Digital Marketing: Mixed Mode Relationship (Hilton Hotels and Resorts)
Hilton Hotels and Resorts is a Hotel company and business with a global reach in the hospitality sector and offers hotel and resort services under the Hilton Worldwide brand. Conrad Hilton founded the Hilton Company and restaurant business in 1919 in Texas. Currently, the brand has spread all over the world under the flagship of Hilton Worldwide as the parent organization. In the United Kingdom, the company has its headquarters in London in Hilton London Tower. Hilton Hotels and Resorts in the U.K carry out operations in services such as accommodation, entertainment, and gambling. Most of the revenue gained in the business comes from the selling of rooms to the customers under the accommodation section. However, other services including restaurants, laundry, spa, banquet halls, conference rooms, casino, bars and travel services also contribute to the revenue allocation of the company. The four P'S of marketing mix utilized by Hilton Hotels and Resorts in the U.K Include Product, Price, Promotion, and Place. This marketing mix provides a context of the routine in which the company business is compelled.
The primary product offered by Hilton Hotels and Resorts in the U.K involve accommodation services through its apartment hotels and the resorts. Therefore, the main revenue is generated through the selling of rooms to the customers. Other products in the business also include restaurants, laundry, bar, business centers and small shops from which the customers get valuables (Eisenmann, 2006, p.1184). Therefore, these products are advertised through the social media and the company's website based on three categories, which include core products, facilitating products and the supporting products. The core products are the primary and basic needs that determine the relationship of the company to the customers (Adler, 2001, p. 217). The core products, therefore, forms the primary reason for the customers to purchase from the company business. Therefore, the hotel's rooms, which form the core product of the Hilton Hotels and Resorts, are always well displayed and descriptions based on the value provided on the company website for customers to select. The facilitating products, on the other hand, consist of the services, which assist the customer in the use or consumption of the core products (Balmer, 2006, p.3). Such facilitating products include the bars, the restaurants and the online reservation mechanisms and facilities that attract the consumers to the business (Holland and Lockett, 2007, p.478). Other supporting products include the additional products that make the business much more attractive and appealing to the consumers. Such products include spa, swimming pools, and service delivered by the staff members. Therefore, these products determine the mode of relationship between the company and the consumers.
Some of the other services offered at Hilton Hotels are termed as facilitating products. These help customers as they consume other products. Offering customer services such as proposing to assist in meal delivery to client’s room makes customers feel at home away from their real home. The Hilton Hotels have restaurants in their conference centers. The advantage of this is that the customers can enjoy all the services that are offered in the same venue.
The marketing mix tool product has two more levels that allow the marketer to reach the customers best. These two levels are critical in the decision-making process. The levels comprise the life cycle of a product and the three tiers of the particular product that the company is offering in the market. To a client, a product is any physical item that they are capable of taking home with them. Additionally, the customer has to spend money on the product (Baloglu, S., and Pekcan, 2006, p. 173). The three levels of a product are core, actual and argument product. The core level at Hilton Hotel Company is the services that customers enjoy and pay some value to enjoy them. The food, snack, or accommodation that is offered at Hilton and is deemed to be a benefit to the clients is termed as the core product. Therefore, on all goods and services, the core product must always be present to make the customer satisfied.
There exist augmented products in Hilton Hotel products. These constitute membership discounts, lavish room facilities and restaurants deemed to be of high-class status, exterior designs plus the comfortable relaxation hotel ambience are available. They are non-physical part of the company services. Mainly these are the value additions which the customer will pay some premium in order to enjoy the services. When a client books a room at Hilton Hotels, the augmented end product is the comfort that the company assures the customers they will enjoy. In the event the customers find the ideal comfort they expected from booking the room, it may attract them in the future. It also helps market that product, as they will continue talking positively about the product to other people, encouraging them to come and enjoy the service too. In the hotel business, the kind of treatment that the employees treat the customers dictates their satisfaction and loyalty. There have been many cases of employee turnover in most hotel and hospitality business. Keeping employees to the company will assure the company growth, as the employees will develop personal relations with the customers. Making consumers loyal to the company products. Services just like goods undergo various phases of growth, and the most important thing is maintaining every phase.
Hilton Hotels offers the services and promotional activities both online and offline. Some of the services and facilities offered online on the company website include guest rooms, food beverages, conferencing, executive lounge, business focus, parking facilities and recreational services. The management has developed strategies that cater for these market segments. The product is, therefore, paramount to any company as it brings all departments in an organization under one umbrella for efficiency in operations.
For the price tool of the marketing mix, whether digital or traditional marketing mix, it is simply common in terms of application. The only difference comes in that digital marketing will have its price influenced by the online media in various ways. The primary aim of any business remains solely profit making which mainly depend on the pricing strategy that the company applies. The marketer has mandated the work of making the other tools of the marketing mix cheap so that they result in reducing the price charged. Changing the elements of product, promotion, and place up to a level that the company would charge lower prices but simultaneously making profits. Hilton Hotels Company has integrated penetration strategy so that they attract as many customers as possible and gain competitive advantage. Improving the quality of service at Hilton Hotels and charging considerable prices allows customers to remain loyal to the company products.
The display of the prices for the services offered by the Hilton Hotel and Restaurants, U.K are affixed to the company website and the pricing strategy utilized involve a matrix of the economy, skimming, penetration and premium strategies (Doole & Lowe, 2008, p. 10). The economy pricing strategy by Hilton Hotels and Restaurants consist of products, which are sold to the consumers with the low budgets. For instance, the pricing of rooms at a lower price is based on the removal of some services. For example, offering bed only is cheaper than offering bed and breakfast, although the customers will have to spend on breakfast, separating the two makes the management charge a reduced price, and the customer will have a chance to make a decision as to whether to buy breakfast from the hotel or not.
On a slightly different note, the penetration pricing strategy as marketing mix involves offering services to the consumers using low prices for high-quality products than the prices of the competition in the same market to increase the company's market share (Balmer, 2006, p.5). The skimming strategy for pricing is the opposite of the penetration strategy, which involves offering high-quality products at high prices than the competition in the same market. The strategy as mentioned earlier enables the company to associate its products with the exceptionally high quality, value, and exclusiveness. Lastly, in most of the services offered by the company, the use the premium pricing strategy is common. The strategy mentioned involves offering high prices to the products, which stand out in the market and are perceived by the consumers to be of excellent quality and are coupled with additional features to attract more consumers (Eisenmann, 2006, p.1190). Therefore, the premium pricing strategy mostly used by the Hilton Hotels and Resort in the U.K have enabled it to be associated with high-status, luxury, and sense of achievement.
According to Yelkur and Nêveda (2001, p. 256) the management at Hilton has also integrated price skimming with economy pricing so that the company spends less and attracts many customers. The hotel industry is already congested, and the competition remains too stiff. Therefore, the pricing can either offer a company competitive advantage or chase customers. Most of the population is basically the middle-class people who are working. They have the human behavior of not spending much. Therefore the Hilton Hotel has captured this segment very well by offering them affordable prices and quality services so that they choose their facilities and services over those of competing companies. Hilton Hotels also use promotional pricing through attracting early bookings where those who book in advance are given some discount (Lovelock, 2011, p. 14). The approach mentioned offers the company increased customer relations because customers trust them with the money when they book Hilton services.
Depending on the season that the company may be facing, prices changes at Hilton Hotel, the pricing strategy of the company has been attractive to many clients and businesses. They charge prices depending on the product that one wishes to enjoy. The company has developed different products that take care of different customers. During peak season when people travel for holidays, Hilton Hotels offers prices that improve the business revenue and compensate the losses that are realized during the off-season. During shoulder season, Hilton Hotels works to introduce new business. The availability of facilities at this period gives room to the marketer to charge medium and high rates.
Under the marketing mix of promotion, the company uses publicity, sales promotion, and public relation strategies to increase their sales and gain a significant market share (Smith and Taylor, 2004, p. 5). The current advertising slogan of the Hilton Hotel and Restaurant, 'Go everywhere. Stay Hilton' was developed with the primary aim of communicating the marketing message to ensure consumers satisfaction in the Hotel and Hospitality business all over the United Kingdom. The online newspapers such as Forbes, The Economist and the Financial Times to attract consumers to the company (Doole & Lowe, 2008, p. 12) mostly promote the marketing message. Additionally, the message is attached to social media marketing and broadcasting adverts on the television. Furthermore, Hilton Hotels and Restaurants, U.K focuses on the use of constant communication with employees, both private and public organizations and the consumers to increase their public relation and gain profitability and sustainability (Adler, 2001, p.220).
The primary practice of communication involves the use of the official website of the company and emails to engage their consumers and employees. Nevertheless, Hilton Hotels and Restaurants use the personal selling strategy to attract consumers and ensure attachment to their products. The method has enabled the company to gain long-term relationships with the consumers based on trust. The Hilton Hotels and Restaurants, U.K has established incentives such as the Hilton HHonors points reward and the discount voucher systems on the company's website to enable the consumers to participate in sale promotions. These incentives have, therefore, enabled the company to persuade its customers to purchase its products on a large scale.
As noted earlier, the hotel industry is congested, and the only way out to gain a competitive advantage is offering quality and affordable prices. Then one may ask how customers all over the world will recognize that a company offering hospitality series is existent. The query as above mentioned brings in the importance of the marketing mix tool of promotion. For digital marketing, making the company website popular will publicize the business. To achieve this, Hilton Hotels considers building traffic for its website through Search Engine Optimization approaches (Lewis, 2010, p. 86). In London, there are many Hotel businesses, and therefore the strategy of website optimization will allow the company to gain a competitive advantage, as many people will encounter their business online.
The primary aim of promotional activities is to communicate an important message to customers and various stakeholders. Hilton Hotels offers a communication strategy that connects employees’ personality for their clients. The strategy as mentioned earlier has managed to convince clients that Hilton Hotels is the place to be whenever anyone wishes to tour in the entire world. The core drive of the company is to satisfy their customers with quality and safe products and services (Luck, D. and Lancaster, 2003, p. 226). This makes customers seek services from Hilton as they have shown on most sites that they are ready to address all customer needs. Depending on the geographical location of various Hilton branches, the best suitable promotional means are implemented. In the UK, the technology is so much advanced such that Hilton Hotels marketing team uses the internet to market the company as well carry out transactions. This has reduced that risk that customers face when in the hold of cash. In other regions where technology has not taken its full course, the use of local mass media is common to advertise the company products. The commonly used media is the television and the local newspapers.
There are various promotional activities that Hilton Hotels use to communicate to its target customers. These communication media and channels for Hilton Hotels that promote the business include brochures, the hotel's website, the Facebook pages, collaboration with consumer product like pens, hats, and shavers so that they market the company to the public. Through these strategies, Hilton Hotels have been widely known for the various promotional mixes. Labelling products by the name make many people admire to be at the hotel one time in life. In Europe, most people love football thus collaborating with certain football clubs as part of the corporate social responsibility. Through such promotional strategies, Hilton Hotels will remain known widely.
Place as a tool in the marketing mix is vital as it ensures appropriate distribution channels to the market the company is targeting. Transportation and market coverage permit the company to experience growth of the business. This has been evident in Hilton Hotel as it has spread its market to the entire world. The reverse logistics as well as the catalogue or portfolio management are notable under the place mix. The location of the Hilton Hotels and Restaurants in the U.K are primarily determined by distribution strategies which ensure that services are delivered to the consumers in time and also allow easy access when, how and where they require the services (Fill, 2009, p.139). The distribution strategies utilized focuses on the use of the services available on the Internet and online to ensure the consumers get the services regardless of the location of the company (Doole & Lowe, 2008, p.20). The official website of the enterprise allows the consumers to locate the nearest Hilton Hotel to them all over the United Kingdom coupled with the capabilities of room booking, booking airport pick-ups and scheduling of meetings based on their requirements. Furthermore, the distribution services are also improved through the use of mobile applications such as social media platforms to increase the convenience in serving the customer services regardless of their location (Smith and Taylor, 2004, p.7).
For instance, the official Facebook account of Hilton U.K has over 405, 300 followers who have access to the latest news and any valuable announcements made by the company. Social media platforms have therefore formed the primary distribution strategy of Hilton Hotels and Restaurant, U.K based on the convenience in reaching a wide range of consumers over a wide area (Balmer, 2006, p.7). The company also builds its branches in easily accessible locations to increase the convenience of the consumers in reaching the various services rendered by the enterprise. Easy accessibility to the Hilton Hotel and Restaurant services, therefore, enables the company to attract a broad range of consumers in the competitive market.
The place mix requires the company to deliver its products to its customers. Hilton Hotels mostly offer services hence it is the customers to visit their premises and enjoy these services. This does not hinder us from expressing how Hilton delivers its product that is placed mix. Opening various branches in different localities allows the company to reach its customers conveniently (Gilbert, Powell-Perry, and Widijoso, 2009, p. 26).
In digital marketing, place mix consists of internet companies that are available to publicize the company. In digital marketing, accessibility is very critical to Hilton Hotels. It requires the clients to have access to the internet so that they receive updates about the services offered at Hilton Hotels. The customers of hotel services and products come for the products by themselves. Therefore, the marketing department has the primary purpose of availing the products in places that the customers can access them. In digital marketing, the place mix involves placing the goods and services in Google ads so that many people can see all the information. The marketing team to show directions and locations where the company outlets are located uses the company website. In the UK Hilton Hotels’ website, their web visitors are allowed to choose from the many available spaces in various cities.
The marketing team at Hilton Hotels uses direct methods and indirect methods to distribute their products. Those who make orders and bookings online have a place to add their contacts so that the customer service can give a follow-up call in case of any queries or any other information. Through printed media, the company has been able to continue reading about the enterprise information. Hilton Hotels have developed a global distribution system for its products. Indirect methods to deliver the company products at Hilton Hotels include online travel agents the booking.com service.
Place mix is essential for any organization since it brings an existing contact between the firms and the customers. The critical issue identified in Hilton Hotels operations is that they embrace safety and quality. The company marketing strategies have led to positive results that allow the company to more customers in a more convenient way. The management has developed a system that allows their customers to be picked from various destinations and driven to their respective placed they have booked. The system shows quality and the value that the company gives to its customers. Although it may seem to be free service, the company is generating extra revenue from it as they charge it as part of the fee the customers would pay (Sigala, 2002, p. 86). The outcome is that there has been the establishment of healthy relationships with their clients and employees.
In conclusion, the current profitability and the dominance of the Hilton Hotel and Restaurant in the United Kingdom hospitality market has been significantly influenced by its marketing mix which puts customer satisfaction above all (Smith and Taylor, 2004, p.5). The four P's marketing mix of Hilton Hotels and Restaurants in the United Kingdom has enabled the company to meets the needs of the target consumers all over the region and thus dominating the market.
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