I. Current Company Situation
a. Banff Area
Located in Alberta, Canada, Banff is the largest town located in the Banff National Park. Banff’s location, at the intersection of Mount Rundle, Mount Norquay and Sulphur Mountain not only makes it not only the highest elevated town in Canada at 4,800 feet above sea level, but also one of the nation’s most popular tourists destinations. To be sure, the region see nearly 4 million tourists visit each year. Banff is easily accessible by car from Calgary and Lake Louise, which is less than 80 and 40 miles away respectively; or from points further out via the Trans-Canadian Highway which pass by the town.
Banff’s small population of about 6,700 permanent residents gives it a quaint resort atmosphere. Banff’s major source of revenue is through its hospitality industry which includes a wide range of accommodations from upscale boutique hotels to basic bed and breakfasts (Kayalar, 2008). Banff is quite proud of its tourist credentials as illustrated by the active involvement of the town’s Mayor’s Office and Banff Lake Tourism Bureau in marketing what the town has to offer (Kayalar, 2008, Kotler et al., 2013). Unfortunately, Banff’s small local population but large tourist population has made filling its hospitality positions a challenge. More often than not, the town’s hospitality industry must rely own non-local or younger employees to fill the job positions.
b. Overview of Mount Rundle Hotel Banff
Mount Rundle Hotel Banff (Hotel Banff) is a member of the Encore Hotel Group, and prices itself as one of the towns more upscale, up-market boutique hotels (Kayalar, 2008). To be sure the hotel is located away from the downtown center and offers guests 65 well furnished rooms. However, like other Banff hotels, it is subject to the local labor conditions. While overall management is administered by a full-time and experienced general manager, many of the subordinate positions such as the front desk supervisor was help by a part-time college student working to make a little extra cash (Kayalar, 2008). Similarly, the housekeeping staff is made up of “a group of youngers” that seem to be “just out of high school” (Kayalar, 2008).
While Hotal Banff is priced as an upscale hotel, there are a number of aspects which contradict that claim. For instance, there is neither an elevator nor a bell staff, so guests are required to carry their own luggage to their rooms. Similarly, some of the rooms are located over the kitchen, however, not steps have been taken to either eliminate the smells of the kitchen coming into those rooms, not assigning those rooms to guests, or assigning those room with a discounted price. Lastly, there is little if any room service and guests must get their own shampoo and soap if or when they run out.
Like many other hotels across the world, Hotel Banff has a number of ways that a guest can reserve a room. Guests can either reserved directly form the hotel’s website or they can reserve through an online travel website such as Expedia.com. Unfortunately, sometimes there is a price difference between the those offered form the hotel’s website and those offered from the online. This suggests that there is either a lack of communication or a lack of collaboration between the hotel and the online travel website. To be sure, the hotel recently ended its relationship with Expedia.com (Kayalar, 2008, Schroeder et al., 2013).
II. Hotel Banff’s Strategy
Hotel Banff’s main challenge is how to change its business strategy. Currently, the hotel’s strategy seems simply focused on getting customers to reserve, stay and pay. Indeed, once a guest pays, the hotel’s management and staff show little interest in making the guests’ stay enjoyable. This is most clearly illustrated in the attitude of the general manager Sharon Henry. In the case of Stephen McKenzie, rather than move to resolve the issue as early as possible, namely once she began communicating with McKenzie over e-mails; she instead simply refused to change or provide even the slightest of concessions (Kayalar, 2008). As she thought of the issue, McKenzie was a guest who had already paid and therefore was not important anymore Moreover, in Henry’s mind, she really did not care about his complaint as he was just one guest; and the dynamics of Banff’s tourist situation (lack of accommodations but large tourist interest) in her mind, that whatever his complaints, the hotel would always be in demand (Kayalar, 2008). In essence, she did not really care about the guests so long as they paid. If they did not like their treatment at the hotel, that was fine, they could leave because there would always be someone else that would pay for the room. As McKenzi’s description of Henry as being, “the fortyish blonde holed up in her cozy office” illustrates, Henry almost seemed to want to avoid taking any responsibility for the guests’ well-being; or having any interest in interacting with guests at all (Kayalar, 2008).
Henry’s strategy for dealing with guests was reflected in the attitudes of the hotel staff. They did not make any effort to accommodate guests, they played in front of guests, and they, in the case of McKenzie’s credit card issue stubbornly refused to see it from his point of view.
Kayalar, J. (2008) Mount Rundle Hotel Banff case study. Retrieved from https://cb.hbsp.harvard.edu/cbmp/product/908M50-PDF-ENG
Kotler, P.T., Bowen, J.T. & Makens, J. (2013). Marketing for Hospitality and Tourism, 6th ed. New York, NY: Prentice-Hall.
Schroeder, R.G., Goldstein, S.M. & Rungtusanatham, M.J. (2013). Operations Management in the Supply Chain: Decision and Cases, 6th ed. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.