Applications of Customer Relationship Marketing in the UK Hospitality Industry

Applications of Customer Relationship Marketing in the UK Hospitality Industry

Geoff Lancaster, Diana Luck
DOI: 10.4018/jcrmm.2010100101
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This paper aims to research the hospitality industry to gauge dimensions of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) that resonate with guests and employees. An uncovering of perceptual differences of hotel guests and employees was sought to assess its application within the London hotel industry and to investigate CRM as an emerging concept. The global hotel market contains many brands and partnerships, and CRM is significant, because differentiation becomes easier for those with potential to develop long-term customer relationships. Despite being differentiated by star ratings, most hotels in London offer similar core products and services. In this regard, development of relationships with customers can be considered emphatic to the London hotel industry. Methodologically, triangulation of data and theories was used in this paper to investigate staff and customers. A standardised questionnaire gauged elements regarded as being part CRM with the objective to assess differential CRM perceptions and their relevancy to the hotel industry in contemporary terms. Findings suggest CRM become an integral part of a hotel’s offerings and operations.
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Aims And Objectives

Creating an environment that nurtures and maintains relationships with customers is a challenge. Although this seems commonsensical, many seem unable to reap the benefits customer relationships can enable; so many CRM programmes seem irrelevant. Could this be due to unrealistic expectations of the potential of CRM, a misunderstanding of its true meaning or the fact that CRM is not being used as a strategic tool, linked to marketing objectives?

Research in the hospitality industry is reported to gauge dimensions of CRM that resonate with guests and employees to refine its engagement. The uncovering of perceptual differences of hotel guests and employees was sought to assess its application within the hotel industry.

Four objectives provide this framework:

  • 1.

    To illustrate the grounding of CRM as an emerging concept and clarify how even though it is still evolving (just like marketing), CRM pivots on three main dimensions: technology, people and processes.

  • 2.

    To show how CRM has been embraced within hotel industry operations.

  • 3.

    To compare/evaluate perceptual differences of guests and employees to gauge whether customers (those to whom CRM is targeted) and employees (those who deliver CRM within operations) have different perceptions about its dimensions.

  • 4.

    To propose a refined list of dimensions of CRM tailored to the dynamics/operations of the hotel industry.


The London Hotel Sector

A diverse group of hotel companies from owner-operators to global chains operate in this sector (Mintel, 2006) which is especially exposed to global economic developments, and is often first destination for international travellers. It is susceptible to international events, the industry being affected by bombings that took place in July 2005; yet, despite of a dip in occupancy, the industry recuperated.

Corporate guests account for a high share of sales, and hoteliers intensely target this market. New room designs, enhancement of business facilities and incentive schemes have been tailored to needs of business guests, e.g., in May 2006, Marriott International launched its first online campaign to appeal to two different types of business traveller: over 45s and under 45s: banner advertisements on key business websites direct users to microsites where they can check reservations and view offers.

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