1. There are many factors that fostered the success of Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts. First, the chain of hotels was created at a time when the niche of premium hotels was not yet filled by Hilton and similar hotels. Therefore, the only thing the founders needed to do was to establish effective communication strategies and further implementation and the launch of a new competitive business venture. Another factor refers to the personalities of the founders. On the one hand, the hotels and resorts embodied the visions and experiences of an experienced traveler, Ho Kwong Ping (Wirtz, 2004). On the other hand, the policies of social responsibility that have been carried by this corporation would not have been possible unless Claire Chang has intervened and engaged into the process of building of the locally-based giant hotel chain, thus supporting the local community.
Apart from this, the company also committed to providing unique services to its customers. Moreover, its staff aimed to create an atmosphere of intimacy and privacy. A little escapade from ever-running world could be easily found there for quite a reasonable price. Local people were involved in the company’s entire cycle of operations, which ensured high quality of the offered services, offered as the local population realized that it could survive only on the wages paid by the hotel. At the same time, the company’s owners, realizing its social responsibility for the people of the region, gave the local children a chance to experience such life opportunities which were significantly different from the ones of their parents (Wirtz, 2004). They awarded scholarships to these children and gave them an opportunity to study abroad in order to advance in the career field. All of these efforts, naturally, created a positive brand image and a reputation for the company. As could be inferred from the study, no negative incidents or complaints have been reported in regard to the services offered by the hotels’ staff.
2. The brand was positioned in a few key ways. First and foremost, it established a tight connection to the environmental initiatives and campaigns. Therefore, the company opposed itself to other hotels and resorts chains that usually destroyed the environment together with the local culture and traditions. Secondly, the managers of BTHR aimed to tie associate the brand with feelings of safety, privacy and intimacy. Additionally, they stressed on the sense of a place. Moreover, the PR division of the company focused its attention on development of the local community and perseverance at the same time, than on the tourists itself. The staff expressed extreme care and tolerance as they created the brand on the daily basis. The company management team created and enforced some formal standards for the staff to follow. Yet, it encouraged giving some level independency to the employees and delegation of functions. The local spirit could be felt everywhere. And it could be considered both as a competitive advantage of this hotels chain and as its distinguishing feature, since other hotels corporations operated on the model of franchise and simply created luxurious mono-style hotels in the middle of an indigenous community (Wirtz, 2004).
As to the communication strategies, one should admit that they were pretty simple and straightforward. The company launched a big scale global marketing strategy targeting the world’s famous premium journals and magazines. Additionally, the advertising and promotion strategies were largely built on strong partnership relations with top editors and writers which cultivated and stimulated interest to the areas in which the hotels were built.
Considering the unique branding strategy of the company as well as its deep involvement into the local communities and cultures, I suppose that the hotel will remain successful regardless of the challenges brought by the globalization of the world. Moreover, reflecting on the current needs of the people and on the ever-going tendencies of advancements in technology, people who lack private space will look for a certain kind of intimacy, safety or even seclusion. Additionally, if the company will keep on track and keep up the same attitude towards the locals, stressing on uniqueness of their cultures, they would definitely distinguish themselves among their competitors.
3. As I understood from the case in question, the company resells indigenous items from the Banyan Tree regions at the hotel of Angsana, which actually contradicts the basic vision of the company and its position on the local communities (Wirtz, 2004). In this case, the corporation was expected to deal with the culture that was inherent in the communities of Angsana and to increase people’s awareness about its unique character and essence. Nevertheless, the administration tried to insert the artifacts of another culture, which, in fact, means the following of the strategies of the famous hotels chains. At the same time, it should be stressed that technically, the hotels in Angsana are similar as they have the same types of facilities, hotels, services etc.
In my opinion, BTHR should consider the following recommendations. First, it should explore the local communities and determine what elements make them special and distinguishing them from others. Secondly, they should establish some exchange programs for their employees in order to ensure that the best practices are shared among the personnel. By doing this, the company can resolve the common problems much faster and easier. Moreover, the company should introduce a code of conduct that would contain the basics for the staff’s behavior and some standards for treatment of the clients. All fit is crucial for ensuring the high-quality uniformed services in any of the hotels of the chain. The top managerial positions are to be occupied by the people with a strong knowledge and skills in intercultural communications.
4. The company’s efforts of social responsibility are diversified, and therefore each of them as well as their impacts on the brand equity should be considered separately. The only thing that should be noted is that all these efforts are not monetized directly; yet, the company wins the hearts of the clients; gains personnel loyalty and trust of the entire local community, which has more long-term benefits than an immediate monetary payoff.
First, an environmentally friendly policy of the company definitely pays off, as many clients are drawn by the opportunity to participate in the activities that are related to the restoration of the environment, such as planting of trees or corals and saving of turtles. Such experiences transform into tremendous memories that are later shared with others and thus generally advertise and promotes the BTHR.
Secondly, the local residents of the regions where the hotels and resorts were built were engaged in the entire operational cycle of the company. The food that was harvested at the local farms was bought by the hotels and served to the guests. The locals were engaged in construction of the hotel and in production of furniture, such as beds. The villages and small towns could survive mainly due to the neighboring hotel (Wirtz, 2004). Naturally, the local communities realized the interest in preserving the status quo and ensuring that guests are provided with the best services possible. Otherwise the deterioration of the quality could result in low rates of satisfaction, decreased profits and, respectively, decreased wages or even cuts of the personnel. Therefore, they were encouraged to do their best while working there.
At the same time, the company provided its positive feedback to the community, which, of course, fostered the cooperation between them. The company assisted the poor children by breaking the vicious cycle of poverty and by getting rid of the slums. It provided them with an opportunity to study abroad. Moreover, the environmental initiatives of the company were also aimed at causing as little affect on the environment as possible as well as at the elimination of the overall contamination and.
5. In my opinion, the company would have to revise its brand identity approach or look for similar intimate areas in Europe, Americas and Middle East. Whereas in the Middle East there are still some undiscovered patterns of land that could be tailored for purposes of the company, European and American tourism market is already overdeveloped and overwhelmed with tourists that are penetrating even the most distant places. Therefore, the first challenge refers to the brand strategy.
The second challenge relates to the management of the multicultural corporation which unites hotels, resorts, shops, galleries etc. Needless to say, all these parts of the corporation are extremely diverse, and therefore a unique and personalized approach has to be developed in regard to everything, starting from the marketing strategy up to the standards of the offered services.
Another important point refers to the communication within the company as well as the content of the messages. So far, there are no indications of the company’s PR strategy and its vision of the advertising and promotional campaigns; thus, it is hard to evaluate its flaws or advantages. The only idea that could be suggested is that the managers would have to address the diverse needs and requests of various types of clients as well as learn how to communicate with the ethnically diverse community of employees which come from different countries. All of these issues might be crucial for the success or even survival of the company within a highly competitive environment.
In order to address all of these issues, the company’s administration should, first of all, investigate the experiences of other companies that went through a similar stage of growth in order to prevent the most common mistakes and to ensure a smooth transition to a new corporate model and brand strategy. Secondly, it should hire a team of professionals that would help to introduce proper communication techniques as well as refute all the stereotypes that might exist in a multinational corporation.