Friday, December 05, 2008

Two sides of business development

Case 1: My new mobile phone came with a free holiday offer. Since we'd never been to this place and it was off season, we took up the offer. Very soon we landed up at our destination - part of a chain of time-share holiday resorts.

The register showed few other rooms occupied; so, I asked the receptionist if he could show me around the different kinds of rooms they had. "Sorry sir - all other rooms are occupied" came the reply. All my reasoning (see the register, we are contemplating taking membership, etc.) was countered with polite defiance. Finally, hunger got the better of me and I took the keys to our room.

Case 2: On the same trip, sightseeing landed us at an erstwhile palace converted to a hotel. The staff had strict instructions from management to keep sightseers at bay. They hinted that we should have dinner at the hotel. We decided to stay back (partly because our own resort food was mediocre). After dinner, the waiter said that he would be glad to show us around the place. Half an hour later, we had seen all the rooms, learnt a great deal about the history of the place and planned our next visit there!

In case 1, the hotel staff had all to gain. Giving a free package is an excellent way to market your resort(s). You've got captive audience, possibly more willing to listen to your marketing message. And it was squandered completely. Case 2 shows the inherent culture in the place - everyone in the organization chain knows the benefits of bringing in new customers. And they know how to maintain a premium brand!

PS: In case 1, during checkout, there was the routine question - "Would you want to join our membership program?" - followed by an explanation of the benefits. I had two choices - to tell them that I wasn't even shown the rooms, blah, blah blah or to say "Sorry, not interested". I chose the latter.

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