Client Story: La Quinta 2018-11-08T16:21:44-05:00
Operationalizing Pricing Strategy Improves Customer Loyalty
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La Quinta

La Quinta is a chain of limited service hotels. The company owns and operates over 800 properties and franchises over 200 properties under various brand names.

  • US $1 Billion in revenues

  • 9,000 employees

  • Operates properties in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Honduras

The Challenge

La Quinta had developed a new pricing strategy to encourage customer loyalty, increase pre-booking, and make managing rooms easier. “To improve our competitive position within the hotel industry, our leaders challenged us to transform the way front desk service representatives (FDSRs) sold our hotel rooms, the importance of providing excellent guest service, and selling customers on the value of our hotels,” said La Quinta Vice President of Operations Services Christina Cernuch. However, the representatives were less than enthusiastic about the new pricing plan, and after a few months, company leaders noticed that employee buy-in to the new strategy was alarmingly low. Although the new plan would actually reward loyal customers, the representatives viewed the change in pricing as potentially unfair to some of their customers because they did not fully understand the big picture. Rather than just tell front desk service representatives what to do, La Quinta wanted to engage the representatives, so that they would each personally understand why the new pricing strategy was sincerely beneficial to loyal customers. FDSRs determined the success of the business at an operational level.

The Approach

Applied Learning partnered with a La Quinta project team and assembled a group of senior leaders from operations, finance, sales, marketing, and talent management. Applied Learning guided these leaders through a discovery process to fully understand the operating realities of the business and how the new pricing strategy was developed. Also, Applied Learning conducted workshops and focus groups with front desk service representatives and other operational team members to understand their context and concerns. The Knowledge Map led front desk sales representatives through the strategy’s reasoning in a clear and engaging way, while grounding their learning experience in customer data and marketplace facts. Once representatives understood the pricing strategy and how they should put it into practice in their daily interactions with customers, they also understood who it benefited. They came to the conclusion that the new strategy was not only beneficial for the company, but also for its loyal customers, which removed their hesitation to operationalize the strategy.

The Result

The training program was a resounding success. Midway through deployment, when only half of front desk service representatives had gone through training, La Quinta tested the success of the training by reporting the service scores and Satisfied Intent to Return of customers from all hotels. Regions that had completed the training averaged a +1.9 service quality, while regions that had not yet participated averaged -0.725 service quality. Regions that had completed the training averaged a +2.5 Satisfied Intent to Return point improvement, while regions that had not yet participated averaged only a +0.825 Satisfied Intent to Return point improvement. These remarkable improvements in their service quality and customer satisfaction convinced La Quinta of the operational power of Knowledge Maps. This training program contributed to La Quinta winning a “BEST” award from the Association for Talent Development for demonstrating enterprise-wide success through employee learning and development. Almost as soon as that project was done, La Quinta partnered with Applied Learning again for a different strategic project, the ultimate sign of La Quinta’s satisfaction with its Knowledge Map experience.

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