The Hotel Marketing Mix
Defining a proper marketing mix for hotel industry is crucial for the success of hotels marketing efforts. A marketing mix is used to indicate the several marketing variables used by the sales team to target specific guests or target market segments (E.g.: Corporate, Transient, Groups, Conference, Leisure etc.).
Marketing mix is normally prepared by the Director of sales and marketing / Sales mangers. The hotel should have the right facilities / services, define good promotional strategies (both online and offline) and finally with the right pricing.
1) Service / Facilities:
This is considered as the first because without this hotel marketing team will have nothing to deliver to the potential guest/ customers.
Hotel industry Offer products like:
- Guest rooms
- Food and beverage
- Banqueting rooms
- Conference facilities
- Recreational facilities
- Health and wellness facilities
- Executive lounge
- Express check-in checkout services
- Travel desk
- Business centre
- Parking facilities etc.
Hotels generally cater to different market segments and each of these market segments has different requirements. E.g.: A leisure guest on a family trip looks for recreational and wellness facilities of the hotel where as a business traveller gives importance on hotels business facilities like business centre, video conferencing, good in room internet connectivity etc.
This analysis done by the sales and marketing department can help the top management to identify these specific requirements and work along with the management to either develop such facilities or make the required improvements.
2) Place and Distribution:
This refers to the accessibility of the products to consumers. When comparing to other products normally hotels products doesn't travel to customers but the customers come to the product.
Place or Location of the hotel e.g; choices like in city, outskirts of city, resort area, hill station. Or a chain of hotels with presence in multiple locations.
Hotel uses either direct or indirect distribution methods to reach out its potential customers, below are few methods or channels used by hotels.
- Sales through the hotel sales team
- Personal telephone calls
- Online pay per click or Banner Advertisements (Google ads, Facebook ads etc.)
- Printed media Advertisements
- Other Media Advertisements
- Hotel Website Booking System (WBS)
- Global distribution system (GDS)
- Travel Agents
- Independent Travel agents
- Event Planners
- Online Travel Agents (Expeida, booking.com, Agoda etc.)
- Online Travel portals ( Trip Advisor, HotelIQ etc.)
- Independent hotel representative.
3) Promotions and communications:
The director of Sales & Marketing should work out the most effective promotion and communication mix for the hotel. Promotion is the way hotels communicate to target customers.
Below are few promotions and communication channels used by hotels:
- Television commercials
- Hotel Websites
- Twitter Channel
- Facebook Page
- Google + Page
- Hotel pens & pencils
- Scratch pads with hotel logo
- T V Commercials
4) Room Rate or Pricing:
Defining the correct pricing strategy is one of the most important aspects of the marketing mix. If the hotel products like Guest rooms, Food and beverage menu etc. are not priced competitively then the potential guest may reject the use of hotel services.
In this very competitive market guests are strongly influenced by the pricing and packages. The hotel rate codes and packages are defined keeping in mind to attract or impress guest.
Generally the hotel room rates are defined as per the below season:
This is the period when demand for a hotel and its services is highest and the hotel can charge the highest prices to the guest. There is no defined peak period for all hotels it vary from hotel to hotel.
Valley Season / Off Season
This is the time of the year with the lowest demand for rooms. Hotels generally offer the reduced rates and packages eg: Stay for 3 and pay for 2 nights, Discounted Package rates etc.
This period falls between peak season and off season, And this time is considered as the best time to attract new business as the rooms are available and a medium or highest rates can be charged. Also the sales and marketing activities should be the highest during this period.