Integrated marketing communications or IMC involves different types of marketing activities that may enhance demand for a product or a service among its customers. Companies generally use this strategy in marketing and the different activities that may create demand are in a group referred to as communications mix…
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A flow of activities is involved in the communications strategy that enables a company to ultimately reach its customers. The important elements of this communication flow include the “source”, “message”, “medium” and the “receiver”. Also communications may be specific, selective or it may be mass communication. The various elements of the IMC are integrated in the communications mix and includes ‘advertising, sales activities, promotion, direct marketing, and public relations’. Integrating through all these measures, the main emphasis of the IMC is to influence its target customers (Anderson & Vincze, 2006: 372-377). As the case study of Shangri-La Hotels reflects, although several travel and tourism businesses were impacted owing to the terrorists’ attacks of the September 11, 2001 and other terrorist activities, yet Shangri-La Hotels which is an Asian based hotel group and based in Hong Kong, managed to survive and maintain its growth and expansion plans thus achieving greater reputation, particularly for the high quality service that they provide. As can be realized from the success of Shangri-La Hotels, a proper strategic integrated communications mix is highly necessary to keep the demands of the customers rising and to attract newer customers as well. This report would mainly focus on determination of an integrated marketing communications strategy that may be applied for the Shangri-La group of hotels with an overview of the entire market, the internal analysis of the company, the media and creative strategy, the communications mix, and the timing and budgets required for the plan. Situation Analysis: Considering a nation like the United Kingdom, the travel and tourism industry seems to be continuously developing. The statistics of British Tourist Authority says that the expenditure level of tourist has risen from ? 12 billion in 1998 to more than ?18 billion in 2003. Around 1.7 million jobs are provided by the tourism industry in Britain. The number of visitors is increasing overtime. The major countries from where these visitors come include USA, France, Germany, and Italy (Rodgers, 2001:38-39). The travel and tourism industry in the twentieth century started growing rapidly with greater participation in tourism activities (Marvell & Hayward, 2005:21). The holiday resorts in UK are popular for their food, entertainment and other facilities. Costa Brava, Costa Dorada, Costa del Sol, Costa Blanca are some of the major players being very popular among tourists. Technology has brought about several changes in the industry with increasing use of computers posing threats to traditional values; internet facilities making tourists less dependent on travel agents, floating hotel being encouraged, and so on. Social and economic changes have also arisen with working classes getting greater access to tourisms, affordability has also increased among individuals, better pay packages being available for workers, and so on (Marvell & Hayward, 2005:23-24). Thus these factors affect the Shangri-La hotels as well. Internal Analysis of Shangri-La Hotels: The major strength of the company is in its possessing high standards of service that is supported by the operational, human and financial resources. The company experiences lower turnover in comparison to the whole industry. The reputation of the company with a strong brand name makes the position of the hotel group stronger in the market thus increasing its strength in the industry. The weaknesses of the company lie in its losing market share to its competitor like UK based Intercontinental Hotel Group, UK based Marriot Chain, or Hilton. The compensation
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