Marketing is one particular field that requires players with professionalism, skill and creativity. This is because the picture and image that marketers creates about a product will by far determine the perception that targeted, potential and actual customers will hold towards it. For this reason, marketing will require the best marketers there is to push the products.
By definition, marketing is the process and activity of creating products, communicating about them, networking and delivering of products to customers. Marketing is important to both the producer and the customers because it builds and cements relationships between the two. It also helps the company to realize its organizational goals and objectives, which include serving the market and providing it with the products it needs, and at the same time, making profit. Every business-minded company seeks to make a profit as much as it seeks to satisfy its customers with the products they require (Kotler & Armstrong, 2011).
It seeks to identify the customers, satisfy them and keep them. This is achieved through advertising the products to win a customer base, satisfying them by providing them with the products they need, and keeping them through good customer relations.
Before marketing any product, research should always be carried out about the market. It is important to note that research is the backbone to the success to every marketing success. This research is based on two levels; the market research and marketing research. The market research is research based on the market that the producers seek to conquer. This includes looking into aspects such as the market size, demand levels, the market’s preferences and what kind of a product they expect to satisfy their need etc. marketing research on the other hand looks into the strategies that the marketers hope to use to sell their products, the amount of finances they need for effective marketing etc. In this marketing review, I will assess the issues affecting the Hospitality industry.
The Hospitality Industry
For the past two decades, the hospitality and tourism industry has been doing exceptionally well in the world market and in some of the developed and developing countries, it has been a major source of revenue that contribute to the countries’ Gross Domestic Product. A number of countries have invested majorly in the industry because the industry is their only stable source of revenue. This is common in the underdeveloped countries especially in Africa, who emphasize on tourism. The hospitality industry offers products which include foods and beverages; and services, which include products’ delivery, service, etc. This makes it a complicated industry, diverse as both service delivery and the products must be of quality and utmost professionalism. They are both important aspects for the customer’s complete satisfaction.
The hospitality industry emphasizes a lot on services, and services have the following characteristics in the hospitality industry;
- Highly perishable- services are highly perishable since they perish the moment they are utilized. For example, once a customer is served with a meal at a restaurant, the relevance of the services diminishes as soon as the waiter finishes serving the meal.
- Intangibility- services are not tangible like products. They can only be experienced and not touched.
- Heterogeneity-Services are diverse, and they cannot be repeated the same way they were offered to a client.
In the hospitality industry however, services and products have one common characteristic; they are inseparable. This is because delivering the product effectively will involve service delivery of the same.
However, as much as there has been a tremendous improvement in the hospitality and tourism industry, numerous challenges have also locked it, and this may lead to severe challenges in the future performance of the industry. I have critically addressed some of the areas covered in class worth looking at, to determine the nature and fate of the industry.
Marketing mix can be described as the ingredients or requirements necessary for marketing to take place. Traditionally, marketing has four p’s, whereby each p represents a component necessary in marketing. These p’s represent the following;
- Product-this is the manufactured commodity that the manufacturer seeks to satisfy the market with. In the hospitality and tourism industry, the product may either be tangible or intangible. The tangible ones include foods and beverages while the intangible ones include the services and experience. The product should of good quality, and capable to satisfy the market(Kotler & Armstrong, 2011).
- Price-this is the amount of money or currency that a customer has to exchange for the product. There are different pricing methods and strategies applied in the hospitality industry and all the other industries at large, depending with the value of the product. Different products will have different prices, due to quality and demand.
- Place-this is the strategic location where products are sold and purchased by the customers. In the hospitality and tourism industry, these include the hotels, lodges, guesthouses, national parks etc. this is where customers get their products and services.
- Promotion- promotion constitutes of four main aspects which are sales promotion, advertising, public relations and personal selling. Unlike the other three elements, promotion involves one-on-one interactions with targeted, potential and actual customers, and it therefore calls for sales’ personnel should have effective and impressive communication skills.
These four components of a marketing mix are important not only to the hospitality industry, but also to all other profit-bound organizations or companies. They are the basic elements to successful marketing (Kotler & Armstrong, 2011). Some hospitality organization fail to fully address all the marketing mix elements, and this has led to poor performance or failure to achieve their set goals and objectives. It is therefore important for marketers in the industry to fully address these elements, as it will form a basis for good performance and realization of set goals and objectives.
Consumer behavior is the way clients behave when buying a service or a product, due to the opinions, perceptions and views they hold concerning a given product. Fortunately, consumer behavior can be well managed, influenced and changed through marketing, for example through advertising, sales promotion and one-on-one interaction with the marketers. It takes high levels of psychological marketing to change a customer’s view about a given product, especially if there is a negative misconception about the product or if the product is new in the market (Kreitner, 2008).
Consumer buying behavior is affected by factors such as perceptions, attitudes and views. A customer behavior is defined by a number of factors which include the following;
- Prejudice-this is a negative view that a person holds towards someone or a given aspect. Prejudice brings about discrimination and it may lead to a negative view of a product by a potential customer.
The hallo effect is another customer behavior that affects clients and potential customers. By definition, this is the perception that one holds towards something based on his /her first encounter with it. It may be a positive or a negative hallo effect (Kreitner, 2008). Stereotype is another effect on customers that they hold towards products and services. This by definition is the tendency to associate one thing / aspect with another even before it happens, judging from past experiences. Stereotype in many cases has been to cause more harm than good to both the client and the company itself (Kotler & Armstrong, 2011).
Pessimism and optimism are other common aspects that customers hold. Pessimism is the negative believe and attitude to a given goal/desire, and the belief that it is not achievable. Optimism is the opposite of this. This is where an individual holds a positive attitude towards a given product.
The hospitality industry is one sensitive industry, and minimal changes in the political, social or economical scene can lead to adverse changes in the industry. Remarketing the products and services therefore is essential in such a case, and it’s one of the greatest challenges that marketers face during their career. Remarketing a product is not an easy task, and that has been one of the greatest challenges facing the industry. It is very important that a hospitality industry maintain a good reputation in its services and standards, because a client’s simple change of mind may have adverse effects on the hotel’s performance.
The hospitality industry is highly competitive, with the introduction of new technology, methods and forms of production, service and product quality, marketing etc. This competitive nature results to setting of high standards of entry into the market and this at times can be quite difficult for the new investors. This competition in the industry is further increased by the fact that consumer perceptions in the hospitality industry change very fast. This is mainly because there is an increased sharing of information in the industry not only between consumers but amongst other stakeholders such as investors. This is why most organizations in this industry strive to ensure that they always have a competitive advantage over their rivals.
It is important to note that competition in this industry varies depending on the type of clientele an establishment targets. For example, establishments targeting high income earners normally compete in terms of facilities and quality rather than price. On the other hand, those targeting low level income earners usually compete based on price. The reason given for this is that the demand for the hospitality product varies with different groups of people. The rich rarely buy food, drinks, and accommodation just to satisfy their physical needs, they buy these things also to fulfill what is expected of them as per their social status. That is why it is more important to this group of people that they get quality at a higher price as a lower price would make the product look cheap. This is one of the few factors that marketers in the hospitality industry consider in ensuring that they stay ahead of their competitors (Mondy, 2009).
The aspect of competitiveness is an advantage to clients within the industry, and this is because there is improvement in the quality of service and products.
Market segmentation involves selection of a specific target group by an organization to which the latter aims to sell its products to (Kotler & Armstrong, 2011). Segmentation in the hospitality industry is normally done using various tools of classifications such as income levels, types of tourists, and religion.
As discussed in the previous section, some hospitality industries target high income earners while others target middle level income earners. There are still those establishments that target the low level earners. This segmentation is important as it also determines the sophistication of service an establishment offers, how well defined its décor is, and even the type of facilities found at the establishment.
Segmentation based on types of tourists is mainly done by determining the reason why a person has decided to eat out. For example some people may go to a hotel for a honeymoon while others may go to a hotel for business. It is important to note that the expectations of these categories of tourists are different in terms of what they expect to get out of their transaction with the establishment. Establishments in this industry are hence supposed to identify which type of tourists they wish to target.
Religion is a major part of human life and it is in accordance to this common knowledge that some hospitality establishments decide to target specific religions in their marketing ventures. For example a hotel may target Hindus as its main clientele as they have special food which is different from other religions. This is advantageous since some religions have some food they don’t eat based on the argument that it would make them unclean. Hence targeting a specific religion gives it reassurance that the food and services offered at the establishment are in accordance to the religion’s beliefs and values (Mondy, 2009).
Kotler, P. and Armstrong, G. (2011). Principles of Marketing. 14th Edition. New Jersey: Prentice Hall. Print.
Kreitner, R. (2008). Organiational Behavior: key concepts, skills and best practices. New York: McGraw-Hill. Print.
Mondy, R. (2009). Human Resource Management. 11th edition. New Jersey: Prentice hall. Print.