Marketing is often thought to be only selling and advertising. However, marketing consists of many other functions that can be seen far more important than just the exchange of goods. (Kotler & Amrstrong 2004: 5)
The American Marketing Association defines marketing as follows:
“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners and society at large.” (Middleton et al. 2009: 21)
The marketing strategies for the hotel industry are significant and can make an enormous difference between empty rooms and a superlatively booked hotel.
The hotel marketing strategy should cover every area of marketing, advertising and its communication from online to direct in person face to face tactics.
The business should try identifying its key target market, chalk out a meaningful marketing strategy and where it wants to position itself in the market.
QT Sydney Hotel market
Like the other hotels, QT Sydney Hotel targets people of sustainable age groups who can easily support themselves.
Determining the right and meaningful target market is crucial.
When defining a target market of a hotel such as QT Sydney Hotel, we can assume that the categorization can be done in three separate levels.
The first level consists of customers who are willing to book a room and also have the resources to book the hotel premises.
The second level consists of customers who have the resources to book the room but not necessarily the desire.
The third level consists of customers who are not able to buy but if monitored can change their willingness and be able to book the hotel room later
According to Mplans.com, the most important target market of the hotel should be professional visitors to the hotel from the following industries:
Education, Travel trade and commerce
Local businesses and countless firms can also be targeted for a full day use of facilities in the premises such as conference rooms, room nights for visiting executives and long stay professional guests.
Market segmentation and the bases that QT Sydney Hotel uses
Market segmentation recognizes that people differ in many ways like in their needs, attitudes and lifestyles. (Middleton et al. 2009: 97)
Through market segmentation companies divide their market into smaller segments. All of the segments have specific needs and by dividing the market those needs can be met more efficiently with products and services that match their unique needs. (Kotler 2004: 239)
There are many ways the hotel can use to segment its market. Different segmentation variables are used, both individually and in groups as a whole, in order to classify consumers into different segments.
According to Kotler, four major variables that are generally used in market segmentation are: geographic, demographic, psychographic and behavioral variables.
Geographical segmentation divides the market into different geographical units such as cities, regions, countries or climate and population density. By this way when a hotel is deciding in which areas to operate and market, they can direct their efforts to geographical differences in needs and wants of the people of that region. For example Sydney QT Hotel can pay attention to their premises in northern areas where it is colder and have a state of the art centralized heating mechanisms as compared to the hotel premises in the South. (Kotler 2004:239)
Demographic segmentation is based on the market divided into groups based on age, gender, family size, income, profession, education, religion, race and nationality. This segmentation is one of the most popular and effective bases for segmenting customer groups for the hotel industry. This is wholly and exclusively because the customer wants are closely interrelated to its dependants such as income and age. (Kotler 2004: 240-241)
Based on different variables further such as social class, lifestyle, and individual personality characteristics, psychographic segmentation is ones of its kinds for the hotel industry in which QT Sydney hotel operates. For instance, people may live in the same city, be of the same age but one of them can be a student while the other can be a businessman. This segmentation affects their lifestyles greatly and therefore also has an effect on the buying behaviors and renting rooms of the people. The hotel needs to tailor its strategy according to each different segmentation to yield the utmost benefits for the customers and the hotel itself.
Behavioral segmentation categorizes the customers into categories based on their knowledge, attitudes, uses and responses to a product. This category of segmentation particularly has the benefit that are inexplicably linked to the hotel industry itself. When the hotel knows when and why the customers are bookings its premises and its rooms, they can relate their marketing tactics to it. For example some holidays like on Valentine’s Day or at Christmas people tend to book hotel rooms and halls for exclusive parties and social gatherings, the hotel can benefit maximum from the situation and prepare special offers and communications to its customers. (Kotler 2004: 244)
In hospitality industry these same segmentation variables can be used but there is also a wide range of subgroups that for example almost all of the hotels use.
Hotels like Sydnet QT Hotel should usually use only one variable when segmenting these subgroups and that is the purpose of travel. By defining the purpose of hotels can classify many subgroups such as corporate/business clients, visitors on group package tours, independent and leisure vacationers. By acknowledging different segments a hotel can target their services more effectively. (Middleton et al. 2009: 97-99)
Target Market coverage strategy
Relationship marketing can be a unique form of marketing that emphasizes customer retention and their greater satisfaction and their value of money services.
It shifts the paradigm focus from the recruitment of new customer to the retention and recovery of existing ones.
Relationship marketing differs from other forms of marketing in that it recognizes the long-term value of customer relationships and extends communication. (Middleton et al. 2009: 92)
When planning g a relationship marketing strategy hotel QT Sydney must take into account that not all customers want a relationship with the hotel. That is why it must be carefully considered which types of customers are usually more likely to repeat their visit to the hotel.
While most hotel websites include Face book, Twitter and LinkedIn “follow-us” buttons, the ability to engage and convert anonymous visitors into customers is still an elusive goal for many. However, the hotels must try to engage their customers and facilitate them to yield the meaningful results and profits from the marketing strategy.
As the hospitality industry is beginning to learn social media and its impact on their return on investment, they are venturing more into adapting to the newer technology and capturing the customer’s needs. The social media that is integrated in a natural way and is used to communicate with guests during the travel cycle is much more impactful.
Another most popular form of relationship marketing is to gather information from the customers about their stay and whether they had any complaints or suggestions for improvement.
Internal marketing is also an extension of a marketing strategy that considers the importance of the service of the hotel employees while interacting with customers
Better pricing strategy can be another tactic the hotel can use to penetrate in the market and attract more visitors and enhance the loyalty of the existing customer. It can also be linked to overcome the challenge of low customer seasons at the hotel. The daily rate could for example change based on the occupancy of the hotel or there could be a more efficient way of boosting the sales before hand when there are low customer flows coming to the hotel.
Section 2 :
Analysis of QT Sydney Hotel Marketing Mix
The marketing mix is one of the major concepts in modern marketing and is often brought up in general discussions of marketing. Marketing mix is a set of marketing tools that a company uses to pursue its marketing objectives in the target market. (Kotler 2004: 56-57)
When a company is making decisions on marketing they generally fall into four controllable categories known as the 4 P’s:
product, (variety, quality and services)
price, (payment period, discounts)
place (location, channels and distribution) and
promotion (advertising, marketing and sales)
The main idea of marketing is to influence and persuade the consumer to buy and use the company’s product or service. In order to get customers to do so a company uses the four P’s as a mixture in order to influence the demand for its products. (Kotler 2004: 56-57)
In the hospitality industry just the hotel Sydney operates, the products are primarily designed to satisfy the needs and wants of business and leisure travelers/corporate executives. As part of the marketing mix for a hotel room can be seen as a product that the hotel sells to its customers. Although the hotel rooms can vary in quality or in services they offer and are based on the customers need to have the specific type of room. For example a businessman can have different needs from a hotel room (using a conference hall, meeting rooms , lounge for corporate meetings than a leisure traveler or even a corporate executive.
In the hospitality industry the place of business is many times the key to success. A hotel’s location is important for visitors and therefore they usually examine carefully which hotel and where they choose. The location of the hotel affects the transportation possibilities, how accessible it is for example from the airport or the city center. (Bowie & Buttle 2004: 26-27)
Pricing decisions can greatly affect the the demand and profitability of the hotel . In a hotel setting such as the Sydney QT for example the hotel occupancy rates and special run time offers and discounts for new and existing key customers are crucial and require a lot of attention and careful consideration.
Promotion is usually the function of most marketing and sales departments and it includes all the tools that a company can use to communicate with customers. A hotel can for example use different websites, billboards and social media to advertise their products and services and also use brand identification to their advantage. (Bowie & Buttle 2004: 28)
Brands help consumers to identify what the product or the company is, for example people relate the Hilton Hotel chain with luxury and good quality. They can link the Sydney QT hotel to the same category or even better as a multi-purpose hotel that caters to all of its market
That helps the Sydney QT hotel when they are planning their marketing strategy. (Bowie & Buttle 2004: 208)
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