The road of one-to-one marketing is a tough one but its one that’s been very successful for Kimpton... (2/9/2007)
The road of one-to-one marketing is a tough one but its one that’s been very successful for Kimpton, says Steve Pinetti, SVP sales and marketing, Kimpton Hotels.
Pinetti acknowledges that growth-wise as the company plans to open about 20 more hotels and restaurants in the next three years, it is clear that operationally “we need to make sure our programmes can grow along with this expansion.”
“We want to make sure that no matter how big we get that we can still reach out and connect with our guests is as genuine and thoughtful a way as we have done to date,” he says.
Pinetti, in an interview with EyeforTravel.com’s Ritesh Gupta, spoke about major initiatives in CRM, customer profile and shared other relevant information. Excerpts:
What major initiatives have you taken in the recent past as far as CRM is concerned?
The major move has been to hire on R-Dialogue to increase the effectiveness of our email marketing which is the key to out relationship - dialogue with our members.
From service perspective, how do you know if you are delivering the brand promise and how can you measure it?
It can be done in many ways, customers intercepts, customer surveys, comment cards (both snail mail and e-mail), our quality control team and our own home office people who travel.
How do you train your employees to provide a distinct service, in keeping with your brand promise?
That’s the big effort. Our Kimpton service culture is highlighted in all contact points with the employees: orientation, ongoing training, all our Kimpton University classes open and close with this concept and there is an annual road show by home office staff (CEO, Senior VP Hotels , Senior VP of HR and Senior VP Sales and Marketing) to visit every hotel and employee in the country to highlight the importance of what they do every day as the key to their hotel and Kimpton Hotels success.
Also our managers via management training and workshops are challenged to keep the service culture alive and well daily in creative fresh and genuine ways.
With studies showing that requests for personal information deter customers, how can you obtain the greatest amount of CRM data from your online customers?
Our kind of customer wants to be recognised, communicated with and made to feel special. We know that 25 percent of those traveling see their relationship with their hotel as very important even more so than the airline and car rental company they use. The hotel is the most personalised part of the travel experience thus the most important - so our guests tell us!
How do you think new technology in user profiling and CRM provide travel marketers with greater control and more targeted campaigns? Do you think there is an over-reliance on technology in this area?
I don’t think there is an over reliance - I believe the more targeted you can be in sending someone what they have asked for vs a shotgun or spam approach is what allows you to strengthen the relationship you have with that guest. By sending them information they have requested or you know would be interest in allows you to begin or strengthen a “dialogue” with that guest – Isn’t that what relationships are about - a two way street!
What´s on your agenda? What are your plans for future?
Growth wise we will open about 20 more hotels and restaurants in the next three years. We are also clear that operationally we need to make sure our programmes can grow along with this expansion. The road of one-to-one marketing is a tough one but its one thats been very successful for Kimpton. We want to make sure that no matter how big we get that we can still reach out and connect with our guests is as genuine and thoughtful a way as we have done to date.