Marketing mix in business entails putting the right product in the right place, at the right time and for the right price (Sanghvi, 2014). Competition has literary forced many companies to develop the marketing plans that have the detailed marketing mix to establish the target market of their business. The market methods used should meet the goals and objectives of a business within a specified timeframe that is commonly identifiable as projections. The marketing mix framework has four elements, which are product, price, place and promotion, although people, process and environment are applied, depending on the type of business (Sanghvi, 2014). The most recent developments have seen the hospitality industry implement the marketing mix, among such hotels is the Doha Marriot Hotel. Doha Marriot Hotel is a five-star hotel located in Doha, Qatar.
Doha Marriot Hotel is located in Ras Abu Aboud Street, overlooking the Doha port, and it is 12 km from Hamad International Airport and only 4 km from the Museum of Islamic Art center. Situated on the Gulf Bay beach, it has the most beautifully designed rooms and suites that have high-speed internet and 24-hours service. The marble floors create a beautiful glamor from the evening sunshine of the desert. The hotel has facilities, such as a fitness center, a sparkling outdoor pool, several restaurants and a luxury spa (“Doha Marriott Hotel,” 2016). The primary attraction of the hotel is the beautiful Al Ruwaq ballroom. Doha Marriot Hotel uses the marketing mix strategies to attract all the types of customers. The thesis of this paper is to establish the importance of marketing mix and the way it is employed by Doha Marriot hotel to attract the local and international visitors.
Importance of Marketing Mix
Marketing mix provides the essential tools for hotels to establish their target markets. The importance to hotels is that a hotel understands customers’ behaviors despite their differences in culture, language, and in social aspects. The businesses will explore their quality of service to meets customers’ needs and increase their advantages against competitors. Deploying marketing mix strategy in organization develops strengths and weaknesses of the business, also identifying the opportunities and threats that might affect the sales. It enables the organization to focus on the particular strategy that is beneficial to the organization and that meets the objectives and the goals of the firm. Through market mix, the market is segmented to enhance the profitability of the segments and the strategies that can be deployed to increase profitability in the segments and improve other spheres. Through the mix, the businesses can identify the trend and introduce some new products or services that suit customers’ tastes.
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Marketing mix strategies attach the cost of each strategy to achieve the objectives of the organization (Peter & Donnelly, 2011). The marketing mix will establish the value of the marketing strategy and the revenues generated by employing the strategy. The cost of carrying out the marketing initiative is observed in the promotion media used. Some advertising means are costly, depending on the size of the business. Through establishing the costs, a probable means of advertising are used, and they are cost-efficient and reliable. The importance of marketing mix waters down to the core values of an idea, a strategy, and commercialization, which equal to success, meaning profitability (Kotler & Armstrong, 2012).
The product is an item that is developed with the aim to satisfy customers’ needs in business. The products can be tangible or intangible regarding goods or services (Ivy, 2008). Hotel products include guest rooms, foods and beverages, recreational facilities, executive lounge, health and fitness facilities, banqueting rooms, travel desk and business center, among many other products (Kotler & Armstrong, 2012). Doha Marriot Hotel has divided its products into four components, which are core, facilitating, supporting and augmented products.
Doha Marriot Hotel core product is the hotel guest rooms. The hotel rooms are divided into four categories, which are deluxe, executive, executive suite and presidential suite (“Doha Marriott Hotel,” 2016). The rooms’ designs are a mix of Arab and European culture, considering the biggest segment of its visitors are European families. The hotel has rooms with single and twin beds to cater for guests with young children. The rooms have a dining table, centered bed and the sitting area, so that the family can relax not necessarily having to sit on the bed, and providing the home feeling. The hotel has gone to extra heights of carpeting the entire room with soft Arabic carpet. The setting up of the rooms is meant to target the European market with families and provide elegant guest rooms.
Facilitation products include restaurants, bars, customer service and online reservations. Doha Marriot hotel has a spacious reception and a lobby area that has the decorated ceiling with illuminating lights and wood carvings decorations at the reception (“Doha Marriott Hotel,” 2016). The hotel has a spacious and beautiful restaurant called Corniche that caters for a variety of seafood delicacies. Other delicacies, served at the restaurant, are street food Doha and Indian cuisines. The hotel also has the view side pool restaurant and pearl lounge club. The club has a wide variety of cocktail drinks to suit the European taste and preferences.
Supporting products increase the competitiveness of the hotel. The additional services that a hotel provides are 24/7 room service, free magazines, and newspapers, in addition to concierge services. The hotel has a free access to the fast internet and wireless connection in the rooms and around the hotel vicinity to help visitors keep in touch with their relatives and friends back at home or solve the urgent work issues (“Doha Marriott Hotel,” 2016). Meeting rooms for business people have being equipped with fast internet speed, both cable and wireless, to help them transact for core guests at the hotel are usually representatives of multinationals.
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Augmented products are the goods and services that are offered to a loyal customer, which include luxurious rooms offered at discount rates, the high class designed rooms for meetings and relaxed atmosphere at specific areas, in addition to helicopter landing pad for visitors who wish to explore Qatar by air (“Doha Marriott Hotel,” 2016). This saves them time to use the transport system and avoid the traffic jams. The extra services for an extra cost create a loyalty base for the hotel.
The place is the location of the business that gives it an advantage over its competitors (Ivy, 2008). Doha Marriot hotel belongs to a group of Marriot hotels that has its headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, United States of America (“Doha Marriott Hotel,” 2016). Marriot hotels are presented in more than sixty countries on 505 locations around the world. Strategic place of Doha Marriot sets it above its peers in Qatar. More importantly, marketing mix in hotels is how accessible the hotel is to consumers and what distribution methods are being used to attract customers. There are two approaches employed by Doha Marriot Hotel, which are direct methods and indirect methods.
Doha Marriot Hotel has adapted various direct methods to attract the clients to its place. The method that has worked best for the hotel to attract the far customers is the use of the global distribution system (GDS). The hotel clients are Americans and Europeans who have the need to use the technology to reach them. It has improved its technology through the use of the hotel website booking system to get the customers (“Doha Marriott Hotel,” 2016). The hotel was advertised on digital media through channels, like Aljazeera, that have a world-wide view. It has taken advantages of hotel show editions in Europe to promote in the local press of Europe and pamphlets in the events. Print media has not been widely used by the hotel, but in North America, it has advertised once a month in the local dailies of the specific countries. Direct hotel sales team and personal telephone calls is another strategy that is used by the hotel to get local customers.
The hotel has deployed some indirect methods to attract clients in other Middle East countries, Asia and Africa (Peter & Donnelly, 2011). The hotel is using travel agents to these regions due to the geographical areas and population; the hotel cannot reach to all of the customers. Independent travel agents and event planners have provided the hotel with the niche in holding parties and weddings (Sanghvi, 2014). Recently, the hotel has seen an increase in the trend of marriages from Asian countries of India, China, Malaysia, and Japan, signaling that the use of event planners is essential. Online travel agents have also increased the number of visitors to the hotel in the financial year. The hotel has registered with booking.com, Expedia and Agoda to be their online travel agents. It is weighing the opportunities for increasing other online travel agents that have the traffic on their website. Online travel portals, such as trip advisor and hotelIQ are also used by the hotel. Trip advisor is the hotel’s number one client provider, thus their relationship is being highly valued.
Price is the rate at which a customer is paying for the products and for the services. The pricing strategy in hotels entails room rates and food and beverage prices. Doha Marriot Hotel (2016) has categorized its rates in two categories peak season, low season and shoulder season.
High season varies in Qatar, depending on the type of hotel and services offered. Doha Marriot hotel high season starts from December to April and during this time, the hotel can charge high prices, but the hotel chooses to charge average prices to build loyal members to come back during the low season at a discounted rate (“Doha Marriott Hotel,” 2016). The pricing strategy developed at this time is a discount on special foods and cuisines. The hotel also provides tourist vans and car hire service to its guests at discounted rates.
Low season for Doha Marriot hotel usually starts from May to August, where there are few clients and the climate is too hot for many tourists and changes to cold weather, where Doha city experiences cornflakes of snow. During low season the hotel charges 50% of its initial price on foods and also organizes tours to the deserts sand dunes (“Doha Marriott Hotel,” 2016). While beverages prices are set high, guests have an advantage of using other amenities, like the hotel swimming pool and also swim at the nearby private gulf bay beach.
The shoulder season is the period between high and low season, where the hotel experiences inconsistent customers’ attendance. During this period of time, the hotel sales and marketing department embark on marketing drive across the continents to attract customers for the new high season with new incentives like the newly created and expanded spa and lounge (“Doha Marriott Hotel,” 2016).
Promotion is the communication method the hotel communicates with its customers or potential customers. It is where the brand is created, and a marketing message is developed (Ivy, 2008). Marketing mix promotion is divided into five categories by Doha Marriot Hotel (2016) sales and marketing team.
Advertising: Advertising entails advertising in print, digital and social media the hotel facilities, which includes products and services with their rates and also discounted facilities.
Personal selling and direct marketing: Personal selling and direct marketing are used by the hotel to market the hotel locally and with the Gulf Cooperation Council of which Qatar belongs.
Brochures: The brochure purpose is to inform, publicize and identify key services of the hotel. The sales and marketing department prints brochures and places them at the reception every guest booking is provided with a brochure, which includes names of the hotel’s venues.
Billboards: Billboards are huge signposts placed on major points around the city and on highways, where there are a lot of viewers. The management will use the billboards to advertise during low season.
Facebook page: The advancement of new technology has created social media platforms that have traffic. The social media strategy aims to target young people who are common users of social media to help advertisement through word of mouth by the youth to their parents, relatives, and friends.
Figure 1. Hotel marketing mix chart
The marketing mix helps the hotel develop marketing strategies and determine the costs of the policies about the hotel’s revenue. The core factor of Doha Marriot hotel is people. The perception of people about the hotel is critical to its success. Aside from that, the marketing mix helps the hotel in developing marketing strategies that are in line with the objectives of the hotel. Conclusively, the marketing mix has made the hotel to develop marketing strategies that are conducive for all the seasons of the hotel. The question still lingers over the determinants of customer satisfaction.