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Marketing and Promotion in the Hotel Industry:

A case study in Family Hotel and Hotel Group

Luís Pereira
School of Tourism and Maritime Technology, Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal

Paulo Almeida
GITUR – Tourism Research Group, School of Tourism and Maritime Technology, Polytechnic Institute of
Leiria, Portugal

Pereira, L. & Almeida, P. (2014). Marketing and promotion in the hotel industry: A case study in
family hotel and hotel group. Tourism and Hospitality International Journal, 2(1), 92-105.

THIJ - Tourism and Hospitality International Journal, 2 (1). March 2014 ISSN: 2183-0800

Marketing shows its importance in every kind of tourist and hotel industry, since it presents
itself as a tool that contributes to better management of hotel operations also help in
defining appropriate strategies for their development, with the main objective, the increase 93
in financial results. Thus, the thought of marketing and promotion strategy should be
developed in a planned, staffed and structured to provide the enabling hospitality company
to move the market in better condition that can ensure greater market share, making it
possible to take the product or service to customers and potential customers. Marketing and
promotion should define a set of actions for internal and external communication that can
be put into practice by allowing hotel companies diversified forward messages with the aim
of showing and raising awareness of the company, its products and services with ultimate
goal of causing consumers consumer desire. To understand how marketing and promotion
can take on this vital role for the hotel units, we did an exhaustive search to get collect
information about: tourism, hospitality, hotel management, marketing and promotion (these
topics that we consider crucial to our work research). To this was fundamental research in
thematic books, consult scientific articles and academic theses already undertaken, the
consultation of literature related to the two hotel units under study, conducting interviews
with the direction of the family-run hotel unit for information about the hotel management
and even a visit to the two hotels that were targeted by our research. After collecting and
processing all the information and content that could meet the predefined objectives of our
investigation, it was revealed that marketing and promotion is a vehicle of great importance
for the management of hotels.

Keywords: tourism, hospitality, hotel management, marketing, promotion, internal

communication, external communication.

THIJ - Tourism and Hospitality International Journal, 2 (1). March 2014 ISSN: 2183-0800

O marketing assume uma grande importância para todo o tipo de empresas turísticas na
medida em que se apresenta como uma ferramenta de apoio à gestão e na ajuda da
definição de estratégias adequadas para o desenvolvimento das mesmas, com o objetivo
principal de potenciar resultados financeiros. Desta forma, o pensamento de marketing e a
estratégia de comunicação desenvolvida de forma pensada e estruturada permite colocar a
empresa em melhores condições de alcançar uma maior quota de mercado que permita
fazer chegar o produto ou serviço junto dos clientes e do mercado. Assim, o marketing e a
comunicação devem definir um conjunto de ações de comunicação interna e externa que
possam ser colocadas em prática e que permitam transmitir mensagens com o objetivo de
dar a conhecer a empresa, os seus produtos e serviços de forma a provocar nos
consumidores o desejo de aquisição. Para perceber de que forma é que o marketing e a
comunicação podem desempenhar este papel vital para as unidades hoteleiras, procurámos
recolher um conjunto de informações sobre os temas do turismo, da hotelaria, da gestão
hoteleira, do marketing e da comunicação, temas estes que admitimos serem determinantes
para o nosso trabalho de investigação. Para tal, foi fundamental a pesquisa de livros
temáticos, a consulta de artigos publicados, a leitura de teses já realizadas sobre estes
assuntos, a realização de entrevista junto da direção de unidade hoteleira de gestão familiar
para recolher informações sobre como é feita a gestão do hotel e a visita aos dois tipos de
hotel que foram alvo do nosso trabalho de investigação. Após a recolha e tratamento de
todas as informações e conteúdos que pudessem dar resposta aos objetivos da nossa
investigação, foi possível perceber que o marketing e a comunicação são um veículo de
grande importância para a gestão das unidades hoteleiras.

Palavras-chave: turismo, hotelaria, gestão hoteleira, marketing, comunicação,

comunicação externa.

THIJ - Tourism and Hospitality International Journal, 2 (1). March 2014 ISSN: 2183-0800
Introduction management with greater complexity and
professionalism (Werner, 2004).
Tourism is currently one of the main The evolution of the hotel management
economic activities in the world made the hotel units to raise their greater
contributing to, economic, cultural and concern with issues of image, promotion,
political development of various regions service quality and customer satisfaction
and Krippendorf (1989) argues that we therefore was unable to marketing play an
must be attentive to the growth of this important role in guiding the market
activity, while the World Travel and (Teare, 1998). Thus, Lambin (2000) feels
Tourism Council (WTTC, 2013) shows that marketing and promotion are
that Portugal has the ability to believe in sufficiently important for the hotel it was
its tourism potential, both in terms of necessary to develop techniques and
revenues, job creation and the multiplier strategies for promoting able to reach
effect that recognizes this activity (Cunha, markets products and hotel services.
2001). Kotler (2003) show us that to
The hotel industry is one of the main communicate with the outside the hotel
sub-sectors of tourism and Cunha (2003) unit must perform various actions external,
believes that the hotel industry was one of structured and developed based on a
the in the principal motives for the promotion and effective marketing
development and growth of tourism, which promotion strategy, allowing to get the
has led to increased number of message from the market and acquire a
establishments hoteliers, respective size wide range of information about the
and organizational complexity (Quintas, market, customers and competition
1998). Also the national hotel (Peppers & Rogers, 1999). This strategy
accompanied the growth of international could be very important if give to hotel the
hospitality thus becoming in the activity opportunity to obtaining competitive
with the highest weight among all advantages, including the ability to
activities covered by the national tourism. develop and customize the product/service,
Lima (2003) saw the first hotel units providing customer satisfaction, thereby
were managed by the owners, in the case increasing the likelihood of this loyalty is
of purely family business with (Gordon, 1998).
management by the owner's family
managed this, often seen as the first stage Literature Review
of development of hotel management. The
development of the hotel business and According to the World Tourism
management skills helped to create a set of Organization (UNWTO) the "Tourism" is
techniques that together gave rise to the the set of all temporary movements of an
so-called "Hotel Management", becoming individual for other than their usual place
of residence or work (WTO, 2013). Cunha

(1997) adds that there have always been Pine (1995) considered that the
several tourist motivations to travel, be evolution of transport, technologies and
they religious, commercial, sport, leisure the phenomenon of the globalization,
or the simple desire to know other people along with the changes in consumer
and cultures. behavior, created the conditions for
To further enhance the growth and increasing the number of trips which
development of tourism, Macintosh (1995) forced the creation of conditions for the
highlighted the following factors: the onset reception of these tourists, notably higher
of motor traffic, the extension of paid number of hotel establishments and while
leave, the trend of annual real wages, the their size and organizational complexity.
tendency to a certain economic smoothing, We saw that the hotel management can
reduction of hours work and the be characterized as a particular case of
consequent increase of free time available, business management but their goals are
the increasing life expectancy, the reforms similar, and in the case of hotel
and the monotony of some current management, this arises due to the
professions. evolution and development of the hotel
Cooper, Fletcher, Wanhill, Gilbert and business, which has become increasingly
Shepherd (1998) believes that tourism complex and together with the evolution of
industry is a major economic activity transport and technology, resulted in the
worldwide, and is now a vital activity for emergence of management techniques
various countries and regions with a (Hall, 1997).
continuous growth of this activity over the This specific technical management of
past few years (Krippendorf, 1989). the hotels may have arisen from the
Portugal is no exception and given its management techniques applied in family
characteristics and its tourist potential, hotels, admitting even that was in this kind
where we highlight various tourism of hotels that arose organizational
products with the ability to attract tourists, evolution that is now recognized to hotels
has managed to capture a considerable (Lima, 2003).
flow of tourists has allowed boost national The same author saw that also under
tourism (Albuquerque & Godinho, 2001). development of tourism and hospitality
Beni (2003) considered that all tourism and consequent increase in the number of
activities that make up the tourism, hotel is hotels, there were conditions for the
one of the most important sub-sectors, increasing complexity of establishments
with the housing to establish itself as a key which forced the increased complexity of
component of this activity by checking the management techniques (Gee & Fayos-
increase in the number of hotel Solá, 2003).
establishments, while growing tourist Lechter (2003) argues that the
activity (Batista, 2003) development of hospitality forced hoteliers
to look to the market in a more dynamic

THIJ - Tourism and Hospitality International Journal, 2 (1). March 2014 ISSN: 2183-0800

way and one of the novelties was the need developed to increase engagement with the
to realize the desires, tastes and demands client and ensure the conditions necessary
of the market itself and moreover, we can`t for the satisfaction and loyalty (Rublescki,
forget that only through the provision of 2009). To reinforce the idea, in addition to
service with great quality is possible to the actions of external communication,
maintain high levels of consumption by interests highlight the importance of
customers. internal communication actions with
To Lambin (2000), "marketing" is the regard to motivation and engagement of
"set of tools for analysis, forecasting employees with the hotel, increasing their
methods and market research put into productivity and motivation to provide
practice in order to develop job high quality service to customers.
prospecting needs demand, and Costa and To continue our investigation a case
Talarico (2000) adds that marketing study where we identified promotion
encompasses all steps from creation strategies applied in two hotel units with
related to the development of a product or different management types was
service and promotion respective target performed. Hotels are completely different
market correspondent, always looking for in either dimension, the typology, the
a bi-directional communication with the organization, management and
client, hoping that this u the message sent classification but what is intended is not
with the goal of achieving valuable making a comparison between both. Our
information for the adaptation of the intention is to identify a hotel which
product or service to your target market. " recognizes a large capacity for the
Zeithaml and Bitner (2000) warned that application of marketing techniques and
the product or hotel service should be gather the largest number of shares of
developed with the help of marketing so internal and external communication.
that they can together cause a desire to be Later we intend to identify which
purchased and consumed by the customer, communication actions are performed in a
while the marketing techniques giving a smaller hotel with fewer resources,
helping hand in designing and familiar management and lower rating so
implementing a strategy to achieve the we can understand what kind of actions
market to ensure a greater number of can be introduced in the latter to increase
customers, sales and results. its performance in marketing to help you
The contribution of marketing improve your results operational.
techniques allowed the hotels go to apply In first case, we choose the Hotel Tivoli
communication techniques that broadcast Oriente - Hotels & Resorts (one of the
messages to customers and the market with biggest hotels group in Portugal), and soon
information about all products and services identified in their structure a marketing
available, while the various actions of department with skilled professionals for
external communication could be the development and implementation of

THIJ - Tourism and Hospitality International Journal, 2 (1). March 2014 ISSN: 2183-0800

marketing and promotion strategy. A wide when marketing began to take on a key
range of external communication actions role in the management of hotels. At the
that are applied in order to establish a link end of the theoretical part we discuss how
with the market constantly communicating marketing has become an important tool
a lot of content related to the hotel. Are for the management of hotels and where
also carried out some internal we present the communication actions
communication activities aiming to which can be undertaken to promote the
involve all employees with the hotel, hotel with customers and market.
motivating them to take pride in belonging The second part dedicated to the
to the group Tivoli Hotels (HTO, 2013). research methodology, which marks the
In the second case, we choose passage from theoretical to empirical part
Albergaria Josefa D' Obidos Hotel, with of the work and where we yet any
typically family-run and we've seen that description of how the whole case study
does not exhibit a clearly defined was designed.
marketing strategy though it carries some After gathering all the theoretical
marketing and promotion sporadically. elements needed to develop empirical
Regarding internal communication actions study was necessary to conduct a case
conclude that they are not applied in a study and thus give rise to the practical
regular and structured (AJDOH 2013). part of our research work to make it
possible to achieve the objectives initially
Methodology envisaged.
To this we added further to information
Our research offers a first theoretical previously obtained, a set of information
part where we discuss topics such as collected through visits to both hotels in
tourism, hotel, hotel management and the study and conducting an interview with
marketing. We began our work to make an the managers of each hotels to reach the
introduction to tourism, its growth, promotion strategy and all the
development and its importance to the communication actions development.
various tourist destinations worldwide. As the main objective of our work is to
Still in initial phase sought to understand analyze the importance of marketing and
how the hotel business emerges and promotion strategy in hotels, our case
develops a national and global context, study provides an analysis of how this
trying to understand how growth is sued promotion strategy is developed in hotels
and that changes were happening. with typically family-run hotel group with
In the second theoretical part of our hotels management professional.
research we tried to understand the Analysis of marketing and promotion
evolution of hotel techniques and how the applied in family-run hotel group and
hotel management increased its applied professional hotel management
complexity, while we identify the time strategy, we identified that marketing and

THIJ - Tourism and Hospitality International Journal, 2 (1). March 2014 ISSN: 2183-0800

promotion are applied in each case in order were the "leisure, recreation and holidays"
to find possible actions that can be applied account for about 52% of total
for family members to increase their international travel, the "visits to family,
awareness, occupancy rates and overall health and religion "responsible for 27% of
outcomes hotels. journeys and motivations" professional /
This analysis assumes that family-run business "account for 14% (INE, 2013).
hotels do not provide a strategy for International tourism receipts in 2012
effective communication unlike what had an approximate value of € 837 billion
happens with hotels hotel group with and Europe being the region with the
professional management seeking to greatest ability to capture tourist flows, we
develop a marketing strategy and emphasize that only this region achieved
promotion according to marketing theory revenues from tourism in the order of €
predicts for hospitality and hotel units. 356 billion (INE, 2013).
According to UNWTO believe that
4. Results tourism can become the main global
economic activity (Cooper, Fletcher,
Thus, we have seen that tourism is a Wanhill, Gilbert & Shepherd, 1998), with
major economic activity around the world, a prediction that points to some 1.4 billion
becoming a vital activity for various international tourist arrivals in 2020, and
countries and regions with a continuous 1.8 billion arrivals by 2030 (WTO, 2013).
growth over the years (Krippendorf, 1989) Due to its characteristics, Portugal has
in which Portugal is no exception, given managed to show all his willingness to
their characteristics which can highlight establish itself as a country facing the
various tourism products with the capacity tourism activity, since it has to offer a
to attract tourists (Albuquerque & wide range of tourism products and
Godinho, 2001). services with the capacity to attract tourists
According to the World Tourism (Albuquerque & Godinho, 2001), although
Organization, international tourist activity the product "sun and sea" is the one with
recorded in 2010 approximately 952 greater capacity to capture domestic and
million international tourist arrivals, 996 foreign tourist flows.
million in 2011 and 1 billion trips in 2012, According to data for 2010, Portugal
thereby recording a new record for emerged during the 26th position among
international arrivals passing the first time the countries with the highest ability to
barrier "trillion international travel” generate income from tourism, with
(WTO, 2013). around € 8 billion, a figure, far cry from
As mentioned earlier, there are several the € 43 billion achieved by neighboring
tourist motivations that are the cause of Spain.
international travel and emphasize that in The hotel business in Portugal has also
2012 the main motivations for traveling seen large changes accompanying the

THIJ - Tourism and Hospitality International Journal, 2 (1). March 2014 ISSN: 2183-0800

development that happens internationally The growth of the number of hotels and
and according to data from the Portugal respective dimension, which joined the
National Statistics Institute, we can say technological development and consequent
that the hotel business, including the sale globalization forced the emergence of
of rooms is one that has greater weight has more complex structures and that triggered
within all activities covered by tourism in the need for a more developed
Portugal, representing in 2010 management (Barreto Filho, 2001) thereby
approximately 38.4%. To understand its contributing to the development of a hotel
importance, it is sufficient to compare the increasingly professional management.
activities of transport and food and However, the hotels do not always have
beverage, which represent each of them, the financial and human resource capacity
about 22% of the total value of around to invest in marketing departments who
EUR 500 million (INE, 2013). can develop well defined marketing
The latest statistics show that in 2012 strategies, what can put them vulnerable to
there were 2046 hotelier in Portugal and competition, given the ability of large
that about half (about 992 hotels) are hotel groups have to devote resources
hotels with rating between 1 and 5 stars, directed to the marketing department. But
the other half being reserved for with our investigation we will try to find
Apartments Hotels, hostels and other types some low expensive promotion actions
of establishments, thus showing the could be applied in hotels with low
importance of hotel national hotel. It is resources.
important to emphasize that the existing The evolution of marketing has enabled
992 hotels in Portugal, about 65% of hotels a number of changes in management of
are 3 and 4 star leaving the remainder, hotels, increasing the intensity of the
about 35%, divided by 1.2 and hotels 5 star relationship between hotels, clients and
and in relation to the distribution thereof, market (Rublescki, 2009). The marketing
checks is that regions with the largest emerges as an important tool in the
number of hotels are Center (255 hotels), exploration of customer needs and
North (251 hotels), Lisbon (192 hotels) demand, thereby assisting in the design
and Algarve (115 hotels) (INE, 2013). and development of the tourism product or
Unlike what happens with the family service and the same respective promotion
run hotel where the management is done in (Costa and Talarico, 2000).
most cases by members of the family who For MacIntosh, Goeldner and Ritchie
own the hotel, professional hotel (2002) the existence of a product or hotel
management employees are admitted service that can be changed in order to turn
based on criteria of competence rather than them into a set of expectations that arouse
criteria familiarity (Gee & Fayos-Sola, a desire to be consumed by the customer,
2003). making marketing an overriding tool is

THIJ - Tourism and Hospitality International Journal, 2 (1). March 2014 ISSN: 2183-0800

required in the daily operation of a hotel partners or hotel brochure), public

(Berry, 1983). relations (presence in tourism fairs or
The communication strategy of the gatherings of disclosure in the media),
hotels is very important and as advocates online stock (hotel or presence on
Lambin (2000) is no good having a FACEBOOK site), sponsorship of events
product and service quality if the hotel (for accommodation or meals), sales
does not have the ability to convey to the promotion (low prices just accommodation
market and to provoke the desire to be and throughout the year) and some loyalty
acquired (MacIntosh, 2000) actions (offering of flowers to birthdays or
After making our case study was reduction 20% in the price of
possible to obtain a set of information accommodation) (AJDOH, 2013).
about marketing and in this particular case In the case of Tivoli Oriente Hotel, we
on promotion strategies in hospitality. So saw that the first step of the marketing
within and external communication actions strategy was the choice of positioning
we find: advertising (for example: chains and the definition of the Mission,
billboards or magazines.), direct marketing Values and Vision of Tivoli Hotels, while
(telemarketing, email, newsletter), public they made the change image (logo and
relations (press releases or themed events), stationary basic) and created a concept of
online actions (site, presence on social experience, service and care. Some of the
networking sites or content), sponsorship actions of external communication that are
and patronage (financing or partnerships in applied include advertising ( magazines,
events), sales promotions (or price brochures or basic stationary), direct
reductions in training package with marketing (telemarketing, email sending or
benefits for the customer), merchandising receiving in the room with "Welcome" on
(selling products with identification name the LCD), public relations (press releases
hotel), educational visits and or announcements press), online actions
familiarization (invitation to receive visits (site with lots of content, online brochure,
from journalists and opinion leaders and presence on various social networks and in
loyalty actions (Lambin, 2000). various content sites), sponsorship of
According to the results obtained, it was events (tests of golf, equestrian or dining),
still possible to analyze and identify some sales promotions (discounts preparation or
internal communication actions seeking to preparation promotional package),
engage employees with the hotel and the partnerships (with golf, leisure or catering
brand, where you can highlight: employee businesses), merchandising (various Tivoli
manuals, birthday card or magazine products) and actions loyalty ( satisfaction
hotel/brand. questionnaires or offer voucher or loyalty
In the case of Albergaria Josefa D' card) (HTO, 2013).
Obidos Hotel, we can identify some direct Also identified internal communication
marketing (sending Christmas cards for activities, with the goal of reaching all

THIJ - Tourism and Hospitality International Journal, 2 (1). March 2014 ISSN: 2183-0800

employees and among some cases stand and recognition of the quality of the
out: the Tivoli Hotels magazine, birthday hotel.
card or the employee manual.
Some of the actions of communication 5. Conclusion
that we have identified as potential
application in hotels and family run, and Throughout our research was possible
that can improve the relationship with the to realize that tourism is assumed as one of
market, promoting the image, increasing the main economic activities in the world
awareness, achieve better occupancy rates taking into account a range of income and
and overall results are: capital gains that generates around it. We
 Development and application of survey have seen that the development of tourism
and treatment evaluation of customer potentiate the development of the hotel
satisfaction; activity causing an increase in the number
 Deals, promotions and surprise of establishments and their respective size,
customers as a means of achieving complexity and organization (Albuquerque
loyalty; & Godinho, 2001).
 To promote direct marketing with Also noticed that the hotel is part of the
customers, potential customers and the tourist offer, even being one of the most
market; important subsectors, given that housing is
 Partnerships with golf courses in the a key component of this activity, which led
region due to the potential of this to an increase in the number of hotel
product in attracting customers; establishments at the same time that there
 Implementation of regular internal has been growth of tourism (Beni, 2003).
communication and in a structured The evolution of the transport system
manner in order to keep the team and the technological means, along with
motivated and objectives and present; changing consumer behavior, has enabled
 Hiring a specialized company or an increase in the number of trips which
research group GITUR for developing led to the need to create conditions for the
and implementing a marketing strategy receipt of these tourists, which makes
and plan to apply at the hotel; larger number of establishments arise,
 Vocational training in marketing to the while its size and organizational
heads of each department; complexity will also increase (Hall, 1997).
 Amendment of the hotel name, logo and Hotel management can be seen as a
stationary base; particular case of business management
 Modernization of the hotel and but with very similar goals. The hotel
strengthening of activity in social management arises due to the evolution
networking site; and development of the hotel business that
 Realization of themed events on a has become increasingly complex and
regular basis to increase the visibility coupled to technological evolution makes

THIJ - Tourism and Hospitality International Journal, 2 (1). March 2014 ISSN: 2183-0800

emerge management techniques that is vital information to markets for products

follow this same trend (Lima, 2003) and services that can be consumed in
This development hotelier leads to the hotels there, communicating to the outside
need to introduce a series of management several messages with the purpose of
techniques that subsequently give rise to a awakening in them a desire to purchase
set of techniques encompassed what later (MacIntosh, Goeldner & Ritchie 2002).
comes to be known as hospitality The marketing and communication to
management. Among various types of help in increasing knowledge of the tastes,
techniques and management strategies, desires and needs, provides conditions for
some of them appear closely related to the the development of products that are better
topic of marketing and started attending a in accordance with the wishes of
very close relationship between the hotel customers, thus increasing the likelihood
management and marketing relationship of ensuring their satisfaction (Kotler, 1999;
that brings numerous benefits to hotel Pine, 1993). This knowledge allows the
operations. client to the hotel to customize the product
We saw that the hotel group are better or customer service making this feel
adapted to the evolution of hospitality , to special and with a quality service results in
the extent that accompanied the new trends greater customer satisfaction (Gordon,
in hotel management , in particular 1998). This close relationship between
regarding the definition and service quality and customer satisfaction
implementation of a marketing thinking, provides better conditions for it to fidelize
developing marketing strategies and the hotel thus increasing the customer
communication actions quite effective, value to the company (Caruana, 2003).
trying to use every means to communicate Analysis of marketing strategies and
and reach to customers or the market. Add promotion of two hotels in the study, we
that it was possible to define a set of noticed that the family-run hotel features
external and internal actions that can be large gaps with regard to the actions of
implemented easily and without great external and internal communication,
financial cost to the hotels and can bring unlike what happens with the hotel group,
added value in improving awareness and which were identified various actions of
increasing occupancy rates and overall external and internal communication that
results. seeks to involve the client or collaborator
Thus, we have seen that communication with the hotel and the brand associated.
is essential to people's lives and Finally, we saw that the hotel group is
businesses, and the proof is all the media better adapted to the evolution of
around us and all the ways we receive hospitality, to the extent that accompanied
messages, almost admitting that they do the new trends in hotel management, in
not communicate, there is no (Lambin, particular regarding the definition and
2000). Thus communication in hospitality implementation of a marketing thinking,

THIJ - Tourism and Hospitality International Journal, 2 (1). March 2014 ISSN: 2183-0800

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