CRM at Taj Group of Hotel Sample Assignment

Dissertation project

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel

Abstract

Customer relationship management is the concept which is the focus of every organization in present age and especially for the service organizations importance of customer relationship management can’t be ignored. The main aim of the customer relationship activities is to understand the customer requirement for the services or products offered by the organization, create a bonding by offering the high value and enhance the overall profitability of the organization through management of up sell and repeat customers. With these aims CRM is becoming the focal point of every organization these days.

The aim of present research is to understand the importance of customer relationship model for Taj group of hotel along with role which IT play in order to manage the CRM activities in any organization. In order to attain the objectives for the present research an exploratory strategy would be adopted which would include the dual methodology for data collection i.e. primary as well as secondary data collection technique. Primary data would be collected by designing the questionnaire for employees and customers of the Taj hotel while secondary data would be collected with the help of journals, articles and existing literature pertaining to the customer relationship management in Taj hotel.

From the current research it has been identified that Taj hotel has high importance for the customer relationship model. Information technology is the enabling factor in order to implement the CRM technology in the hotel domain with special tools such as OLAP, data mining and operational CRM etc. Customers also gain through CRM model as they are being offered special discounts, promotional offers and special status. The main focus for CRM activities is to enhance the profitability of the firm and creating strategic advantage for the organization by creating a loyal customer base.

1.0 Research Introduction

1.1 Introduction

Customer is the focal point for current age businesses irrespective of the industry which an organization caters to. A satisfied customer proves a real asset for an organization as customer satisfaction works likes a business strategy which tends to create the customer value, understanding customer and ensuring satisfactory delivery to the business needs for the customers (Atkinson, 1988). A business has several key factors which are responsible for the success; customer satisfaction and service quality are rated among the highest trait valued by the customers in present business scenario.

Customer satisfaction can be called as the function of value received by the customer through a transaction against the cost incurred vis a vis similar transaction through the competitive vendor in the market. Customer value here can be considered as the perceived service quality for the customer that would be provided by a particular vendor and this service quality would be compared with the service quality of the competitive vendor in the market. Customer satisfaction is also important for the reason that cost of attracting new customers would be much greater in comparison to serving existing customers of the organization (LeBlanc & Nguyen, 1996). Hence a satisfied customer would be able to deal with the organization for much longer time in comparison to a newly acquired or unsatisfied customer. So customer satisfaction is the sole aim of business delivery so that overall business objectives can be attained through enhancing business profitability through satisfied customers. Customer satisfaction involves customer need identification and fulfilling customer needs with best possible value delivery.

Customer relationship management has been invented as the tool so as to enhance customer long term business dealing and to further increase customer satisfaction through continuous interaction. Customer relationship management involves various interactional aspects which an organization has with customer pertaining to either sales or service related concerns (Barsky & Labagh, 1992). Customer relationship management is a broader aspect which touches upon the customer loyalty, service quality management and value delivery as per customer needs. Customer relationship management is strategy which business organizations adopt so as to build long lasting relationships with their customers so as to enhance their profitability and become competitive in the marketplace.

For service sector customer relationship management has even deeper meaning which not only addresses the customer requirement but also getting closer to the customer so as to understand quality of service which would create higher level of satisfaction and based on the requirement analysis delivery for service can be ensured (Barsky & Nash, 2003). Service industry has two major assets which are their human resource and the customer base because there is not much of the focus given to the product development in case of the service industry. Service sector tries to establish customer relationship that would provide them repeat business and enhanced profitability by getting higher customer share of wallet.

Hotel industry is the integrated part of the overall hospitality industry which has wide importance for the customer relationship management aspect. There are numerous factors which establish importance of CRM into hotel industry that includes perishable nature of product offered nature of industry that is quite fragmented, the disparate and immature IT system (Lam & Zhang, 1999). For Hotel industry there is immense importance for CRM strategies not only to survive in the fierce competitive service driven environment but also to enhance bottom line for the business which the most critical factor.

The aim of present research work is to examine the importance of customer relationship management strategies for the service domain especially the hotel industry. Organization chosen so as to understand impact of CRM on business objectives is the Taj Group of Hotels. Present paper would deal with the business models which are established through CRM, developing synergy for CRM with the operational part as well as corporate strategic part of the organization (Jones, 2007). Finally current paper would look into the improvement part for the business strategy through CRM process so that overall business objectives for the organization can be attained.

1.2 About Organization

For the current research pertaining to the customer relationship management Taj Group of Hotels has been selected as the organization where in development on the CRM would be examined so as to get higher business profitability. Taj Group of Hotels is the biggest chain of hotels in India and was established by Mr. M. N. W. Tata with the Indian Hotel Company and Taj Mahal Hotel, Bombay exquisitely. Taj Group of Hotels not only has its hotels in India but across the globe in many of the developed & developing nations. The parent Hotel of the company named The Taj Mahal Hotel, Bombay has been rated among the top 10 hotels across the globe based on the customer satisfaction survey (Kneale, 2009).

At present Taj Group of Hotels has been expanded into more than 7 countries including USA, UK, Maldives, Oman and Sri Lanka with more than 50 hotels across the globe out of which 48 hotels are operational as on date. The reputation among customer base and service quality benchmark established by Taj Group of Hotels has made it the biggest chain of hotels around the country with the most competitive service quality and value delivery for the high end customers especially into the corporate world.

1.3 Problem statement & research rationale

Business domains have gained fierce competition over the years and in order to deal with the competitive business environment it is important to have a defined and stable customer base. A loyal customer base for the organization proves of wide importance from the strategic as well as from financial point of view. In present business context problem faced by the businesses is to assess importance of CRM models has into the attainment of business objectives. Hence in present context problem is to develop the loyal customer base and to enhance the business profitability through the usage of CRM as the major tool for the service oriented organizations (Kotler et al, 2010).

The rationale for the present study is to develop new models in order to establish customer relationship so that overall business competitiveness can be combated through long lasting customer base. The present research would analyze the tools through which CRM implementation in the organization can be made successful and objectives can be reached.

1.4 Scope and Definition

Scope for the current customer relationship management strategies extends from the earlier customer need identification part to the present age complete solution oriented where in customer has become the focal point of the entire business. Developing current framework for the customer relationship management would enhance the market share for the business organization through identifying customer needs, developing customer oriented product and providing value delivery in such a way that customer derive ultimate value out of the entire transaction. Present work would not be applicable only for the hotel industry in particular but also would be applicable and useful for the entire service industry where in there is high importance to the customer service parameters.

The definition for current project can be through research framework where in major focus would be to assess the customer relationship management models into such a way that they can be integrated with the mainstream business strategy. The current research would look into the tactics which has been adopted by Taj Group of Hotels in order to retain their customers and to enhance their business profitability by exercising the CRM models.

1.5 Target audience

Target audience for the current research project would includes the scholars into the field of marketing where in customer relationship models would be referred and understood for the future studies as literature review. Major set of target audience for the present research work would include the marketers at Taj Group and marketing experts into the hospitality industry as the current project would provide the CRM model which can be implemented in the organization so as to enhance the customer long term relationship and business profitability.

1.6 Work plan

Entire work plan for the current research project would be divided into 4 stages in which research would be carried out. These stages for the project can be given as below:

Stage-I: First stage for the project would include the review of literature pertaining to the CRM frameworks. Further strategies adopted by Taj Group of Hotels would be analyzed so as to gain practical knowledge regarding implementation of the CRM in service and especially hospitality industry.

Stage-II: Second stage of the research work would include collection of primary data with help of questionnaire so as to understand the importance of customer relationship model for the customers and employees of Taj group of Hotels.

Stage-III: In third stage of the research analysis would be conducted with the data collected in second stage so as to bring out meaningful results as per the set objectives of the research.

Stage IV: In the final stage of research based on the research findings conclusion would be drawn for the entire research and recommendations would be given so as to improve the CRM implementation in hospitality industry.

Chapter-2 Literature review

Current age marketers are adopting the innovative ideas in order to attract the customers and provide their product & services to them. Marketers today are blending the old ideas from ancient time to the present age modern techniques in order to retain and develop a long term relationship with the customers so that a profitable customer base can be maintained for the organization. In order to develop a long term sustainable relationship with the customers and attain competitive advantage marketers have adopted high interaction method where in customers are the focal point of every communication for marketers (Buttle, 1998).

Marketing tactics have gone a shift where in present age marketers have stopped targeted the unknown customer base and identified their desired customer base & designed marketing communication surrounding these customers. The present chapter would deal with the literature review pertaining to the customer relationship management and tactics which are adopted in order to maintain long term customer relationship by the business organizations.

2.1 Introduction

Customer relationship management can be defined as the communication which an organization establishes with its present and future customers in order to maintain a long term relationship with them. Customer relationship management process makes best use of the technology in order to integrate internal processes and external network in order to target customers in such a manner that overall customer profitability can be enhanced (Dick & Basu, 1994). Customer relationship management is the efforts which are carried on the high quality customer base of the organization and enabled through the current age information technology.

The basic strategy behind customer relationship management is to identify some of the profitable relationships of the organization and providing high class services to these customers so that service quality can exceed their expectation and create a bonding between the customers and organization. Further customer relationship management for lower profitable customers would involve enhancing overall relationship size for the customer so that a lower profitable customer can be added to the highly profitable band of customers.

Any organization attains competitive advantage based on the relationship it establishes with its market stakeholders and customer is the most important entity among all these stakeholders (Goss & Leinbach, 1996). Customer is known as the most important entity as customers are the life blood for any business since they provide revenue, profits and competitive advantage to any business organization. A long term relationship with the customer base of the organization include a committed & trusted relationship where in high quality service can be ensured and customer concern for value delivery to be addressed on high priority.

Overall CRM activities for any organization includes initiating, evolving, maintaining and developing long term committed relationship with the customers with mutual interaction so as to ensure high profitability for organization and more than expected service delivery for the organization. CRM can result into the customer loyalty promotion and customer loyalty promotion has numerous benefits for any organization. Development in technology has enabled a link between the organization and its CRM initiatives where in CRM activities are well maintained through usage of technology by the organization. A satisfied customer is an asset to the company while dissatisfied customer is really a curse as dissatisfied customer would share their unfortunate experience with the other customer more than a satisfied customer would share (Heide, 1994).

Further a very small percentage of unhappy customers would like to complain while greater percentage of unhappy customers would directly switch to any other organization. Hence organization will lose the customers and business along with the customers. This is the only reason that a successful CRM tactic for any organization would emphasis more and more on the customer interaction so that customer feedback can be taken easily and in case of any customer grievance same can be resolved with utmost priority. This would give organization to indulge into customer problems and further scope of improvement would open for the organization which would help in retaining the customer for longer period of time.

The major reason companies follow their customers is into the economic terms as in the fierce competitive marketplace for organizations to survive it is important to have a loyal customer base that can maximize the economic value for the organization. Hence developing a long term relationship with the customers proves a strategic move for the organizations. Implementing CRM software would not only suffice the requirement for the customer relationship management initiatives of the organization but more than that organization’s policies & processes needs to be customer focused (Kahn and Cannell, 1997). Further CRM is implemented looking into the cost to acquire a new customer which is five time more than cost to retain a customer. This not only implies lower cost for the organization but also gives important factor as the high number of customers for the organization as well.

2.2 Impact of customer satisfaction and loyalty on business performance

The major impact which CRM initiatives creates is the higher rate of customer satisfaction and customer loyalty which in turn would enhance business performance for the organization in terms of the higher profitability. Hence higher customer satisfaction can be directly correlated with the profit margins of the organization which can be related with the satisfaction-profit chain. Increase in customer satisfaction would allow understanding customer requirement for a particular product or service based on which marketers would offer similar solution so that customer requirement can be fulfilled easily (MacIntosh, 1981). With increase in customer satisfaction repurchase chances for the customer would also increase and this way overall buying behavior of the customer would be in favor of the organization and business performance would improve in lieu of the customer satisfaction. The figure below provides the framework for customer satisfaction and profitability chain model.

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Figure 1: Showing the satisfaction-profit chain

As shown in the figure above that customer satisfaction is the first part of the profitability chain where in customer satisfaction can be attained through understanding the customer requirement and meeting these requirements through effective value delivery. Satisfaction for the customer is a subjective function which can be find out through the expectations and outcomes for the customer (Normann, 1991).

Customer loyalty can be defined as the behavior shown by customer that shows positive pattern for the buying towards the particular brand or product of the organization. Positive pattern of buying for any customer can be identified through higher number of repeat purchase, higher frequency of purchase and higher wallet of share for the customer. Further customer loyalty can’t be counted only through positive buying behavior but customer attitude towards organization and its product also counts into the customer loyalty. Though there are no set frameworks which can identify customer loyalty towards a particular product or service but it is known fact that better service quality and customer satisfaction parameter are the best known ways for the assessment of customer loyalty.

Another dimension to customer loyalty are the economic, technology and psychology factors which restrict a customer to change supplier and become considerable while assessing customer cost for switching from one organization to other. Among the other factors which are considered while switching supplier for the customer, firm’s brand image would be an important factor and this would impact the value and delight which customer obtain through the products & services offered by the organization. Brand image of the organization proves a big factor for the customer loyalty as sometime it becomes the status quotient for the customer and customer has high loyalty for the particular brand for the sake of maintaining a good status in society (Oliver, 1997).

Loyalty of customer for any organization is relative term and it depends upon the quantity of value received by the organization from a particular organization’s products & services in comparison to the value obtained through its competitor or other market player dealing in the same industry. Customer loyalty for the organization has several economic dimensions for the organization as increase in loyalty would reduce cost of acquiring new customers, would enhance revenues & profits, lower sensitivity for price and lower cost in order to serve customers as customers are quite familiar with the service delivery model of the organization.

There are two different views to customer loyalty towards products and services offered by an organization, first view to customer loyalty can be in terms of the attitude of the customer where in different feelings of the customer creates attachment with the products & services. These feelings for the products & services for the customer defines the overall customer loyalty while second view to loyalty can be in terms of the behavior. Some of the common example of behavioral loyalty for any customer can be in form of repeat purchase, enhancing value of purchase and recommending others for the purchase of products & services from the same supplier. Hence the two views to customer loyalty indicates customer loyalty one in terms of repeat purchase while other in term of purchase intention and both these views for customer loyalty are quite healthy for the organization (Berry et al, 1988).

Both the factors i.e. customer satisfaction and customer loyalty would ultimately lead to the enhanced business performance for the organization in terms of the revenue growth, share of customer and customer tenor with the particular supplier. A satisfied or loyal customer would give higher degree of revenues through repeat purchase and cost cutting for the organization. Further customer loyalty would enhance the wallet of share and number of customer through recommendations added by the customer while customer tenor would increase by default as a satisfied customer would have a long term relationship with the customer and would not leave the organization.

2.3 Service quality and its impact on customer relationship management

For service organization such as hotel industry, aviation industry and healthy industry service quality is of immense importance as these are the ultimate offerings for the organization. Quality of service for the organization decides the survival of the organization as well as its growth in the given marketplace (Reicheld and Sasser, 1990). Service quality term has gained importance in recent past and practitioners have paid much more importance to the service quality since 1970. Service quality can be known as a long term view of the response to the services of an organization which is quite different from the customer satisfaction that is just a short term representation to the firm’s service quality. In order to determine the overall quality of service for the organization customer perception towards service to be known and this is not only the function of customer satisfaction.

2.3.1 Customer perception to service quality

Perceived service quality for any product or service can be defined as the service quality which is perceived by the customer and this has nothing to do with the real service quality parameter. Perceived service quality of an organization can be different from the original level of service and perceived service level for the customer is a function of customer experience for the service (Ruyter and Wetzels, 2000). This highlights the fact that customer has several presumptions about the service delivery which would be compared with the original service quality of the organization and in case delivered service quality is lower than expected this would result into a bad experience for the customer. Every customer experience has two dimensions i.e. technical dimension and functional dimension. Technical dimension can be called as the outcome dimension while functional dimension can be called as the process related dimension.

Customer’s interaction during the delivery of service quality is very important and this forms the outcome or technical aspect to the service quality for the customer. There would be several moments of truth with the repeat customer and service provider interaction hence the service quality received would be the total of all interaction between customer and service provider at the time of service delivery. Further in the total experience for the customer way of value delivery would be an important factor and this would have an impact on the process experience for the customer. Examples of the service quality received for the customer would be accessibility for the ATM, interaction with the service staff in hotel and appearance of a website etc.

Second function of the service quality is the way service quality is given to the customer i.e. how the moment of truth of service encounters with the customer and this takes care of the service provider function. Organization’s brand image have high influence on the perception of the customer towards the received service quality as a attractive brand’s service quality would be taken positively while a diminishing brand would create negative service delivery for the customer (Anderson, 1994). With the brand image of the organization several other factors proves influencing such as impact of advertisement, public relations, actual experience, physical image and word of mouth publicity for the brand. From the recent researches it has been found out that service quality for a brand is the most important factor for the image of that particular brand.

Impact of brand image of the brand can be understood from the fact that in case brand image for the particular service provider would be favorable in consumer mind then there are high chances that consumer would neglect small errors in the service delivery even. A model for the service delivery aspects can be given in the figure mentioned below:

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Figure 2: Showing the service quality model

As shown above that the total service quality would be the total of technical and functional service quality of the organization. Further image of the brand would be above the technical and functional quality and would be having a favorable result for the total service quality of the brand in case brand image of the organization is positive in the consumer’s mind.

2.3.2 Approach of perceived service quality framework

The present framework to service quality includes the concept of perceived service quality and model of total service quality for the consumer. The present framework for service quality has been developed with the deep research into consumer behavior and expectation of the consumer concerning with the services given by service provider (Body and Limayem, 2004). Previous section highlighted the two models for the service quality dimension but the overall model for the perceived service quality is quite complicated and involves several other dimensions. Figure 3 below highlights the way quality experiences are connected with the marketing activities. Perceived quality would be good when the experience of the service quality would be better than the expected service quality assumed by the customer from the particular service provider. Sometimes the expected service quality is quite unrealistic and in such cases perceived service quality would be much lower to the expected value and experience would not be pleasant for the customer.

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Figure 3: Showing the framework to total perceived quality for the customer

There are several marketing activities carried out by the organization which are in direct control of the organization and impacts the perceived service quality for the organization unlike brand image of the organization which is not into the control of the organization. Other than the expected quality and experienced service quality of the service provider there is third dimension which is known as the customer desire that include customer needs and the solution provided by the service provider in accordance with the consumer needs (Berthon et al, 2000).

So total perceived service quality for customer does not imply through the functional and technical factors to the service quality but these are also determined through the gap between the expected service quality and the experience service quality dimension. In case the experience service quality is more than the expected value total perceived quality would be positive other total perceived quality of the customer would be having a negative overall impact.

2.3.3 Service quality gap between expected service quality and experienced service quality

The gap model is helpful in order to understand the improvements which service organizations are required to make in order to enhance their experience service quality levels so that it can match up with the expected level of service quality for the customer. The model for gap identification can be given as mentioned below in figure 4.

The model shown below provides the gap model from the aspect of organization as well as customer (Chow & Holden, 1997). Customer is exposed to the word of mouth communications from the organization, customer has certain personal needs, past experiences and expected services against which customer is encounter certain level of perceived services for the service provider. In the company side, company has to develop communication for the consumers, service delivery, translating perception into service delivery from the management perception of customer expectation.

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Figure 4: Showing the gap model for expected and experience service quality

Hence the customer expectation for the service is a function of the past experience with the particular service provider and consumer needs which gives the overall model for the service emergence. Further expected service level also gets influence through word of mouth publicity which consumer is exposed to (Creswell, 1997). Management perception to the expected value of service quality would be an important tools in order to make decision on the overall service delivery model of the organization. Marketing communication has high degree of influence on the expected and experienced service quality. The model above provides the five probable errors which are considered as service gap between the expected and experience value of the service delivery for the consumers in the entire service delivery model.

The different kinds of service gaps which are present in the expected and experienced service quality can be given as mentioned below:

Gap-1 (Gap in management perception): The gap in management perception arises when management in organization perceives different service quality expectations which are the results of market research and demand analysis. There is the possibility that information collected have some error or representation of the information is not into the correct way which may mislead management regarding the consumer service quality requirement for the services offered by the organization (Gremler & Brown, 1997). In order to improve the gap arising due to error management perception dual research should be carried out and information system should be developed with high accuracy so as to provide the data into correct manner which is helpful in decision making.

Gap-2 (Gap in quality specification): The present gap specifies the error between the inconsistency between the service quality specifications and the management perception of the service quality. The gap in service quality specification and management perception arises due to several reasons such as the lack of proper planning process, insufficient planning tools and lack of clear goal setting in the organization from top management which may create the error in the quality specification and management perception (Honey, 1987). In order to improve the quality specification gap it is important that the top management should focus on the quality specifications and there are no planning errors while developing the management perception for the quality specification.

Gap-3 (Gap in service delivery): The service delivery gap arises due to the failure of service organization to deliver the specifications for the service quality which has been developed by the management. The major reason behind non-fulfillment of the service specification may be due to the high complexity of the service quality parameters which are not realistic enough to be fulfilled. Other reasons for the service delivery gap can be non alignment of the service delivery parameters with the existing service quality, culture not matching the service quality parameters and lack of management for the service quality parameters. There can be numerous reasons for the service delivery gap but the entire service delivery gap issue can be subdivided among three categories which are technological lapses, supervision from management and employee perception & needs.

Supervision from management sometime is into such a direction which has conflicts with the quality parameters being implemented in the organization. Such management control systems which are creating problems with the quality standards can be proved as the biggest threat to the service delivery gap as employees would not be encouraged in order to meet the service quality specifications which are desired from them (Johnston and Fern, 1999). Hence in order to deal with the service delivery gap issue management needs to deal with the quality control systems in such a way that it encourages employees to adopt best quality initiative practices.

With change in the management attitude towards the service quality behavior there can be instances when employees serving the customer may have the feeling that customer demands & needs are quite justified by due to the management control system they are not able to deliver the customer needs such conditions may give de-motivation for the employees. For example sometime too many paper work or formalities are involved before providing services to the customers and customer may not like the formalities (Jacoby & Kyner, 1973). In such cases though employees serving the customer might feel that demands of the customers are justified but they would not be able to bypass the laid down processes of the organization and thus service delivery gap would be created.

Many a times the technologies systems are not fitting the quality behavior in organization where in technology becomes the hurdles for employees in order to exhibit the quality behavior. In such cases technological systems or operating systems in the organization have not been installed properly and does not help employees to make suitable decision pertaining to their service areas. For such instances there would be clear gap in the quality behavior exhibited by the employees and the expected service delivery behavior among the customers of the organization. Though employees of the organization would be in favor of delivering the similar quality behavior but due to technological issues they might not be able to serve customer as per their needs (Anderson & Mittal, 2000).

Gap-4 (Gap in marketing communication): This is the communication gap between the marketing campaign designed by the organization and service delivery which has been performed against the commitments made in the marketing communication. Gap in marketing communication arises due to the reason that marketing communication is not integrated with the service operations department of the organization or it can be due to the failure in service delivery for the organization which is not as per the commitments made by the organization in the marketing communication. There are two factors involved in the gap pertaining to the marketing communication which are planning & execution of external marketing communication and the over-promise made by the organization in their marketing communication campaign (Bennett, 1996).

Gap-5 (Gap in perceived service quality): Perceived service quality gap is quite harmful for the brand image of any service provider. It is basically the gap which exists between the expected service quality for the customer and perceived service quality. This basically arises when customer has very high expectation from the services while the perceived services are not up to the customer expectation due to which there would be negative perceived service quality gap that would lead to negative publicity for the organization. Major reason for gap in perceived service quality of the organization is due to failure of giving proper services to the customer as per the customer expectation. Further sometimes perceived service quality gap is positive i.e. perceived service quality is higher in comparison to the expected service quality, in such cases customer would create positive word of mouth publicity for the organization and brand image of the organization would be benefited through the positive perceived service quality gap.

2.4 Usage and impact of CRM in Hotel industry

Hotel industry is having global approach where in most of the market players in the hotel industry are spread globally and even consumers in the hotel industry are spread around the globe. Hotel industry is purely service dominated where instead of the focusing on room, restaurant & bar; customers value the kind of service they receive from the hotel. Hence in hotel more than the substance of the hotel services plays a major role in deciding customer satisfaction level and thus association of a particular hotel with its valued customers.

In recent time with development in better services in the hospitality industry demand for more and more customer oriented services in the hotel industry has increased which are also contributed by the growth in globalised businesses. Keeping in mind increasing demand for the hospitality services there is fierce competition in the hotel industry which demands for the developing competitive advantage for the organizations. With increase in competition in the hotel industry there is greater focus on the profitability factor as customer are seeking value for money services in the hotel industry in the highly competitive market scenario (Cronin & Taylor, 1992).

Due to standardized and common products & services offered by all the hotels there is not much of the differentiation between various hotels which makes it compulsory for the industry players to develop unique features for themselves in order to develop a niche customer base for themselves. There are different strategies through which market players in the hotel industry has created competitive advantage such as low cost model, unique offerings and loyal customer base. Two major strategies in present age of marketing developed into the hotel industry are through low cost leadership model where in hotels are offering the value proposition with discounted prices and coupons in order to give value for money proposition (Evans & Laskin, 1994). For luxury hotels like Taj group of hotels such value for money offerings would not make much sense and customers are not very sensitive towards pricing for such hotels. Hence in such luxury hotels major competitive advantage created by the marketers are through development of loyal customer base so that profitability of the organization can be enhanced by offering premium services to the customers.

When organization focus changes towards the development of loyal customer base in hotel industry major tool would be customer relationship management strategies adopted by the organization. Importance of customer relationship management in the Hotel industry can be established through the fact that an increase in 5% towards customer loyalty can lead to customer profitability from 25% to 85%. Hence a dedicated customer centric CRM initiative are adopted in the hotel industry which aimed at enhancing customer loyalty and thus further leading to higher profitability for the organization (Bhote, 1996).

Customer relationship management initiatives in the hotel industry are not restricted to collecting the customer data and developing communication for further enhancement in sales. Customer relationship management in the hotel industry is a 360 degree process where in it starts with capturing customer details through multiple contact points along with historical records of the customer and saving preferences of the customer for his future usage so that customer delight can be achieved through the collection and analysis of data which would certainly help in development of a loyal customer base for the hotel.

More than just collecting the guest contact information CRM initiatives in the hotel industry pertains to the gathering experiential information regarding the customer where in customer preferences are notified. Personalize information collected regarding customer would be able to provide the personal touch to the customer along with incremental revenues being generated through the customer on repeat visits (Chen & Popovich, 2003). For example, exploring customer habits pertaining to the particular sports such as snooker provide the hotel with additional revenue in order to cross sell the sports bar entry ticket to the same customer.

Information technology tools deployed in the hotel industry are helpful in order to create an investment profile for the guests entering in the hotel so that in case customers are interested in the real estate investment same can be offered to them from the hotel only or through business partners of the hotel into the real estate sector. In hotel industry focus has shifted from providing the leisure only to serving entire customer needs so that additional convenience can be offered to the customers as per their preference and historical information regarding the particular behavior exhibited by the customer (Zeithaml & Binter, 1996).

Further CRM initiatives adopted in the hotel industry can help in order to enhance the customer loyalty as there are several clubs maintained, annual meetings and special consideration is being given to the existing customers of the hotel. Special club concepts is being adopted by several hotels in the country where in customers are being made part of the privilege group so as to provide additional services to the customer and develop long term relationship with the customer so that an association can be build for the customer. Annual meetings are being organized by the hotels by inviting its vintage customers and customers who are associated with the hotel since a long time so that customer interaction can be enhanced and special moments can be created for the customers. Special considerations for the vintage customers or frequent customers is being given through offering them complementary services, discounts and other special offers (Turiel, 1983).

Another CRM initiative for the major hotels in the industry is through wishing the customers on their special occasions such as birthday, anniversary and marriage so that customer feels delighted. Hence all these initiatives adopted under CRM activities would help the hotel in order to enhance attachment with the brand and develop long term relationship with these customers. Another major impact for the hotel industry would be to enhance the revenue generated as capturing customer preference would allow several opportunities for the hotel in order to get chances to cross sell to the same customer (Yin, 1993).

2.5 Usage of CRM for Taj Group of Hotels

Taj group of hotels has high value and focus towards the usage of CRM activities in order to maintain their customer and to enhance the revenue through existing customers of the hotel. A new system named PMS which is property management system has been managed by the Taj group of hotel in order to excel their CRM initiatives. PMS system deployed in Taj group of hotel maintains the data regarding customer profile in all 40 locations where in Taj Hotel has its presence round the country. Along with the customer profile information stay information is being collected from the customers (Stake, 1995).

There are two special systems developed which are central reservation system and customer information system, these systems are important information repository for the organization in order to gather information regarding customers staying for a long time. These systems are being designed in order to capture information starting from the time of checking into the hotel to the spending pattern of the customer and communication needs requirement for the customer. These systems deployed in Taj hotel forms the basis of CRM initiatives at the Taj hotel through which customer preferences and spending patterns can be tracked easily. Gathering information regarding spending pattern of the customer would help in order to enhance the wallet share and thus the overall profitability for the organization. Further notifying the preferences and communication needs for the customer and developing communication into the preferred manner for customer would give a better overall experience which would enhance customer long term relationship with Taj group of hotels (Tax and Brown, 2000).

PMS system used in Taj group of hotel is connected through LAN and is connected with various services such as room service, health clubs and travel desk etc. Special team has been made in order to deal with the PMS system which takes care of the nature of services to be delivered to the customers based on the historical information collected through the system regarding a particular customer. There are four groups into which entire customer data is divided which are individuals, hotel bookers, travel agents and companies etc. This system is attached to data mining applications which are used in order to extract the desired information through the analysis system (Reinartz & Kumar, 2003). Based on the customer preferences and spending behavior entire data is collected which would be extracted in context to special features so as to derive specific information through system. Data mining enable decision makers in order to extract particular information through the system which helps further in order to understand and analyze the long term spending behavior for customers.

The basic strategy and goals for which Taj group of hotels have employed the CRM initiatives in the organization are related with overall profitability of the firm, enhancing sales and building a loyal customer base for the organization. Employee in the organization has been trained in such a way so as to deal with the customers into such delightful manner that customers feel special and a bonding can be created with the customer (McDonald, 2002). Further customer is focal point for CRM initiatives and so as the customer needs as well, hence Taj group of hotel always endeavor to explore customer needs so that based on the customer needs proper solution can be offered to the customers in order to fulfill customer demands into profitable manner for the organization.

Any organization can give proper solution to their problems once they are aware of the customer demands and in accordance with the demands customer needs are catered. Also while delivering customer needs it is important to ensure the quality of products and services served by the organization to their customers. Further maintaining quality is important in order to create the brand image so that there are always happy experiences for the customer with the quality of service given by the organization to its customers (Powell and Single, 1996). It is important to have consistency in the quality for the products & service offered by the organization as it would be helpful to build a quality conscious image for the organization.

Reliability of the services offered by the Taj hotel is another important feature which customer perceive as an important factor. Taj group of hotel has consistent and reliable services so that every time customer can carry good experience with them. Another factor for the Taj hotel in building overall customer relationship management strategy is the communication process which is in tune with the organizational strategy and such as to remain connected with the customer for longer period so that loyal customer base can be developed through efficient communication process (Morgan, 1988).

In the service domain or service industry it is important that customers are being offered services which are customized as per their needs and this would give them special experience regarding the services offered by the organization. Further these customizations done for the particular customer can be recorded in order to create the historical data so that CRM can be build around the customer preferences recorded for the services offered by the hotel.

One of the basic premises on which CRM can be developed is maintaining and performing the commitments made by the organization into their communication with the customer. Sometime marketing communications are so well designed but the execution part is not as per communication which can demoralize the customers and can create e negative impact. In order to keep up the promise made baseline employees should be train such that they can understand the top management vision and services imparted can be in accordance to that only (Parker et al, 1994).

Another measure which has been implemented in the Taj group of hotel towards customer relationship management is the regular communication process with the customer so that timely feedback can be obtained from the customer regarding service availed. This would help in understanding the perceived services by the customer and would provide opportunities in order to make vital improvements in the services offered by the hotel as per the customer requirement.

Retaining old customers is the primary area for Taj group of hotels in order to build a foundation for the CRM initiatives. Organization which understands the importance of old customers would always gain on the profitability front as it is proven fact that attaining new customers is always a bigger cost in comparison to the retention of the existing customers of the organization.

2.6 Role of IT in managing CRM activities

Information technology has a vital role in current business environment in order to manage customer relationship management initiatives for any organization and Taj group of hotel has implemented proper information technology tools in order to leverage on their CRM tools. Being into service domain Taj hotel understand the importance of customer information and historical records which can give important insight in order to understand the customer spending pattern which can become base for the revenue enhancement in the hotel industry (Schneider & Bowen, 1999). Information technology helps in order to collect data with ease, analyze the data and identify critical relationship or pattern in the data which depicts customer behavior.

Some of the major information technology tools implemented at Taj group of hotels in order to manage CRM can be given as below:

Analytical CRM: At the initial stage for the information technology implementation in order to manager CRM data pertaining to the customers would be collected using the IT tools. This data would be gathered through several touch points at which customer would come in contact with the hotel. Data collected through customer and other sources would be stored in the data warehouse where in error in the data would be resolved along with identifying the missing value if any in the entire data set (Fornier, 1994). Data collected through several resources would be analyzed in order to identify important relationship among the data which exhibits customer buying behavior, spending pattern and other preferences pertaining to the customer. There are in built tools which can be used in order to understand special features in the data. Major part of the data analysis is being carried out with the help of data mining, OLAP, operational and collaborative CRM tools.

Data mining: Data mining is the process in which data is extracted for the specific field in order to develop decision making on the customer characteristics so as to develop CRM. There are several graphical pattern which can made with the help of data mining tools in the CRM tools and these tools based on the requirement of decision maker extract data and provide the particular field and characteristics of the customer (Gronroos, 1984). Several in built models are developed in the data mining software which would help the CRM managers to understand customer behavior with the help of sorted data captured in the software.

Online analytical processing (OLAP): CRM software systems implemented in the organization are a part of the decision support system in the organization which is helpful in decision making and online analytical processing is one of the most important tools. In the initial stage for the OLAP tool different products are being selected which would be sold to the customers on regular basis. Further these products would be mapped against the customers who are potential customers for these products (Hallowell, 1996). Mapping for the customers would be done keeping in mind previous spending pattern of the specific customer and profile of the customer which is in accordance with the product sold by the organization.

Operational CRM: Operational CRM is used at the lower or middle management level where in much of the decision making is not required and it is used in order to capture day to day transactions which are helpful in order to develop the database for the organization. Operational CRM implemented in the organization helps in order to automate the business transactions taking place at the ground level which are important as manual data collection might not be possible for the organization as it may involve cumbersome task and manual data collection would create so many errors (Buttle, 2004). By automating the business transactions all the transactions done by the customers would be automatically captured in the operational CRM which would be helpful so as to automate entire data collection which can be used as the input for the high end decision making tools such as the data mining tools implemented in the organization. Some of the important parts of the operational CRM implemented in the Taj group of hotel include the sales automation, order management and customer order tracking which are important in order to develop the proper monitoring of the entire sales process in the organization. In order to make the software helpful in order to identify critical trends for the spending pattern and buying behavior it is important to select proper fields in which data pertaining to the customers would be captured and at the end through data mining tools these fields would help in order to understand the key relationships present in the data. In case at the initial stage of operational CRM proper fields are not selected so as to capture the data then data mining tools and techniques would not prove to be much of help as key fields would be missing from the data (Bowen & Shoemaker, 1998).

Collaborative CRM: The basic objective of the collaborative CRM is to establish relationship between the organization and customers. Collaborative CRM helps in order to establish a two way communication between the organization and customers. Establishing a communication medium between the organization and customer would be helpful so as to understand customer needs and improvement in any service area. Collaborative CRM would be dependent in the operational CRM developed in the initial stage so that data can be taken through the operational CRM regarding day to day transactions (Palmer et al, 1998). Hence it is evident that the entire CRM software implementation is dependent on the three software which works in synchronization with each other so as to capture data, analyze the data and provide meaningful results which are helpful so as to make decision in the organization

2.7 Advantage of CRM model

CRM model developed by the organizations in order to retain existing employees and enhance revenue through the enhanced customer relationship has several advantages as per the implementation model for the customer relationship management (Barsky, 1992). Analyzing the entire CRM model implementation model at Taj group of hotel provides the key to several advantages which has been drawn through CRM model in terms of increased profitability. Some of the major advantages of the CRM model implemented in Taj group of hotel can be listed down as below:

Central data repository system: CRM system implemented in the organization forms the basics of the all data repository systems which an organization have in order to capture the data for future usage and analyzing the customer information for their benefits. In the central repository created for the data it become helpful for the organization to categorize the data as per the requirement of several departments in the organization. For example central data repository systems implemented in the hotel would be helpful for the front desk people in order to access the information regarding several historical bookings made by the customer and based on these bookings made customer preferences can be easily identified which would be used in order to offer customization for the customer which would create customer delight (Getty & Thompson, 1994).

Integrated customer view: CRM models implemented would be helpful in order to capture each customer interaction, transaction and experience within the system so that anytime key stakeholders of the system can access the information regarding the customer. Further information collected in the system would be real time updated and this would be shared with the top management in order to understand the customer information flow in the system. Effective CRM systems implemented in the organization would be helpful in order to organize diffused data so that meaningful updates can be obtained through the system (Sasser et al, 1990). Scattered data in the CRM would be analyzed through CRM module so as to make out the desired analysis in the system. A holistic view for the customers based on their transactions and experiences would allow hotel in order to provide more and more chances to up sell.

Information validation for customers: There is high amount of data present in the CRM central repository system and this data is collected and churned on daily basis. CRM models are helpful in order to scrutinize data pertaining to the customer and critical characteristics in the CRM model. It is important to identify the profitable relationship with help of CRM module which would validate the customer data along with profitable relationships. Some of the major relationships which are helpful in enhancing profitability for the organization would be identified and based on their buying behavior further opportunities for the cross sell can be generated in the organization.

Focusing on target: Implementation of CRM organization would be able to target on the relationships which organization wants to retain (Kitzinger, 1994). Based on the service parameters and customer’s historical records potential customers would be identified for the services offered by the hotel. Customer data would be replicated so as to identify relationships which hotel wants to retain and some of the relationships which are not profitable for the organization and hotel want to exit from these relationships. Further hotel can devise strategies in order to enhance the profitability for some of the relationships which are not profitable at present and in future these relationships can be made profitable.

Dealing with competition: The best way to deal with increasing competition in hotel industry is with the help of high level of service quality as more and more choices offered to the customers would help in order to combat the competition (Lloyd et al, 1996). CRM modules implemented in the hotels would be helpful in order to shape up the promotional offers such as discounts, appealing offers as per the customer needs and profiling as well. This would improve customer experience and better customer to business relationship can be developed by engaging customers more and more with the organizational communication strategy.

Enhancing efficiency: CRM systems are known for the efficiency enhancement in the organization by bringing automation in different fields such as order management and sales force automization. Automation in the hotel industry would help in order to develop faster decisioning process for the promotional and advertising tasks as well. CRM systems would be able to develop automated communication based on the customer preference which would include offering promotions for the customer such as discounts and special premium services which would be automated through CRM systems based on the history of the customer captured in the CRM systems.

Development of the social platform in order to create brand presence: CRM tools are helpful for the organization in order to build and automate web, mobile and social media campaign so that brand presence can be created with usage of CRM tools. Further through continuous customer interaction necessary changes can be done in CRM module so that better communication campaign can be developed which are effective in enhancing sales revenues. These platforms developed through CRM would give additional opportunity for the hotel to interact with customers and understand changes required in the services so that customer oriented services can be provided (Sheth & Parvatiyar, 1995).

Development of future strategies: Feedback received from the customers regarding services and customer needs would be helpful for the hotel in order to develop the future strategies for the hotel. Customer present product information can be displayed on the dashboards and based on the usage of the present products customer behavior would be underlined and future potential would be estimated for the several products & services to be offered by the organization. Future marketing strategies in the organization context can be enhanced with the CRM module development as marketing campaign for the products and services would be optimized accordingly. Based on the success of particular media type for the development of communication that particular media would be used so that effective message can be communicated among the customer group (Sugandhi, 2002).

Development of loyal customer base: CRM software is effective tool in order to build the customer company interactions where in increased interaction would be better for development of loyal customer base for the organization. Customized services offered by the company would help in order to create a long term relationship with the customer as all the needs of the customers would be fulfilled through special services offered to the customer. Hence gaining regular customer feedback on the services offered would be of immense importance for the organization to develop a loyal customer base.

2.8 Role of CRM models to improve customer relationship

Retaining existing customers is of immense importance for the hotel industry as new customer acquisition involves heavy cost for the organization. CRM models developed in the hotel industry are helpful so as to develop a long term relationship with the customers of the hotels and this improved relationship with the customers would become the base for the organization in order to retail their customers and enhance profitability based on long term relationship (Wilson, 1991). Improvements in the customer relationship through CRM model can be depicted through development of customized service solution as per customer needs, maintaining loyal customer base and value proposition which customer receive through services offered by the organization.

Customized services is one of the most important tool which leads to the customer relationship development for long term as understanding customer needs properly and serving these needs into profitable manner is the basic to any customer relationship model. For high end hotels like Taj, customer desires are very important and offering personalized services based on these needs would help in development of the unique competitive advantage for the organization so as to combat competition in the market. Personalized services given by the hotel would create a relationship to be created between company and customer where in company would understand the needs of customers. Once customers are getting customized services from hotel there would be higher loyalty towards the services of the hotel as customer would get solution for their problems (Yin, 1994).

Loyal customer base can be maintained through CRM initiatives by engaging more and more customers with the services of the hotel so that customers can express their needs and in case services of the organization are not as per needs there can be feedback process so as to improve the services of the organization. Usage of the several customer groups such as preferred or premium customer group would help in order to create bonding with the customers so that customers can see respect and special features being offered to the vintage customers hence long term relationship can be developed (Macintosh & Lockshin, 1997). For the existing customers of the hotel there are several discounts and promotional offers are given and these promotional offers gives an image of care and importance for the relationship among customer base which would enhance customer relationship.

Value proposition is another important tool in order to enhance customer relationship through CRM models. Value perceived by the customer should be in accordance with the customer perception towards services and price paid for the services by customers. While considering the value proposition customer would include the needs & desire, customization in services and special discounts offered. With the help of CRM initiatives customer value proposition would be enhanced which would ultimately lead to the better relationship between customer and hotel (Morgan and Shelby, 1994).

2.9 Alignment of CRM with the organizational performance

CRM model is the key to success of current age service organizations where in organizational performance can be increased with the help of CRM by developing more and more profitable relationships and weeding out the relationships which are not profitable for the hotel. CRM builds the loyal customer base by identifying some of the most profitable relationships and these identified relationships would be used for enhancing revenue through up sell and cross sell activities. Hence with better implementation of the CRM activities in the organization performance of the organization would improve in the below mentioned areas:

Better service quality: With CRM activities being implemented in the organization more and more customer interaction would take place which would lead to the better service quality. Service quality would improve as CRM tools would be helpful in order to interact with the customers and to know customer needs according to which service quality would be aligned in the organization (Richins, 1983). Further CRM would be a key tool to combat with the competition prevailing in the industry by developing high quality services for the customers so that basis on the service provided to the customer a niche customer base can be developed which are brand loyal and would contribute to the success of organization. Customer interaction and experiences captured in the CRM would be helpful to take overview of service quality and accordingly service quality can be enhanced.

Automation: CRM tools implemented in the organization are helpful so as to automate the order management systems, sales force automization and promotional program automization which would be helpful so as to increase the efficiency. All the important tools implemented in the organization would be automized and would function as per the requirement into programmed manner which would be helpful for the CRM managers as they would not have to indulge themselves in order to manage these sales tools such as order management and sales force (Rowley & Dawes, 2000). This would result into enhanced efficiency for the organization stakeholders and overall performance of the organization would increase through CRM module.

Profitability: CRM involves developing an entire customer database which would involve data collection for the customers based on their buying behavior. CRM modules are so well designed that they would figure out some of the most profitable relationships so that profitability through these relationships can be enhanced. Further weeding the unprofitable relationship would be another important activity for the CRM tool as hotel would stop spending much on these relationships which are not profitable for the hotel hence overall profitability would increase for the organization through CRM implementation (Selnes, 1993).

Chapter-3 Research methodology

The present section provides the methodology through which research would be carried out, research methodology for the present research would include defining entire research strategy which would be helpful in order to conduct the research and draw inferences through the research carried out. Research methodology section would consist of defining the approach which would be used for the research, data collection and data analysis techniques (Boshoff and Allen, 2000).

3.1 Research philosophy

The aim of present task is to analyze the impact of CRM in hotel industry and in specific context to Taj group of hotels which involves subjectivity in the context. Hence an impact analysis study would be carried out in order to understand the impacts which CRM has on the organization and its performance. Research study would be based on the positivism philosophy which helps in order to carry out the subjective task and majorly used in the context where in subjective interpretations are involved. This justifies the research philosophy for the current task as the positivism as subjective interpretations are involved in the research (Denzin and Lincoln, 1998).

3.2 Research approach

There can be several research approaches to the present research such as exploratory, descriptive and experimental. Based on the research framework being required in the particular research approaches to the research are being selected and research is being carried out in the same context. Looking at the present research context it can be recommended that descriptive research approach would be most suitable for the present research. Descriptive research approach would include description of the closely observed phenomenon in order to take insights from the particular phenomenon. In the present research work descriptive research would be helpful so as to describe the CRM phenomenon being implemented in the context of Taj group of hotels (Flyvbjerg, 2006).

There would be four major steps to the entire research design in the descriptive research for the present task which would be description of the theory referred for the present task, sampling design in order to gather data pertaining to the research, implementing the research design and evaluating the research design in order to accomplish the entire research work. The four activities for the present task would be done as per the flow of present research where in initial stage of the research literature review would be referred so as to consult the theory pertaining to the current research. In the second phase to the research work research design would be developed which would include data collection through primary sources where in sampling design would be developed. In the third phase of the research work research design would be implemented and final stage would evaluate the research objectives in order to understand whether research objectives are being fulfilled with the help of present methodology being implemented in order to carry out the research. Sampling process would provide the in depth knowledge in data collection field as it is important to have clear understanding of the data collection technique in order to gather and analyze data into fruitful manner (Gefen, 2002).

3.3 Research purpose

The present research has the main purpose to enhance the usage and implementation of the CRM aspects in the hotel industry where in more and more services are required so as to create the unique supplier identity. The present research would explore critical insight for the area pertaining to the CRM and its implementation in the hotel industry. In order to explore the present research context top level employees as well as customers of the hotel would be questioned through development of systematic tools for primary data collection which is questionnaire.

3.4 Target audience

Target audience for the present research work would include a huge population from the diverse work field such as management learners working in the area of CRM, marketing practioners employed in the field of customer relationship management and top management people in the service sector. Students in the field of customer relationship management who are working in such subjects would gain literature review with the help of present research work which can be referred for the future researches. Marketing practioners for the Taj hotel and other would be gained through the present research work as it would offer the correct CRM implementation model in the context of hotels. Finally top management executives in the service industry would gain importance of the CRM software for the service industries so that these benefits can be gained by the other organizations into the service domain.

3.5 Research objectives

Objectives for the present research would be related to the usage and impacts of CRM for the Taj group of hotels which would be an important working area. Research objectives for the present research context can be given as mentioned below:

  • To understand and assess importance of customer relationship model specially in context to service sector
  • To integrate the customer relationship models with the operational as well as corporate strategy so as to gain maximum benefit through CRM activities in the organization
  • To understand impact on the profitability and sales revenue of the organization by implementing customer relationship management
  • To improve upon the service qualities offered by the organization with the successful usage of the CRM activities

3.6 Research questions

Questions which would be posed in the current research framework can be given as mentioned below:

  • To understand contribution of information technology in the proper utilization of customer relationship model
  • To understand the benefits of customer relationship for the firms
  • To understand the benefits of customer relationship model for customers
  • To understand the role of customer relationship model for improving the relationship with the customers
  • To analyze the use of customer relationship model in hotel industry and to assess its success ratio
  • To judge the alignment of the customer relationship model with the results of the firms

3.7 Data collection and analysis

Data collection technique used for the current research project would be two fold i.e. both primary as well as secondary methods for data collection would be used. In order to collect the primary data survey method would be used where in survey would be done with the help of questionnaire prepared (Gummesson, 1994). Survey would be done with the different questionnaire prepared for the employees as well as for the customers of Taj hotel in order to understand the impact of customer relationship model on organization. In order to analyze the primary data collected through questionnaire statistical methods of analysis would be used where in data would be represented through tables and charts. Secondary data for the research would be collected with the help of sources such as journals, websites and existing literature pertaining to the captioned field of research. Secondary data collected would be analyzed with the help of content analysis method where in inferences would be drawn through the literature.

3.8 Sampling

In order to conduct the survey sample of employees working with Taj hotel and customers of the Taj hotel would be sampled through random sampling method where in sample population would be selected randomly. Sample size in order to carry out the survey would be 30 out of the population size of 50. Customer profiling for the current research would be people in age bracket of 20 years to 50 years, having high income, good educational background and maximum customers would be employed with the big corporate organizations. Employees of the Taj hotels would be samples from the different departments such as service desk, front desk, IT department and customer relationship department in order to know the implementation of CRM model in Taj hotel. Questionnaire would be sent on mail in order to provide responses (Lindqvist et al, 1997).

3.9 Reliability and validity

Reliability of the data collected through survey would be a major factor which needs to be dealt with care in order to make research results precise. In order to deal with reliability issue several questions would be infused in the questionnaire in order to again and again collect the information on the same area which would depict consistent findings. In order to deal with biasness random sampling technique would be used which would avoid any possibility of biasness in the entire data set collected through survey method (Chow & Holden, 1997).

3.10 Ethical considerations

Special attention would be paid towards the ethical considerations involved in the data collection for the research where in sample population would be given proper details of the entire research and their identity would not be revealed. Further data collected for the research would be strictly used for the academic purpose only and respondents would be having complete right to take back their responses during the conduct of their research.

Chapter-4 Primary data collection and analysis

Customers Responses

Section – I: Introduction

Q: 1 Please share your age, gender and qualification?

The customers in the sample were analyzed based on the demographic characteristics and the results were as follows:

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img5

Gender

The sample consists of 73 % of the male population while 27 % were females. It governs the Taj Hotels is visited more by the Males as compared to the Females. This demographic characteristic is important to understand the customers and the consumer behaviour. The male population is nearly 3/4th of the total sample size and the Taj Hotels have high visitors which are males as compared to the female population.

Age

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img6

The Age as the demographic characteristic is also important and here the graphical analysis of the different Age group has been considered. The pie chart above shows the analysis based on the age with 73 % of the sample lies in the age group 21 to 40 years and close to 50 % lies in the age group 21 to 30 years. It can be clearly established the Taj Hotels is visited by the young population and this should also be the focus of the group so as to increase the revenue among these customers.

Qualification

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img7

The customers who have post graduate degree or a doctorate degree are exactly 80 % of the sample. The inference can be taken that Taj Group hotels is generally visited by the people who are professionally qualified and this governs the highly educated customers or professionally qualified customers spend prefer Taj group of hotels.

From the demographic data obtained above it can be determined that the respondents are having the similar profile which is expected in order to carry out the research. The consumers who are responding the present questionnaire belongs mainly to the male population having the age range from 21 year to 40 years and education qualification for most of the candidates are post graduate. Hence the respondents form the part of Taj customers as most of the customers for Taj hotels are corporate customers with the similar profiling as given above. This validates the responses collected from the respondents as we have chosen the correct segment in order to collect responses from the consumers regarding usage of CRM in the Taj hotel.

Q: 2 What is your Profession?

The professions vary diversely for the people who prefer Taj Group of hotels which is majorly visited by Doctors, Engineers, Businessman or the Management Professionals. Also, nearly a third of the samples have been categorized into other categories.

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img8

The professions vary diversely for the people who prefer Taj Group of hotels which is majorly visited by Doctors, Engineers, Businessman or the Management Professionals. Also, nearly a third of the samples have been categorized into other categories.

Q: 3 From how many years you are using services offered by Taj Group of Hotels?

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img9

The graphical analysis shown here describes there is quite a lot of percentage of the people who have been using the services for more than 2 years and it accounts nearly 50 % of the total sample. Also, nearly a third of the sample falls in the group of 0- 2 years. There is strong association of the customers with the Taj Hotels who love to use the services again and again and thus becoming the loyal customers. Also, there Taj hotels can work on the group of first time customers to make them regular users and hence the loyal users of the services of the Taj.

Analysis above highlights that the most of the consumers responding to the questionnaire are having vintage of 2 years or more. This shows that Taj group of hotel are having effective customer relationship management in place due to which there are high number of repeat customers. But there is concern for the Taj group of hotel as numbers of customers are decreasing into the higher vintage segment. This sometimes may be due to the customer resistance to have the similar environment again and again or can be due to the change in corporate tie ups as well.

Q: 4 Based on the perceived services from Taj Hotel, please rank your satisfaction on below scale.

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img10

The satisfaction level for the perceived services is quite high and nearly 70 % of the people are either satisfied or highly satisfied. There is very small percentage of the people which dissatisfied or highly dissatisfied. The organization should work on those people and so that they can move up the ladder to satisfied zone. The organization should listen to the demands of the people and should align its services according to the needs of the customer.

The above scale highlights the usage of customer relationship tool and their impact on the customers for the Taj group of hotels. As evident from the above graphs that most of the respondents have given the rating for highly satisfied to satisfied range which signifies that customer relationship strategies adopted by the hotel are quite effective. These effective customer relationship policies help in increasing the satisfaction index for the hotel customers.

Q: 5 Give rating on the below ionic scale () for your attachment with the brand Taj group of Hotels.

There is high brand loyalty with the Taj Hotels and the respondents are aligned to the high brand loyal category. Nearly 25 % of the people are neutral and fall exactly in to the middle of the ionic scale while still there are 20 % of the people who have no attachment at all and this attachment to the brand is important for Taj Hotels Marketing team to pursue and increase its brand awareness as well. Analyzing the rating given by the customer it is clear that most of the consumers are having strong attachment with the Taj hotel which symbolizes the good customer relationship for the hotel. In response to the customer relationship management, customers have high satisfaction index which creates a bonding between the hotel and its customers. This attachment between the customers and hotel would be helpful in order to create the repeat customers, positive word of mouth publicity and enhance the wallet size for the customers of the hotel. Hence overall increase in attachment would create higher profitability for the hotel.

Section - II Contribution of IT in managing CRM

Q: 1 Are you satisfied with the order management systems (In terms of responsiveness, data capturing, identification etc) implemented in Taj Hotels?

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img11

The Information Technology has been properly aligned with the organization strategy and it proves to be supportive for the Taj. As we get the analyze the information technology here, the satisfaction level with the order management systems is quite high and the customers which are satisfied and highly satisfied are 70 % of the total. Also, there is nearly 17 % of the total sample which are not satisfied and it is very less as compared to the satisfied respondents. We can conclude the order management system at Taj Hotels is quite robust and strong and organization can continue to build and leverage its order management system for customers.

Q: 2 Have you been correctly identified every time by the guest management system in Hotel?

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img12

The customers are highly aligned towards the identification by the Guest Management Systems and 60 % of the customers believe they have been always identified by the guest management systems and 20 % of the customers believe they have been just identified by the guest management systems. We can conclude this system is also robust at Taj and the percentages of the customers who have never been identified or have not been identified are just 3 %. The contribution of Information Technology is quite high and supportive at Taj.

Q: 3 Please rank the system (1 to 10 scale where in 1 has lowest rating) in Taj hotel regarding capturing your preferences during stay?

The ranking of the system in Taj Hotel is again aligned towards the positive and this is supported by the responses to this question. 65 % of the customers believed the capturing of the preferences of the customers is high at Taj Hotel by rating it 10 (where 10 is the highest rating). Also, this again supports how Information Technology is playing its role at Taj in order to develop the relationship with the customers by capturing their preferences and building the relationship so as to make them loyal customer of the Taj Hotels.

Q: 4 Please suggest probable improvements in the information technology in order to develop better customer relationship.

This was the open ended question but the response to this particular question should become the source of improvement for the Taj Hotel strategic alignment of the information technology to its business processes. Most of the customers have problem in different interaction with the technology at various touch points like Registration, Giving Feedback, and Checkout etc. There should be single touch point of the information technology which should cover all related areas and should not bother much to the customers. It should act as single source of truth and not the multiple sources of information. Also, the CRM tools like OLAP, Data Mining are helping Taj Hotels to build relationship with the customers and hence improve on its service quality.

From the present section which was aimed at collecting the data pertaining to the usage of information technology in order to implement the CRM technology in the Taj group of hotels it has been found out that Taj hotel makes best possible use of the CRM technology. Further information technology has enhanced the usage of the CRM where in several IT tools such as the data mining tools, operational CRM and OLAP are among the strategic tools which are beneficial for the organizations in order to gather data and implementing strategy based on the decision making done through the analysis.

Section - III Advantage of CRM model for customers

Q: 1 Have you been offered special discounts/complementary services on your repeat visits?

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img13

CRM tools are helping the organization in order to build the relationship with the customers and grow in terms of revenue and size however, the clear benefit of CRM should be offered to customers as well. The above graph showed nearly 70 % of the customers are offered some special discounts or the complementary services on their repeated visits. This percentage is quite high and this show the CRM tools are helping the organization which are ultimately helping the customers. Also, there are few customers who believe the special offers are not given for them; the offers should be given for them too.

Q: 2 Do you think based on your vintage with the Taj hotel you are being treated into special way/different from other customers?

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img14

The graph shows nearly 70 % of the customers agreed with it and they have been treated differently. This governs that CRM tools helps in identifying the customers which are regular and loyal and deserves the treatment meted out to with complementary offers etc. Also, there are nearly 20 % of the customers which do not believe the same and lie in Disagree category which should be point of consideration for Taj Hotels.

Q:3 Please share your views so that additional benefits can be offered to customers in order to manage better customer relationship.

As shown in the previous two questions, the advantages of CRM tools have been percolated in terms of monetary benefits like discounts or non-monetary benefits like complementary offers to the customers. However customers responded to this open ended question by saying there must be few other ways which Taj Hotels can build the better customer relationship. There can be ways such as tagging them as “Preferred Customers” and deserve more special treatment. Also, other ways suggested by customers being calling the customers for Annual general meeting and be part of organization discussions and also giving more special treatment to customers like distributing free passes for different shows etc.

Present section on the benefits of the CRM model for customers of the Taj hotel have highlighted that CRM is not only for the benefits of the organization but more than that CRM is useful for the customers, both old as well as new customers. The major benefits which customers get due to the CRM initiatives in the organization includes the offers and promotional schemes in order to attract new customers, special discounts and status in order to maintain the existing customers of the hotel. Also CRM model are helpful in order to have better complaint management and feedback implementation for the customers as well.

Section - IV Role of CRM in developing customer relationship

Q: 1 Do you think feedback received from customers regarding hotel services would benefit customers in order to get better services?

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img15

As depicted in the above line graph wherein it shows nearly 75 % of the customers have a sort of trust and association with the Taj Hotels that their feedback and recommendations carry weight and would eventually benefit customers. This is important to understand here, the customers believe their feedbacks are taken seriously and also would benefit them to get better customer services.

Q: 2 Do you think multiple contact points build by the Hotel system would be able to manage the customer preferences and identity into better way?

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img16

Customers believe the multiple contact points would not be able to build the hotel system in better way. It is also highly recommended by the customers to have single contact point, in order to have the technology supporting the customers and not becoming the hurdle in their interaction. This will also help Taj Hotels to have single source of truth of the interaction with the customers with the Taj Hotels and marinating the coherent set of customer preferences.

Q: 3 What additional way out can be recommended in order to improve existing customer relationship management model of the organization?

The customers have responded the Taj Hotels should treat different customers differently and should be put into different categories if they are high net worth customers or regular usage of services at Taj. It also goes well with the above responses where in the customers want more than discounts or complementary services. The customers should be tagged as Preferred Customers who are loyal customers and should be given additional benefits.

In the present section which analyzed the usage of CRM model in order to enhance the customer relationship in Taj group of hotels. From the present section it was found out that CRM model through its unique approach where in customer feedback and requirement analysis helps in order to understand the overall value proposition required by the customer. CRM model helps in order to obtain customer feedback and make changes in the services offered as per the feedback so that customer satisfaction towards the services of the hotel can be enhanced which would help to create the long term relationship with the customers of the hotel.

Employees Responses

Section - I Introduction

Q: 1 Please share your age, gender and qualification

Gender

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img17

The gender of the employees is shown in the graphical analysis above with male employees being double the female employees. The total male employees are nearly 67 % of the total employees sampled. The demographic characteristics of employees are important to understand the employee behaviour and other important characteristics which help in building better employee- customer relationship.

Age

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img18

The Age of the employees is categorized in to three categories and nearly 80 % of the employees are between 21- 40 years. This means there are lots of young employees in the Taj Group of hotels with only 20 % of people above 40 years. The young employees with their dynamic vigour, delivers the services to the customers and the organization has succeeded successfully in building the close customer- employee relationship through these employees.

Qualification

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img19

The qualification of employees is also worth noting as 50 % of the employees are post graduate degree holder and more than 80 % are either graduate or post graduate. There are less than 20 % of the employees who have elementary level education.

Q: 2 What is your vintage with Taj group of Hotels?

The employee’s vintage with the Taj group of hotels is shown in the pie chart below. There are employees with just less than 50 % of their vintage with Taj group of hotels and rest two categories have equal percentage of 27 %.

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img20

Q3. What is your designation and department?

The employees who are part of the survey are from different departments at Taj Hotels such as Information Technology Department, Service Desk Employees, etc. The employees from IT department are from various levels being the IT manager, IT supervisor, Team Lead etc. The employee from different levels and department is important and their perception is important to understand.

Section- II Contribution of IT in managing CRM

Q: 1 Do you think information technology tool such as PMS, analytical tools and OLAP are adequate in order to manage CRM?

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img21

Nearly 70 % of the employees are in either Agree or Highly Agree category with the above statement. The employees believe various analytical tools which are there with the Taj group of hotels are adequate and provide sufficient amount of information to build the relationship with the customers based on the information processed.

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img22

Q: 2 Do you think Taj Hotel has best IT system in order to manage CRM initiatives industry wide?

There was not even one employee who disagreed on this statement. The employee’s perception of the information technology is quite satisfactory and constitutes nearly 95 % that the information technology at Taj Group of Hotels is one of the best to manage CRM initiatives. The employees believe the CRM tools at Taj help in building strong customer-organization relationship and the information is one of best in the industry.

Q: 3 Do you think IT tools developed in order to manage CRM in organization are efficient enough to provide 360 degree view of customer?

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img23

The employees again answered in favour of the technology and more than 80 % believe IT tools to manage CRM in the Taj group of hotels is efficient enough for providing 260 degree view of the customers. The employees are aware of the 360 degree concept which helps them in understanding the customer well and this 360 degree view of the customer is got through different touch points with the customers and processing the information in the CRM tools accordingly.

Q4. Give suggestions in order to implement better IT system for CRM for Taj Hotels?

The suggestions given by employees are on various levels. On Operational level the employees believe the system should be upgraded so that complete data is captured and this would help them in gaining more insights. For Collaborative level, the employees believe the data is no very coherent and there is duplicity and redundancy in data which sometimes wastes the employee time in analyzing them. Lastly, employees have suggested there are many charts and graphs generated which are not required for the upper management which can be limited and also useful information is not lost.

Section - III Benefits of CRM for Taj Group of Hotels

Q1. Do you think Taj Hotel has sufficient number of repeat customers resulting through their CRM initiatives?

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img24

The employees in the organization believe, Taj hotel has sufficient number of repeat customers and 40 % of the employees completely agree with the above statement. Also, there are nearly 30 % of employees are just agreed to the statement. We can conclude there are employees do believe the customers they meet nearly 70 % of them are repeat customers and this is because the customer relationship with the Taj group has been clearly established and they come for using the services Taj again.

Q: 2 Please rate (E1 to E3 with E1 as the lowest rating) efficiency of CRM initiatives of Taj in order to enhance wallet size of the customer.

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img25

The employees in the organization have supported the efficiency of the CRM initiatives so as to increase the wallet size of the customers. 60 5 of the employees belong to E3 category and a third of the sample belong to E2, there are less than 10 % of employees who lie in E1 category and believe inefficiency of CRM initiatives for increasing the wallet size of customers at Taj. This is important factor to understand the benefits of CRM for the Taj Group of Hotels and CRM is helping them in providing necessary benefits.

Q: 3 What additional benefits are sought by Taj Hotel through their CRM initiatives?

The additional benefits sought by Taj Hotels are profitability enhancement, Service Quality Improvement apart from building the strong customer relationship. It also helps in building strong loyal customer base which helps in increasing the bottom line and hence improvement in profitability. Also, CRM initiatives help in building strong brand awareness for the customers and hence brand loyalty for the Taj Hotels.

Section - IV Assessing impact of CRM in hotel industry

Q1. Do you think CRM is vital element for CRM industry?

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img26

The employees’ well support with more than 90 % of the employees believes CRM is an important and the vital element for the industry in order to build the relationship with the employees. They do believe, it provides better insights in understanding the customer and align their strategies according to the customer needs. CRM has become important to establish and maintain the relationship with the customers for the organization.

Q2. Please indicate importance of CRM in below mentioned service industries and give rating from 1 to 5 with 1 as lowest important.

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img27

The employees who have given rating 5 (where 5 being the most important), hotel industry and Aviation are the most important wherein 12 out of 20 employees gave hotel industry as 5 where as 8 out of 30 gave Aviation as the most important. This means 40% of the employees believe CRM is the most important in the hotel industry and nearly 25 % believe Aviation as the most important. Also, they do believe medical industry and business consulting are least important in terms of having the CRM initiatives in them. Also, rating 1 supports the result which maximum employees believe CRM has no importance to medical or business consulting while Hotel and Aviation are the most important.

Q3. Do you think CRM can lead to lower advertisement expenses by maintaining high loyal customer base for the Taj Hotel?

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img28

There are 10 % of the employees who disagree with CRM leads to lower advertisement expenses. However, the percentage of employees who believe it does leads to lower advertisement expenses is nearly two-third of the total sample. CRM does leads to lower advertisement expenses as employees believe it helps them in understanding the customer better and this helps them in treating the customers differently and understanding their needs and wants.

Section - V Alignment of CRM initiatives with organizational performance

Q: 1 Do you think bottom line of the organization is attached with the success of CRM initiatives of the Taj Hotel?

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img29

The above graphical representation shows 60 % of the total employees do believe the bottom line of the Taj Group of Hotels is attached to understanding the customer well which is done through CRM initiatives. Employees do believe the alignment of CRM initiatives with organizational performance is important to have so as to become efficient and build strong relationship with the customer who eventually helps them to have repeats customers or loyal customers.

Q: 2 How important is it for any organization to have efficient CRM program in order to gain competitive advantage in the industry?

CRM at Taj Group of Hotel img30

CRM helps in gaining competitive advantage for the organization and the responses also show the same with nearly a third consider CRM program to be very important in gaining the competitive advantage and 20 % believe it to be important. Employees do believe apart from CRM program there are many other important aspects for gaining competitive advantage as nearly 30 % of the total sample do not believe CRM program is the most important in gaining competitive advantage as do believe there are other important aspects which can better help organization to gain competitive advantage in the industry.

Chapter-5 Secondary data analysis

The study helped in achieving objectives and helped in answering to the various research questions. The role of information technology along with the CRM model and its alignment with the organizational processes is important to understand and enhance the benefits of customer relationship model for the firms. This study also shows the CRM in the hotel industry is not only important but also quite successful in affecting the bottom line and building the better relationship with the customers (Kandampully and Suhartanto, 2000). The CRM is not only helpful for the organizations but also beneficial for the customers which help them in having monetary or non monetary benefits from the organization as they use the organization services. The CRM in the Taj Group of Hotels has helped us to understand the role of customer relationship model for building and improving the relationship with the customers. The success ratio of CRM in the hotel industry is quite high and it has increased its importance as well. The organizational performance is also dependent on the success of CRM model in the organization (Keaveney, 1995). The financial performance is improved with the CRM model in place and generates higher revenues by maintaining the relationship with the old customers and building the relationship with the newer ones.

The CRM is not only a tool which organization employs to build a relationship with the customer but has become a strategy in order to align its business process along with it. The PMS system at Taj helps maintain the customer profile and helps in understanding the customers well. The customer preferences and spending patterns can be deduced from the central reservation system and the customer information system (Kitzinger, 1995). The overall profitability of the firm is increased through these CRM initiatives whereas customer is the focal point of the organization. As part of primary data analysis, employees do believe IT tools such as PMS, OLAP are adequate for CRM initiatives at Taj Hotels. It is also found they are to be important tools so as to gain meaningful information and understand the customer better. PMS helps in building customer profile and based on that different categories of customers are built by Taj. This helps in differentiating the customers as loyal customers and which are not. OLAP tools helps in decision making and this helps in differential treatment of the customers based on their needs and wants (Kreuger, 1988). The employees also believe 70 % of the customers are repeat customers and hence can be termed as loyal customers to some extent because of robust central reservation system and central information system. There are various benefits which CRM implementation has for Taj and as discussed in literature review, CRM not only helps in building strong organization-customer relationship but also has other advantages such as brand building, better service quality and profitability enhancement. Employees in the primary research also agreed the same and it is clearly established CRM has helped Taj to gain competitive advantage in the industry and have improved the service quality along with building brand awareness. There is synchronization of the research discussed in literature review and primary research and employees support it also help in increasing the bottom line of the Taj Hotels (Dierdonck et al, 2003). The advantages of Customer Relationship Management model is not only for the organization but also to the employees and by primary data and secondary data analysis we are able to establish there is lot of importance to the CRM in the service industry.

Literature review established there are many influencing factors such as advertisement, public relations and word of mouth in building the brand image for the Taj. Also, the primary research established the CRM initiatives help in building the loyal customers and hence also help in lowering the advertisement expenses for the Taj and thus which helps in building the brand image. Also, employees laid high emphasizes of CRM in hotel industry by rating it as one of the major industry which requires CRM to understand the customer and build the relationship with them as compared to other service sector industries (Koenig et al, 1994). Information Technology helps in collect the data, analyze the data and identifying different patterns and relationship to understand the customer and finally achieving the 360 degree view of the customer. Employees have supported this, there are enough tools with Taj in which different customer patterns can be deduced and relationships can be established. This also supports the importance of CRM in achieving the 360 degree view of the customers. The research earlier established collaborative CRM and Operational CRM must be synchronized and the OLAP should form part of decision support systems. These systems should be upgraded so as to have meaningful patterns and also to avoid redundancy and duplicity. Employees are also concerned about duplicate data which sometimes wastes their time and also the system should be upgraded at least at operational level so as to have meaningful interpretations.

CRM in the organization helps in building strong association with the customers and hence helps in building a long term relationship with them. The response got from the primary data analysis well also supports this fact and there are huge numbers of customers who have more than 2 years of association with the Taj. It is clearly interpreted that CRM initiatives have helped the organization to grow and retain the customers while making them not only satisfied customers but also loyal customers (Silverman, 2000). The service quality is improved and customers have strong association of the Taj as a brand, this is only due to the better decision making and alignment of CRM strategy with the organizational strategy. The customers are quite satisfied with the order management systems and their identification with the guest management systems. The Taj Group of Hotels include sales automation, order management and customer order tracking as part of operational CRM that helps in automation of the business processes and all transactions are automatically captured. The key relationships in the data are identified and this is well supported by customers who are satisfied with the order management and the guest management systems. Customers do believe there must be single source of touch point instead of having multiple touch points which actually would help them to have better customer experience.

The data captured, analyzed, deducing patterns and relationship with the help of central reservation system and central information system help the Taj Group of Hotels to differentiate among customers. The PMS system at Taj is so robust that helps in building strong customer profile. As the customer profile is being built, it helps Taj to differentiate customers based on their loyalty and offer them discounts and complementary services and customer too are highly satisfied with this differential treatment. However, they still want that Taj Group must pursue some methods which help customers make Preferred Customers and should be given additional benefits apart from the benefits which are given presently. Literature review established, the CRM tools help organization go beyond having higher profitability and move towards building higher customer relationship through higher customer experience (Smith and Bolton, 1998). Also, CRM helps in building better brand image of the organization and higher customer loyalty. The customer loyalty and satisfaction can be built by identifying customer preferences and by better service quality. This was again supported by the customers who believe the feedback from the customers are well taken care of and would give them better service quality. They also believe the customer preferences are truly captured and their customer experience is enhanced whenever they visit Taj Group of Hotels over and over again.

Chapter-6 Recommendations and conclusion

6.1 Recommendations

The research conducted helped in understanding the customer behavior, CRM and though CRM initiatives is quite robust and developed strong at Taj Group of Hotels but there are few areas of improvement which would help Taj to grow and be competitive advantage for the Taj.

As the data captured from various CRM tools clearly establishes the fact the Taj Group of Hotels should have young customers as the focal point and should be dealt accordingly. The findings and the discussion on the results shows, the customers believe multiple sources of contact points for customer preferences would not help the Taj instead the single source of contact point would act as Single Source of Truth for them. This would avoid duplicity and redundancy in the data and the data can be analyzed easily (Mackoy et al, 1995). Also, it would help customers to have less hindrance in their customer experience at different touch points like registration, giving feedback, check out etc. CRM differentiates customers and special discounts and complementary services are provided to the customer based on their loyalty and net worth of the customers. However, customers still look for additional benefits which would make them Preferred Customers and distinguish from others in the lot. There can be additional benefits like inviting customers for annual general meetings at Taj and distributing customer’s free passes for some shows etc. These non- monetary benefits would help them to make Preferred Customers and distinguish them from others. Lastly, through this survey also helped in understanding customer perception of improving customer relationship management model at Taj which can be done through by providing better services and providing better customer experience thus making customers loyal so that they use the services over and over again.

There are other recommendations as part of Employees survey wherein employees have responded to have upgrade of the operational CRM so that complete data is captured and would help them to get the meaningful insights. The data mining should be made more robust and it should have less of duplicity and redundancy in the data which would help the organization to achieve coherent results and avoid wasting resources and time in meaningless results. It is also recommended that there should be results in which upper management should make the decision faster and unnecessary data or information should be avoided by the system. Employees also believe CM initiatives have helps Taj group of hotels to understand customer well and provide better service quality (Chandrasekharan et al, 1998).

6.2 Conclusion

The study conducted for the CRM at Taj Group of Hotels has helped in understanding various concepts, technologies and tools. The study helped in achieving objectives and helped in answering to the various research questions. The role of information technology along with the CRM model and its alignment with the organizational processes is important to understand and enhance the benefits of customer relationship model for the firms. This study also shows the CRM in the hotel industry is not only important but also quite successful in affecting the bottom line and building the better relationship with the customers. The CRM is not only helpful for the organizations but also beneficial for the customers which help them in having monetary or non monetary benefits from the organization as they use the organization services.

The customer relationship can be enhanced through better customer experience and higher service quality and at Taj CRM helps in achieving this objective. It helps in understanding customer preferences and builds customers profile which eventually helps in building brand image, profitability enhancement and higher service quality. The CRM tools helps in making quick decision making and understand the customer well and differently. The role of information technology is clearly established by customers and employees and its importance is highlighted with high priority in service industry. The advantages of CRM model is not only for the organizations which help them understanding better but also to the customers which gain through monetary or non- monetary benefits with organization CRM model. This study highlights the importance of CRM to the organization and customers while also highlights the advantages of CRM model to both.

7.0 Self reflection, Limitations and future research

7.1 Self reflection

This research conducted has not only enhanced my learning but also would be helpful in my future growth and development. The research was conducted as part of my coursework which has helped me in understanding various concepts, tools, techniques and technologies. The conscious looking at the research objectives and the research questions has helped me to make meaning out of the processes and technology which I was engaged in as part of this research. There is also increase in complexity of the cognitive skills wherein I can handle of process concepts with enhanced ability which is just more than common sense wisdom.

This research would be helpful in as I complete my Master’s degree and move to the corporate world. The research though conducted in service industry particularly in the hotels however, the study of customer relationship management model and its various concepts are more or less applicable to most of the industries. The concepts, techniques and tools learnt as part of this research would help in understanding the customer well and be a part of the organization growth with a focus on the customers. Customer Relationship Management is important to understand for not only upper management but also middle and lower management and the employees who are the tough points with the customers. This study has helped in understanding the role of customer relationship model for improving and building the relationship with the customers which would be beneficial for me as I enter the corporate world. It has also increased by analytical ability to understand things and be wiser in my approach while making decisions. The analytical ability with increased learning enhancement would help in understanding things better and make decisions accordingly.

Present research also helped me in understanding the overall research process which would be quite helpful in my future endeavors and in carrying out the business research in the corporate world. In present context research carried out followed the similar processes which are being used in the business problems at larger scale. Hence understanding the process for the present research and carrying out each and every step of the research helped in learning each aspect of the process involved in business research starting from analyzing the problem faced, developing objectives, developing research design, collecting information, analyzing information and providing recommendations in order to meet out the solution for the presently faced issues.

7.2 Limitations of the present research

Present research which was aimed at finding out the importance of customer relationship model in the Taj Hotel and analyzing usage of information technology in order to enhance efficiency of CRM model at Taj hotel has made complete success in order to attain the objectives. Research work can be considered as the projects which are having several resources constraints and similarly present research was also working under the financial, personnel and time constraints due to which there were several limitations in the present research (Yi, 1990).

The first limitation for the research was in terms of the data collection approach as there is scope of vast amount of data which can be collected in order to support the research findings through both primary as well as secondary research methods. Primary data collection technique used was able to collect responses from 30 respondents out of population size of 50 people. This was mainly due to the distance constraint, lack of timing and lack of financial resources. With higher amount of data being collected through the primary sources of information better research analysis would have been done and overall better results were expected.

Further source of secondary data collection was with the help of journals, articles and existing literature pertaining to the current subject of research. With involvement of higher amount of time for the research it would have been possible to refer much higher number of sources for the research (Sheth & Parvatiyar, 1995). Higher amount of secondary data for the present research could have proved beneficial in order to understand the trends in CRM technology and implementation of CRM technology along with its benefits for the hotel industry. These limitations of the present research can be addressed in the future research where in access to higher amount of resources in terms of the financial resources and time would help in order to collect the data pertaining to the research topic and overall analysis would be made strong. Based on the collected data and analysis research would dwell deeper into the objectives set for the research so as to gain wide understanding of the business problem and accordingly solution for the problem faced could have been identified.

7.3 Future research

The future research can be conducted wherein this research can form the basis of forthcoming research. This research helped in understanding the role of information technology and in understanding the benefits of customer relationship model for the firms and customers. The future research can be based on Customer Loyalty and Customer Experience while establishing the linkage between customer satisfaction, customer loyalty and customer experience.

The detailed research can be conducted in the future wherein the Servicescape as part of the research. The impact of physical surroundings in the hotel industry, service quality on the customers and employees which finally affect the customer experience can be a detailed research after this study (Rowley & Dawes, 2000). The establishment of customer satisfaction, employee satisfaction and their relationship amongst each that jointly affect the organization profitability and financial performance can be future area of research.

Further the future research for CRM and its relevant technology would look into the impact of CRM on enhancing the pocket size of the customer. The CRM tool in present age are so advanced that these tools can help in order to manage the entire relationship for the customers and based on the customer profiling done in the CRM there are vast amount of opportunities in order to provide the up sell and cross sell. These strategic sales made by the hotel and relevant industries would be helpful in order to enhance the overall profitability with the same customer.

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Appendix-1

Questionnaire to assess role of CRM for Taj Group of Hotels (For customers)

Dear Sir/Mam

We are the students of ABC University and for the academic purpose we have conducted the research on customer relationship management at Taj Hotel. We would request you to spare 10 minutes in order to fill below questionnaire which would help us in order to complete our research. Responses shared by you would be remained confidential and your identity would not be shared. Also you deserve the right to recall the responses given during the conduct of research.

Section-I Introduction

Q.1 Please share your age, gender and qualification.

Male/Female Age…………….. Qualification…………………….

Q.2 what is your profession? Answer…………………………………..

Q3. From how many years you are using services offered by Taj Group of Hotels?

  • First time
  • 0-2 Years
  • 2-4 Years
  • More than 4 Years

Q4. Based on the perceived services from Taj Hotel, please rank your satisfaction on below scale.

  • Highly satisfied
  • Satisfied
  • Somewhat satisfied
  • Dis-satisfied
  • Highly dis-satisfied

Q5. Give rating on the below ionic scale (✓) for your attachment with the brand Taj group of Hotels.

Highly Brand loyal……………!…………………!…………………!……………!........……..Not attached

Section- II Contribution of IT in managing CRM

Q1. Are you satisfied with the order management systems (In terms of responsiveness, data capturing, identification etc) implemented in Taj Hotels?

  • Highly satisfied
  • Satisfied
  • Somewhat satisfied
  • Dis-satisfied
  • Highly dis-satisfied

Q2. Have you been correctly identified every time by the guest management system in Hotel?

  • Every time identified
  • Identified
  • Sometime
  • Not identified
  • Never identified

Q3. Please rank the system (1 to 10 scale where in 1 has lowest rating) in Taj hotel regarding capturing your preferences during stay?

Q4. Please suggest probable improvements in the information technology in order to develop better customer relationship.

Section-III Advantage of CRM model for customers

Q1. Have you been offered special discounts/complementary services on your repeat visits?

Yes/No

Q2. Do you think based on your vintage with the Taj hotel you are being treated into special way/different from other customers?

  • Highly agree
  • Agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Disagree
  • Highly disagree

Q3. Please share your views so that additional benefits can be offered to customers in order to manage better customer relationship.

Section-IV Role of CRM in developing customer relationship

Q1. Do you think feedback received from customers regarding hotel services would benefit customers in order to get better services?

  • Highly agree
  • Agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Disagree
  • Highly disagree

Q2. Do you think multiple contact points build by the Hotel system would be able to manage the customer preferences and identity into better way?

Yes/ No

Q3. What additional way out can be recommended in order to improve existing customer relationship management model of the organization?

Appendix-2

Questionnaire to assess role of CRM for Taj Group of Hotels (For employees)

Dear Sir/Mam

We are the students of ABC University and for the academic purpose we have conducted the research on customer relationship management at Taj Hotel. We would request you to spare 10 minutes in order to fill below questionnaire which would help us in order to complete our research. Responses shared by you would be remained confidential and your identity would not be shared. Also you deserve the right to recall the responses given during the conduct of research.

Section-I Introduction

Q.1 Please share your age, gender and qualification.

Male/Female Age…………….. Qualification…………………….

Q2. What is your vintage with Taj group of Hotels? ................................

Q3. What is your designation and department? ……………………….

Section- II Contribution of IT in managing CRM

Q1. Do you think information technology tool such as PMS, analytical tools and OLAP are adequate in order to manage CRM?

  • Highly agree
  • Agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Disagree
  • Highly disagree

Q2. Do you think Taj Hotel has best IT system in order to manage CRM initiatives industry wide?

  • Highly agree
  • Agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Disagree
  • Highly disagree

Q3. Do you think IT tools developed in order to manage CRM in organization are efficient enough to provide 360 degree view of customer?

Yes/No

Q4. Give suggestions in order to implement better IT system for CRM for Taj Hotel

Section-III Benefits of CRM for Taj Group of Hotels

Q1. Do you think Taj Hotel has sufficient number of repeat customers resulting through their CRM initiatives?

  • Highly agree
  • Agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Disagree
  • Highly disagree

Q2. Please rate (E1 to E3 with E1 as the lowest rating) efficiency of CRM initiatives of Taj in order to enhance wallet size of the customer.

Q3. What additional benefits are sought by Taj Hotel through their CRM initiatives?

Section-IV Assessing impact of CRM in hotel industry

Q1. Do you think CRM is vital element for CRM industry?

Yes/No

Q2. Please indicate importance of CRM in below mentioned service industries and give rating from 1 to 5 with 1 as lowest important.

  • Hotel Industry
  • Aviation
  • Tourism
  • Medical
  • Business consulting

Q3. Do you think CRM can lead to lower advertisement expenses by maintaining high loyal customer base for the Taj Hotel?

  • Highly agree
  • Agree
  • Somewhat agree
  • Disagree
  • Highly disagree

Section-V Alignment of CRM initiatives with organizational performance

Q1. Do you think bottom line of the organization is attached with the success of CRM initiatives of the Taj Hotel?

Yes/No

Q2. How important is it for any organization to have efficient CRM program in order to gain competitive advantage in the industry?

  • Very Important
  • Important
  • Somewhat important
  • Not important
  • Not very important