Apart from providing guest satisfaction, the hotel also needs to take care of its operations and revenue. Mam, please share about some strategies which Fairfield by Marriott uses to stay updated with the hotel operations to ensure its growth in the market?
Vrushali V Kummar:-Guest satisfaction is of prime importance with Marriott International and we capitalize on tools and resources of proprietary apps and programs which help us enhance guest experience and customer satisfaction. Few strategies we follow to yield revenue basis guest satisfaction:
Software like PMS and CRM play a major role in hotels these days. Please enlighten us how is Fairfield by Marriott utilizing this software? Also, please tell us how helpful do you think they are for a hotel? Can they prove to be a perfect substitution of the human brain in hospitality?
Vrushali V Kummar:-PMS or a Property Management system is the backbone of any hotel operations and helps us be organized for our daily operations from reservation management to administrative tasks for both internal and external operations in a hotel. On the other hand, CRM or a Customer Relationship management system helps us analyse the data populated in the PMS making us focus on customer retention and driving revenue growth. However, the integration of both PMS and CRM is the key to success in optimizing revenue growth for a hotel. We work on both these mechanisms simultaneously.
Hotels rather hospitality is a human touch industry and the human brain can never be obsolete in the industry. The myth has played for many years and personally, I feel replacing humans in client-facing interactions will do more harm than good for a brand. Person-to-person communication is still valued over answering to and automated voice. Going forward both will remain intertwined as automation can offer a support mechanism to human customer interaction.
Hotel Industry is facing challenges these days due to OTAs and indirect booking platforms? Mam, how does your hotel overcome these problems and what all offers and services do you provide to your loyal guests who opt for direct booking?
Vrushali V Kummar :-The company believes in rate parity and hence a rate guarantee when it comes to all online channels. Marriott has one of the largest membership portfolios with Marriott Bonvoy. We encourage a book direct option with exclusive deals for Marriott Bonvoy member and a host of online packages, which are available on Marriott.com. This helps us retain and revert back business from our loyal customer base which is very vital for a corporate hotel. The company believes in rate parity and hence a rate guarantee when it comes to all online channels. Marriott has one of the largest membership portfolios with Marriott Bonvoy. We encourage a book direct option with exclusive deals for Marriott Bonvoy member and a host of online packages, which are available on Marriott.com. This helps us retain and revert back business from our loyal customer base which is very vital for a corporate hotel.
Staying in a hotel is an experience for guests these days. They look for something unique and engaging in the hotels. Please tell us about some unique and engaging services which Fairfield offers to keep their guests engaged?
Vrushali V Kummar:- Fairfield is a classic select service offering for Marriott International globally. Our guest priority states that the guest is our number one priority and we live by the same. Customer service and satisfaction are the key USPs for the hotel. Location is our biggest USP, we are amidst the IT corridor of Magapartta, Phursungi and Kharadi, this forms the biggest feeder market for us. We bank on our food and beverage offering at KAVA the global cuisine restaurant at the hotel.
Our promise is to provide a clean and fresh hotel with the highest quality standards, make them feel welcome, respond promptly to their needs and offer a service that makes them want to return.
Being the Director of Sales and Marketing in Fairfield by Marriott, what kind of research is done before changing the marketing and sales strategies of the hotel? What all aspects are noticed when changing the prices and offers given by hotels?
Vrushali V Kummar :-Marriott sales and revenue teams work in sync to formulate the best revenue management strategies for any hotel. As a sales and marketing leader, the focus lies on optimizing the three basic buckets for business for a hotel viz transient – corporate and online, group and direct sales for revenue maximization
A robust group strategy not only makes for filler business in the short term strategy but also compelling rates with unique differentiators from property to property.
A clear market study, shop calls and yearly need and volume-based contracting help gauge the nerve for the corporate market. The millennial generation values the opportunity to earn rewards and benefits irrespective of whether they book online or directly which can be done by upselling, remarketing, and working on social media strategies.
The last piece is to maximize the brand presence online and manage social media to optimize through marketing campaigns, GDS exclusive rates and so on.
People dwell on social media these days. It has made things quite transparent for them. Please share with us, how is Fairfield by Marriott utilizing the same for the growth of the hotel?
Vrushali V Kummar:- Social Media has been a boon for the industry helping hotels gain exposure and attention to a larger global audience. Like rightly put things are quite transparent and travellers these days are extremely educated on online marketing and understand the usage of it for the good or the bad. Social media offer amazing analytical tools allowing hotels to engage with existing and new customers on a daily basis. One can objectify the number of followers and have specific goals based on social media strategy. Conscious consistent messaging helps promote the hotel in the targeted audience unlike traditional sporadic media approach to promote content. Ability to speak to a very specific demographic, enormous potential reach is amongst the many benefits, which we bank on.
How important is customer retention in the hospitality sector and how do you make sure to retain customers when the competition is very high?
Vrushali V Kummar:- Acquiring a new customer is about 5-7 times the cost of retaining a loyal customer. In the long-term strategy, we develop and drive customer loyalty by identifying and prioritizing their needs. Understanding what motivates them to rebook and delivering to their expectation, creating a home away from home emotion by personalized notes from the staff, small gestures creating strong relationships making them want to return. Providing repeat booking benefits and incentives and cultivating their brand loyalty.
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