What do customers want? The answer, always vital, takes on an urgent edge in a down market burdened by too much inventory and too few buyers. Oddly, at least a substantial part of the answer may rest in a good night's sleep. Immediately after September 11, the hospitality industry was in a period of deep “retrenchment,” says Rob Rush, president and CEO, LRA Worldwide, a customer experience management consulting firm. Business and leisure travelers were staying home in droves and occupancy rates plummeted.
EVERYBODY'S GOT A STORY, IT SEEMS. THE nation's public home builders, large and small investors who bet on the residential construction market and its players, and the Wall Street equity analysts who cover the sector, all have a yarn. What's more, each has enormous stakes in a tale that goes happily ever after.