The marketing plan is an essential program of every company in order to be successful in its industry. It can be defined as a document, which provides statement of elements, ensuring efficient marketing and advertising operations. This study examines a marketing strategy and presents a marketing plan of a new product for the Park Plaza Riverbank London, which is a 4-star deluxe hotel.
London Hotel Marketing Strategy
The study consists of two parts. The first part presents a marketing audit report on the assessment of the changing perspectives in marketing planning and organisation’s capability for future marketing activity. Further, the analysis of the external forces that influence company’s business is conducted. Additionally, the key barriers to the marketing planning and methods to overcome them are discussed.
The second part includes the marketing planning proposal of a new product designed for the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel. It describes the product and provides techniques for its development. Finally, the marketing proposal incorporates the pricing policy for a new product and discusses distribution as well as communication mix.
Marketing Audit Report
Changing Perspectives in Marketing Planning
A necessary part of every marketing plan is the analysis of the changing perspectives, which may influence the entire process. These changing perspectives will require the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel to consider the dictates of the market in order to ensure its competitive advantage. Moreover, these marketing perspectives, which nowadays may influence the company’s marketing planning, can be divided into the following groups: sophisticated customers, new competitors, new type of organisation, and new ways of doing business.
Thus, sophisticated customers have increased their expectations to the hotel services. For example, they become more web-orientated because they are finding appropriate information about the hotel services on its website, search for the hotel reviews on various social platforms, prefer online booking to the off-line one. In this case, the hotel managers need to realise that they should develop a responsible web designed services, which will correspond to the customers’ requirements. Additionally, due to the increase in the travelling possibilities, the customers become more informed about the best hotel services provided in the entire world. Thereby, the hotel needs to increase its standards in order to attract sophisticated customers and become more transparent, which ensures the best way of communicating with their clients. Moreover, the customers are more concerned about the environmental problems. Therefore, the hotels need to respond effectively to this requirement.
Further, the new competitors that open their business in London provide a perspective to the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel to improve constantly their services and stay in trend. For example, the appearance of the foreign well-established hotels’ brands will encourage its further development. Additionally, changing perspectives are related to the new types of organisation that simplify the way of doing business. Thus, the possibility to outsource several hotel functions, such as valet service, elevators maintenance, and housekeeping, can help the hotel to save their expenses for staff training (Nasser, 2014). Finally, new ways of doing business will require the firm to refocus on the digital marketing methods instead of the offline marketing. Thus, using the interactive Internet instruments (i.e. social networks), the company will be able to develop a strong dialog with its customers and share their brand with others.
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Organisation’s Capability for Planning Future Marketing Activity
Organisational capability of the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel is based on the various sources. First, the company has gained a high experienced staff, which is necessary for providing luxury services. The hotel constantly arranges training programs for its employees in order to ensure the best level of services provided to its customers (Park Plaza Riverbank London, 2012).
Further, the company has designed 295 guest rooms, which are completely featured with the designer furniture, interactive TV, Wi-Fi, mini-bar, tea and coffee facilities, and marbled en-suite bathroom (Park Plaza Riverbank London, 2012). Furthermore, the hotel owns a Business centre, which is developed for their clients and equipped with comfortable business facilities, such as computers, fax machines, printers, conference rooms, and secretarial services (Park Plaza Riverbank London, 2012). Additionally, the company has a well–assembled fitness centre with a range of cardiovascular equipment as well as different restaurants and bars located on its territory (Park Plaza Riverbank London, 2009).
The analysis of the company’s open-sources documents proves that its strategic intent is to develop effectively, manage and invest in the hotel facilities, which include equipment and employees skills. Due to this policy, the hotel will remain relevant and competitive in the London deluxe logging industry segment. Considering the strategic reality of the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel, it could be concluded that the company has developed a strong competitive vision and is able to produce sustainable earning as well as create added value for its shareholders.
Techniques for organisational auditing and analysing of external factors
Based on the changing perspectives and organisational capabilities analyses, the following techniques for auditing external factors were chosen. The first technique is the PESTLE analysis, which describes political, economic, social, technological, legacy, and environmental considerations that affect the hotel’s business. The next technique is the SWOT analysis, which includes the review of the company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strength and weaknesses refer to the internal environment of the frim, while opportunities and threats describe its external environment. Thereby, SWOT analysis allows examining the external factors affecting the company based on the internal factors audit.
An Organisational Audit
An organisational auditing was conducted in order to evaluate the terms of organisational capability and discover the related determinants. Further, the analysis should provide opportunities for balancing the company’s strategic intent and reality. Thus, the first technique used for the organisational audit was the PESTLE analysis.
Political factors. Political factors influence every company regardless of its industry. The first factor that may influence the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel’s business is the government taxation policy. For example, increase in the corporate taxes or those for the higher income may negatively influence the hotel cash flow. It is based on the fact, that higher taxes will lower the possible amount of money, which the hotel’s consumers were able to pay for the luxury services. Additionally, the appearance of the extremist religious organisations causes the threats of terrorism acts, which may reduce the number of visitors in London.
Economic factors. Macroeconomic situation on the domestic and international market also affects the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel business. First, lower interest rates for the national currency decrease the possibility of international tourists to visit the country. Second, inflation also affects the company’s costs as well as selling prices of its suppliers. Additionally, consumer confidence in the economic situation is necessary for luxury hotels since it directly affects spending on goods of the premium quality.
Social factors. One of the key social factors that nowadays influence the logging industry is the customers’ concern about ecological issues. Consequently, they are searching for more eco-friendly hotels and pay attention to the “green” initiatives implemented by the management (Green Restaurant Association, 2016). Customers’ intention to secure their health and protect the environment required hotels to revise their marketing policies.
Technological factors. Internet development and the increase in digital technologies also affect the hotel industry. Due to the improvement of the information and communication technologies, the hotels are able to contact closely with their customers and develop a strong brand loyalty among their clients. For example, using a Facebook page as a communication platform with its customers allows the hotel to deal more effectively with the possible issues and constantly follow the customers’ perceptions of the hotel’s services.
Legal factors. Legal factors are closely related to the political issues. In the case of the hotel, one of the most important legal factors is the employment law. Since the given business entity is highly depended on its workforce experience and skills, changes in minimum wages or in required working conditions may significantly affect the company’s costs. Additionally, consumer protections laws are also an important factor for a company, which provides logging services.
Environmental factors. As it was mentioned above, awareness of the environmental protection may significantly change the company’s marketing strategy. This factor includes not only customers’ preferences of eco-products, but also the government regulation of the environmental protection provided by the companies. This fact may increase the hotel’s costs, but it may positively affect its clients, who are dedicated to the environmental-friendly solutions.
Main Barriers to Marketing Planning
The main barriers to the marketing planning, which the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel may face while developing its marketing plan, include the following factors. First, there is a lack of necessary resources for adopting a marketing plan. For example, the company may require additional workforce with new skills. Second, the organisational culture developed during many years may resist to the new products or services. In this case, the employees’ motivation to introduce changes may decrease, and they will consider unnecessary to overcome the existent threats. Third, the communication between company’s managers may fail. Consequently, the human resources and financial department will not agree to share their sources for the new goals. Further, the managers engaged in the development of the marketing strategy may possess insufficient knowledge and skills, which may lead to stating unrealistic plan and ideas. In addition, searching for the exact customers’ expectation may also be a barrier to marketing planning. Due to the diverse and specific customer demand, the company may not clearly understand whether its product or services complies with the market requirements.
Hotels’ Overcome Barriers to Marketing Planning
First, it is necessary to discuss with the HR department the existing barriers to marketing planning the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel needs with the HR department in order to find the appropriate number or employees with the required skills. These people should have competencies to work on the new product development or provide new services to the customer. If the company lacks necessary employees, it may outsource some additional specialists. Further, in order to increase the motivation of its workers to participate actively in the new product development, the hotel’s managers need to deliver directly their arguments to the staff. Moreover, the hotel could provide a questionnaire to its guest, which will assist in discovering the exact customers’ perceptions and demand.
On the other hand, the managers of the other hotel may take other measures, which will help to overcome the marketing barriers. For example, the Duke Hotel in London may first provide a sample product for its customers and discover whether this product corresponds to their needs. Further, a training program for the existent employees may be implemented. This will help to increase the professionalism of its current staff as well as ensure their loyal attitude to the Duke’s mission and principles.
Marketing Planning Proposal
New Service Description
In compliance with the conducted marketing audit, the proposal of new service for the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel was formulated. This new service provides the development of an eco-food restaurant. Moreover, it may be based on the Sherlock’s Grill restaurant located on the territory of the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel. It could be transitioned to Certified Green Restaurant. In accordance with the Green Restaurant Association, 79% of the consumers reported that they prefer dining at such type of eating place (2016). The purpose of developing the afore-mentioned eco-restaurant is to attract the new customers, who make their decisions in compliance with the environmental issues. Thereby, the new restaurant should not only deliver the organic food, but also focus on various energy and water saving programs.
The Importance of Marketing Planning
Thereby, a well-developed marketing plan is necessary for identifying the correct customers’ needs. Moreover, appropriate planning allows translating the required needs into new products or services and delivering them. An efficient marketing plan will not only allow the company to satisfy its customers’ needs, but also ensure the sustainable process of income generating. Thus, the marketing plan will help every business entity to avoid future uncertainties, characterised by the external and internal analyses. It also helps the company’s managers to generate the objectives and achieve them. Finally, the solid marketing plan is necessary for providing efficient coordination and communication among the company’s departments and divisions.
A new green marketing plan should be developed in order to achieve the outcomes of providing new eco-food services in the hotel’s restaurant. Due to the great concern of the environmental protection, the emergence of the new marketing planning type appeared (Surya & Banu, 2014). In order to survive in the market focused on the environmental safety, the hotels need to implement green initiatives in all aspects of their business. Similarly, it is required from the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel to develop eco-friendly food services in one of its restaurants. The researchers consider that since the customers are willing to identify themselves with the companies that implement ‘green’ initiatives, they will also be ready to pay extra costs for “green” life styles provided in the hotel (Das et al., 2012).
Techniques for the New Service Development
The new eco food services provided by the Sherlock’s Grill restaurant should be based on the several factors. First, it is necessary to buy only locally grown organic food, which allows the company to provide fresh food. Second, the water and energy savers should help the given business entity to save the money on water and energy expenses as well as deliver the environmental focus to its customers. Since the major place in the restaurant, which requires the maximum consumption of water and energy is the kitchen, a special attention should be paid to these locations in order to ensure that they are eco-friendly. For example, the hotel should install an on-off foot pedal and training for the dish washer, which turns off the spray valve when not in use. Further, it is necessary to insulate the hot food cabinet. For example, the Energy Star cabinet may become a useful decision (Energystar, 2016). Additionally, the company should develop a program of leftover food to the local non-profit organisations. Moreover, it is necessary to purchase various items for food and beverage services (i.e. cloth napkins, glass cups, dishes), which are designed from the recycled or eco-friendly materials.
Pricing Policy, and the Distribution and Communication Mix
It is necessary to ensure that the incorporated program of eco-friendly restaurant development must be presented using all possible communications sources. First, it is required to place information about company’s environmental-friendly policy on the hotel’s web site. Second, the firm should use its social networking accounts in order to deliver information about the new eco-service to its existent and potential customers. Thereby, a constant and moderate aggressive informational campaign should develop a strong vision of the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel as a company dedicated to the environmental-friendly initiatives.
The pricing policy of the new eco-restaurant should focus on the customers with high income, which are able to spend their money for luxury services, especially if these services are based on environmental-safety initiatives. According to the afore-mentioned information, people who prefer eco-friendly products and services are ready to pay extra costs (Das et al., 2012). Thereby, high prices for the restaurant food will not only allow the company to receive invested sources in a short-term, but also to support the image of the luxury hotel that provides individual and high quality services.
Factors Affecting the Effective Implementation of the Marketing Plan
It is worth noting that there are several factors that may negatively affect the effective implementation of the marketing plan. First, the company’s managers may not agree on the level of financial and workforce resources that should be used for developing new services. It is evident, that implementing new eco-technologies requires significant expenses, and the company may not be able to invest the appropriate sum of money in a new project. Furthermore, its employees may have a lack of motivation to help implementing new environmental-friendly policies.
While implementing the new marketing plan, it is also necessary to ensure that it fulfills the ethical principles and does not violate moral norms. The ethical marketing principles need to be provided while honestly promoting the new service and taking the responsibility for advertising. For example, before stating that the new restaurant is totally eco-friendly, the hotel needs to ask for the external independent audit. It will help to prove to its customers that the hotel has followed all the necessary requirements in order to receive a status of an ‘eco-friendly” company.
Consumer Ethics and Its Effect on Marketing Planning
Consumer ethics has a significant impact on marketing planning, especially in the case of developing new environmentally-friendly services. For example, while purchasing products that were produced with ‘green’ technologies, some customers’ may be guided by their ethical norms (Green Restaurant Association, 2016). The Researchers consider that appropriate ethics is a vital factor in the purchase behaviour (Das et al., 2012). In addition, according to the conducted studies, the customers are more likely to choose using the services of the hotel, which has implemented ‘green’ initiatives (Surya & Banu, 2014). However, it is not necessary that those customers, who do not appreciate unethical behaviour (i.e. environmental pollution), will definitely choose the services of ‘green’ companies.
Consequently, a Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel faces a significant impact of the external factors. Dealing with these factors requires implementing necessary changes described in the company’s marketing plan. In accordance with the provided marketing audit, the customers’ concerns about the environment protection can be used as a changing factor. Thereby, it was recommended to the Park Plaza Riverbank London hotel to develop the new eco-food services and implement them in the existent restaurant. First, the new restaurant should deliver organic food. Second, the significant ‘green’ initiatives should be undertaken in order to meet all the requirements of the Green Restaurant. Finally, the provided initiatives should be presented using all available information and communication instruments, including hotel’s website, social networks, and printed brochures.