Hospitality is one of the main factors of the United Kingdom’s economy and the economic driver of almost every single part of the country. Tourism and hospitality is the fifth largest industry in the UK. The basic purpose of hospitality is to form a relationship or to encourage exchange of goods and services, both material and symbolic, among those who give hospitality (hosts) and those who receive it (guests)(Morrison, 1996).
Oxford is a city located in southern England and the county town of Oxfordshire. It has a population of 150,200 and is the 52nd largest city in the United Kingdom or one of the fastest growing, most ethnically diverse city(Cook et al., 2014). Oxford city of UK is also one of the main attractions for tourism and hospitality businesses. It is the seventh most visited city in the UK by foreigners and is the tourism gateway to the rest of Oxfordshire It is a home to approximately 4,000 businesses and providing 106,000 jobs(Buhalis and Crotts, 2013). The city has a largeamount of individuals employed in public sector and universities, but also has substantial jobs in other sectors including tourism, hospitality, publishing, and a developing hi-tech sector driven by highly qualified workforce. There is a high level of traveling in to the city. It attractsaround 9.5 million visitors per year and generating £770 million of income for local Oxford businesses(Brotherton, 2013).
One of the main strengths of the tourism and hospitality industry is its wealth and jobcreating potential which is spread all over the country benefiting the towns, cities and rural areas from theactivities of restaurants, hotels, pubs, cateringbusinesses and events. Hospitality is not only important for the economic success of local economies but, italso plays a major role in the social and cultural lifeof their societies(Taillon, 2014).
Hospitality outlets are usually the places or popular tourist destinations and attractions having a large tourist credibility. Likewise, Oxford city is a centre of many hotels, restaurants, pubs,takeaway food shops, and licensed clubs(Leung et al., 2013). Main tourist attractions of the city includes; Religious sites such as Christ Church Cathedral, University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Martyrs' Memorial; Museums and galleries such as Oxford University museum of natural history, Ashmolean museum, Britain's oldest museum, Pitt Rivers museum, The Bodleian library, The Clarendon building, The Radcliffe Camera, Christ Church Meadow, Port MeadowMesopotamia, Angel & Greyhound Meadow, Florence Park, South Park and Warne ford Meadow.
According to Carrerssearch.com, the online source for hospitality, shows that the Oxford hospitality and catering outlets dropped marginally in last few years(Hung and Law, 2011).Many Hospitality companies are using leisure venues in order to progress within the industry and to reach a wider market.
Interrelationships between tourism and hospitality in Oxford
The interrelationships between Hospitality and tourism organisations is that the tourism industry attracts the customers to different destinations around the world through promotion and marketing(Lashley and Morrison, 2013). Whereas, the Hospitality aspect is that they provide comfort, entertainment and leisure for the consumers, within restaurants, clubs, hotels and transport.There are three domains in the Hospitality industry; the social domain refers to the interactions of people and the services provided, as Hospitality is about the interaction and relationships between them and their consumers. The second domain is referred as the Private domain, this is based on the free standing outlets as it creates the relationships of hospitality with consumers through food based elements through restaurants, bars and food chains. The third domain is the Commercial domain which refers to the business side of the hospitality industry or how the service or business is promoted to their consumers(Hallak et al., 2012).More specifically, in the relationship between tourism and hospitality, the Tourism aspect is the demand and the Hospitality is the need, as Hospitality ensures the consumers to have a satisfaction and probes into building loyalty between the organisation and customer which would not exist otherwise(Tsang et al., 2015).
Many Travel and Tourism organisations in Oxford have global connections with Hospitality services in order to offer deals and services to consumers travelling to that city destinations. To provide the top services for their consumers, travel organizations in Oxford often promote Hospitality services within their own company and outside the company to spread the word about different services they are providing and the companies they are associated with(Sigala et al., 2012).
In order to attract more people to the holiday destinations in Oxford, thetourism and hospitality organisations would employ a variety of hospitality outlets, whether it is a restaurant, hotel or casino. This is usually done to expand tourist destinations for the improvement in the amount of tourists each year. The Hospitality outlets have become the attractions in Oxford city which has generated more money for the tourism organisations and increased their tourist income.Tourists do spend a significant amount of money for leisure and want to obtain the benefits offered on their tour, mainly for the premium prices paid(Beaver, 2012). Some of the aspects in which tourism and hospitality are inter related are as follows;
The role of hospitality in package holidays is very significant. Tourism companies design certain packages offering different facilities and attractions at varied process. A holiday package offering multiple attractions or facilities at an affordableprice are mostly purchased so that customers would benefit from good hotel and airline ticket prices.
Hospitality also exists onboard airlines in the form of catering services, meals menu and sleeping arrangements.
Business people mostly opt hotels which are have all the necessary facilities to work comfortably such asWi-Fi or cable internet access, conference areas or meeting rooms, 24 hour laundry and dry cleaning services.
Visitor attractionmay be manmade museums and theme parks, or natural attractions such as natural parks. Some sites are of interest to people simply due to the activities taking place there and because of the hosting of that place.
As Oxford city has a popular among other tourism cities in UK with so many popular or worth watching destinations. It also has almost all the hospitality elements such as hotels, restaurants, casinos, transport facilities etc. Keeping this in view, tourist and hospitality businesses can take maximum advantage by designing marketing strategies, offering attractive packages and valuable services so that the tourism can be sustained. Moreover, the number of hotels should be increased so that it would be able to attract all kind of customers i.e., male, female, business men, families etc.
Integration in the hospitality industry.
Integration is when organizations are able to benefit from lower operating costs by providing their own products or services through in-house efforts and saving company’s money without outsourcing in the long run. Through integration, companies are also able to increase their global presence and their market share(Boella and Goss-Turner, 2013).There are two specific levels of integration within the Hospitality sector;
Vertical integration refers to a process in which a company purchases another company in the distribution chain, or establishes a merger agreement(Sloan et al., 2012). This is mainly done to maximise profitability and take advantage from lower operating costs. It is usually characterised by forward, backward and lateral integration.
Forward vertical integration is a process in which a company merges with another company further in the distribution chain(Law et al., 2013). For example, a hotel chain may buy its own travel agency in order to expand into other markets. Hotels often make agreements with tour operators and travel agents to provide special room rates and offerings for clients.
Backward Vertical integration is when a company purchases one of its suppliers and makes use of its inputs for the benefit of the organisation(Lin et al., 2014). For example, a tour operator might purchase an airline company or a hotel, as they are both suppliers of services which are essentialfor the package industry.
Lateral integration requires the merger of two organisations which may have indirectly related products and services(Serfes, 2014). These three types of vertical integration suggests possible strategies which may be adopted by the companies in Oxford or all others around the world.
Horizontal integration is done when companies want to expand their customer base, benefit from economies of scale and ultimately maximise profits. It happens when a company purchases or merges with another company at the same level of the distribution chain and both the companies have a common goal(Bainbridge et al., 2014). For example a renowned hotels chain purchase another hotel or resort.
The level of integration has risen in the hospitality sector. Integration works more effectively when you have two different areas of the tourism industry integrated, for instance an airline company joining with a travel provider will allow the company to expand into different fields and attract new customers to their company. It also is a good way to promote their brand within other fields’ brand, as it can reach a broader consumer.
Implications of increased integration in the hospitality industry.
The implications of integration within the hospitality sector would be the organisation which has many other different firms under their control. In case of vertical integration those firms would be under one organisation but would still be controlled by different outlets. Sometimes, this creates problems for the whole organisation especially when a major problem risesin one specific sector but the whole organisation would have to go under crises control in order to maintain thereputation of that brand and the whole organisation. Some of the implications of integration in the hospitality industry are as follows;
A Brand name may invoke certain feelings or emotions linked to personal experiences with the brand. Like other industries, the success of the tourism industry also depends upon the branding techniques implemented by organisations, and how sound they convey their messages to target markets so that the clients are able to associate themselves with those brands. Brands often let their loyal customers perceive their products or services as reflection of their personality and character(Pereira-Moliner et al., 2012). For instance, if a group of business people check in to hotel in the Oxford city, they would expect the same check-in procedures, ambience and luxuries in any other branch of that hotel.
Market control and integration between larger organisations
Few of the UK’s major tour operators have purchased hotels out of the country to increase their global presence and profitability. This would enable them to control their hotel rates to their advantage, bringing more affordable packages to their clients while increasing their sales. Survival of travel and tourism basically depends on the fittest companies which offer the best balance between quality, quantity and value for money(Middleton and Clarke, 2012).
Globalisation is the result of a gathering of expansions which can be examined from an internal and external perspective. A company will face internal globalisation when its employees from around the world will develop relationships with one another ref. External globalisation is when team members interact with clients from all over the world. Social networking websites also allow for such communication to occurref.
Impacts of integrationin the hospitality industry.
Economies of scale and market share
Through integration, company’s operating costs can be reduced significantly. If a tour operator takes over a hotel, the cost related with investment would be high, but the benefits gained by offering a wider variety of products or services can be realized immediately. By adopting this integration, the tour operator will reduce its dependency on other accommodation providers because most operations can be taken care of within company now.The tour operator may lower its costs of packages and whichbenefits the consumers along with the use of right strategieswill increase market share and profitability. Through horizontal integration, companies can expand their client base, whereas through vertical integration companies can enter new markets and attract an entirely different customer base(Voss and Voss, 2013).
Standardisation is a complex and time consuming process in some industries involving so many variables. Automated processes can be standardised easily but it is very difficult to standardise the human element(del Mar Alonso-Almeida et al., 2013). For instance, some food chain restaurants throughout the world have their processes standardised, the procedures which employees follow and food are nearly identical. The company needs to be highly efficient, time oriented and controlling over its processes and workforce to achieve standardization.
Improvement in quality is not guaranteed through integration as it depends on how variable the human component is. If a hotel is taken over by another company or person, it does not mean that the new owner will have a better approach towards improving quality(Goodwin et al., 2012).It might also happen that the employees may not get along with their new boss because they believe that the approach being adopted towards improving quality is not feasible or practical, therefore increasing the risk of error.
Even though, offering quality services is the top agenda throughout, Hotels chains located all over the world also face such problems. Therefore, it is important that the management in any organisation to listen what employees have to say and then opt for certain policies because employees are the people who are in constant contact with customers and they know what customers are expecting from the organisation.
Decisions linked to target market
If we look at a hotel as part of the hospitality sector, the target market for this would be reliant on the destination of the hotel because this could reflect on the costs and the amount of money people would spend to stay there as well as the type of holiday destination it is. Whether it is in the centre of thecity surrounded by momentous buildings for people who enjoy site seeing, near the beach, or locatedin the busiest casinos and bar area. It is important to take consideration of many different factors such as price, best deal offerings, affordable or attractive packages, good location and reputation for designing a hotel and marketing it(James et al., 2013).
The target market for the hotel would be males, females, business men and families. As many people tend to travel in groups or with families so it would be important to have family based facilities and offering activities for people of any age group to enjoy. Many airlines also offer different family deals for trips and holidays.The hotels should offer such services in association with the airlines so that the airlines as well as the hotel business benefit with these kind of offers(Keloharju et al., 2012).
If this hotel succeeded as a franchise and established having a chain of hotels located in many different destinations then it would be good to keep the exterior look of the hotel traditional and classy. The building should be unique, a set of apartments or separate buildings which are not as high as many other buildings would give it a feel of being in a luxury small village surrounding a swimming pool and large gates. A playground would also be allocated nearby for children to enjoy, surrounded by bars and a food area. There would be small paths with flowers and grass on the sides of buildings.Holiday resorts are becoming more popular in recent years so to create a similar type of look would be effective and different compared to the competition(Alon et al., 2012).
There are a variety of organisational structures to be identified such as; Pre-bureaucratic structures, Bureaucratic, Post-bureaucratic, Functional structures, Divisional structures and the Matrix structure. The operational requirements of the hotel’s organisational structure would focus on the Divisional structures (organisational is often organised into diverse divisions, based on product, market and geographical areas) and the Matrix structures (organisational aspects which are linked together or forms the interaction of different people within the company) as they relate to the other organisational structures as well as probe into their own specific fields(Billhardt et al., 2011). For a hospitality outlet it is important to represent areas such as product, market and geographical aspects as the company’s main criteria which the Divisional structures offer.
It is imperative to focus on the consumer’s demands and needs to achieve and improve the performance of an organisation especially in the hospitality industry.They need to identifytheir weaknesses and strengths so that the weaknesses can be improved and strengths are developed and built upon(Sitek and Thoben, 2012). Anotherimportant factor in the organisational development would be commitment in any field as it offers and promotes to give full satisfaction for their consumers.
Overall, integration can be a positive improvement especially for companiesof tourism and hospitality in Oxford but it can also have some negative effects. Hospitality and Tourism work well hand to hand with each other because the tourism part promotes the holidays and the destinations or it is the business side of the field. While, the hospitality aspect is the relationship between the consumer and business, and normally builds the brand’s loyalty with the consumer(Friese et al., 2012).
Certain aspects and attractions provided through travel and tourism keep this industry alive.Few people would take the incentive to travel if there are not any decent places to visit, eat and sleep. There are hotels and restaurants which cater for different target markets. Business people may require a business oriented hotel which offers all of the necessary conveniences for business communications, whereas a family may opt for a resort setting where they can spend most of their time relaxing. The different hotel star ratings offer guests with an arrangement of accommodation providers that suit their pockets.The hospitality industry must work hand-in-hand with the travel and tourism industry to provide tourists with an exceptional experience, where all components must be carefully planned to offer the best value for money(Seilov et al., 2015).
Integration is certain for some organizations who aim to expand their businesses. It gives them control over suppliers at different or the same stages of the distribution chain, with the objective of increasing market share, decreasing operating costs, improving quality and maximizing profitability(Law et al., 2015). Companies often integrate as it is less risky than starting up new companies. It also requires take time for people to develop a trust for a company that has just started.
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