Solution Code: 1IHF

Question: Hotel Management Service

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Introduction

Hotel management involves the collaboration of a lot of skills which include financial management, inter personal skills, human resource management, marketing, as well as the general management. The hotel management services, therefore, involves ensuring that services in the hotels run smoothly. These include all operations in the hotel such as accommodation, food and drink, as well as other hotel services. The departments in a hotel include front office, housekeeping, sales and marketing, as well as other departments such as engineering, personnel, as well as security. The company providing the hotel management services, therefore, should ensure the provision of trained employees, who have their focus on specified expertise areas, as well as on the accommodation service. Such a company should also be involved in ensuring that the selling of hotel rooms is done at high rates. As such, the organization in question is in a position to achieve its goals including increasing distribution, guest satisfaction, and better yield.

Mantra Group is an example of hotel management service provider, and is based in Australia. The company has been identified as the second largest network of resorts as well as hotels and serviced apartments in Australia. Mantra Group is known to own over 125 properties, and rooms exceeding 20,000 in Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia. These properties are composed of luxury retreats, serviced apartments, as well as coastal resorts. Other than the provision of accommodation, Mantra Group provides other services including the management of reception areas and guest relations, pool and entertainment services, bars and restaurants, as well as offices. Mantra Group entails of a team of over 5000 members who are involved in carrying out operations such as asset management, sales marketing and distribution, information technology, as well as corporate functions. The Group is managed by a highly experienced team in the management business. This team is involved in the management of the largest marketing spend, supporting the IT systems leading in the industry which include online sales, reporting, management, as well as promotional resources.

Question 1: Mantra Group as a Blueprint

A business blueprint involves the manner in which value is added to the firm. It is classified in four areas which include: The overall identity of the enterprise, strategy of the enterprise, the internal assets which are used in achieving the strategic goals of the firm, and the external environment in which the business competes (Monye, 2011). Mantra Group brands include resorts and hotels, apartments, as well as pepper retreats.  The organization vision is to be the favorite amongst the companies in the industry, and its mantra is knowing what matters. The purpose of the organization is to attract, and foster the guests, team members, as well as the owners. The values of the organization include: Passionate, as it dreams on achieving its destiny and applies passion in its business activities. The company is also focused as it lays focus on the issues that matter. The company is also trusted as they act in integrity, hence the trust from the company’s stakeholders. Mantra Group is also adventurous since it looks beyond the ways practiced traditionally exploring innovative ways of carrying out its operations. Mantra Group targets both international, as well as domestic market. These are the individuals who could be travelling for business or even for pleasure. The clients appreciate excellence in services, as well as a location which is relevant to their purpose. The clients love Mantra Group since they understand their needs and will accommodate them with minimum fuss. Mantra Group is also popular amongst guests due to the following reasons: It is well located for both the business and leisure guests, and the accommodation is also generous. Further it has an attractive and contemporary presentation and is also compatible with the hotels and apartments. The hotels also have spacious rooms, as well as fresh décor and quality service. The brand has a positioning that is clearly defined and uses creative language which is supported by marketing campaigns that are extensive. This is made possible by the innovative sales as well as bookings IT infrastructure.

The strategy adopted by Mantra Group involves the direct operation with the services provided by the company so as to achieve the benefits. As such, the clients seek the management services they require and pay the required price for its delivery. This is done as the organization provides accommodation and hotel services to other clients who are visiting for business, as well as leisure activities (Curran, & Ladd, 2012). The organization has put into consideration the best practices in regards to the industry and is incorporating them in refining the systems, as well as the operation and control activities of the business. As such, they intend to integrate these practices in increasing the efficiency of the business, as well as in the reduction of costs. Additionally, the business achieves maximum results from its operations due to the provision of quality services. As such it is popular in the industry and has even been rated as one of the best firms in the industry. This, therefore, has helped attain loyalty of their customers.

The Mantra Group also has some internal assets which are used in achieving the strategic goals of the firm. The business focuses on a department which is focused on the customers, which is based on asset management (Monye, 2011). As such, the organization is dedicated on ensuring that the assets of the business are protected. The business ensures owner relations are maintained, as well as compliance, apartment sales, and strata operations. Additionally, the business puts a lot of focus on asset growth and development. The asset management department applies a property management which is permanent. The team also ensures that all the legislative requirements are met and that there is the placement of quality tenants. This, therefore, ensures that the physical asset of the different owners is maintained during all times. Mantra Group is also has advanced IT infrastructure, as well as sales and marketing teams who are efficient at selling the company services. The organization also has strong hospitality group, and also has a diverse asset base and brand ownership as well as streamlined centralized operations which aid the achievement of the goals and objectives of the business.

Mantra Group owns over 125 properties, as well over 20,000 rooms which are based in Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia (Australian Hotels Association, 2014). The company is the fastest growing hotel in Australia, as established by its performance in 2016. In this year alone, it acquired 11 new properties, as well as 3,000 additional rooms. The business has continued to acquire assets and has improved its services and hence a strong performance for all the operating segments in the major business areas. The company is doing well in the industry in spite of the competition present. Mantra Group has competitive advantage over the companies in the industry. Mantra is also focused on exploring new prospects both in Australia, as well as in Asia with three brands; Peppers, Mantra, as well as BreakFree. The company is involved in partnerships with established businesses and individuals such as accommodation owners, industry intermediaries, the individuals involved with developing new products, as well as the models which are used in operating hotels.

Question 2: Front stage and back stage functions

Front stage functions of a business are the activities which are carried out for the clients. These include sales, product and service delivery, as well as marketing of products and services. This is a segment of the business activities which is experienced by the customers. Mantra Group uses the Marketing Service Agreement (MSA) where other companies operate under the leading distribution and marketing platforms (Haksever, & Render, 2013). In this case these firms have complete control of their businesses, but use the Mantra Group brand for exposure. They, in turn, pay the Mantra Group for these services. The two firms are involved in making an agreement term which is flexible and is made for the appropriate time where the maximum results are expected. While engaging with MSA’s, the Mantra Group applies an approach which is based on some principles. These include: the quality, as well as the profile of the property under which the strategic location is examined, together with the level in which the both parties will benefit from the property. Mantra Group engages in marketing activities in the company website giving discounts to individuals on a long stay accommodation. The company ensures the website is available and convenient to the customers by having a call Centre based in Australia which functions 24 hours (Teboul, 2006). Information about the services offered by the company is also available in the website and one can give feedback online.

Back stage functions, on the other hand, include the activities which are administrative, as well as the support functions which are undertaken to deliver the front stage process. These, therefore, include all the processes and activities which take place behind closed doors. Some of the backstage functions in Mantra Group include the night audit, as well as the housekeeping department which is one of the largest functions in hotels. The housekeeping department is in charge of dryers, washers, as well as the ironers. The employees who are in charge of cleaning the rooms are called room attendants and supervision of their work is done by inspectors. Mantra Group also has other backstage functions in regards to the accounts. These include the running of accounts payable, external banking activities, statements, payroll, taxes, accounts receivables, as well as the internal banking activities (Curran, & Ladd, 2012). The maintenance department is also part of the backstage functions as the hotel has to be maintained.  The general manager is given this responsibility and this functions is referred to as the preserving the asset. Mantra Group has a different department which is in charge of security. Further, the organization has the Human Resources department where the general manager secretary is in charge of collecting information relate to the department. This department is also tasked with other duties including employee relations, labor relations, training, compensation programs, employee policies, safety, recreation, as well as the issue of the safety of the employees.

Question 3: Moments of Truth

The moment of truth is when a person or an organization is tested and a major decision has to be made, or where a crisis has to be faced. Such a time for Mantra Group was transitioning from a private to a public company. In this case, there had to be the evaluation of every aspect in the business. These included the alignment of the business strategy with the wide range of the private, and general investors in the market. As such, the management team was required to make some tough decisions on this issue and to come up with the most suitable way forward. This, however, turned out as a good decision as the organization has been performing better as the public company it is. The other milestone is the financial crisis in the company which was experienced in 2009 (Cronin, 2011). During this time, all the industries faced a financial constraint and Mantra Group was not left behind. Mantra Group is also one of the most innovative companies, and it is known for applying innovative strategies in its operations. This is done with the aim of becoming the leading organization in the industry. In line with this goal the organization has established a site where it can carry out its marketing functions and this has subscribers exceeding one million. This, however, became a challenge as a result of high volumes of the traffic of the customers. This is estimated to be over 750,000 visitors in a month (Australian Hotels Association, 2014). This, therefore, became a challenge since supporting such a high level of people was difficult due to low conversion rates. Mantra Group, however, identified an opportunity where it would improve the manner in which the website visitors were engaged. This was achieved by encouraging the visitors in the website to give a better presence on the online platform hence encouraging them to convert.

Question4: Determinants of satisfaction

Customer satisfaction comprises one of the major objectives of any organization. As such, the hotel industry, just like the other industries needs to identify the benefits from ensuring they implement philosophies that are beneficial to the customers. According to the Zeithaml Customer Satisfaction Model, five factors influence the satisfaction of the consumers. These are: Personal factors, situational elements, price, the quality of the product, as well as the quality of the service. Research also indicates that the price of the service or product is one of the major factors determining the level of satisfaction (Szwarc, 2005). This is because the level of satisfaction depends on the value of the product. The value, on the other hand, can be determined by determining the quality in relation to the benefits from consumption of the product. The customer perception on the price, therefore, has a major determinant on the height of satisfaction. The quality models, on the other hand, imply that the consumers have a perceived expectation of a particular product. As such, the satisfaction level of the customer is dependent on whether the quality of the product matches the expectation. The expected service can either be minimum tolerance expectation, or desired. As such, the level of variation from the expected to the company level of satisfaction is the tolerable expectation (Gitomer, 2011). In a case where the level of satisfaction goes beyond the expectations of the customers, the customers are delighted, and where such levels are not met in the future, it leads to dissatisfaction. This theory is also referred to as the Expectancy-Disconfirmation Theory.

The quality of a service is measured by the application of various dimensions. These include the assurance, responsiveness, empathy, as well as the tangibles. According to the Dissonance Theory, where an individual expects a product to have a high value but gets low value, they identify difference, hence experiencing a cognitive dissonance. According to this theory, the postings are as a result of the expectations. The contrast theory, on the other hand, is of the view that the performance of the product goes below the expectations of the customer. The difference between the expectations in comparison with the outcome, therefore, indicates the difference. The contrast, therefore, shows that the client will exaggerate the level of satisfaction since he was expecting the product to be of lower quality. The expectancy disconfirmation paradigm, on the other hand is considered as the best theory in the determination of satisfaction. According to this theory, the customers buy products and services with the expectations of a certain level performance. The product is then judged according to the measure of performance it is able to achieve. As such, the difference in the expectations indicates whether the customer is satisfied or dissatisfied.

The levels of satisfaction using these theories can be determined for mantra Group. First, it is important to identify the fact that the organization uses the internet to receive customer feedback (Vavra, 2012). As such, they have the expectations of customers and deliver the services in line with these expectations. In some cases, the organization delivers services and products which exceed the expectations of the clients. This is attributable to the fact that the organization employs innovation while carrying out their activities. As such,, they are in a position to produce the best and most recent products and services. The customers, therefore, discover some of products and services when dealing the organization. Additionally, the quality of the services and products is always high as the company ensures this by updating the products and services from time to time. In regards to the price of accommodation and management prices, the consumers may view it as high. This is, however, fair, in comparison with the services provided, as well as the industry price levels. As such a customer is likely to pay for a service knowing the level of satisfaction they are likely to achieve. This, therefore, indicates that the satisfaction levels are high since in spite of the high price, the service provided meets the expectations of the customers.

Question 5: Service-recovery strategy plan

Service recovery strategies are aimed at addressing the issues which affect the satisfaction of the customers. This is done so as to ensure the retention of the customer. It is, however, important to establish that this process takes some time, as well as efforts and resources of the company in question (Hill, Roche, & Allen, 2011). It is also important to have a supportive organizational culture, and more importantly to consider the voice of the customers. An organization should consider the feedback received from the customers in establishing the most suitable steps. Mantra Group has a great height of satisfaction, in addition to the fact that it has been listed as the second best in the provision of hotel management services. As such, the services provided are quality, and the customers consider it convenient for their business and leisure activities. It is, however, identified that the hotels and accommodation charge high rates hence closing on the customers from the lower income levels.

The service recovery process follows various stages. The first stage is the infused which involves sending feedback to the owners of the internal process. The second stage is the solicitous where the complaint is heard and response made on the same (Gitomer, 2011). The third stage is the active listening where the response is made systematically in a reactive response. The reactive stage then follows where there is a reactive response to the complaints made by the customers. Lastly, the infused stage is experienced where the complaint is identified and combined with the operations of the business. The service recovery at mantra Group, therefore, will involve follow up of the various stages. The complaint identification has already been established, where the complaint is identified as the issue on prices. As such, the company will implement some establishments which charge lower prices. Each level of price will match the price in place, hence achieving satisfaction while maintaining and acquiring new customers. This will not only lead to the acquisition of new customers, but the increase in the profits. This is as a result of the acquisition of customers from different levels of income including those who could not afford the services offered. As such, the level of satisfaction will be maintained and the organization will experience growth in its operations.

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