Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism
Marketing strategies refers to the plans that organization develops in order to attract its target market towards range of products in the market. In the modern era, many hurdles are present in the business environment that prevents firm from accomplishment of its desired objectives due to which main focus of every enterprise is on marketing strategies. Further, effective marketing strategy consists of right product mix and all the elements are present such as product, price, place, promotion so as to influence purchase behaviour of customers (Ashill and Frederikson, 2003).
Apart from this, it supports organization from distinguishing its products from those of competitors and in turn enhances sales volume. For carrying out the present study organization chosen is Thomas cook which operates in travel and tourism sector and well known in the market for range of services it offers to its target market. Its service range include inbound and outbound travel, foreign exchange, visa and passport services, hotels etc. Company has strong brand existence in the market as it stands on top in terms of customer satisfaction and it is the basic reason behind success of company. Entire tourism sector is rising at faster pace due to which main stress of firm is on its marketing strategies for retaining its valuable customers. Various tasks have been covered in the study which involves elements of extended marketing mix elements, strategies used to build brand etc.
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Elements of extended marketing mix
Thomas cook totally focuses on the elements of marketing mix as they provide base to firm in serving its target market in better manner. Further, through effective elements it becomes easy for firm to provide reason to customers for purchasing its services. Elements of extended marketing mix are as follows:
People: It is regarded as one of the key element of extended marketing mix as staff members working in Thomas cook are assigned responsibility to serve customers in better manner so that they may prefer to purchase services in near future also (Bauer and Auer-Srnka, 2012). Further, chef, service staff and other type of employees plays significant role in the company and without them it is not possible for Thomas cook to sustain in the competitive market. Time to time training sessions are organized by company for its staff members for that their level of skills may enhance and due to this basic reason customers of Thomas cook are highly satisfied with the service style and behaviour of employees. In short, it has assisted firm to gain competitive advantage and in turn acts as development tool.
Process: It is regarded as the way in which service is delivered to the end consumer. So, company like Thomas cook is efficient enough to deliver quick service to its target market keeping in view the overall demand. All the crucial processes of firm are flexible enough to meet with the changing requirement of customers (Bernick and Boo, 2013). For instance if any customer requires accommodation service then quick response is provided by the business enterprise to its customers and they are rendered different type of facilities. Therefore, this supports firm in every possible manner and in turn right service reaches to the customers on time which is the main motive of company.
Physical evidence: The last crucial element of the extended marketing mix is physical evidence which considers overall layout and structure of the hotel which assist company in attracting customers. Therefore, Thomas cook necessarily considers this factor and overall layout of hotel has been designed in unique manner keeping in view the comfort and convenience of customers (Buhalis, 2000). Further, high quality facilities have been provided in the rooms such as Wifi etc. So, this is beneficial for customers in every possible manner and is value for money also. In short ambience of Thomas cook leads to rise in demand for its services and in turn acts as development tool in terms of increase in profitability and sales volume.
Therefore, all these three elements of extended marketing mix allows firm to comply with need and requirement of its customers in better manner and through this business enterprise can easily deal with the issues such as retaining customers etc. Moreover, the main objective of Thomas cook is to enhance its customers satisfaction which is attained by focusing on these three elements of marketing mix and in turn increases performance of firm in the market where operations are being carried out (Holm, 2006).
Strategies employed for attracting customers
There exist range of strategies which have been adopted by Thomas cook in order to attract its target market towards its services. First and foremost strategy is social media marketing with the help of which business enterprise has developed a page on which important information is shared with target market. Moreover, more effective visual methods are used where infrastructure and overall layout of hotels are shown. In short, complete information is provided to customers with the help of social media market and this in turn enhances brand loyalty. In the present era Facebook as a networking site is most commonly used for promoting services and Thomas cook strongly depends on such site for interacting its target market and this has directly supported in strengthening customer base of the business enterprise (Kotler, Bowen and Makens, 2006).
Moreover, through social media marketing organization is able to understand about need and requirement of its target market in better manner and can deal with the change in social factors which is necessary for business enterprise. Therefore, due to this basic reason services of Thomas cook are kept on the top of priority at the time of purchasing tourism services and this enhances sales volume along with profitability.
Further, Thomas cook has proper knowledge about its target market due to which customers are easily attracted towards its services. Firm knows about their interest, factors that encourages them to purchase services and other benefits which they expects from firm. Knowledge regarding target market supports company in delivering them right service as per their requirement and in turn increases satisfaction level of the customers (Ritchie, 2004). Moreover, effective marketing strategies are the one on the basis of which target market is influenced to buy range of services. Time to time new promotional schemes are introduced such as discount and other packages which encourages customers to take benefit of it. Different type of holiday packages are offered by firm so that target market can be easily satisfied. Moreover, better services are provided to customers as compared with key competitors of the firm and main focus is on retaining them rather than earning profits.
Theory of customer loyalty
Program of customer loyalty is based on consideration of different variables which involves age, gender, education and expectations of consumers. With the help of this theory it is possible to know what drives loyalty in consumers and can assist hospitality organization in retaining its customer for longer period of time. Age is regarded as one of the most crucial factor on the basis of which Thomas cook target its customers (Wang and Fesenmaier, 2006). Generally youngsters and adults prefer to purchase tourism service and for them attractive packages are being designed with the help of which sales volume of company increases. Further, it is well known fact that tourism services are purchased on the basis of age as old age people purchase less tourism services as compared with adults. Moreover, gender is also regarded as one of the crucial factor when purchasing tourism services as the nature of females involves valuing long term relationship more than male counterpart.
Further, women only prefer to buy brand which are comfortable for them and male prefer to buy tourism services of company which can provide them remarkable experience and are value for money. Therefore, in this way differences are present in between gender due to which Thomas cook targets families and other type of individuals who prefer to visit different sites (Middleton, Fyall and Ranchhod, 2009). Education as an factor plays crucial role in customer loyalty as in case if customers are more educated then they may bargain more and prefer to buy services which can provide them unique experience. Due to this reason better education leads to lower customer loyalty. Further, services are offered to consumers by Thomas cook who are not having high knowledge regarding its services as they can be easily attracted towards commodities and this in turn enhances brand loyalty (Marta., 2014). On the other hand, in market various sources are present that consumers consider for obtaining information linked with tourism market due to which organization convince them in every possible manner so that customers may not shift towards other brand in the market.
Expectations is also considered as one of the most important factor on the basis of which customers prefer to become loyal towards the firm. Further, expectations of every consumer varies from one another which Thomas cook considers necessarily for its growth and development. Therefore, due to this reason company has developed effective services along with marketing strategies so that expectations of customers can be met in efficient manner and through this business enterprise retains them for longer period of time (Prideaux and Cooper, 2003). In short the ultimate reason behind success of company in the market is its capability to well satisfy expectations of its customers. Time to time modifications are made in the service range which allows firm to attract customers of its competitors and in turn acts as development tool. Therefore, this theory of customer loyalty considers all the crucial factors that enhances loyalty level and in turn company can better perform in the business environment. Moreover, through all these ways like meeting expectations of customers, offering them additional offers, taking feedback, building trust etc
Thomas cook build brand loyalty
In order to measure customer satisfaction and developing customer value various effective ways have been employed by firm through which management gets idea in relation with its overall position in the market. To asses satisfaction level among consumers feedback is taken from customers who are purchasing services of firm. Organization has designed feedback form through which it is known when quality of service is up to the mark or not (Li and Petrick, 2008). Further, it helps in ensuring whether services are capable enough to meet with the expectations of customers or not. Feedback form is also sent by firm on personal mail ID of customers and even they are contacted through personal calls also (Ciotti, 2013). So, through this level of customer satisfaction is judged and corrective actions are taken by management if customers are not satisfied with range of services. On the other hand Thomas cook has developed page on social networking sites such as Facebook on which customers review are taken and through this it becomes easy to judge satisfaction level of target market. Moreover, repurchase decision of customers supports organization in knowing level of customers satisfaction as in case if customers are repurchasing services on continuous basis then satisfaction level is high and vice versa. So, through all these ways company measures satisfaction level of its target market (Lin and Huang, 2006).
Brand identity and strategies used to build brand
Thomas cook as a brand is well known and established in the market as organization posses capability to satisfy need of its customers in efficient manner. Company is recognized for trust, confidence, customer satisfaction, loyalty etc in the market. In short, it is the first choice of customers at the time of purchasing any tourism service. Promises done to customers are delivered properly by the business enterprise and this in turn encourages customers to repurchase more services of the company and has lead to stronger customer base which is ultimate objective of business enterprise. Majority of the customer perceive organization positively and it is beneficial for company in every possible manner. Therefore, brand identity of Thomas cook benefits enterprise in every possible manner and it has lead to rise in profitability level along with market share (Theobald, 2005).
On the other hand to build brand various effective strategies have been employed by Thomas cook and in turn through this it becomes easy for company to deal with the challenges present in the business environment such as competition and other issues that are generally faced at the time of carrying out operations in the market. Positioning is one of the effective strategy through which Thomas cook builds its brand and its services are positioned as value for money, affordable, high quality etc. In short comfort and convenience of customers are kept on the top which targeting customers and this assist business enterprise to serve its customers in better manner. Company provides reason to its target market for purchasing its services rather than its competitors and in turn it is leading to rise in market share (Kolb, 2006).
Analysing consumer behaviour is also one of the major strategy used by firm where buying preferences along with habits of target market are considered by organization while designing its services and this encourages customers to buy services of Thomas cook rather than its major competitors. Further, online presence of organization is also effective in the market due to which organization enjoys many benefits such as rise in market share, profitability and stronger customer base. Moreover, through website designed company highlights its key services that posses capability of satisfying need of target market in efficient manner. Time to time market research is carried out so that right service can be offered to the customers and they can be retained for longer period of time through this.
Keller's brand building model
Keller has defined different stages with the help of which brand is build by company with the objective to enhance its overall position in the market. In the first stage organization design an image with the help of which its brand can be differentiated from those of competitors, target market segmentation is next stage where entire market is segmented so that specific one can be chosen to whom product can be promoted easily (Uzama, 2009). After segmentation customers become aware about the image of firm and this in turn attracts them towards the brand. Further, image is defined with the help of appropriate benefits, features etc and in short it provides reason to customers for purchasing products. Therefore, by following all these stages brands are build by companies for enhancing performance in the market.
Effects of social and ethical marketing in branding
In marketing social responsibility and ethics play significant role and every operation is carried out by Thomas cook which is in favour of customers. To be socially responsible right service is delivered to the customer keeping in view their taste and preferences. Further, activities such as discrimination etc are not practised by firm while rendering services to customers. Moreover, Thomas cook understands its responsibility towards society due to which CSR activities have been undertaken by company such as educating poor people etc. So, this is effective in every possible manner and has positive impact on the brand image of the firm (Ritchie and Crouch, 2003). Further, the information provided to customers by company is ethical and true on the basis of which purchase decision is taken by customers. In short business enterprise has indulged itself into activities of fair trading so that more trust and confidence can be build in customers towards company. Apart from this organization maintains consumer privacy where their personal data is not shared with other parties, standard of truth has been maintained in marketing communication and entity strictly comply with the laws and regulations of the government.
Therefore, in this way social and ethical marketing has direct impact on branding and in case if operations of company are not ethical then it has negative impact on brand image of the firm. Moreover, relationship marketing has also been adopted by firm where main stress is on building long term relationship with target market so as to grab market opportunities. Time to time feedback is taken from customers and their valuable suggestions are considered by firm which enhances business relationship with target market (Angella and Go, 2009). So, it also plays major role in brand brand and in its development also which is necessary for organization. Due to all these reason Thomas cook as a brand is known in the entire market and known for its services and promises of customers being considered by management.
Public relation activities to build strategic relations
Operating in such a competitive market it is essential for top level management of Thomas Cook to undertake appropriate public relation tools and techniques so as to provide effective platform to external stakeholders to share their views and feedbacks. Thomas Cook undertakes several methods in understanding needs and wants of different stakeholders and accordingly offering them services to enhance the level of satisfaction.
- Audio releases: Message recorded in audio and distributed to various media channels so that wide range of audience can connect to it (Dolnicar and Laesser, 2007).
- Event/Functions: For maintaining public relation with stakeholders, Thomas Cook organises events and official functions to target its customers and promote the existing and new range of services.
- Community relations: Building better relationship with members of society helps Thomas Cook in building better customer loyalty. By the means of this, cited firm can earn the trust of local people which is most important in terms of sustaining business for long term periods (Pan, MacLaurin and Crotts, 2007).
There exist large number of strategies with the help of which Thomas cook can increase effectiveness of marketing strategies and they are as follows:
Analysing strategies of competitors in order to know their effectiveness in designing marketing strategies and through this company can better interact with its target market.
- Target market of Thomas cook is present in large amount and it becomes difficult for firm to reach them. Therefore, company must break down its customers in groups such as age, family, status etc.
- Offering discount and introducing other promotional schemes on large scale as at present company offers less benefits as compared with its competitors (Tourism Marketing, 2014).
- Firm can introduce loyalty schemes as currently no effective schemes have been introduced for attracting customers.
- Promoting services more on social networking sites especially facebook where presence of Thomas cook is limited.
- Sponsoring events is also effective strategy where large number of customers can know about services of company.
- Providing support to local charity organizations through which brand image can be developed easily.
From the above study it has been found that Thomas cook has developed effective marketing strategies for attracting its customers. Further, elements of extended marketing mix has supported management in serving customers in better manner. Further, for improvement it is necessary for firm to consider the recommendations provided as company is not focusing on several areas such as advertisement through social media, sponsoring event etc. This can be fruitful for organization in every possible manner and can support in grabbing opportunities present in the business environment.
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