Communication remains an important aspect in business transactions since it allows immediate interaction and processing of business ideas between the transacting parties. The fact that social cohesion and teamwork are integral parts of human nature facilitates the needs for appropriate, effective and more efficient means of communication within and outside the business environment (Lattin, 2002). Just like in other competitive business environments, Marriott Hotel business managers understand the reasons behind effective communication and that no business operations can take place without proper engagement of customer and employees using clear methods of communication.
The main idea in this context is for the process managers to recognize the fact that communication is a valuable element towards controlling even the most complex processes, and because the hotel operations bring individuals with distinct languages and dialects together, there is need to consider the various methods of communication for the purposes of ensuring better understanding among individuals. The first instance to recognize is where the hotel stakeholders, including customers, employees, and the media send important information that needs to be accessed, processed, and stored for different functions (Lattin 2002). This means that the hotel management must employ different methods of communication available today so that the hotel can run its operations efficiently and according to the different needs of customers. This paper therefore focuses on the different communication methods applicable to Marriott hotel; how these communication methods are used for the best effect, and how customers’ perceptions are influenced by the services delivered by the hotel.
2.1 Evaluating the different communication methods and how they are used to best effect
The communication methods available to Marriott hotel include verbal and non-verbal communications. While verbal communication includes the use of spoken words to convey a message within the required context, non-verbal communication appears in the form of body language (Powers & Borrows 2005). Apart from the verbal and non-verbal communication methods, the hotel widely uses written communication to convey specific information that is either electronically delivered through emails, social sites, text or hand-delivered in the form of written letters.
Verbal communication methods
Verbal communication, otherwise known as oral communication, is the mostly used form of communication in the hotel since it is considered efficient and more effective when it comes to immediate interaction and business processing (Powers & Borrows 2005). Even though the information passed may not be present for future referencing, except where sound recorders are used, hotel managers believe that some of the hotel’s important data can be communicated verbally to colleagues in either boardroom meetings or to targeted individuals. This implies that verbal communication is a vital method in ensuring first-hand delivery of information about projects and other planned business processes (Lattin, 2002). According to the hotel’s production and service manager, the use of oral communication becomes important where there are needs to engage different subordinate staffs in decision-making, delivery, and responding promptly to the needs of the hotel. The production and service manager agrees to the fact that decision making is a complex process that requires proper identification of the cause, tentative response strategies, and final response mechanisms to a specific issue, and this means that the individuals involved in the decision-making process must be in a position to understand each other and build a mutual consensus towards the proposed strategies.
Whereas discussions in boardrooms can be done on face-to-face basis, individuals at their respective offices or areas of work can be contacted over the phone and their views reordered for the referencing. The basic principle in all aspects of verbal communication is that the conversing parties should exercise much caution to prevent some of the common barriers within the channel of communication, so that the information passed can be conceived at both ends and accurate meanings derived (Lattin 2002). The hotel management maintains that the individuals conversing through whichever means must cultivate both speaking and listening skills so as to carry the assigned roles in their various workplaces and also to interact with clients based on the outlaid operational principles.
Non-verbal communication methods
Marriott hotel allows its employees to explore non-verbal communication queues, especially when interacting with customers in the reception and front of house areas. The common non-verbal methods of communication used in Marriott hotel include gestures, facial expression, and other body languages that are relevant to business processes. For example, the hotel appreciates employees that are able to wear warm welcoming smile at the front house area (Powers & Borrows 2005). The hotel also advocates for a handshake as a way of showing gentleness and appreciation. All the non-verbal communication methods within the hotel are based on the understanding that the short time of interaction and business processing between the staff and clients demonstrate the mood to serve and deliver the required services according to the demands of clients. Apart from creating an interactive environment between employees and customers, non-verbal methods of communication are also used in board meetings to influence the decision of other board members (Powers & Borrows 2005). For example, a decision made may appear unappealing to board members, in which case the team leader may decide to gesture to the team representative to recall his or her statement, so that a new criterion can be considered. In this case, the team leader avoids all the conditions that may make the team member feel embarrassed with his or her own suggestions so that every team player would finally feel recognized. At some points, the hotel considered using well designed billboards with special information that either advertises on the hotels goods and services or gives specific directions (Powers & Borrows 2005). The billboards become important when there is no employee available to immediately interact with the customer, or if the customer want to get to specific department within the hotel without asking any employee.
At some levels of operation, the hotel management or employees may want to pass some sensitive information amongst themselves. In such cases, the hotel advices on the use of a form of communication that provides a base for referencing since it is possible that the information if communicated through other means may be distorted or lost (Powers & Borrows 2005). The most appropriate means of communication, therefore, remains the written method of communication, which according to the hotel management may include the use of print media, internal memos, emails, and hand written letters. The written methods of communication are also vital for communications between employees and customers or between employees and the hotel management.
Among the mentioned methods under written communication, Marriott communication management advocates for the use of emails as one of the most efficient electronically generated means of communication (Powers & Borrows 2005). Emailing is preferred because it allows the individuals to send multiple pieces of information across different departments and the same time. Similarly, emailing allows the hotels to share some of their important documents since there is little chance of confidentiality breach. With the introduction of technology, most organizations including Marriott hotel has shifted its communication processes from the previous traditional methods to modern methods. This means an improvement in business processing and profit levels without incurring higher costs of communication (Walker 2003). The flow chart below shows the various communication methods that are applicable to the hotel’s communication profile.
The presented diagram shows that the hotel management should design different methods of communications so that business processing can be done effectively and at lower costs of operation. With the new designs, the hotel management applies video conferencing to bring the various branch managers together for decision making (Lattin 2002). The use of video conferencing, for example, becomes important to the hotel management because there are several branches in different locations that need to be engaged in decision making, particularly, in each annual general meeting.
It is therefore true to state that various methods of communication has allowed the company to effectively plan and execute its business operations in ways that meet the needs of services users. This has allowed the hotel to gain competitive advantage over its close competitors and today, Marriott hotel controls the largest share of the UK’s market.
2.2 Analysing how customer perception is influenced by customer service provision
Communication is an important tool that defines the relationship between a business and its customers. The range of business activities in the hotel industry posse competition since the hotel companies target same customers who tend to have similar consumption needs (Goodman 2000). With the high levels of competition, focusing on those services that have positive impacts of customer perception is necessary since the objective to create a strong customer base and finally emerge as a winning company and more competitive firm in terms of profit share. Without engaging in market operations through the provision of quality services, it may be difficult for the hotel to influence a huge population and to create a strong customer base for future business activities (Hayes & Dredge 1998). First, the hotel management must influence customer perception by keeping personal touch, working on a feedback system to understand the needs of customers, working on the needs of customers of design, produce and deliver highly improved products and services. By considering the different market segments and their service preferences, the communication linkages between the hotel and its customers will facilitate the strategies of product and process designing, differentiation and market segmentation so that the needs of respective customers can be met.
It is also important to note that the UK economy is growing and this means an increasing demand for the services offered to customers. At the same time, the hotel industry is experiencing new market entries, which calls for more stringent operational strategies in order to remain competitive. The two main entry strategies considered attractive to customer are high quality services and highly reduced prices of goods and services (Hayes & Dredge 1998). With the production of high quality services and reductions of prices of goods and services, there is a value created in the perception of customers and therefore high streams of demand. Even though the available hotels are ready to produce and charge prices according to the need of customers, it is sometime hard to predict the changes in demands of customers (Goodman 2000). This is because the demands of customers are much connected to the changes in means of delivering services. Therefore, hotels in the industry are compelled to define their service provision in terms of time and costs, and in a way that maximizes consumers’ benefit and organization’s benefit.
With the needs to maximize returns through higher customer retention, the provision of quality services to customers remains the sole responsibility of the customer service department. The department must advice employees on the best means of delivery, design prices that corresponds to the market prices or relatively lower, and also intervene to ensure provision of quality services at all levels of operation (Goodman 2000). In relation to the provision of better services, the departments must understand that some customers are very sensitive to price changes, and will in most cases seek the services of hotels that offer a certain rate of discount on its goods and services.
Another factor like communication technology also improves that value of communication between clients and hotels managers. The incorporation of more informed communication linkages relate to the fact that most customer consider the importance of social networking in determining the best and more current product qualities that will meet their taste demands (Goodman 2000). This means that the hotel management must keep updating its social communication systems so that customers are able to retrieve relevant information that will aid in product search and retrieval of the desired qualities.
The changes in business environment means that the hotel and its leading branches must develop market survival instincts so that there is favourable competition for the same customer base and retention of the most loyal customers. The role of customer relations management becomes important in this case since there is a need to derive a customer utility function alongside ensuring that the hotel operates and maximum sales (Goodman 2000). The customer relations management and the marketing department must coordinate, generate value improving ideas and maintain constant interaction to ensure that customers are convinced with the services offered at various levels of operation. For example, the marketing departments may decide to sell the hotel through the available social media as a destination of choice to both domestic and foreign tourist and business persons (Hayes & Dredge 1998). In this line of management, the hotel’s services must at all times reflect the needs to meet the taste differences, unique product and service value, and relatively lower prices for the goods and services. All these factors will lead to more satisfied customers and a creation of a stronger customer base for the different goods and services provided by the hotel.
From the discussions presented above, it becomes clear that the changes in business systems require organizations to incorporate better communication methods in their business plans so that there are positive changes in customers perceptions and increase in consumption levels (Lattin 2002). The main idea in the provided case retails around the fact that organizations can only increase their revenues if customer find value in the services offered at various levels of management. As already stated, the entry approach given to new market has impacts on business performance since it can influence the perceptions of customer positively or negatively. It is therefore important that organizations study and understand the needs of customers in respective markets before designing products or deciding on the princes of their products and services (Walker 2003). This would mean identifying the most appropriate methods of communication that will help the organization generate data from the targeted markets or group of customers.
Goodman G S. 2000. Monitoring, Measuring and Managing Customer Service. Jossey: Bass Wiley. ISBN 0787951390
Hayes J & Dredge F. 1998. Managing Customer Service. Gower Publishing. ISBN 0566080052
Lattin GW. 2002. The Lodging and Food Service Industry. Amer Hotel and Motel Association. ISBN0866122354
Powers T, & Borrows C.W. 2005. Introduction to Management in the Hospitality Industry. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 0471706388
Walker J. R. 2003. Introduction to Hospitality Management. Prentice Hall. ISBN 0131112937