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The Caterer

Give customers what they want

27 May 2010
Give customers what they want

In an era of value hoteliers must avoid complicating matters and take a transparent, back-to-basics approach to corporate bookings, says Guoman and Thistle Hotels managing director Heiko Figge

It is no secret that corporate travel budgets continue to be stretched further than ever, even as the economy emerges from the recession.

"Value" is the buzz word, as meetings and events clients ask themselves how they can maximise their budgets while optimising the return for delegates. In the current climate hoteliers need to reassess what, exactly, they are offering to the event organiser. True value for clients is an offer that combines efficiency, transparency, flexibility and reward.

Being upfront about costs saves everybody time and avoids complicating matters. It sounds obvious, but clients want to know exactly what they are paying for - give clients options that don't include masses of hidden costs and you're on the right track.

However, transparent and fair pricing shouldn't come at the cost of a personalised service. Hoteliers need to be able to demonstrate that they have the flexibility to meet different business requirements in order to remain competitive and drive client satisfaction.

At Thistle, we listened to our customers and the message was loud and clear: there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to what clients want. Listening to your customers is vital for developing a forward-thinking meetings and events package that really gives clients what they're looking for; not just what we think - or hope - they're looking for.

Rewarding loyal clients is also a must when demonstrating value for money. At Thistle, for example, we offer perks such as free room upgrades, late checkout and a cash-back Booking Bonus scheme - gestures that build brand loyalty and relationships.

Getting back to basics is not about a stripped-down offering; it's about an uncomplicated, transparent and client-focused approach that has the changing needs of clients at its core.

This boardroom-less meeting on Sydney's Bondi Beach was used by Hilton to illustrate to meetings and events clients the hazards of taking cost-cutting too far

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