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Business Decision Of StayTogether

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Question:

Discuss about the Business Decision of StayTogether.
 
 

Answer:

Introduction

Businesses today face a lot of challenges in attracting and retaining customers more so, because of the increased demands made by the consumers who want efficient services at minimal prices. The challenges have pushed the organization to adopt new and dynamic solutions that offer better financial outcomes. Decision management systems (DMS) are such solutions that offer operational efficiencies by outlining business decisions based on existing and future conditions (DMS, 2017). Now, StayTogether, a conglomerate or company merger between ten hotel chains serves a good example of the application DMS strategies as outlined by their business proposal.

StayTogether outline four major decisions; one, rewarding loyal customers to enhance their relationship. Two, offering free meals inclusive of the hotel rooms payment. Three, giving rebates in the form of credit which can be used to pay for meals or accommodation and finally, enhancing their social responsibility. In light of these changes, this report will give a critical analysis of these business decisions on account of the existing market environments characterised by high demands and financial pressures. Furthermore, the report will provide substantial recommendations in the form of ICT systems that can enhance the company’s performance thus increase its competitive advantage.

 

Outline of the management decisions

In many ways, organisations are similar in that they try to adopt the best business practices that will yield the best results (Yu, To & Lee, 2012). Management and the decisions they take are part of these practices that can either result in the desired outcomes such as those of StayTogether where they hope to increase their customer base while retaining the existing customers. Moreover, they hope to improve their business performance by improving their brand while incorporating the concepts of information technology (IT) and Information systems (IS). However, in the modern era of globalisation these objectives are better said than done, for one, technology (IS and IT) will only work effectively if the underlying business concepts are satisfactory to meet the needs of the market (Namani, 2010). This requirement necessitates the business decisions taken.

Customer loyalty schemes

To engage customers and to enhance their overall experience, organisations like StayTogether will reward them with incentives such as free meals or holiday gifts. Moreover, these rewards are given to the most loyal customers as a show of appreciation and also as an added incentive to new customers on the treatment offered to those who constantly engage with the organisation. As a business strategy, loyalty programs are known to increase a business’s revenues as they enhance the relationship formed between the company and the consumers. Moreover, it facilitates a better brand image by giving the loyal customers a sense ownership through the reward and appreciation incentives given (bLoyal, 2016). Therefore, with this decision, StayTogether is set to realise its business objective more so those of retaining their existing customers as well as improving their brand's image.

Furthermore, they can bank on the results seen in other organisations where the likes of Starbucks and Walmart have seen a substantial increase in revenues as a result of the reward programs they offer to their customers. For instance, Starbucks was noted to have highlighted a 13 percent increase in sales in 2013 as a result of their loyalty program (Fiscal annual report, 2013). Nevertheless, these outcomes are a result of the business advantages this decision offers; for one they drastically change the behaviours of the customers who increase their understanding of the company’s product/services in an attempt of earning more rewards. In the process, they spend more and continuously engage with the said organisation (bLoyalty, 2016). Consequently, the clients are more satisfied with the services which encourage them to promote the organisation to other consumers thus increasing the business referrals (Butt, 2016).

 

Free meals in the form of buffets

A smart business decision that offers StayTogether a good promotional avenue where the marketing department can heavily advertise on. Basically, the branches having hotels and restaurants will offer free meals to customers through the overall package paid while booking the accommodations. However, despite the benefits of the strategy i.e. a promotional avenue, customer incentive and a better brand image etc. this decision does raise serious concerns particularly on the management of the free meals given (Ozimek, 2012). Free prices and rewards will always invoke the curiosity of the users, who in most cases will try to maximise of the plan provided. Moreover, customers today are more informed as facilitated by the digital medium and will have a deeper understanding of the free meal initiative i.e. it’s inclusive of the payment at hand. Therefore, they will maximise on the ‘offer’ in an attempt to beat the conditions set.

On the other hand, StayTogether will always try to maintain the consumption of the customers below the amount paid. So, how do the company maintain the consumption of the customers while satisfying their needs? A dynamic and holistic assessment supported by a modern IS system is needed to regulate the offers visa vie the existing market conditions. In essence, the restaurant should not offer extended services while making losses due to prices of raw materials. The system should adapt to offer what it can when it can and at the prices paid by the clients (Savolainen, 2010).

Rebates in the form of credit

StayTogether proposes a simple rebate program where customers who use the airlines affiliated with the organisation are offered rebates in the form of credit that can be used to earn extra services either as meals or extra night accommodation. According to Lu and Moorthy (2007), rebates, as well as coupons, are strategies of price discrimination where price sensitive consumer use them to earn services that they would otherwise not get without extra payments. Moreover, as a concept to enhance business performance, rebates affect a significant number of customers, 30 percent to be precise (Lu & Moorthy, 2007) which increases the loyalty of the customers particularly the price-sensitive clients.

In addition to this, consider the operational principles of rebates where users are given an opportunity to earn more rewards be it monetary or otherwise provided they put more effort on the terms offered by the organization (Tandon, 2017). In this case, rebates serve as an indirect promotional venture that not only reward customers but also one that gives a substantial reason to invest in the services given (Silk & Janiszewski, 2004). Therefore, through this business decision, StayTogether will enhance its customer relations while improving its corporate image as a result of the client it will provide to the chosen travel agency or company.

 

Corporate social responsibility (CSR)

CSR offers organisation an avenue to promote their core values which in return engages the surrounding community and environment. In today’s world, the concepts of environmental conservation and communal responsibility are at an all-time high and organisations like StayTogether are obliged to meet the needs of the society otherwise they risk losing business. Now, StayTogether initiative of providing customers with an avenue to give back to the community will enhance its relationship not only with the customers but also with the immediate community as a whole. For one, people will always feel a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment when they give back to the community. Therefore, customers will spend more on some occasions in an effort to increase the value of the 1 percent offered to the charity of their choice (Davis, 2017). 

Application of IS and IT

In an effort to maximise its performance, StayTogether is set to reinvent it IS and IT systems by providing services through a single website, functioning across all mobile platforms i.e. PCs and other mobile devices. First, information system stands for the management tools used to perform an organisation’s operational activities while information technology is the underlying facilities that support these systems (IS). In both cases, several issues are set to affect the operations conducted by the business. For one, IS require quality data to operate which highlights the first problem of acquiring quality data in an era characterised by big data. Secondly, maintenance of the said system will fall on the organisation itself and its affiliated branches. Thirdly, the use of IS may be challenging to the users such as new customers who desire to book services, either internally or externally (Markgraf, 2017).

On the other hand, IT will have two fundamental challenges, one compatibility and maintenance. Compatibility because the organisation is based in different areas having different facilities thus unifying communication will serve as a major challenge. Secondly, due to frequent market changes, the IT systems will have to adapt on a regular basis which further complicates the compatibility problems. In general, these issues could delay the objectives set by the organisation in increasing the customer base, for instance, users with minimal literacy may find it difficult to book facilities if the company’s system is completely automated (Marthandan & Tang, 1997). However, these setbacks are minimal as compared to the benefits that the technological systems can offer as highlighted below.

 

Conclusion

It’s crucial to have versatile business strategies today especially in dynamic markets such as those exhibited in the Hotelling industry. Business decisions such as those highlighted above should be able to adapt and change based on the market trends to meet the objectives of an organisation. This versatility can be adequately provided by technology through information systems such as ERP (enterprise resource planning) where in-house resources are monitored and managed effectively to give optimal results. Furthermore, this system can be incorporated with SCM (supply chain management) and CRM (customer relationship management) systems to coordinate the external variables i.e. suppliers (input) and customers (end users). In essence, the integration of these concepts can lead to a holistic system that can offer a seamless transition of business operations that in the end increases the efficiency of the services offered to the clients.

In addition to this, StayTogether can venture into other digital environments such as social media to increase its digital footprint thus increase its marketing avenues. Moreover, through social media, the organisation can engage more customers on a one-on-one basis meeting their needs at a minimal cost. Furthermore, it is through social media that the company can advocate for other business ventures such as automatic booking systems, tour guides and real-time service systems that can engage remote customers in different locations of the world. As an example consider a customer in Europe who could visit a park in Australia remotely through the real-time system offered. In the end, these ventures supported by good business decisions and technology can enhance the company’s performance thus improve its overall earnings.

 

References

Butt. A. (2016). Pricing Strategies – Top 7 Types of Rebate Deals. Deal track. Retrieved 09 May, 2017, from: https://blog.deal-track.com/pricing-strategies-top-7-types-of-rebate-deals

BLoyal. (2017). Why Loyalty Programs are Essential for Every Retailer. Retrieved 09 May, 2017, from: https://www.bloyal.com/loyalty-programs-essential-for-every-retailer/

Davis. S. (2017). Examples of Social Responsibility Strategies. Chron. Retrieved 09 May, 2017, from: smallbusiness.chron.com/examples-social-responsibility-strategies-10633.html

DMS. (2017). Decision Management Systems Platform Technologies Report. Retrieved 09 May, 2017, from: https://www.decisionmanagementsolutions.com/decision-management-platform-technology/

Johnson. S. (2017). Levels of Management Decision Making. Chron. Retrieved 09 May, 2017, from: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/levels-management-decision-making-58222.html

Lu. Q & Moorthy. S. (2007). Coupons Versus Rebates. Marketing science. Retrieved 10 May, 2017, from: https://web.nchu.edu.tw/pweb/users/hsiaolu/lesson/9909.pdf

Markgraf. B. (2017). Common Problems in Management Information Systems. Chron. Retrieved 10 May, 2017, from: https://smallbusiness.chron.com/common-problems-management-information-systems-63376.html

Marthandan. G & Tang. C. (1997). Information technology evaluation: issues and challenges. Journal of Systems and Information Technology. Retrieved 10 May, 2017, from: https://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/abs/10.1108/13287261011032643

Namani. M. (2010). The role of information systems in management decision making-an theoretical approach. Information management. Retrieved 10 May, 2017, from: https://manager.faa.ro/download/561_1211.pdf.

Ozimek. A. (2012). The Economics of All-You-Can-Eat Buffets. Forbes. Retrieved 09 May, 2017, from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/modeledbehavior/2012/05/23/the-economics-of-all-you-can-eat-buffets/#3cbda99c1d6a

Savolainen. T. (2010). Improving customer loyalty through a regular customer program. Final thesis report. Retrieved 09 May, 2017, from: https://theseus32-kk.lib.helsinki.fi/bitstream/handle/10024/16386/Savolainen_Teemu.pdf?sequence=2

Starbuck Corporation. (2013). Fiscal 2013 annual report. Retrieved 09 May, 2017, from: https://s21.q4cdn.com/369030626/files/doc_financials/2013/Starbucks-Fiscal-2013-Annual-Report-FINAL.PDF

Silk. T & Janiszewski. C. (2004). Managing Mail-in Rebate Promotions. Retrieved 10 May, 2017, from: https://warrington.ufl.edu/departments/mkt/docs/janiszewski/Rebate.pdf

Tandon. D. (2017). How to Transform Your Sales Rebate Strategy from Problematic to Profitable. The Kini group. Retrieved 09 May, 2017, from: https://thekinigroup.com/sales-rebate-strategy/

Timms. J. (2011). Introduction to business and management. Undergraduate study in

Economics, Management, Finance and the Social Sciences. Retrieved 09 May, 2017, from: https://www.londoninternational.ac.uk/sites/default/files/programme_resources/lse/lse_pdf/subject_guides/mn1107_ch1-4.pdf

Yu. B, To. W & Lee. P. (2012). Quality management framework for public management decision making. Management Decision. Retrieved 10 May, 2017, from: https://www.irantahgig.ir/wp-content/uploads/10017.pdf

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