The success of any given event depends on the planning behind it. Strategic planning is needed at all times. Management bodies of such events find it essential to rely on fundamental theories and various best practices to enhance the experience derived from such undertakings. A number of foundations act as building blocks in the creation, valuation, planning, as well as production of objectives among groups by the events. The foundations are critical to the success of contemporary occasions.
Hilton is one of the leading hotels in the world. Its leadership position is attributed to the group’s strong brand name and image (Miletsky 2010, p. 34). The organisation was founded in 1919. The operations of this group include over 500 branches and subsidiaries spread in different countries across the world (Miletsky 2010, p. 56). The hotels are supplemented by numerous resorts, partnerships, and other timeshares.
The Terrace Mount Hilton Hotel in Bournemouth is a new addition to the chain of this hospitality organisation. The hotel is still in the construction phase. The facility is strategically located in Bournemouth. The location is especially lucrative, considering that Bournemouth is a coastal resort town (Miletsky 2010). The coastal town is also closely located to the Jurassic coast, which is a popular World Heritage Site.
Lim (2010) defines the concept of a ‘topping out’ event. According to Lim (2010), it refers to a ritual performed by builders when they lay the last beam of construction or its equivalent. In most cases, the ritual is undertaken by placing a leafy branch, or a tree is on the uppermost wood or iron beam. The marker is then tied flags and banners. Topping out ceremonies have been practised for long in the construction industry. In contemporary society, the event presents entrepreneurs with a major opportunity for marketing their goods and services. Topping out parties are usually accompanied by media campaigns. The campaigns are meant to market the business associated with the building.
The topping out event for the Terrace Mount Hilton Hotel will be no exception. The ceremony will be used to serve several marketing purposes for the company and other stakeholders. According to Kotler, Bowen, and Makens (2006), every successful event must be based on a strong concept. In addition, it should be backed by a similarly strong purpose. Consequently, the topping-out ceremony for Terrace Mount Hilton Hotel will be supported by several reasons.
The Mission and Vision Statements for the Event
In marketing, a mission statement communicates the continuous agenda of an event or business firm. According to Iveson (1990), a mission statement captures the objectives of a firm or an event. It also highlights the approaches that will be adopted in achieving the stated objectives. A vision statement, on the other hand, outlines the desired future position of an organisation. In this case, the statement will highlight the future of the topping-out ceremony for the hotel (Ting-Peng & Hung-Jen 2002).
A combination of the elements making up the vision and mission statements will indicate the purpose, values, and goals of the proposed event. The vision statement of the topping-out ceremony for Terrace Mount Hilton Hotel is as follows:
Putting the splendour of the hotel on the map of the coastal town
The mission of the event is:
Delivering a portfolio of events that will attract a wide range of customers to the hotel
The goals of the event are derived from the above statements. They include attracting the local dignitaries and VIPs to the event. The event would then create a lasting impression on the target audience with a wide range of facilities and services the hotel will provide to them on completion. The event is meant to attract the interest of the various local and regional media outlets. The benefits offered by the hotel will then the made apparent to the wider community. The realisation of these objectives will be made possible by the fact that the event will take place within the hotel that is still under construction.
The Marketing Environment
According to Kotler et al. (2006), marketing is an elaborate exercise undertaken by a business organisation. It involves organisational functions and sets of processes concerned with the creation and delivery of value to the target customers. Communication of the value availed by the product under consideration is also a major element of marketing. As such, the process constitutes the management of customer relationships. The relationships are organised in ways that will benefit both the stakeholders and the organisation.
Marketing environment affects the success of the campaign undertaken to promote the product. The environment refers to forces and factors affecting the ability of a business to build and maintain beneficial relationships with the customers (Kotler, Ang, Leong & Tan 2003). Factors associated with the marketing environment can be divided into two major categories. The two are internal and external forces. Planning for the topping out event will take into consideration Hilton’s marketing environment.
As already indicated, the event has a number of objectives. One of the key goals involves the promotion of the hotel chain in the region. Considering that it is a coastal town, Bournemouth is regarded as a popular destination for both local and foreign tourists. Consequently, the hospitality industry in this region is relatively saturated. Numerous hotel brands are strategically located in the area. The facilities offer tourists accommodation and other services. Some of these establishments include the 4-star Royal Bath Hotel and the 2-star Russell Court Hotel. Others include the 4-star Bournemouth Highcliff Marriott Hotels and the Hermitage Hotel. A new player in this area must acknowledge the competition that is likely to be posed by these hotels.
The hotel business in the Bournemouth area is thus in a very competitive environment. The number of hotels attests to this, hence the marketing environment experiences intense competition. Terrace Hilton hotel will also be affected by the general factors affecting the industry marketing processes. For instance, Kotler and Gary (2006) argue hotels and tourism are very closely related industries affected by the economic cycle. During economic hardships durations, these industries are usually the most affected. People tend to cut back on their leisure, as well as their holiday tendencies.
The travel sector also affects the hotel industry and tourism industries immensely. During economic slowdowns, demand for accommodation still goes down following reduced travelling. Considering the hospitality industry environment in Bournemouth, Terrace Mount Hilton target customers must be exposed to numerous marketing events. The topping out event should hence be managed in a manner that will make Hilton hotel stand out uniquely (Michael & Salter 2006).
The target audience market of Terrace Hilton hotel, however, focuses on the local dignitaries and VIPs. Hence, the greater impact on the hotel local marketing environment is the industry competitors in the region. Currently, the marketing strategies employed by Hilton Hotels basically involve brand differentiation, attained through customer relations management. The consistency of Hilton Hotels in offering quality to segmented customers is behind the success of the brand (Kotler et al. 2003).
The topping out event should be executed with this strategy in mind. According to Van der Wagen (2006), marketing today is more on the establishment of cordial relationships with customers. The relationships should, however, be based on customer satisfaction, attained through value (Michael & Salter 2006). Michael and Salter (2006), argue that despite the competition in the hotel industry, for the most part, growth is steady. The differentiation strategy of Hilton hotels is also regarded as a major strength for the company, hence its position in the global market.
Marketing and Communications Development Plan
The event apparently focuses on two main target audiences for attendance from Bournemouth town. The target market will be made up of local dignitaries and VIPs. Consequently, the invited guests will comprise of local leaders, both secular and religious. Other esteemed individuals from the town will be invited. They will include business persons, sports figures, and other influential individuals. The target market audience reflects the expected local guests of the hotel upon opening.
According to Ting-Peng and Hung-Jen (2002), target audience constitutes a major aspect of the marketing strategy. Hilton Hotels are very generally very reliant on differentiation strategy and switching of costs. In addition, differentiation can either be pursued through the value of the price. The marketing differentiation strategy, in this case, is apparently based on quality. The Hilton hotels brand mainly differentiates on quality, leading to their present success. The strategy is very successful in industries that are very competitive, such as the case is in Bournemouth hotels.
As a result of this differentiation, the switching costs of the hotel get extremely high. Switching costs for the consumer, on the other hand, remain low. The switching costs for the hotel arise from the provision of high quality or sticking to cost efficiency. The target audiences for the topping up event constitute consumers with a higher potential or likelihood of seeking the services of the hotel. For instance, the community leaders can be holding meetings in the Hilton hotel. On the other hand, the sports figures can seek the prestige offered by the hotel (Park & Sohn 2000).
The first step in the development of a marketing strategy is the determination of strategic objectives. The determination of the target audience is supplemented by the capabilities of the organisation, as well as the market environment (Ting-Peng & Hung-Jen 2002). According to Kotler et al. (2006), the inherent attractiveness of the market determines our ability to compete in it. By constructing the hotel Bournemouth, Hilton feels it has the capability of operating the town’s industry. The industry five forces of competitive advantage notwithstanding, Hilton hotel is ready to operate in the market.
Some of the key superior advantages Terrace Mount Hilton hotel exhibits over competitors include superior skills and resources. Superior skills include organisational capabilities exceeding some of the competitors in the industry (Kotler et al. 2006). Other superior skills include specialised knowledge of the industry.
The superior resources of Hilton include more financial resources and exclusive ingredients. In addition, the Hilton brand has greater geographical coverage hence more known. Hence despite the being new in Bournemouth, the success potential of the event is high. The marketing objectives of the topping out event for Terrace Mount Hilton include convincing the target market of the services the hotel is ready to offer. In addition, the target audience should reach out to each other and draw more customers to the hotel eventually (Kotler et al. 2006).
The event also seeks to boost the Hilton hotel brand in Bournemouth to prominence, through the marketing communication channels. In addition, the impression to be created in the target audience would most definitely advance the key objective of the event, by having them involve others. To achieve these desired objectives, both interactive and experiential marketing strategies will also be used in the topping out event. According to Kotler and Gary (2006), interactive marketing entails the ability of addressing the customer, remembering what they say, and then treating them in another instance as if what the customers were told is remembered.
Interactive marketing essentially refers to that evolving trend of marketing, whereby the effort on transaction is asserted to development of conversation with the customer. Interactive marketing processes are driven by internet technology. There are various forms of interactive marketing that will be applied in Terrace Mount Hilton topping out event.
Some of the methods will include marketing on social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp. Other interactive methods used will include use of desktop widgets, and emails. Collecting customer information through interactive marketing is easy. Communicating with the target audience will be easy and faster. In addition, the strategy enables remembrance of earlier conversations through the databases, with ease (Garcia 2006).
Under marketing through social media, accounts with detailed information on the event would be posted for all viewers. According to Lim (2010), social media marketing in the hospitality industry is very effective. For instance, through the networking sites, target audience will be interacted with before and after the topping out event. In addition, the method is affordable, viral, and has immense potential of spreading event awareness very fast. Since it is possible to develop links through these social networks, it is possible to generate massive traffic for other interactive methods used.
According to Kotler et al. (2006), marketers are further looking for ways of engaging the target audience more effectively. Experiential marketing provides a further opportunity in relation to interactivity. Being a non-traditional marketing strategy, the method is very creative in engaging the customers with brands (Miletsky 2010).
Experiential marketing connects with consumers by creating participation and memorable experiences for the customers (Kotler et al. 2006). It is noted that this form of marketing is very effective in the hospitality industry if used well. Some of the experiential marketing approaches commonly used include touring exhibitions, concerts, free samples and special events (Miletsky 2010).
Terrace Mount Hilton topping out event is in itself facilitating customers interaction with the with the hotel brand. Ideally, the event is a touring exhibition, despite of the hotel facility being not fully developed. By combining the marketing tactics, the Terrace Mount Hilton’s topping out event can generate greater results for the business. For instance, guerrilla marketing can be incorporated into the marketing plan.
According to Garcia (2007), guerrilla marketing entails advertising style relying heavily on unconventional methods, imagination and high energy. The guerrilla strategy takes the customers by surprise, creating a lasting impression in their minds. Overwhelming social buzz for instance can be created around the topping out event. Consequently, target audience of the message is led indirectly into developing the overwhelming regard for the event. The target would then generally look forward to the event and the associated brand very favourably in the long run.
Although the method sounds like manipulating the consumer, value derived from the brands remains the ultimate test and weapon by the customer. Eventually if the target audience is not convinced further with value, the initiative can end up as futile. Since the hotel has apparently not actually owned, the guerrilla strategy might not be a very a proper approach at the moment. Terrace Mount Hilton Hotel’s topping out is more efficient promoting the business brand. The event plan actually focuses on getting the Hilton brand known in Bournemouth, hence the focus on the local dignitaries and VIPs.
SWOT Analysis of the Terrace Hilton’s topping out Event
Terrace Hilton’s topping out event is a major opportunity for the hotel to launch a market penetration strategy in Bournemouth. The analysis of the event’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats is very essential. Among the strengths of Terrace Hilton Topping Out event, the hotel can boast of a tested and proven management team. The business also enjoys local authority support, an essential factor for success. Ultimately, the vision of the hotel is in line with local events strategies.
Weaknesses of the event include the target audience limitation to VIPs and dignitaries. The weakness can however is countered later through the media campaigns. The event is a one-time undertaking, a factor that can limit its reach and impact. Threats to the event however include that the establishment of the brand in the local market is relatively saturated by competitors. In addition, top competitors such as the Marriot Hotel also use the differentiation strategy.
The opportunities of the event include that the hotel’s location in Terrace Mount Bournemouth is very strategic. The hotel is located in landmark position in the coastal town, making it very conspicuous. The topping out event is thus based on these strong factors of the hotel.
Terrace Mount Hilton hotel topping out event will be a one-time undertaking. However, considering the objectives of the event, a strategic development plan is essential. The event will be undertaken under the direction of the management team leader. In addition, the hotel construction supervisor will preside over directing movement in and around the building.
Communications and Media Strategy
Communication plays a vital role in the success of any business (Piccoli, Spalding & Ives 2012). Consequently, the management is forced to either to prepare for losses, or transform the methods of communication. The same case applies in how information regarding an event is communicated. Marketing managers always have the imperative of finding the best communication solutions to appeal to find new, retain them, as well as the old customers (Ives & Learmonth 1984). Terrace Mount Hilton Hotel topping out event needs to be well communicated.
According to (Ives & Learmonth 1984), the traditional methods of communication are becoming phased out by more modern advanced methods. In the contemporary era, interactive and experiential marketing are common. The methods of marketing are very effective in communicating with the customer, and hence suitable for this event.
According to Tang (1998), communicating strategies consist of plans for communication of information regarding specific events, issues, situations, among others. The plans function as blueprints in communicating with the public, colleagues, and stakeholders. The reason for usage of the marketing strategies chosen for the event is due in part to their effectiveness. The other reason is that the media used; usually the online platforms hosting hardware are becoming common place. In addition, the target audience is expected to be very well versed with these technologies.
It is very unlikely for dignitaries, among other important individuals to lack access to these communication channels. Hilton brand is also a high rated brand which one would not expect to lack these facilities. Finally, most of the top brands in the hotel industry run their transactions among other bookings through the internet technology platform. Other media used in the event will include presentations and pictures of the completed Terrace Mount Hilton Hotel. The pictures and presentations should then carry information regarding services and products offered by the hotel.
Kotler and Armstrong (2006) advance the concept of virtual experiential marketing (VEM), a method that can be very effective in marketing of Terrace Hilton Hotel. Under VEM, the internet is used as a platform for numerous outlets of information on the subject. Some of these outlets include interactive chat rooms, chat communities, games using audio and visual cues, among others (Miletsky 2010; Park & Sohn 2000).
Honigman (2008) argues that VEM is challenging to marketers due to the need for creation of an interactive electronic environments. The electronic interactive environments are developed to elicit emotions from the customers. Traditional experiential marketing also elicits feelings, however in this is done physically as opposed to virtually.
Compared to the traditional experiential marketing, VEM is would be more preferable in the topping out of Terrace Hilton Hotel event. The target audience would without doubt develop numerous mental impressions regarding how the complete structure will look. Using the VEM, a more appealing and vivid impression can be had on the target audience, by developing a virtual complete version of the hotel. The target audience attending the event would then be virtually walked into the building. The event would ultimately have greater experiential impact on the target audience (Honigman 2008).
Making experiential marketing a success however requires consideration of several factors. For instance, the target audience, and the kind of virtual impression they can receive should be considered. According to (Forrest, Wotring & Brymer 1996), the emotional attitudes of target audience vary depending on culture, gender, age, among other factors.
Terrace Mount Hilton Hotel topping out event does requires a budget if the activity is to be carried out at all. The total sum allocated for the event if £2000. As indicated earlier however, costs incurred in the marketing strategies employed differ. The bulk of the allocated amount will be utilised in development of presentations, pictures of the completed hotel. It is also expected that some if not most of these materials are already from the faculty developers.
The event budget estimates should thus be as follows:
Table 1: Budget
|Social Media Networks||600|
|Pictures and Presentations||1200|
Measuring Spend versus Return
Every investment must be equated with the fair share of actual or expected returns. However, in an event like the Terrace Mount Hilton Hotel topping out, return on the money spent cannot be entirely stated in quantitative terms.
Terrace Mount Hilton Hotel Topping Out event can be regarded an investment facilitated 70% through interactive and experiential marketing. Consequently, the returns on the investment can only be expressed qualitatively. According to Lim (2010) and Hoffman and Novak (1996), qualitative and quantitative measures of return from social media campaign are based as follows on the following table.
Table 2: Quantitative and qualitative factors of social media metric
|Activity Ratio-Events that are being initiated||Number of posts and feedbacks|
|Frequency of updates on post|
|Returns-Brand Loyalty||Number of leads||Positive and Negative|
|Track through promotional codes||Learning|
|Size of network|
|Number of members that will re-share the information|
|Frequency of members who re-share|
A definitive advantage is derivable from the metric strategy while pursuing a social media strategy (Currie 2000; Davis 2013). However, it is essential what needs to be established in the overall event is determined early enough. Such a determination would facilitate formulation of the most suitable metric of return on spend.
Terrace Mount Hilton Hotel topping out event’s return on expenditure can also be based on above factors. In addition, the number of attendants to the event, the experiential reactions, and whether they follow-up on the hotel can be established. All these activities can be ascertained through development of a more complex customer database. Application of virtual experiential marketing on the other hand would hype the event further. However, costs would also be expected to rise, on top of longer preparation duration for the event.
Management of the Event
The construction senior supervisor will be assisted by at least four six other supervisors in leading the attendees of the event through the site. In addition, the target audience attending the event, and willing to tour the building will be allowed. However, those allowed into the unfinished building will only be allowed so, if they first wear all the necessary protective gear. In addition, these individuals should be separated into groups of five, each group to be led by a supervisor. The groups should also not be allowed to go beyond the fifth storey of the building (Allen 2010).
Proposed personal protective equipment to be worn includes hard hats, safety-toed footwear among others (Allen 2010; Michael & Salter 2006; Laudon & Traver 2007). The protective gear is meant to protect the event attendees from potential hazards. Some of these hazards include falls, or heavy objects falling on their heads.
Contemporary events marketing process is rapidly transforming, facilitated by the various technologies available to assist in the process. For instance, virtual reality has taken root in marketing, almost eliminating the need of an actual event. Terrace Mount Hilton Hotel Topping Out event provides an opportunity for which the business can engage in marketing. Topping Out events have over time been used for public relations and marketing by many organisations. The proposed plan for undertaking marketing through Terrace Mount Hilton Hotel marketing combines the various contemporary techniques in the practice. Combination of the various contemporary strategies provides a strong plan for this purpose.
Allen, J 2010, Event planning ethics and etiquette: a principled approach to the business of special event management, Wiley, New York.
Currie, L 2000, The global information society, Wiley, Chichester.
Davis, J 2013, Measuring marketing: 110+ key metrics every marketer needs, 2nd edn, McGraw-Hill, New York.
Forrest, E, Wotring, C & Brymer, A 1996, ‘Hotel management and marketing on the internet’, The Cornell Hotel and Administration Quarterly, vol. 37 no. 1, pp: 61-71.
Garcia, J 2007, ‘Cultural resistance and the gradual emergence of modern marketing and retailing practices in Spain, 1950–1975’, Business History, vol. 49 no. 3, pp. 367-384.
Hoffman, D & Novak, T 1996, ‘Marketing in hypermedia computer-mediated environments: conceptual foundations’, Journal of Marketing, vol. 60 no. 1, pp. 50-68.
Honigman, D 2008, ‘Hotels at home: in-room catalogue and e-commerce service leverages guest experience while increasing brand awareness’, Marketing News, vol. 42, no. 5, p. 12.
Ives, B & Learmonth, G 1984, ‘The information system as a competitive weapon’, Communications of the ACM, vol. 27 no. 12, pp. 1193-1201.
Iveson, R 1990, ‘Can information technology revitalize your customer service?’, Academy of Management Executive, vol. 4 no. 4, pp. 52-69.
Kotler, P & Armstrong, G 2006. Marketing: an introduction, Pearson Education, Inc., New Jersey.
Kotler, P & Gary, A 2006, Principles of marketing, Pearson Education, Inc., New Jersey.
Kotler, P, Ang, S, Leong, S & Tan, C 2003, Marketing management: an Asian perspective, Prentice Hall, Singapore.
Kotler, P, Bowen, P & Makens, J 2006, Marketing for hospitality and tourism, Prentice Hall, New York.
Laudon, C & Traver, G 2007, E-commerce, Pearson-Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
Lim, W 2010, The effects of social media networks in the hospitality industry, Master Thesis, University of Nevada, viewed 11 July 2014, via Digital Scholarship Program.
Michael, A & Salter, B 2006, Mobile marketing: achieving competitive advantage through wireless technology, Elsevier Press, Massachusetts.
Miletsky, J 2010, Principles of internet marketing: new tools and methods for web developers, course technology, Cengage Learning, Boston.
Park, C & Sohn, H 2000. Cyber tourism marketing: a content analysis of travel agency web sites in Korea and its implication, Asia Pacific Tourism Association, Phuket, Thailand.
Piccoli, G, Spalding, B & Ives, B 2012, ‘The Customer service life cycle: a framework for internet use in support of customer service’, Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administration Quarterly, vol. 42 no. 3, pp. 38-45.
Tang, A 1998, ‘The effectiveness of commercial internet web sites: a user’s perspective’, Internet Research, vol. 8 no. 3, pp. 219-228.
Ting-Peng, L, Hung-Jen, L 2002, ‘Effect of store design on consumer purchases: an empirical study of on-line bookstores’, Information & Management, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 431-444.
Van der Wagen, L 2006, Human resource management for events: managing the event workforce, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.