Acquiring and Retaining Customers through Traditional- and Relationship Marketing : Case- Study on the Quality Hotel Burke & Wills
Abstract: The hotel industry is highly competitive and the right knowledge about customer values and demands is essential to differentiate from competitors and gain sustainable competitive advantage. Implementing traditional marketing strategies is often no longer enough to achieve this goal. Relationship marketing has increasingly become more important, as this concept suggests more focus on retaining the customer and creating a win- win situation with a long- term perspective. In traditional marketing there is more focus on acquisition. Most importantly a good balance between acquisition and retention directed to the right segments is essential for future success. This thesis is a case- study of a single business in the hospitality industry and the company of interest is the Burke & Wills, a hotel situated in Toowoomba, a regional city in Queensland, Australia. The purpose is to explore how well Burke & Wills markets itself, looking closely at the strategies used and how these are implemented. I also wanted to investigate whether the hotel’s present acquisition- and retention efforts are suitably divided between the various segments. The final objective with this thesis is to identify any opportunities for improvements. The case- study consists of both a qualitative- and a quantitative approach. Two staff interviews were carried out and a survey in the form of a questionnaire was handed out to the customers of the hotel. The intention with this was to explore whether present marketing strategies are effective or not. I found that the management of Burke & Wills has little knowledge about how to best market the hotel both when it comes to acquisition- and retention efforts and to direct these to suitable segments. The company seems inadequate to identify and attract potential customers during quiet periods which results in a big loss of potential revenue. The survey shows that the company’s awareness of what the customer values as quality service is fairly good but might not be enough to prevent future loss of customers. As a result of this these customers may turn to competition for better service in the future. The majority of returning customers also state that they would value a more personalised approach from Burke & Wills. I draw the conclusion that there is a lack of interest in how to improve the marketing of the company. No surveys have been conducted in the last few years to get customers´ opinions. They take their position on the market for granted and even with new competition they chose to stay inactive. Focus on improvement should be a priority but it is not. I believe it is essential to, at this stage, employ a person with marketing experience to make the company stronger and to maximise the possibilities of the hotel.
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