Hugh Taylor from Edwardian Hotels stated that ‘Marketing is not an elusive art, it is more a science of identifying customer needs and wants and presenting a package that answers these needs’ (1993, pp.16). I am going to be investigating the core concepts and principles of this ‘science’ and how it applies to the Burj Al Arab Hotel in Dubai. The Burj Al Arab, also known to some as The Burj, is the landmark hotel of Dubai with a height of three hundred and twenty one metres and magnificent architecture. It oozes luxury with its fantastic facilities, exceptional service and wealthy clientele. I am going to be looking at how they have secured their place in the market and what they have done in the way of marketing to become such an ‘extraordinary’ hotel (Jumeirah, 2012).
Customer Needs and Buyer Behaviour
Marketing has become more than just ‘telling and selling’ these days with it now being understood as also satisfying customer needs (Armstrong & Kotler, pp.4). It is all about identifying demand, which is defined as ‘the systematic gathering, recording, analysis and utilisation of information related to all factors which affect a business operator’ (Roberts, pp.82). If a hotel operator cannot clearly recognise not only the customer's needs and requirements but the level of these, how are they ever going to be able to make their business successful? The main method of identifying customer needs is market research. There are many ways of gathering this research such as telephone surveys, personal interviews, guest comment data, mailed questionnaires and competitor analysis. In the way of the Burj Al Arab, after leaving the hotel they email questionnaires to customers and hand out guest questionnaires (see appendix 1), which asks them to give their details and then leaves space for them to write about their experience at the hotel. Customer care has become one of the most important elements of any business that deals with customers as it is seen as the best way of maintaining and developing a profitable business, especially in the case of hotels where everything revolves around keeping the clientele happy. On the Expedia website, a customer review of The Burj Al Arab stated that ‘the staff at Burj Al Arab was above and beyond our imagination of good customer service’ (Expedia, 2011).
Once potential demand and customer needs are established, the hospitality operator will gain the knowledge and understanding of what influences really exist in buyer behaviour. Some of these influences are location and accessibility, cost, value and quality, style and ambience, advertising, recommendations and previous experiences amongst many more (Roberts, pp.162-163).
Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning
When marketing a product such as a hotel, one has to realise that everyone is different therefore making it impossible to cater to all their individual needs. You could either go with the mass marketing approach, which only works for a similar market where everyone’s needs are similar, or adopt market segmentation. This is simply defined as ‘the separation of groups into more easily targeted segments’ (Roberts, pp.65). Market targeting is all about choosing which segmented group will fit with your product. The market can be segmented with geography, demographics, psychographics and behaviour. Segmenting the market geographically will look at different areas and whether they are wealthy or not for example. You’ve also got to look at whether your product will fit into a specific area. For example, The Burj Al Arab have targeted the correct area to start their luxury and expensive hotel as Dubai is generally seen as a wealthy country where the tourists have a lot of money to spend but the fact that they have chosen the coastline makes it stand out as no other hotel in Dubai is on the beach. It will also be the first thing...