Opportunities to Succeed As an Term Paper

” (2000) There are other factors associated with change that enhance the ability for the independent hotels to compete as there is a segment of customers with the desire to discover for themselves what best satisfies their taste. The independent hotels offer guests “the option of maintaining their differentiation while affiliating with ‘soft’ brands, which reflect a defined product and offer similar service support as franchisers or chains.” (Swig, 2000) Swig additionally reports that Rob Cornell of Preferred Hotels believes that “global distribution brands have evolved today to provide the independent hotel owner; manager access to the latest in reservation distribution and marketing technology, partner relationships, quality stands, volume purchasing and sales infrastructure. ” (2000) Technology is said to be the “new vehicle” that enables equal access…” (Swig, 2000) Finally, Swig states that “membership or affiliate organizations have matured and gained credibility with consumers. At the same time these groups have broadened their foundation of services and technology to strengthen independent hotels even further. Brand status has been achieved through the ability to satisfy both independent hotel operators and achieve strong reputations with consumers. The final step in this paradigm will be the positive recognition of independent hotel development from the investment community.”{2000)

Carol Verret states that there are “cost-effective ways of positioning your independent hotel and resort” however, coordination is required. Verret states the following as a bare framework of such a plan:(1) Rate and Offering Positing – Decide on a rate structure in relation to the hotel’s position in the market with the hotel’s competitive set; (2) Revenue Management Strategy – Decide on the revenue management strategy; (3) Property Management System – this is termed a good investment although it is necessary to keep updated as new updates are released for the system; (4) GDS Presence and Reservations Capability – Stated to be a wise investment is hiring a company for provision of 800 number reservation services and GDS placement that will be picked up by the E-commerce channels. Desk staffing for sales is not a good idea since they may not be good sales people and furthermore the business peak season for reservations will also be the busiest time at the hotel; (5) Group Sales – it is stated that “a well-planned group sales effort can support your property in the off-season and maximize revenue in peak season.” (Verret, 2005) in a separate article entitled: “The Challenge of Marketing Independent Boutique Hotels” Verret (2002) states: “We all have wonderful memories of a charming hotel in which we stayed that was free of the cookie-cutter image, had an intimacy that made us feel special and nooks and crannies that invited us to linger and relax. Hoteliers often harbor a retirement fantasy that when the mainstream career comes to a close, they will walk into the sunset and operate an inn or a bed and breakfast and will have gone to hotel heaven. Well, let me tell you that hotel heaven can turn into hell very quickly.” (2002) How so one might ask? According to Verret due to the size of the boutique property, they often do not have the “clout in the market to recruit and retain good line employees. Seasonality can have the happy retired hotelier making beds, doing laundry and unstopping toilets in the off-season” due to being forced to lay off seasonal staff. Further budgeting and forecasting can create quite a problem if accurate records have not been kept. According to Verret: “Marketing an independent boutique hotel requires a certain finesse and accountability due to the restrictions of size and budgets.” (Verret, 2002) Factors required for development of a “lean and targeted marketing plan” (Verret, 2002) are inclusive of the following: (1) Begin by developing a client profile for each market segment by season; (2) Use electronic distribution channels and manage the heck out them; (3) Develop a Public Relations Plan within your marketing plan; (4) Develop your own Customer Relationship Management program; (5) Develop cost effective mailing pieces targeted to past guests and potential guests that your profile for the period of time or promotion that you have developed; (6) This may sound trite but make sales calls based on your target customer profiles. (Verret, 2002)

In a set of case studies reported online, the E-Site Marketing Website the case study involving “The Hay-Adams” hotel is reported. The Hays-Adams is a 145-room independent luxury hotel located in Washington D.C. directly across from the White House. In 2002, the hotel was extensively restored. In order to increase awareness among consumers of the Hays-Adams Hotel E-Site Marketing was designed and developed and finally launched through an e-mail marketing campaign announcing the reopening of the Hays-Adams. Features of the email campaign are stated to have been as follows:

HTML e-card design, using an animated GIF to add movement to the piece without causing any of the difficulties that can result from sending out campaigns that use Flash technology

Three calls to action on the e-card, with links to the following pages of the site: The Homepage for the Hay-Adams, the Special Offers page and the Reservations page

Dissemination of the e-card to approximately 1,000 e-mail addresses contained in three separate databases

Online real-time reporting to determine the success of the e-mail campaign in achieving its objectives.” (E-Site Marketing Case Studies: The Hays-Adams)

Results of the case study include findings that the campaign was “extremely successful in increasing awareness of the reopening of the hotel and the promotional rates. Campaign results include the following:

Overall click rate for the campaign – 30.5%;

One database received a click-through rate of 56%;

Clicks were received on the calls to action from people who were not on the recipient list for the campaign, indicating that the email was forwarded to others, who in turn responded to it (6.6% of total clicks were the result of referral marketing)” (Ibid)

According to Starkov (2002) if a hotel does not “currently generate at least 8% to 10% of its’ bookings from the Web” then there should be a concern asking why since over 7% of all revenues in hospitality will be Internet-generated.” Starkov additionally states that: “Online distribution is here to stay. Over 192 million North Americas are active Internet users and 37 million of them have already purchased travel online. The Internet offers vast, interactive, rich media and most importantly, growing distribution market.” (Starkov, 2002) in a case study conducted related to ‘Half Moon’ a 400-acre independent beach-front resort located in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Half Moon “was in need of a total Internet marketing strategy” (E-Site Marketing, 2007) that would make the provision of an online presence and increase the resorts occupancy and revenue. E-Site Marketing created and implemented an E-business plan for Half Moon that was complete including the following components:

Search Engine Marketing Program

Linkage Research & Acquisition Services

Monthly Website Traffic Reporting & Analysis

Mini-site design and development for property target markets – golf, meetings and weddings

Website Maintenance

E-mail marketing and e-newsletter campaign design, development and distribution

Internet marketing consulting

Online advertising

Interactive sales proposal

Online booking engine (E-Site Marketing, 2007)

Results of the case study state that Half Moon “…has a strong online presence and brand awareness as a result of Internet marketing initiatives.” (E-Site Marketing, 2007) Additionally 300,000 visitors visited Half Moon’s website in 2002 and as well Half Moon is “…ranked highly in search engines for competitive keywords inclusive of ‘Jamaica vacations’ and ‘luxury Jamaica resorts’.” (E-Site Marketing, 2007)

III. Destination Web Strategy in Hospitality – Leveraging the Destination

The work of Jason Price and Max Starkov entitled: “Building a Destination Web Strategy in Hospitality – Leverage the Popularity of the Destination for the Benefit of Your Hotel(s)” states that: “A Destination Web Strategy means leveraging the popularity of your destination to your own advantage by making your hotel or cluster of hotels the ‘hero’ of the destination, and in the same time turning your hotel website into a valuable destination resource for your online customers and increasing its value and relevance for the search engines.” (2003) Imperative within this strategy is the “context of local resources.” (Price & Starkov, 2003) it is held that hotel planning is “destination sensitive.” (Price & Starkov, 2003) Keywords based on the name of the city destination plus the hotel are common and 85% of those who use the Internet rely on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, MSN, AltaVista…” (Price & Starkov, 2003) These authors state that: “…by having a robust Destination Web Strategy, the search engines will be able to find additional value in your website, catalog and index the website more effectively, associate it more specifically with various local attractions, lifestyle attributes and aspects of the destination, and drive more business to the property.” (Price & Starkov, 2003) it is revealed in this report that a “Destination Web Strategy” may be in various forms however, the most common forms of a Destination Web Strategy are those as follows:

Destination Section or…

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