Hospitality is in that big tent of "Retail", and we face many of the challenges that retailers encounter on a daily basis - competition, discounts, changing tastes and demands, new Brands entering the marketplace, etc. We are more similar than we are different, and, whether we be a hotel corporation or restaurant company, we can learn from those savvy store executives, whose mere existence can implode in one frantic season. Certainly, one lesson is to plan growth, rather than bank on expansive construction and building.
That caution starts with the understanding that there are already too many retailers out there and, especially, if we have a number of Brands in our portfolio, it becomes ever more difficult to differentiate ourselves and be distinctive (and prosperous), given our margins.
CEO Mickey Drexler of the clothier, J. Crew, shared some insight in a rare recent interview, carried on www.cnbc.com. "There are too many retailers. There are too many brands. There are too many designers. There are too many discount stores, and the predator online companies are selling discount like crazy. Although consumers continue to flock to brands in droves, driving sales at companies such as TJX and Nordstrom, people will stop paying as much money as they are for logos at some point. The world today - the standards have been lowered and more people today are wearing more products from every designer, and the dilution of designer names is extraordinarily fast because they're selling to all discount stores with products and with deals." Boy, does that lament sound familiar.
And, our Hospitality Industry echoes just that. Building and expansion are happening everywhere, as we try to cover every corner, every block. Our Field of Dreams becomes the next Mall. You would think that we had learned about over ambitious growth from just a few years ago. We keep on pumping all that energy into a more and more homogenized "Brand-scape", building up that inventory in hopes that "they" will come.
Perhaps, if we directed our energies for a practiced and managed growth along with maximizing our efforts and influence on current assets, we would be better postured for an unsure coming few years. Mr. Drexler seems to be of that school, and J. Crew is doing exceedingly well. Dare we learn and actually orchestrate a memorable Customer Experience rather than react, reduce and retreat?
Permission for reprint provided by John Hendrie and credited to LRA Worldwide Inc.
About LRA Worldwide, Inc:
LRA Worldwide is a leading research and consulting company in the emerging discipline of Customer Experience Management (CEM). We work with our clients to help them design and deliver consistently exceptional customer experiences in order to drive customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy, and company growth and profitability.
In LRA's 25-year history, we have grown from a provider of customized quality assurance evaluation programs for the hospitality industry, to a leading CEM consulting company offering a variety of client solutions. The evolution has been driven by our clients asking us one question - "How do we get better?" In response, we have built a range of performance measurement, research, training and consulting solutions to help them do so. Today, we are a growing company operating in more than 120 countries throughout the world, helping clients deliver exceptional customer experiences. Every touch. Every time. For more information, visit us at www.LRAworldwide.com.
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