Embracing this concept of service through customer profiling has become synonymous with the Protea Hotels brand. According to Nicholas Barenblatt, group marketing manager of Protea Hotels, a member of Marriott, "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," Botha 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. "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," she says. "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."