With good database marketing you can turn your big company into an around-the-corner diner

By Emerson Niide
September 9, 2010

I have recently traveled on business twice. On both my trips I had the same hotel booked - my company's choice, actually. The hotel belongs to a reasonable sized Brazilian company, which owns hotels spread along a half a dozen cities.

On my first trip, I arrived late but I still had a few issues to solve. I turned on my computer and looked in the minifridge, in the hopes of finding some helpful energetic drink. No deal. Ok, a coke and a cold shower would probably help.

Checking-out, the receptionist asked me to fill a survey form. As I (miraculously) wasn't late, I filled it. One of the questions said "Was there anything that you looked for and couldn't find?". I remembered my struggle against sleep when I arrived and, even though I knew it consisted on my personal taste and it was hardly an usual solicitation, I answered "Yes, Red Bull Sugar Free".

A few weeks later , I stayed at the same hotel. When I got to the room, there was a letter signed by the chain marketing manager thanking me for answering the form. And guess what? In the minifridge there was a nice sugar free Red Bull waiting for me. I don't remember how much I paid for it - and it proved to be unnecessary, considering that this time I didn't have any pickle to solve. However, I happily bought it - since it felt like some really exclusive offer.

What they did at the hotel was relatively simple: they crossed the survey form info with the clients' database and the room reservation made in my name. A simple CRM system, which must be personalized in order to facilitate this process. No big deal. But everything was very well-though, very thoughtful. With that gesture, I felt as a very well cared "house guest". It is like when I go to the diner near my place: after going there a few times, the cook already knows my preferences. And even if I just order a steak, he makes it the way I have asked for once, adding a fried egg and melted cheese. That turned me into a happier and more faithful customer, just by serving me a personalized, more caloric product - thankfully the hotel has learned to balance my diet with a sugar free Red Bull.

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