Building Corporate Client Loyalty ~ The Way Ahead

Nov 09 , 2004
Stimulated by economic recovery, the number of business travelers will likely rise over the next year. As a result, hotel room rates will also increase, by up to 3% in North American and 4% in Asia-Pacific, according to figures from American Express. At many hotels, the business traveler books weekdays while weekends are more popular with leisure travelers. This means a ratio of 5-to-2 nights room productivity generated by business travelers.

Business travel has been a great market for the hotel industry: not only in terms of rates, but also productivity/repetitive demand. Moreover, corporate clients tend to generate revenue for hotels not only through room sales but also in other departments, such as the Business Center, Function / Meeting rooms, F&B and telephone usage. In other words, to gain corporate client loyalty becomes a guarantee of continuous revenue.

For such reasons, a hotel should focus on the numerous ways it can build corporate clients' loyalty. One is to make booking reservations at your hotel a quick-and-easy matter, particularly considering how many corporate travelers are last-minute bookings. How easily can your reservation system provide instant confirmation, or proffer special corporate rates, through your hotel web site? If you don't have the kind of reservation system that provides instant confirmation through your website, this could give rise to difficulties, especially with your overseas corporate clients, due to the high cost of making reservations through international direct dialing from their country -- not to mention the inconvenient time difference.

A hotel's own website could function as a gateway to provide detailed hotel information: pictures, facilities, directions, rates, etc. Incomplete or incorrect information displayed in a hotel website can on the other hand discourage a corporate traveler from choosing this particular hotel. For example, unclear information about the distance to a particular convention hall or airport, as a hotel's location is one of the key factors for corporate travelers when selecting their accommodation.

Another way to secure and maintain loyalty of corporate clients is through creation of appealing programs or packages that suit their particular needs. Learning what corporate clients want and require during their stay will help pinpoint what is the best program or package that suits them. Offering packages or programs is not effective unless they are constantly updated or their target users informed about them. Email can be one of the fastest and most economical ways to transmit news about your hotel programs or promotions to corporate guests so, be sure you have complete and accurate email information on all your guests.

Guest history reports are critical intelligence in your effort to understand your corporate client. These would include factors such as:

  • favorite room type
  • average spending profile
  • room preference
  • average length of stay
  • particular dietary or other requests
  • entertainment tastes • audio-visual
  • personal computer requirements (modem hookup, business centre access, etc.) Through such a database you can be ready to prepare unique products and services for corporate clients even before they arrive.

To be able to build and sustain corporate loyalty, you need one system which can handle numerous aspects of reservation systems, corporate contract management systems, comprehensive reporting and the Web promotion engine. Pelican Reservation Management System offers just such features, working together with client hotels to build corporate / agent loyalty. Some of the features offered include:

  1. Instant confirmation - corporate clients can make reservations and receive instant confirmation directly from the hotel website.
  2. Corporate contract management system - hotels can set corporate rates and room allotments according to seasonal periods, thus providing secure access for corporate clients. Hotels can retrieve confidential trade rates and share allotments among a number of different corporate clients on a "first-come-first-served" basis.
  3. Web promotion engine - harnessing its email distribution program to enable a hotel to send news about packages or promotions to all corporate clients / agents with a single click.
  4. Detailed customer report - Complete reports are provided, including details such as average length of stay, room preference, average spending, etc.