Marketing in Hospitality Industry
Integrated Marketing: A Case of Taj Group of Hotels
Taj Group of Hotels: Integrated Marketing
Integrated marketing has become an important way for communicating and attracting customers to a brand. Integrated marketing communication (IMC) involves the use of diverse marketing and communication tools to attract customers, including advertising, sales promotion, public relations (PR), social media and traditional marketing mix (Ang 2014, p. 2) Hospitality industry is one of the industries, where integrated marketing has become common. The Taj Group is one of the hospitality companies that adopt integrated marketing. Taj Group is India’s largest and finest group of hotels that was founded in 1903 and has expanded to become a global brand as it currently has 108 hotels in India and addition 17 in overseas markets, including the UK, USA, Malaysia and the Middle East (Tata 2016). In the UK, Taj Group opened its doors in 1982 following its acquisition of St James Court Hotel that is currently known as Taj 51 Buckingham Gate Suites and Residences (Tata 2016). The other is the Taj Hotel at St. James Court. This paper analyzes how Taj Group has adopted integrated marketing.
Internal Communication Tools
Taj Group is one of the foreign hotels that perform very well in the UK market. The good performance is partly linked to its strong and aggressive use of integrated marketing communication tools to attract customers to its brand. Taj Group uses different promotional tool both internal and external promotion to attract and persuade customers to its brand. Internally, the hotel promotes its brand using Calendars and monthly letter to their customers, where the company informs their customers about any event that they should expect (fig. 1) (Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces 2016). This strategy is effective because the guests are given calendars that they go with at home and offices, thus acting as an easy reminder to them.
Fig. 1 Taj Group Promotional Calendar
Cutting-Edge Technology (Wi-Fi)
In order to persuade clientele to identify with its brand, the hotel offers its corporate clients a combination of practical utilities and luxury. The hotel is much focused on creating cutting edge technology to enhance service delivery and recently introduced “cyber butlers”, which is an innovative service that enables its clients to connect easily to the Internet in any of its groups of hotels (Social Samosa 2016). Taj hotel also uses Wi-Fi technology that it has installed in all its hotels throughout the globe that helps it in promoting its “green workstations.”
The success of a company does not just require attracting customers; rather the ability of a company to retain customers by building loyalty (Percy 2014, p. 14). Therefore, to build customer loyalty, Taj hotels have introduced quite a number of loyalty programs. One such loyalty program is the Taj Inner Circle programme. The Taj Inner Circle is a loyalty program awarded for loyal guests that visit the company’s hotels frequently. Besides the many benefits that come with this loyalty program, any member of the program is awarded points whenever they visit any of the company’s hotels in India and abroad. Points are awarded on rooms, meals, drinks, telephone, laundry and business centre. Points are also awarded for stays at the Taj Khazana boutiques that are located in India (Tata 2016). Once the points are awarded, the customers can redeem them later for room nights and meals at any of the Taj hotels.
The other loyalty program is called the Taj Advantage Plus. This is a loyalty programme for the hotel’s loyal and most valued corporate bookers in India (Khullar 2012). The holders of this loyalty program are liable for earning points that are redeemable and has other special benefits and other offers attached. Only those invited to the program are allowed to enroll. There is also the Taj Alliance Preferred Partner Membership (TAPPMe) that is available specifically to the hotel’s partners in the travel industry in India (Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces 2016). Again, enrollment to this program is by invitation only.
External Communication Tools
When it comes to external promotion, Taj Group of hotels use a variety of marketing tools to reach out to customer in the market. Print media is one of the marketing communication tools used by Taj Group of hotels. However, the hotel uses mainly business newspapers that includes Financial Express, Economic times, Bombay Times and the Guardian, UK among others (Tata 2016). The business newspapers are used by the company mainly to attract the middle and upper-class corporate clients (fig. 2). The hotel shows a variety of campaigns in these newspapers. Besides the newspapers, the Taj Group of hotels advertises its brand on a variety of lifestyle magazines. In India, the lifestyle magazines that the Taj Hotels uses to advertise its brand include Go Now, The Out Look Travelar and the Travel. The adverts that the company places on these magazines are mainly targeted at the travelers and upper-class corporate clients (Social Samosa 2016).
Fig. 2 Taj Group’s Print Media Ad
Television is also one of the marketing communication tools used by companies to create brand awareness and attract customers towards a brand. Taj Group of hotels is one of the companies that have taken advantage of the power of television for creating its brand awareness to the targeted audience and attracting them towards its group of hotels (Khullar 2012). The company has been using a variety of television channels to advertise its brand, including CNN, CNBC and the Star News. Additionally, the company sometimes advertises its products and services on lifestyle channels such as Fox Travel, and NDTV Good Times among others. The use of these channels has helped the Taj Group reach a large number of professionals and corporate clients the majority of whom own and watch television (Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces 2016). Besides, the fact that these television channels have a worldwide viewership gives Taj Group opportunity to reach a large number of audiences.
Taj Group of hotels also employs digital media as a marketing communication tool for its products and services. In this respect, the company uses a variety of social media platforms to reach out to its targeted audience. First, each and every hotel that fall under the group has its own Facebook page that are used to frequently post the offers and services of the hotels. The Facebook accounts are also used to address customer issues and concerns to ensure high customer satisfaction (Social Samosa 2016). In fact, the company has taken hashtags with a lot of seriousness and always adds hashtags to their posts. As can be seen in a selected Facebook account of the hotel, the posts consists mainly of photos with little description as seen in the figure 3 below.
Besides Facebook, the Taj Group of hotels also uses Twitter as a platform where it engages with customers (Khullar 2012). Analysis of the Twitter accounts of the Taj Group of hotels indicates that there are little followers, with the majority being replies and conversations with customers. Although there is little instances of retweets, or where the hotel initiate conversation, the response from the company has been timely, which is worth praising.
The Taj Group of hotels also runs its promotion on YouTube, which though limited, is interesting. However, the YouTube ads appear not to be effective as most of the YouTube videos have few views and are not tweeted from the company’s accounts. For instance, the ad below has only about 6,180 views yet it was posted in 2012 (Social Samosa 2016).
Taj Group of hotels also uses exhibitions as its marketing communication tool. The hotel particularly uses exhibitions to promote its holiday packages (Khullar 2012). In the overseas markets, such as the UK, the company creates brand awareness through niche market promotions that includes participating in events such as the international travel exhibitions and marketing alliances all of which have been effective in creating the hotels brand awareness.
Taj Group of hotels has done an excellent job in adopting integrated marketing to promote its brand. As indicated above, the hotel has perfectly used almost all media to reach out to its targeted audience that consisted of travelers and upper class corporate travelers. However, the company needs to make its website and YouTube ads catchier to attract large number of audience.
Ang, L 2014, Integrated marketing communications: A focus on new technologies and advanced theories. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, MA.
Khullar, A 2012, Taj’s 50% digital mix is search, 20% social: Namrita Sehgal, viewed 30 June 2016 http://www.pitchonnet.com/blog/2012/11/16/tajs-50-digital-mix-is-search-20-social-namrita-sehgal/
Percy, L 2014, Strategic integrated marketing communications. Routledge, London.
Social Samosa 2016, Social media strategy reviews: Taj Hotels, viewed 30 June 2016 http://www.socialsamosa.com/2013/11/social-media-strategy-review-taj-hotels/
Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces 2016, About Taj Group, viewed 30 June 2016 https://www.tajhotels.com/en-in/about-taj-group/
Tata 2016, Taj Group, viewed 30 June 2016 http://www.europe.tata.com/Company/ProfilePage/Taj-Group