hotel management -Marketing strategy - Hotel Management and Operations

For most hotel companies, it was only during the 1980s that the word marketing was anything more than a euphemism for sales. Indeed, in the competitive landscape of the not too distant past, an aggressive and knowledgeable sales staff could accomplish most activities that related to putting guests in rooms. In the competitive environment of the present time, this has become impossible. Hotel companies that design and market a sophisticated inventory of hospitality services need a similarly sophisticated scheme for letting potential clientele know about their services.

For most hotel companies in the twenty first century, true marketing has evolved to reflect this sophistication. This development also acknowledges increased sophistication on the part of guests and potential clientele. Business travelers, travel agents, and meeting planners who represent and book group and convention business are educated and informed consumers. To serve this clientele, hotels have had to develop marketing efforts and product segmentation, first to interest the market, and second to allow people representing that market to make intelligent choices among competitors. Increasingly, individual consumers and small businesses are becoming more sophisticated in arranging their own travel plans over the Internet. This represents yet another challenge to hotel marketers: How do we market most efficiently to all groups? Good question.

Marketinghas become an umbrella term that covers a number of strategic and tactical activities designed to tell the clientele the story of the hotel’s services and to encourage that clientele to make choices based on how one hotel’s marketing message matches their needs better than the available alternatives.

In any given hotel or hotel company, marketing includes a range of sales activities, public relations, advertising in all media, design of symbols and images, and (increasingly) the departments of convention services, reservations, revenue management, and, perhaps, catering.

It should be noted that research plays a major role in designing marketing strategies and tactics. The monograph presented in this edition by Bianca Grohmann and Eric Spangenberg has a research orientation at its core.

It is designed to assist managers in choosing and generating data that are useful to staying successfully competitive. It is important that managers understand the range within which this data may be interpreted and applied. Successful managers and high-quality organizations are always seeking information and data that allow them to make accurate decisions and design effective marketing and managerial efforts.

These data can take a number of forms but, for the most part, deal with the characteristics of the hotel’s target market segment that affect their choice of hotels. In this case, the research seeks to understand how consumers make choices among hotels based on the value of their various attributes.

Among other data that hotels find mechanisms to accumulate and interpret are these kinds:

  • Geographic: what sorts of communities are represented; what parts of the country or world; how far people travel
  • Demographic: age, sex, occupation, income, ethnicity, family, education
  • Psychographic:client’s self-image, social or peer group, lifestyle, personality traits
  • Behavioral: whether the hotel choice is a routine or special occasion; what guest seeks in terms of quality, service, economy; user status (nonuser, ex-user, potential user, regular user, first-time user); usage rate (light, medium, heavy); loyalty (none, medium, strong, absolute)

While many of the specific details or programs implied under the marketing umbrella may be farmed out to agencies that specialize in advertising or public relations, the genesis of the hotel’s strategic marketing plan must be within the hotel organization itself.

The article contributed to this section by Fletch Waller provides a strong argument for broadening the definition of marketing to include all operational aspects of the hotel. This article is an excellent overview of the marketing process. Waller illustrates the relationship between marketing and operations as a “continuing process” without which hotels probably cannot remain competitive.

Yield management, long a practice of the airline industry, has found total acceptance by hotel marketing and reservations systems. Indeed, it has become an industry standard. The article in this section by Paul Chappelle can be read in conjunction with that by Quain and LeBruto in Section 4 for a comprehensive primer on yield management. Together, these articles explore various aspects of that practice from the viewpoint of Chappelle, current practitioner. Chappelle lives the theory of yield and revenue management on a daily basis and provides insights about how it works in practice. As the revenue manager for over 30 hotels, Chappelle has the experience to back up the theory.

New for this edition, the Sinclair essay on hotel pricing should be read in the context of the issues and suggestions raised by the contributions on yield management. But it goes beyond that. Drawing on Sinclair’s deep experience in hotel operations, particularly sales, this contemporary work on pricing is up to date and useful not only from a conceptual standpoint but a practical one.

Shaw and Morris bring their collaborative talents in academe and industry to the essay on the organization of the sales function in hotels. Because, as noted elsewhere in this text many times, the potential markets for a hotel’s services and the types of hotel are so numerous, sales efforts can be complicated.

Shaw and Morris present this complex departmental function in a clear, straightforward fashion that is both theoretically relevant and operationally practical. Traditionally, the function of public relations for any organization, particularly hotels, was oriented toward the generation of favorable— usually free—publicity and the suppression or management of bad news. Louis Richmond proposes the different and expanded but not necessarily contrary position that public relations activities can positively enhance the hotel’s sales and marketing efforts.

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