FOXTROTS

Fox – sly.  Trots – left-leaning (Trotsky) plus its more insalubrious meaning.

Foxtrots – leading the industry in a dance.

 

June 25 2013

 

Schulze Soundbites

Excerpt from recent item in People-in-Travel.

 

Horst Schulze, now running Capella hotels and resorts, is best known for his time running Ritz-Carlton. Some soundbites on the upmarket hotel business:

 

-The luxury hotel business started to change about 20 years ago. Traditional luxury hotels will be called affordable luxury, and the others will be ultra luxury.

 

-The industry is becoming much more global.

 

-Over next 10 years mergers will increase 4-times. That means more business travel. At the same time, emerging markets are travelling more outside. 1% of Chinese would mean 15mn roomnights. (That is a giant under-estimate. At present, domestic roomnights are probably already 1.5bn roomnights.)

 

-You want to have loyal customers. They need to trust your brand. You have to understand what they want. Many in the business know what they want to give customers, but not what the customer wants.

 

We disagree almost 100% with Schulze; hotel groups spend enormous amounts of energy on trying to learn what the customer wants. Indeed, we might accuse Schulze of knowing what he wants to give customers.

 

-They want timeliness. At Ritz-Carlton when I started the customer would wait four minutes and that would be ok. We gave him a drink and he waited another two minutes. Now, people do not want to wait longer than one minute. And they want no defect, and they want it from a caring staffer.

 

-Now, people need service after 3-maximum-4 rings. Service starts the moment they start to contact you. The first step is a welcome. An employee who is trained just to fulfil a function, cannot do this.

 

-We have created a commodity for a place to sleep in. But the customer does not want that. He wants a meaningful experience. That wasn’t the case 30 years ago.

 

-Are we creating ‘meaningful moments’ or just ‘moments’? We don’t produce beds. We don’t produce the floors or the walls. We produce one thing – service. They need to look you in eyes and know they are getting service.

 

-From emerging markets it is more important because they are more nervous travellers.

 

-30 years ago they checked in wearing a business suit, with chandeliers, art, and service at arm’s length. Now they arrive in jeans with holes in them, and they are screaming “I want it my way; I want it for me”.

 

-And they will get more demanding in the next 10 years. They will want more tomorrow than today.

 

 

The Fox