MAINTAINING SATISFIED CUSTOMERS (BOTH INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL)
TOURISM, HOSPITALITY & EVENTS INDUSTRIES
A REPORT OF THE FIELDTRIP
ST JAMES’ PARK
TABLE OF CONTENT
SECTION 1: HOW ST JAMES’ PARK CAN KEEP ITS EXTERNAL CUSTOMERS SATISFIED.
1.2 Chosen destination of study – St James’ Park
1.3 External Customers of St James Park
1.4 Features, qualities and attraction of St James Park to these segment of tourists
1.5 Ability of St James’ Park to meet the needs of identified potential target markets
1.6 The strengths and weaknesses of St James’ Park
SECTION 2: HOW THE WORKFORCE OF BAMBURGH SUITE IN ST JAMES’ PARK ARE KEPT SATISFIED
2.1 Key concepts of maintaining a satisfied and motivated workforce
2.2 Difference businesses around St James’ Park
2.3 Bamburgh Suite
2.4 How Bamburgh Suite can maintain and satisfy its workforce (internal customers)
2.5 Observations during the fieldtrip – critical insight using management concepts
Newcastle is an all year round tourist destination. It boasts of an array of tourist attractions including the Beamish Museum, Gateshead Millennium Bridge, The Castle, Tyne Bridge, Centre for Life, the Coastline, St James Park etc. With so many areas each offering new sights, sounds and experiences, one is often amazed at how much is on offer whatever the taste or the season. Newcastle boasts of very rich culture, vibrant nightlife, aware-winning dinning, heritage, fantastic shopping and welcoming and habitable. https://www.newcastlegateshead.com/
According to our tour guide Barrand, J. (2017), about 5.7 million visitors visited Newcastle in 2016, an increase of 3% on 2015, of which 506,000 were overnight visitors, the other 5.2 million, day visitors.
CHOSEN DESTINATION OF STUDY – ST JAMES’ PARK
St James’s Park is principally a football stadium that has maximum international dimensions of 105 by 68 metres. St James’ Park is the home ground for Newcastle United Football Club since 1892. The club is uniquely and symbolically represented by its black and white stripe jersey – which has become a symbol of regional identity. The ground has been used for football since 1880. It is situated within Newcastle’s city centre, making it easy to reach by public transport. The stadium lies slightly towards the north-east of Newcastle’s centre and north of the main railway station, from where it is a 10-minute walk. On its northern side it borders Leazes Park. http://www.stadiumguide.com/stjamespark/
Due to its unique location, solid architectural design and international dimensions, it has been used to host many types of games – club and international football competitions, Olympic competitions in 2012 and several Rugby matches of international repute. In April 2017 the stadium was announced as the host for the 2019 finals of the European Rugby Challenge Cup and Champions Cup. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_James%27_Park.
A lot of high profile charity and friendly football matches to honour former players and manager etc have taken place at the stadium. St James’ Park has also played host to some charity football events such as video games – FIFA (video game series) rock concerts for famous artists as The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen ; E Street Band, Bryan Adams, Rod Stewart etc; and has been used as a set for film and reality television audition show The X Factor, Big Brother etc.
No doubt St James’ Park is not just the pride of the region but the entire UK. It even has its own metro stop, exquisite conference suites and world class amenities. Most visitors to St James’ Park have had reasons to make repeat visits in order to try to fully enjoy all that it has to offer.
EXTERNAL CUSTOMERS OF ST JAMES PARK
Before I go on to discuss the external customers of St James’ Park, it is logical to first explain the types of customers in a hotel and tourism industry.
TYPES OF CUSTOMERS IN TRAVEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRY
There are two main types of customers in the travel and tourism industry – namely internal customers and external customers.
Internal customers are members of staff within an organisation or outside suppliers who contribute towards the service that is provided, for example management or supervisors who are part of an organisation, even the cleaners are an internal customer.
External customers are the customers who book or pay the organisation money to stay or to use there services. https://hstreasures.com/two-main-types-customer-travel-tourism-industry-237/. According to the website: http://www.marketingteacher.com Internal Customers are also defined as those colleagues and departments within your own organisation. http://www.marketingteacher.com/internal-and-external-customers/. Similarly, external customers are classified as the customers, users, and those that exchange money for goods and services. http://www.marketingteacher.com/internal-and-external-customers/
REFERENCE: Tim Friesner, T. (2017) Marketing Teacher Ltd
EXTERNAL CUSTOMERS AT ST JAMES’ PARK
Conversely, external customers of St James’ Park include the members of the general public that comes into St James’ Park to access the facilities either on their own or in groups or families. This also includes every away team and their supporters, the entire contingent of all visiting teams – be it club or International football teams, charity or friendly matches, their entire coaching/medical team, Rugby League and Rugby Union, participants during the Olympic and every other sporting activity. It also includes participants of film and television auditions and drama. Those who, on their own, and outside match days, access the shops, conference centres and other amenities within the stadium and buy the services they require for themselves and their friends are also classified as external customers. About 90% of these external customers of St James’ Park are male from 15 years of age and above.
They are essential to the success of any business, as they provide the revenue stream through their purchases that the enterprise needs to survive. Satisfied external customers often make repeat purchases as well as refer your business to other people they know. A customer who suffers through a negative experience with a business, such as being treated rudely by an employee, can also hinder a business by dissuading others from patronizing it.
HAPPY OR SATISFIED INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL CUSTOMERS IN HOTEL AND TOURISM INDUSTRY
To date, there remains a different in opinion among scholars on the above subject of customer happiness and satisfaction. In attempting to give a balanced view I have considered opinion of some eminent scholars.
Mullins and Dossor (2013) stated “the management of people is influenced by the attitudes which are brought to bare on the relationships with them and on the problems which affect them”. The emphasis here is on attitudes, relationships and problems. Another focus was on service delivery and need satisfaction as stated by Keleman and Papasolomou-Doukakis (2004) ” Every interaction between the internal customer and the business or management must focus on service delivery and need satisfaction”. Lucas and Kline (2008) added that an organization should create an enabling environment that supports and empowers its internal customers which will ultimately lead to meeting the expectations of the external customers. Sturman and Ford (2011) contended that motivation of (internal) customers should not only be based on financial rewards but also on non-financial rewards such as organization’s environment, organizational culture, individual characteristics, comparison across individuals, and the structure and form of existing incentives.
In summary, Stewart, S. et al (2017) submitted that once the likely needs of the internal customers are met, they are happy and satisfied at their work. This will translate to efficient service delivery and ultimately result in happy and satisfied external customers. The likely needs of internal customers are discussed in the next section of this essay.
HOW ST JAMES’ PARK CAN KEEP ITS EXTERNAL CUSTOMERS SATISFIED.
In attempting to answer the above question, this quote by Richard Branson readily comes to mind: “If you look after your internal customers you don’t have to worry about the external customers”.
The most important factor to ensuring that external customers are satisfied is to create a good working environment for your internal customers. According to Stephanie Edwards at the website: http://www.mycustomer.com one key leadership task is to create an environment in which your people can become passionate about your vision. Armstrong (2012) submits that “Work environment will be concerned with developing a culture which encourages positive attitudes to work, promoting interest and excitement in the jobs people do, reducing stress and recognizing the importance of social interaction”. Kelly Graves at the website: http://www.bizjournals.com puts it bluntly that “it is just about impossible to have happy (satisfied) external customers when you have unhappy internal customers — that is, employees”.
It follows therefore that the key for St James’ Park to keep its external customers happy and satisfied is first to have a happy and satisfied internal customer. If all the internal customers named above are not happy and satisfied on their job at St James’ Park, it will negatively impact on the external customers who access the facilities. As Kelly Graves summarized it, “Every point of contact made by an unhappy employee will negatively impact the external customer relationship”.
FEATURES, QUALITIES AND ATTRACTION OF ST JAMES PARK TO TOURISTS
Apart from the other attractions of tourists to Newcastle, visitors to St James Park are attracted for various reasons including.
1 Rich history and culture
2 Solid and excellent Architectural Multi-Purpose Stadium
5 Easy access to amenities
6 Wonderful Conference Facilities
7 Friendly Staff all
8 Bubbling and never-ending Night life
ABILITY OF ST JAMES PARK TO MEET THE NEEDS OF THE POTENTIAL TARGET MARKETS
The pitch has the maximum international dimensions of 105 by 68 metres which enables it to host all types of games.
• The stadium has a maximum seating capacity of 52,354:
• It is seventh-largest club football stadium in England;
• It is the ninth-largest football stadium in the United Kingdom overall when including the Millennium Stadium (the national stadium of Wales), and Celtic Park (a Scottish club football ground);
• It is the eleventh largest stadium in the United Kingdom overall when including the rugby venues of Twickenham in England, Murrayfield in Scotland.
• The stadium has an attractive pub for away team fans
• Modern stadium, reasonably priced drinks, and easy to find pubs nearby where you can mix with the locals and have some banter before the match.
THE STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF ST JAMES PARK
1. It has national recognition and has successfully hosted both international football completions, the Olympic, and Rugby matches
2. It is uniquely positioned to host a lot of drama, films and television programmes
3. It has rich legacy and brand to attract big names in the entertainment industry
It is only one of the few stadiums that can be used for both football and rugby matches and other activities within the region.
4. Its 52,000 seating capacity is a huge source of income to the owner and brings other similar businesses to the area and a tax revenue to the government
5. The current owner is committed to further developments to world standard
6. Revenues are a boost by sale of merchandise by the club
1. One of its obvious weakness is that the club that uses the ground for its home match has not won major football completion in football and this has hampared its value
2. Because of its private ownership – there is always the uncertainty or possibility of being sold and, the new owners may not be as committed and recognize its importance to the region of maintaining its brand and identity to the region
3. Stiff competition from other big clubs means that it is no longer one of the best brands in English football
1. Away fans are not treated very well. The seats are located basically up in the sky. You can hardly see the ground at all. I suggest you wrap up warmly, take a hat and a pillow with yourself.
2. Getting through the turnstiles when you are pregnant is also a challenge. On the other hand the staff is very helpful and polite. The drinks area and the toilets are the usual dark affairs.
3. The hospitality area is quite nice, but I only ever had exams there, so no idea about the prawn sandwiches. Modern stadium, reasonably priced drinks, and easy to find pubs nearby where you can mix with the locals and have some banter before the match.
The facilities and staff are so helpful and pleasant. Parking can be an issue.
The ground is a tidy ground, however, away seats are high up and plenty of stairs to climb but then your overlooking the beautiful city of Newcastle. The view of the pitch is unrestricted from all parts of the ground and by the time kick off arrives most of the geordies and travelling fans are blurry eyed any way.
There are pubs and café scattered everywhere around the stadium for matchday entertainment. There is also a Police Station within the stadium to nip potential trouble makers.
The atmosphere on matchday is relaxed by the DJ. Music, and a variety of challenges for away fans as well as the local legend Goldie. Strippers on also.
The food was decent, it wasn’t too crowded (decent attendance), there were enough toilet facilities for the amount of people in the stand.
Great football ground right in the city centre, easy access with local metros and buses and lots of nearby parking – it does get a bit busy on match days so be aware. Inside the stadium is clean, and memories of second rate, dirty amenities are a thing of the past.
It has great facilities for disabled visitors all around the stadium.
1. To reduce the ticket price for children to 5 Pounds Sterling; and reduce ticket for disabled persons, citizens and long serving fans of over tens consistent support
More recommendations to be included from the observations.
SECTION 2: HOW THE INTERNAL CUSTOMERS OF BAMBURGH SUITE ARE KEPT SATISFIED
KEY CONCEPTS OF MAINTAINING A SATISFIED AND MOTIVATED WORKFORCE
Stewart, S. et al (2017) submitted that once the likely needs of the internal customers are met, they are happy and satisfied at their work. And such needs include:
1. An enabling environment. Lucas and Kline (2008) submitted that an organization should create an enabling environment that supports and empowers its employees. A safe working environment: An enabling environment, according to Hayward, P. (2000), includes being valued; being kept informed on how the organization is performing; being treated with respect and receiving appropriate training. Macey et al (2009) emphasised the importance of the work environment and the jobs people do, adding that ‘when people have the opportunity to do work in a way that (a) effectively uses their skills; (b) fits their values; and (c) provides them the freedom to exercise their choice, they will be fully motivated in their work”.
2. Training appropriate to their job role. Brent, M. and Dent, F. E. (2014) emphasized that the “core idea of coaching (training) is to develop others, to help them learn. Without coaching, this cannot be achieved. Ultimately, as the environment grows more and more complex, performance will be as a result of learning”.
3. Build Relationships: The management of people is influenced by the attitudes which are brought to bare on the relationships with them and on the problems which affect them. Mullins, L. J. and Dossor, P. (2013). Morrison et al (1999) stressed about personnel being a social animal and, there should be a system of social integration which will combine employment patterns, industry-sector features, corporate restructuring, economic restructuring, and methods of organization production and distribution in a way, which on balance, promotes enterprenural behavior.
4. Job Satisfaction: Dutton’s research as stated in Brooks, I. (2008) indicates that forming ‘high quality connections produces higher amounts of resilience, cooperation, job satisfaction, involvement, commitment, …. it produces increased cooperation, attachment of employees, suppliers and customers’.
5. Motivation – Burke and Barron (2014) defined motivation as “the inner force that causes or induces us to do something, and what motivates one is different from what motivates another, adding that what motivates a person in one set of circumstances might not motivate the same person in another set of circumstance”. This view was supported by Michael C. Sturman, M.C. and Ford, R. (2011) who stated that motivation should not only be on financial but also non-financial rewards. While you cannot ignore the reality that financial rewards play a critical role in motivating hospitality employees, you cannot also ignore the reality that money isn’t everything to everyone.
BUSINESSES AROUND ST JAMES’ PARK
The stadium has its own metro stop; a Strawberry pub opposite it;, a nice-looking cafe and Shearer’s Bar, some memorabilia shop within. There are also conference and banqueting facilities, including a Bamburgh Suite.
There are several clubs, including bars and lounge within the stadium, the Platinum Club, Bar 1892, a Sovereign Club and a Black and White Club and a Police Station. Out of all I saw during my fieldtrip, my interest was more on the Bamburgh Suite.
BAMBURGH SUITE AT ST JAMES’ PARK
The Bamburgh Suite at St James’ Park is very iconic and one of the largest conference facilities in Newcastle and beyond. It is spaciously spread across 4 floors, having a 1000 capacity, a stage, dance floor and 3 bars.
It can be used for dinners, conferences, weddings etc. Parting is not an issue as it has a multi- story car park and is lavishly decorated to accommodate smaller events running simultaneously and containing up to 500 guests. My enquiries during my fieldstrip reveal that it has high number of workforce (the internal customers) which works in many departments, each carrying out various functions to satisfy their external customers.
HOW BAMBURGH SUITE CAN MAINTAIN AND SATISFY ITS WORKFORCE
The internal customers of Bamburgh Suite include are the people that work within the business of football and other sporting events at St James’ Park and, including Board of Directors of the St James’s Park and Newcastle Football Club, the supervisors and football team members, managers, the coaching staff and medical team of the football club down to the gardeners and cleaners that clean the changing rooms, security personnel, the drivers and, indeed every other person that works within St James’ Park and Newcastle Football United.
The Bamburgh Suite is composed of many customers and suppliers internally within the organization itself. The sales department kick starts the process by taking an order /bookings from a customer to use the suite for a conference at a certain date. This order should naturally be passed to the department will ensure the required number of sits and the proper arrangement is made on the day; also to ensure adequate catering services are provided for the number of guests expected. There should be department that will deal with ensuring the public address system, music, lightings, parking and allocation of seats to guests on the day. Each of these departments have some information they would require or provide to the other department in order to ensure a hitch-free event for the customer. This supply chain, according to Kahraman and Öztaysi (2014), ensures the delivery of service from the source to the end user.
In order to produce a happy and satisfied external customer, Yanovitch (2011) contends that customer satisfaction between the organization must be built first. He submits further that this can be done by having each department
1. Identify an internal customer and an internal supplier.
2. Talk to this internal customer and ask them specifically what is needed for them to do their jobs that their department provides.
3. Ask this internal customer what they currently do that disappoints them in delivering what they provide.
4. Ask this internal customer what they could do that would delight them and make their jobs easier.
5. Go to supplier and ask what you can do to help them deliver what your department needs. Yanovitch. T. A. (2011)
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Stephanie Edwards is managing director of Customer 1st International, and Customer 1st Learning.