Extras for good customers

“You have to fight for every customer”

Late check-out, a bottle of water, jazz nights. Sales Executive Florencia Traversa explains how to secure the loyalty of recurring customers at the Hotel Claridge in Buenos Aires

text: Andreas Fink  //  photography: istock

Buenos Aires is a magnet. The political, economic, cultural and academic capital of Latin America’s second-largest country, Argentina. A destination for trade fairs, meetings and international conferences. The seat of numerous prestigious health organisations, both public and private. And a theatre for sports fans where every weekend, major events take place, in particular matches between some of the most renowned football teams. For much of the year, this vast offering attracts visitors and tourists from the region and around the globe.

For hoteliers, this endless flow of travellers is a blessing and, at the same time, a challenge: what needs to be done to ensure that they return? What are their strategies, ideas and tricks for securing the loyalty of guests?

Located in the very heart of the capital, the Claridge Hotel, one of the premier destinations in the city since 1946, shares what it has to offer with us. After passing the sober white columns that flank the entrance, we reach the entrance hall, which largely retains its original 1940s splendour: marble, bronze and an English grandfather clock. Here, we are greeted by Florencia Traversa, the hotel’s Sales Executive.

In its traditional restaurant, with a Steinway piano and dark, wood-panelled walls,

Florencia tells us how a few months back, she began implementing a new retention programme for corporate customers, who are undoubtedly the most sought-after guests among the Argentine capital’s hotels.

HRS Business Excellence Lounge: Are corporate customers those who return the most often?

Florencia Traversa: Yes, of course, but you have to fight to ensure that they do. It’s a tough battle. And the products are very similar, so the added value that we can bring to every commercial action we carry out is very important. All of the major hotels are trying to secure the loyalty of these customers.

When you refer to customers, do you mean the travellers who stay in your hotel or the companies which employ them and pay?

Both; it’s vital that both are satisfied. We always endeavour to look after our customers, regardless of the channel via which the reservation is made.

What incentives are you offering corporate guests?

We receive them with a welcome letter. In their rooms, they find a plate of fruit and a bottle of mineral water. These little things, which perhaps don’t really generate significant costs for a hotel or chain, can have a notable impact on loyalty. Other perks include breakfast in the customer’s room or a discount voucher for our restaurant in the hotel. And late check-out.

How late can these customers stay?

Until 18:00 if the hotel isn’t fully booked. We are also considering offering additional activities. The Claridge has already been officially declared a piano bar. That’s why we’re thinking of jazz nights on Tuesdays or Thursdays – days when there are lots of corporate customers. Activities such as wine tastings are also being considered. We’re constantly looking for ways of making the stays of our frequent customers more pleasant.

It’s worth highlighting that the Claridge Hotel, which was managed for its first 60 years by the family that founded it, now belongs to the Spanish Eurostars Hotel Company. This company has four hotels in Buenos Aires: the Claridge, a five-star hotel, the four-star Colón, the three-star Suites Catalinas and the two-star Mundial. Eurostars, for its part, belongs to the larger Hotusa Group, which has a total of 18 hotels in Buenos Aires in all categories. Florencia Traversa is responsible for the four-star Eurostar hotels.

The Claridge Hotel is in the centre of the Argentine metropolis. Its location makes it the ideal base for tourists and business travellers alike. The convention centre can be reached in 15 minutes by taxi.
Five stars in the heart of Buenos Aires
The Claridge Hotel is in the centre of the Argentine metropolis. Its location makes it the ideal base for tourists and business travellers alike. The convention centre can be reached in 15 minutes by taxi.
Over 152 elegant rooms await our guests such as this Superior double room. As well as elegant and stylish furnishings, regular guests will find a personal welcome card, fresh fruit and mineral water, and enjoy the option of a late check-out.
The amenities in your room
Over 152 elegant rooms await our guests such as this Superior double room. As well as elegant and stylish furnishings, regular guests will find a personal welcome card, fresh fruit and mineral water, and enjoy the option of a late check-out.
The Claridge houses one of the city’s official piano bars. With a view to making the stays of regular guests even more pleasant, entertainment evenings are planned here with jazz and wine tastings, especially on days when there are lots of corporate customers.
The lobby – the ideal meeting place
The Claridge houses one of the city’s official piano bars. With a view to making the stays of regular guests even more pleasant, entertainment evenings are planned here with jazz and wine tastings, especially on days when there are lots of corporate customers.

And how is the loyalty of customers secured?

Well, first through the constant monitoring that I mentioned. And, of course, with good economic deals. We have a very competitive corporate agreement.

Do these agreements apply to one hotel or to all those in the Group?

Lots of companies have corporate agreements with several hotels. We act as a chain, and although I am in Buenos Aires, we strive to ensure that our customers trust us every time that they visit a country where we have hotels. We are a company with over 200 hotels and we have a great deal to offer.

For example, executives and employees?

Precisely. We have a corporate agreement with a large social health insurance provider. It accommodates its executives in the Claridge and its affiliates in the three-star Suites Catalinas. These are often family members of patients who need to be treated in the capital, where there are more treatment options. We endeavour to secure the loyalty of all companies: the large ones with corporate agreements and also the smallest ones which visit more sporadically. We are doing all that we can to ensure that our guests stay with us again.

 

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