The purpose of this case analysis is to address the key marketing issue for the Hilton Hotels. The marketing strategies Hilton should pursue in the hotel and gaming markets will be discussed and recommendations will be made. In addition, the use and implementation of the SWOT analysis will be incorporated throughout the discussion. Information will be provided from the case study and the use of secondary resources for support of the marketing strategies recommended for the Hilton Hotels.
Hilton Hotels is one of the market leaders in the hotel and gaming industry in the United States. Hilton is a well-known and distinguished name in fine hotels across the United States and worldwide. In 1999, Hilton expanded aggressively by acquiring the Promus Hotel Corporation, Hampton Inn and Suites, Doubletree Hotels, Embassy Suites Hotels, and Homewood Suites. Hilton Hotels Corporation has grown to become the world's most recognized and most successful hotel company (Hilton Innovation, 2007). With the 2006 acquisition of Hilton International, Hilton Hotels Corporation became a global force with more than 2,800 hotels in more than 80 countries throughout the world (2007).
The demographics for a diverse company such as Hilton offer a wide variety of customers. Hilton's target market includes the everyday business traveler, families on vacation, leisure travelers, and the convention business segment. After the events of September 11, the hotel industry has seen changing demographics and lifestyle changes that have had a major impact on the U.S. traveler. Many travelers have different priorities when traveling to include visiting theme parks, beaches, shopping, dining, or other entertainment. The age of the traveler and their marital status and number of children can have a large impact on the vacation destinations of the consumer. There has been a greater breakdown of the hotel industry and according to demographics, psychographics, and location the following four segments have been identified: Economy, Business Class, Luxury, and Recreation and Entertainment. Hilton Hotels has recognized this trend and according to Jerry Tarasofsky (2007) of Hotel News Resource, "you can start by dividing your customer base into groups of individuals that are similar in specific ways, such as age, gender, interests, and purpose of visit. Once you have segmented your visitors, you can target specific groups such as business travelers or convention planners to maximize your marketing dollars towards the more valuable segments."
Hilton has discovered an increasing need in the market to combine the gaming industry with the hotel industry. "While gaming accounted for about 34 percent of Hilton's overall sales in the early 1990s, its four casinos contributed nearly two-thirds of Hilton's operating earnings" (McDonald, 1998, p. 1). The contribution of gaming to Hilton's operating earnings demonstrated this increasing need for consumers to have gaming and hotel stay combined into one service. In addition, Hilton surveyed its customers to help determine additional market needs and expectations. "Hilton's research highlighted the need for a product development approach that would enable customers to match their needs easily against a specially adapted style or area of hotel service" (McDonald, 1998, p. 3). As a result, Hilton created the "Hilton Promise that every Hilton employee would give superior and distinctive service, which guests would remember and for which they would return" (McDonald, 1998, p, 3). As the market needs continue to shift, so do Hilton's strategies.
The hotel industry market has demonstrated a trend of incorporating gaming (such as casinos) and entertainment into the services offered by the hotel. For example, Hilton has now expanded its facilities to include casinos and shows in various parts of the world. "The adopted approach was to consider...
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