By Janelle Escayg — From the first day of Marketing Management class, we knew it would be challenging after Dr. Zhang told us of all the class requirements. The biggest challenge, yet the most exciting part of the class, was when we were told that for one of the assignments we had to create a marketing plan for a company.…a real company! While we knew that it would not be an easy task, we were motivated to do our best and admit the cash prize made the project more appealing.
We were given clear written guidelines from Dr. Zhang which outlined the steps we needed to take to complete an effective marketing plan; the first thing we had to do was outline the situation analysis, SWOT analysis, list our marketing objectives then finally make recommendations. The entire class visited the Western Inn and met with Mr. Eric Wu the owner who gave us a tour of the entire building. From that first meeting, we could tell that even though the hotel had several strengths, there were a lot of things that could be improved.
Our first private group meeting we made a timeline giving ourselves a deadline to complete different parts of the project. Shortly after our first meeting, much to our disappointment, one of our group members dropped the class, leaving us with only three members: Janelle Escayg, Jonathan Evans, and William Strom. This meant that the three of us had more to do, putting us at a disadvantage to the other groups, but we were determined to do well.
We interviewed Eric, a few employees, and several customers to get more insight. Eric told us what his vision was for the Western Inn and the challenges he faced. The employees told us what it was like to work at Western Inn, and the customers gave us open and honest feedback of their likes and dislikes. We did extensive research of the hotel industry, the political, environmental, social and technological environment, and most importantly we reviewed the online feedback from the customers that gave us a perspective of Western Inn’s positioning and the perception they had of the hotel.
PERFECTING THE PRESENTATION
On October 28thall groups gave their preliminary presentations. This was very helpful and instrumental to our success as Dr. Zhang asked Media Services to record our presentations so that we could later critique ourselves. Each member of our group watched the DVD, and then we openly discussed presentation styles and suggested areas of improvement. Dr. Zhang also scheduled meetings with each group to provide feedback and to keep us on the right track. This was a turning point for us because we were able to analyze the information we had and get a clearer understanding of what we needed to do to have an effective Marketing Plan.
The critical part of this entire project was deciding the marketing objectives. What did we want for the Western Inn keeping in mind Eric’s goals, the target market and our research? Our goal was to make recommendations that focused on branding, profitability, and changing the overall perception of Western Inn.
In the end, we decided that a massive undertaking must be done by changing the name of the hotel and rebranding. The Western Inn should also make a few enhancements to the building, the website should be mobile optimized, and they should have a social media presence. Overall, this was a great experience as we gained an enormous amount of knowledge from the practical learning.
Janelle Escayg, MSHRM
Master of Science in Human Resources Management, Houston Baptist University
MBA in International Business and Management Information Systems- candidate
University of St. Thomas, Cameron School of Business