Data Analysis Chapter: Mobile Marketing the Utility

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[. . .] What separates hospitality marketing is that while most industries sell products to customers, hotels sell service, comfort and convenience (Singh, 2011).

Mobile Marketing

The mobile market has revolutionized the way we go about our daily business. From checking our email, doing our banking, getting involved in social media and even operating our automobiles, mobile devices are essentially becoming the world's remote control. But what about businesses, and their use of these mobile devices? Companies from all over the world are coming together to create mobile tools which increase business utility and increase overall business value (Gleanster, 2011). This report covers a few of those utilities and the businesses that have made excellent use of mobile devices to generate value. The hospitality industry is taking full advantage of the many mobile utilities and there is no clear point in time where this is going to end. Eventually everything you do will have some form of mobile application that allows you to take your experiences with a business to a next level. These applications give people a sense of participation in the forefront of technology. As a result of this, those users can also gain a sense of affiliation with what they are using them for, making them feel like a part of that business (Gleanster, 2011b).

Propelled by the arrival of new technological innovations, the prevalence of personal mobile devices and the continuing business need to do more with less, mobile marketing in the United States is going mainstream. According to Gleanster, Acuity Mobile found that 89% of major brands were planning to market via mobile in 2008, and nearly one-third of those brands were planning to spend greater than 10% of their marketing budgets on mobile (Gleanster, 2011a). Research by Nielsen Mobile shows the extent of the penetration of mobile devices in American society: In the fourth quarter of 2008 there were 109 million subscribers to the mobile Internet; 44 million of them had used the mobile Internet within the previous 30 days. U.S. mobile advertising revenues (search and display) will grow to $3.1 billion in 2013, from $160 million in 2008, representing a compound annual growth rate of 81.2%. During the same period, the firm forecasts mobile local search advertising revenues will increase from $20 million to $1.3 billion, an annual growth rate of 130.5% (Heinonen and Standvik, 2003).

Unlike the Internet revolution when home computers helped drive the development of online marketing, mobile devices are already in the hands of millions of people in the United States, so a ready market already exists. Attracted by high response rates and the relatively low cost of campaign deployment, early adopters are seeing encouraging results from well-designed and well-executed mobile marketing promotions. These mobile trailblazers represent well-known major brands and a wide cross-section of industries, including restaurants, online and offline retailers, auto manufacturers, consumer electronics, travel and entertainment, casinos, and political campaigns. As companies realize the full potential of mobile marketing and expand the size of their mobile marketing budgets accordingly, the need for specialized talent in this young and burgeoning industry will grow (Krum, 2010).

Case-Study Questions And Data Collection

Mobile services seem to be an apparent choice for travel and tourism as the travelers are on the move, which is the first criterion for mobile services to be relevant to the hospitality industry. The travel and tourism industry, which is one of the largest and most rapidly expanding industries in the world and one of the significant users of technology in its operations, will undoubtedly be a significant market place for mobile services. It can be assumed that travellers' and tourists' lives will be enhanced by smart services accessible via mobile devices anywhere and anytime. Intelligent software technologies will allow mobile services to be personalized and context-aware to improve travelers' and tourists' experiences. In order to better understand these trends, this work look to answer three questions: 1) How do hotels apply mobile marketing? 2) What are the benefits of mobile marketing for hotels? And 3) What are the issues to consider in order to apply the mobile marketing in hotels?

In order to asses and understand these trends a series of interviews were conducted with 6 small hotels (5 of them 4 star and 1 of them 5 star) in order to facilitate within-case and cross-case data analysis of the impact of mobile technology on their business. This study is a pioneering research, therefore, exploratory research purpose was applied. This type of research purpose should be employed when the researched problem has not been precisely defined so far and needs to be clarified. The work seeks to determine and explain the hospitality industry's usage of mobile marketing and provide new information about the benefits and problem areas. Different strategies can be used when carrying out the research in business area. Yin enumerates them as case study, experiment, survey, history and archival records (Yin, 1994). For this work, case study and survey could be taken into consideration, as all other strategies did not enable collecting appropriate data for the research questions.

The choice of the research strategy is influenced by the formulation of the research problem and the research questions. Case study is preferred for research questions starting with "how" or "why" aiming to provide explanations about the problem area, while survey is relevant for research questions starting with "who," "what," "where," "how many" or "how much" focusing on describing the examined phenomenon (Yin, 1994). Formulation of research questions in this thesis (starting with "how") supported the choice of case study instead of survey. Survey enables researching a large sample size in an economic way, but the data are usually not as wide-ranging as if they were collected using another research strategy. On the other hand, case study does not allow collecting data from a large sample, but offers to gain deep understanding of the problem and researching many variables. Because of the above stated reasons, case study research strategy was employed.

The scope of this paper did not allow collecting data from a large sample of hospitality providers. Still, conducting only one case study was also not suitable, as single case study should be employed, when it represents either extreme or unique case, critical case that can test a well-formulated theory, or revelatory case that provides an opportunity to research so far inaccessible problem area (Yin, 1994). None of the options applied for this thesis, therefore multiple case studies were carried out and compared, as their findings are usually considered to be more credible and solid. Moreover, multiple case studies enable comparison among the cases and increase the research validity (Yin, 1994).

For selecting cases, probability methods, which are based on the concept of random selection -- a controlled procedure that assures that each element of total population is given a known nonzero chance of selection, could not be applied in this work, because it was not feasible to embrace all the hospitality providers using mobile marketing. This group is very large and it is changing constantly. Instead non-probability methods were employed. Three content providers were chosen by the researchers for conducting the case studies. They were chosen by convenience selection method, which means selecting cases according to their availability and accessibility for the researchers, using personal contacts. The reason for applying this type of selection methods was mainly the availability of such contacts and expected willingness to provide data.

In order to answer the research questions of this work, content providers that were selected for case studies needed to meet several criteria. First, they had to be involved in mobile marketing for their hotel. This condition should have ensured that the content providers had experience with different types of mobile media, they were knowledgeable about marketing and were able to assess its advantages and disadvantages. Furthermore, running marketing ventures should have been the primary job for hotels, so that they were highly involved in performance of their platforms and tried to achieve the best results for them.

For the exploratory studies such as this one, the qualitative methods for data collection and analysis are appropriate, as they frequently work with a smaller sample size that enables gaining deeper insight into the problem. Due to the small amount of researched subjects, generalization is usually not possible. Moreover, data collected in the research were not suitable for statistical processing, but they required categorization and interpretation, which is also characteristic for qualitative methods (Saunders, Lewis, Thornhill, 2000:378). Therefore, this study employed qualitative methods.

Data were collected by interviews with people responsible for choosing, implementing and evaluation of mobile marketing in the chosen subjects and by observation of their marketing. Interviews were chosen, as they enable acquiring in-depth data and are suitable for qualitative analysis. In the study, interviews were conducted by telephone or during personal meeting. All interviews were recorded and were semi-structured, which means that list of themes and questions needed to be covered was prepared, but it was possible to make variations in every interview… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Mobile Marketing the Utility.  (2012, January 21).  Retrieved April 26, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/mobile-marketing-utility/1652060

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"Mobile Marketing the Utility."  Essaytown.com.  January 21, 2012.  Accessed April 26, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/mobile-marketing-utility/1652060.