Marketing Intercontinental Hotels Resorts Essay

Question:

Discuss About The Marketing Intercontinental Hotels Resorts?

Answer:

Introduction

InterContinental hotels and resorts are well-established hotel group in United Kingdom. The group has more than 180 hotels, which are situated in over 60 nations worldwide. Since more than 70 years, this brand is one of the major luxurious hotel brands in the world. The hotel organization is very popular because of its excellent hospitality services and operations. The company is engaged in green activities and operations (InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, 2017). In addition, it is engaged in responsible business by conducting various environment friendly activities, like; online sustainability systems, green engage system etc. This report includes different service aspects for InterContinental Hotels and Resorts. It presents the services of organization by creating a service blueprint for the organization. From the flow charts of previous assessment, it includes functions of front stage and back stage departments. In addition, it discusses the “moments of truth” of the service organization and there are some determinants of satisfaction and dissatisfaction. At the end, the report describes the service-recovery strategy plan for InterContinental Hotels.

Blue Print for Service Organization

Service blueprint is a diagram for representing the services process of a services organization. A service blueprint includes various aspects of service process, like; process of service offering, customer contact points and evidence of the services for the customer’s perspective. Service blueprint works as a tool, which offers guidance to the organization, how a service will be offered and specifies human resource actions, physical evidence of services, infrastructure and support system that is required to deliver services (Amin & Zahora Nasharuddin, 2013). Using service blueprint can be beneficial in the stage of service concept development, while planning for a new service.

InterContinental Hotels and resorts are the well-known hotels in the United Kingdom hotel and hospitality industry. This hotel group ensures that all the booking and reservations will be made on the websites of hotel that provides the guests and tourists with the best prices and offers for rooms and suites according to date and choices of guests. This online reservation process assists the public to find out the affordable rate online and book the rooms confirmed in local currency of hotel organization (Baum, 2016). In creating a service blueprint, cross functional teams and customers will be engaged in demonstrating the entire hotel service. InterContinental Hotels is creating service blueprint that includes all the related aspects of the organization. The service blueprint of this hotel consists of all customer contact points, physical evidence, support processes and other related processes including customer experiences.

Most of the processes at InterContinental Hotels are determined by service encounter between customers and employees (Bitner & Wang, 2014). However, the hotel has successfully developed an organizational culture and structure, which assists service model of the company and has implemented effective marketing strategies to depend on this organizational culture and brand image.

The below-given diagram presents the service blueprint of InterContinental Hotels. It includes various processes and components, which are stated below;

Figure 1: Service Blueprint of InterContinental Hotels

Actions of customers

This aspect of service blueprint includes all the actions, which are taken by the customers and guests during delivery of service. In the case of InterContinental Hotels, guests’ actions begin from the time, when they enter into premises of hotel (Dhar, 2015). The guests are greeted at the door of hotel and taken to reception. Then after, customers interact with receptionist to check the booking in the case of online booking. The receptionist processes the check-in and registration procedure. This procedure includes the assigning the room, give the keys and sending the bags to room. In this context, the guests can visit the restaurant area of hotel and they can use other fun and entertainment activities at InterContinental (Gunarathne, 2014).

Physical Evidence

Physical evidence at InterContinental includes all the things, which a guest can utilize and see to affect his perception for delivery of service. At InterContinental, the guests will utilize the personality and body language of employees as physical evidence to perceive the services. In addition, physical evidence may include all the tangible elements at hotel, like; ambience, furniture and other physical evidences at hotel.

Employee Actions

Employee actions can be divided into two parts, like; Invisible contact employee actions and visible contact employee actions. Visible employee actions are the face to face interactions between employees and guests at hotel (Gr?nroos and Gr?nroos, 2016). At InterContinental, it includes the front office communications, like; interaction with housekeeping staff, dining facilities and entertainment and recreational activities interactions.

Moreover, invisible employee actions are the indirect communication between customers and employees. At InterContinental, it includes emails and telephone calls, which are shared between employees and guests.

Support processes

Support processes are the processes, which are taken behind the service delivery and these processes do not include direct interaction with the guests. In the case of InterContinental Hotel, the support processes may include HR and finance processes. Supporting processes are necessary for the service to be offered (Jaakkola, Helkkula & Aarikka-Stenroos, 2015).

Front and back stage functions

Service companies are primarily divided in two different divisions, i.e. front stage operations and back stage operations. Front stage includes all the processes, which are utilized to interact with the customers at organization. Moreover, back stage division deal with the processes and services, which are not interacted with the customers. The employees in this division have the abilities and skills of how the services are offered.

Front stage and back stage operations at InterContinental Hotels are stated below;

Front Stage Functions

In a service organization, front stage functions make up most of the service delivery process. Front stage functions at InterContinental Hotels start with the employee actions and customer actions. It includes welcoming and greeting customers with a smiling face, checking the guests in, recording their personal information, baggage delivery, inquiring the guests etc. All these actions are front stage practices between employees and guests. In front desk operations, each and every process will deliver the physical evidence that a guest can use to make their attitude and perception regarding service (Kindstr?m and Kowalkowski, 2014). InterContinental Hotel considers that front stage processes are more work-focused, because the staff needs to become multitasking and managing the guests.

Figure 2: Front Stage Flow Chart

Back Stage Functions

Back Stage functions are the functions, which include the operations, processes by the supporting divisions in the organization. The people in back office department are the predecessor to the functions of front stage department in the process of service delivery. These activities are not seen by the guests (Lovelock & Patterson, 2015). At InterContinental Hotels, the back stage operations include maintaining the information and records of customers, Finance, HR, housekeeping etc.

Figure 3: Back Stage Flow Chart

These functions are not experienced by the customers face to face or directly. These processes are significant for assisting the front stage operations. For instance, cleaning and better housekeeping is essential to aid the front stage operations. The organization needs to manage its front and back stage operations effectively to enhance its brand value and to attain profitability.

Moments of Truth for Organization

Moment of truth in service focused organizations refer to the phase of interaction between organization and customers. This type of interaction will result in creation of attitude and perception from the view of customer or leave an impression to the customers. A moment of truth determines the perception and views of customers about an organization. It develops a two way communication between organization and customers (Mattsson and Chadee, 2015).

In the case of InterContinental Hotels, each and every invisible or face to face communication between employee and guest creates a moment of truth. It includes the employee actions, customer actions and invisible actions. The company is offering the facility that people can make their booking on hotel’s website. These online services also work as moment of truth for InterContinental Hotels. The reservation systems and website functions simultaneously form the moments of truth. At InterContinental, front stage functions form the service process of the organization, so these processes play a vital role in forming the moment of truth. At a hotel organization, moments of truth can be both good and bad as well. However, it is necessary for InterContinental Hotels and Resorts to enhance the positive and better moments of truth to become successful in the competitive hospitality industry. Identifying these positive moments of truth helps the organization in ensuring the satisfaction level of guests and it will return to the service organization, i.e. InterContinental Hotels in the near future (Mattsson and S?derlund, 2017).

Determinants of satisfaction/dissatisfaction

In hospitality business, guest satisfaction is considered as a major factor for the any service organization. In this case, the service organization that is taken into consideration is InterContinental Hotels in United Kingdom. This organization operates its hotels and resorts at international level, so it is significant to maintain the higher standards of customer satisfaction through service providers.

There are some key determinants, which can be used to analyze the satisfaction and dissatisfaction level of the service organization. InterContinental Hotel is also using these determinants of satisfaction or dissatisfaction (Mattsson and Chadee, 2015).

Profitability

Profitability of an organization indicates the success and growth level of an organization. Sales and revenues off an organization are direct factors, which determine the satisfaction of guests, who are staying at InterContinental hotels.

Market Share

Same as, market share is also a major factor in evaluating the customer satisfaction. InterContinental Hotels is a leading player in UK hotel industry and worldwide. The major determinant of satisfaction and success will be market share of the organization that it enjoys over its competitors in the industry, like; Holiday Inn, Staybridge Suites, Candlewood Suites etc. If the company has higher market share, then it will assist the organization in proving higher level of customer satisfaction about the services offered (Mok, Sparks and Kadampully, 2013).

Repeat Intention of customers

Higher repeat intention of guests is also a direct determinant of satisfaction of guests at InterContinental Hotels. If the guests choose to stay at InterContinental Hotels UK again and again, it indicates that they are happy and satisfied with their services. Whenever, they travel to the city, they book the hotels under InterContinental Group, it shows that guests are satisfied with the delivery of service and brand promise.

Customer referrals

In the process of customer referrals, the existing customers recommend hotel’s services to their relatives and family if they like it and satisfied with the services. In an organization, a higher extent of customer referral shows the higher satisfaction towards services (S?rensen, Sundbo and Mattsson, 2013).

Customer feedback

Customer feedback also works as a direct determinant of the satisfaction or dissatisfaction of guests for the services, which are offered by this service organization. An increased level of customer complaints is a red flag for the hotel. So, the organization should deal with these issues immediately because they can influence the business and its brand image.

RATER Model

RATER model includes five different dimensions, like; reliability, assurance, tangibles, empathy and responsiveness. Along with this, RATER model can assist in identifying the measures of the services quality and gaps in quality of service. It assists the hotel to enhance service delivery model to get the success. By the use of RATER model, the organization can identify the gaps in service quality (Sun, Tong and Law, 2017). These gaps are like; gaps between abilities of management and knowledge and lack of confidence and trust between employees and customers, gaps between customer expectations and tangibles, possible gaps between communication between employees and guests at hotels etc.

It is essential to decrease the gaps to enhance the quality of services being rendered. InterContinental Hotels makes investment in training and development program for employees. For this the company will place service recovery plan and strategies, which are stated below;

Service-recovery strategy plan

For a service organization, service encounters are significant moment of truth in which people generally develop everlasting impressions of organization. Good and positive service encounters are vital for the success of business operations. So, it is essential for the management to keep an insight on the service encounter and make sure that it offering high standards and quality of hospitality services to customers. Unsuccessful and unproductive service processes can lead to significant cost to the hotel by performing the service again, becoming mandatory to reimburse the guests for poor service (Sun, Tong and Law, 2017). The managers at InterContinental Hotels must make sure that service encounter at hotel is up to the mark and fulfill the needs and expectations of guests. Managers require being cautious about adverse conditions, which may generate in service delivery and make sure that they have a service recovery plan and strategies.

In its service recovery plan of InterContinental hotel, the organization needs to make focus on three major areas;

  • Interactions with Guests
  • Services and processes
  • Employee Management

At InterContinental Hotels, if a condition arises, where a customer is dissatisfied with the services, so it is essential to take an action to recapture the trust of customers to enhance their positive attitudes and perceptions. In its service recovery plan of InterContinental Hotel, first step is for the employees to accept their faults and mistakes and apologize to the guests and management. It is significant to consider that dissatisfied guests want to be heard very closely and hopes the employees will be honestly sorry. The customers think that they are correct and generate specific expectations of staff to resolve the issues (Wong, 2013).

Under service recovery strategy, another aspect is related to having a plan to resolve processes and service failure. It is essential to enhance the processes and activities, which caused adverse situations in service system. It is as significant as recovering the dissatisfied customer. The last strategy includes combination of two strategies, which is related to employee management. Training department and management should continuously educate and train the employees at hotel to become cautious about the potential adverse situations and manage their behavioral and personality traits.

In brief, an effective service recovery plan needs complaint acknowledgement, apology, better steps to process suitable actions, analysis and interaction with employees and staff.

Conclusion

From the above report, it can be concluded that InterContinental Hotels and Resorts are adopting and implementing effective services strategies. In its services blueprint, the organization is focusing on various aspects, when the service is rendered to the guests. The report includes all the functions of front stage and back stage department of the organization. All the functions are divided into departments effectively. The service system is effective for sustainable service delivery and business. The service recovery plan will assist the organization in resolving the issues related to service failure.

References

Amin, M., & Zahora Nasharuddin, S, 2013, Hospital service quality and its effects on patient satisfaction and behavioural intention, Clinical Governance: An International Journal, 18(3), 238-254.

Baum, T. ed., 2016. Human resource issues in international tourism. Elsevier.

Bitner, M. J., & Wang, H. S, 2014, Service encounters in service marketing research, Handbook of service marketing research, 221.

Dhar, R. L, 2015, Service quality and the training of employees: The mediating role of organizational commitment, Tourism Management, 46, 419-430.

Gunarathne, U, 2014, Relationship between Service Quality and Customer Satisfaction in Sri Lankan Hotel Industry, International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Volume 4, Issue 11.

Gr?nroos, C. and Gr?nroos, C., 2016. Internationalization strategies for services: a retrospective. Journal of Services Marketing, 30(2), pp.129-132.

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, 2017, Explore InterContinental, Retrieved from

Jaakkola, E., Helkkula, A., & Aarikka-Stenroos, L, 2015, Service experience co-creation: conceptualization, implications, and future research directions, Journal of Service Management, 26(2), 182-205.

Kindstr?m, D. and Kowalkowski, C., 2014, Service innovation in business-?to-?business firms, Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 29(2).

Lovelock, C., & Patterson, P, 2015, Services marketing. Pearson Australia.

Mattsson, J. and Chadee, D., 2015, Customer satisfaction in tourist service encounters. In Proceedings of the 1995 world marketing congress (pp. 397-397). Springer International Publishing.

Mattsson, J. and S?derlund, M., 2017, Thinking about the service encounter enhances encounter-related word-of-mouth. In Quality in Services.

Mok, C., Sparks, B. and Kadampully, J., 2013, Service quality management in hospitality, tourism, and leisure. Routledge.

S?rensen, F., Sundbo, J. and Mattsson, J., 2013, Organisational conditions for service encounter-based innovation. Research Policy, 42(8), pp.1446-1456.

Sun, S., Tong, K.T. and Law, R., 2017, Chinese hotel guest perception of international chain hotels under the same hotel brand in different travel destinations: The cases of intercontinental and Sheraton. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 23(2), pp.172-188.

Wong, I.A., 2013, Exploring customer equity and the role of service experience in the casino service encounter. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 32, pp.91-101

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