Marketing hotel operations : an investigation into the marketing behaviour of national and international chain affiliated hotels operating in Egypt
The inception of the marketing concept has been closely associated with tangible consumer products. However, the successful application of the concept in consumer, and later in industrial product industries has prompted marketers to examine its transferability and application to other areas of significance. The purpose of this study is to examine the broadening of the marketing concept beyond its traditional boundaries of commercially orientated amnufacturing concerns by discussing its relevance, transferability and contribution to industries of a service nature in general and to the hotel industry in particular. The study also aims at examing the extent to which the marketing concept and its associated practices have been accepted and implemented by both local and foreign chain affiliated hotel operations in Egypt. A thorough examination of the literature regarding the applicability of marketing concepts and techniques to hotel operations was carried out. Towards this end, the literature examines the nature of services marketing and discusses the similarities it shares with product marketing, as well as the unique implications associated with marketing intangibles. It thus capitalizes on theories drawn from both resources and examines their applicability to the industry in question. The empirical study was carried out in the period between April and the end of June, 1985. Two studies were conducted in order to assess the marketing behaviour of international hotel firms operating in Egypt and those which are state owned and managed. The gathering of data was based on the tentative supposition that the relative success achieved by the international firms over their local counterparts is attributed, partially, to their application of marketing or marketing-like activities. The first study involved a self-administered questionnaire directed at the executives carrying out marketing responsibilities at the hotels concerned. It aimed at examining the extent of their integration of marketing into their overall business strategies. The second study examined the hotels' marketing behaviour from a different perspective by eliciting the opinions of guests regarding their experiences at the properties in which they stayed. The findings of the field work reveal that the Egyptian hotel authorities are far from being market orientated as they have not adopted the marketing concept either conceptually or in practical terms. They have some distance to travel before they achieve an organizational straucture that integrates marketing and operations in ways calculated to achieve customer satisfaction and a higher profitable position. As for the operations which are under management contracts with international hotel firms, marketing has been introduced at an uneven rate with some operations taking major steps while others lag behind. In many of these operations, there is still room for improvement by means of which they could implement a fully comprehensive and integrated philosophy of marketing.