Monday, July 6, 2020

KONGEEG and its Scandinavian Roots

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The founder of KONGEEG and a Dane, Dario Zoric, has been helping the development of international brands, including hotel chains, for more than a decade.

An avid traveller who has visited 45 countries, Dario knows a lot about hotels and the specifics of the hotel business. In addition, he is a strategic partner for those companies that have decided to adjust their course, attract the right target audience, and also increase their sales and reputation. 

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Dario Zoric

We are talking with Dario about the history of his company, about the modern challenges and problems that humanity has recently encountered.

Where does your company get such an unusual name from?

KONGEEG translated from Danish means “King Oak” and the name draws inspiration from the Scandinavian culture and its northern nature, its purity and peacefulness. A calm mind is directly related to how well we function in both personal and professional life, and I wanted to bring this atmosphere to the core of my company.”

“I am from Denmark, and I believe that everything we do should be done for the benefit of others. Thus, I decided to devote my experience and knowledge to the prosperity of companies and their customers. The health of a tree depends on how strong its roots are – I have the same attitude towards the companies that can only thrive if their customers value them and are devoted to them and to their service or product.”

What is the success of the marketing campaign today?

“Success lies in understanding of the target audience, customers and guests, if we are talking about the tourism industry, for instance. Businesses that think about how much value they can bring to the lives of their customers and how they can show their gratitude and dedication to them will be able to survive in this market.”

Marketing in twenty years will be the same as marketing today – companies will continue to use the same strategies to attract customers and this is a vicious circle. The only thing companies can do today is to promote a concept called “Value First.”

“Take the hotel business. Hotels are not interested in short-term solutions – they should ideally try to consolidate their reputation for the next 30 years. So, how they care about their guests, will become part of their reputation today and tomorrow. When their regular guests consider that staying at their hotel is an invaluable experience, this is the best sign of success that can last and be passed on from generation to generation.”

How is your working process organised with your customers?

“I begin with the notion that I am building relationships not with companies, but with people who drive them. We are talking about their vision, about what they want to achieve and in what they want to surpass their competition, or about how they want to change their strategy. Everything is based on those people who communicate with guests / clients every day, those people are at the core of the business and they are closest to understanding the behaviour of their customers. Then I start a deep audit of the entire company from A to Z.”

“Whether it’s my help with optimising their e-commerce, or a full audit of all the services provided by the hotel.”

“With a full audit of the hotel, we are talking about the experience of the guests and therefore I need to go through entire process myself – from booking (accessibility, ease of navigation on the website, physical location) to using all the services inside the hotel besides accommodation, that is, food, spa or a massage center, additional services, etc.”

“After booking, I act as a guest and stay at the hotel for the agreed time period (most often it is 2-3 days) and carry out an audit of everything related to communication with guests by the staff, use of services, aesthetic details, availability of services, response time to requests and everything that the ordinary guest goes through. Ideally, none of the staff other than senior managers should know about my presence as a “secret guest”. Using all services helps to form an objective assessment.”

“After that, I prepare a detailed briefing for the hotel management, where we talk about all the identified weak points and discuss the future plan of action and decisions.”

“Depending on the wishes of my clients and identified problem areas, I either stay at the hotel and engage in staff recruiting process, training, as well as the full adaptation of all internal and external processes, or I advise them remotely. I would like to add that I am helping businesses not only with e-commerce, technology and improving the quality of services, but also when it comes to hotel interior matters. I am a very aesthetic person and notice details that may be trivial, but aesthetics for me is not a matter of design, but the emotional experience of hotel guests. Personalisation of experience for hotel guests is the most important for me, and I try to convey it to my clients.”

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How do your customers react to a negative rating?

“The worst rating I could ever give is actually the best rating. We identify loopholes that truly are opportunities. I voice this to all my clients at the first meeting, so they are very enthusiastic about the results of my assessment and respond positively. It is important for me to see that my clients sincerely care about their guests.”

What challenges do hotels face and how can they overcome them?

“Hotels have lost direct contact with customers after the emergence of other booking platforms. These platforms monopolised the booking process, and this was the reason that more and more hotels were losing the battle for customers. I really sympathise with the hotels, as these platforms have driven them into a corner where they are forced to communicate with their guests through these platforms, and not directly. Currently, hotels pay a commission of at least 10% of each booking for these platforms, as guests have stopped visiting official sites. Thanks to the optimised e-commerce on the sites of the hotels themselves, I can help them attract their guests to book rooms directly, which will help them to save and spend these funds on individual communication with the customers. Hotels should set themselves up to the fact that they not only offer warm shelter and a roof over heads, but also give an unforgettable experience and pamper their guests.”

What do you mean by “individual” communication?

““Individual communication” is a guest service in accordance with their desires and preferences. Some processes must be automated to save time and without much intervention for the sake of speed and accuracy. But in order for the guest to feel special, human communication is necessary. Why not check their social network, their date of birth and anticipate how you can make their experience of staying at your hotel more enjoyable and valuable already during the booking process.”

“It will not take long for the staff, for example, to send the guest an email with a guide or itinerary in which you can indicate all the services of the hotel. If the guest travels with a pet, why not send them the location of the nearest parks for a walk in advance. If the guest travels on his / her birthday, why not invite them to celebrate this event in the hotel restaurant.”

“All this care for guests by the staff will not go unnoticed the hotel staff, because they will see what benefits they bring, delighting guests and increasing the rating of their hotel.”

Any advice you may give to the hotels?

“Firstly, hotel visitors are not clients, but guests.”

“Remember that the most unpleasant thing you can say to your guest is “Sorry, we can’t help you.” Learn to think ahead of time what your potential guest can appreciate. A loyal customer will accept many “punches” before leaving you. If something is not within your power, try to find an alternative. But under no circumstance, leave your guest without any decision. You want your guests to feel like they are leaving their home when they are checking out. It is also important to focus attention not only on visitors, but also on local residents who can visit the spa or restaurants. Become the preferred place where everyone wants to come to spend their free time, relax, hold a business meeting or stay for the night.”

In a world where everyone knows the price of everything, you need to strive to show value to all that you can offer.

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Speaking of the Covid-19 pandemic, do you think the hotel business will recover?

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“After the borders are open again, some guests will be delighted that they can travel again, and some will hesitate. Eliminate their worries by showing them first-class service and care.”

“I see in this situation only a chance for hotels to prove themselves from a stronger side. I will only be happy to help these businesses tell their guests not only how their stay at the hotel will be safe, but also to stun them, giving them the best possible experience.”

For more information on KONGEEG visit their official website at www.kongeeg.com

For all matters of cooperation, please contact Dario directly at this email address: team@kongeeg.com

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The founder of KONGEEG and a Dane, Dario Zoric, has been helping the development of international brands, including hotel chains, for more than a decade.

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