SOURCE: Aberdeen Group

Aberdeen Group

November 10, 2009 10:00 ET

High Customer Expectations Driving Top Hospitality Organizations to Improve the Guest Experience

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - November 10, 2009) - The top pressure hospitality organizations face in upgrading the guest experience is high service level expectations, according to the Aberdeen Group report "Winning Strategies for Upgrading the Hospitality Guest Experience." Between August and September 2009, Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company (NYSE: HHS), surveyed 81 hospitality organizations to determine how leading hospitality organizations are improving the guest experience through upgrades to customer- and employee-facing technologies.

"The bulk of today's consumers, simply put, are looking for more 'bang for their buck.' With the proliferation of the online channel and comparison websites, hotels and resorts need to find ways to attract customers short of simply offering the lowest price," says Chris Cunnane, chief author and senior research associate, Aberdeen.

In response to these pressures, hospitality organizations have identified "improving response to customer feedback and providing a low-cost alternative to meet customer expectations" as their top strategic actions. "Leading hospitality organizations are also taking a closer look at customer behavioral dynamics when implementing guest experience related strategies," says Sahir Anand, co-author and research director, Aberdeen.

The top capability to emerge from this study is visibility into service and product allocation per customer. "In a hotel or resort, this equates to proper staffing of the concierge and front desk to answer questions, fulfill needs, and provide guidance within the property. For restaurants, this includes proper host station coverage, table service coverage, and bar coverage. By providing proper visibility into service allocation, organizations can adjust staffing levels based on the current and forecasted customer levels. This visibility can be achieved by utilizing reporting capabilities from workforce management, reservation management, and revenue management applications," says Cunnane.

To improve the guest experience, Aberdeen data has shown that a proper mix of employee-facing and customer-facing technology upgrades are necessary. Aberdeen's analysis of leading organizations demonstrates that these companies have placed an increased focus on:

--  Utilization of self-service kiosks. The self-service kiosks allow
    guests to control many elements of their experience including reservations,
    concierge services, and check-out.
--  Implementation of an enterprise-wide CRM system. A CRM system allows
    the organization to capture customer data such as visit frequency, purchase
    history, activity history, as well as demographic information.
--  Adoption of online training portals. This allows for proper training
    for new hires, advancing employees, or preparation for employees who are
    moving to a new department. It also allows employees to share ideas, best
    practices, and suggestions.

All of the above requirements, amongst others, are part of the winning strategy for upgrading the guest experience.

A complimentary copy of this report is made available due in part to the following underwriters: HP, Microsoft. The Hospitality publication partner for this report is Hospitality Net. To obtain a complimentary copy of the report, visit:

For additional access to complimentary Retail Research, please visit

About Aberdeen Group, a Harte-Hanks Company

Aberdeen is a leading provider of fact-based research and market intelligence that delivers demonstrable results. Having benchmarked more than 30,000 companies in the past two years, Aberdeen is uniquely positioned to educate users to action: driving market awareness, creating demand, enabling sales, and delivering meaningful return-on-investment analysis. As the trusted advisor to the global technology markets, corporations turn to Aberdeen™ for insights that drive decisions.

As a Harte-Hanks Company, Aberdeen plays a key role of putting content in context for the global direct and targeted marketing company. Aberdeen's analytical and independent view of the "customer optimization" process of Harte-Hanks (Information - Opportunity - Insight - Engagement - Interaction) extends the client value and accentuates the strategic role Harte-Hanks brings to the market. For additional information, visit Aberdeen or call (617) 723-7890, or to learn more about Harte-Hanks, call (800) 456-9748 or go to

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