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Group10 Branding Strategies within International Hotel ... 813930/   Branding Strategies

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  • Branding Strategies within International Hotel Chains

    A case study of Lithuanian Market

    Bachelors thesis within Business Administration

    Authors: Georgiev Petar

    Gueorguieva Nicole

    Maseviciute Kamile

    Tutor: Maxmikael Wilde Bjrling

    Jnkping: May 2015

  • i

    Acknowledgement

    The authors would like to acknowledge some of the people, who have been involved in the creation of this thesis.

    Firstly, the authors would like to express gratitute to their tutor MaxMikael Wilde Bjr-ling, Thank you for your help and guidance during the entire process. Your faith, sup-port and valuable feedback made it possible to successfully complete this thesis.

    Secondly, the authors would like to acknowledge Giedr Liandsbergait, Inga Bunkien and Asta Sekmokien, who devoted their time and contributed with their expertise. The collaboration with them allowed to get a deeper understanding and knowledge about the examined topic that led to the valuable contributions of the study.

    Finally, the authors want to thank Loreta Maseviien. Her encouragement and help to find contacts in the beginning of the process gave the authors the needed confidence to meet the purpose of this thesis.

    Georgiev Petar Gueorguieva Nicole

    Maseviciute Kamile

  • ii

    Bachelors Thesis in Business Administration

    Title: Branding Strategies within International Hotel Chains

    Author: Georgiev Petar, Gueorguieva Nicole, Maseviciute Kamile

    Tutor: Maxmikael Wilde Bjrling

    Date: 2015-05-11

    Subject terms: Branding, Brand Identity, Business Tourism, Hospitality Industry, Hotel Industry, Lithuanian market, Standartization and Customization, Radis-son Blu, Comfort Hotels, Holiday Inn

    Abstract Background: The hospitality industry, especially the hotel business, is a relatively new, and rapidly growing industry in Lithuania. The last two decades resulted in a significant expansion of the local hotel market, as well as of operations of international hotel chains. Thus, competition among actors in the industry, along with the companies need to differentiate their offerings from those of competitors, has risen. Branding strategies are increasingly used by companies for achieving better positioning on the market, as well as for gaining a competitive advantage and customers loyalty. Knowing that glob-al brands play an important role for firms visibility on the market, it is important to recognize, and understand the factors influencing marketing management- and brand-ing-related activities. To accomplish this, an in-depth understanding behind the struc-ture and branding strategies of international hotel chains should be developed.

    Purpose: The purpose of this thesis is to understand the rationale behind the structure, and operations of international hotel operators in Lithuania, with a focus on the hotels branding strategies. Furthermore, the thesis aims to investigate how companies use their brand identity to position themselves in the market.

    Methodology: This thesis relies on a qualitative research, with a main focus on discov-ery, and aim to expand current knowledge in the field of hospitality management and branding within the Lithuanian hotel industry. The study consists of an in-depth case study of three international hotel chains operating in Lithuania. The empirical data was gathered from semi-structured, and e-mail interviews with the chosen hotels repre-sentatives, as well as from secondary data such as annual reports and official websites.

    Conclusion: Three key findings are presented in this thesis. First of all, the authors identify business travelers as the main target group of the selected international hotel operators in Vilnius. Secondly, the examined hotel operators are recognized to stan-dardize their structure and operations, but at the same time to customize their marketing strategies to the local market. Finally, the findings indicate that some hotels completely incorporate the brand identity of the chain, which they belong to, while others develop their own brand identity, relying only partly on the identity of the chain.

    Contributions: This thesis positively contributes to the academic community, as it ex-pands the theoretical knowledge about the Lithuanian hotels industry, with a main focus on the branding- and marketing activities of international hotel chains. The findings provide a practical insight on how companies are positioned in the market in relation to their competitors. Moreover, with an extensive choice of accommodation available in the market, the comparison of hotels is beneficial in helping customers choosing the best alternative according to their needs.

  • iii

    Table of Contents Acknowledgement ..................................................................................................... i

    Abstract ................................................................................................................... ii

    1. Introduction ......................................................................................................... 1 1.1. Background ............................................................................................................... 1

    1.1.1. Branding ..................................................................................................................... 1 1.1.2. Service Branding ........................................................................................................ 2 1.1.3. Standardization and Customization ............................................................................ 2 1.1.4. Lithuanian Market ...................................................................................................... 3

    1.2. Problem Statement .................................................................................................... 4 1.3. Purpose ...................................................................................................................... 4 1.4. Research Questions .................................................................................................... 4 1.5. Delimitations .............................................................................................................. 4 1.6. Contribution .............................................................................................................. 5

    2. Theoretical Framework ....................................................................................... 6 2.1. Hospitality Industry ................................................................................................... 6

    2.1.2. Hotel Industry ............................................................................................................ 6 2.1.3. Hotel Segments .......................................................................................................... 7 2.1.4. Business Tourism ....................................................................................................... 8 2.1.5. The Importance of Marketing in the Hospitality Industry .......................................... 8

    2.2. Service Marketing ..................................................................................................... 9 2.3. Standardization and Customization .......................................................................... 9 2.4. Branding in Service Marketing ............................................................................... 10

    2.3.2. Brand Image ............................................................................................................. 10 2.3.3. Brand Positioning ..................................................................................................... 11 2.3.4. Brand Identity Approach .......................................................................................... 12 2.3.5. The Corporate Brand Toolkit ................................................................................... 13

    3. Method and Methodology .................................................................................. 15 3.1 Research Approach .................................................................................................. 15 3.2. Choice of Method ..................................................................................................... 15

    3.2.1. Qualitative Method ................................................................................................... 15 3.3. Research Design ....................................................................................................... 16

    3.3.1. Case Study ................................................................................................................ 16 3.4. Creating an Interview .............................................................................................. 16

    3.4.1. Translation ............................................................................................................... 17 3.4.2. Pilot Study ................................................................................................................ 17 3.4.3. Preparation for the Semi-structured Interviews ........................................................ 17 3.4.4. Preparation for the E-mail Interviews ...................................................................... 18 3.4.5. Selecting Participants ............................................................................................... 18

    3.5. Data Collection ........................................................................................................ 19 3.5.1. Semi-structured and E-mail Interviews ........................................

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