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Growth Champions: The Battle for Sustained Innovation Leadership by

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CHAPTER 8

Starwood Hotels and Inditex

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Delivering a unique customer experience

Across the service sector, a consistent concern is how to provide an excellent customer experience while still making money. In addition to the traditional problems around customer loyalty, supply chain management, and staff retention, globalization has meant that access to common service standards has increased and there is growing awareness of what is available. Customer expectations are high and it stands to reason that the consistent provision of affordable and memorable experiences really is the Holy Grail for service providers.

At the luxury end of the market, where customers pay premium prices for premium services, the margins are pretty healthy. From corporate jets to designer fashion and boutique hotels, brands such as NetJets, Prada, One and Only and their peers provide luxurious experiences for the few who have the money to enjoy them. These brands focus on building a high media profile, whether through advertising or celebrity endorsement, to articulate the dream of a lifestyle few have but many want. Millions are spent communicating with people who will most likely never be able to afford what's on offer: think of watch manufacturers such as Rolex or Omega. It's all about reinforcing exclusivity.

The big challenge is lower down the service sector in the land of RyanAir, SouthWest Airlines, ...

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