Juhana Tikkanen

Customer-centricity – or guest-centricity – should be one of the major concerns of managers in the hospitality industry. In fact, in my experience, when interviewing or engaging with hotels directors on this topic, almost all of them have the perception of being fully guest-centred. This is very interesting as our industry needs really to cater to guests during all the stages of their customer journey. However, looking at the academic literature in the field, what appears clear is that there is scant evidence of organizations really addressing customer-centricity in every aspect of their service delivery and operations. Often there is a glaze of cosmetic customer-focus towards the clients, but actually the organization is not really examining the question properly.

Customer-centricity deals with a deeply embedded mindset and norms that make customer relationships the top priority within a hospitality organization. Being serious about this issue means to redefine the whole organization’s orientation and culture, encouraging employees at all levels to engage with customers, generating value for them and for the establishment. Focusing on the hospitality industry, it is possible to argue that often the success of these particular businesses resides in the differential value the organization is able to provide to their guests, thanks to relationship-building and personalization of certain aspects of the service.

One of the seminal academic pieces on customer-centricity (published in 2006 entitled “The Path to Customer Centricity”) describes the areas of intervention for achieving customer-centricity in practice: (i) leadership commitment; (ii) organization realignment (i.e. cultural and operational shift); (iii) systems and process support and (iv) revised metrics (i.e. key performance indicators).


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