In an ever changing world where time is of the essence , where location is of no concern but customer experience still reigns King it is impressive to see that some hotels are sitting up and listening ...

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There is nothing more impressive to a customer than a service provider who greets them by name as they walk through the door or who shows that he cares about the customers enough to remember what they bought the last time they interacted with the business. This is a level of service and customer engagement many businesses strive for – but not that many get right

Embracing this concept of service through customer profiling has differentiated Protea Hotels from other hotel groups and has become synonymous with the brand. According to Nicholas Barenblatt, Group Marketing Manager of Protea Hotels, a proud member of Marriott, a leading global hotel group, “We use various tools to source and record insightful information about our regular guests. Social media is a particularly useful platform in this regard because social media users constantly share information and generate reviews of their experiences at Protea Hotels without us even having to survey them formally. This sort of information is really helpful in creating a profile of a regular customer.”

The concept has been taken up with enthusiasm by many Protea Hotels profiling staff members, and Natalie Botha, General Manager of the Protea Hotel Wanderers in Johannesburg, stands out in this regard.
“I strongly believe that a customer-centric approach is crucial in my business,” Natalie explains. “That’s why we focus in our hotel on giving our guests the sense that staying in the hotel is as close to being at home as we can make it – if not better!”

Natalie has adopted customer profiling to give her an insight into what her guests want and enjoy, and she is then able to tailor the hotel’s offering to particular guests accordingly.

Natalie shared that ...
 “Often a business collects a great deal of information about its clients but does nothing with that information. My team constantly updates the information we keep about our regular guests, and we offer them unique and special experiences in the hotel based on what we know will enhance their stay experience.
We take very seriously the comments our guests make about their experience in the hotel, as well as their suggestions for activities they’d like to have us offer – which is far more targeted than us deciding ourselves what we think they’d like.”
In this video - talks about one example of how her hotel has implemented a practical response to the knowledge they have of some of their guests.

Most often, the special experience is offered to a group of customers who share similar feedback, but there are occasions on which it is totally individualised – and this is where Protea Hotel Wanderers has really got it right. “We’re privileged to have some guests who keep returning to the hotel, and we’ve built up wonderful relationships with them. When we see them coming through the door, it feels like a member of the family has just come home,” Natalie says.

The benefits of Natalie’s approach are obvious: very satisfied, happy customers, and regular return business – all good for the bottom line.

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