The Hotel Inspector 2013 - (Page 106)

Supply & demand We reveal why your relationship with your suppliers is integral to customer satisfaction – and how to get the best from them WORDS: Jessie Bland | PHOTOGRAPHY: Shutterstock A s much as your hotel’s ambience comes from the services you provide to your customers, it’s also true that supplies and products provided to your business by third parties can make or break your overall brand identity. Your business supplies – whether they be bathroom products, bed linen or office supplies – are an essential investment. Not only do they fulfil their primary, functional purpose, they also act as a marker of your company’s brand and quality, and help to create your guests’ first (and defining) impressions. When you’re considering sourcing new supplies – or suppliers – it’s crucial to balance your economic and aesthetic needs, and not make false economies by cutting corners. For instance, your guests will probably arrive with pre-conceived expectations about the quality of the towels they’ll be provided with, or the soft furnishings in their room. You must be able, at the very least, to meet their expectations – if not far outstrip them. This, of course, requires investment – and as your supply costs rack up, it can be easy to become overwhelmed – or get carried away. So balancing costs against quality products that have the ‘wow’ factor can become a perennial problem. Here are some factors to consider when faced with that ever-challenging balancing act…  Costs When it comes to sourcing goods for your hotel, it’s always tempting to opt for the cheapest supplier. But shaving expense off the 106 innovate to win Hilton Hotels & Resorts are a prime example of how choosing the right suppliers can lead to exceeding your customers’ expectations and creating a premier hotel experience. In late 2011, the international chain launched the Hilton Huanying programme – an experience tailor-made for global Chinese travellers. This involved sourcing a host of bespoke products and services, such as Chinese teas and Chinese programming for a dedicated TV channel, to make travellers feel at home wherever they were. While customised tailoring at this level isn’t possible for all hotels, it does illustrate how understanding your customers, and choosing the right supplies for them, can have a significant impact on customer experience and satisfaction. top and offering customers budget services and products could result in damaging your reputation as a high-quality establishment. Try to find suppliers who integrate quality and value for money. Do you want to use eco-friendly products? If so, you’ll need to take the financial implications into account. Going green may ramp up your costs. However, as well as being a more ethical, sustainable choice, it’s also a selling point for customers who value an eco-friendly approach. It’s important to resist that recession-fueled urge to trim costs wherever possible. ‘There’s an inclination to trade down when budgets are tight,’ says Andrew Keating, Managing Director of Sysco Guest Supply Europe. ‘However, I think this can be a real oversight.’  Brand identity Consistency is essential for your branding. The products you select – however trivial they may seem – are an extension of your hotel’s identity. If, for example, your selling point is bargain budget rooms, then products and amenities need to be more function and less style. However, if you own a boutique hotel, you’ll want to source products that reflect your quirky, unique feel. Run of the mill products just won’t do. Managing relationships Your relationship with your suppliers is integral to the efficiency and quality of the services and products you procure. Like any relationship, professional or otherwise, you’ll need to dedicate THE HOTEL INSPECTOR 106-107 Business Supplies FINaL.indd 106 9/1/13 10:34:18

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Hotel Inspector 2013

Alex's welcome
News bulletin
Statement pieces
Series round up
Gym & Spas
Fine dining
Kitchen matters
Energy efficiency
Food management
Cooking equipment
Technology upgrade
App integration
Renewable energy
The Hospitality Show
Hospitality Technology Expo
Business supplies
Hotel management
Global clients
The 10 best hotels
AA interview
Hotels of the future

The Hotel Inspector 2013