Dubai’s buoyant hospitality sector, which is gearing up to host more than 20 million visitors at the World Expo 2020, is way ahead of seven other key global cities in average spend per overnight visitor as well as in the number of hotel keys per resident. Among the many lessons learnt, Karan Sampat, MGB Sep’18 student at SP Jain School of Global Management, recounts three key marketing lessons from his global learning visit to the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) in Dubai:
IHG is a very well-established brand all over the world with staggering 5,431 hotels in 100 countries. This largely successful chain of hotels has created opportunities for thousands of people and is continuing to do so. They estimate that there will be over 160,000 jobs over the next few years among the chain with the help of some of IHG’s best employers. IHG own hotel/motel chains such as Holiday Inn and Hotel Indigo as well.
Lesson 1: Understand Your Audience
With the influx of international visitors and international leisure travel on the rise – Dubai International Airport has become the busiest airport in the world. It isn’t enough to know your audience, you have to understand them. Hotels must be able to provide services in a multitude of languages, and tailored experiences suited to the culture and unique needs of their international visitors. Taking the case of IHG’s chain of Crowne Plaza that caters largely to B2B Consumers – they are the primary target market and there are many factors to consider when marketing to a mass audience. Crowne Plaza has a wide range of restaurants and this is necessary considering Dubai’s cultural diversity.
Lesson 2: Productivity is Kindness
Knowing whom you are targeting leads to quality productivity which in turn is kindness. This is something that the employees constantly practice not only whilst dealing with clients but also with each other. Productivity and kindness go hand in hand. Hospitality is all about providing to the customers. It can be very challenging to deal with customers’ criticism. It is, however, essential to deal with the emotion of the customer and not get carried away especially when the customer is the one at fault.
Lesson 3: Disruption is a Constant
Disruption is an ever-present underlying factor in business. Airbnb isn’t the only disruptor in hospitality. Technology is creating ripples and is on the priority for hotels. Seamless connectivity across platforms and devices is growing more important. Many hotel groups are offering mobile check-in and digital concierge services. With everything becoming digitised nowadays, IHG – Crowne Plaza’s marketing strategies have evolved especially over the last four years. Social media marketing is their most popular form of marketing where their marketing strategies are measurable and more economical. In addition to that, changes in renovation to adopt the latest tech in rooms and services for customers are always on top of the list.
Bonus Lesson: Sustainability Rules
The sustainable bug is catching on and for the good! IHG’s priority as an organisation is to continue to maintain sustainability and be environmentally friendly.
About the Author: Karan Anant Sampat
Born and raised in Abu Dhabi, UAE, Karan Anant Sampat is specialising in Contemporary Marketing Management at SP Jain School of Global Management. His interests include psychology, beatboxing, tennis, table tennis and travel.
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