The Hotel Sector: Digital Marketing Challenges

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A wide range of technologies can improve operational efficiency in the hotel industry using digital applications. This article uses qualitative data analysis to determine the best approach to keeping guests happy and giving hotels a distinct advantage in digital marketing. Customers and businesses can now find and purchase customized hospitality and tourism products and services without geography or time constraints. The study aimed to examine how digital marketing can help hotels gain a competitive advantage over their rivals. The future success of many companies is predicated on their ability to adapt their workforce and technology to meet the shifting demands of their industry.

Keywords: technologies, the hotel industry, digital applications, digital marketing, hospitality, competitive advantage


Radio, television, smartphones, computers, and data networks are examples of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), encompassing all digital devices and applications. The use of digital applications in the hotel sector entails utilizing a variety of technologies to improve operational efficiency (Parvez et al., 2018). Qualitative data analysis is used in this article to determine the best strategy to keep guests loyal and give hotels a distinct competitive edge while using digital marketing channels. Technology has made it possible for customers and businesses to find and acquire bespoke hospitality and tourist products, as well as to develop, manage and distribute merchandise with no time or regional limitations.

Problem Statement

In spite of all the potential advantages of ICT for competitiveness, it is still unclear to what extent digital applications have been used to create a unique identity in the hospitality business. Independent hoteliers are hesitant to adopt new technologies, making it difficult to acquire an advantage in the market. There is little or no impact on the commercial arena regarding service delivery and promotion for companies that do not embrace digital marketing. Despite the tremendous advancements in ICT, the most pressing issue is a lack of innovation. Most hotels have not adequately connected their websites with their Property Management System (PMS) when it comes to operational efficiencies.

Research Objectives

General Objective

The study was steered by the objective that sought to examine the effectiveness of digital marketing in generating a competitive edge for hotels.

Specific Objectives

The specific objectives for the study included:

  • To find out how digital technologies affect customer loyalty and the competitive benefit of hotels.
  • To analyze the impact of digital applications on employee empowerment in the hotel sector
  • To determine the extent to which hotels’ competitive advantages can be attributed to their digital marketing methods.

Significance of the Study

Policymakers and executives in the hotel sector can use the findings of this study to help them make informed decisions about digital marketing and strategic implementation. Its goal was to help companies become more competitive by promoting organizational change to embrace digital applications. Hoteliers and other businesses that use digital concepts will reap the most benefits, including enhanced competitive advantage, increased profits, improved customer loyalty, augmented production, and better organizational skills in decision-making and exploring the plethora of online marketing strategies. Researchers can use this paper as a jumping-off point for further study.

Literature Review

Digital applications’ adoption, use, and impact on the competitiveness of organizations and hospitality facilities worldwide and locally are examined in this chapter. To better understand the research question, the relevant literature has been studied. This includes books, peer-reviewed journals, and internet articles. Parts of this chapter include guest loyalty and competitive advantage; employee empowerment; digital marketing; and theoretical underpinnings.

Guest Loyalty and Competitive Advantage

For an organization to gain an edge over its competitors, it should acquire a feature or a set of unique attributes. Retaining a customer is a win-win situation for both the business and the consumer. The competitiveness of a product and, by extension, the success of a company are directly correlated, making it critical to analyze customer happiness in light of this relationship (De Pelsmacker et al., 2018). These characteristics can include access to highly-skilled employees, human resource management, and the inventive use of information technology, among other factors. Therefore, the phrase competitive advantage refers to the ability to perform better than people in a similar sector or market by virtue of one’s attributes and resources. A company is assumed to have a persistent competitive advantage when it outshines its competitors for long, such as the creative use of ICT in the PMS. With respect to market share, these companies do better than their counterparts.

In a cutthroat market, customer loyalty is a crucial competitive advantage. Retaining a customer is a win-win situation for both the business and the customer. A company’s beliefs and ideals are more inclined to be communicated to customers who are already loyal to the brand if employees represent them. In addition, a devoted customer will have the opportunity to spread the news about a company, leading to an increase in profits. Few firms have a customer retention plan in place, despite the fact that it is vital to a company’s success (Damnjanović et al., 2020). Customer service is the lifeblood of every company; the success of a developing firm is built based on long-term consumers. Customer acquisition is critical to a company’s growth and competitive advantage, but so is a strategy for retaining consumers.

Employees Empowerment

The development of human resource capabilities is a part of the technology strategy, which includes the development of self-efficacy and belief in the ability to complete tasks and actively support the integration of ICT with other resources and skills of the company. The degree of education of employees, especially in less developed nations such as Asia and Africa, is a major factor in the effective usage of ICT. An organization’s failure to invest in its employees’ training is shortsighted. Cutting expenses and lowering organizational requirements have led many organizations to slash or eliminate their training programs (Khmiadashvili, 2019). A bad precedent has been formed, and the future is uncertain because of this. It is common for companies to be willing to spend money on new technology but not on human capital.

Researchers such as Tarazona-Montoya et al. (2020) found that star-rated restaurants have a significant shortage of highly trained employees, particularly chefs. Unfavorable working conditions and low pay are only some of several factors that have contributed to excessive employee turnover and subpar performance in the hotel industry. The future of an employee and the country depends on a well-educated and sufficiently developed workforce; every employee should be committed to lifelong learning. Many firms’ future success depends on their ability to adapt their personnel and technology to meet the changing needs of the business. This is especially true for companies that want to remain competitive in today’s global market. The success of management-employee education and development activities is directly related to the company’s ability to boost productivity and quality.

Digital Marketing

The function of traditional advertising is continuously being questioned in a globalized and technologically advanced society. Whether close or far, enterprises from other continents compete with domestic firms. If technology makes it easier for buyers and sellers to do business, this trend is likely to continue (Lam & Law, 2019). Since time immemorial, technical advancements have revolutionized marketing, which has created a new commercial context for organizations to operate inside. For enhanced success, companies and their stakeholders should work hard with the help of digital marketing to manage customer connections. New techniques of conducting and handling consumer marketplaces are being brought about by the Internet nowadays.

Theoretical Underpinning: Social Marketing Theory

In 1971, Philip Kotler and Gerald Zaltman came up with the idea of social marketing (Cristina-Mihaela, 2018). Applying the same marketing methods used to sell things can influence consumers’ attitudes and behavior. A wide range of social factors influences customers’ views and actions. Because of the emergence of online social networks, businesses and brands are being forced to reevaluate their relationship with customers and traditional marketing paradigms. Well-known people naturally rise to the top of these networks, and their influence extends well beyond their immediate circle of acquaintances. As a result, influential people and figures are particularly important from a marketing perspective. A brand’s interaction with its target audience might take on new possibilities when these notable characters are identified and targeted selectively for action.


Using a cross-sectional descriptive research method, this study was able to compare several studies at the same time. Descriptive studies are designed to represent and evaluate the current state of affairs. The Plaza Hotel in New York was used as a case study for this research project, which used qualitative methods. Ethnographic analysis, historical layout, and case studies are a few examples of quantitative research designs that focus on specific variables.

Data Collection

This study relied on secondary data, such as books and journals, obtained by the researcher. Using a secondary method to acquire data is more efficient than relying on a primary technique (Largan & Morris, 2019). For both time and money, primary data collection methods are extremely expensive. For this study, data was gathered from Google, Science Direct, Emerald, and EBSCOhost databases. The research was carried out using keywords like “digital marketing”,”digital applications in hotels,” and “digital problems” to find relevant articles. The researcher only accessed information from sources that employed their search terms. A secondary data collection technique was used to examine the current studies on a strikingly similar topic to meet the research objectives.

Data Analysis

To enhance the quality of the analysis and make the results easier to grasp, the data collected during the study was transformed into variables. The study’s findings were presented in a logical order to meet the research objectives. Researchers analyzed and evaluated the best ways to keep guests loyal and give hotels a distinct advantage in the digital marketing world while navigating the many channels (Sharp & Munly, 2022). Methods for obtaining results in qualitative research are not established or mandated. Because of this, the critical thinking of the researcher was crucial to the study’s analysis of data.

Anticipated Results

Top managers at The Plaza Hotel affirm that ICT use in the hotel has made it easy to monitor controls than paperwork. Digital applications have also made it possible for all departments to keep track of their own documentation and better manage the hotel’s guest rooms and prices. ICT, Online Hotel Reservation System (OHRS), and Central Reservation System (CRS) are some of the arrangements used to improve hotel operations. When it comes to hotel operations, digital applications are commonly used in marketing (Kitsios et al., 2021). As a result, it increases the effectiveness of successful productivity from luxury hotels to cheap hotels employing one or the other type of digital competence. The OHRS is a useful marketing tool since it makes it easy for customers to look up room availability across a variety of hotels and hotel chains.

This research aimed to see how ICT applications affected employee empowerment and competitiveness. The use of ICT enabled the personnel to learn new technologies and work more professionally than in the past when the paperwork was the primary method of communication. Employees have been empowered by the use of ICT to increase overall productivity. For this reason, a thorough training program is needed for all employees when computers are connected with PMS. For a business to be successful, it should put money into technology as well as into its employees (Krizanova et al., 2019). When it comes to business, many firms are looking to develop flexible workforces to be more competitive and employ the full potential of their personnel and innovation when the situation demands it.

Extensive networking occurs both within and between the groups that are working together (Kitsios et al., 2021). Internal and external communications are facilitated by the widespread use of the Internet and other forms of Intranet and Extranet technology. Organizations can cut labor costs and improve their electronic infrastructure by utilizing intranets and ERP systems, which guarantee inter-organizational performance between operations, sectors, and functions. The new technological breakthrough has altered traditional marketing, resulting in new corporate settings over time. There are no longer any boundaries between multinational and local enterprises when it comes to e-business or e-commerce over the Internet. Digital applications have also expanded the use of virtual learning and communication by companies’ staff.

Conclusion and Recommendations


Businesses and consumers worldwide can now search and purchase customized hospitality and tourism products and services, as well as design, manage, and distribute their merchandise, without consideration of location or time restraints. Despite all of its potential benefits, it is not clear how much of an impact ICT has had on the hospitality industry’s identity. Hotel executives and policymakers can use the findings of this study to make well-informed decisions about digital marketing and implementation. Persistent competitive advantage involves an organization’s ability to outperform its rivals, as demonstrated by the PMS’s innovative use of ICT. In the future, academics should use primary data collecting and quantitative methods to investigate how hotels use online marketing to preserve customer loyalty and create a distinct competitive edge.


Hoteliers should train their staff to use cutting-edge digital expertise. Hospitality industry competition and client desire for this technology necessitate that hoteliers train their personnel to help them better manage customers. Training and ensuring the well-being of employees are also important components of efficiently managing human resources. Hotel transactions necessitate more adaptable and well-trained personnel. This research suggests that educating and training workers in the use of digital applications would be an effective, productive, and quality-improving practice.


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