1) Using the provided case study, identify the significant differences between North American and European consumer behaviour as exemplified by your research on the ‘Disney Experience’.
2) Based on those differences explore what changes Disneyland Paris management could have made to their marketing mix to adjust to the local culture
Disneyland Park also referred to as Disneyland is the theme park with various branches around the world. The first theme park was built in 1955. The idea behind the park came to Walt Disney when he visited various theme parks with his daughter and decided that he should engage in doing something similar (Goetsch and Davis 2014). The park has gone under several renovations and expansions. The Disneyland can be referred to as the most visited park in the globe with 18 million visits annually. The Disney has been a driver of many jobs and development.
When the park decided to expand, Europe seemed as the most viable option as it was visited by millions of guests annually. Paris was chosen as the destination. The park was successful up to an extent however; it did not perform as per the company forecast. The company made many mistakes while its incorporation in France and thereby incurring less revenue (Best 2012).
Hence, the first question will talk about the difference between the European and North American consumer behaviour with reference to the Disney experience.
People very often believe that the culture of America is very similar to that of France however, it is not the case. These differenced include differences in behaviour, sense of humor, television, food preference, sports and so on.
The lifestyle of the people living in France can be referred to as extremely lay back; they are never in a hurry to do anything and are extremely relaxed. They prefer quality to quantity and when they visit the parks, they tend to be more relaxed rather than in a hurry to go on all the rides (Bauer et al. 2013). They prefer to move about slowly and take in the experience rather than moving and hurrying about any experience.
There is a difference in the sense of humor of the people. The British have a different sense of humor, which is largely based on sarcasm, and the Americans have a straightforward attitude or a self-depreciating humor style (Payne and Frow 2013). When they are joked about by the staff or by any fellow visitors, they tend to react differently than that of the Americans who have a habit of taking everything lightly and are more relaxed and open to new experiences.
The parks in United States of America do not serve drinks as they believe that the park is themed around children and hence the drinks are prohibited however, in France, when Disney applied the same policy it faced lot of requests from the consumer to serve wine and beers. Therefore, it can be noticed that the French have different eating and dining habits (DRURY 2013). They do not eat small meals like the Americans but like to have proper breakfast and dinner along with some wine.
Another difference is that the French and English visitors in the park expected to be served tea and therefore faced huge disappointment when they were not. The absence of tea machines had let to a huge disappointment among the visitors.
When the French visited the park they expected the park to have more adrenaline providing parks similar to the ones that are present in France earlier but they were greatly disappointed by the Disney theme parks, which are a trademark of the Disney parks. This shows that the French and people in UK are interested in taking up new adventures and taking rides, which provide more excitement, rather than the trademark rides, which are mainly oriented round Disney.
The park expected the visitors to come via public transportation and private cars to visit the park in France whereas they came in coach operators (Walker 2016). Coach operators were not provided with adequate facilities and they faced a lot of trouble while dealing with the staff there.
Another difference is that in the Disney France outlet, various customers who visit are do not know English well and are more comfortable in French. However, the staff was trained only to deal in English, which lead to further troubles.
The purchase behaviour and spending behaviour of the consumers in France and USA have a huge difference. The shops, which Disney has in its resorts and parks, sell trademarked items, which are overpriced. The consumers in USA do not mind purchasing these items and are greatly fascinated by the goods sold (Verma, Stock and McCarthy 2012). However, the park in Paris did not do as well as the consumers are more money oriented and tend to spend on appropriate resources and therefore they found the goods to be highly overpriced and therefore did not shop much from the stores, which further led to the disappointment of the company.
Another behavior of the French consumers is that they believe in greetings and respect. The French are highly cultured people and want to be greeted and praised often. However, this was not so in the case of the Disney Park in France, the staff there underwent the same training session as provided to the American staff but it was found that they were inconsiderate and cold. They did not treat the consumer’s right and were in appropriate in their greetings (Riley 2014). The consumers found this to be demanding and were highly disappointed with the staff whereas the consumers in USA have not been faced by such problems and they have been happy with the treatment.
Another point of difference is that consumers in the United States of America visit the park generally during weekends and have a heavy footfall on Friday. Whereas, the French do just the opposite they visit the park most on Mondays. This led to many problems by the park that had filled up the staff on assuming the footfall on the normal days but were taken back by the opposite reaction.
Another difference between the consumers is that the consumers in America are greatly independent and children there prefer to make their own decisions and not depend on other whereas the consumers in France are largely dependent on their parents and cannot take any decisions without their permission (Brotherton 2012).
The second section concentrates on the changes in the marketing mix offered by Disney that could have been made to make Disney Paris a success.
Marketing mix refers to the offerings made by the company to the consumers. They marketing mix of a company is divided into various parameters. The concept is a simple one, which refers to offering the right products to the right consumers at the right place and time. The primary domain of marketing mix center around the 4Ps of marketing. The four Ps of marketing are Promotion, Price, Place and Product.
The product can be defined as an offering that is provided to the customers in order to satisfy their needs. The product here has the same meaning as a service. Disney offered themed rides for the consumers in the US. IT planned to follow the same concept for the consumers in France as well however, it failed t realize that the consumers in France are different and that they need to be given a different offering (Larijani et al. 2015). Based on the previous section it can clearly be stated that the French and English visiting Disney Paris expected to have thrill giving rides in the parks instead of themed one. They also expected different kinds of services being offered to them. The Disney in order to adapt to the French market needed to change their composition of their market and they also needed to have customized products and rides being offered for them. The product mix plays an extremely crucial role in the domain of any business because it is the primary offering made.
The price also plays an important role in a business because it tends to have an effect on the buying pattern. Disney had overpriced its goods and this led to the decrease in Sales. The French know the worth of money and found the products to be extremely overpriced. They witnessed that it was not worth purchasing the expensive Disney goods (Cattacin and Domenig 2014). Therefore, the company should have analyzed the market earlier and priced the good accordingly. They should have lowered the price of their offerings and made it a consumer friendly product. The company can now reduce the price of the product and become popular.
The distribution or placement is considered an extremely important part of the 4P of a company offering. The product needs to be positioned and distributed properly. The proper distribution aspect will come with proper understanding o the target parked. According to some reports, the interiors in the parks were not placed properly (Ransley and Ingram 2012). This lead to the dissatisfaction of the consumers. Therefore, for future purposes the parks must consider the behaviour of the consumer and place their park accordingly which can lead to avoidance of long queues and lead to customer satisfaction.
Promotion is a very important component of marketing as it can boost brand recognition and sales. Promotion is a difficult task more so if one does not know the type of customers one is dealing with (Newell 2013). The customers in France take in advertising differently than the US consumers and these needs to be realized by the company. They must advertise in proper mediums so that they can reach put to more customers.
The additional 3Ps of marketing mix are People, Process and Physical evidence.
The people refers to the kind of people carrying out the process and seeing that some of them belong to the host country and some belong to the country where the business is being expanded to .This ensures stability. The process aspect looks after the various aspects of the business and the procedures of carrying out task and the last is the Physical evidence as in the infrastructure of the Disney Park (Terpstra and Verbeeten 2014). The infrastructure of the Disney Paris was not liked by the customers and they had complained against it.
Therefore, from the discussion it could be concluded that there are various differences between the consumers in Europe and in the United States. This is why Disney should have considered the market before expansion. However, it is not too late and the company can improve their operations even now and strengthen their business.
2. Customer service can be described as providing extra ordinary services to the customers in order to enhance their experience and make them satisfied. Any organization with a good customer service experience will succeed in its operations and become a world leader in the domain of business. Disney has followed a model of service standards in order to enhance its services for the benefit of the customers (Willis, Brown . and Prussia 2012). The people at Disney have always acted dramatically and guaranteed to offer Happiness to the guests. They refer to their staff as cast members and want to offer the customers the best experience.
In order to continue the tradition, a set of standards were developed in order to provide the company with best experience. This key model consisted of :
Safety, Courtesy, Show and Capacity.
The term capacity later on developed to efficiency. These given standards have been able to endure the test of time. These key parameters have remained the same throughout and they have been able to bring about a huge difference in the company servicing. These parameters are taught to all the staff members at Disney land and the Walt Disney world . They have been prioritized and have been made in such a way so that they are easy to remember by the staff members. The completely basic academic of Disney teaches concepts which are centered to these ideas and through this the company has been able to implement its own services and value systems (Bermingham and Brewer 2013).
The theme park has always been home to Traditions. Apart from these simple rules, there are other specific guidelines for the services. These include:
- Being happy and smiling
- Providing a service recovery
- Greeting each and everyone
- Seeking out guest contact
- Welcoming each guest.
- Providing the guests with a magical experience.
These guidelines have been passed down since many years but they were hard to remember and they were also missing certain behaviors and important service tips. Hence, to improvise the seven basic services were created (Best 2012).
However, it was observed that the services were not in alignment with the four keys. Hence, it was again changed to the four key processes, which are explained below:
This concentrated on practicing safety behaviors in everything the company was indulging in, making safety the top most priority. It also involved speaking up in order to ensure the safety of others. Very often when the other companies start taking things easily and then they tend to become prone to accidents and tragedies. If the customers are to be provided with the ultimate experience then they are to be provided with an experience, which makes them feel safe, and protected (Kotler 2012). When the companies put the highest priority on the safety, it shows that the companies take nothing for granted.
Impact on success
As per reports, the Disney Parks are considered one of the safest parks. The incur in least amount of accidents and customers have the highest confidence in the particular park. This has been able to increase the sales of the park and is in the list of the top most visited places in the world. Anyone who visits a country where Disney is present makes sure that it visits the park once.
The main aim of all the staff must be to portray a positive image of the company and display energy. They should be courteous and respectful to all the guests belonging to all age groups (Mullins, Walker and Boyd Jr 2012). The primary motive of the management team and the staff members should be the fulfillment of guest’s expectations and exceeding them.
Courtesy is the key to success. The consumers, which are present need to be shown that they are extremely important to the company and that they visit is appreciated. At Disney, courtesy refers to going beyond the mundane tasks and delighting the customers. Courtesy is not only measured but also rewarded among the employees so that they are encouraged to take a larger step.
Impact on success
Disney has received several rewards and recognitions where it has been rewarded for the best staff members and been awarded as the best place to work in several times (Sheth and Sisodia 2015). The courtesy displayed by the staff members also helps to attract and pull a larger crowd.
In the show aspect, the staff should aim at presenting an excellent show to the consumers. They should act as if they are in the characters and perform their role properly. If the staff is engaged in a particular area and it is his duty to represent a particular area then he or she should make sure that his area is show ready at all the times (Armstrong et al. 2015). The cast members are expected to be in their characters all the time and to display their antiques in front of the guests. It is believed that people travel there to escape the reality of their lives and therefore they should be made believed that they are in another world.
Impact on success
This effort to make the park look like a dream has been able to pull large crowds for the park. They do not let any trash remain in the park for more than five minutes to give it a dream like experience. Their characters are extremely popular among the kids, which further attracts customers (Sargeant and Jay 2014). Hence, this aspect of the key model has helped the parks to engage kids and adults alike.
Efficiency is the key to success, the staff should perform their part in an efficient manner such that the guests can attain maximum out of their visit and come back to visit the place again. Efficiency comes in proper utilization of time. Hence, the staff should also make sure that they should utilize their time and the resources in an effective manner.
Disney provides constant training to its staff members in order to encourage them to perform better. They are showed and made understood how to make the life of their guests easier. Their members are given training as to how to think fast and solve the problems of its guests. The management has worked extremely hard in order to eliminate any bureaucracy as to removing guest frustration.
Impact on success
The efficiency aspect has also had an effect on the success of the park. The customers are extremely happy and satisfied when their problems are solved and they tend to visit again for this.
These four key rules as adopted by the company has brought upon huge changes and helped to refocus the energy of the firm and has been able to create a great guest experience. Not only this, the model has also helped the company to create a satisfactory customer experience in their own organization as well. Many other organizations have several principles to implement but not all are able to do so (Ingram et al. 2012). A change in everyday working of the organization is the need of the organization, which has been successful in the organization.
The key model serves as a parameter for providing happiness to the people and the guests visiting the parks. The key model is the foundation for everything the company does and these key rules have been the reason behind the success of the organization.
Factors limiting the success of the Disney
- Cultural barriers- People belonging to various cultures tend to visit the park. Each culture has a different outlook towards things and therefore it becomes difficult for the firm to cope up with the demands of the varying cultures. This leads to dissatisfied customers who tend to avoid going to the theme parks. There are several norms present in a culture that the firm has to abide by. Disney faces problems in customizing the different theme parks for different cultures.
- Price barriers- The prices of Disney tickets are generally priced quite high. These high prices often tend to reduce the footfall of the consumers. Had the prices been more moderate it would have been easier for the firm to attract more customers. The merchandise and other food items available in the park are extremely overpriced (Taras, Steel and Kirkman 2012). This has resulted in decreased purchases made by the customers as observed by annual reports.
Therefore, the company should make it a point to keep up the good work and conduct a market research before entering into new markets. If it does this, it will be able to serve more customers.
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