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Sep, 16 2010

Corporate tie-ups, the new biz call

Corporate tie-ups have become a significant feature of business operations. It is imperative for retailers these days to work closely with local, national and international organisations. For that, a strong line of corporate tie-ups will do as much as pro

Business from corporate tie-ups is what every service-based business provider is targeting at, discounts, freebies, promotional schemes and much more. This go a long way for industry players to broadened their horizons to target specific consumer trends. Long-term partnership, large consumer base and revenue stability have prompted service-based business brands to add more corporate clients on its roll.

The growing appetite for corporate tie-ups in service-based industry is evident from the growth of revenue increase in the industry. Whether F&B, health, education, beauty or any other service-based industry, all are aiming at creating a space under the umbrella of corporatisation. Targeting corporate clients is not just a passing fad, it’s here to stay, considering India’s 8 to 10 per cent growth rate and emergence of new industries like technology and other related services.

As per an industry report, corporate clients typically account for nearly 70 per cent of the hospitality business in India. With companies expanding travel budgets, bringing in expat employees and raising salaries, it is expected that corporate clients will boost hotel occupancy rates in 2010-11, after they fell below 50 per cent last year.

Sudhir Sinha, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Best Western Hotels, says, “About 90 per cent of our guests are corporate clients. They are essential for our hotel business and their key requirements are value for money, flexible services, efficiency and adaptability, which we cater to well. Corporate clientele also opens up access to a larger client base through the reach of base offices.”

Best Western India gets 90 per cent of its business from corporate tie-ups.

There are many other service-based business giants in the pipeline looking for a major share of their revenue from corporate tie-ups. Ajay Saini, CEO, Yo! China, avers, “Corporate tie-ups give us a chance to play in volumes. Since the inception of Yo!China, we have been serving corporate clients. Keeping in mind their needs, we introduced the special meal box at a nominal price, which was a hit. We also plan a few sections of our menu as per the corporate demand and pricing.”

What a franchisee gains

For a potential franchisee, what could be better than getting an already developed corporate clientele? Most of the service-based providers give franchisees their existing corporate clients so that the franchisees don’t need to separately develop a clientele for their businesses.

Operating through the franchise model in India, Best Western Hotels has 26 operational branches and plans 100 hotels by 2017. Talking about sharing corporate contacts with its franchisees, Sinha says “We share the entire corporate client list with our franchisees. This is one of the benefits the franchisees have in joining hands with Best Western, getting direct access to the existing clientele base.”

A Hyderabad-based play school, Sunshine Preschools is mulling expansion through franchise. It presently has 11 branches. “Having a strong network of corporate tie-ups with renowned brands like Infosys , Genpact and GE, the company loves to share its existing corporate client list with its franchisees to strengthen presence,” says Prabha Rani, General Managers, Operations, Sunshine Preschools.

Reciprocating returns

One of the major benefits of corporate tie-ups is that both the parties gain mutually from the association. If the franchisor gains business from corporate clients, the clients are also equally benefited from the franchisor.

Samir Kaul, Head, Marketing, Dr Lal Path Labs, explains, “Employee satisfaction is one of the most significant aspects to run a successful business. Nowadays, most of the corporate organisations pamper their employees to the fullest to get the best from them. We have tie-ups with many MNCs and renowned brands. We facilitate them with pre-employment check-ups, annual health check-ups, preventive health check-ups and many more customised check-ups. The corporate organisations make sure that their employees get all the above mentioned check-ups done to acquire loyalty of their employees and to provide them with the best health facilities. As we all know, healthy employees means healthier business.”

Marketing mantras

With vast expanse of the corporate culture, marketing strategies of any company can hardly be similar to that of the other. Marketing in case of corporate clients is more personalised and direct. Majority of the service-based industry players reach their target audience via SMS and emails. But if you are a franchisee, you don`t have to be a marketing expert because the franchisor has already employed experts for you. A portion of the fees you pay as a franchisor also goes towards marketing.

“Marketing is very important for every business to grow. We have hired an advertising agency especially to target corporate clientele. We also do marketing through direct mails, SMS and through few other mediums. Our franchisees also avail the benefits of marketing because we make sure that whatever benefits and gains we are getting, we provide the same to our franchisees,” says Naunihal, CEO, Strands Salon.

Yo! China has a tie-up with Citi Bank and American Express, as per which, Yo! China gets access to the database of both the companies and in return, provides all its clients a specific discount at their outlets pan India.

Retain to gain

Once you have a respectable number of corporate clients, your brand value strengthens. Adding new clients is not tough, but to retain them is. Due to cut-throat competition in the industry, every player offers the best value deal to clients to increase its consumer base.

“We have conceptualised many special privileges like membership rewards, value added services, corporate parties and additional discount schemes to retain our clients,” mentions Sinha.

The Apollo Clinic also offers its existing corporate clients the privilege of availing discounts in health checks.

Corporate clients not just help in strengthening consumer base but also help in brand-building. More the number of clients, more is the credibility of the brand in the industry.

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