Customer experience has become an important component of the modern day marketing research. Firms are keen on determining the experience their customer had when they are offered a given product.
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In the hospitality industry, customer experience does more than just informing hotels and restaurants what their customers feel about their products.
There has emerged an online community where customers share their experiences as a way of informing prospect customers about what to expect when they visit different hotels in various destinations.
These online reviews may influence the ability of consumers to visit a given firm when they are traveling to a given destination. That is why many firms are now keen to ensure that customer experience is given serious consideration in order to win over customers (Martínez-López & Vargas-Sánchez, 2013).
Resort Palma Bay in Mallorca is one of the firms in the hospitality industry that are keen on creating unique experience for their customers. The research will focus on determining what is making the nature of customer experience at Resort Palma Bay in Mallorca.
Customer experience is a concept that has gained massive relevance in the hospitality industry. According to Casadesusa, Marimonb and Alonsoc (2010), firms in the hospitality industry are offering experience. For a long time, it has been believed that firms in the hospitality industry offer services to their clients.
However, Bille (2010) says that if a firm takes thing approach of thinking, then it may not withstand the stiff competition that exists in the current market.
These services must be viewed as a collection of experiences that may or may not be pleasant to the customers. Customers can only make repeat purchase if the experience they receive is pleasant.
First theoretical concept
The concept of customer experience was first described in 1998 by Pine Joseph and Gilmore James (Mehmetoglu & Engen, 2011). These two scholars conducted research on the types of economies that have existed in the past, and the emergence of a new economy they were describing as experience economy.
The figure below describes the trend that has been taken in defining the economies.
Source (Marra & Bogue, 2006)
We started with commodities economy where emphasis was laid on the commodity that was presented to the customers. We then moved to the goods economy where consumer offering was defined in terms of the whole package that was delivered to the customer.
The next was services economy where the focus was on the specific benefit derived when consuming a given product.
Finally, we have come to a new economy, an economy that these scholars described as Experience Economy (Gilmore, 2003). It goes beyond the value derived when consuming a given product.
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It involves the entire experience of interacting with a given product provider, from the time one gets into the facility, orders for a product, to its consumption and all the post purchase activities.
The experience economy describes what a customer went through to get a firm’s product, what was derived from that particular product, and what happened after the consumption of the product. In the hospitality industry, experience economy is extremely important (Pine & Gilmore, 1998).
Firms that have been able to understand this concept have become very successful because they know how to treat their customers in a unique way as demanded by the emerging market trends.
Second theoretical concept
Customer experience has become a critical area of research in the recent times. The research by Marra and Bogue (2006) reveals that customer experience goes beyond the value offered by the product a customer purchases. The figure below shows the four realms of customer experience.
Source (Martorella, Muleta & Oterob, 2013)
As shown in the figure above, the four realms include educational, escapist, esthetic, and entertainment.
A firm should ensure that none of the four realms is ignored when defining customer experience within the firm (Hosany & Witham, 2009). Of interest will be to identify and eliminate factors that may lead to unpleasant experience.
Improving customer experience in the hospitality industry
In the hospitality industry, Hélder and Aurora (2013) say that customer experience should start from the moment a customer starts interacting with the firm. This may be informing of inquiry.
The experience should remain pleasant all the way from inquiry, booking, reception, service delivery, and post-purchase services. This makes it easy for the firm to identify areas where dissatisfaction may be registered.
When a firm develops a system that will monitor the events taking place at every stage of customers’ interaction with the firm, then ensuring that there is total satisfaction for the customer may be a lot easier than when this is done without a clear monitoring and evaluation procedure (Berry, Carbone & Haeckel, 2002).
When conducting a research, Collis and Hussey (2013) say that it is necessary to define the appropriate method that is used to collect data, conduct the analysis and present the findings in a way that will make sense to the final consumers of the report.
The research will take the inductive reasoning when analyzing data. This means that the researcher will seek to provide evidence in order to support a given conclusion.
Data Used and Collected
The researcher was interested in collecting data that would help in providing evidence on what is making the nature of customer experience at Resort Palma Bay in Mallorca.
The research used secondary sources reviewed in the section above. In order to support the conclusions made from the review of the literatures, it was necessary to collect primary data.
Given the limited time available for the study, the researcher relied on the reviews made about this hotel by various stakeholders, especially the customers. The data was extracted from Booking.com and holidaycheck.com as interviews.
According to Leland (2011, p. 1), “It is always necessary to define the instrument used in collecting data in order to determine its relevance before putting it into use.”
This research involved an online survey. The researcher collected data from two websites mentioned above. These two websites relied on PollDaddy as the online data collection instruments that allow them to collect data and publish them on their websites.
From the information gathered from the websites, it was apparent that the management of Resort Palma Bay in Mallorca defines the nature of their customer in six main ways. These include the following areas.
In order to enhance customer experience, Resort Palma Bay is keen on offering its clients the best possible prices in the market. One of the reviewers at Booking.com said, “Resort Palma Bay charged me no extra fee when I made my booking,” (Booking.com, 2015, par. 4).
It has ensured that all its agents do not ask the clients to pay anything extra. From the reviews, this resort is not in any way engage in price wars with some of the market rivals in Mallorca. However, it has set its prices at bare minimum, taking into consideration the need to make profits and avoid provoking the competitors.
Secure access to online bookings
The management of this firm knows that one of the biggest worries among the customers when making online bookings is the security.
The reviewers noted that this firm has developed secure system where customers can make their payments online without any risk of fraudsters accessing their account and looting their money. Through their secure online payment systems, a customer is assured that cybercriminals cannot trace their online activities.
Employees of Resort Palma Bay speak in various languages, from English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, among other languages.
This means that customers who visit this resort will be well attended to in their own languages. One reviewer wrote, “I was happy when I was attended to by a waitress who spoke fluent Portuguese,” (Booking.com, 2015, par. 4).
Over 48 properties within El Arenal
The travelers who are visiting Eel Arenal are given opportunity to sample and choose from a wide variety of properties which include hotels, villas, apartment and much more. This means that customer will get to experience exactly what he desires.
Those who want to be at home away from home, the villas and apartments may meet their needs. Those who want pure hotel services, they can stay at the numerous hotels that this firm offers.
Customers are always concerned that when they make online bookings, their privacy may be exposed to individuals who may have malicious intentions.
That is why it came up with a unique booking method that allows the travelers to safely make their bookings using codes instead of names in order to protect their personal identity.
A reviewer said, “I do not have to worry about issues of safety and security when transacting with Resort Palma Bay. They take care of my security and privacy,” (Booking.com, 2015, par. 8).
196 verified reviewers
From the data collected from Booking.com, it was evident that this firm has over 196 verified reviewers who gave positive comments about its services. From the comments of these reviewers, customers can get to know what to expect when they plan to make their visits.
It was necessary to get further information from the second website, HolidayCheck.com (Booking.com, 2015). However, it was unfortunate that this website does not say anything about Resort Palma Bay in their reviews. Other hotels in Mallorca are captured in this website, but this firm was ignored.
This could mean a lot, including the possibility that this firm is yet to reach the positions where it can be reviewed by this website.
From the review of the online data collected from the two websites, it is clear that Resort Palma Bay offers a unique experience based on the above values. Just like other hotels, it offers various indoor and outdoor services, variety of foods, and other services that a customer may require.
However, it promises to take the experience of all its clients a step higher than what is offered by the other customers. Just like it was stated in the review of the literatures, this firm starts offering value from the moment it interacts by its customers.
This is done through secure booking where the identity of the customer is not revealed. When they make payments, this firm offers them a secure system that cannot be infiltrated by cybercriminals.
When they visit the facility, they are provided by a wide variety of products based on the tastes and preferences of the customers in order to ensure that they get a unique experience.
The moment their customers are leaving their facilities after the end of their stay, this firm is keen to ensure that they get the best treatment that will convince them to make return visits in future. That is why it is getting positive reviews in other websites such as Booking.com.
From this analysis, it is now possible to determine what is making the nature of customer experience at Resort Palma Bay in Mallorca.
The nature of experience is defined by value chain that protects the interests of the customers from the time they first interact with the firm to the time the customer leaves their premises after getting high value from their purchases.
Customer experience is a concept that is part of Experience Economy Theory developed in 1998. This concept has become very relevant in the hospitality industry where clients seek maximum comfort and leisure.
Resort Palma Bay is one of the firms that have embraced the concept of customer experience in an effort to ensure that their customers get maximum value from their purchases.
According to the reviews from Booking.com, this firm has been keen on defining the nature of their customer experience in a unique manner. They have come up with various activities to ensure that they do not just offer services to their clients.
They offer experience that will be felt by the customers even after leaving their premises. These are sentiments given by the reviewers at Booking.com. Despite these positive reviews, it is worrying that Holidaycheck.com did not capture this firm in its reviews.
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