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Strategic Positioning of Hilton Hotel groups in the hospitality industry in UK?
Back Ground Study:
Hotels and their branding strategies are famous all over the world. If we look around us we can see that the success of a hotel is in its brand emphasis. To stay in business and to beat the competition around them, all hotel groups engage in brand implementation. The logo itself would stand out on its own, from the minute a customer enters a hotel, they will be centred on the brand image starting from napkins, towels, spoons, etc. A trend in today's hospitality industry is the interest to cater to different market segments under one brand name. To achieve this many big reputed hotels, acquire or enter into some alliance with smaller hotels and provide them with the main hotel logo, brand name and similar facilities/services. Thus making it a part of the main hotel brand. Since more and more hotels are moving ahead with this same kind of strategy there is an enormous competition in this sector at present.
To focus in depth on this matter I have decided in taking Hilton Hotels Corporation as a case study. This hotel group is one of the leading names in the global hospitality sector, with more than 2,800 hotels and 490,000 rooms in more than 80 countries, including 150,000 team members worldwide. The company owns, manages or franchises a hotel portfolio of some of the best known and highly regarded brands, including Hilton, Conrad, Doubletree, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hampton Inn, Hampton Inn & Suites, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton Grand Vacations, Homewood Suites by Hilton, and The Waldorf=Astoria Collection.
There are may other international hotel chains like, Marriot, Holiday Inn, Intercontinental and Radisson which are as competitive as Hilton and are following the path of global branding, but they are only very new entrants in this field. To portray a global image and enhance a world over brand large investments are required. Government policies, economical changes, political issues like September 11th have affected the Hotel industry world wide during recent times. Making this kind of a huge investment is very risking for hotels until their long term objectives show profits. During the years Hilton Hotel as a corporate has been able to create a brand for itself in this competitive lodging industry, proving their capabilities by continuously portraying increase in its revenue every year, by diversifying its products and acquiring other valuable hotels to add to it corporate chain. Hilton as a corporate has been able to cater to the needs of different types of guests. Based on needs of the customers they are able to providing the required facilities and services. Thus being able to keep up its own brand movement and also create publicity in all segments of the market needs. Acquiring hotels which are based overseas has also enabled the company to expand its operations and serve its clientele.
To validate my assumptions and to clear my doubts, I have tried engaging in a journal article Brand Equity, Brand Preference and Purchase Intent (Cathy J. Cobb- Walgren, 1995). Here I intend to demonstrate how branding can help a hotel be well renowned and at the same time be able to cater to all segments.
How does a traditional luxury hotel group react strategically to the incoming global pressure from niche brands? (Case Study Hilton International)
Main objective of this research will be to identify the current market positioning of the hotel groups, taking Hilton as a case study, to find out how the each hotel chains competes each other in a global market. I will compare brand segmentation and competitive advantage and brand value different hotel chains.
I will compare the performance of Hilton Hotel in each of the areas of its operations (Customer satisfaction, Competitiveness, Productivity, Profitability) against other major players in the market .To find out the core competencies of the company it is also required to do a SWOT analysis. This analysis would help in focusing on the company's strength, weakness, opportunities and threat, which would help in achieving an internal picture of Hilton as a whole. It would be beneficial using Porter's five competitive forces (Micheal Porter 1980) to find out Hilton's external opportunities and threats.
I will be interviewing General Managers to understand the current market trends and company's main objectives and plans for the future.
It is essential to use Hilton as a case study to evaluate how hotels interested in the branding concept operate world over. Due to the above mentioned (Background) specialities in Hilton Hotels Corporation it will be much helpful to take it as a case study to understand; what are the integrities in undergoing brand diversification with in the industry.
- June 5 to June 20 : Review books and any literature related to the matter
- June 9th : 1st Meeting with the supervisor
- June 22nd to June 29th : Prepare a research strategy and review main literature
- June 30th to July 3rd: Meeting with Hotel Managers to conduct interviews
- July 4th to July 10th : Putting the data together and analysising it.
- July 11th to July 23rd : Reviewing Hilton data as a case study and linking it with the theoretical literature
- July 24th to August 2nd : Preparing the SWOT analysis to find out the core capabilities of Hilton
- August 3rd to August 15th: Preparing for Potter's five forces to get a track of Hilton's external opportunities and threats
- August 16th to August 24th: Formulating the first draft together
- August 25th to September 1st: Completing the Project
The expenses occurred while travelling to take interviews will be bared by myself. I do have access on the intranet of Hilton since I have been previously for this company. I have also access to the Leeds University library and Hotel and catering international Management Association (HCIMA) to help me in the review of literature.
Cathy J. Cobb-Walgren, Cynthia A. Ruble, Naveen Donthu; 1995. Brand Equity, Brand Preference and Purchase Intent. Journal of Advertising [online], 24(3), [Accessed 19th April 2008], p.25-44. Available from World Wide Web :< http://www.emeraldinsight.com/>
Potter's Five Forces (Micheal Porter 1980).