Edited by Roland T. Rust and Ming-Hui Huang
Chapter 23: Hospitality marketing and branding research: insights from a specific service context
The hospitality, travel, and tourism business has in recent decades developed into a multi-trillion dollar global industry, creating many new opportunities and challenges. Whereas in the past businesses could survive and even prosper using ad hoc, trial-and-error business strategies, today firms must use better, smarter, scientifically validated, and globally relevant methods to run businesses efficiently and effectively. Business strategy in hospitality firms once began with marketing and incorporated branding as one of its elements; today the brand drives marketing within the larger hospitality enterprise. Not only has it become the chief means of attracting customers, it has, more broadly, become the chief organizing principle for most hospitality organizations. The never-ending quest for market share follows trend after trend, from offering ever more elaborate and sophisticated amenities to the use of social media as a marketing tool—all driven by the preeminence of the brand. Strategically, brands have become the central organizing principle for major hospitality organizations, guiding every decision and action and constituting much of the market value—the brand equity—of many successful companies. While making money is the objective of any hospitality firm, managing brands profitably has become the single most important means to that end. Most hotels and restaurants in the U.S. today are affiliated with branded chains.
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