This report highlights the distinctive characteristics that the Hard Rock Hotel chain possesses in its business, and also the competitive advantages it has over its competitors with its current service management system. Research for this report includes the evaluation of the service package provided by the hotel. Following that, recommendations are also given as a basis for the company to make an improvement on its competitive advantage in the current industry.
The Hard Rock Hotel (HRH) is considered a core service oriented business, thus customer satisfaction plays a crucial role in its success. The company ensures that the décor and designs of its facilities are of quality standard, closely following a concert/Hollywood theme and, on top of that, company staffs are also well trained to be polite and friendly when attending to customers. Furthermore, the company greatly emphasizes on honing good management skills, as it would help the company cope with fluctuations in demand and reduce loss of idle capacity.
The criteria of evaluation for the service package include an assessment of the company’s supporting facility, facilitating goods, information, and its explicit and implicit services provided. In a glimpse, HRH Singapore embodies most of the distinctive qualities that it should possess. The hotel is primly located in the middle of Singapore’s resort hub. It provides a long range of facilitating goods and service that lives up to its well-established reputation.
Some key recommendations for HRH Singapore includes operating shuttle services between Changi Airport and Hard Rock Hotel, providing more accurate and up to date information, constructing a new concert venue in Singapore, implementing less stringent policies for staffs, and enhancing their attitudes towards work. These changes in the company will in time result in a better customer experience and keep the business updated with the latest trends and needs. Brief Introduction
Hard Rock Hotel (HRH) is an American brand of hospitality services; named after the birthplace of Rock & Roll. HRH Singapore is five-star hotel; its services are centered on creating a fun and enjoyable atmosphere, accompanied with an array of exuberant nightlife entertainment. The hotel plays homage to some of the greatest rock stars of the century, with artists such as Elvis Presley, The Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix. Hard Rock’s dedication to exceeding whatever expectation a customer might have is encapsulated in its motto, “Love all. Serve all.” The hotel aims to combine world-class services with rock and roll edge.
Entertainment is of the utmost priority, which is reflected in the philosophy of the hotel to create a place where “the party never ends, and no one has to go home”.
Established in 1971, Hard Rock has built up a reputable name on a global scale, with 16 hotels across multiple locations such as Singapore, Macau, Thailand, and USA. Combined with its total of 175 locations in 55 countries, comprising of restaurants, casinos and live music venues, the Hard Rock name is very well recognized. HRH is one of four hotels owned by Resorts World Sentosa, an Integrated Resort.
Distinctive characteristics of a service operation by Hard Rock Customer Participation in the Service
Customers play an active role in the service such as room bookings, checking in and checking out. The customer’s competence in specifying the type of room desired will determine the level of satisfaction received. Decoupling is being practiced via Internet hotel bookings, to increase consistency and productivity. As customers are participants in the service process and environment, management has to pay careful consideration into the facility design of the compound including décor of the entire facility as it is will affect the overall user experience of the guests. The exterior of the building does not reflect on the company’s “concert, rock-star” theme because it has to keep in line with the theme of rest of the Resort World Sentosa, where all the hotels share similar exteriors. However, the interior, including the lobby and rooms are designed according to their concert concept and is fitted with modern and lounge furniture and fittings. Simultaneity
Unlike in manufacturing, where firms can cushion fluctuations in demand with inventory, service firms can only do so through waiting. The simultaneity of services, in turn eliminates opportunities for quality-control intervention. As such, staffs at Hard Rock are trained to provide professional customer service in a friendly and polite tone. During peak periods, when capacity is maximized, guests have to queue and wait in order to check in or out and use facilities such as the pools and breakfast. The number of check-in counters, number of rooms available, and use of idle time affects how long the customer will wait. Longer waiting generally diminishes the overall experience of guests. Perishability
HRH has to determine the appropriate number of rooms to fully utilize its capacity. This is important as having too few rooms results in loss of revenue due to overcapacity. Too many rooms results in idle capacity, and will make it difficult for Hard Rock to recover its costs for building them It is difficult to determine the optimal capacity, as demand varies widely at different time periods, with extreme disparities in traffic during holiday seasons and low seasons. Hard Rock has attempted to solve this problem by smoothing demand by lowering room rates to attract customers during the low season. Hard Rock does its best to provide a room for hotel guests, even if it means upgrading them to a more expensive room. They also work alongside the other hotels at Resorts World Sentosa (RWS) and direct guests over to the other hotels. Similarly, in the event where other hotels are fully occupied, their guests may be transferred over to Hard Rock. This will help cope in the fluctuations in demand and reduce loss of idle capacity throughout all hotels under the Resort World Group.
Customers can only rely on the reputation of HRH when choosing between hotels, via word of mouth from their friends or user reviews on websites such as TripAdvisor. This issue is reduced by hotel ratings, and customers can choose the level of accommodation based on the prices they are willing to pay. Hard Rock has garnered a reputation for providing world-class amenities, top-tier service fused with its unique rock star style glamour and friendly, professional service staff. The brand is commonly associated with the rock and roll lifestyle and celebrities. Heterogeneity
Heterogeneity refers to the combination of the intangibility of the nature of services, combined with the customer as participant results in variations of service from customer to customer. Variation is contributed by the numerous occasions whereby the customer is in direct contact with employees in the hotel, such as during check-in, check-out and when accessing Hard Rock’s many facilities.
Especially for Hard Rock, the customer comes into contact with large number of employees of the hotel. This is the reason why HRH emphasizes good service so strongly, with many resources dedicated to staff training to ensure customer satisfaction.
Evaluation of Hard Rock Hotel’s Service Package
The HRH Singapore is situated within RWS, and is surrounded by world-class recreational sites such as Adventure Cove Waterpark and Universal Studios Singapore. It is easily accessible through several modes of transport: public buses, trains, entrance from VivoCity Shopping Centre via cable car, monorail services located in VivoCity or a scenic travellator route. Thus, the highly convenient location and proximity to high traffic areas like the shopping centre, Central Business District and airport attracts numerous customers. The presence of casinos also attracts gamblers to book rooms. Interior Decorating
Containing furnishings motivated by the legends of rock, the hotel has pictures of rock legends from as early as the 1940s, all along its hallways. The costumes and instruments of iconic pop legends can be found throughout the hotel. Rooms are fitted with themed décor, such as special lighting to make the bathrooms assimilate a rock star’s dressing room and a symbolic guitar tray. Architectural Appropriateness
Costumes that belonged to Elvis Presley and guitar that belonged to Jimi Hendrix provide nostalgic memorabilia that graced the Rock and Roll era. The ever-infamous and unique giant electric guitars with the Hard Rock logo are prominent icons of the brand. Facility Layout
Equipped with 30 function rooms, a 2,000-seater ballroom, a 24-hour Fitness Centre, and its spectacular outdoor man made beach pool provides Hard Rock’s guests with an all-inclusive day of recreation and rejuvenation. Complemented by a beach volleyball court and exquisite cabanas, guests are provided with endless entertainment throughout their stay. Facilitating Goods
Snack Bar and Amenities
Each room is also fitted with its own Snack Bar and amenities. Amenities provided include complimentary toiletries, comfortable Simmons Cool Max beds and a television (42 inch LCD screen). However, Hard Rock has been known to be rather stingy with their amenities as guests often complain about the insufficient amount of towels, soap and shampoo available, even if extra are requested. Items taken from the snack bar will be charged at the end of the stay. Similar with other hotels, snack bar items are overpriced. This remains consistent to the premium pricing throughout the hotel including the room prices and the rest of Sentosa. Food and Beverage
HRH has its equally famous chain of cafes that boast a wide range of authentic American fare such as Burgers, pizza, pasta and sandwiches that live up to its reputation. They also offer a few local delights to cater to local preferences. However, several customers on TripAdvisor pointed out that the quality of the food is not consistent and occasionally the café receives complaints that the food is not cooked up to standard. Although the meals are pricey ($20-30 per person), Hard Rock Café serves large portions of food to make up for it, thus providing a value-for-money meal.
The Rock Shop
The Rock Shop at the Hard Rock Café sells quality memorabilia, apparel and accessories (T-shirts and hats) featuring the brand’s iconic logo. These shirts are collectibles and a must buy among visitors. They also have various product lines under certain collections featuring or even designed by iconic artists. Prices range from $24 for a shirt to about $130 for a jacket bearing the logo. Both food and products are consistent and stay true to the Café’s global standards and reputation. However, during our trip to the HRH, We noticed that despite it being the peak season, the Rock Shop was empty. Information
HRH provides customer with accurate information on the prices of the different hotel rooms during different time of the year. Prices of the rooms differ according to the booking dates thus the booking system allows customer to get the best prices at the time of booking. For example, rooms are sold at half price if it is booked 3-6 months prior to the date of stay. There is accurate and helpful information at the hotel lobby with signs to direct hotel guests to the different facilities. There is also accurate information of the timing of the complimentary shuttle service for hotel guests that wants to use it to avoid waiting time.
HRH keeps customers updated on promotions available for hotel guests such as discounts or packages available. Hotel guests can easily find out from the website whether there are any current promotions that they can apply for. Example of the promotions are getting an additional day for free for a two day stay during certain periods of the year. HRH comes up with various promotions so that hotel guests enjoy cheaper hotel prices and discounts when visiting Sentosa attractions like Universal Studios. Moreover, their website even have promotions such as late check out for those that book through the website so as to drive traffic to room booking through their website. Useful
The website provides useful information on the type of rooms available to let customer know more to enable customers to make an informed decision. It also provides customers with information about the different facilities and dining choices available. However, it does not tell customers the number of rooms available for booking on the date of choice, which may not compel the customer to make their bookings more quickly. Only through interviews with the staff did we discover that check in procedures require the minimum age for check in is 21 and above, which could potentially be an unpleasant experience for minors checking in.
Well-trained service personnel
Staff at HRH are adequately trained and officially certified before they are allowed to begin serving and interacting with guests. Depending on the employee’s job scope, he/she would have to go through in-depth training in their specific areas of service. In order to further facilitate training of staff, Hard Rock has established “Rock 101”, a university focusing on the brand’s unique culture, identity and business philosophy. Comprehensiveness
With the surfeit amenities and service that HRH Singapore provides, the comprehensiveness of this establishment is endless. Check-in counters are quick and efficient without compromising the quality of service. The rooms are clean and maintained on a regular basis. Customers explicitly feel this, as many compliment the hotel on the cleanliness and comfort of their rooms. Rooms are also modernly designed with furnishing such as plush chairs, superlative bedding and ambient lighting. Consistency
HRH Singapore has been consistent in delivering the “Hard Rock” experience that is globally acclaimed. Since its establishment in 2010, it has received numerous awards including the Gold Award for Best 5 in Asia in the Category of Hospitality Asia Platinum Awards (HAPA) Signature Deluxe Hotel, Trip Advisor’s Certificate of Excellence 2012 Winner as well as the winner for Traveller’s Choice 2012. Availability
There is a wide availability of services in HRH Singapore, catering to the needs of its patrons. From ATM machines, to souvenir shops (The Rock Shop)
and a free map of RWS, HRH meets almost any demand by the customer. The website provides excellent information and should they require further assistance, be it general and corporate enquiries to matters regarding reservations and ticketing, the website has e-mail addresses and hotlines to answer specific queries. Implicit Services
Attitude of service
The staffs in HRH are generally well trained to be gracious and friendly to guests to ensure a positive service experience. The occasional staff that is not well trained could be attributed to high part-time employee turnover and the large number of service staff involved in the hotel. Atmosphere
Hard Rock’s dimly lit lobby, which plays only classic rock songs, replicates a “concert-like” environment and atmosphere of the setting Hard Rock is trying to recreate. The lobby may be too dim for the liking of some customers as it makes it difficult to navigate the hotel and identify the reception. Waiting
Guests that frequent RWS, known as Platinum members, get to check-in at the express counter, a separate lane for members. Regular members have to queue at the check-in line, which is comparatively slower.
The Hard Rock now is synonymous around the world, and is very well known for retaining the rock and roll feel of the 90s in other countries, this is also true for HRH Singapore.
Sense of well-being
HRH is extremely well established and the hotel itself is very large. Car parks, rooms and the immediate surroundings are well lit and protected to make guests feel at ease.
Privacy and security
Singapore is one of the safest countries in the world. The island itself is well protected, as is its surroundings. As for the hotel, rooms can only be unlocked by a magnetic card issued by the check-in counter. A negative point is that practically anyone can take the lift up to the rooms without needing any form of authentication like keycards.
The proximity of the hotel to the Universal Studio’s Monorail station ensures that the guest will have a pleasant experience entering the hotel without finding himself lost. Recommendations
The hotel can provide free shuttle bus services to Changi Airport; as the hotel is situated on Sentosa Island, accessibility may pose as an inconvenience. Easing travelling to the airport will definitely improve Hard Rock’s attractiveness, as its convenience will appeal to most international guests. Facilitating Goods
Our team recommends that HRH make their snack bar more affordable. As there is convenience stores located walking distance away from the hotel, hotel guest will be more inclined to purchase their snacks from these stores at a lower price, which may hinder HRH’s profitability. If the products were not so excessively marked up, guest will be more willing to purchase from the snack bar despite the prices being higher than prices outside. The quality food at the Hard Rock Café can more consistent to ensure resounding good reviews that will further bolster the café’s reputation as well as the experience of the guest who visit the café because most guest do so. The Rock shop should also begin exploring fresher designs to cater to the changing preferences of its young target audience. Although the iconic Hard Rock logo should be preserved as it memorabilia with the logo is seen as a novelty, the designs have remained relatively the same throughout the years and may not correspond with the preference of the young people today. Introducing fresher and possibly limited editions designs that would appeal more to young people nowadays while ensuring that the true essence of the
HRH is maintained may improve the attractiveness of the memorabilia. This could potentially become a more stable income stream for the Hotel, and potentially grow popular enough to set up shops outside of the hotel. Information
HRH has provided many essential information on their website such as room prices and promotions that are relevant to hotel guests requirements. However, HRH should consider providing more information on the check in procedures such as the minimum age for check in to avoid any disputes. HRH should also provide information on the availability of rooms left for booking such that hotel guests can make a more informed choice when comparing between different hotels and let the customers know when is their peak season so as to remind hotel guests to book early if they want to get a room during these periods.
One recommendation could be providing the website with more pictures of the hotel facilities to give customers a more holistic idea of what each room may look like. With this, the number of bookings made through the website stand to increase, thus improving HRH’s occupancy rates. While their website is already considered informative enough for many customers, a portion still feels that information on the facilities such as the Gym, the Swimming Pool and also the Rock Shop is lacking. Another recommendation to enhance the explicit services is to ensure the mattresses and furnishings in general are periodically replaced with new ones. This ensures that every guest is provided with the highest standard of service upon patronizing the hotel. Implicit Service
HRH can attain high quality of service from its employees, therefore enhancing the attitude of the service. Proper training is essential, and managers have to be able to teach and impart knowledge to his subordinates. It is also extremely important to keep the service staff happy so as to reduce employee turnover to improve service and save on retraining staff.
Furthermore, the hotel can implement less strict policies to improve the
attitude. While many hotels restrict their staff from growing facial hair so as to retain a professional image, Hard Rock can allow their staff to do so. This aids in creating the perception that the staff too, are rock stars. This is just one suggestion of many to improve the implicit service to the benefit of the customer.
An interview conducted with one of the employees working in Hard Rock revealed that several customers felt that the lighting in the lobby and hotel in general was too dim. This is parallel sentiment shared by some reviewers on TripAdvisor. While Hard Rock has intentionally made the lighting dimmer to improve the atmosphere; and opinion on the dim lighting is fairly divided, it must find a compromise without making its customers unhappy. A possible solution is to make essential areas such as the check-in well lit, and other amenities such as the bar and rock shop can be catered to the style of Hard Rock.
Recommendation of Possible Variants
HRH should develop current business plans to further enhance the customer experience. Our team recommends that HRH work in conjunction with the cafe develop a more effective delivery system to cater to takeout and room service orders. There are a large number of customers that do not mind paying a little more for the convenience of having food served at their doorstep. HRH can utilize the café to add quality to convenience. They can also expand their services to include nearby residents in Sentosa Cove, where eateries are quite far away. Residents are generally wealthy which ensures that higher food prices due to such a delivery system will not be a problem. Next, the events management should increase efforts to host international musicians and bands in HRH’s concert hall. In Singapore right now, most concerts are either held at Fort Canning or Esplanade. Being a Rock themed hotel, HRH Singapore should utilize this namesake and build a good status in Singapore within the music scene. Presently, Singapore has a very keen and active music scene that follows new-age rock music including genres such as indie, electronic, alternative rock. The nation hosted numerous music events in recent years such as the Laneway festival, Big
Night out and even Baybeats festival, featuring local and international musicians. Having frequent showcases of well-known musicians playing at HRH Singapore will add another significant revenue stream for the company by expanding its target market. This is also serves as a potential solution to smoothing demand during low seasons, as HRH can offer discount rates to concert attendees to make it more enticing to stay overnight. This would greatly bolster HR’s reputation and reduce idle capacity and make up for the shortage in tourists. Lastly, we suggest that HRH Singapore give out free memorabilia and souvenirs exclusive its guests, such as key chains in the shape of its Hard Rock’s iconic electric guitar. This will give the customers of HRH Singapore an entirely wholesome experience that not only would be satisfying for the duration of stay, but a memento that would remind the customers of the good times spent at Hard Rock Hotel.