Innovative Practices in Social Media Marketing: Exploring the Recent Emerging Trends on Four Points Auckland

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Executive Summary

The tourism industry in New Zealand has experienced considerable growth over the past five years and it is projected to maintain an aspect of growth. This presents opportunities for hotels operating in this region to increase the number of customers that they serve, and ultimately increase their sales revenue. One of the hotels that is looking to take advantage of the market growth in New Zealand in the hospitality industry is Four Points Auckland. The best approach that it can take in relation to marketing is using the social media platform. It is currently using Facebook and Instagram as part of its social media strategy. However, the company is not active on both platforms, and therefore has a low interaction level with its clients. In future, it needs to post regularly, and reply on the comments made by their followers. In addition to that, it needs to utilize the services of influencers, and create content that resonates with its target market to increase the level of interaction and engagement with its clients. The effective utilization of the social media by Four Points Auckland will improve the engagement level with the hotel’s customers and also contribute to an increase in the revenue level of the company.

Table of Contents

TOC o “1-3” h z u 1. Background PAGEREF _Toc79082639 h 4Marketing Environment (current industry climate/trends) PAGEREF _Toc79082640 h 4Brand image and values PAGEREF _Toc79082641 h 4Target market PAGEREF _Toc79082642 h 5Market segmentation PAGEREF _Toc79082643 h 52. Analysis of the Organization PAGEREF _Toc79082644 h 62.1 Marketing Mix PAGEREF _Toc79082645 h 6Product Element PAGEREF _Toc79082646 h 6Place Element PAGEREF _Toc79082647 h 6Price Strategy PAGEREF _Toc79082648 h 6Promotion PAGEREF _Toc79082649 h 62.2 VRIO Analysis PAGEREF _Toc79082650 h 62.3 Digital Competitive Review PAGEREF _Toc79082651 h 82.4 Digital SWOT Analysis PAGEREF _Toc79082652 h 93. Review of Social CRM Strategies PAGEREF _Toc79082653 h 103.1 Speak PAGEREF _Toc79082654 h 103.2 Serve PAGEREF _Toc79082655 h 113.3 Sizzle PAGEREF _Toc79082656 h 114. Social Media Response Protocol PAGEREF _Toc79082657 h 12

1. Background

1.1 Marketing Environment (current industry climate/trends)

The tourism industry is reported as the largest export industry in New Zealand. In 2017, it was reported that the domestic, and international visitors expenditure was NZD$36 billion, and it is reported that by 2025, the revenue from tourism will have increased to NZD$41 billion (Kandampully et al., 2018). However, in 2019, it was reported that the country had recorded a slower growth rate of visitors in comparison to the previous years. An important point to note is that, in the year that ended March, 2018, New Zealand hospitality industry reported a total of $16 billion in terms of international visitors’ expenditures, which was a 9.6% increase from the revenue that was collected in 2017. On the other hand, the revenue generated by domestic visitors in 2018 was $23 billion, a 6.5% increase from 2017.

According to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), it was forecasted that the hospitality industry could experience a 4.25% average growth in terms of international visitor expenditure from 2019-2025. An important point to note is that, the drivers in relation to the increase of expenditure by international visitors will be a 3.98% increase in the visitors, and 4.28 in the number of days that international visitors stay in New Zealand (Michopoulou & Moisa, 2019). Even though the revenue collected, and the number of international visitors dropped in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is expected that the hospitality market in New Zealand will pick up in accordance to the projections that were provided by MBIE.

1.2 Brand image and values

Four Points by Sheraton is a multinational hotel brand that is operated by Marriott International. Presently, it has 295 hotels in more than 45 countries, and territories. The hotel’s ambience, and amenities are designed to suit independent travelers who are looking for timeless style and comfort. An important point to note is that, each of the hotels under this brand offers its customers with a sense of familiar, and authentic sense of the local people, while also according them high-quality services that meet their overall needs (Social Hospitality, 2021).

The company’s core values include honesty, uncomplicated services, and comfort. An important point to note is that this is upheld through the provision of high-quality amenities, friendly and genuine services that are meant to ensure that all the guests have a great experience during their stay in one of the Four Points hotels. The style that is offered at this hotel is modern, practical but never trendy. This ensures that the customers in these hotels will find it easy to enjoy the services and amenities offered regardless of whether they are travelling for business, or pleasure purposes.

1.3 Target market

The target market for this hotel are international business travelers. The Four Points hotels are designed in such a manner that business travelers will be in a great position to improve their overall productivity even as they travel. This is facilitated by the hotel providing them with amenities that will increase their level of productivity such as in-room and public space Wi-Fi, and in-room water.

1.4 Market segmentation

The business mainly targets business travelers. This means that from a demographic segmentation, it mainly focuses on single, or independent middle aged travelers (25-50 years) who will stay alone and will mainly spend a few days in one destination for business purposes before traveling to another location (Gil-Soto et al., 2019). It is important to point out that a majority of their rooms can accommodate families, which is an indication that it is also a family-oriented hotel.

2. Analysis of the Organization

2.1 Marketing Mix

Product ElementFour Points by Sheraton is a full service hotel. It mainly offers familiar and friendly services, which ensure that the guests relax and unwind during their stay in their hotels. The range of services that it offers are extensive such as conference rooms, in-room and public Wi-Fi. In addition to that, the hotel provides its guests with locally brewed beers and authentic local flavors for them to sample.

Place ElementAll of the Four Points by Sheraton hotels are located in large cities and the suburbs, near airports or by the beach. This ensures that they are easily accessible for international travelers. The hotels are also close to various amenities that the travelers may require to use such as airports and beaches. The customers can also easily travel to different urban places during their stay in the hotels.

Price StrategyThe hotel mainly utilizes the skimming strategy in relation to their pricing strategy. This means that the products and services are offered at a higher price than the competition (Solnet et al., 2019). The reason for this is that, the hotel associates its products and services with an aspect of high quality and exclusiveness. It is one of the main reasons that they mainly target business travelers.

PromotionIn the digital age, Four Points by Sheraton is mainly using the social media platform for its advertising, public relations and promotional strategy. The main platform that is utilized is Facebook. On its official Facebook page, it has over 166,000 likes and on its Instagram page it has 15,700 followers.

2.2 VRIO Analysis

Resources Value Rare Imitation Organization Competitive Advantage

Four Points has access to cheap capital Yes No Can be imitated by competitors It has not been entirely exploited It is not significant in terms of creation of competitive advantage

Pricing Strategies Yes No They can be imitated The company has an effective pricing analytics system It provides it with a competitive edge over their rivals mainly on its target customers

Attracting consumers in the local and global markets that it operates A successful strategy in terms of successful innovation and localization of products It has been critical for the company’s growth It is difficult to imitate Yes It provides a unique competitive advantage

Brand positioning in relation to its competitors Yes No It can be imitated by its competitors Positioning of the brand is mainly based on the consumer behavior Provides the company with a temporary competitive advantage

Customer Loyalty A majority of the revenue is generated by local customers Firm has invested in creating a strong customer loyalty Difficult to imitate The leveraging of customer loyalty is a good effect It provides the company with a unique competitive advantage

The company has specific resources such as its pricing strategy, customer loyalty, brand positioning and localizing its products that have provided the company with a competitive advantage over its business rivals. An important point to note is that the hotels provides local brews and a state of local ambience for the customers to experience a local, yet unique feel as they travel to different parts of the world (Moro & Rita, 2018). The company has over 45 hotels, and this means that for customers who regularly travel and stay in the different Four Points hotels, then they will have different experiences, which will add to the overall value of their traveling experience. In terms of pricing strategy, Four Points prices its products and services in such a way that they are associated with quality (Stokes, 2018). This means that the customers feel that there is a sense of class in terms of staying at the hotel. These two resources that have been mentioned have contributed to the brand positioning and customer loyalty. In terms of brand positioning, a majority of the customers associate Four Points products and services as being of a relatively high price and of a high quality. This has positively facilitated to the overall increase in the loyalty level of the customers.

2.3 Digital Competitive Review

The Grand by Sky City is located in Auckland, New Zealand. In its Facebook page, there are 13,678 likes, 13,915 people follow their page and 51,447 have checked their Facebook page. The company posts regularly. Its latest post was posted yesterday at 9:30 am, and had nine likes and one share. On the other hand, in its Instagram page it has 389 posts and 2,242 followers. Its last post was three days ago and has 19 likes. The St. Regis Bora Bora Resort has 54,880 people who liked their page, 55,893 followed their page, and and 39,092 people have checked their page. It seems that they post once per month on their Facebook page based on the assessment of the frequency of posting (Unmetric, 2021). However, their pinned post on August 4th has 409 likes, 38 comments and 158 shares. On the other hand, it has 828 posts on Instagram and 94,800 followers. Its last post was made on August 4th and it has 951 likes.

2.4 Digital SWOT Analysis

Strengths Weaknesses

Four points has official pages in different social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, and this has enabled the company to interact with hundreds of thousands of people (García, 2021). For instance, its official page in Facebook has over 166,000 likes.

There are brand-consistent messaging and imagery and the use of the company assets such as their brewed beer, and hotel rooms, which can act as incentives and increase the likelihood of customers visiting their hotels.

There are well-written captions above the different images that are meant to encourage engagement with their customers, or potential clients. Four Points does not consistently make posts on its social media platforms. In Facebook in particular it seems to post once per month.

Four Points has failed to scale, or maintain their efforts using its social media campaigns (Pirnar, 2020). Its posts on Facebook, or Instagram do not get a high level of response in terms of likes, or followers commenting on them.

The company lacks the right social media analytics tools that are vital in terms of assisting them to track and monitor their campaign results.

Opportunities Threats

There are opportunities to engage the existing follower base. Facebook has over 166,000 people who have liked the page and Instagram has 15,700 followers, which means that the company can strive to engage them more.

The company can spend money on influencers and social media campaigns to gain new followers whom it will actively engage in their different platforms (Powell et al., 2011).

Four Points by Sheraton should read, and either reply or react to all the comments on their posts. This will increase the overall level of engagement between the company and their followers in different platforms (Yadav & Roychoudhury, 2019).

Social media campaigns such as photo shoots and temporary naming rooms according to fans who have the most likes can increase the interaction between the company and its customers online (Sigala, 2017). Rival competitors can use their social media platforms to provide new offerings to the clients and this could reduce the market share of Four Points by Sheraton.

Failing to understand the customers’ needs and what incentivizes them, and making posts that may not resonate well with them, which can contribute to a decline in the market share for Four Points by Sheraton as they do not understand their customers.

3. Review of Social CRM Strategies

3.1 SpeakFour Points by Sheraton has pages two social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. However, it seems to be more active on Facebook than is the case on Instagram. This is based on the number of posts, and frequency of posts that are made on Facebook in comparison to those on Instagram. However, even though it maintains pages on these two social media platforms, it is not active. For instance, on Instagram, the last post was on July 7th, 2021. The post had 165 likes and eight comments. On the other hand, in Facebook, the last post was made on July 16th and it had 26 reactions and three comments. An important point to note is that in a majority of the posts that its followers have commented on, Four Points by Sheraton did not react, or reply to the comments, or acknowledge the reactions that it has received. Failure to interact with the customers could be an indicator of the low response rate to the posts that they make on the different social media platforms (Chaffey & Smith, 2017). However, if they make regular posts and interact with customers such as by reacting to their posts, answering their questions, and even requesting for their insights and feedback, then they will be able to understand their needs, build a positive relationship and reputation with them, and ultimately improve their brand growth. They should also be involved in the creation, or development of content that their target audience finds appealing and will react, or comment on it, and this will increase the overall interaction level between the customers and the company.

3.2 ServeThese are the different activities that a company will normally engage in to ensure that it is able to actively engage its target customers. For instance, providing the customers with additional information will particularly be beneficial to them, and will result in adding value into their lives. To assist the target audience identify with the products and services that the company offers, they should provide them with regular information of the culture, cuisine and local drinks that are served in different regions (Chaffey & Smith, 2017). It not only provides the customers with information on a range of products and services that the company deals with, but it also assists the customers to gain new information. New offers, or discount rates can also contribute to increased interaction levels between the company and the clients. Furthermore, they should provide their followers with information about the importance of traveling, updates on events in different regions where they have hotels and even new areas that they are expanding to.

3.3 SizzleThis is the last stage in the digital marketing strategy, and it focuses on how a business can be able to build, or enhance its brand name online. An important point to note is that, the aspect of sizzling mainly focuses on the creation, broadening and the establishment of the brand presence in a digital platform. Four Points by Sheraton can use the social media to build its brand presence in the New Zealand market. For instance, it can sponsor different business events to resonate with international travelers who come to New Zealand (Chaffey & Smith, 2017). It can also sponsor sporting teams and individuals who have a global presence such as the Kiwi National rugby team and Israel Adesanya to increase the global presence of this hotel’s brand.

4. Social Media Response Protocol

These are the guidelines that should influence social media response strategy of Four Points by Sheraton. The first step is to read all the posts, or comments that have been made by people in relation to the company’s brand. The next step is to deduce the intention of the individual who posted. If it is a genuine post, or comment, the social media strategists at the company can either respond, or react to it. On the other hand, if there is an aspect of negative feedback, or miscommunication, the social media strategists will respond by providing a clarification, or highlighting how the issue at hand will be dealt with (Sigala, 2018). Finally, if a post was made with malicious intent, the company will choose to address the allegations with facts so as to not ruin the reputation of the company.

3829050-381001724025-485775Social Media post about company’s brand

Social Media post about company’s brand

2657475219710

2381250181610No

0No

2657475191770481012539370Positive Posts or Feedback

Positive Posts or Feedback

1828800106045Are they trolls?

Are they trolls?

5695950211455

19526257545Are they misguided?

Are they misguided?

2907547208958

25412384779No

No

285733885326

19929853800Are they complaints, or unhappy posts?

Are they complaints, or unhappy posts?

2989075121732762250281940No

No

5198713142553Respond appropriately

Respond appropriately

-219075368300Dismiss false allegations with facts if any

Dismiss false allegations with facts if any

3276600920751952625320675Final Verdict (Valid Post)

(Unworthy Post)

Final Verdict (Valid Post)

(Unworthy Post)

87630092710417195092710

References

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García, C. (2021). Case studies. Best social media strategies for hotels. Inbound marketing Mallorca – E07121 | Amara, ingeniería de marketing. https://www.amara-marketing.com/travel-blog/examples-social-media-hotelsGil-Soto, E., Armas-Cruz, Y., Morini-Marrero, S., & Ramos-Henríquez, J. M. (2019). Hotel guests’ perceptions of environmental friendly practices in social media. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 78, 59-67. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2018.11.016Kandampully, J., Zhang, T., & Jaakkola, E. (2018). Customer experience management in hospitality. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 30(1), 21-56. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijchm-10-2015-0549Michopoulou, E., & Moisa, D. G. (2019). Hotel social media metrics: The ROI dilemma. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 76, 308-315. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2018.05.019Moro, S., & Rita, P. (2018). Brand strategies in social media in hospitality and tourism. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 30(1), 343-364. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijchm-07-2016-0340Pirnar, I. (2020). Innovation management in the international hotel industry. The Routledge Companion To International Hospitality Management, 296-308. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429426834-29Powell, G., Groves, S., & Dimos, J. (2011). ROI of Social Media: How to improve the return on your social marketing investment. John Wiley & Sons..Sigala, M. (2017). Collaborative commerce in tourism: Implications for research and industry. Current Issues in Tourism, 20(4), 346-355. https://doi.org/10.1080/13683500.2014.982522Sigala, M. (2018). Implementing social customer relationship management. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 30(7), 2698-2726. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijchm-10-2015-0536Social Hospitality. (2021, January 9). Social media and hotels: Four Seasons leading by example. https://socialhospitality.com/2013/03/social-media-and-hotels-four-seasons-leading-by-example/Solnet, D., Subramony, M., Ford, R. C., Golubovskaya, M., Kang, H. J., & Hancer, M. (2019). Leveraging human touch in service interactions: Lessons from hospitality. Journal of Service Management, 30(3), 392-409. https://doi.org/10.1108/josm-12-2018-0380Stokes, R. (2018). eMarketing: The essential guide to marketing in a digital world (6th ed.). Red and Yellow.

Unmetric. (2021). Social media analytics & intelligence dashboard by Unmetric. https://unmetric.com/brands/four-seasons-hotels-and-resortsYadav, M. L., & Roychoudhury, B. (2019). Effect of trip mode on opinion about hotel aspects: A social media analysis approach. International Journal of Hospitality Management, 80, 155-165. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhm.2019.02.002

 

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