of hospitality and hotel management. When compared to several other businesses, the one fact that stands out here is that the hospitality industry has a lot to do with how the customer actually feels about being at the place. This might include the food, the ambience, the customer satisfaction and several other factors. Hospitality has more to do with experience as against those of other industries who just sell products. There can be many ways in which this can be done, some hotels prefer giving free gifts, some give special privileges to their regular customers, some others give huge discounts. All these methods are simply aimed at encouraging customer loyalty. The hotels and restaurants should never miss a chance on maintaining and pleasing loyal customers given the fact that this emotional attachment is so very delicate yet powerful enough change the very course of several businesses.
It is because of these above stated reasons that it becomes immensely important for the managers to study the science of loyalty management and learn how to implement it thoroughly.
Important concepts and theories, the background of the study:
In simple terms, it can be said that in spite of all what the company the customer has an inherent tendency to keep looking for better alternatives, the analogy here is given by Leahy where the characteristic customer behavior is compared to that of a cat. A dog considered being man’s best friend because come what may it does not swerve its loyalties. However the customer behaves more like the cat and is always on the lookout for softer and more comfortable lap. The need of the hour is that the hotels should see to it that they provide this soft lap to the customers and always keep increasing the standard of their services.
Leahy here compares the restaurants to the airlines; the airlines have been far more successful in maintaining loyal customers than the hospitality industry. Airlines have several clubs where the members are classified as gold, silver or other...