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True Blue Bay Resort & Flamboyant Hotel
Grenada, also referred to as the Isle of Spice, is known for much more than the luscious spices and other agricultural products that are grown. Grenada is also considered an ultimate tourist destination where visitors are captivated by the beautiful beaches, invigorating waterfalls and the exciting adventure tours to some of Grenada's most untouched natural areas. The influx of tourists to Grenada over the past years has resulted in a very lucrative tourism sector and the emergence of a new customer segment, the yachters. According to CIA World Factbook (2010), “Grenada relies on tourism as its main source of foreign exchange.” The tourist industry has contributed significantly to the country's Gross Domestic Product and as such, has aided in the development of the country as a whole.
The hotel industry plays a vital role in the experience that visitors gain on their stay in Grenada and contributes largely to the tourism sector. Most of the hotels are located in the south of the island, making it necessary that they differentiate themselves as well as achieve and maintain a competitive advantage within the industry. This makes the sales and marketing strategies used by the various hotels critical as it can play a major role in determining their ultimate success in gaining new customers, retaining their current clientele base and most importantly, ensuring that their customers are constantly satisfied.
This paper will focus on two (2) hotels within the hospitality and hotel industry: True Blue Bay Resort and Flamboyant Hotel. Their marketing and sales strategies will be evaluated, as well as insight into the roles of persons involved in the execution of marketing and sales functions given. Insight will also be given into management activities on motivating and compensating employees, and other techniques employed to ensure that each company's sales and marketing goals are established.
It is intended that an analysis of the sales and marketing strategies utilized by True Blue Bay Resort and Flamboyant Hotel will highlight these strategies' impact on their respective customer base, revenue generation and profit level. Recommendations will be provided to aid in the improvement of TBBR and Flamboyant Hotel & Villas.
The company has a rich history dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, in which the location now known as the True Blue Bay Resort was once an Indigo Plantation (True Blue Bay, 2010). The property, True Blue Inn, was purchased in 1998 which, at that time, consisted of three (3) two-bedroom cottages and four (4) waterfront apartments (True Blue Bay, 2010). Presently, the hotel consists of three (3) Tower Rooms, five (5) Villas, and thirty – eight (38) True Blue designed rooms (True Blue Bay, 2010).
True Blue Bay Resort (TBBR) is located in True Blue, St. George and provides a wide range of activities including diving, sailing, river rafting and fishing. TBBR's facilities include a boutique, Serenity Spa, Blue Horizon Yachting services and Aquanaut Grenada, which are all privately owned by persons external to TBBR. Additionally, the Dodgy Dock Restaurant and Bar, which is owned by the hotel, is a key attribute to the success of the company as it is considered the cash cow, generating a steady flow of revenue. The hotel is noted for the friendliness of its owners and staff, and guests are treated as extended family of the hotel. According to TripAdvisor.com (2010), True Blue Bay Resort is rated #9 out of 26 in the hotels in terms of popularity index and is rated #1 as the recommended choice by business travelers to St. George's. True Blue Resort prides itself as being able to gain a large portion of its business from the corporate world with customers such as American Airlines staff.
SALES & MARKETING AT TRUE BLUE BAY RESORT (TBBR)
TBBR is in the tourism and hospitality sector in Grenada. The company does not import nor export its services; however, services are produced and consumed simultaneously. In terms of the physical facility, furniture and other material items that are needed to complete the running of the hotel are imported. TBBR principally utilizes both sales and marketing strategies in the organization of their marketing efforts. The marketing concept is based around the customer and being able to identify the customer's needs and satisfy those needs through the delivery on service. TBBR uses the marketing concept because they believe that, in order to generate lifetime customers and encourage new customers, it is important to satisfy the needs of the customer.
The sales concept is also used by the company. This concept is used as an extension of the organization and is conducted through the use of tour representatives. These tour representatives approach TBBR with various offers with the intent on advertising for the company. TBBR will then evaluate the various proposals and determine the packages that best suits the organization relative to the costs involved. Once chosen, the tour representatives use the selling strategy to raise revenue for TBBR. The main purpose of utilizing the selling strategy is to push the hotel to consumers in order to generate sales.
Sales and marketing at TBBR are combined in one unit. The Marketing Director oversees the department and is assisted by the Marketing Officer. They are also given additional assistance in the area of sales from Reservation Personnel. Together these three (3) persons handle all the marketing and sales aspect of the company including managing the company's website and collaborating with the tour representatives ensuring that TBBR is promoted in a manner consistent with the company's image. Reservation Personnel are also responsible for the monitoring of the company's website, as well as other websites such as West Indies on-line (www.wiol.com) and Expedia.com, to ensure that the rates of rooms are accurate and remain competitive with other hotels in the industry. TBBR's organizational chart at the managerial level.
The sales function consists of a combination of outside sales and internet sales. Outside sales are conducted through the use of the tour operators, which as mentioned previously, approach TBBR with their proposals. These tour operators focus on the United States, Canadian and European markets in their attempt to increase sales for the hotel. Additionally, magazines such as “Lime and Dine” also approach the hotel with proposals for spots in their magazine. TBBR is also featured on the weather channel. The company's sales efforts incorporate limited outsourcing in terms of the actually selling implementation but instead rely on referrals from current and past customers.
Additionally, the company also generates over 30% of their clientele through the dive facility that is offered on the property. Aquanauts Grenada caters to people that visit the island primarily to dive and snorkel. Clients that make bookings with Aquanauts are encouraged to stay at the True Blue Bay Resort as one of its facilities is located on TBBR's property. Internet sales are also encouraged through the use of TBBR's website www.truebluebayresort.com. Through the website, visitors are able to view room options, availability and rates, learn about the hotel, its facilities and services that are provided. Additionally, viewers are able to view events occurring at the hotel. Their restaurant and bar, known as Dodgy Dock, is also marketed through the use of social networking, particularly Facebook. Their weekly Wednesday night event, which caters to the young adults, has led to their Facebook page, which is very interactive as events are posted and people are encouraged to respond to the various posts.
RECRUITING, SELECTION, TRAINING AND EVALUATION PROCESS
Salespeople are recruited initially from within the company through informal modes of communication. Also, managers and supervisors may recommend persons based on past performances. If unsuccessful, referrals are usually made. The company will also post the open positions in the local newspaper. The selection process at TBBR is based on the qualifications and skills possessed by applicants, as well as the outcome from the interview process. Training is conducted by in-house supervisors for the department. Employees are also given the opportunity to complete online courses that will broaden their scope of the hotel industry. Evaluation is conducted every 3 months; supervisors complete an evaluation form during the period after which sales personnel are met with by managers and supervisor to evaluate their performance. Measures are taken to deal with any inconsistencies between desired and actual performance.
COMPENSATION, MOTIVATION & SUPERVISION
In–house salespeople are compensated through salary which is very lucrative. TBBR recently changed their system from commission plus salary to paying salary only. The tour representatives are compensated on a commission basis hence their eagerness to implement the sales strategy. Staff is motivated through programs such as employee of the quarter and employee of the year. It has been highlighted that most of the staff at TBBR are motivated through intrinsic rewards. The relatively informal relationship between the owners and the salespeople results in the staff being more relaxed within the working environment. Additionally, employees are given multiple opportunities when errors are made to redeem themselves. The reassurance and openness of the owners and managers create an atmosphere that keeps most salespersons motivated.
Employees are monitored by supervisors that are present on every shift. There are two (2) shifts per day and each supervisor/manager is required to monitor staff, deal with any minute issues. Any incidences that are deemed out-of-control are taken to the Executive Manager. Customer complaints on staff are also handled by the Executive Manager.
PLANNING AND FORECASTING SALES
Managers use past years data to predict future sales, as well as trends in the market and the current and forecasted economic climate. Based on seasonality of the tourist season, the company considers this method to be an important form of forecasting. TBBR also involves the use of intuition in setting sales goals. Planning for the coming year is based primarily on the budget set by the accounting department. For example, as the company is involved in the renovation of their Waterfront apartments, marketing efforts will be reduced in order to facilitate the project.
When asked “what is one of Flamboyant's distinctive competencies?” the response was the view. And indeed Flamboyant Hotel and Villas enables its guests to be awakened by the beautiful Caribbean sun to the picture perfect view of Grand Anse and the town of St. George. The hotel commenced operations on July 3rd, 1989 under the name Flamboyant Hotel and later became Flamboyant Hotel and Cottages (The Flamboyant Hotel & Villas, 2010). Presently, the hotel is called Flamboyant Hotel and Villas. The hotel consists of sixty-eight (68) rooms including fifteen (15) suites including Deluxe Hotel room, Superior 2-bedroom Suite, Superior 1-bedroom Suite, Superior Studio and Standard Hotel Rooms (The Flamboyant Hotel & Villas, 2010).
Flamboyant Hotel and Villas' facilities include Peter Rod Car Rentals, Dive Grenada, Masseuse, and The Owl Restaurant. The hotel also provides wedding and conference services as well as diving services. The Flamboyant Hotel and Villas' vision is “To be Grenada's Premier Holiday Resort” and its mission is “To Provide first class hospitality to our guests, value for our shareholders and development opportunities for our employees”. According to TripAdvisor.com (2010), The Flamboyant Hotel and Villas ranks #8 out of 26 in its popularity index and #6 as the recommended choice by business travelers to Grenada.
SALES & MARKETING AT THE FLAMBOYANT HOTEL & VILLAS
The Flamboyant Hotel & Villas is in the tourism and hotel industry where its primary focus is on providing accommodation and other services such as conferences and weddings to its customers. The company does not import or export major products or services; however, products used by the hotel such as equipment is sourced outside of Grenada, if it is not readily available locally. The challenges of the economic recession have led the hotel to recognize the value of marketing, and as such the company embarked on an aggressive marketing strategy to improve and maintain its market share. The hotel uses a combination of sales and marketing concepts to generate customers. The marketing concept is tailored to the needs of their customers. The selling strategy is used to drive sales and is utilized largely by the tour representatives supporting the hotel. These strategies offer a variety of services at the hotel which are tailored specifically to the Caribbean market. The sales and marketing functions are combined into one unit and handled by the Sales and Marketing Manager.
The sales function is organized as a combination consisting of outside sales, inside sales and internet sales. Outside sales (which is a key attribute of the selling concept) involves the use of tour representatives located in Canada, The United Kingdom, United States and Germany. In the U.S, the hotel uses Destinations of Distinctions which attend trade shows and road shows sponsored by the Grenada Board of Tourism to push gain awareness and push sales for Flamboyant. In the UK, High Profile Marketing perform the selling and marketing functions; while in Canada, Germany and other European countries by Air Canada Vacations, Karibik Reisen and Meiers Weltreisen, respectively. Flamboyant also utilizes the internet through their website www.flamboyant.com and other sites such as Expedia, Travelocity and Orbitz. The hotel's advertising programs continue through WSEE TV ads, Tempo, Gyel, the Weather Channel and the Barbadian newspaper, The Guardian.
In terms of inside sales, up-selling is a key aspect of Flamboyant. Every member of staff employed by the hotel is trained as a sales agent and they are considered sales agents, from front –line staff to the gardener. Up-selling is applied to all areas of services from the rooms to food and beverage. Additionally, Flamboyant uses conferences held on its property to promote the hotel through the setting up of a display table where flyers are displayed and special deals are offered. They also use the manager's run punch party as an opportunity to promote the hotel and encourage referrals. The organizational chart at the managerial level is shown in Figure 2 below:
RECRUITING, SELECTION, TRAINING AND EVALUATION PROCESS
Salespeople are recruited through a process known as head-hunting where management determines the criteria needed to fit the position. The Board of Directors will then conduct an investigation on persons that may be best suited for the job. The names are then pooled and interviews conducted. The company usually tries to find persons who have connections, are qualified and have a certain image. The newspaper and in-house recruiting are options that are also implemented; however head-hunting is the preferred method. Once the salesperson is chosen, the orientation and training process commences. This is conducted by the Human Resource Manager who is a certified trainer. At the end of the training session, salespersons are expected to go out and perform as trained. Evaluation is conducted for the probationary period of 3 months, then every 6 months thereafter. A performance review is done for each employee by managers/supervisors through the use of an evaluation form. Additionally, a performance report is kept during the period so that the manager can keep notes on staff rather than waiting until the end of the period. Salespeople then meet with the direct supervisor and HR Manager to evaluate progress and the necessary actions taken.
COMPENSATION, MOTIVATION & SUPERVISION
Salespeople are given a salary plus a commission of 5%-10% for up-selling. A salary of EC$8,000 is paid on a monthly basis for any outside sales. Staff is motivated through the use of commission which is directly related to any up-selling and also any tips received. The company also uses employee of the month in order to motivate staff to perform better within the organization. Bonuses are also paid at the end of each year. Employees are supervised by the manager or supervisor on duty in a shift system. The salesperson answers directly to that department head.
PLANNING AND FORECASTING SALES
When forecasting for the following year, the company takes into consideration the current market situation, and the use of historical data including past sales and occupancy levels. The company also will highlight targets to be met for the coming year in terms of occupancy levels and the average daily rate (ADR). This is strongly affected by the budget set forth by the financial controller given the financial position of the company.
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN TBBR & THE FLAMBOYANT HOTEL & VILLAS
In analyzing TBBR and Flamboyant, similarities between the two companies have been highlighted. These are indicated as followings:
* Both companies are located in the south of the island
* Both offer services such as diving, massage, wedding and conference
* Both utilizes the selling and marketing concepts
* In both cases, sales and marketing are combined into one unit and the terms are used interchangeably
* In the recruitment process, both uses in-house advertising of position and newspapers
* Both offer initial training by supervisor/manager and shifts are supervised in similar manner
* Both uses evaluation forms on employees
* Both utilizes salary and commission for employee
* Both uses time – series methods of forecasting
Although there are similarities, major differences are also evident. This is reflected in the table below for easy comparison.
Flamboyant Hotel & Villas
No of rooms (46)
No. of rooms (68)
Approached by Tour Operators
Source Tour Representatives
Ranks #9 in popularity index
Ranks #8 in popularity index
Sales function: outside & internet sales
Sales function: outside, inside & internet sales
Do not head - hunt
Recruitment through head - hunting
No online training
Evaluation every three months
Evaluation every 6 months
Employee of the quarter/ per year
Employee of the month
Both companies possess features that make them unique and distinctive in their own right. However, the following recommendations have been proposed to improve the sale and marketing functions of both organizations. Firstly, TBBR need to be more proactive in their marketing efforts. Rather than waiting for tour reps. to offer proposals for selling and marketing, the company should really play a more active role in promoting the resort. Training should be conducted intermittently to ensure that skills are not lost or forgotten. It can also serve as a motivational factor for sales staff. Sales staff should also be incorporated in setting the company's goals. This will encourage staff to meet targets as they were actively involved in setting them. Lastly, TBBR can benefit from up-selling it services. This allows customers to become familiar with services that they may not have been aware of, as well as, generate additional revenues for the company.
Flamboyant, like TBBR, should conduct intermittent training for staff as a refresher and also include them in their goal setting process. This can aid in increasing their level of motivation. The probationary period should be reduced to 3 months to accommodate better monitoring of staff. This also prevents any inconsistency to be dealt with early. Finally, Flamboyant should implement more intrinsic rewards system for staff as it can increase employee morale resulting in increase in performance.
Although TBBR and Flamboyant operate in the same industry, there exist major similarities and differences between the two that add to their own corporate culture. The sales and marketing functions of each organization are important to its ultimate success and as such, employees in each functional area of the organization must be proactive in the execution of sales and marketing strategies. This is applicable for both TBBR and Flamboyant.
CIA World Factbook (2010). Grenada. Retrieved on April 26, 2010 from https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/gj.html
Daniel, A. Mr., Marketing Officer, True Blue Bay Resort. Interview conducted May 3, 2010
The Flamboyant Hotel & Villas (2010). About. Retrieved in May 3, 2010 from http://www.flamboyant.com/Accommodations.htm
True Blue Bay Resort (2010). About us. Retrieved in May 3, 2010 from http://www.truebluebay.com/
TripAdvisor (2010). True Blue Bay Resort & Marina. Retrieved on May 3, 2010 from http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g147296-d262109-Reviews-True_Blue_Bay_Resort_Marina-St_George_s_St_George_Grenada.html
TripAdvisor (2010). The Flamboyant Hotel and Villas. Retrieved on May 3, 2010 from http://www.tripadvisor.com/BusinessCenter-g147296-St_George_s_St_George_Grenada.html
Williams, A. Mr., Financial Controller at Flamboyant Hotel. Interview conducted on May 3, 2010.