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"Resonate with the target audience in the digital era"
Thursday, 25 January, 2024, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Farhan Shaikh, the Assistant Marketing Manager overseeing the West Cluster of Kamat Hotels India Ltd, comprising The Orchid Hotel Pune, Fort JadhavGADH, Lotus Eco Resort Murud, The Orchid Hotel Lonavala, and Lotus Eco Resort Goa, brings a dynamic approach to not just stand out, but to stand out distinctively.

As a certified digital marketer, Shaikh’s role at IRA By Orchid Hotels encompasses maintaining a robust online presence. This involves curating content for the official website, optimising it for search engines, executing a comprehensive social media strategy, maintaining online reputation, and staying updated with the latest digital marketing trends. His role plays a pivotal role in IRA's journey, ensuring its prominence in the mid-segment, and F&B-centric spaces.

When asked about how has the hospitality industry evolved over the years, he said, "The hospitality industry has undergone significant evolution in recent years, particularly after the Covid-19 pandemic. Key changes include:
    1. Advanced Technology Integration: The Internet and online booking platforms have transformed reservation processes, making it easier for travellers to book hotels, flights, and other services.
    2. Sustainable Practices: Sustainability has gained prominence, with hotels implementing eco-friendly practices like energy-efficient designs and waste reduction.
    3. Culinary Experiences: Hotels and restaurants now focus on offering unique dining experiences and catering to various dietary preferences.
    4. Health Measures: The pandemic led to enhanced health measures, with many hotels offering wellness amenities like gyms, spas, and wellness programs.
    5. Contactless Technology: Contactless payment options have become common, reducing the need for physical contact in transactions."

His views on the role of marketing in the fiercely competitive hospitality sector, "In the fiercely competitive hospitality sector, marketing plays a crucial role in shaping a brand's image, attracting customers, and ensuring long-term sustainability. It involves:
    1. Differentiation: Marketing helps hotels and restaurants stand out by highlighting unique features and services.
    2. Understanding Customer Needs: Market research identifies target demographics and their preferences, enabling tailored services.
    3. Online Presence: Maintaining an engaging website and active social media presence is essential for bookings and guest interaction.
    4. Online Reputation Management: Managing online reviews and reputation is critical for credibility and attracting more customers.
    5. Promotions and Pricing: Developing campaigns, discounts, and packages to attract customers during various seasons.
    6. Adaptability: Staying updated with industry trends and emerging technologies to adopt new practices."

Shaikh shared the challenges faced by the company in marketing a diverse portfolio of hotels, "Marketing a diverse portfolio of hotels presents challenges, including:
    1. Consistent Branding: Maintaining a cohesive brand image across different hotel types.
    2. Target Audience Variation: Identifying and understanding diverse target audiences for each hotel.
    3. Pricing Strategies: Setting appropriate pricing strategies for each hotel category.

To address these challenges, companies need a flexible marketing strategy tailored to each hotel's unique characteristics and target audience."

He shared some sustainable practices that his company has implemented in hotels, "Some sustainable practices implemented in The Orchid Hotel include:
    1. Energy Conservation: Investing in energy-efficient appliances, LED lighting, and smart thermostats.
    2. Water Conservation: Low-flow fixtures and water treatment plants to reduce water consumption.
    3. Waste Management: Implementing recycling programs, composting organic waste, and reducing single-use plastic items.
    4. Bottled Water: Providing glass bottles in every room to reduce plastic waste.
    5. Staff Training: Training programmes on sustainable practices and resource conservation."

Shaikh explained the impact of technology on reshaping the realm of hospitality marketing, "Technology has reshaped hospitality marketing by:
    1. Enhanced User Experience: Interactive websites and mobile apps provide virtual tours, images, and information.
    2. Online Travel Agencies (OTAs): OTA platforms simplify the booking process and expand reach.
    3. Social Media Engagement: Social platforms enable direct engagement with customers and real-time updates.
    4. Online Reputation Management: Technology allows for managing online reviews and maintaining a positive image."

When asked about how to adapt to changing consumer preferences and trends, Shaikh explained, "To stay informed about evolving guest preferences, one can:
    1. Conduct Market Research: Surveys, feedback analysis, and data collection to understand guest preferences.
    2. Social Media Monitoring: Monitor social media mentions, reviews, and comments to gauge customer sentiment.
    3. Competitor Analysis: Analyse competitors and guest responses to identify emerging trends."

His way of staying informed about evolving guest preferences in the dynamic hospitality industry, he said, "To resonate with the target audience in the digital era, the company leverages digital platforms by:
    1. Social Media Engagement: Using platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn to engage with the audience through compelling content.
    2. Content Marketing: Providing valuable content through blogs, videos, and podcasts to reach potential customers.
    3. Targeted Advertising: Running ads on Google Ads and social media to reach specific demographics.
    4. Influencer Collaboration: Collaborating with influencers to expand brand reach and credibility."

Lastly, he shared future plans or upcoming projects for the company, "The company's upcoming project includes the launch of "IRA By Orchid Hotels," a new brand focusing on luxury, sophistication, and unmatched hospitality. IRA By Orchid Hotels has already been launched in Mumbai and Bhubaneswar, with upcoming projects in Nashik, Bhavnagar, Noida, Ayodhya, and more locations in the pipeline."
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