Marketing is that activity, which is considered to be very important for every business organization, no matter in what industry it is operating. Without getting involved in marketing and promotional activities, no firm can sustain in market for a very long period of time (Kotler and et. al, 2006). Therefore it may not be wrong to say that it is not only a source through which company can interact with its existing and prospective customers, but also influence their decision making process. Basically online marketing is a technique through which firm can get in touch with its buyers over internet and then interact or impact their decision making process (Litvin, Goldsmith and Pan, 2008). In today’s tech savvy market, where internet is at a booming stage, for hospitality organizations like that of Ritz-Carlton, it has become a major technique through which they can engage the customers and also try to attract them. Herein, it can also be said that in current market it is the only way through which it can be made sure that firm’s marketing strategies and brand image in market are highly successful (O’Connor and Murphy, 2004). The condition of promotion and advertising world is such that online and internet marketing has become a major tool through which it can be made sure that the firm is able to succeed in its business operations and that sales also continue to rise.
Ritz Carlton Hotels are one of the world’s leading hotel chains. It was established back in 1983 and since the corporation has grown by leaps and bounds. It basically is a subsidiary to Marriott International Group. The hotel is known worldwide for the services that it provides to customers and how it attempts to make sure that their needs and wants are satisfied.
Main aim of conducting this study is “Evaluate Effectiveness of Online Marketing to Improving Brand Image in Hospitality Industry: a Case Study of Ritz-Carlton Hotel, UK”.
While objectives of the study are:
Following are the research questions:
Since last many years, the world of marketing has undergone a lot of changes, as numerous developments and changes have taken place. One of them is the emergence of online and digital marketing. It is a combination of those marketing activities which is done over internet and such digital platforms (Chan and Guillet, 2011). Currently it is the best and most effective way through which an organization can engage into marketing. Main reason as to why it has become so important that internet has grown rapidly over the last few years, and almost every person on the planet, spends a considerable amount of their time on it. Therefore for firms it has become very important that they have such marketing strategies through which they can get in touch with the maximum number of customers and thus be able to maximize its reach (Lucj and Lancaster, 2003). If they do not engage into such acts, then their survival chances are very low, rather there could be situations where they might have to bow out of the market. Without implementing such strategies, the business could get stuck into a very precarious situation, where it’s very existence may be put into jeopardy. It now has become a worldwide known phenomenon that without online and digital marketing strategies effectiveness and efficiency cannot be attained (DeMers, 2014). Apart from this, in comparison to traditional and conventional marketing methods, online marketing is a much cheaper and far more effective or useful tool for business organizations. This is so because of reason that when it is compared to the established marketing techniques; digital one proves to be much cheaper, least time consuming and also very much effective to the company (Tepci, 2009). For firms it has become very important that they have some kind of social presence in the world of social networking. The reason behind it is that such social networking sites has become a very important and central part to lives of the people, as they spend most of their day on such websites. Those firms which do not engage into such activities, may fail to function properly and even may cease to exist in the market.
This study is being conducted in order to gain information about what all the company needs to do, so that it can engage in online marketing activities. It is a known fact that there are numerous points that need to be kept in mind when devising such strategies, as they have the capability to make or break the organization. Through the report, an attempt will be made so as to understand how can hospitality organizations like Ritz-Carlton can develop its digital marketing strategies and thus be able to attain its goals and objectives. This study becomes all the more important because of reason that in today’s hyper competitive era, no business firm can sustain without a proper online marketing strategy in place. This is so because of reason that it is the only way through which survival and success of the company can be ensured. In this study an attempt has been made to understand the various factors that force an organization to opt for and adopt digital marketing techniques in the present business scenario. Through this study, the researcher would make an attempt so as to evaluate the use and effectiveness of online marketing methods through which management at hotel can aim to enhance their image in the market by a considerable level.
Literature review is an evaluative report of information found in the literature to selected area of study. The review describes summaries and evaluates the literature. It provides theoretical base for the research and helps in determining the nature of research. It is more than search for information and helps in providing support. Literature reviews are secondary sources and focuses on research questions. Benefits associated with conducting review include identification of experts on particular topic, assessment of current state of research on topic, helps in determining methodologies used in past studies and allows to get new, different ideas that person may not thought about.
Online marketing refers to the efforts linked with advertising and marketing that uses web and email to drive direct sales via electronic commerce etc. this type of marketing is growing rapidly and is helping organization in every terms. It helps in understanding the range of products and services that firm is offering to target market. Person sitting at home can choose the favorite item of his or her choice and can buy it. On the other hand it reduces overall efforts of organization as there is no need to demonstrate product and door to door advertisement is not required. Websites of company shows the range of product and give description which customers want (Sheehan, 2010). Proper feedback system is also designed by companies in which customer can give suggestion or complain with the help of internet and company will give immediate response. So handling process becomes quite easy for organizations.
Day by day companies are depending more on online methods in order to promote their products and this automatically provides convenience to clients. Some benefits of online marketing include reach as by marketing on internet barriers of distance can be overcome. Goods can be sold at any part of the country without setting up local outlets and widening target market (Bailey, 2011). Companies can build export business without opening network of distributors in different countries. Next advantage is convenience internet marketing enables firm to open for business around the clock without worrying about store opening hours and avoids situation of overtime payment to staff. On the other hand customers can browse online store at any time and place when it is convenient for them. Marketing products with the help of online method costs less than marketing them through physical retail outlet as it saves rent of property and other cost of maintenance etc. customer can order stock in line with demand. Internet provides important platform for building relationship with customer and increasing customer retention. When any customer has purchased product from any company website then strong relationship is developed as company regularly provides information to customers on the running schemes like discounts etc. time to time customers are asked for feedback whether they are satisfied with the services offered or not. Emailing customers with special personalized offers helps to maintain relationship (Blyth, 2012). This also increases motivation level of customers as they get attracted towards firm and helps in building sense of community. Internet marketing helps to take advantage of growing importance of social media. These sites are very helpful in developing strong relations and increases knowledge level of customers as they see new products. It allows 24*7 hrs marketing. In the current scenario customers are indulging in activities which provide convenience and are totally safe this is only possible with the help of online marketing. Companies can gather data linked with customers and know the overall response of particular product. Data can be analyzed in order to identify the most popular service and segmentation can be done on the basis of priorities (Gurau, 2008).
In order to grow in the market hospitality industries have to adopt unique methods like online methods. Online marketing with the help of facebook will be very beneficial for industries operating in hospitality sector as this will help in increasing customer interaction and engagement of online world (Barrows and Powers, 2008). By using facebook hotels and conference centers can directly communicate with its customers and interact with them online. Industries can set up their own private page on facebook by which customers can know the range of services offered by firm. They can compare fairs of all the hotels in order to save their money. It will help in acquiring new potential customers as facebook is one of the cheapest methods to grab new customers (Cox and Koelzer, 2004). It helps organization to discover its business potential through recommendations of friends or by watching their friend activities on their pages. In past customers usually contact hospitality industries through mobile phones which is now not followed and there is need to adopt new method like online one which can provide information in less time and customer can book rooms sitting at home (Andrews, 2007). It will provide more convenience to customers as they can plan their holidays in different manner which can save time and money. Firm can publish live picture of their hotels which will attract customers as they can see the structure of building. Person can analyze and experience the range of services being offered by hospitality industry. With the help of online market firm can easily fulfill which cannot be achieved through other methods. Main every of every hospitality industry is to serve clients better so as to create remarkable experience and this can also develop loyalty in between customers (Muller, 2010).
For any research, determining its methodology is very important because of reason that it is the guiding principle which will provide direction to researcher as to how the study has to be conducted.
There are two main types of research philosophies which can be considered by the researcher – Interpretivism and Positivism. In this research study, interpretivisim philosophy would be used, as it would enable the scholar to make sure that data collected is true and reliable.
There are many kinds of approaches which can be thought of by researcher – Inductive and Deductive. In inductive approach, researcher would have to develop a completely new theory on the basis of observations and data analysis; while deductive is the opposite of it. In this research analysis, deductive research approach would be used.
In the present descriptive style of research will be adopted, as online marketing in hospitality organizations is a very vast topic and also that various researches and studies have been done on this subject matter (Marshall and Rossman, 2010). Through this approach, the researcher will be able to know what are the various factors that force companies to opt for digital marketing strategies these days.
For any research, data collection is a very important process (Pawar, 2004). Though there are a lot of methods through which data can be collected for present study, but in here, interviews will be used as the main tool to gather such information.
This is another very important topic for any research (Stawarski and Phillips, 2008). In this report, sample will be collected from 50 managers of Ritz-Carlton Hotel who have been with the organization for more than 5 years. In here, Stratified Sampling will be used.
Considering the present report, in relation to data collection, there are some issues that the researcher might have to face (Johnson and Troike, 2002). These are in terms that the managers may not have time to respond to the researcher, or they may not be interested in answering the questions.
There some points that will have to be kept in mind by the researcher and ensure that the study is conducted on moral grounds and also researcher will have to ensure that data and information of respondents is kept secure and not given to any third party.
Though there are a lot of data analysis techniques (Sinha, 2004). But in the present report, qualitative analysis of collected data will be done, wherein different themes will be formed.