Dissertation: Hotel Brand Satisfaction

Pages: 16 (4640 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 16  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Business - Advertising  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … improving brand awareness and customer satisfaction in the hotel industry. In support of this aim, the study was guided by several research questions: (a) what current branding strategies are being used by hotel chains and how effective are these methods in contributing to their customer loyalty and profitability?; (b) what specific factors must be taken into account in formulating hotel chain branding strategies? (c) what effect, if any, does a hotel chain's brand have on customer satisfaction?, and (d) how can hotel chains use information technology to develop improved brand awareness and satisfaction with existing and potential customers? To achieve this research purpose and address these research questions, the study used a mixed methodology consisting of a review of the relevant secondary literature together with a synthesis of the results of a custom online survey of four- and five-star hotels concerning their branding strategies and customer relationship management methods. An analysis of the study's findings is followed by important findings, the prospects arising from the study and their implications for the hotel industry in the future.

Table of Contents








Statement of Study Problem








Working Definitions


Framework for Study


Literature Review




Justification of the Methodology


Research Strategy


Ethical Considerations




Pilot Work, Establishment Procedures


Exercise of Main Methods




Presentation of Data


Critique of Data




Prospects Arising from the Study and Implications

Hotel Brand Satisfaction: "Identifying Opportunities for Improving Brand Awareness and Customer Satisfaction in the Hotel Industry"



Travel and tourism represent the largest industry in the world today, and it is not surprising that the hotel industry has experienced a concomitant increase in demand. Moreover, most authorities predict that these recent trends will continue well into the foreseeable future, making the need for timely and relevant studies of critical success factors an important enterprise today. In the realm of those critical success factors that characterize the hotel industry is the need to promote hard-earned brands that can fuel repeat business and attract new guests based on their specific desirable attributes. These attributes, of course, span the entire range from the highly budget-minded traveler seeking two-star accommodations to more affluent clientele in the three-star range to the four- and five-star range where price is no object and luxury is the byword. By promoting brand awareness based on the targeted market's familiarity with the facilities, hotel chains can gain a competitive advantage over their counterparts that fail to achieve such a level of awareness. In this regard, Alwitt and Mitchell report that brand familiarity exists along a continuum that includes the various levels of brand awareness that are typical among hotel guests and potential hotel guests. According to these authorities, "Brand familiarity is conceptualized as an index of differential brand awareness, reflecting degrees of experiences with the brand (ranging from weak, indirect experiences like past exposure to advertising, to strong and direct ones like current usage)" (Alwitt & Mitchell, 1995, p. 22).

According to Romaniuk, Sharp, Paech and Driesener (2004), a number of different awareness measures are used to determine the level of brand awareness and as a gauge of the effectiveness of the marketing initiatives that are used. According to these authorities, "Brand awareness is considered one of the key pillars of a brand's consumer-based brand equity. Building brand awareness is a way of ensuring potential customers know the categories in which the brand competes. While many authors support the association between brand awareness and buyer behaviour, they have disagreed over the specific measures that should be used" (Romaniuk et al., 2004, p. 37).

Currently, there are three widely used measures of brand awareness: top of mind, spontaneous and aided as set forth in Table 1 below.

Table 1

Three Widely Used Measures of Brand Awareness

Brand Awareness Measure


Top of mind awareness

The top of mind response to the product category cue is one of the best 'predictors' of choice of future sales (Romaniuk et al., 2004). Top of mind awareness is related strongly to brand preference with the strategic implications being that the brand's advertising needs to be high impact -- they must rise above the rest and capture top-of-mind unaided retrieval among a substantial share of customers when asked to mention ads that come to mind in the brand's product category (Woodside, 1996). Individual marketers must determine the optimal frequency needed to maintain top-of-mind awareness that will result in unaided store or brand awareness (White, 1993).

Spontaneous awareness

This is the unprompted recall of the brand name (Romaniuk et al., 2004). The level of spontaneous awareness is the brand's share of total awareness in the product category; in other words, memory relative to all other ads in the product category (Sutherland & Sylvester, 2000).

Aided awareness

This is the recognition of the brand name when prompted (Romaniuk et al., 2004). Not surprisingly, aided awareness is not widely considered to be a powerful indicator of future sales (Pallister & Isaacs, 1996).

Some researchers have argued that a particular measure is more appropriate at any given point in time and in different situations (Romaniuk et al., 2004). When alternatives are available at the time of the purchase decision, then aided awareness is relevant, when they are not, spontaneous awareness should be used. Likewise, other authorities distinguish between memory based, stimulus based and mixed (both) situations in which the capacity to spontaneously recall or identify something have different levels of importance (Romaniuk et al. 2004). According to Romaniuk and his colleagues, "Top of mind awareness is more relevant when a choice between competing brands is made quickly and this measure should be applied to low involvement impulse purchases such as most products in supermarket settings" (Romaniuk et al., 2004, p. 37).

Notwithstanding these controversial points concerning distinguishing between the different levels of brand awareness, three different brand awareness measures all appear to draw on the same fundamental construct which is the level of salience that is involved (Ramaniuk et al., 2004). With respect to brand awareness, the level of salience is used to describe the likelihood that the brand will come to mind during purchase decision situations (Romaniuk et al., 2004). In sum, then, different brand awareness indicators are fundamentally interrelated and differ only with respect to the individual situation that is involved (Romaniuk et al. 2004). In this regard, according to Romaniuk and his associates, "If all three awareness measures tap into the same fundamental construct then building brand awareness is not a choice of spontaneous vs. aided recall, but requires an overall improvement in the brand's salience. All three measures will reflect increases in salience; with the changes in actual scores for each measure simply dependent on the relative difficulty of the measure used" (2004, p. 37). In other words, when confronted with a purchase decision for a given product, consumers will likely think of the brand that is most well-known to them by virtue of exposure to repeated marketing messages, through personal use or testimonials of friends, family members and acquaintances. As Wells phrases it, "More simply put, when a consumer thinks of a dependable washing machine, the first brand that most likely comes to mind is Maytag. Based on years of long-term, consistent advertising, Maytag has dominated the claim of dependability and generated widespread brand awareness that is congruent with the desired brand image, despite the fact that Maytag's advertising budget is typically well below that of its major competitors" (1997, p. 177). This example suggests that long-term consistent advertising messages can create an image that keeps the brand in the consumer's mind. In this regard, Wells reports that, "If a company strongly associates itself with a particular attribute or image, it can afford to reduce its advertising budget or even stop advertising for brief periods of time without significantly hurting its sales. This tangible economic benefit must be considered in assessing advertising effectiveness" (1997, p. 8). The effectiveness of brand promotion initiatives, then, will relate to the frequency of the advertising message needed to build a desired level of brand awareness, as well as the content of those messages. With respect to hotel chains, the same factors beg the questions, "What types of strategies are being used to promote brand awareness in the hotel industry?," a question that also form sthe focus of this study which is discussed further below.


Background. This study was guided by the following research questions:


What current branding strategies are being used by hotel chains and how effective are these methods in contributing to their customer loyalty and profitability?


What specific factors must be taken into account in formulating hotel chain branding strategies?


What effect, if any, does a hotel chain's brand have on customer satisfaction?


How can hotel chains use information technology to develop improved brand awareness and satisfaction with existing and potential customers?



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"Hotel Brand Satisfaction."  Essaytown.com.  November 23, 2011.  Accessed September 17, 2019.