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Infrastructure Analysis of Courtyard Marriott, Ahmedabad

Marriott Hotel Chain is one of the world’s leading hotel groups in the world. In India, the company has been expanding its operations and has opened up several hotels in some of the major cities of the country. Courtyard Marriott is one of the popularly known hotels in Ahmedabad. The Hotel boasts of luxury and is equipped with the latest seamless blend of comfort and convenience. The following report begins with a detailed analysis of the existing infrastructure of the Hotel and evaluates the marketing segmentation strategies applicable to the Hotel. After defining the Mission and vision of the Hotel, the report provides the objectives of its marketing strategies in the coming years. The report elaborates on the marketing strategies of the company which is based on the target market and the objectives the company has. Finally the report offers a strategic plan which needs to be implemented in order to achieve the laid down objectives (Pacifica Companies n.d.).

In order to carry out the above research, the important concepts and tools of marketing have been utilised which offers the basis for determining the path which the Hotel needs to adopt in order to achieve their goals and objectives. The positioning strategies in particular offers the details regarding the segment of customers which the Hotel needs to target. Overall, the report below is a comprehensive marketing plan of the Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Ahmedabad.

The One liner which the Hotel uses for promotion of its services is “Connected to Meet Your Needs”. Therefore, the mission statement of the company is to offer a new customer experience which is redefines the state of comfort and convenience to its customers. The Hotel pledges to surpass the needs of its customers by leveraging upon its image and experience which it has built over the years.

Courtyard by Marriott is located in a prime location in the commercial capital of Gujarat. The Hotel bestows with a range of innovative and high-tech amenities for both the leisure as well as business travellers. The Hotel offers 164 different contemporary rooms and suits and offers high level of perks which includes in-room safes and high-speed internet access.

In order to come up with the relevant goals and objectives for the hotel in the coming 12 months, the SWOT Analysis needs to be conducted which offers the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats which is related to the Hotel.

Strengths

Weaknesses

Is a part of a world leader in the business of Hotel and Leisure Industry

Equipped with the best infrastructure which is second to none in the city.

Its online discounts and bookings have increased considerably over the years (Indian Coast Guard 2013).

Offers a world class customer service

Staff Turnover has been considerably high.

Profit margins of the Hotel has been reported to have declined in a period of 5 years.

Opportunities

Threats

There has been an increase in number of international customers coming to Ahmedabad.

A significant customer segment is willing to spend more and avail of the 5 start facilities

Increased business summits for example Vibrant Gujarat attracts business visitors from home and abroad (Vibrant Gujarat 2013)

Affordable alternatives to the hotel in the nearby areas.

Economic slowdown has been one of the major concerns for decrease in occupancy rates.

The primary SMART goals and objectives of the company can be summarized as below:

  1. Courtyard extends to make its guests feel relaxed and refreshed to be perfectly ready to face every new day.
  2. Increase occupancy rate by 20%
  3. Redefine its image and focus on its core business
  4. Add affordable and low-cost products and services in its offerings.
  5. Increase responsive time and enhance the ambience
  6. Reduce cost of operations and increase efficiency

The above objectives are for the coming 12 months as the hotel seems to have lost a considerable market share due to its policies and marketing strategies which have gone a bit beyond their core business objectives. The competition has beefed up and especially in Ahmedabad the number of 5 star and good quality of Hotels have raised in the last couple of years. With increased footfall, and people visiting the city for more than one or more reasons, the Courtyard Marriott needs to lay emphasis on increasing its market share and offer better quality services. The Hotel has been criticized at times to give way with some necessary leisure services in an attempt to reduce its costs and fight the competition. Hence, the target should be to work on these areas and improve upon the complaints and criticisms in the next 12 months.

Marketing Segmentation Strategies

It is not possible to handle customers as a big single sized market. For any kind of product or service, it is critical that perfect market segmentation strategies are used which recognizes the ways in which each segment of customers differ from the others in terms of needs, lifestyles, and attitudes. By using the following market segmentation strategy, Courtyard Marriott could prepare the roadmap to achieve the objectives mentioned above. The strategies would be subdivided on the basis of different segmentations used:

  1. Geographical: The major visitors to the Hotel is from within the country and comprises of the high income group segments. In order to make sure that the hotel could target this segment of customers, it needs to appear a value for money proposition. This can be done by highlighting the level of comfort and convenience the Hotel has on offer for the price it charges. Another segment of customers are from abroad. For this segment, the marketing strategy needs to leverage upon the brand of Marriott and increase the visibility using the social media and internet marketing channels (Typepad n.d.).
  2. Demographic: The demographic segmentation of customers divides them into two different members. The leisure travellers and the business travellers. In order to attract the leisure travellers, the marketing strategy needs to highlight the facility and infrastructure the Hotel offers in terms of comfort and convenience. For the business travellers, the unique location within the city and the convenience the hotel offers for business meets and travelling around the area would be prime element of marketing and promotion.
  3. Psychographic: The division as per this variable segments the customers into 3 different classes. They are socially, lifestyle and personality. For the socially and personality conscious customers the marketing strategy needs to be presenting the hotel as a prime venue which is affordable yet bestows all the features of a 5 star facility. For the lifestyle customers, the hotel segmentations strategy is to market its services and the added comfort facilities they offer (Siimt n.d.).
  4. Behavioural: This segmentation is done based on the attitudes and response towards the services offered by the customers. There are two segments here as well. One is price responsive while the other is feature rich customers. For the price responsive customers, the hotel needs to market its services with lucrative offers and deals which attracts the customers and avail the discounted services of the premises. For the feature rich customers, the highlight of the marketing strategies need to produce the range of infrastructure conveniences and add-ons which the hotel offers for a selected range of services (Neelesh War Hermitage n.d.).

Courtyard Marriott is a dedicated brand of Marriott hotels which extends to offer the pleasure of staying inside a Hotel with added amenities and having an elite experience within. After evaluating the segmentation strategy and the different market segments, the following can be summarized as the different market segments to the Hotel which are a part of high income groups:

  1. Business Travellers
  2. Leisure Travellers
  3. Price Conscious Guests
  4. Feature Conscious Guests

Courtyard Marriott Ahmedabad would be positioned largely like any other Courtyard Hotel which is designed for frequent business travellers who like to enjoy their breaks from the daily routine which travel offers. It would be positioned as a smart, dynamic hotel which helps its guests to make the most of their time when outside. The different elements which would constitute of the positioning strategies of the Hotel would comprise of:

  1. Smart: It would be placed as a hotel which understands the mindset of its guests. Here the management would be proactive and based on their experiences offer each and every anticipated service by different class of customers.
  2. Multidimensional: Here the Hotel would try to acknowledge their guests as an individual 1st and as a business person next. For the leisure group of travellers, it would be the focus to add comfort and convenience for their stay with their loved ones.
  3. In touch: The management needs to exhibit a clear understanding of the needs of its guests and stay pre-equipped with the resources required. It would be integrated with the goals and objectives of the company.
  4. Stay grounded: The next element of focus would be ensuring that the Hotel does not promise what it can’t deliver. It needs to position itself as a 5 start facility which offers a range of specific services.
  5. Magnetic: A humble and warm team which makes every effort to bring a smile on the face of their customers. This would be done by guests being able to discover something new and different with every visit they make to the hotel.
  6. Open: Lastly, the positioning would need to be open to all suggestions and recommendations of guests. Moreover, the hotel would need to be patient and not appear pushy in any aspect.

To conclude and summarize, Courtyard Marriott would be an ideal destination which offers a world class facility and matches up the global standards set by the Marriott group of Hotels. The positioning would largely comprise of a 5 start facility which is equipped to meet the latest needs and expectations of the customers from both within and outside the country. A customer coming to the Hotel would develop a perception about the hotel to be a value for money location. Irrespective of the purpose of travel, the management would need to highlight its core values and leverage from the brand image the hotel chain has developed in different parts of the world (Soeagra 2012).

A strategic plan offers the roadmap of implementing a range of marketing strategies in an expectation to meet the goals and objectives set by the organization. In case of Courtyard Marriott, the action plan for achieving the above mentioned objectives would be summarized as below:

The 1st step of implementing changes and ensuring that the Hotel is aware of the goals and objectives they need to achieve is planning. The top management would need to come up with a list of changes and define the roles of each member of the Hotel. Once the management is clear about what the organization needs to achieve and who are the primary elements who would act as the critical elements for the implementation process, the next step would be to train and inform its entire team. It would be wise to move collectively and ensure that the employees within the organization are valued.

Once the Hotel has carried out its planning and briefing, the next step is to take inputs from the members of its entire management. This would help in getting information about the challenges or problems which any element within the entire system might have been having. Also, suggestions from the on-field employees makes sure that the management is aware of the ground realities and issues.

The next step is to implement the proposed changes and introduction of the new systems in practicality. The implementation strategy would comprise of the following elements in respect of the above different goals

Goals and Objectives

Strategies

Courtyard extends to make its guests feel relaxed and refreshed to be perfectly ready to face every new day.

The Hotel would need to increase their response time to the service requirement of the customers and that too around the clock.

Middle level managers would be responsible to ensure that things are addressed and the responsible staff members are catering to their respective duties.

Increase occupancy rate by 20%

In order to achieve this target, the Hotel would need to adopt several marketing strategies. Advertisements would be released on a monthly basis in leading newspapers, leisure magazines, and business magazines.

Social Media Promotions and Internet Marketing needs to be beefed up. This would be done by increased promotions online by using AdWords and other advertisement platforms over the internet.

On the other hand the company would need to come up with offers and discounts from time to time which needs to be informed to the customers by using the social media profiles.

Offer membership options for frequent customers and local residents. The frequent customer membership would offer substantial discounts to the customers on every visit they make. While for the local residents, the Hotel would promote its leisure activities and offer them the option of availing discounts for staying and using the different facilities within. For instance, a local resident after membership would be offered discounts on food items to a considerable level.

Redefine its image and focus on its core business

There has been a shift in the way the Hotel has been promoting its services. It needs to shift back to its core business image of offering high class convenience and comfort for the period a guest stays within.

With every booking the hotel would start to provide surprise add-ons which would only be revealed after the customer books. This way the customer can anticipate and be excited about the additional benefits which they might get for the bookings and period of stay they make. This should be a premium service and offer the customer the sense of being valued (Club Marriott n.d.).

Add affordable and low-cost products and services in its offerings.

To target a considerable chunk of customers from the middle income group who aspire to take a facility of a 5 star experience, the hotel would need to come up with discounted offers for specific periods each month.

The management needs to evaluate and come up with relevant dates of discounts each month. It would be based on the past data of the duration of low occupancy. It further needs to ensure that for each month the company announces the offers in about two months in advance.

Besides, additional affordable bookings for the members could be a top-up for attracting the customers to become members.

Increase responsive time and enhance the ambience

The management needs to consistently evaluate the manpower required based on the occupancy they have.

To increase the response time, adequate staffing would be done for each levels and departments.

To enhance the ambience, the Hotel would implement different blends of decorative elements and curtains to suit the seasons. For instance, the decorative elements and curtains used for winters could be a blue look while for summers a bright combination would be a winner.

This would help in attracting customers to come to the hotel in anticipation of a new feel and atmosphere for each visit.

Reduce cost of operations and increase efficiency

The Hotel would switch to installation of LED lights inside and solar panels in the outer areas of the Hotel. This move would be done for reducing the energy costs.

Increasing efficiency would be facilitated by introduction of advanced cleaning tools, delivery systems, and options to reach the respective divisions by the customer.

The next step after defining the strategies with respect of each goal above would be to establish a review process which would include the evaluation measures and the people responsible to evaluate the entire process. This review process would further be utilized to evaluate and compare with the achieved standards with respect to the each move suggested above. Courtyard Marriott would also need to establish the process of collecting data and relevant feedback from the visitors. The data would be an essential element which would be handy for being used as control mechanisms and implementing the corrective measures as mentioned below.

The senior management would be responsible to supervise the above strategies and direct the respective employees responsible for carrying out each task. An audit would be performed each month and the progress and data recorded would be compared with the set standards. In a scenario where there have been issues or diversion to the primary objectives of the company, the corrective measures need to be implemented.

The above marketing strategic plan lays down the things which has to remain the prime focus for the hotel in the coming 12 months. The processes suggested would be a regular practice and needs to be repeated with each month. Therefore, besides setting the timeline for planning and setting the date for the above changes rest of the processes needs to repeat on a monthly basis. The time taken to make the entire planning and implementation arrangements is set to be 20 days after which the Hotel would start implementing the above changes.

References

  1. Pacifica Companies, Colour Cocktail, accessed on 14th January 2015, https://www.pacificacompanies.co.in/pdf/Media/courtyard%20by%20marriot.pdf
  2. Club Marriott, Member Benefits and Process, accessed on 14th January 2015, https://www.clubmarriott.in/ahmedabad-marriott.html
  3. Indian Coast Guard 2013, Marriott Hotels MOU, accessed on 14th January 2015, https://indiancoastguard.nic.in/Indiancoastguard/cgpersonnel/MoU_Hotels/MOU_files/Marriott%20hotel%20mou.PDF
  4. Mariott Preferred, Membership Benefits, accessed on 14th January 2015, https://marriottpreferred.com/sobs-pdf/New_JW_Marriott-Mumbai-SOB.pdf
  5. Aaress, Marriott Hotels, accessed on 14th January 2015, https://www.aaress.net/pdf/Marriott%20Presentation_new.pdf
  6. Typepad, Courtyard by Marriott, accessed on 14th January 2015, https://marriott2.typepad.com/files/print-version---international-courtyard-brand-fact-sheet.pdf
  7. Siimt, Marriott International Inc - Travel and Tourism – World, accessed on 14th January 2015, https://www.siimt.com/work/models/siimt/Resource/1098/Marriot_World.pdf
  8. Neelesh War Hermitage, Indian Spice and Colour, accessed on 14th January 2015, https://www.neeleshwarhermitage.com/Indian%20Spice.pdf
  9. Vibrant Gujarat 2013, Vibrant Gujarat Summit 2013, accessed on 14th January 2015, https://www.vibrantgujarat.com/Portal/Event_Images/Attachment/132/2_1_esdm-brochure.pdf
  10. Soeagra 2012, Marriott India: Managing Its Hospitality through Gearing Service Quality, accessed on 14th January 2015, https://soeagra.com/ijert/ijertjune2012/11.pdf
  11. V Resorts 2013, Hotel and Resorts 2013, accessed on 14th January 2015, https://www.vresorts.in/image/TravelTrendsTodayJune2013.pdf
  12. India PR Wire 2011, HVS announces Finalists for the HICSA 2011 'Hotels of the Year Awards', accessed on 14th January 2015, https://www.indiaprwire.com/pressrelease/leisure-travel/2011031480542.pdf
  13. Cushman Wake Field, Hospitality Industry: South Asia Market Overview, accessed on 14th January 2015, https://www.cushmanwakefield.com/~/media/reports/india/Hospatility%20Almanac%20Report.pdf
  14. Christ University 20111, The Hospitality Industry, accessed on 14th January 2015, https://www.christuniversity.in/uploadimages/HT_December%202011(1).pdf
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