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Heritance Kandalama is being managed by well known Sri Lankan blue chip company, Aitken Spence PLC. The Hospitality Sector is a one out of four operation of Aitken Spence’s. Services, logistic solution and strategic investment are theirs other operations. Under Services they operate Destination management which enhances dramatically their hotel operations. Destination management providing the entire facilities under one roof needed for the destination travelers.
There are range of hotel brands managing by Aitken Spence such as Heritance in Sri Lanka, Adaaran in Maldives and Aitken Spence Hotels in India and Oman. Same time they provide inbound and outbound travels, airlines agencies, conventions and exhibitions, elevator agency, financial services and insurances through out local and international market under their Service sectors. (See Appendix 01)
“Heritance” is the famous brand of Aitken Spence’s. The meaning of ‘Heritance’ is the combination of Heritage and Inheritance.
‘Heritance Hotels & Resorts are a collection of resorts that are architecturally unique and blend in with their natural environment’ – Quoted from Aitken Spence official web site. http://www.aitkenspence.com, retrieved on 23 February, 2012
Heritance Kandalama is an example of blend of Sri Lankan heritage, inherits and wild life. It is a luxurious 5 star eco friendly hotel, superiorly architected by world famous Geffory Bava. Heritance Kandalma is the first best Eco conceptual hotel in Sri Lanka and only a few in Asia.
Heritance Kandalama facilitating with 152 rooms, 3 restaurants with 295 seating capacity including out door places for dinning and chilling out facilities, one banquet hall, 3 unique pools with 2 bars, business center, in door and out door sports, shopping arcade and a fabulous nature garden over looking the Kandalama lake with numerous flora and fauna. (Appendix 02)
Kandalama hotel client base is eco friendly travelers who are looking for mouth watering food extravaganza, serene privacy, luxury and unique experiences. It attracts vast and reputed client tail by providing unique splendid luxury facilities and services. It has a wide European market for the majority with guest also visiting from the rest of the world. Nature lovers, eco friendly business travelers, honeymooners, families with kids, adventures, cultural and leisure tourists are main visitors of them.
Heritance Kandalama Marketing Strategies
Forming the Marketing Strategies for Heritance Kandalama.
Heritance Kandalama Hotel strategies formulated on the Aitken Spence’s corporate and Hotel sector strategies which mainly based on Marketing concept and Societal concept. Heritance brand’s strategy and market slogan is ‘Where tradition is alive’. Heritance Kandalama hotel is been flagship of Sustainable Green Tourism strategies and CSR strategies practices.
Figure 2.1: Porter Generic Strategies for Heritance Kandalama
Competitive Scope Low Cost Higher Cost
NarrowOverall Cost Leadership
As you can see in Figure 2.1 Heritance Kandalama is taking competitive advantage under ‘Differentiation’ strategies by catering to broad market with higher price compared to other eco friendly resorts in Sri Lanka. As you can see in positioning below they have broader market which they cater to each and every type of markets so they can charge premium price as Heritance is and internationally and locally well reputed brand with their unique location, luxury services and facilities, and well established marketing communication strategies.
Heritance Kandalama Hotel and Marketing Strategies
Though Heritance Kandalama hotel uses Societal and Marketing concept as their marketing concepts still they use other concepts too.
Societal Concept – Sustainable tourism, CSR practices, Green Auditing
Marketing Concept – Nature conscious architecture, Heritance ingenious Food Experience
As mother company of Heritance Kandalama, Aitken Spence group has been awarded as one of the top ten best corporate citizen in Sri Lanka consecutively for 6 years by taking consideration of their sustainable business strategies. Heritance brand too recognized as one of the best practice hotel chain on sustainability, responsible tourism and eco friendliness. They are pioneer of ‘Setting Standards’ for Sri Lankan sustainable and green tourism. (See Appendix 01 )
In order to practice ‘Where Tradition is Alive’ marketing slogan and against to the competitors, Heritance Kandalama differentiates their location, interior and exterior of hotel, products and service, and Green philosophy practices.
Royal Suites with VIP luxury amenities, Wedding package & documentation for foreigners, Balloon Rides, Mountain & Cave tracking,
Honeymoon Package, Excursions, Cultural Activities & Cultural triangle tours, Green philosophy, CSR concern guest
Eco & Nature Lovers, Adventures, Cultural Tourist, Love & Romance Responsible TouristsSegmentation, Targeting and Positioning for Heritance Kandalama
Heritance Kandalama cater to Eco friendly, sustainable and nature conscious luxury market segments. Their client tails are wild life and nature lovers, love and romance, cultural tourists, leisure and adventure tourists and responsible tourists, who looking for mouth watering food, serene privacy, luxury and unique experience. Kandalama has differentiate target markets according to their own strong marketing mix, such as culture triangle excursions and involving guest in community service to promote responsible tourism. (Appendix )
Kandalama value proposition is ‘Where Tradition is Alive’. They positioned their market for High end customers with royal suites and VIP amenities, Honeymooner and Wedding customers with wedding packages and providing documentation facilities for foreigners, Adventure customers with Balloon rides, Night mount hiking and Eco friendly tourists by practicing green philosophy. All the above services and products have been provided by protecting and promoting the traditional Sri Lankan culture. The Heritance Kandalama has well positioned their product to gain best competitive advantages over their competitors.
Luxury -Royal suites, Six sense spa.
Culture – Excursions to Punaragama village and culture triangle.
Adventure – Excursions of Night mount hiking, Jungle tracking.
Love & Romance – Wedding Package.
Family – Eco park, Special children menu, In and out door sports.
Business – Conference facilities, Six sense spa, Serene environment away from busy city.
Sustainable and Nature – Green philosophy and CSR practices, Promote and buy community products, Green Architecture.
More Same LessFigure 1.2: Heritance Kandalam product positioning in market
Royal Suite, Six sense spa
Cultural triangle excursions
Diamond club loyalty card
Horse and pony rides
Punaragama village tour
Source: Author concept
Heritance Kandalama is using different pricing strategies according to their product and service to cater different markets and compete with competitors.
More-More : Compared to other eco-luxury hotels HK Royal Suites is far more expensive as their services and facilities are of a higher standard.
Same-Same: Cultural triangle excursion package and the price is the same as when comparing to the surrounding hotels.
Less-Less: Punaragama package is not expensive; with this package you can explore previous traditional village life of Sri Lanka which competitors don’t have such facilities. This is a unique market positioning for them.
Growth Strategy and Heritance Kandalama
Existing Products New Product
5 star luxury rooms and facilities, Honeymoon package, Cultural Triangle excursion
Balloon rides, Helicopter rides, Traditional music and cultural events.
Family package with kiddies’ facilities, Adventure packages for corporate company clients.
Punaragama package, Green tourists, Community service
Heritance Kandalama is doing great market penetration. Even though there are 5 star resorts there, they do larger market penetration compare to competitors, as their unique geographical position and superb nature blend architected. They were developed new market for kids to retain parents by introducing new kids menu, kiddies’ sports, and kids club by creating adventure holidays for kids such as kiddies camping. There was another new market they created Adventure packages for corporate company clients as there new immerge of adventures out door management training program. Heritance Kandalama developed balloon ride and helicopter ride for existing adventure market. Their diversification or unique products are Punaragama Cultural village, Kandalama Ingénues food experience and Cave dining.
7Ps strategies for Heritance Kandalama
152 five star luxuries room with 7 categories, 3 unique restaurants, pool bars and Kandalama style cousins, Six sense spa with all beauty treatments, 3 unique pools in and our door sport facilities, Library and bushiness center, Excursions include cultural triangle, Activities such as bird watching, trekking, boat trip, horse and elephant riding.
Best Available Rates for Bed and Breakfast – with tax
Superior USD 180
Panoramic USD 201
Luxury USD 250
Deluxe USD 262
Travel Agent Rates
Promotion (See Appendix )
Advertising in News paper, Official World Wide Website, Magazines, Green Philosophy, CSR Activities, Word of Mouth, Blogs, Social Medias such as facebook and twitter, Direct sales promotions, Catering to the international events and providing facilities for international researchers to gain knowledge about sustainable and green tourism practices, Always been under lime light of every global and local green and sustainable awarding.
183km away from Sri Lankan Colombo, Katunayaka Bandaranayaka International airport, Located with in UNESCO World Heritage Site and Sri Lankan Cultural triangle, Over looking of 1200 years old Kandalama river, Sigiri and Dambulla citadels. Hotel reservation system, Aitkent Spence destination management, Official website and other reservation websites such as Agoda, Trip advisor, and other travel agencies working as distributions channels of HK.
Corporate and international customer training programs and other trainings for Staff, Staff evaluation and rewards upon their success in customer services such as employee of the month, Training, develop and encourage lower level for higher managerial positions, through community services and CSR build good relationship between guest, staff and local community.
Awarded with environmental process certifications, CSR and Green Philosophy practices, 8 Rs practices on resources, Hotel Standard guidance book, SLS certifications
Internationally awarded Geffory Bava’s architectural design, Eco and Environment conscious landscaping, interiors and exteriors, energy conservations system, Colors and design blend with nature to do minimal impact on environment.
Heritance Kandalama Marketing Communication and Public Relation Strategies
Heritance Kandalama is having very effective personal and mass communication structure to create new customer bases and retain the existing customers. Promotion and direct meeting from hotel sales and marketing department and Walking guest or over reception counter selling are the some of personal communications. Some of mass communication methods for HK are websites, paper and magazine advertisements, brochures, cut outs and YouTube.
DRIP elements for Heritance Kandalama
Nature blend land mark architecture
Heritance = Heritage + Inheritance of Sri Lanka
Sustainable tourism practices
Nature conscious Green Philosophy with 8Rs practices
Unique 5 star Heritance Kandalama service and products
Aitken Spencer website with Kandalama media center, blog spots, social media such as facebook, twitter, blogger
After sales follow up and guest data base management
Through official web site and other websites
International and local trade show and conferences
Been Hall of Fame in every tourism awarding body in Sri Lanka and internationally
Through unique selling products such Kandalama ingenious cooking and Punaragama cultural village
Marketing Slogan: ‘Where Tradition Alive’
Display Attractive packages and excursion in their websites with details and same time with online reservation
CSR system practices and Green philosophy persuade to buy their products
Marketing Communication Strategies for Heritance Kandalama
Heritance Kandalama is using different market communication strategies aligned with their corporate strategies, such as
3.2.1 Push Strategies
Push strategy is one of main communication strategy used by Heritance Kandalama. As intermediates they use their own sister company Aitken Spence Travel and Tours, other local travel agents and tour operators, international travel agents and tour operators such as Kouni, hotel representative at airport, trade show and other travel and tourism conferences.
Heritance Kandalama Hotel Aitkent Spence Travel & Tours Customer
3.2.2 Pull Strategies
The growing and vast potential communication strategy used by Heritance Kandalama is the pull strategy, as there do not need to allocate intermediary commissions, discount or extra payments. This is very profitable for customers as well as to the HK, however Heritance Kandalm a has to are advertising and communications cost.
Heritance Kandalama Booking.com, Central Reservation Customer
3.2.3 Profile Strategies
Their some of profile strategies are Heritance News letter, Promotion between other Aitken Spence staffs and suppliers.
Marketing Mix for Heritance Kandalama
Direct Selling – Aitkent Spence Hotel reservation system
Personal Selling – Heritance Kandalama Sales and Marketing Department
Advertising – Magazine and Bill board
Sales Promotion – Seasonal offers, Marketing campaign
Sponsorship – Donating to local community schools
E-communication – Official website, Facebook, Twitter
Public Relations(PR) – CSR practices
Public Relation (PR) and Heritance Kandalama
Heritance brand is a well known cultural resort brand among Sri Lankans as well as internationally. Heritance Kandalama is playing a major role among Aitkent Spence hotels as well as Heritance brand hotels. It has a reputations the Pioneer of the sustainable tourism in Sri Lanka as well as a role modeler for the world. It is because of their luxuries hotel practices, procedures and policies they follow in sustainable tourism. Their mammoth well planned PR strategies are not second to any other hotel in Sri Lankan accommodation sector.
3.4.1 Public Relationship Strategies using by Heritance Kandalama
Press Agencies : Heritance Kandalama has taken full advantages of the PR facilities of their mother company Aitken Spencer which has press release on Aitken Spence websites, National news paper agencies and other public media to promote in Sri Lanka as well as in foreign markets.
Product Publicity : Very detailed information of hotel products and services mentioning in their official website www.heritancekandalama.com
Public Affairs : They use Green philosophy and CSR as their main weapon through the PR system. Heritance Kandalama public affair system well functions through the protecting environment, waste recycle system and 8Rs practices and minimum impact of tourism activities to the nature, local community and natural resources. Very good Human Resource practices, Promote and protect the Sri Lankan heritage can be taken as PA. Through all these they are able to create a great public image among Sri Lankans and responsible travelers around the world.
Lobbying : Donating and helping government schools. Mainly they set the example to the Sri Lankan government to formulate the law, rules and regulation for the sustainable tourism.
Investor Relations : Returning maximum profits to the share holders and delivering transparency financial and annual reports.
Development : Community services, using local products for hotel operation, promoting the local crafts and goods to the hotel visitors and setting standards for Green Tourism in Sri Lanka
Other PR communication channels.
News and speeches by executive to the media – Executive review in annual reports
Written materials – Heritance Kandalama hotel broachers, articles
Audio visual materials – Youtube, Wesite video clips
Corporate identity materials – Heritance Kanadalama logo in stationaeries, signs, business cards, heritance uniforms, CSR activities, hotel website and social net works.
Any how beginning of the HK hotel was not easy task because of Sri Lankan public and local community was against to building it as hotel construction and operation would badly impact on Kandalama reservoir, Kandalama Lake, natural flora and fauna, wild animals and for local community, so from the beginning Heritance Kandalam was acted on well planed PR activities to avoid all those protests.
Heritance Kandalma takes maximum opportunities through building better PR around their Location of cultural triangle and wild life, better service and quality product but through practice of Green Philosophy.
3.4.2 Heritance Kandalama PR practices and Sustainable Tourism
From the beginning Heritance Kandalma empathies on sustainability through the construction, operation and disposing. Their operating and marketing strategies too build on sustainability. Setting standard for Sri Lankan eco tourism is one of their main objectives according to 2010/2011 annual report.
Figure â€¦ : Sustainability of Heritance Kandalma Hotel
Social: Heritance Kandalma CSR practices, Community services, Donation for local schools
Economic: Best Human Resource practices and Hiring local personal such village flute player, Buying and using local products, developed Kandalama ingenious food experience through local products and Encourage tourist to buy local community products.
Environment: Green philosophy practices, Minimum impact on environment through green architecture, 8Rs practices (Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, Reverence, Respect, Responsibility, Rethink and Repair)
Brand & Brand Strategies of Heritance Kandalama
Heritance Kandalma is a five star luxury resort hotel situated over looking of Kandalma Lake and surround by 5 of UNESCO World Heritage sites. There are hundred of luxury resorts in the world wide and same as in Sri Lanka, but however Heritance Kandalma brand is differtiate from its competitors and deliver brand values to its loyal customers. HK hotel extend their services under ‘Heritance’ brand mean Heritage and Inheritance and their value proposition ‘Where Tradition Alive’
Brand Attributes of Heritance Kandalma
Image: : ‘Heritance’ brand name, Location of Hotel
Design Style : Geffry Bava’s Green Concept architecture engraving to rocks, flora & fauna with minimum impact on its natural environment
Logo : Brownish antique letters give Cultural feeling to the Heritance Kandalma logo
Marketing Campaigns: Through promotion mix
Printing Media: HK broachers, leaflets and news letters
Web site : Official website www.heritancehotels/kandalama
Behaviors : Through guest experiences of hotel products and services
Brand strategies and Heritance Kandalma
Aitken Spence PLC is using umbrella branding strategies up on their main product and services such as Aitken Spence Hotels, Services, Logistic solutions and Strategic investment. Any how under hotel sector they use Multi Branding strategies such as Heritance, Adaaran and Aitken Spence hotel and resorts. Kandalama hotel is under Heritance which combine characteristics of Heritage and Inheritance of Sri Lanka. Heritance Kandalama contribute to the ‘Heritance’ brand strategies through giving Sri Lankan cultural, nature and genuine hospitality experience to the guest.
Heritance Kandalama brand equity is compound with sustainable and nature friendly luxury brand giving unique experience of Sri Lankan culture, tradition, food and foremost thousand years well known Sri Lankan hospitality. Through their equity they gain larger market share and operational profits, numerous international and local awards.
Destination Branding and Heritance Kandalama
Figure : Segmentation of Tourist Destination Branding for HK
Heritance Kandalama has positioned their brand as experience of Sri Lankan heritage and Inheritance, luxuries eco friendly product and services to contribute to ‘Wonder of Asia’ national brand strategies.
Figure 6.3: Perceptual Map of Destination positioning of Heritance Brand Hotels
Heritance Tea Factory
Monolithic Culture OR Tranquility
Intriguing Accessible Culture OR Adventures
Urban OR Sun/Sand/Sea
Heritance Maha Gedara
Source: author base on www.imagine.com
Heritance Kandalama positioning as highly access to the culture, adventure and wildness when other Heritance brand hotels positioning as sea-sand-sun or tranquility such as Heritance Maha Gedara is a ayurvedic beach resort.
Customer Relationship Management practices (CRM) and Heritance Kandalama
Tools using by HK for effective and efficient CRM,
Guest Relationship Department managing by Guest Service manager to attend on the spot guest quarries and to enhance repeat customers.
HK has rapport on their guest cocktails, meeting the guest by management and engage the guest with local community.
Data Base Management (DBM): Collecting and keep updating guest information upon registration cards and guest special requests to create memorable service for the guest when every time they visit HK.
Using DBM keep in touch with existing customers- Sending greeting card on special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas. Updating the guest about upcoming events, new offers, HK special packages through emails and news letters.
‘The Diamond Club’ Loyalty Card – For each stay in any Aitken Spence Hotels, guest can earn 100 points upon every thousand rupees spent and points for 10% of the total bill value. Free stay, discount on future booking, room upgrade, gift vouchers, special offers and free Aitken Spence hotels news updating are some of benefits customer get through the this loyalty card system.
Networking, E-marketing and Heritance Kandalama
HK gaining higher customer retention and new customer bases through networking, e-marketing and relationship marketing.
Network Marketing of Heritance Kandalama
Through Aitken Spence mother company and other sister companies
Aitken Spence word process, media release and corporate marketing
Aitken Spence Travel and Tours
Other Net work marketing
Trip adviser, Booking.com and Agoda booking engines
HK is gaining high advantage of Network Marketing tools. Aitken Spence travel and tours giving full force selling and marketing for HK, and as part of Aitken Spence Hotel sector HK gain best marketing advantages through Adaaran and other Aitkent Spence hotel and resorts situated in Maldives, Oman and India. With small charges HK get very good net work marketing through other booking engine and websites where guest always surf to find value added services and share their experience with other travelers such as trip adviser and booking.com.
Relationship Marketing and Heritance Kandalama
Through Data Base Management system and Customer evaluation, Diamond Club loyalty card system, HK having larger group of retention customers. Such a customers’ experiences you can read through their official media website of Aitken Spence word process. HK unique products and memorable services, well trained skilled staff and long run marketing strategies foaming and continuing great customer relationship.
E-Marketing and Heritance Kandalama
They have attractive and informative up to date websites, social net work such facebook and twitter, blogs, virtual e-marketing such video clip in you tube, how ever this is one of marketing tool that still they have not taken fully advantage and there are lots of potential they can explore and use in their marketing mix. In 3 area they can use electronic media for retain existing customer and to attract new customers.
E-Business – HK is using computerized system to communicate through the interdepartmental as well as with Aitken Spence corporate sector. MS office, Data base management system( Fidelio ), e-recruitments and for other communications
E-marketing – HK providing information of their services and products, packages, online reservation and customer feedback through their official website, social networks, and other marketing websites.
E-commerce – HK official website is having online reservations and best available rates, and associated with other booking engines they are having massive markets, such as through Last minute booking.com, Agoda and tripadviser.
Figure 7.1: Process of Social net work Communication Strategies of HK
5.3.1 Features of Heritance Kandalama official website
Web contents and information: Updated reliable and detailed information provide the knowledge of its products and services. Images gallery and animation of front page attract the audience attention quickly
User Friendly navigation: Using simple text terms with drop down menus, that easy to understand and find the information. Categories of rooms, dinning, spa, other facilities, wedding, activities, rates, offers with online hotel reservation system
Search engine optimization and link building: Appears in search engine such Google, Firefox and Yahoo. Its appear in first six results of google search engine when search under ‘Dambulla hotels in Sri Lanka’, and first to appear when search under ‘Kandalama hotels in Sri Lanka’. HK website is registered in Sri Lanka web directory.
As web release marketing tool: Hot balloon offers, Honeymoon packages, and connect with Diamond Club loyalty car promotion web site. Link with social net works such as facebook, twitter, flicker and blogger
Build awareness: Knowledge of Heritance products and services, news and press release, blog spots and forums through the web links of http://aitkenspence.wordpress.com or http://aitkenspencehotels.typepad.com
5.3.2 Online Advertising
In present Heritance Kandalama is using their official website, other booking engine websites (agoda.com, lastminute.com), social media links (facebook, twitter, flicker, blogger), online classified (lakpua travels), and rich media (YouTube), however they can emphasis on more on online advertising as mentioned in recommendations.
5.3.3 Guerilla Marketing of Heritance Kandalama
Heritance Kandalama displays a local flute player and his story in their official website as part of CSR practices. Here they use CSR practices as guerilla marketing tool in their website.
Green philosophy practices, make us guilty if we not choose their product against to other resorts as they are the pioneer of Green philosophy practices in Sri Lanka.
Hotel allows taking as sample model of sustainable, green tourism, green and architechture case studies in locally and internationally.
Appear HK advertisement on other travel and tourism websites
HK is playing the role of Green tourism standard setter for Sri Lanka and for local government.
5.3.4 Viral Marketing of Heritance Kandalama
Social Net works – HK has started to build social net work through Facebook, Flicker, Blogger, Twitter,
Word of mouth – Catering the guest with best luxury products and services, HK has built great customer reputation and they spread the positive image and motivating other clients through web base guest feedback such trip adviser, articles in blogs and personally.
Diamond Club loyalty point system encouraging using more and more of Aitken Spence products and Heritance Kandalama service. This is the customer loyalty tools using by HK. Always customers feel they get value for money using the HK products and services.
Recommendations for Marketing & Customer Loyalty
Hosting Cultural and Sustainable Tourism programs, competitions and events
Calculate and award their guests yearly as ‘Least Carbon Foot Print Guest’
Use voice text bot through web to answer the guest questions and quarries
Build up ‘Story Share’ link through the HK official website, which guest can post their funny, unforgettable travel experience or asking basic questions from the guest to build up travel story for him with photos; video clips that guest can share with social media, printing or any other media.
Use technology to track down the travel information seekers through the search engine and let connect nearest person to the guest who had Heritance Kandalama experience to share their experience with new travelers
Use technology to track down the travel information seekers through the search engine and let connect nearest person to the guest who had Heritance Kandalama experience to share their experience with new travelers
6.2 Recommendations and justifying marketing communications strategies
Directory marketing such in Yahoo Local, Yellow Page and LinkedIn
Promote a access word to search website easily and make it search engine sensitive. Such as ‘Eco friendly hotel in Sri Lanka’ or ‘Cultural experience hotel’. HK need to web tracking by gathering statistic information to measure your website success.
Sponsor or be host for International and local ‘Survivor’, ‘Travelers’ programs.
Virtual Show round, live show
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