Stonington Beach Hotel
The tourism industry in Bermuda is generally flourishing. For this reason, developments in the hospitality industry are essential to maintain the industry at the presently high level. With a population of approximately 57,000 people, the Island offers an excellent opportunity for both internal and external tourists to explore. Apart from this, the location of the Island is also an important feature for tourist consideration. Despite the immense beauty associated with the Island and the temperate climate, the Island still faces some challenges in the hospitality industry. The most common challenges are the availability of clean fresh water and the potential of destruction by adverse weather conditions such as hurricanes. One of the major hospitality facilities in Bermuda is the Stonington Beach Hotel. A subsidiary of the Bermuda College and run by the college institution, the hotel offers an excellent interactive environment for the tourists. However, with the changing business environment characterized by innovations and new advances in technology, the hotel needs to make some changes in its infrastructure. The desirable changes are not limited to the infrastructure since any infrastructural changes will influence the marketing environment as well as the organizational structure.
Based on a study of Bermuda College, the Stonington Hotel and the available infrastructure and resources, a report the present report was developed. The key objective of this report is to provide the Hotel General Manager’s recommendations on changes that should be made during the proposed refurbishment in order to keep at pace with the competition. The analysis and recommendations have been made using strategic management as the key tool. The recommendations take into consideration the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats associated with Stonington Beach Hotel. The strategic management outlook comprises of aspects such as strategic planning, strategic financial control and strategic decision making (Wells, n.d). The organizational structure of the hotel currently allows strategic management but should be made more flexible to enhance the cooperation between various factions of the hotel. Moreover, the organizational culture should also favor frequent modifications to always keep abreast with market changes. Although the tourism sector in Bermuda is strong, this strength is slowly being eroded by the financial sector. This implies that changes in hospitality have to be made to maintain competitive advantage in lieu of reducing demands.
Although many changes will be required to make the hotel maintain the competitive advantage it has been enjoying, the infrastructure of the hotel needs the most urgent addressing. Refurbishment of the hotel has the potential of resulting in down time and low productivity. This is because during the renovations planned, some of the rooms will have to be closed resulting in reduced capacity hence reduction in revenue. Consequently, any planned refurbishment has to be carried out in such a way that not only protects the customers from noise pollution but also results in the optimization of the available capacity. The occupation of the hotel rooms is not always full capacity but varies by season. The greatest occupation rates are experienced during spring. The hotel can thus make use of this information to plan the refurbishment activities in order to ensure that full renovation is carried out while also serving the maximum number of visitors.
One of the key infrastructural issues associated with the hotel in the present status is the lack of air conditioning in some of the facilities. The separation of facilities into those with air conditioning and those without portrays an image of incompleteness and may not be favorable for organizational marketing. The hospitality industry is characterized with the need to make the greatest impact on customers through equality during service delivery. When the rooms do not give this sense of equality, it is possible to lose some of the customers. Although the climate of Bermuda is fairly temperate, the necessity for air conditioning in some rooms should be replicated in all other areas of the hotel to maximize customer attraction and retention potential. It is thus important for the planned refurbishment to take this into consideration in order to increase efficiency in service delivery. It may cost a lot in the installation phase but the results are expected to be immense. The level of customer satisfaction is critical in the service industry and it is therefore essential that the hotel finds ways to improve customer perception amidst increasing competition.
Apart from the air conditioning issue, the infrastructure of the hotel is also limited in terms of access routes. Most tourists visit Bermuda for vacations, holidays and other celebrations. As such, it is highly probable that they need privacy, social freedom and general lack of cluster as they get away from their normal everyday lives. The interweaving of a learning environment within the same ecosystem as a relaxation system reduces the efficiencies of both systems. For example, the first impression made to customers by the hotel involves a view of academic facilities. The fact that the visitors who come to the hotel see the academic buildings first implies that the visitors may judge the hotel from what they see among the students. Moreover, the customers may also associate the hotel with restrictions relevant to academic sectors. Academic facilities require a favorable environment for studying. As such, some of the visitors to the hotel who happen to pass by the academic buildings may assume that they are obligated to maintain the silence associated with the academic environment. A change of the route of entry could benefit the hotel in terms of improving the customer experience. It may also help protect the customers from unnecessary stress associated with the assumptions that they could make regarding the academic facility.
As in other parts of Bermuda, fresh water is limited at the Stonington Beach Hotel. As other competitors are focusing on innovative ways of improving customer delivery, the Stonington Beach Hotel should also focus on building the appropriate infrastructure for maintenance and preservation of fresh water resources. Based on the available resources, the hotel can find innovative ways of addressing this problem hence resulting in differentiation from the conventional experiences that customers have in other hotels. Apart from this, the Stonington Beach Hotel has also been slightly left behind by some competitors who are developing innovative structures for the enhancement of customer experience. Health club facilities and spas are the newest innovation in the hospitality industry and they expand the customers’ experiences immensely. Because of this, it would be recommended that Stonington Beach Hotel should also focus on the development of new ideas for improving customer experience. Spas and health clubs are just the beginning point but the possibilities are wide.
Apart from the outlined issues, the customer perception is also influenced by other factors far from the control of the hotel management. For instance, the land crabs that form holes in the hotel grounds have the potential of portraying the hotel as unkempt and unsafe for the customers. The presence of land crabs itself notwithstanding; the holes made are also a hazard to the entire hotel community. These holes can cause accidents for the customers as well as the hotel personnel. Controlling the appearance of these holes is impossible since the land crabs are a natural phenomenon that cannot be driven off by the hotel staff. Consequently, it is necessary for the hotel physical plans to involve strategies through which the crabs can be prevented from making these holes without destroying the environment. At the same time, the appearance of the hotel grounds has to conform to the natural beach environment since this is one of the objectives of the hotel. The customers have to feel that they are in a real beach yet must also be protected from any potential hazards. The hazards mitigation department should thus focus on achieving this fete.
Having identified the infrastructural issues pertinent to the hotel at present, it is important to note the proposed refurbishments that will help address these issues. For the first problem, installation of air conditioners in all the sections of the hotel will help resolve the issue of imbalance. Although the key challenge lies in obtaining funds for the process, the proposal is achievable. The rationale behind this proposal is that if one section of the hotel needs air conditioning and they are all in the same environment, the other sections automatically need it too. The common areas and the private rooms all need air conditioning. The solution to the cost issue is not to do the work half way but to find cost effective ways of getting the entire work done. One of the ways that this could be achieved is through cutting costs in other sections. Alternatively, advocating for fundraising functions for the college can also help the college to afford the hotel refurbishments in full. For the water problems, ensuring that the customers have access to fresh water throughout is an essential way of getting their attention and achieving customer retention. This can be achieved through methods such as having in-facility water treatment processes such as ion exchange process which can help in the conversion of brackish water to usable fresh water instead of limiting its use to the non-human consumption related uses. Through this, the hotel will be building capacity on the maintenance of hygiene. This is essential in the prevention of hygiene related infections such as Salmonella which had been a problem to the hotel during its early days.
Modification of access routes could be achieved through providing alternative diversions to the academic segment or to the hotel itself. Since dealing with students may prove challenging due to the diversity presented by the student body, it is recommended that an alternative road be constructed to run for less than or equal to 500 meters. This is the length of the distance that tourists have to drive through classroom facilities to reach the hotel itself. By setting apart the hotel from the student body, it will be possible to enhance the first impression that people have of the hotel. The fact that a hotel is found within school premises sometimes gives the perception that the hotel may be meant for staff and students only and as such impacting visitor inflow negatively. On the issue of crab holes in the hotel premises, an innovative solution that addresses the problem while maintaining the beauty of the hotel grounds is essential. Paving the hotel grounds may sound overly protective but considering the fact that the land crabs can bore any unpaved section of the hotel, it may provide a long term solution to the problem of holes in the hotel grounds. Spas and Health clubs can be included in the budget for the planned refurbishment. This will not only result in better customer perception but will also enhance the competitive advantage of the hotel.
For each of the infrastructural projects recommended, risk analysis is instrumental in the implementation phase of the project. The assessment of risks takes into consideration not only the risks associated with the refurbishment process but also long term risks associated with having the changes made. This implies that the risk analysis an mitigation measures should look deeply into the impacts of infrastructural refurbishments on the economic status of the hotel, social and cultural aspects of the hotel as well as the organizational structure. It is reported that the infrastructural changes will have great impact on these areas as well as on marketing hence the need to assess risk factors in all these areas. In each of the categories, it is critical to determine the risk factors and to delineate ways through which the risks can be controlled. Changes that have adverse effects on any of the factions of the business should not be incorporated into the refurbishment procedures as they will reduce the profitability of the changes made. Moreover, these changes should also help to maintain competitive advantage while using flexibility and innovation as the key driving factors for change management.
Carrying out infrastructural changes in the hotel will require a conservative use of time and the available resources. For instance, timing the refurbishments to occur between November and February will make the work more economically preserving for the hotel since it is during this time that the hotel occupancy is low. The refurbishments can then be carried out on a rotational basis for the rooms and for other facilities before the beginning of the high season in the hotel industry. Apart from this, the refurbishment of the hotel should be carried out with specific goals in mind. It is important not only to outline the necessary improvements but also to plan them effectively by clearly stating the refurbishment goals in particular time periods. Working with the available human resources will be required in order to reduce the costs even further.
Addressing the infrastructural issues at the Stonington Beach Hotel is a process that will re quire effective planning. The refurbishment if done, will affect various aspects of the business operations. For instance, the marketing department at the hotel will have their work made easier through increase in the hotel’s attractiveness to potential customers. In the organizational structure, an open structure that adopts both horizontal and vertical communication will have to be developed (Wells, n.d). Moreover, the human resources available will have to be used optimum to ensure that the desired outcomes are achieved. A well motivated work force is paramount in achieving organizational goals and can only be created through an approach that values the customers as a resource. The personnel oriented human resources approach ensures that this can be achieved through meeting employee needs at all times (Truss et al., 1997). According to Teece, the business strategy that will mostly ensure sustainable profitability will have to incorporate service delivery as a key pillar of organizational growth (2010). This can be through the use of professional services and maintenance of high quality interactions with the hotel customers. The overall driving factor for effectiveness in management is goal and command unity. Through formulation of appropriate communication structures, the employees will be made to understand the overall hotel objective and thus align each of their operations with the overriding goal (Wells, 2010). The achievement of each of the infrastructural changes could be preceded with the identification of potential change locations followed by effective planning of the practices to be carried out.
Apart from the departmental changes recognized, there will also be some general changes in the overall strategic business model. An effective competitive business model enhances the key source of profitability. This is through maximizing the potential benefits associated with the business. For instance, in the case of Stonington Beach Hotel, a new value proposition could be made through differentiation from other hotels in the same category. Provision of sufficient amounts of fresh water and air conditioning of all facilities in the hotel can be identified as some of the factors that result in differentiation. Apart from this, the hotel also has access to qualified personnel due to its connection to the hospitality industry through the hospitality courses provided by the college. Through courses such as food preparation and food service, the hotel will be able to maintain a strong service delivery which can only be associated with the professionalism in the business system.
Effects of Infrastructural Changes on Marketing
The hotel currently has not actively engaged in marketing for the purposes of attracting customers. After putting in place various infrastructural improvements, it is recommended that marketing practices be incorporated into the hotel culture. At the business level, the Improvement strategy could involve evolution of the business model to fit modern day requirements (Teece, 2010). Most of the tourists would probably desire to have online subscription services to avoid time wasting during their visits. The hospitality industry has evolved to the level that most of the competing facilities i.e. hotels provide online platforms for the identification of their services and comparison with others. It is essential that each of the infrastructural changes be linked to marketing strategies that use the issues to impact the potential customers. In order to effectively understand the environment, it is necessary for the hotel to consider the needs of customers particular to Bermuda and thus act in relation to these needs. This demands participation in intensive research and development for the purpose of improving customer satisfaction.
One of the key aspects of marketing that will be impacted by the infrastructural changes is the professionalism in the hotel marketing. The changes implied in the department will require effective packaging during marketing in order to ensure that they bring about changes in customer visit trends. The only way this will happen is when the marketing team is sufficiently trained to recognize customer needs and to connect them to the available resources. This is then followed by the use of the information available to attract the customers. With the objective of getting, retaining and growing customers, innovativeness will also be paramount. This refers to innovative representation of the hotel to the outside world as well as innovative change of marketing strategy. The strategy recommended would involve a lot of dynamism, tact, product differentiation, and risk mitigation (Wells, n.d). It is essential for potential customers to be exposed to different aspects of the hotel through the marketing media that are intended to be used hence the need for dynamism. Similarly, differentiation is an important feature of successful businesses and the ability to be set apart from the conventional increases the opportunities available for any particular business (Teece, 2010). Tactical marketing uses only those media that customers are most probable to get in touch with. It would not be cost effective to market using media that none of the potential customers gets in touch with when the objective is to reach as many people as possible.
The marketing activities will have to be planned in two major dimensions. First, it will be necessary for the hotel to work in marketing and in infrastructural changes using particular plans. The marketing objectives should be clearly stated to act as guiding principles for the changes in the marketing department. The role played by the marketing department in this essence is that of notifying the public of the changes made in the hotel in order to attract greater customer numbers. It would be asked why there is need to invest in marketing when the hotel has been doing well financially. From the perspective of the manager, the hotel has been doing below its potential. This means that it is still possible to maximize the revenue from the hotel through letting people know of the benefits associated with this hotel. Most of the competing hotels are doing this hence it is only rational that Stonington Beach Hotel should also do the same. Making infrastructural changes only offers a sound basis for attracting more customers to the facility. Similarly, intensive marketing of the hotel will help to improve revenue and thus make it possible to cater for the infrastructural changes.
Proposed Changes in Human Resources
Achieving better customer service in the Hotel relies on the ability of the available human resources to completely satisfy the needs of the visiting customers. Stonington Beach Hotel has one key advantage in the hotel industry in that it is allied to Bermuda College which trains professionals in the hospitality industry. The demand for professionalism to improve the quality of services offered by the hotel is in line with the expectation of customers for all the players in the service industry. Professional food service, food preparation and general hotel management are mandatory for any hotel to succeed. The Stonington Beach Hotel has been absorbing some of the graduates from the Faculty of Hospitality and is believed to be comprised of the best human resources in terms of professionalism. On the other hand , the management of the hotel has also been trying to ensure that all employees are treated with utmost respect and that they are motivated at all times since employee motivation is a prerequisite for productivity. This is achieved through provision of a satisfactory pay package, bonuses where necessary and unity of command. All these are characteristics of the soft management model which is applicable where there is need to make the most of the available human resources (Truss et al., 1997). The model recommends the consideration of the employees as part of the available resources for the organization. The employees are also expected to adhere to the hotel code of ethics which is provided to all employees as part of the employment agreement. The key objective of these practices in the management of human resources is that the hotel wants to make use of the available human resources and only outsourcing where such professionalism is unavailable.
Another implication associated with the infrastructural changes in the hotel is that the human resources available will have to recognize the importance of effective service delivery at all levels in the hotel. This will be achieved through differentiation of roles and responsibilities (Wells, n.d). Making sure that each of the employees is aware of their roles in the hotel will help to maximize cost effectiveness due to reduced need for constant communication and reminders. This will be coupled by specialized hiring techniques which ensure that the members of staff are only hired to perform the roles they are professionally trained in. The professional oriented type of hiring will help to reduce costs for the hotel since it will reduce the need for in-house training except for organizational cultures (Wells, n.d). Through cost reductions in such areas, it will be possible to maximize the available funds for the proposed refurbishment.
Implications for Organizational Structure
Although the general organizational structure for the college is favorable for its development, it may be necessary to make a few changes in the manner in which the organizational business is run. In most cases the departments in the college organization are controlled independently. This independence makes it difficult for professionals from on department to be aware of needs in other sectors. The only time when such needs become apparent is when there is need to interact with other departments. This makes it difficult at times to understand the level of need and the way in which one department can help another. It is proposed that due to the upcoming refurbishments, there should be constant communication across the departments. Maintenance of a n organizational culture that encourages horizontal apart from the conventional communication patterns is necessary. The hotel management needs to constantly communicate with the physical plant. Similarly, the faculty heads also need to communicate with the hotel in case there are any issues pertaining to the refurbishment since. The general structure will however remain the same.
The Stonington Beach Hotel has the potential of attracting even more customers than it currently does. Since there have been no refurbishments since the building of the hotel in 1980, the proposed refurbishment for 1993 should be capable of addressing the present needs of customers, aligning the hotel at par with the competitors or better and improving customer service delivery. The infrastructural changes such as air conditioning of all sections, change of entry routes, covering of crab holes are all necessary steps towards improvement. With these changes in the hotel infrastructure, it is expected that changes in other sectors such as human resources, marketing and organizational structures will also take place. This implies that the hotel will have to make some basic improvements in how various activities take place and use the principle of professionalism to achieve greater customer service.
Teece, D. (2010). Business Models, Business Strategy and Innovation. Long Range Planning, 43, 172 – 194.
Truss, C., Gratton, L., Hope-Hailey, V., McGovern, P. & Stiles, P. (1997). Soft and Hard Models of Human Resource Management: A Reappraisal. Journal of Management Studies, 34(1) 53-73.
Wells, D.L (n.d). Strategic Management for Senior Leaders: A Handbook for Implementation. Department of the Navy Total Quality Lea