The Hotel Inspector 2011 - (Page 60)

interview: michael shepherd MANAGING MAYFAIR WE SPEAK TO MICHAEL SHEPHERD, MANAGER OF LONDON HILTON ON PARK LANE, ON CLIENTELE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE. The Hotel Inspector: So Michael, where do you see yourselves at the moment? repeat custom is the cheapest business to market to because they are your clients. You own those clients; therefore focussing on their needs is fundamental. However, if you want to grow your business, you have to accept that different individuals and businesses need change – to believe that you will have the same clientele year on year with no change is naïve. So you are trying to keep your core, regular, loyal clients, which is fundamental – and then you are trying to attract a new clientele, which we are constantly doing in the process of revitalising and being fashionable and being relevant and up-to-date. Michael Shepherd: An interesting thing about hospitality in general – in terms of the pace in change, in terms of the products that you are developing – is that it is in some way linked to fashion. So in the same way that design of clothes is linked to fashion, there is a fashion approach to what we’re offering in the market. We in the London Hilton on Park Lane are always trying to make sure that our location reflects what’s going on in the top end of the market. We are in the heart of Mayfair, on Park Lane, the top of the monopoly board, so the products that we’re offering in the marketplace have to be seen and perceived in the individual’s mind as being relevant, up-todate and exciting. That’s why we’re looking always at our food and beverage outlets: our restaurants, our bars, are places that people want to be and they attract the attention of the clientele that influence our business. The Hotel Inspector: How can you ensure that at the Hilton? Michael Shepherd: Most importantly: keeping close to your client, understanding what your client’s needs are, anticipating those changing needs and changing accordingly. Be aware of what everyone else is doing; because there is no guarantee of secrecy, it is an open world and an open market and when you see somebody that has got a good idea, you take note of that. And one thing is for sure: your clientele, your guests, your discerning travellers know more about your business and what your competitors are doing than you do. So if your clientele are able to see what your competitors are doing very easily, you have to be up-to-date and stay ahead of that – and that is easier said than done. Most people operate their business in their own cocoon: they are filled with selfimportance, they believe that they have the right to make those decisions because they have more intelligence, they get carried away. But actually, your competitors are sneaking up; they create something new and immediately the clientele will move very fast to that and away from your business. I always say to 'FOCUS ON YOUR CLIENTELE THAT ARE LOYAL; REPEAT CUSTOM IS THE CHEAPEST BUSINESS TO MARKET' The Hotel Inspector: And have you seen a change in that clientele recently in terms of a change in where your guests are coming from? Michael Shepherd: In running a business like this, you do two things. Firstly, you focus on your clientele that are loyal; H O EL 60 TN SEP HC TTO R I E

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Hotel Inspector 2011

NEWS
INSPECTING THE INDUSTRY
COMING CLEAN
RAISING THE BAR
BRIGHT LIGHTS
ARCHITECTURE MATTERS
OLYMPIAN EFFORT
HOTEL INTERIORS
MANAGING MAYFAIR
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
KEEPING IT CLEAN
GO GREEN
LEADING THE WAY
SAFE AS HOTELS
SAFE & SECURE
WIDEN YOUR MARKETING NET
WIRED FOR SUCCESS
NEW RECRUITS
OUT OF THE ASHES

The Hotel Inspector 2011

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