This article will provide a brief overview about the concept of hospitality industry, the problems faced by this industry and importance of hospitality marketing to ensure customer satisfaction and business growth.
Hospitality industry has a long evolutionary history. In older times, analysts suggest that the concept of this industry was initially known with a synonym, hotel industry. However in modern era the terminology of 'Hospitality Industry' is more common that comprises those businesses that provide services such as accommodation, food, and beverages to travelers seeking pleasure as well as those who travel due to business reasons (Gray & Liguori, 1996). Moreover it is argued that to some extend components of leisure industry such as cruise ships restaurants and to some lesser degree airlines are also considered part of hospitality industry as well (Papers4you.com, 2001 - 23).
Though the industry is assumed to be in nevr lasting demand but there are certain problems that this industry regularly faces. These problems may include uncertainty to the costs of even most economic source of energy, increased trend of problems in maintaining profitable food and beverage facilities, comparatively more increase in labor costs as compared to productivity, customer dissatisfaction due to increase in size and number of rooms as it is claimed to increase registration and other services process time and more importantly very high competition that induces heavy rate cuts to survive (Gray & Liguori, 1996).
Keeping these factors in view, in particular customer's dissatisfaction and profit reduction, Lewis & Chambers (1989) asserts that hospitality industry historically did not realize importance of marketing and a remedy to industry's problem is encapsulated in 'hospitality marketing', both in its foundation and practices. It was further asserted that in 1950s and 1960s, industry focused on technology and updating their telephone reservation systems. Similarly in 1970s and later, businesses were focused to increase assets and forgot the essence of industry, that is, 'customer oriented service'.
It was suggested that players in hospitality industry should realize that hospitality product is different, that is in fact, something intangible that they are selling and as both product and reasons for buying it are different also different so it demands a different marketing strategy, something like hospitality marketing that requires customer centered hospitality need identification, specific segmentation & positioning and 'the hospitality marketing mix'.
Such trend can be observed around the world (Papers4you.com, 2001 - 23). Food chains like McDonalds, Pizza Hut etc are now focusing on customer's service and taste rather than focusing on their own brand name only. McDonalds in India, for instance, operates differently while focusing on the 'vegetarian aspect' of their tradition than McDonalds in USA where focus is more towards an easy accessible food facility.
Hence the discussion may conclude that hospitality industry provided ever needed services. Nonetheless it may face certain specific issues that can be counterattacked through industry specific 'hospitality marketing'