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Nowadays, sensory marketing is found in every industry especially in service industry (Goldkuhl & Styven, 2007). Businesses likes hotel, restaurant, and department store use marketing activities through senses of the customer for example, the song that play in the store, the scent of bakery, the color of sign, the sampling of snack and even the touch of textile.
Due to the reasons that the main characteristic of service is “intangible” (McDougall & Snetsinger, 1990), the customer are not able to perceive the quality of service, so the best way to make service become tangible is using tangible environment of service likes sounds, color, or scent that could shape the atmosphere in order to create the good attitude of the brand and product 1 (Rushton & Carson, 1989).
All of the facts bring us to the question that “does sensory marketing play as a main element of success in service industries?
” and “how process does it work in order to influence decision – making of customer? ” Therefore, this thesis aims to focus on how sensory marketing affect the customer behaviors.
1. 1 Research question In this research, since the service industries such as hotels and restaurants are the places that atmosphere is considered as an important element of characteristic of industries. So, our research question are devided into two main questions: How can sensory marketing activities influence customer’s decision making?
What critical factors should be considered? 1. 2 Strategic question Since the authors try to find the critical elements of success of hotel and restaurant through sensory marketing, hence the authors also desire to find the answers that could be advantage in service industries.
Therefore, our strategic question is: How the sensory marketing could be applied in an effective way in order to contribute favorable atmosphere and improve performance in Hotel and restaurant industries in Thailand ? 1. 3 The Purpose statement
This thesis has the purpose to study the current characteristic of the sensory marketing that are used by hotel and restaurant industry and the usage patterns nowadays, this would lead us to find the interrelationship with the general awareness and general thought of those actors for a specific sensory marketing. Morover, the authors also focus on the how the entrepeneur in hotel and restaurant industry in Thailand applies these sensory marketing activities in their business to achieve the better performance.
1. 4 Target group The purpose of the study is analyzing the facts that how sensory marketing influence decision- making of consumer and how the sensory marketing could be applied in the business to achieve the better performance. We aim to give the account of elements of creating atmosphere by sensory marketing, the working process and the example of successful business.
This research could be beneficial for the business likes hotel and restaurant that currently are implement sensory marketing in their business and plan to do it in order to improve their performance not only in Thailand but also for every entreperneurs and marketer who want to apply sensory marketing effectively. 2 1. 5 Research limitations This research primarily relies on secondary data due to the reasons that, in order to analyze the result of sensory marketing activities, observation is required in the research but it take long time to gain the accurate information. Hence, with the limit of time, we used secondary data instead.
Besides, we also focus on the effect of consumer behaviour from sensory marketing only, thus others factors that could change behavior of customer are not discuss in the thesis. 3 2 Critical literature review 2. 1 Methods for the critical literature review Here is the shortlist regarding to the information we used for conducting our research, including keywords, database and the overview concepts of the topic. Keywords We used Keywords as followed to find our supporting literature: Service, Hotel, Restaurant Five senses, Sensory marketing* Success, failure in service Marketing activities Perception, Learning, Attitude*
Due to the purpose of our research focuses on the critical element of success of service industries likes restaurant and hotel by using sensory marketing, our main keywords are “Sensory marketing” and “Success” in order to get the relevant information regarding to the topic. We also considered that sensory marketing plays as an essential role to create the good attitude of the customer so that we also use the keywords “Perception”, and “learning” to analyze process of learning and created the good attitude via five senses. Consequently, we used the all of keywords to find relevant information regarding to the topic as following:
– The process of customer behaviors in response to sensory marketing The usage of sensory marketing to in hotel and restaurant The critical elements of success in hotel and restaurant industry. We used all information concerning the topic above to sensitize and bring the conclusions that can answer our research and strategic question. 2. 2 Mapping and describing the literature In order to illustrate scope and area of our research, figure 1 demonstrates the significant points and scope of our research regarding to relevant factors and elements that could be applied to support and strengthen reliability this thesis.
We also connected all points in order to find the association and interrelationship among all facotors to gain the accurate result of research as well. 4 Figure 1: Map of literature. (own illustration) According to the figure 1, it shows the significant point of topic that shape the scope and areas of or research, we selected the consumers response topic in order to learn how the “customer respond” the sensory marketing activities through process of perception, learning, attitude, and action. We also connected it with the “marketing strategy” to analyze the interrelationship in itself.
Moreover, we aim to learn how the hotel and restaurant apply sensory marketing in their business by considering about the “essential factors” that could affect the performance of “application”. Consequently, we desired summarize the “success element” that could be applied in the business in practical way. So, all of the considering points and areas bring us to the results that can answer our question logically. 2. 3 Shortlist of concepts and arguments To contribute the consistency and accurate thesis, we have to define our scope and concept regarding to the topic in order to create mutual understanding with the reader.
We choose to use the definition of the concept list from source that is general due to the reason that the definition from the literatures are scope in specific field and area of research, location, culture, and target group, so this could create the deviation when apply in our thesis. Our concept list that we use in critical literature review can be found the definition as following: Sense: Any of the faculties, as sight, hearing, smell, taste, or touch, by which humans and animals perceive stimuli originating from outside or inside the body. (Oxford English Dictionary) 5
Sensory marketing: Marketing techniques that aim to seduce the consumer by using his senses to influence his feelings and behaviors. (American Marketing Association) Ensemble of all the variables of action controlled by the producer or retailer to create, around the product or service, a specific multi-sensory environment, either through the product itself or the communication or the environment in the point of sale (S. Rainier) Atmosphere: The physical characteristics of the store such as architecture, layout, signs and displays, color, lighting, temperature, noise, and smell creating an image in the customer’s mind.
(American Marketing Association) Middle class and Luxury Hotel in Thailand – The luxury hotel in Thailand can be definded in three sides that are The extravagence, Lavishness, and Wealth as evidenced. These three elements are neccessary to be provided to their customers (Articlesbase). Moreover, According to the Econmist newspaper, Cost and price of middle class hotel in Thailand is around 800 – 1200 Bath (160 sek – 240 sek) and for luxury hotel price is around more than 3000 Bath (600 Sek).
Luxury restaurant in Thailand – According to the econmist newpaper survey, high quality and luxury restaurant in thailand have cost for meal around 300 – 500 bath per person and for dinner is around more than 1000 bath perperson. According to all definitions above, after we found similar concept in the articles we found that the concepts and areas regarding to our topic have similar definitions. This would help us to define the concepts of our research appropriately. 2. 4 Critical account on the chosen concepts and arguments Considering the characteristic of the services, it is considered that the
most important character of services is intangibility (McDougall & Snetsinger, 1990). Due to the fact that, the customers are not able to evaluate a service before consumption so that the customers tend to evaluated it by looking for the tangible evidences of what the service actually is. (e. g. Levitt, 1981). Goldkuhl and Styven (2007) mentioned that five senses play an important role in tangibilisation of service. Brenda Soars (2009) explained that sensory stimuli could influence environments, improve the shopper experience and change the nature of behaviour in ways beyond our consciousness.
She mentioned that if the sensory tool is use appropriately, it can influence the decision – making and also have positive attitude from customers. Moreover, the usage of atmospherics are related to the using of senses by the store in terms of lighting, colour, signage, textures, quality of materials, style of furnishings, layout, wall decor and temperature. According to Skandrani et al. , (2011), the atmospherics could be considered as an emotionally oriented design of space which can affect both of its customers and employees.
Those factors are controlled by the store or firm to enhance (or constrain) the employees‘ and customers‘actions (Bitner, 1992; Skandrani et al. , 2011). Skandrani et al. , 6 (2011), mentioned that the usage of atmospherics could influence on the consumer’s reactions. Due to the environmental factors in a store setting, individuals‘internal responses to these stimuli range from emotional, physiological to cognitive ones (ibid). However, the effects of its atmospherics are not affected only customer’s reactions, it has affected to employee’s reactions as well (ibid).
And the results of this research showed that using of music and crowd have the most effect on the employees in the clothing stores, although the impact of using stimuli on the employees can be twofold; encouragement and stress (Skandrani et al. , 2011). Brenda Soars (2009) took several examples of sensory activities such as, Swarovski use lasers directed beams of light on the crystals, Harrods ran exhibitions of the sense by using six lifts that have different sense in each lift, and Apple with the idea “come and play”.
These activities show that sensory marketing are used prevalently in business. Brenda Soars (2009) also use the psychology to monitor the shoppers’ mindset and get the result that shoppers will be more likely to spend if they feel good about themselves in their interaction with that environment and they will want to revisit. By the way, although using sensory environments have the clear benefit but it’s very easy to misuse (Soars, 2009). Sometime when using too many sensory activities could make customer confused and will randomly deselect or totally ignore.
She claimed that, the misuse in sensory could bring the failure of performance, for example, some lighting levers and colour is possible to influence shippers linger, if the sound seem to be loud, the customer feel a need to get out, and too many screens that have short – time is difficult to stimulate customer. Additionally, an article by Goldkuhl and Styven (2007) mentioned that vision and sound seem to be only two things that use prevalently.
Goldkuhl and Styven (2007) did the research by focusing on power of smell that can influence consumer behaviour and try to create the understanding of how scents can be used for services marketing purposes. They illustrated that scents in services marketing could be divided into four aspects that are presence, pleasantness, congruity with service and the relationship between scents and memory. It’s believed that scent could bring the powerful impact on consumers’ behaviour. It can contribute a favorable perception of the services (Chebat & Michon, 2003).
Moreover, it’s the good way to communicate kinds of information about what is sold such as scent of bakeries or coffee (Morring & Ratneshwar, 2003). The attitude of consumer could be occurred easily through scent, a pleasant or unpleasant scent could create interrelationship between attitude of customer and quality of service (Ellen & Bone, 1998). By the way, the ability of customer to identify specific odour also depend on surrounding cues such as color. Goldkuhl and Styven (2007) give an example that people can recognize a lemon scent in a yellow liquid easier than a red one.
This means that only scent and offering solely cannot influence consumer behaviour directly, it also depends on congruity of the entire composition of the service environment (Ward et al. , 2003). The last aspect of scent consider about the memory, the memories evoked by smell are more emotional than memories evoked by other stimuli (e. g. Halloway, 1999). In service industries, if the service can use scents that can trigger memories of pleasant emotions, it could be the powerful tool in order to create loyalty to a brand or service (David et al. , 2003). 7
In addition, Lindstrom (2005) mentioned that if the consumer’s senses are more involved, it more strongly connect with the brand which means that It can increased willingness to pay more. Consequently, it also creates the difference from the competitor and finally brings the loyalty of customer to the firm in the end (Davies et al. , 20003). Brenda Soars (2009) also forecast the possible developments in sensory marketing activities to the next decade that people under 25 will increasingly become more capable of dealing with higher levels of sensory input and technology would play an essential role to control sensory dimensions.
All of the expectations bring the conclusion that, in the future, people will develop their skills to cope with higher complexity of sensory activities that will be improved by distinctive technology. According to Xu and Chan (2010), the measurement on hotel brands imposes some intangible value, compared to its services. Hence, it is crucial for hotel to manage their brand knowledge; brand awareness, brand association, and quality of experience (QoE), to their guests effectively. Gronroos, (2007), p.
71-80, has argued that the service quality is vital for the firms in order to make customers perceived the good quality of its services. This study injects QoE into brand knowledge to show the intangible and experiential meaning of a brand for affiliated hotels (Xu & Chan, 2010). To capture the theme of experiential value, the hotel industry pursued experiential marketing management in order to manage the customer’s entire experience of a product/service and a brand (Schmitt, 1999; 2003; Xu & Chan, 2010).
He divided experience into five types: sense, feel, think, act, and relate. Senses experiences enable customers to their aesthetic desires, and so on (ibid). Due to the service performance creates direct experiences, and these experiences lead to the brand loyalty, that could triggers potential profits for a company (Aaker, 1991; Keller & Lehmann, 2006; Xu & Chan, 2010), because loyal customers are likely to pay more on premium prices and are likely to be price sensitive less (Aaker, 1991, 1996; Bello & Holbrook,
1995; Chaudhuri & Holbrook, 2001; Keller, 1993; Park & Srinivasan, 1994; Xu & Chan, 2010). Therefore, a well-managed hotel brand should be able to satisfy the experiential needs of its guests (Keller & Lehmann, 2006; Xu & Chan, 2010), in order to maintain their superior and profitable brand in today’s servicedominated competitive world that provides QoE rather than quality of service (Klaus and Maklan, 2007; Xu & Chan, 2010).
From all of these, the authors aim to demonstrate how senses and its environment of the store/hotel could be managing to create the affectional experiences, and how firms applied these experiences of intangible to its performance and profits (Lena & Maria, 2007; Skandrani et al. , 2011; Soars, 2009; Xu & Chan, 2010). Although the usage of senses could have negative effects to the customer, the positve effects are seem to be more emphasized if the firm can managed it efficiently (Skandrani et al.
, 2011). The authors desired to discuss and criticize each issue by different researchers on the topics, which relevant to sensory marketing and service industry (especially hotel and restaurant). 2. 5 Specific weaknesses and gaps in the literature As we using several literatures in this thesis, several literatures were taken from different sources, So the main weaknesses in overall is the difference in culture, norms and per8 ceptions of the target group in each literature.
This would bring the conflict in contents to the thesis due to the reason that customers in hotel and restaurant in different culture have different point of view regarding to the suitable atmostphere in their place. Moreover, acording to the topic of lituratures, it focus on the process of sensory markting that work through unconciousness of the customer, so it would be difficult for the authors to moniter the perception of customer and the customer themselves may not realize or notice that sensory marketing is play as an important role because they percieve it through their unconciuosness.
However, we tried to use several inferences from specific ideas that suit with our topic. We narrowed the scope of literature in order to anwers the question of the research clearly. In term of the target group, we used both literatures and questionare as our main data to make the comparison between the primary and secondary data that would help to improve the reliability and strengthen the quality of the thesis.
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