Marriot Hotel, Doha
The Doha Marriott Hotel demonstrates the best in business hotels, coupled with high standards and quality in hospitality. The hotel is located close to the Doha International Airport, and is a prized milestone on the coastline of the country. The hotel offers for a great bargain an exceptional site for commercial meetings, social events, and comforting weekends, and bids remarkable visions of the Doha skyline. The hotel has two distinct buildings: The Tower Building and The Executive Tower. It has a well-equipped business center and an executive lounge. The hotel opened in 1972 as the first five star hotel in Qatar. The hotel was last refurbished in 2004. It is owned by Katara Hospitality.
- The Concept of Hotel Service
The emergence of the hospitality sector globally has highlighted the importance of service and service quality in the segment. In the current scenario, the hotel sector is in facing a situation that is progressively moving the industry towards a service-based concept. This is creating a challenging situation for the organization operating in the hospitality industry. The hotel operators need to design a service that meets or surpasses the expectations of its customers. Consequently, hotels service providers must have awareness about not only of customers’ requirements but also of what they actually experience during their service encounters as most customers reach the hotels with certain expectations. The consequent behavior of the customer, though, may be formed by a variety of factors which include but are not restricted to the environment of the hotel, the ambiance, the staff, the purpose of the visit of the customers, etc. Recent research also suggest that customers’ expectations are constantly updating during their stay in the hotel and the final evaluations of service quality is comprehensively based on the new expectations rather than on the expectations held before the encounter began (Goldstein, Johnston, Duffy, & Rao, 2002).
The services in the hotel sector today are more of a tedious package that defines the entire experience of the guests than just a simple service of facility of stay. Richard Normann (Norman, 2001) differentiates between core services, the big benefits the customer is looking for, and peripheral services, the little things, or added bonuses that go along with the big benefits. Similarly, Albrecht and Zemke (Albrecht & Zemke, 2001) differentiate between the primary service package and the secondary service package: Primary service package is the center piece of the service offering. In case of hotel industry, hotels provide the primary service of lodging. It is the basic reason for being in business. Secondary service package: It is the support, supplement service, which adds value to primary service package. All of these secondary service features provide ‘leverage,’ that is, help build up the value of the total package in the customer’s eyes.
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The Marriot Hotel provides excellent service to its customer. It provides a bouquet of secondary services with the primary service of lodging. The hotel has a total of 362 rooms & suites on 11 floors. There are 190 Standard Rooms, 119 Executive Rooms, 51 Executive Suites, and 2 Presidential Suites. The rooms are spacious and comfortable. The rooms come with a package with High speed internet access, Complimentary in-room Wi-Fi, Flat screen televisions, Mini-bar, Cable/satellite TV with international TV channels, Complimentary in-room tea and coffee.
The secondary services that the hotel provides include but are not restricted to Laundry Valet, Hair Salon/barber, Concierge Services, Gift Shop/newsstand, Rental Car Desk (class), Bank on site (Qatar National Bank), Complimentary coffee in lobby until 9am and 24 hrs. room service.
- How Marriot Doha does deliver hospitality and hospitableness?
The traditional understanding of hospitality and hospitableness was restricted to ensuring wellbeing of the guests. But with the passage of time, the concept has expanded to emotional experience than otherwise. The modern commercial hospitality involves a financial transaction whereby hospitality is offered to guests at a price, and would be withdrawn if the payment could not be made (Ritzer). The concept of Hospitableness is socio-psychological. The existing literature highlights the various layers of hospitality
Layers of Hospitality (Source: Tasci & Semrad, 2016)
The Marriot, Doha has a big staff that helps in delivery of hospitality and hospitableness. The hotel has a big infrastructure with a total of 362 rooms & suites on 11 floors. There are 190 Standard Rooms, 119 Executive Rooms, 51 Executive Suites, and 2 Presidential Suites. It has six restaurants which provide food delicacies from around different part of the world. The rooms are well maintained and clean. However, the temperature in the room was not maintained. The rooms are suddenly too cold when unlocked and checked in. However, it gets better after a little while but the management should do something about it.
The second layer involves taking care of entertainment requirements of the customers. The entertainment needs are targeted more for higher level needs of socializing, education, and self-actualization by providing various entertainment products and services which might include but are not restricted to TV, pool, sports facilities, social activities, and playgrounds. The Marriot, Doha is well equipped to provide such facilities. The hotel has complimentary in-room Wi-Fi, flat screen televisions, mini-bar, cable/satellite TV with international TV channels. It also has a tennis court, private sandy beach, private marina and dive centre exclusively for its customers. It also provides sauna, boxing hall facility and Jacuzzi with Outdoor swimming pool. The hotel also has a health club with cardiovascular equipment and free weights. Therefore, the hotel is well equipped to take care of entertainment requirements of the customers.
The next layer includes taking care of various services during the stay of the customer. It starts with the reservation of a hotel room. The Marriot Hotel, Doha has an average occupancy rate of about 70%. This is a very comforting figure keeping in mind the existing competition in hospitality sector of Qatar. The reservations in The Marriot, Doha can be made through three distribution channels:
- Hotel e-commerce: The consumers today are increasingly demanding for a quick, simple and inexpensive mean when purchasing and receiving products or services (Tan & Dwyer, 2014). The accessibility of various online agencies of third-party online travel service companies such as Agoda, Booking.com, Expedia, etc, including the hotel website have provided consumers a comprehensive and comparable board of information such as price, the availability of hotel rooms to enable consumers to make the best purchase decision. Marriot Doha has more than 65% of its reservation through online services. The hotel provides a competitive rate structure on various third party website. The hotel offers various discounts and competitive packages to lure the customers. The deals can also be customized as per the requirements of the customers.
- Direct Walk-ins: This category of guests includes the people who come directly to front desk to look for rooms. Due to increase in popularity of internet there is a sharp decline in walk in reservations. On a general note, customers prefer to make their bookings before travelling. The Marriot Hotel, Doha has a portion of less than 2% bookings through direct walk-ins.
- Travel Agencies: The travel agencies contact the hotels for group reservations. Such reservations are very common in peak tourist season. Since Qatar is promoting tourism, there is a sharp increase in proportion of such reservations. The Marriot, Doha receives about 25-30% of its overall reservations through travel agents. The hotel is also a preferred accommodation for many agencies.
The above mentioned channels contribute to major proportions of reservations in the hotel. However, the hotel also receives some reservations from airlines their working staff for routine stay as well as in case of flight cancellations and from various other institutes who request to reserve hotels for sports people, delegations of embassies, or performing-art program groups, workshop groups, and alike who travel to different location.
Customer Journey in The Marriot, Doha
The next layer involves various services provided by the hotel which are interred linked to each other in a very tedious manner. A well administered service operational functional hotel is essential for a good customer experience (Siguaw & Enz, 1999). The major operations department of The Marriot, Doha includes but is not restricted to front office, housekeeping department, kitchen, restaurant, maintenance, safety and security, etc. The customer experience begins at the front desk where the customers are pleasantly greeted and welcomed to the hotel. They are warmly checked in and the formalities are taken care of. The rooms are allotted as per the customer specification and requirements. The customers can choose their size of beds and if they would prefer a garden facing, pool facing or beach facing room. The hotel also provides free parking service and also special parking lots for disable customers. The hotel also provides various convenient services like currency exchange, visa services, flight confirmations and secretarial support. The hotel also has six restaurants which provide a variety of food. The restaurants are The Corniche: Mediterranean Restaurant, Asia Live: The South East Asian Restaurant, Salsa: Tex- Mex Restaurant, Taj Rasaoi: Indian Restaurant, JW’s Steakhouse, Pearl Lounge: Club and Lounge, and The View: Pool Side Restaurant.
However, the customers at the hotel have provided some common feedback for the hotel. The hotel offers the shuttle service to and from airport but however, the timing of the service is not very certain. The Corniche Mediterranean Restaurant is little tight on space. The furniture in the restaurant can be rearranged to provide more space for movement of the people and for the privacy of dinners. Also though the hotel is 46 years old, the building and the interiors of the hotel are well maintained. However, there are some pieces of furniture and some corners of the hotels which are old and outdated. The staff should dispense with those pieces.
Customer Interaction in The Marriot, Doha
- What market does the organization serve, business or otherwise, local, national or international?
Market segmentation is the process of dividing a market of potential customers into groups, or segments, based on different characteristics. The segments created are composed of consumers who will respond similarly to marketing strategies and who share traits such as similar interests, needs, or locations. It is an important concept for hotel revenue management as it allows the management to target and market to a variety of consumer groups with different behavior with an offer that matches their needs and budget level. Relevant market segments for the hotel are still the foundation for setting a good and correct pricing strategy. The market segments are mainly defined by the different booking behaviors and the price sensitivity of a hotels’ customers. This allows the management to uniquely price each segment according to the type of customer. In addition, market segments allows to specifically define and bundle sales and marketing efforts according to any trends and movements that can be derived from the analysis of those segments. The ultimate goal with that is clearly to work towards an ideal market segmentation mix for the hotel. It is essential strategy to help identify different trends of the business which include length of stay, day of weeks stays, total revenue per room, total revenue per client, booking lead time, percentage of cancellation, and no show ratio.
The current market segmentation of the customers of The Marriot, Doha was studied with access to the various datasets by the organization. It was concluded that the hotel caters to a variety of customer bases as depicted in figure below:
The majority of the customers of the The Marriot, Doha are local residents who are travelling for some personal or business matters. The six special restaurants of the hotel provides a buffet excellent dining opportunities for the local people. The next major source of revenue for the hotel is the wedding, businesses and other social events. The hotel has three party halls which can h old social events. The Al Fayrouz Hall is the biggest which can hold upto 400 guests for a banquet plated function and about 800 guests for a standing reception. The next big party hall of the hotel is known as Al Ruwaq which can hold 300 guests for a banquet plated function and 700 guests for a standing reception. The Al Maha Executive is the smallest which can hold only upto 74 guests for a banquet plated function and upto 90 people for standing reception. The hotel provides unique options for the various social events. The arrangements can also be customized as per the requirements of the host. The hotel has various set up equipment and customary services to make any event a memorable experience. With expect to that the hotel also has various meeting rooms to suit the business requirements of its customers. It can be a perfect venue for hosting social events and business meetings.
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The hotel has about 17% of its revenue from the international visitors. The hotel is a convenient choice among the international travelers due to its location near to the airport. However, there has been a recent fall in the international tourist in the country due to political blockage. Therefore there is a decrease in the revenue from international travelers. The hotel receives the smallest revenue from the national travelers. The share is only about 6%.
- Who are the organization’s main guests/customers and what is their role in the service process?
The main guests of the hotels are the local residents. They come to enjoy the various recreational facilities. Most of the people come to enjoy themselves at the private beach, marina and the dive centre. These customers are more popular on weekends and on holidays. Most of them come with their families for a good family time where children can play on the beach or in children’s area, and adults can follow their hobbies like walking on beach, fishing, diving, etc or maybe for spa services. The customers are expatriates which are working in Qatar. A lot of local families also come to enjoy such activities. The involvement of such customers is low in the service process. The products are standardized and in most of the cases hotel staff is not required.
The spa service of the hotel is very popular. The Saray Spa includes the rich customs that stem to historic times. It offers time-tested remedies, and consists of cures and services which provides the guests a universal experience. The facilities are separately maintained for men and women.
The hotel is also popular among international tourists because of its close proximity to airport. These travelers are in the country for leisure, business or sometimes they are also in transit to their next destination. The hotel also provides visa services for such customers. The customer involvement in service process is moderate. They are involved in making choices of the services they need and provision of certain services require customer purchase.
The hotel also acts as a host for business activities and meetings. These services require customer input and customization in various scenarios. In such a case, the customer involvement is high. The hotel has hosted various business conference, workshops, meetings and conclave over the period of time. In fact, such meetings of various scales are very common.
The hotel is also a popular destination for various social events as well. These events include the lavish wedding receptions, festivals and other personal occasions. The involvement of customers in such events is usually very high. They are involvement in every step of the event involing decoration, stay, food, etc.
- What are the key service processes that add value for the guests/customers?
The importance of delivering great service to the customers is well emphasized in the existing literature. In fact, 97% of global consumers report that customer service is important in their choice of and loyalty to a brand, 76% say they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them (Economy, 2019). In 2013, Cornell Hospitality presented a report from PKF Hospitality Research that showed guest satisfaction is heavily influenced by service factors such as employee attitude and the pacing and order of services provided (Withiam, 2013).
The Marriot, Doha provides various key service processes that add value for its guests. The hotel staff works tirelessly to make the experience of their customers a memorable one. The staff is well trained and well equipped to deal with various situations. The rooms are well maintained and customized as per the requirements of the customers. The preference of the customers is always taken into consideration while allocating the room. The six restaurants in the hotel provide a delightful dining experience to its guests. The hotel provides excellent health and spa facilities separately for men and women. The Saray Spa incorporates the rich customs and embraces Arabic design elements and offering time-tested remedies. The spa consists of cures and amenities that provide guests with an holistic experience. The staff in these facilities is well trained to provide the customers a relaxing experience. The staff works efficiently to minimize the service time. However, the management is always open for critical feedback for improving their services. The customers are encouraged to provide reviews for various services.
- Who is involved in these processes and how does the company manage these processes?
The hotel has a big staff of about 450 people who work in various shifts to make the experience of their guests as a memorable one. There are several departments which cater to specific needs of the customers. For example, the front office department is usually the first and last point of contact for a customer. The department is responsible for making the customer feel welcoming once they arrive. The customer usually contacts the front desk if they need anything and the front desk usually coordinates them to the required department. The housekeeping department works over the clock to make the hotel area clean and sparkling. They maintain the rooms and hotel compound. The food and beverage department is responsible for all the restaurants running in the hotel. The department is responsible for the quality of food and drinks served. The Marriot, Doha also has a separate department for business center. There are employees who are separately in charge of secretarial support, visa arrangements, currency exchange, etc. There is a separate staff for recreational services like the marine services having a different team and the spa service has a different team. There is a separate team for organizing social and business events. Therefore the hotel has a well trained staff to manage various processes.
- What are the three groups of Evidence of Service from a guest/customer point of view?
The concept of service marketing in modern era has its 8 P’s of marketing with physical evidence is one of the essential concept in hospitality service marketing (Morrison, 2010, p. 392). Physical evidence consists of of the essentials that are infused into a service to create it as noticeable and rather reckonable. It also aids in the location of the brand and for pursuing the right segment of customers. The current assignment uses the following tools of physical evidence in marketing mix in The Marriot, Doha:
- Ambiance: The term refers to the look and feel of the hotel. It includes factors like include temperature, colour, smell and sound, music and noise which consciously or sub consciously help in experiencing a service. The various reviews and feedback about The Marriot, Doha indicates that the guests are overwhelmed by the beautiful lobby and reception area. The lobby gives the guests a warm feeling. The rooms are spacious, comfortable and beautiful. The spa of the hotel is very well designed so that the customers can relax. The each area is beautiful and very well maintained. The exterior of the building has a nice glossy finish. However, a lot of the customers have complained that a lot of fixtures and furniture is outdated. Some customers even would love to see new carpets. Such recommendations should be implemented soon by the management. The hotel should have a renovation soon as the last time it had one was in 2004. Also, some people have reported that they would like to have some more activities in the lobby. Though the lobby is huge and beautiful, it can have some activities for the guests.
- Spatial Layout: The spatial layout and functionality are the way in which the set up or equipment are organized. This aspect was studied more in terms of social and business meetings organized in the hotel since they are the ones who are most impacted by it. The customers who attended the business events while I studied for the assignment reported that they were impressed by the equipment support provided by the staff. The hotel could meet most of their requirement. It offered variety of packages to choose from which could fit almost any budget. The social events were also well organized. The halls of the hotel were big enough to hold some of the big gatherings.
- Corporate Branding: The corporate branding may be a part of promotion, branding and use of corporate communications also plays an important role in physical evidence. The Marriot, Doha is a jewel in the crown of Katara Hospitality who proudly owns the hotel. However, according to the customers there were some aspects which do not suit the image of the hotel. Some customers expected better service since the hotel is The Marriot and has a prestigious name in the hospitality sector. The staff should be more trained and well equipped to deal with customers. Further, the building should be renovated soon to suit the status of The Marriot.
- Service Blueprint for Marriot Hotel
A service blueprint shows the service map of an organization. It portrays the service system and helps different people involved in providing the services their roles and most importantly their position in the process. It depicts the service process, the point of contact with the customer and the evidence of service. It breaks the service into different components so that it can be analyzed how the service is executed. It can be helpful in enhancing customer experience and is particularly useful at design and redesign of the service.
In case of The Marriot, Doha, the service blueprint will indicate customer actions, onstage employee actions which are visible to the customer, backstage employee actions which occur behind the screen to support onstage activities, and the internal support processes. The service component will also point to line of direct interaction between customer and hotel, line of visibility meaning all service activities that are visible to customers from those that are not visible, line of internal interaction that shows behind the screen activities to support onstage activities.
The service blueprint can be used by service marketers for creating better customer experience, human resource department for empowering human element in providing service, and operations managers for rendering quality service and managing points of failure.
Fig: Service Blue Print of The Marriot, Doha.
- Albrecht , K., & Zemke, R. (2001). Service America in the New Economy.
- Economy, P. (2019, January 5). How 5-Star Hotels Deliver the Ultimate in Customer Service, Day in and Day Out. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com: https://www.inc.com/peter-economy/how-5-star-hotels-deliver-the-ultimate-in-customer-service-day-in-and-day-out.html
- Goldstein, S. M., Johnston, R., Duffy, J. A., & Rao, J. (2002). The Service Concept: The Missing Link in Service Design Research? Journal of Operations Management, 20(2), 121-134.
- Morrison, A. (2010). Hospitality and Travel Marketing (Fourth ed.). Albany, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.
- Norman, R. (2001). Service Managemnet- Strategy and Leadership in Service Business (Third ed.). London: John Wiley Sons.
- Siguaw, J. A., & Enz, C. A. (1999). Best Practices in Hotel Operations. Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Quarterly, 40(6), 42-53.
- Withiam, G. (2013). Building Service Excellence for Customer Satisfaction. Cornell Hospitality Roundtable Proceedings, 5(2), pp. 6-20.
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