Yesterday, I visited the ING Direct Café located at the corner of Post St and Kearny St in San Francisco. ING Direct Café is an innovative banking concept, currently available in major cities like New York City, Chicago, Toronto, Las Angeles, and San Francisco. So, what makes this bank so special?
- There is big open space in this two-story “bank,” with free WiFi and many electronic outlets.
- Instead of counters or desks for tellers or bankers, ING puts a nice café that sells coffee, tea, and snacks to customers.
- The only ATM in the bank is “hiding” somewhere behind the stairs.
- There are professional bankers in the store, providing banking services if needed --- promoting the services offered by the bank and helping customers navigate the bank’s online banking systems.
- There are multi-purposed functional rooms in the basement. Customers can use the space with reservations.
I like this concept. With more customers are using online and mobile services, companies need to come up with innovative business models for day-to-day operations. By adding hospitality services to a traditional bank, ING Direct Café creates a welcoming and cozy atmosphere for customers, promoting B2C (business-to-consumer) and C2C (consumer-to-consumer) relationship. Hopefully (and I believe that), business opportunities will come along while customers are enjoying the hospitality services provided.
I can see that hospitality management, as an emerging discipline, will play a more important role in business in general. What do you think?
Click the link to the Album of ING Direct Café in San Francisco for more pictures and LIKE my Facebook Page.