In this essay, it will choose the Ibis hotel product and Skoda as two analyzing targets. It will make some analysis about the business-level strategy, global strategy and the connections between them separately of the two companies. It will also make some illustrations on the application of the strategies in the marketing process of the product and service. Finally, it will make some comparisons about the business strategies between the two companies. The analysis is mainly concentrated on the level of the company level and service level rather than on the precise product or service level.
Business strategy of Ibis hotel
Ibis was founded in 1974 by Accor Group, France. It offers the customers best values in the local market. The rising up of the Ibis hotel in the European market originated from a small and creative decision. They permitted to give the customers separate washrooms. This decision made Ibis grow up quickly in the condition that the marketing of unhygienic Budget Hotel reached the saturation point. Ibis is the first hotel chain to get the ISO 14001 environmental certification in the year of 2004. It represents a strong environmental protection awareness of Ibis (Caterersearch, 2010). Ibis is located in the commercial area or places with convenient transportation of the important cities. The total business strategy of Ibis is to let the customers enjoy living in an international standard hotel with economical price. That means the customers could get excellent value for money in Ibis. The hotel rooms of Ibis are all designed according to the strategy. The facilities in the rooms are fit for the customers' requirements and meeting their needs to the greatest extent. Furthermore, Ibis hotel also offers diverse services including meal delivering service, commercial services and relaxation facilities.
Global strategy of Ibis and its relationship with the business-level strategy
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Today, the Ibis hotel expands to 36 countries and has more than 800 hotels all over the world. Through the excellent developing strategy and corporative contract, the number of hotels of Ibis is increasing in the speed about over 50 per year (Caterersearch, 2010). Basing on the strong development in France and Germany, the Ibis brand also has a quick developing in the British Isles including the UK (The National Trust, 2005). Now, it is getting good reputation for its good service and reasonable prices around the world. The main global strategy for the Ibis hotel is to realize localization under the instruction of the total company spirit. That means, the operation in different countries could be different and must adapt to the local consumers demands. However, the business level strategy of providing the consumers of excellent value for money could not be changed.
Implementation of the strategies of Ibis in the UK
Hospitality industry is a service industry. The hotel rooms of Ibis are all designed according to the total business strategy. The facilities in the rooms are fit for the customers' requirements and meeting their needs to the greatest extent. Furthermore, Ibis hotel in the UK also offers diverse services including meal delivering service, commercial services and relaxation facilities. The product of this industry includes visible and invisible products. The visible products include hotel rooms, dining halls, decorations and some other facilities in the hotel. The producing process of visible products has fixed standards. The invisible products refer to the services offered by the hotel staffs. There is no fixed standard about the services. On the contrary, personal services are more welcomed by the customers. The combination of the visible and invisible products could give the consumers a complete consuming experience.
The unique sales point for Ibis should be simple, comfortable and cheap. As an economical hotel, the main function of the Ibis Hotel should be accommodation. In the aspect of visible product, Ibis could contribute the hotel facilities basing on the B&B (Bed and Breakfast) model and simplify the entertaining functions to reduce total cost. The facilities in the hotel room should be complete, for instance, 24 hours hot water, enough room squires, tidy and clean washrooms and comfortable furniture.
For the invisible product, the Ibis should offer efficient and complete services. There is a rule in Ibis all over the world: Solve all the problems for the customers in no more than 15 minutes.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
The price of the hotels is flexible with the seasons. Therefore, Ibis should make its price strategy basing on the requirement of the local market in the UK rather than using globalized price. The price could be higher in the busy seasons and lower in the dull seasons. It could also make some discounts when the number of customers is small.
Distribution channels are channels through which the products transported from the companies to the consumers (Kotler, 2008). The start point is the company and the end point is the consumer. Between these two, there are many mediate merchants. For Ibis, there are mainly three channels: The first one is the direct sale by the internet or by phone. The second one is sale by the travel agencies. The third one is sale by the intermediate agencies. The local channels are paid great attention to by the Ibis hotel.
There are many promotion methods. For instance, launch some discount card for the members, put advertisement on the newspapers and magazines, organize some free travel activities and publish promotion information on the main website of the Ibis. Since the core strategy of Ibis is excellent value for money, the marketing communications of Ibis are all represent this information and combining the local characters such as special sceneries and festivals together.
Business-level strategy for Skoda
Skoda is a Czech car manufacturer who became a sub brand of Volkswagen in 1991. Skoda carries on the advanced techniques of Volkswagen. Its products are the crystallization of wisdom and have high content of technology. The current products of Skoda include Octavia, Fabia, Superb and Yeti. All of them have classical appearance, ergonomically design and multiple functions. The target consumers of Skoda are those wise people who pursue life quality and efficiency, care about the family and think highly of the balance between modern and tradition. Its high quality, high performance to price ratio and easy operational cars are welcomed by many consumers. First of all, the customers' needs and wants come first. This is the basic principal of the Skoda strategy. It builds cars according to the customers' needs and wants. The sale philosophy of Skoda is not to maxim the sales quantity but to create values for the customers. In the strategic management of quality, Skoda stresses on the management of middle term and long term quality after the cars are sold. By doing this, it could give the customers best guarantee. Secondly, make strategic adjustment on the structure of the products. The big disadvantage of Skoda is its vague positioning. As a result, they could not catch up with the target customers and suffered lost of market share. In reaction with this situation, Skoda broadens its producing line and make clear classify of the cars with different price, different usage and different appeals. Thirdly, it converses the marketing communication strategies. It stresses the feeling of "happy" and positioning itself as a Happiness maker (thetimes100, 2010). Skoda uses a combination of communication method including advertising, public relations and direct marketing. Skoda UK presented its brand image with a humorous style and it converse the car's negative image which leads to a sales rising in recent years. The mix of Skoda marketing communications are integrated and very coordinate basing on the communication strategy.
Global strategy of Skoda and its relationship with the business-level strategy
After many years of operation, Skoda becomes a world famous car brand and becoming more and more popular in most of the European countries. With the expansion of the global market and the increasing of the needs, the productivity of Skoda is in need of increasing. Dynamic management is the core spirit of the global strategy of Skoda. On one hand, the productivity is flexible in different markets. In 2008, under the impact of the global economic crisis, the demand of cars faced a sharp reduction. Skoda carried out flexible production mechanism and reduced the lost to the minimum level (Skoda, 2010). On the other hand, it strictly followed the local regulations and developing trends.
Implementation of the strategies of Skoda in the UK
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In order to make clear product segmentation, Skoda broadens its producing line and make clear classify of the cars with different price, different usage and different appeals in the UK market. The current products of Skoda include Octavia, Fabia, Superb and Yeti. All of them have classical appearance, ergonomically design and multiple functions. However, indifferent sub markets, the product design are different too. In response with the EU environment policy, Skoda builds up its recycling system and using the environmental producing techniques to avoid doing harm to the environment (Neroth, 2009). Moreover, it puts much effort on the design of the environmental friendly cars which have smaller fuel consumption and waste gas emission.
The high performance to price ratio of Skoda is welcomed by its target consumers. The target consumers of Skoda are pursuing life quality and efficiency rather than luxury. Therefore, the price of the Skoda cars is relatively lower.
Skoda is one of the sub brands of Volkswagen. Volkswagen stepped onto the globalization trend much earlier than Skoda. Therefore, the sales places, channels and agents of Volkswagen is mature enough. Skoda could take full use the mature sales places and agents.
-Promotion and marketing communications
Skoda's main strategy is to rebuild its brand in the UK in order to get rid of its dismal reputation (James, 2002). After a set of reputation crisis in the early years, Skoda stresses the feeling of "happy" and positioning itself as a Happiness maker. The UK market communications are all based on this total strategy. It uses a combination of communication method including advertising, public relations and direct marketing. Skoda UK presented its brand image with a humorous style and it converse the car's negative image which leads to a sales rising in recent years. While viewing Skoda's website, people could get a happy and delightful feeling. The slogans of the brand "At Skoda we don't just make cars, we manufacture happy drivers" hanging on the left reminds people that Skoda is not only a car producer but also a happy maker. In its TV commercial of Fabia, there is no message telling people about the good quality or excellent features about the car directly. It only creates a happy atmosphere which is quite coordinate with the brand's strategy and image.
In this part, it will make a comparison between the strategy of Ibis and Skoda as a conclusion.
Firstly, since the precise products and services of the two companies are very different, the detailed implementations of the business-level strategies are different too. They have different target consumers, different communication objectives, different sales channels and different price strategies.
Secondly, the company backgrounds of the two companies are different. Ibis is a independent brand and has to set up its own channels in the local market. Skoda now is a sub-brand of Volkswagen and could take many advantages of the mother company in the aspects of techniques and channel.
Firstly, the two companies are all international company. Both of them are stressing the importance of sticking to the core and basic strategy of the company. The total business strategy of Ibis is to let the customers enjoy living in an international standard hotel with economical price. The total business strategy of Skoda is providing high quality, high performance to price ratio and easy operational cars. No matter in which sub market, these basic strategies should be obeyed strictly.
Secondly, they all make dynamic management and localized adaption in the marketing process of the global markets. Ibis carries out localized price strategy and promotion strategies. Skoda adapts their product design to the UK regulations.