MARKET MAPPING TRENDS IN THE HOTEL INDUSTRY
- an exploratory study for increasing catchment and reaffirming brand followership


By
Dr. Padma Srinivasan
Head-HR & Company Secretary
Sindhu Cargo Services Ltd.
Bangalore
E-mail :
padma@sindhucargo.com
 


Key Words: Hotels Market Mapping, Hotel Marketing Strategies, Brand followership.

"Success depends not only on market conditions, but also on the ability to create markets
where none exist."

INTRODUCTION:

In the present changing and hyper competitive world, it is significant that a hotel spot the available opportunities. Hotels show particular flexibility to change as the consumer lifestyles, purchasing power and preferences change. Most hotels prefer to customize their service products to satisfy the needs of custom. Here a Strategic control is essential for ensuring that the hotel company's marketing objectives, strategies, and systems are optimally adapted to the current and forecasted marketing environment. A differentiated marketing strategy enhances the appeal of hotel product to several target groups.

Market mapping is a marketing tool that enables systematic, independent, and periodic examination of the organization's marketing environment, objectives, strategies and activities with a view to determine problem areas and opportunities and recommending a plan of action to improve the hotels bottomline. It involves three steps viz.; identification of hotel market periphery and the potential competitive advantages, selecting the strategies optimally suited to peruse competitive advantages and signaling to the market the hotel's positioning concept.

For example, the Tata Group's Indian Hotels Company Ltd. on 25/06/2004 has launched India's first
`no attitude' hotel with tariff under Rs. 1,000. The hotel is located at the heart of India's Silicon Valley-Bangalore. The company plans to open 150 such hotels across the world though a dozen of these will be set up within the next one year in India. This launch assumes significance since it is being set up a hundred years after the country's first luxury hotel and that the group is moving into Economy/ Budget hotel category along with the premium hotel category. So there is an imminent need to look into market mapping techniques and trends to take up global challenges to succeed in all the niches ventured into.

OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY:

The objective of taking up this research is to create a Global Market Positioning System for the hotels that can balance their maps and strategies for a financial well being. The researcher wished to relate to the hotel market segmentation, redefinition of the hotel services and brand competencies.

HYPOTHESES:

The hypotheses set are
* To identify the trends visible in the hotel arena on the development of market maps and the strategies to leverage on the unique individual competencies
* To enable the appropriate selection of target groups and the level of competition the hotels can handle with their current competency levels and resources.
* To identify the trade off between the growth and market manovours

RESEARCH PEDAGOGY:

The research reported here embodied a quantitative perspective. The type of research is designated as exploratory research. Hence only the method used to collect data was Sample Survey Method.

PROCEDURE:

In carrying out the research project, several specific procedures were followed and the study started with the selection of Hotel groups and finally ended in data collection. 108 hotels from star categories and KSTDC approved in the Karnataka State were selected.

TECHNIQUES OF ANALYSIS:

The data collected from various sources have been classified, tabulated and analyzed by applying statistical techniques. The sample size being 108 only, statistical results have been derived with the help of the computer software on data analysis.

FINDINGS:

The interesting and significant findings are

* Market mapping is essential for all growth oriented and aggressive hotels. It enables the hotels to tap the market potential in the most innovative, gainful manner. It also prepares the organization to phase plan its optimal deployment of resources.

* All the marketing mix elements are significant in their role for predicting the marketing strategies of the hotel industry. All hotels, belonging to all categories test the waters to know their catchment areas and their brand significance. They see to that their occupancy rates are up despite shifts in custom.

* Creative planning considerations spearhead effective marketing strategies as supported by the views of 90 hotels out of 108 hotels echoing a sentiment of new plans created to placate new clients. Group business contributes to repeat reservations up to 32% of the total customers.

* Ad focus of all the hotels is more on attracting the new and retaining the repeat customers leading to 98% of the ad direction and only 2% aim at new clientele. There has been positive association between Brand switching, brand attitude, accepted erosion of the existing customers. A fresh inclusion is welcomed based on the 5 points allotted on the Likert scale for renovation measures for up market client to the tune of 48 hotels in the 108 hotels chosen.

* The Star hotels in the category of 3 Star and above promote their group properties and are globally focused in their ad efforts promoting their global brands. They form 16% of the total sample. The surveyed hotels focus on the Karnataka region (77%) and up to 7% in the Indian region. The Generic and specific strategies enable leveraging on the unique individual competencies and existent brand capacities. So market mapping is the strategic process by which the hotels obtain what they want to achieve using their core competencies and stay in tune with the volatile business environment.

Conclusions:

Promotional strategies, apart from the regular ads are used for ensuring the best Customer Relation & Retention for the enhanced revenue targets. The study reveals that the increase of revenue due to enhanced marketing strategies is in the range of 0-20% for 29% respondent hotels. In 71% hotels, the increases in revenues are expected around 20-40% due to advertisements and restaurant promotions. The trends visible, in the hotel arena on the development of market maps, indicate that the Indian hotels are favorable to creating overseas markets. The hotels are considering positively at the strategic marketing alliances and brand treaties for widening custom catchment area and for establishing global brands.
 


Dr. Padma Srinivasan
Head-HR & Company Secretary
Sindhu Cargo Services Ltd.
Bangalore
E-mail :
padma@sindhucargo.com
 

Source : E-mail January 1, 2005

 
 

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