Customer Relationship Management: Tennyson Case Study
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Introduction This case study is based on Tennyson Ltd, which is a UK registered tour operator, and has trading names such as 'Visit Asia' and 'Visit Vietnam'. Tennyson Ltd is also a member of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) and the Pacific Association of Travel Agents (PATA). Tennyson Ltd is in an alliance with well-regarded tour operators, which are both publicly and privately owned (Visit Asia, 2008). They operate in the busiest areas in both central and Greater London, such as Colliers Wood, Fulham and Hammersmith. A wide range of activities including skiing, snowboarding, sailing, yachting, diving, mountain biking and walking are offered. Tennyson Ski merged with Merryweather Sailing in 2002. Merryweather Sailing, which is another tour operator, targets a different group of customers such as novice and experienced sailors. Their hotels were located near water sports locations, which were a considerable distance away from the heavily commercialised holiday centres and were staffed entirely by Tennyson's employees. However, according to the case study, the ratio of ski representatives to clients is 1:30, which shows a poor indication of good customer relationship. Despite CRM's importance as a business approach, there is no concrete definition of relationship marketing at present. However, (Parvatiyar and Sheth, 2001) defined relationship marketing as a method of acquiring, retaining and liaising with targeted customers to provide better value for both the organisation and the customers. The combination of marketing, sales and customer service and the distribution elements of the organisation in an integrated manner enable higher efficiencies and improved effectiveness, which lead to better value for the customers. CRM evolved from direct response marketing, with emphasis placed on the building of long term relationships with customers rather than on individual transactions. Relationship marketing involves an understanding of customers' needs and wants through their life cycles, and the provision of a range of suitable products and services. The problem with the company is that Tennyson Ski, which is a part of Tennyson Ltd, is not CRM oriented.
The company can use this information to indicate what exactly consumer wants when they are planning a holiday, how much they are prepared to pay and how they can meet the expectations of their clients. Understanding the economics of customer acquisition and retention and their relationship with customer lifetime value is fundamental to the concept of customer value (Christopher et al. 2002:208). Tennyson, recognise that their success is not just coming from the quality of their products but also with the total customer experience. So they try to build a relationship by "providing the 'hot' experience in the winter". Ski Gurus were piloted in four resorts with the aim to socialise with clients and build a relationship with existing and potential customers. More services were available such as Tennyson Ski School, where teachings were available for non-skiers which encourages new clients to holiday with Tennyson. A hire shop was available so that skiing equipment can be rented, which means that even though clients are not geared up for this type of holiday, there is not much to worry about as everything is already sorted. Other activities for the improvement and development of guests' skills are also available such as technique sessions, resort 'base' at central properties which provide convience and increase engagement with the guests. Relationship marketing emphasised on building bonds between the organisation and all stakeholders, especially the employees who played a significant role in its operations. Tennyson's uniform way in delivering its services to customers across all its business and their partnerships with high quality manufacturers of sports equipment proves another attempt of building relationship with their customers. This provides 'trust' within the company itself, because no matter where the clients book their holiday, they are sure to have the same level of service and high quality sports equipment available for their security. Staff training and development encourages young people who have an interest in the holiday industry, will want to work with Tennyson "and become part of that quality team".
References: Christopher, M. Payne, A. and Ballantyne, D. (2002), 'Relationship Marketing' Oxford: Butterworth Heineman. Little, E. and Marandi, E. (2003), 'Relationship Marketing Management' Thomson, pp 62. Lovelock, C., Vandermerwe, S. and Lewis, B. (1991), 'Service Marketing: A European Perspective' Harlow: Pearson Education, p.183 Ndubisi, N.O. (2004), 'Understanding the salience of cultural dimensions on relationship marketing, its underpinnings and aftermaths' Cross Cultural Management, Vol. 11 No.3, pp.70-89 Newell, F. (2000), "Loyalty.com: Customer Relationship Management in the New Era of Internet Marketing", McGraw-Hill, New York, NY. Parvatiyar, A. and Sheth, J.N. (2001), "Customer relationship management: emerging practice, process, and discipline", Journal of Economic & Social Research, Vol. 3 No. 2, pp. 1-34. Payne, A., Christopher, M., Clark, M. and Peck, H. (1999), "Relationship Marketing for Competitive Advantage", Butterworth Heinemann, Oxford. Peck, H., Payne, A., Martin, C. and Clark, M. (1999)," Relationship Marketing Strategy and Implementation", Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. Peppers, D. and Rogers, M. (1995), 'A new marketing paradigm: share of customer, not market share' Managing Service Quality, p.48 Rapp, S., Collins, T. (1990), 'The Great Marketing Turnaround' Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ Szmigin, I. and Bourne, H. (1998), 'Consumer equity in relationship marketing', Journal of Consumer Marketing, p.15 Websites: CRMmanager.net - The Customer Relationship Management Portal; available online at: http://www.crmmanager.net/magazine/article_861_group_1_software_pitney_bowes.htm [last accessed March 23, 2008] CRM in Travel, TTi Spring Conference 2002; Available online at: http://www.genesys.net/TTIconference0203.pdf [last accessed April 2, 2008] Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Strategy and Implementation - 2000 Edition Available online at http://www.researchandmarkets.com/reports/4813 [last accessed March 26, 2008] Customer Relationship Management Solutions for Travel & Transport (2008); available online at: http://www.charter-uk.com/complaint-handling/travel_and_transport.asp [last accessed 5th April 2008] Holiday Booking Process UK March 2008 (www.academic.mintel,com) [Last accessed April2, 2008] Snowsports - UK - January 2008 (www.academic.mintel.com) [last accessed March 21, 2008] The world turns to Thomas Cook, why don't you? Available online at: http://www.thomascook.co.in/ThomascookHoliday/corporate/careers/profile.html. [last accessed April 2, 2008] Thomas Cook buys into CRM; available online at: http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2005/10/20/21325/thomas-cook-buys-into-crm.html [last accessed March 23, 2008] Visit Asia (2008) Last accessed 4th April 2008 from http://www.visitasia.co.uk Wegmann, R. SAP Customer Success Story Retail - Tourism Marketing; available online at: www.sap.com/germany/media/50078755.
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