When it comes to business, not following up on your promises can have a serious cost. The quickest way to lose business as a supplier in the hospitality business is to not keep your word or follow up to ensure success and build a relationship with your customer.
Hotel customers expect and appreciate the efforts hotel vendors make to ensure that their product or service is working properly and meeting their needs. Customers at hotels want account management and follow-up to be standard practice. They don’t want to ask for it. After all, this is the “hospitality” business, most associates in the business pride themselves on being “hospitable”.
When a vendor fails to follow up after making a promise or commitment, customers will be less trusting of that vendor’s reliability and even though the hospitality industry is a big one, it’s small in the way hoteliers talk to each other about their vendor experiences. You want them to sing your praises to their colleagues. As human beings we are programmed to poke holes in a product or service if the experience with the salesperson or customer service agent is not favorable.
At iDEAL Hospitality Partners Group, we coach and advise suppliers regularly and monitor their follow-up. Andy Haynes, the VP of Strategic Growth says, “We want to ensure the suppliers we partner with maintain a high level of credibility with hoteliers, resulting in higher sales, increased customer loyalty and better customer service. Frankly, iDEAL’s reputation is at stake, too. Hoteliers rely on us to vet suppliers and ensure they are hospitality ready.” Andy explains, “By suppliers taking proactive measures to keep their word and follow up with customers regularly, the company demonstrates that they are reliable and trustworthy partners and can maintain a hospitality customer’s loyalty. Ultimately, following up can help build customer trust and confidence, leading to positive relationships, strong testimonials, and long-term success for the business. We want our suppliers to be well-known, trusted advisors in the industry.”
To ensure that your business does not pay a hefty price for failing to follow up on promises, it is important to establish an effective system for tracking commitments and following up regularly with customers. This can involve setting up automated reminders or notifications to alert team members when follow-up is needed, as well as providing feedback and support so customers know they are being taken seriously. It’s wise to set up response time rules, and a regularly schedule outreach, or quarterly review meetings.
Because there are so many layers of key stakeholders in the hospitality industry, it’s important to recognize that being a proactive communicator to your direct customer is the key to make sure that associate speaks highly of you and your product or service to the hotel management company, owner, brand, or group purchasing organization. As a supplier in the hotel industry, your goal is to win as much business as possible throughout the entire ecosystem. You’ll be in a much better position to earn a brand standard or GPO contract if your reputation is stellar. In fact, you can pretty much rule out a big contract deal if your reputation is not good in the hotel industry.
On the flip side, suppliers also need to know that they can rely on their hotel customers for prompt replies to emails and requests. Without mutual trust, it is impossible for any business relationship to be successful. There are many hospitality management companies, ownership groups, brands and GPO’s that have standards stating their staff should treat suppliers as valued partners and respond to them in a timely manner. This is the iDEAL way for any relationship to work, both personally and professionally. As such, two-way communication should be a priority for both customers and businesses alike. It is the only way to ensure that each party can depend on one another to achieve their respective goals. With an unwavering commitment to honesty and respect, business relationships can thrive and both parties can reap the rewards.
In any business setting, it is important to keep communication lines open and professional. No matter the industry, it is crucial that vendors and customers treat each other with respect and courtesy. If a customer has not responded to your request or set up a meeting, do not take this personally- it could simply be that they are no longer interested in your product or service, or they do not have a standard practice to respond to you. It’s unfortunate when a supplier feels they are bombarding a hotel customer to get a response. No one likes to feel “salesy”.
Whether you are a hotel vendor or hospitality customer, courtesy and respect should remain the cornerstone of your business relationship. This way, all parties involved can have peace of mind knowing that they are being taken care of properly and can focus on building a successful business for years to come. With mutual courtesy and respect, vendors and customers alike can look forward to a positive and productive business relationship.
If you are a vendor selling to any business, not just hospitality, it is essential to remember that you always want to treat people like you want to be treated and maintain courteous communication channels with hospitality customers and respect their time. Lately, the hospitality industry is stretched for labor and many decision makers don’t have the time to have long conversations with vendors. The communication style suppliers have with key decision makers and stakeholders is a major key point. Andy elaborates on this, “part of the services we provide suppliers at iDEAL Hospitality Partners Group, is creating specific customer-facing materials and presentations because we know hoteliers time is valuable and they want to see benefits, cost, and value in a well-laid out manner designed just for them.” For suppliers that present to hoteliers, if your communication style and materials are on-point and created just for hospitality professionals, that is a sure sign of respect you are offering them, and it doesn’t go unnoticed.
In summary, suppliers should set up a real plan for communicating to hoteliers that is proactive, and is viewed as helpful, and not buggy. Hoteliers that honor their word with supplier companies will find greater success in their operation, which helps increase the bottom line.
Suppliers can complete this questionnaire if they are interested in business development services by iDEAL Hospitality Partners Group.