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The Maluti Mountain Marketing Comm Essay

1.INTRODUCTION

The Maluti Mountain range is a world-renowned hiking spot in the middle of Drakensburg Mountains in South Africa. As the marketing manager of BBS Hotel, I will explain how I plan to launch a marketing campaign for backpacker travellers on the international market by making use of the five steps of a marketing plan.

2.EXPLANATION OF MARKETING MANAGEMENT

Marketing management is the process of planning and implementing the pricing, promotion, distribution of ideas, goods, and services to create exchanges that satisfy individual and organisational goals. Marketing management uses the company’s resources to increase its customer belief and attitudes of the company’s products and services, and increase the company’s perceived value.

3.FIVE STEPS OF A MARKETING PLAN

3.1Step 1: Situation analysis

In the first step of the marketing plan, the marketing manager should explain where the organisation stands in relation to the total marketing mix, for instance the sales history of the product, its position in the industry, pricing trends in the industry, and so on. According to Angelopulo and Barker (2013:161) in addition, the marketing manager also considers the organisation’s target market, for instance its customer profile, the geographic aspects of product usage and customer awareness.

It is also important to perform a SWOT analysis to determine the organisation’s strength, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. With regards to the scenario, as the marketing manager of BBS Hotel, I will first examine where BBS Hotel is now, using both external and internal factors. The location of the hotel is essential as it is situated at the foot of the Maluti Mountains which is a world renowned hiking spot in Drakensburg. This means that there are perhaps local tourists to the destination however not enough international tourists. The hotel does make profits with the local population. BBS Hotel has competitors however there are no hotels at the foot of Maluti Mountains where BBS Hotel is located. The hotel has a few distribution channels that are bringing in customers however BBS Hotel has not been attracting the international markets.

Market Trends

The market trend for hotels in adventurous destinations is an increase in occupancy seen on a national scale. For years, hotels in the mountainous areas existed underneath the radar of the general population. When most people went on vacation, they would tend to make reservations at hotels away from the actual areas of their activities. Within the last two years, people have begun to discover hotels at the locations of their activities and appreciate the additional services that they offer and enjoy the convenience to being close to their activities. The industry has seen an increase in occupancy, from out of state or region travellers, as well as and more importantly, local people that are looking for a place to escape from their homes.

I will commence with a SWOT analysis to identify the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of BBS Hotel. Strengths:
As the marketing manager I determined that BBS Hotel has the following strengths:

•It’s a renowned location.
•The size of the hotel
•A home-like feeling
•Individual service
•Wireless internet

The location of the hotel is definitely one of the strengths, mostly because it is located in the Drakensburg and in a beautiful location with one of the highlights being its hiking attraction which therefore makes it an attractive destination for adventurous tourists. The size of BBS Hotel is also categorised as a strength as it is small yet a feeling of cosiness. Being a small hotel it gives the opportunity to serve each customer more personally. This makes the new and old customers feel comfortable and welcomed and it also creates a home-like feeling in the hotel. BBS Hotel offers wireless internet in the midst of the mountainous ranges. Should guests wish to connect with their loved ones while their away, the wireless internet is an added advantage in the hotel.

Weaknesses:

•Outdated brochure information
•Insufficient marketing
•Homepage on the internet dull and boring
All of the above were major weaknesses identified.

It has been determined that the hotel’s brochure has not been updated with new and attractive information. The insufficient marketing of the hotel and its surrounding attractions is also seen as a weakness. BBS Hotel’s homepage is one of the biggest weaknesses; it has not been updated over the past five years. The homepage does not reflect the surrounding attractions and highlight the beauty of the hotel as well as the destination. The BBS hotel is out-dated in its process to seek and put in motion new ideas that could help bring more customers to the Hotel.

Opportunities:

•Look at marketing: finding the right distribution channels

•New fresh ideas
•Hotel facilities
•Internet
•Invitations to different companies to visit

Opportunities can be seen in strengthening the hotel’s marketing and find new distribution channels. It is important to keep up with the time and always keep looking for new and innovative ideas to market BBS Hotel. Possible opportunities would be to renovate the hotel’s facilities to a more adventurous look and perhaps change or add additional dishes to the menu that would cater for some sort of exotic cuisine (wild boar, springbok, etc.), especially if we want to target international backpackers. Have BBS Hotel meet regularly with the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism board to seek out new events in the vicinity and draw on this to attract new and existing customers. As the hotel’s webpage on the Internet is seen as a weakness, a good opportunity is to improve the pages and make a more accurate presentation of the hotel and what it has to offer especially for international backpackers.

The internet also has a lot to offer in terms of marketing and there are still many different ways the internet could be utilised to market the hotel to attract international backpackers. An example could be BBS Hotel to have a competition where one could win a week stay at the Hotel or perhaps advertise the hotel at discounted rates. Another opportunity identified was to invite representatives from travel-agencies and tour companies to come and visit the hotel to get first-hand information and get better acquainted with BBS Hotel’s services. This will make it easier for them to sell BBS Hotel’s services to international backpackers once they physically see what the hotel has to offer.

Threats:

As BBS Hotel is the only hotel located at the foot of Maluti Mountains, a definite threat would be a new hotel located nearby. This would result in a significant decrease in customers coming to BBS Hotel. The low seasons can also easily create a real threat for BBS Hotel.

3.2Step 2: Marketing opportunities

In the second step in the marketing plan Angelopulo and Barker (2013:162) states that the marketing manager considers marketing opportunities such as current markets; buyers; growth markets; product service development and innovation; and targets that provide an opportunity for the organisation’s products and/or services. Currently the product/service that BBS Hotel wants to provide namely the incorporation of accommodation and hiking tours is currently not being catered for in this hiking region. BBS Hotels target market is the international backpacker travellers but not limited to this group.

There is an opportunity to design, develop and customise these adventure holiday packages with the incorporation of hiking tours inclusive of a tour guide. Such a product/service is one of the unexplored markets in the Drakensburg area. Designing and developing packages that would incorporate accommodation, hiking tours with individual or group tour guides to international backpackers could add growth of the product/service and ultimately to the growth of BBS Hotel. In time the product/service can be changed to incorporate other adventurous types of activities that could be included in the package that BBS Hotel would offer.

3.3Step 3: Marketing objectives

According to Angelopulo and Barker (2013:162) during this step, the marketing manager considers the relevant factual data that was obtained during the situation analysis step. The marketing manager will consider important aspects such as data gathered from the situation analysis, opportunities identified, setting goals and objectives, and assigning responsibilities and projections for the future. Responsibilities should also be assigned to employees who can achieve these objectives (Ferrell & Hartline, 2008:141). Angelopulo and Barker (2013:163) states that primary objectives include financial objectives (current and projected sales, profit margins, market share objectives), while functional objectives are set when the careful blend of the marketing mix is considered in detail. Marketing the campaign for backpacker travellers is one of the main goals; both short and long term.

The key factors are to develop and improve marketing as well as making sure it targets the right customer groups which are the international backpacker travellers. BBS Hotel’s website is in need of up-dating and forming new webpages to attract international backpackers to the hotel. Another main goal was to renovate the hotel; maybe just start with small things such as putting a microwave and a bar fridge in each room. To provide a holiday package inclusive of individual or group guides for hiking adventures in the Drakensburg area. A short-term objective is to balance customer flow during high and low seasons. The hotel has the largest number of customers during the school holiday seasons. There should be a lot of effort put into attracting more international customers also in low seasons.

Special and attractive offers could be advertised to attract customers. This of course can be continued into long-term objectives; getting new customers, both one time visitors as well as regular customers. The main objective for this marketing plan is to attract international backpacker travellers to come stay in BBS Hotel. 3.4 Step 4: Strategies and action plans  Angelopulo and Barker (2013:163), it states, in this step, specific strategies are designed and implemented through specific marketing actions that are in accordance with the objectives that have been set. Ferrell and Hartline (2008: 323) point out that strategies and action plans are usually also designed in line with the organisation’s mission and vision, and organisational culture. Marketing strategies include product, pricing, advertising, media and marketing communication strategies.

Marketing Strategies

1)Association membership and advertising: A large number of visitors will look to regional Hotel associations for information about the different hotels in the Drakensburg area. Most associations publish a guide to the local hotels and the BBS Hotel wants to be in this guide. One of the other perks of membership is visibility on the association’s website with a link to ours. Additionally, we will be a member of the KwaZulu-Natal Tourism Board because people typically inquire with the local KwaZulu-Natal Tourism section when planning a vacation. 2)Website: BBS Hotel will have a full-service website that allows the visitor to view the hotel, read details about what it has to offer, provide information on regional activities, especially it being an attractive hiking destination and even allow the visitor to book an online reservation.

With the growing use of the Internet, the Web has become an indispensable tool people have for planning vacation to areas that are not close enough to check out in person. 3)Existing/Regular Customers: The hotel can start taking its customers’ information and updating it into their hotel reservation systems, this way customers’ contact information can always be found and customers can be contacted more easily with special offers and other news and information of BBS Hotel and activities that will be taking place. This will bring more visibility for BBS Hotel as its regular customers could recommend the specials and exciting news to family and friends and make recommendations on the use of BBS Hotel should they be looking for an international destination.

Mission and Vision

The mission of BBS Hotel is to provide the finest hotel experience that would transform one’s holiday into an unforgettable adventure. We exist to attract and maintain customers. Our services will exceed the expectations of our customers.

3.5Step 5: Financial control and budget

The last step in the marketing plan is the financial control and budget phase. Angelopulo and Barker (2013:164) states, the marketing strategy of the marketing plan is devised according to a carefully planned budget. Once the marketing plan has been designed, the marketing manager must decide how to monitor and control the finances during the implementation of each marketing action. Procedures to control and review the marketing plan and its budget must be developed and in place even before the marketing strategy can be implemented.

The budget for the launch of the campaign for international backpacker travellers is set at R350 000.

Marketing Expense Budget
Activity Cost
Assorted advertising activities R54 000.00
Website maintenance R60 000.00
Invitation of prospective guestsR10 000.00
Minor renovations R120 000.00
Other R106 000.00
Total Estimated Budget R244 000.00

BBS Hotel’s main focus is penetrating into launching the campaign of attracting backpacker travellers. In order to meet the objectives and strategies set out, the allocated marketing expenses is R244 000.00. It is projected that if sales are achieved during the quarter of initiating the campaign, R350 000.00 in sales would be required to break even against the marketing budget.

4.CONCLUSION

In conclusion it is evident to see how critical it is for an organisation to have a strong marketing plan in place in order to have produced good marking management outcomes for the organisation itself. In relation to the scenario provided, it is evident that the five step marketing plan will produce the positive outcomes that BBS Hotel expects in terms of achieving its specific marketing objectives which is to attract international backpackers to BBS Hotel.

As the marketing manager for BBS Hotel, I feel that all the relevant aspects were taken into consideration in order to ensure that a viable marketing plan has been put in place to launch the campaign to attract international backpacker travellers to the BBS Hotel. Taking into consideration that no other hotels in the region are offering holiday packages inclusive of individual or group tour guides, BBS Hotel stands an exceptional chance of increasing profits once the campaign is initiated as it has been determined from the market opportunities and marketing objectives.

SOURCES CONSULTED
Angelopulo, G.; & Barker, R. (eds). 2013. Integrated organisational communication. Landsdowne: Juta.

Barker, R.; du Plessis, C.; Hanekom, J.; Chauke, G.; du Plessis, L.; Hadji, J. & Moila, R. 2012. Marketing Communication. Only study guide for COM3701. Pretoria: University of South Africa.

University of South Africa. Marketing Communication. 2014. Tutorial Letter COM3701/101/3/2014. Pretoria.


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