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Project on Customer Relationship Management At ITC, Maurya Sheraton

Submitted To: Ms. Kavita Shukla

Submitted by:

CRM, or Customer Relationship Management, is a company-wide business strategy designed to reduce costs and increase profitability by solidifying customer loyalty. True CRM brings together information from all data sources within an organization (and where appropriate, from outside the organization) to give one, holistic view of each customer in real time. This allows customer facing employees in such areas as sales, customer support, and marketing to make quick yet informed decisions on everything from cross-selling and upselling opportunities to target marketing strategies to competitive positioning tactics. Once thought of as a type of software, CRM has evolved into a customer-centric philosophy that must permeate an entire organization. There are three key elements to a successful CRM initiative: people, process, and technology. The people throughout a company-from the CEO to each and every customer service rep-need to buy in to and support CRM. A company's business processes must be reengineered to bolster its CRM initiative, often from the view of, how can this process better serve the customer? Firms must select the right technology to drive these improved processes, provide the best data to the employees, and be easy enough to operate that users won't balk. If one of these three foundations is not sound, the entire CRM structure will crumble. It's a strategy used to learn more about customers' needs and behaviors in order to develop stronger relationships with them. After all, good customer relationships are at the heart of business success. There are many technological components to CRM, but thinking about CRM in primarily technological terms is a mistake. The more useful way to think about CRM is as a process that will help bring together lots of pieces of information about customers, sales, marketing effectiveness, responsiveness and market trends. If customer relationships are the heart of business success, then CRM is the valve the pumps a company's life blood. As such, CRM is best suited to help businesses use people, processes, and technology to gain insight into the behavior and value of customers. This insight allows for improved customer service, increased call center efficiency, added cross-sell and up-sell opportunities, improved close rates, streamlined sales and marketing processes, improved customer profiling and targeting, reduced costs, and increased share of customer and overall profitability.

This sounds like a panacea, but CRM is not without its challenges. For CRM to be truly effective, an organization must convince its staff that change is good and that CRM will benefit them. Then it must analyze its business processes to decide which need to be reengineered and how best to go about it. Next is to decide what kind of customer information is relevant and how it will be used. Finally, a team of carefully selected executives must choose the right technology to automate what it is that needs to be automated. This process, depending upon the size of the company and the breadth of data, can take anywhere from a few weeks to a year or more. And although some firms are using Web-based CRM technologies for only hundreds of dollars per month per user, large companies may spends millions to purchase, install, and customize the technology required to support its CRM initiative.

CRM in hotel Industry Challenges faced by Hotel industry In order to survive in this present world of competition, hotels will have to formulate marketing strategies in a way to not only woo customers toward them but also retain them. The secret here is that retention cost is very low when compared to the cost of attracting new customers. Some of the basic problems facing hotels today are provision of better service alternatives to its customers, generation of more income from non core based services, improving the profitability of the hotel system and above all the "Customer Retention". The root cause of all these problems lies in the failure to adopt marketing approach. This is so because the marketing concept will facilitate them to be more scientific in solving their business problems, satisfy their customer's requirements or needs and maintain a profitable win-win relation with their customers, which will enable hotels to stay closer to their customers, maintain as well as increase market share and counter the competition successfully. The Delhi Scenario: Hotels in Delhi are facing high competition both from within the area and also from other hotels. In order to succeed under existing conditions, hotels will have to perceive the needs of its customers and devise better means

of fulfilling them. In general, most of the studies on hotel sector deal with an analysis of financial aspects such as profitability, productivity and financial performance without much concentration on the customer retention, loyalty, etc., which has now changed in the recent years, with attempts being made to study certain aspects of marketing in hotels. However, a majority of these studies have been on customer service satisfaction, without much focus on customer relationship management. Very few attempts have been made to assess the marketing function from a hoteliers point of view. With a dearth of literature on marketing of hotel services in Delhi, it is hoped that by the introduction of CRM, they can improve the overall profitability and Customer retention. Changes made in Hotel industry The change in the present day hotel environment has led to introduction of a marketing philosophy in banks. The 7 Ps, viz., product, price, promotion, place, people, process and physical evidence of a hotel can help in meeting customer needs as well as tackling competition and establishing a strong customer base with customer relationship management as a core function. With the emergence of liberalization in the Indian hotel system, there is a great change in the future hotel market scenario. The organization structures have become more customer focused and any further reorganization would depend on future strategy which would surely have customer relationship management as a focus area. This means that the hotels are now obliged to make a serious attempt to deal with the problems affecting their future growth and profitability, with customer orientation being a non-negotiable strategy.

Growth in Hotel Industry The origin and growth of hotel marketing is something that migrated from the west. Indian hotels are witnessing the marketing in the correct perspective only in recent times and there is still an absence of synergistic effort in this direction. But even India is feeling that the times have changed; where once upon a time most of the customers were only concerned about basic needs, today they are acutely aware

of a multitude of aspects due to the emergence of competition in this sector, bringing them alive to higher levels of customer service hitherto unknown to their experience. Though the concept of marketing has originated in hotels in the past, yet efforts have been scattered and without full exploitation of professional marketing tools. If a hotel wants to become marketing oriented and attain a sustainable competitive advantage, then there could be three types of strategies that a hotel can adopt, viz., defensive strategy which aims at protecting and retaining existing customers, offensive strategy which focuses on penetrating new areas through geographical expansion by adopting innovation and seizing market opportunities and, finally, the rationalization strategy, which means application of cost reduction methods-thereby being able to service its customers at a price lower than its competitors.

What should be done The marketing in hotels should aim at improving the quality of services rendered by widening the range of products offered, developing and promoting products which meet the needs of customers and that are acceptable to them. It should also be at a realistic price which will produce a profit when provided through methods of sales and services that are reliable and cost effective. Successful hotel marketing depends not only on marketing strategy and development but commitment at all levels, with the customer focus as the base. CRM in Hotel Services in India: Prominent features associated with a service sector like hotel sector are: -Intangibility of the service performance, -Greater involvement of the customer in the production of the service, -Difficulty in maintaining quality control and standards, -The inability to maintain inventories and The importance of the time factor as customers limit the amount of time that they are willing to wait for the service to be provided,

All of the above makes the task of service providers even more daunting. In addition to the above aspects, a service provider has to contend with other forces which affect the very survival of his business. Ever changing customer preferences, competing businesses wooing away clientele, entry of international players providing quality services and changing government policies have had an effect on the quality of the decision-making process. In order to keep their clientele satisfied and maintain effective relationships with their customers, hotels have to decide about the nature and extent of the services and facilities they intend to make available to their customers, and to be able to do this, they have to constantly keep themselves informed about changing customers preferences, develop and design services that suit those preferences, inform their customers about their services, suitably price them and deliver them smoothly through a well established network. For the hotels, this would mean reorienting management policies towards greater efforts at customer satisfaction and retention. For helping the hotels formulate a customer oriented management philosophy, the adoption of marketing concept can be of definite assistance to hotels

What are the most important factors for Hotels or Service industry Keeping the importance of the marketing of hotel services in view, an attempt has been made to review the related studies and some of the important studies are reported here. Quality of service and Customer Satisfaction are the most important factors in the service organizations, particularly in the hotel services. Hence, a modest attempt is made to review the available literature existing on hotel sector, focusing mainly on service dimension. In one of the Papers entitled "Marketing Approach in Hotel Business", it was emphasized that in the Indian hotels, marketing in the correct perspective was only of recent origin. Another Paper identified the role played by marketing in guiding the development of a hotel system that is responsive to the present changing environment. The essential differences between selling and marketing and customer value addition as the basic thrust of marketing were stressed in this paper.

The role played by the 7 Ps, viz., product, price, promotion, place, people, physical evidence and process of a bank in meeting customer needs as well as tackling competition has been discussed lucidly by Janice Reynolds (2002). The author is of the opinion that the changes in the present day hotel environment is leading the hotels in introducing marketing philosophy as a major plank in their strategy to meet the competition. The Author strongly believes that if the hotels want to become marketing oriented, there could be three types of strategies which a hotel can implement i.e., defensive strategy which aims at protecting and retaining existing customers; offensive strategy which targets penetrating the new areas through geographical expansion by adopting innovation and seizing market opportunities; and the rationalization strategy which aims at the use of cost reduction methods. The way the elements of the marketing mix can be managed by the bank have been lucidly put forward by Snehita Srivastava (2004). She opines that marketing in hotels should aim at improving the quality of services rendered by introducing a wide range of products, developing and promoting products which are going to meet the needs of customers and which are acceptable to them. These products should be priced realistically. The role played by the commitment is stressed by her. How CRM helps Hotels CRM helps hotels to service their customers and be cost effective, thus making it a must for the hotel. Customer focus can be achieved by this relatively new concept wherein all the activities involved are aimed at creating value for the customers. With the advent of hyper competition, the need for survival and success has compelled hotels to find out varied ways to be more and more competitive and reach their customers efficiently. The only 'mantra' to be competitive is to be cost effective. CRM is a strategy as well as tool in this direction. This makes it more relevant and important to undertake a study in this area. The objectives of the present study are to understand the concept of CRM in The Indian Hotel Sector (with special ference to Navi Mumbai) and to study the factors influencing Customer Relationship Management.

About ITC Maurya Sheraton

ITC Maurya is named after the famous Mauryan dynasty which gave Indian history its golden age where art , culture and architecture flourished. The ITC Maurya, New Delhi has been the preferred residence of visiting heads of state and global business leaders for over 25 years. This extraordinary hotel combines an historic aura with contemporary facilities to create an unrivalled luxury hotel experience. Situated in the heart of the exclusive Diplomatic Enclave and surrounded by views of Delhis green belt the forested ridge, business hotel is a convenient 14 kilometers (25 minutes) from the International Airport. An imposing structure of timeless luxury boasts inspiring architecture and a majestic ambiance a tribute to the age of the great Mauryan Dynasty, which created the golden era of Indian history. ITC Maurya built over 5.5 acres, is an architectural masterpiece standing tall in the heart of Indias Capital. This luxury hotel is conceptualized as a landmark in Delhi representing the durable characteristics of Mauryan architecture in the exterior finishes as well as appropriate embellishments in the interior decor. The lobby has been based on the concept of the famous Mauryan Dynastys domed Chaitya Hall. The vast sweep of the lobby is reminiscent of the cave temples where Buddhists worshipped and is inspired directly by the most famous cave of them all The Chaitya Hall at Karla in Maharashtra.

The barrel vaulted wooden beams in the lobby recall the architectural patterns of Mauryan Times. The entire dome surface has been painted by the famous artist Krishen Khanna, depicting the theme Procession of Life. One side of the lobby is totally glazed looking into the beautiful landscaped Nandiya Gardens. 440 rooms, including 29 uniquely-designed suites, are available in a bouquet of room categories, from the Executive Club which pioneers a tradition in corporate hospitality to the Towers eight luxurious floors of elegance and tranquility. The Mauryan Chamber combines the best of opulence, space, and service standards and the ITC One our premium room category offers magnificent decor, impeccable service, and the latest in modern conveniences and amenities. Behind the lavishness is a crisp efficiency and a deep understanding of the needs of the global traveler. One of the most popular dining destinations in the city, ITC Maurya, New Delhi additionally offers an assortment of internationally acclaimed cuisine.


Customer Relationship Management is a process of managing customer relations in an organized way. They aim at managing each Moment Of Truth that is experienced by the customer. There are various contact points where the hotel comes in direct contact with the customer which are known as Touch points in the CRM language. These touch points are considered important as there is direct interaction with the customer and they provide valuable input to the hotel. The input provided by the customer has to be captured in such a way that it becomes information and can be used by various processes within the hotel. This can be done with the help of technology and the aim is that whenever there is a customer interface with any of those processes they are able to use that information in servicing the guest in a most efficient manner. Customer Service is now more fashionably called Customer Relationship Management. ITC Maurya Sheraton has been following an unstructured form of CRM with a narrow focus of serving the customer well and in a most efficient manner. The concept of Customer Relationship Management has a broader focus of not only serving the customer but also creating the customer and retaining him

for measurable and substantial returns. CRM is a vast subject where the concept of one to one marketing is supported by Database Marketing.

CRM process at ITC Maurya Sheraton has been divided in 2 steps:1. Identification of all Customer Relationship management vehicles 2. Integration of these Customer Relationship management vehicles


Maurya Sheraton has identified 5 such vehicles (from marketing point of view) which are also the touch points for the hotel in the process of managing its Customer Relationship. These vehicles are:o Field selling o Loyalty Programs o Distribution Points o Web o Call Centers

Field Selling
When a sales group or a marketing executive of the hotel makes a sales call to a corporate, then it is called Field Selling. Field Selling includes Prospecting which means searching and seeking for new customers. Current Accounts are one of the best sources to uncover new business that is within these current accounts, as they harbor many sources of untapped business potential. They also provide Leads and referrals. Leads are potential customers with whom no contact has yet been made and learning of potential customers from current customers is called Referral. Field selling is considered the most important vehicle for the CRM function as the initiative is on the part of the hotel to contact the prospective guest. Since the representative of the hotel meets the customer personally, he is able to strike a chord instantly and has a fair chance of representing the hotel. The difference

between the customer and consumer is apparent at this stage as, the person who uses the hotel is a consumer (guest) and the person who helps him make this choice is the customer (link), this link, in most cases, is the administration personnel who are responsible for making reservations. So with the help of field selling, the executive is able to make a direct contact with the link, the administration person and is able to take the feedback on a continuous basis and helps to customize the offering. The main objective of this is to maintain one to one contact with the customer on a regular basis and also to maintain reasonable visibility so that whenever there is a requirement, the hotel is the most obvious alternative for the customer to consider.

Loyalty Programs
Second vehicle for CRM identified by Maurya Sheraton are the Loyalty Programs. These programs are designed to reward the loyal guests of the hotel. Every time a guest checks in the hotel at his every touch point or interface with the hotel, every time he spends on a service provided by the hotel (use of Room, Restaurant, Laundry, Telephones etc.), the transaction is recorded at each individual point and is added to the final bill presented to the guest at the end of the stay. There are certain points attached to the number of rupees spent by the guest. Therefore higher the amount of the bill, the higher will be the number of points attained by the guest. These points are credited to the account of each guest with the help of technology. These are called Loyalty points. These accounts having the loyalty points are unique to every guest. Therefore, whenever after the first time that guest checks into the hotels, the guest history also affects the loyalty points. The higher the number of points, more loyal is the guest. The points can be redeemed by the guest for either free stays at the hotel or free gifts as listed by the hotel or free meals depending upon the number of points accumulated. The objective of having a loyalty programme is not only to make the guest feel rewarded for his stay but also providing a chance to the guest to reduce them at the hotel, they essentially gross self the other services which would be used & paid by the guest. In case he redeemed (for example) his points for a free stay, he would spend on the supporting services like laundry, telephones, restaurants etc. and the revenue generated from these could be earned by the hotel. Therefore, instead of loss of revenue by providing free stay, they actually gain the revenue as well as certain

customers for life with the help of the loyalty. The Loyalty Program is called welcome avail which is for the consumer. They have another loyalty programme for the link. The administration personnel, who is called welcome link, is motivated to provide more business to the hotel. Therefore, the more the number of bookings the links gives to the hotel, the more number of points are credited to his accounts which are again redeemable at the hotel either by way of free stay or gifts. This is seen as an important way to keep the source of business motivated towards a long term relationship.

Distribution Points/ Central Reservation System

A customer can simply make a call at the reservation centre to make a booking with the hotel. It sounds simple but it could get complex in case he does not receive the expected or the desired response. Therefore, Maurya Sheraton sees this distribution point as an opportunity to establish CRM as the respondents at the reservation centre could turn a prospective customer into a sale or could let go off the opportunity to do so by not being polite enough or not giving out the information as desired by the guest. The information regarding all guest reservations is managed through computer software, therefore, when a customer make calls to query about a reservation, all his hotel usage history pops up in the system which gives a chance to the executive at the reservations to instantly recognize the customer and address him by his name. This moment of truth is experienced by the customer with a feeling of recognition and feels it as good service at the first touch point itself. The input or instruction received from the customer at the stage is recorded in the reservation system for further reference by the hotel operations. Therefore the wheel does not get reinvented every time a standard instruction is to be followed. This leads to removal of an irritant and that ultimately leads to a satisfied customer willing to return.

World Wide Web

The World Wide Web is part of the internet. It is a computerized, interactive, multimedia system to import and/or access information world wide. It is used for both personal and business purposes. But ITC Mauryas focus is on the business side of using the web. In hospitality, there are several avenues that one can take up to set up a web site to share information and do business with a potential customer. Since the web gives a convenience and allows the access to information at any time, it is considered as one of the vehicles for CRM. Though Maurya recognizes the potential of this system and is in the process of evolving a filing automated system where the reservations can be made by the customers on time and also the confirmation is received back on a real time basis. Presently they have an information portal which only allows the customer to request a reservation which has to be checked manually by the hotel reservations and then only the confirmations are given. This is a touch point of customer relationship because a speedy and accurate response could win you a customer. And since it is on an individual basis, it is more personalized and customized because the customer puts in his preferences when requesting a booking. Therefore, once it is entered in to the hotels data base the customer does not have to repeat his preference as they are automatically suggested by the reservation form on the net.

Call Centers
ITC Maurya has a Call center dedicated to servicing the loyalty programme members. Here the customers can call in and find out about any information related to their membership. Whether query relates to accumulation or redemption of points, it can be accessed through these centers. This facility has been outsourced by Maurya and is out of the premises of the hotel. This has been done to service the quest in a most personalized and efficient manner. Call centers can now even be accessed via e-mail as it is the most cost effective and time effective way of accessing information. Call centers are seen as CRM touch point because they usually provide solution to a problem that is being faced by a customer. Therefore the intangibles of listening, understanding and providing a solution to a problem at the right time adds to the process of retaining the customer .There is a rapport which is built between the customer and the respondent which goes a long way in future correspondence with the center.


Welcome Award - Rewarding Relationships

Welcome Award has earned the distinction of being India's premier and most powerful frequent guest programme. The Welcome Award programme recognizes customer as a business traveler and through its strategic alliances with travel partners endeavors to build a rewarding relationship customer. As a Welcome Award member customers can earn 'Stars' on every aspect of their business triphotel stays, business entertainment, Car rentals and even air travel.

Welcome Link- Bring home the rewards

Welcome Link, India's most popular programme for key professionals offers many value-added benefits. It is designed to help members in making reservations for their company executives. For every materialized room night booked by a member at ITC-Welcome group Hotel, points are earned that can be redeemed for a wide range of rewards. With Welcome Link, the member can look forward to many exciting promotions and prizes coming their way plus an exciting range of rewards... complimentary dining, free holidays, air tickets, car rentals and privilege shopping with Citibank Diners Gift Vouchers countrywide.

Sheraton Plus- The art of fine dining with a special edge

Welcome group Sheraton Plus brings the pleasures of the palate, in a truly rewarding manner. As a member, customers can savour the finest in cuisine ranging from authentic Indian, Mughlai and Chinese specialties to Continental fare

in a selection of over thirty ITC-Welcome group restaurants. From 24-hour coffee shops to the specialty restaurants such as Dum-Pukht, Bukhara, Dakshin and West View, members get to dine and entertain.

STEPS IN THE CRM at Maurya, Sheraton

The first step in CRM is for the internal customer that is to create awareness among them towards the concept, advantages and disadvantages of the function. Then equip them by training in their own requisite functions & scope of CRM within that function. At Maurya, they are trained to learn more about the guest and his background so that when he talks to the guest, he can strike a conversation that is of some interest to the guest. That may not be necessarily related to his stay at the hotel but these informal conversations with the guest can help build an excellent rapport with the guest which will lead the guest to know the employee by the name. In future interactions, it is possible that the guest may only wish that most of his work done through that employee. This is also a form of customized and personalized selling within the hotel. Maurya does not have a separate training for CRM. Any time when they have a special promotional scheme for a particular property, the marketing team (which has formulated the promotional scheme) puts together the details of the scheme, clearly marks out what is the customer expecting from the property and also if these are some special arrangements to be made for it. This team briefs the General Manager of the property about the customer expectation. The General Manager then decides the path of trickling down to that information, who should know & how much to know. In Maurya

Sheraton, they use a phrase to explain this percolation which is Nice to know and needs to know which essentially means that it is nice to know for all employees of a particular property about the running of the promotional scheme at their property but not all need to know about every aspect of the scheme as it may not be relevant to their scope of work but they do need to know the tier points of the scheme relating to their scope of work. The second step in CRM process is to integrate the information which is received through touch points. From a marketing point of view, it is important to get the desired input back from touch points in such a way that all the bits and pieces picked up by different touch points can be organized and used as valuable information by various other touch point to offer the right product to the right customer and that too at the right time. All this is done by creating a data base.

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