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Maintaining the competitive advantage in the industry is not an easy task for the businesses. When the company is operating in the hospitality industry then they need to be more effective in managing their competitiveness as the level of competition is high for this industry. Along with this the companies should have effective marketing strategies which can allow them in being effective in the different markets in which they are operating. Experiential marketing is one of the effective marketing which can help the businesses in improving the overall experience of their customers (Agency, 2022). For understanding the concept and the theory of experiential marketing the case of an international hospitality brand would be discussed. Whitbread PLC an multinational hospital hotel and restaurant company would be considered as the case company for this report. The company is operating in different markets and having many hotels in different nations. The research aim and objectives are stated below such as:
This report aims at exploring the concept of experiential marketing in detail and explaining that how Whitbread PLC can improve their customer experience in their target market (UAE) by using experiential marketing.
The company is doing well but it is important for the company to understand their target market before applying the strategies for them. This can help them in keeping the customers satisfied. In this report the researcher would be considering UAE as the target market for the case company. Whitbread PLC is already operating in UAE but the company is looking forward to make the changes in their working process and strategies which can help them in improving the experience before, during and after the consumption of the goods and services offered by the company. This report would include two different sections in which the first one would be describing the concept of experiential marketing in detail and will suggest that how it can help in improving the experience of the customers. In this section the concept of experiential marketing would be applied to Whitbread PLC in detail that how the company can improve the customer experience in the target market of UAE. Another part of the report would be the communication plan. The plan would focus on explaining that how the company can focus on the effective methods for communicating with the customers by using the social media for the target market. Along with this the communication plan would be focused on the research aim, objectives, solutions and suggestions made in the section one of the report.
Whenever the customer buy any of the product and service there are the different touch points where the customer interacts with the company. Every single interaction between the customers and the company is very important as it is having an impact on the experience of the customer with the brand. It is important for every brand to ensure that the customer should get connected with their brand which would allow them in increasing brand awareness and loyalty (Le et. al. 2019). The businesses make use of different types of marketing strategies which connecting with the customers. But unlike the traditional and the online marketing practices, experiential marketing is a unique concept. Experiential marketing is an type of marketing strategy which can help the businesses in connecting well with their consumers and building brand awareness in an appropriate manner.
In general terms experiential marketing is a marketing strategy which can allow the companies to create a meaningful relationship between the brand and the customers by offering them effective experience. Experiential marketing is also known as engagement branding, is to immerse customers in your brand's experience. In other words it can be said that experiential marketing is an marketing practice in which the businesses focuses on creating better customer experience (Antavo, 2022). Experiential marketing includes all the channels of marketing which focuses on the face to face interactions with their customer and all the offline efforts done by the company to raise the brand awareness. Technologies are adding value to the businesses by allowing them in promoting their good and services but the companies face issues in connecting well with their customers. For this experiential marketing can help them in offering the real life experiences to their customers which can allow them in connecting with the brand. It is very important for the firms to make sure that their products and services should gain the attraction of the target customers in an effective manner.
When the businesses are operating in the international market then it became more important for them to use effective marketing strategies. For the firms operating in the global market it is difficult to use the different marketing for attracting the customers belonging to the different target markets. Hospitality industry is one of the important industries of the world which is having an role to play in an global economy. There are large numbers of firms which are operating in the international hospitality industry and such firms are using multiple marketing strategies. Experiential marketing can be the best strategy for such businesses. This marketing strategy can help the international hospitality brands to enable the customers to connect with them through better experience. With the help of experiential marketing the companies should focus on offering effective experience to the customers before, during and after the consumption. This would allow the company in offering positive experience to the customers which will help them in increasing brand awareness. The case company Whitbread PLC can also make use of different types of experiential marketing strategies which can help them in offering great experience to the customers of the target market. UAE is an great tourist spot and is an great market for the case company. Whitbread need to focus on ensuring that with the help of experiential marketing they are connecting well with the customers at every single point of contact. This would allow the company in keeping the customers satisfied with the positive experiences.
Before applying any of the marketing strategies it is important for the company to understand the pros and cons associated with the use of the strategies. Experiential marketing is having different advantages and disadvantages which are important to understand before applying it on the Whitbread PLC.
Advantages of experiential marketing
Increases brand awareness and support social media marketing: when the companies use experiential marketing then it allows them in creating an unique experience for their customers. This is an effective strategy to work with the social media marketing. Whenever the company organises the event for experiential marketing then it can be easily shared widely with the help of social media platforms (Verma and Jain, 2015). Along with this social media performance indicators can help the companies and experiential marketers to evaluate their performance. For example the changes in the website traffic and the likes and comments on the social media posts can easily help the company in evaluating their increasing or decreasing brand awareness in the market.
Build reputation: effective strategies of the experiential marketing can help the businesses in building positive reputation in the market. When the hospitality service offeirng firms would increase the human to human interaction with their customers then it can help them in changing the perspective of the customer towards the brands. This can help the companies in creating an building brand reputation.
Helps in word of mouth: this is one of the most important marketing and if the companies use experiential marketing then the customer usually do word of mouth. This helps the company in increasing positive influence on the potential customers (Rather and Hollebeek, 2020).
Offers consumers interactive and exchanging experiences: it is important for the firms to connect well with their customers by offering them more interactive experience with experiential marketing. For this experiential marketing can help in enhancing the customer experience with the brand and helps in increasing customer satisfaction.
Gives memorable experience to the customers: when the experiential marketing is being used then it allow the companies to have more memorable experience with the brand.
Disadvantages of Experiential marketing
Budget challenges: using the experiential marketing is not easy as it required better capital and increases the overall cost for the company. Along with this it required highly skilled employees and human efforts which makes it more costly for the companies.
Challenges related to peoples reaction: in case if the campaign does not meet the customer expectations then it can affect their attitude towards the firm negatively (Madhvapaty and Rajesh, 2019).
Managing the performance is difficult: when the marketers use experiential marketing it is hard for them to evaluate that how effectively this marketing strategy is helping the company in attracting the customers.
The main benefits of experiential marketing are personalized engagement, the development of positive touchpoints, a ber link between emotion and products or service offered by the companies. When the firm is operating in the service sector then satisfaction level of the consumer is having an major impact on the brand value. One of the important benefits of applying the experiential marketing of Whitbread would be positive brand value of the company (Cannenterre et. al. 2012). If the organisation would be investing in offering better experience to their customers then it will help them in having loyal customer base and will increase their revenue in their target market. There are several major hospitality brands operating in UAE due to this reason it is important for Whitbread to remain competitive in the industry. With the help of experiential marketing Whitbread should try to offer effective experience to the customers whenever they interact with the company (Batat, 2019). A positive guest experience is at the essence of hospitality service. It should also be at the heart of your hotel's activities, since achieving it properly means that guests will leave positive comments online and perhaps even return as devoted guests. A pleasant customer satisfaction fosters commitment, aids in customer retention, and boosts brand awareness. That is why it is necessary to give customers a memorable experience by enabling them to do contact again because customers are the best source for raising brand awareness.
With the help of experiential marketing the hotel brand operating in the international market can develop an lasting connection between the brand and the consumer. Although the international hospitality brands had to work hard on offering the lasting experience to the customers but it is valuable for the company. Once the customer gets connected with the hotel brand then it can help them firms in number of ways such as increasing brand awareness, word of mouth marketing, enhanced customer loyalty and many more. It can be said that appropriate use of the experiential marketing strategy by Whitbread can help them in increasing their revenue in their target market (Wiedmann et. al. 2018). Along with this it can help them in managing the competition which is being faced by Whitbread in UAE and the international hospitality market. Moreover it can benefit the company by increasing the customer base which is highly satisfied with their experience with the hotel brand.
When the firms operating in the hospitality industry make use of the experiential marketing then it benefit the customers also. This allows the customers to get better services and good interaction with the company at every point of contact which can improve their overall experience. If Whitbread would be applying the concept of experiential marketing for improving their performance in UAE then they would be focusing on discovering the areas for service delivery enhancements and prioritize activities to create a consistently memorable experience by using client satisfaction evaluation solutions (García et. al. 2018). Along with this the company would also focus on connect with customers in real-time, quickly handle concerns, and identify new methods to increase tourist satisfaction and all these things would help the customers in getting an positive experience.
Whitbread is having effective market position in the hospitality industry and this is important for the firms use marketing strategies. If the case company would be focusing on experiential marketing in an appropriate manner then it would help them in improving their performance in the market of UAE. For this the company should try to make use of the different types of experiential marketing strategies which can allow them in managing the firm in an effective manner. There are different ways through which the case company can try to connect well with their customers. Whitbread PLC should try to focus on giving more personalised experience to their customers. The company is offering different types of hospitality services to their customers across the globe. But UAE is having better opportunity to grow the revenue for the company. For such a firm it is important to add better experience for the customers in their product portfolio which can help them in improving the customer experience (Chang, 2020). Whitbread should focus on improving the overall experience of the customer with the brand. For this the company has to focus on offering better experience before the stay, during the stay and after the stay experience to their customers.
Improving the before the stay experience of the customers with the help of experiential marketing
When the customers are in the pre-arrival stage then it is important for the firm to attract the customers towards the destination and their hotel as well. At this stage the company should focus on using more thoughtful and valuable content. It can be suggested that the company should use more destination specific content. This would allow them in motivating the customer to visit the place. For example UAE is an great tourist place and is having large number of visitors throughout the year. So the company should try to attract the customers with more specific content based on the tourist places in Dubai and other cities of UAE. For this the case company can make use of the destination focused email campaigns and online guides. The online guides can help the hotel brand in offering an digital experience to their customers to understand that how the different types of services would be offered by them while having an stay at Whitbread (Aydin, 2020).
Along with this the company should focus on effective social media marketing, fast response to the customer queries at their website and better assistance with the FAQs. This would help the company in connecting well with their customers and solving the queries of their customers which would add value to their positive experience with the brand. The website of the company should be dynamic and full of animations which can seek the attraction of the customer. Also the company should offer easy booking options to their customers through all the different travel websites and should offer more specific and detailed description of the services offered with the different packaged. This would help the company in connecting well with the customers before their stay at the hotel.
Improving the during the stay experience of the customers with the help of experiential marketing
During the stay of the customer at the hotel is the best opportunity for the companies to offer more comprehensive travel and stay experience to the customers. During this time Whitbread PLC should focus on applying effective strategies and including the practices to the product portfolio which can enhance the experience of the customers. For offering better experience to the customers during the stay it can be suggested that the company should focus on offering better room services, clean rooms, high quality and hygiene food to their customers, enjoyable amenities and many more (Le et. al. 2019). Along with this the hotel need to ensure that all the different types of benefits such as pool, wifi, and many more are being offered to the customers in an appropriate manner.
Along with this the Whitbread should focus on placing an personalised hand written note for the customers prior the guest arrival. This is something which makes the customers feel more specific and connected with the brand. It can be suggested that this should be included in the Whitbread PLC which would help them in offering more personalised experience to their customers. Whitbread can then take steps to resolve issues for prospective guests, or if the guest is still on the premises, they can use service recovery right away. In case if the customer faces any of the issue during the stay, then the company should focus on solving the issues in real time (Kandampully, 2022). For this the company can make use of the digital page which can help them in connecting the customers directly with the employees. This would allow them in helping the staff to solve the issues faced by the customers. Along with this it can help in having seamless communication with the staff department for addressing the issues and will offer more convenient service to the customers. With the help of better technological assistance the company can put all the hotel services and the amenities at the fingertips of the guests which can enhance the guest satisfaction and improve their overall experience.
Improving the after the stay experience of the customers with the help of experiential marketing
When the stay of the guest is over then it is important that the company should take feedback from the customers. This will help them in understanding that how the company can improve their services. The company should focus on making use of the review collection technologies which can help them in gaining the reviews about the different types of services which are being offered by the company in an appropriate manner. Whitbread should also focus on social sharing and online review travel sites. This would help them in allowing their customers to share their experiences with the hotel socially on the different social media platforms (Chu et. al. 2020). It can be recommended that the Whitbread PLC should focus on encouraging the guests to share their experiences with the brand. Along with this it can be suggested that the company should encourage the promotion through the digital tools such as Flip. to and many more. It can be recommended that Whitbread should allow the customers to post their review and share their experiences with the hotel brand on different social media platforms. This will help them in offering better experience to their customers after the stay and will add value to their brand awareness and reputation in an appropriate manner.
Communicating effectively with the customers is very important for the firms which are operating in the international hospitality industry (Kucukusta et. al. 2019). Whitbread need to focus on using thee experiential marketing as per the different advantage and benefits of the experiential marketing discussed in the above section of the report. There are multiple social media platforms which can be used by Whitbread PLC to communicate with their guest before, during and after the stay or the consumption of the services. UAE is one of the technologically advanced nation and use to this reason the marketers operating in UAE are making the best use of technology to attract the customers. Whitbread is focusing on improving the customer experience for their UAE market. For this the company should tr to connect well with the customers through the different social media and the digital platforms. Also the entire world is becoming more digital day by day so the company should use the best social media platforms for communicating and connecting with the customers during their experience with the hotel brand (Ibrahim and Aljarah, 2018).
As per the above mentioned discussion it can be stated that it is very important for the businesses to make use of effective marketing strategies which can allow the customers in getting attached to the brand. It can be concluded that experiential marketing is very important as per the current trends of changing tastes and behaviour of the customers. It enables consumers to get attached emotionally with the brand and thus to experience their best services while not providing any second thought to try some other competitive brand.
The report had explained in detail that how experiential marketing can help the businesses in improving the experience of the customers. Whitbread can make use of the different types of methods for improving the experience of the customer before, during and after the consumption of the hospitality services offered by the company. The analysis and the detailed description of the report had indicated that experiential has a benefit over traditional strategies as it not only cuts through the entire advertising clutter that customers experience on a regular basis but also develops something that they are willing to experience. Along with this the discussion had explained that experiential marketing can help the case company in improving their performance and customer experience in UAE and can help them in increasing their revenue and would be offering them competitiveness as well. Also this marketing strategy allows the customers to get seamless experience while staying at Whitbread hotel.
When the concept of experiential marketing is being applied on the international hospitality brand then different suggestions are being made for improving the customer experience during, before and after the stay in detail. The company can use Emails, video messaging, handwritten notes, live streaming, and virtual campaigns as social media campaigns as it helps in coping up with the experiments and marketing standards. It provides uniqueness, interdependence, unpredictability, and perishability to distinguish marketing communications from marketing management of the hospitality industry if used properly on social media. Along with this for communicating effectively with the customers as per the experiential marketing for Whitbread a detailed communication plan is being developed. The plan had explained that how the different social media platforms and tools can be used by Whitbread for communicating with the customers before, during and after the consumption of the hospitality services offered by them. Thus it can be recommended that Whitbread and all the firms operating in the international hospitality industry should focus on using experiential marketing in an appropriate manner.
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