Marketing Plan Rationale
A creative marketing plan is a planned roadmap that organizations use to reach a target market. Accor Group is a chain of hotels founded in 1967 by Paul Dubrule and Gerard Pelisson. It originated fin France and has over five thousand franchises in 110 countries and five continents. The hotel has over 250,000 collaborations that operate all around the world. It focuses on management contracts, vacation properties, and franchise networks. In Europe, it is said to be the largest hospitality company and sixth worldwide. It focuses on providing quality services to all customers. This marketing plan aims to provide strategic marketing programs for the Accor Group and remain competitive through digitalization and experimental marketing.
Brief Overview of the Current Marketing Situation
The hotel currently markets its services in three segments: midscale, economy, and upscale. It specializes in providing high-quality services that will help retain customer loyalty. It is currently venturing on digitizing its services and turning into online sales. It launched the AccorHotels.com, which offers flight and hotel reservations and has collaborated with travel agencies to boost online sales. The group launched a mobile application with a unique multifunction capability to book or check out their services online. In 2019, Accor Group introduced a lifestyle loyalty program for customers on its website (Damnjanović, Lončarić and Dlačić, 2020). However, this is still new to the customers since most people book the hotel when they are in need.
The organization aims at creating loyalty programs for the customer where they can redeem points at any Accor hotel in the world. According to the management, this marketing scheme is not where they want it to be, and they aim at marketing this tool to boost sales and loyalty to their customers. Due to high competition in this area, they aim to use the digital platform to rank on google for any hotel or vacation search and reach their potential customer worldwide. With the following objectives, the theoretical framework and the marketing program were developed.
Marketing Objectives and Strategy
The identification of a company’s objectives and strategies provides a basis for comprehensive marketing analysis and program development.
The hotel’s main objective is to increase its brand awareness and customer engagement through advertising, promotions, and online through social media. The Accor Group employed various marketing activities to develop an awareness of their platform and their loyalty programs. One of the methods is the annual marketing campaigns where they generate new ideas and improve public relations. The marketing team uses the annual marketing campaign to increase occupancy, especially during the low seasons. The teams partner up with other marketing firms to directly sell the hotel’s services, advertise, and involve the clients in online activities.
The high competition has forced the organization to adapt to the digital environment, giving it strategic ways to promote its brand and image to customers worldwide. Online platforms promote the hotel both locally and internationally. The marketing campaigns were developed according to the hotel’s standard to promote customer loyalty and increase visitors’ number. The hotel spent over 100 million euros to promote the Accor marketing and branding activities and bought more than 12 million keywords to rank on Google (Damnjanović, Lončarić and Dlačić, 2020). The company also sent more than half a million tailored emails and SMS messages to clients who have ever visited the hotel before (Damnjanović, Lončarić and Dlačić, 2020). This marketing tool allows the organization to reach its clients and inform them of their new programs.
Sport sponsorships have proved to bring significant returns since it is considered a crucial marketing communication tool. The group is involved in major sports sponsorship, which is executed according to the host country in order to boost company’s image. For example, the Accor Group partnered with Roland-Garros to become the official supplier in the biggest tennis tournament in France and Europe. It also partnered with Rolex Paris Masters for the WTA Championship and ATP world tour. In these events, the hotel aims at interacting and connecting with its potential customers to reach its goals and objectives. The group has continued to assist the local communities by being involved in local programs such as the World Trade Organization for child protection, and it has made several donations to the fight against HIV/AIDS, among other epidemics. These services help boost the organization’s image, attract more customers, give them the best services, and then offer the loyalty program.
Customer Segmentation, Profile, and Need.
Due to the high competition in the hotel industry, the Group needs to differentiate itself from the others. This is done by customer profiling, segmenting, and fulfilling customers’ needs. This gives the hotel more insights into their clients, understand their character, behaviour, and interests. Accor seeks to understand what connects the customer to their services and how this connection might contribute to the future development. When visualizing the customers in the market, the hotel has classified the consumer factors into three categories: demographic, psychographics and main interests, and behaviour and motivation.
- Demographic: Accor Group serves customers of different ages, incomes, and gender. It seeks to connect and unite all customers from all walks of life. Due to its presence in many countries, the group seeks to gather more information about their location, age, and gender. This information is essential since they can provide more customized services according to the customer’s needs. For example, young people enjoy having fun when they are in the hotel; hence, they can develop fun activities that the young people will be attracted to. Wealthy people enjoy exclusive services where they want value for their money. The hotel will seek to use this information to provide exclusive customized services to them.
- Psychographics and Main Interests. These are the personality and preferences of the customers. Most people express their opinion online on social media or the comment section of the website. The hotel will seek to use this information to understand the personality and preferences of the clients. The clients will comment on the services they received from the hotel and how their stay was in the hotel. This information will be used to profile the clients and their needs.
- Behaviour and Motivation. The hotel will try to gather information on what the clients search for online and offline to understand the customers’ behaviour. A good place to get this information is from the Accor website where the cookies collected from the customers search will enable the hotel to understand the customers’ needs and preferences. The marketing team can also give out questionnaires or have a feedback section in the hotel or online to collect information to create a client’s profile and persona. The hotel will know the source of motivation for the clients through these activities if it is personal or from the hotel’s services.
A marketing plan consists of three main areas of theory: collaboration, technology, and experience. These areas allow for researching directions to interpret and explain the findings.
Collaboration is the process of entities or organizations working together to achieve a goal, complete a task, or solve problems. Collaboration allows the organization to share resources to reach a specific goal in the market. Accor has over 250,000 collaborations that they use to gain a competitive advantage and spread their services worldwide. Accor has much collaboration, making it one of the leading global operators in the hospitality industry. The collaborations have helped the group exchange ideas, develop and share resources to achieve their objectives.
The collaborations have made the group consolidate its presence and become one of the international leaders in the fastest growing industry and markets. It has created complementary and iconic brands which meet all expectations of the shareholders and the customers. Each year the Accor Group sign more than 100 hotels into their brand, which continues to record high performance. In 2018 the hotel signed almost 500 hotels into their brand and almost the same number the previous year. Since travellers are attracted by unique brands, new experiences, and sound environments, the collaboration has helped them achieve these personalities. The Accor Group has made collaboration across the world example, in Asia-pacific, North and Central America, South America, Africa, and Europe. Some of the hotels include the Atton Hotel, Mantis, Tribe, and Movenpick hotels and resorts.
The use of technology is a crucial factor in the business world, especially in the hospitality industry. It helps the organization gain a competitive advantage, customer interaction through social media and co-creation. The main aim of using technology in the marketing segment is to improve the performance, social influence, facilitate conditions, and improve the marketing team’s efforts. The Accor Group uses social media, the application, and the website to engage with the consumers to know their preferences and boost sales online. Today’s generation is using social media to express their opinion and their day-to-day lives. Young people post places they visit, the experience, and the food. This information can be used to improve the customer experience to give positive feedback and attract potential customers.
In today’s hotel industry, experience has become a significant factor in satisfying customers’ needs. Consumer satisfaction is no longer an essential measurement of customer need without experience. The Accor Group has been in the hotel industry for more than fifty years, and according to the research gathered, differentiation of the services and products will provide the customers with positive thoughts and responses. It will also give the customer a unique experience that will attract more customers, leading to a competitive advantage over other hospitality industry players.
This marketing plan will put the theoretical framework of experience and technology to work. This plan’s success is based on the use of technology and experience of the Accor hotel throughout the year of service. The group has adopted technology such as mobile application and the website to market online to the customer and collect their feedback. It has also encouraged the customers to provide their own experience of the hotel services online to engage their peers to attract more customers. The hotel uses this technology to engage the customers even before they visit the hotel. The use of technology has helped the hotel involve their customers in improving their services and improving their customer relations. The hotel group’s experience has helped it expand at the same time helping it continue providing quality services to the customers. The use of technology and experience has enabled the company to come up with a marketing mix.
A marketing mix is business activities and marketing strategies that help the organization reach its objectives. The ingredients include the marketing aspects, concepts, and procedures. The marketing mix described is the 4Ps which include product, place, price, and promotions. The 4ps were later extended to the 7Ps, including three more factors: the People, Processes, and Physical evidence. For the analysed case, it is relevant to use the 7Ps to design a marketing plan.
- Product: This is a physical product or service being sold. If the customers like the product, they will continue buying until they find a replacement or become loyal to the product. In this case, Accor Group will continue offering quality services to lure their customers until they become loyal and proud of the services.
- Place: The group collaborates with other hotels worldwide in strategic locations to attract more customers.
- Price: The hotel offers customers value for their money with quality services customized to cater to their needs. The group also offers services for all social-economic classes, which means they cater to all customers’ levels.
- Promotion. The group is involved in sport sponsorship, where they promote their services. The promotion is a way of communicating to the customers, and that has made the group make advertisements on social media, website, email marketing, and TV.
- Physical Evidence: The hotel continues to validate its brand by appearing in promotions and social welfares. The hotel also advertises its services and allows customers to comment on their services, which their peers learn and get curious about their services.
- People: The Accor has friendly employees who ensure all the customers are treated with respect and good care. The staff will help make the customers comfortable, advertise the hotel for their excellent services, and attract more customers.
- Processes: These are activities taken to deliver quality services to the consumers. These actions help in rating the hotel, including the management of customers, customizing the client’s services, and making the customer contented with the services. The processes must be beneficial and give value to the customers who visit the hotels.
Market Programme Evaluation
The process of programme evaluation allows for identifying its strengths and limitations, which are essential for consecutive implementation.
The marketing program will be measured by the mobile application, cookies collected from the website visitors’, social media, and the direct interaction with the clients. On social media, the team can look for the comments, active users, volume of users, activity, and likes. The program can be evaluated on the website through the frequency of visits, location, and page of interest by most customers. The tools are accurate and valid since they collect data directly from the customers, including their location, visited pages, and time spent on the websites. The mobile application and social media have the like and comment section, showing the volume and number of comments.
The marketing plan involves direct communication with the client to get feedback from the client. The plan involves the clients directly, and it cannot be complete without the client’s information. The group will have to incur more costs in advertising since customers are spread out worldwide. By involving the clients directly, the Accor Group can build a successful marketing strategy to attract more clients and improve their services.
Damnjanović, V., Lončarić, D. and Dlačić, J., (2020) ‘Teaching case study: Digital marketing strategy of Accor Hotels: shaping the future of hospitality’, Tourism and Hospitality Management, 26(1), pp. 233-244.