Strategic niche marketing for UK independent seaside hotels
Stone, Anthony Gareth
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The thesis addresses the question, 'What strategic marketing approaches are available for the re-positioning of a UK independent seaside hotel?'. The research was conducted through a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) at St Brides Hotel, Pembrokeshire. The owners have recognised the need for product development at St Brides Hotel and wanted to utilise a marketing approach to assist in development. The literature review is presented in two chapters, the first assesses the market conditions for St Brides Hotel with trends in hotel usage identified, particularly the rise of boutique hotels. The second literature review chapter focuses upon research covering marketing strategies and tactics appropriate for the case study hotel. A competitor analysis presents findings from similar properties in equivalent tourist regions and equivalent target market segments, helping to position the case study hotel within the UK hotel market. The methodological approach identifies the research as a combined case study/action research methodology utilising rich, in-depth data. A case study chapter is presented describing and discussing key marketing issues, including public relations, branding and word of mouth promotion activities. The chapter also includes analysis of restaurant, accommodation, banqueting and bar performance over the two-year project period. Key findings from the research identified a differentiation strategy as most suitable for the case study hotel. Marketing tactics used to support the strategy include public relations, generation of positive word of mouth and utilising information technology to communicate with customers, which assists in building brand loyal customers. The case study hotel benefits from this marketing approach through increased customer awareness, industry prestige, a year round season and promotion of the property to customers, which in turn will lead to improved profitability. Conclusions are drawn together using a SWOT analysis prior to the proposal of a generic model of marketing strategy for the independent luxury seaside hotel.
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