MARKETING IN DIGITAL AGE
Winning the 2012 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award was no mean feat for Imperial Orchards Hotel. The institution boasted of excellent service coupled with a solid foundation in hospitality that worked as its blueprint for its success. However, the attention has now swayed to its staff’s lack of detail when dealing with customers, which has contributed to the decline of its prestige. The hotel has been failing customer expectations and left them feeling unfairly treated; hence justice is sabotaged. In order for the hotel to recover its lost glory, certain precise measures have to be undertaken to save it from, for instance, closing some of its boutique hotels.
Measures taken involve changes in compensation, timely recovery processes, transparency, and a turnaround in staff behavior. All departments must adhere to the recommended modifications for everything to run smoothly. Firstly, foreigners are more likely to require compensation when there is service failure. The monetary compensation policy adopted by Imperial Orchards Hotel is effective in addressing the problems as it covers a wide spectrum, such as issues on accommodation. The compensation is instituted in a way it does not hurt the hotel or take advantage of the customers. The policy had to be equitable enough to make sense to the customer since the benefits of the compensation have to surpass the cost of the service failure. Due to company goals that keep changing and the present market conditions, the policy is flexible enough to support the complaints made, particularly in high seasons when foreigners visit. The hotel could also offer complementary services to accompany the reimbursement, for instance, an extra free night at the hotel or free rides to the airport. It could cover the inconvenience caused by service failures and help raise the satisfaction levels of the hotel’s customers. Secondly, the hotel did not respond quickly to service failure. In case a problem has been found, there should be a quick follow-up to resolve the issue. The hotel staff needed to focus on customer justice. It is coupled with understanding the ways to deal with different cultures. Visitors of Asian descent would have appreciated interpersonal treatment and recovery procedures to be done, while the foreigners, particularly the Americans, would have wanted monetary compensation, which they failed at. Situations need not escalate to using the hotel, whereas measures such as those mentioned could have been exercised (Singh et al., 2017). Thirdly, the hotel’s communication and transparency were below par. The customers were left feeling unfairly treated when they brought wrong orders or were blamed for an issue they had no involvement in, which explains the presence of informational injustice at the hotel.
The staff needed to own up to their mistakes and offer quick responses to amend them. The turnaround in staff behaviour did not work since the ill-treatment of customers seemed to persist. It was mainly why the hotel received bad ratings. The staff did not assess situations with humility and politeness, prompting unsuccessful service recovery. The staff understood that the hotel could not be profitable without good service but still went astray. The company now has to train its employees to handle different customers effectively. The training could allow them to improve the company culture, adapt to new methods, and better their morale to dutifully perform their duties (Akbarika et al., 2021). Imperial Orchids Hotel did not invest in this, and that is why there were constant differences between employees and customers.
In marketing, service recovery management issues may be major or minor. The marketers have to be precise and timely to solve the service failures in order to boost the image of an institution and bolster marketing interventions. In marketing, the product providers may have to contend with product defects (Chakravarty et al., 2021). Defects affect the utility of a good or service hence not meeting the purpose they were designed or created for. Mostly, defects can be found during product testing; others may go unnoticed through the process. Companies can also learn about product defects from online platforms (Liu et al., 2018). This issue requires first that an official apology be given (Odoom et al., 2019).
The apology is followed by the institution going over the complaint, which may be most effective if the affected customer is there. Then they can follow up by fixing the problem by using the best alternative of service recovery, such as offering the same service for free. The institution should document the service failure for future reference if such a scenario happens again. In addition, institutions could institute product adjustments. It could be for the benefit of the customer if done to provide better products and attract clients from other competing institutions (Krutikov n.d). Customers may be unaware of changes, and hence the institution has to have a proper communication channel where they can inform their customers, such as by having an active social media presence. Another issue involves price increases. Mostly, price increases on products discourage customers from buying them. A price increase affects their purchase power. For marketers presented with this problem, it could be solved by offering discounts on services that probably are a fan favorite among customers. Price rises may be affected by, for instance, inflation in the economy or increased costs of providing the service (Juraev, 2020). Also, an issue could arise from complaints. Not receiving formal complaints does not necessarily mean that the service is good. Certain employees may be in confrontation with customers, and conflicts could lead to violence. In marketing, some employees may be tempted to steal from the company; hence fewer products are available for customers. In such a situation, the company has to fire and get rid of employees who may aim to discredit the reputation of the company through acts of violence. Customers may feel reprieved not having to deal with such employees. Moreover, the company could also hire employees who have the prerequisite attributes to adapt to the changing needs of the business.
For Imperial Orchids Hotel to satisfy the needs of the customers, the management could rebrand. It would help position the hotel better in the market and regain the trust of customers who had felt unfairly treated. For the hotel, a marginal change of the employees could be appropriate since a fresh start could be very expensive, considering they have 20 boutique hotels. The hotel could hire a diligent social media marketing team since now they are failing in that area. Social networking could leverage their position since, currently, people are willing to go online and seek information about places they want to visit before going.
If I were the marketing director of Imperial Orchid Hotels, I would use Instagram as an online marketing platform and television for offline marketing. Instagram has been an appropriate way for hotels to market and brand themselves because of the high number of users. As of 2021, the platform has amassed over 1.2 billion users creating a target market for hotels that hope to get customers (Pham, 2021). In order to fully use the platform, I would post as often as possible to gain traction with the target market. The posts would involve high-quality pictures that capture the best aspects of the hotels, such as the rooms. I would also use the platform to conduct virtual tours. It is whereby the target audience can view the hotel without necessarily having to visit (Roy, 2017). It could involve a tour of the different suites, a look at the amenities such as swimming pools, a drive around the hotel, and meeting some employees. It could be done through a live video that is accessible on Instagram.
Moreover, I could use influencer marketing to spread awareness about the hotel. Influencers are people with a solid foundation of significant followership on social media who could increase traffic to the hotel’s services (Jansen et al., 2022). They would be tasked with endorsements and product placement to entice customers. For example, they could stay at the hotel and inform their followers of the good services offered at the hotel. Since their face is the best attribute to sell, they could be used on the Instagram shopping feature to market the hotel. Also, I could utilize travel hashtags to promote the hotel so the market can see our services when they search it (Emekeokhale, 2021). The advantage of using Instagram is that it is prevalent among people under thirty-five (Adeyanju et al., 2021). These are the people who are mostly online and can be influencers.
Moreover, Instagram is able to easily target its customers depending on location, demographic, or interests. It is easier to find out about Imperial Orchards Hotel when searching for hotels. Another advantage is that Instagram offers the ability to provide updated marketing features on advertisements. Sponsored adverts are so general that they could land on the most random customers who may want to, for instance, vacation in our hotels during the holiday.
However, Instagram is not popular among the older generation, who are less likely to be active on the platform. These are mostly the people with good purchasing power and extra money to spend. Also, Instagram has an increased number of advertisements nowadays, which could cause ad fatigue. Being too exposed to brand marketing could influence people to ignore the messages (Bharucha, 2018). In offline marketing, I would consider television since it is the traditional form of media with the highest correlation on decisions by customers to purchase (Klein et al., 2020). To reach a large audience, I would use it to place advertisements all over different channels, particularly at peak times during news bulletins. I would make these advertisements simple, relatable, and with a compelling story that could spark an emotional connection with my target audience. I would choose television because it is the most chosen form of media preferred by people. When people have to learn about what is going on in their country or other parts of the world, they rely on television mostly. The best attribute of television marketing is that people trust television channels to provide accurate and credible content (Ali, 2021). This is the perceived notion because of news. Moreover, of the fact that a large portion of people watch television, this form of marketing could drive up market shares. People associate being on television with a good standard of life and maybe compelled to invest in the hotel’s shares. Nowadays, television stations have an online presence. An additional advantage is that the results of television advertising can be shown in real-time through the use of search engines such as on the Bing search engine to now who has searched the advertisement, from where and how they searched. How they searched involves the keywords they used to find it (Liu et al., 2021). Marketing on this platform also comes with its own cons. Television advertisements are normally short and require the target audience to be there to consume the information. The audience may not be able to take all information by how quick they ran. Longer advertisements have an ability to stick in the potential customers’ minds (Varan et al., 2020). Also, the television advertisements do not always present the product in the best light as it is. The adverts want to show the best parts of the service without explaining the challenges it may come with. Besides taking a lot of effort to create, the advertisements are expensive making it an unsustainable way to market the hotel. Imperial Orchids Hotel is a luxury hotel and hence the Ansoff matrix is best suitable to use here even though it is risky. This strategy is based on market penetration, product development, market development and diversification (Ansoff, n.d). The hotel could use market penetration to bolster their presence through for instance reducing service prices to attract more customers (Kukartsev et al., 2019). Under product development, the hotel could come up with new services to meet the existing needs of the market. A good example would be to partner up with other players in the hospitality sector to mutually benefit from each other’s brands. Market development takes place whereby the hotel could expand for instance into other geographical regions and enter new markets (Sukma et al., 2019). Imperial Orchards Hotel could seek to expand to other cities around South East Asia to expand their market. Lastly, diversification which is very risky, would require a complete shift and the hotel to enter the market with a new product. For instance, the hotel could go into luxury transportation services for clients even if they were not going to any of the hotel’s facilities. This strategy could use vertical, horizontal or concentric diversification (Adrian, n.d).
The Imperial Orchards Hotel has to undergo various changes to make a turn in order to sustain the business in the future. The current world requires businesses to be in constant contact with its customers and hence an active social media profile generally on all platforms would improve the hotel’s sales. Customers also need to be reminded or informed about the hotel regularly. Traditional offline media platforms such as radio, television and billboards could complement online activity to seek and maintain customers. Customers would appreciate good treatment at the hotel. Measures such as compensation and timely response recovery processes would help deal with the different cultures that visit the hotel particularly when service failure arises.
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