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Hotels need to improve relationships with guests, says survey

20 May 2005

Hotels are not doing enough to foster relationships with their guests, according to a new survey by marketing company the Ion Group.

The research asked 1,000 UK marketing professionals how much of a relationship they believe consumers want to have with companies across key industry sectors.

The results show that the hotel and travel industry is lagging behind, with a relationship score of 10% below average.

"The relatively low relationship score of hotels could be explained by the polarity that exists between attitudes in business and short-break travel and general consumer travel," said Mark Jones, Ion Group sales director.

"As the public's travel habits have altered, short-break travel represents an increasingly lucrative market for companies that are shrewd enough to realise the value of building customer relationships."

Carla Burt, of Starwood Hotels, said it is doing a lot to target short-break customers. "Our Starwood preferred guest scheme is designed to be as flexible as possible for the short-break customer."

She agreed that more and more people were taking a number of short breaks, as opposed to one two week holiday.

"What we are also seeing is people ‘tacking on' mini holidays onto the end of business trips," she added.

Wayne Hulme, director of My Travel, said low-cost flights account for much of the rise in short-break travel.

"We have noticed that Majorca is becoming much more of a short-break destination, whereas before it was traditionally tour-operator based."

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