What are the main factors that have contributed to Banyan Tree's success?
Banyan Tree's first success was finding a niche that the owners could exploit. As the case study says, they realized that there was an opening that they could use to gather guests who were above the level of the large hotel chains, but who did not want to spend the money required to spend a night in the most exclusive resorts. This price difference led to the owners forming the plan for their resort that was more reasonably priced than the large luxury resorts, but would give the customer more than the large hotel chains.
The next thing that they did was to realize what type of experience people were missing. First, people wanted a vacation experience that allowed them to be alone, like they had the space all to themselves, while they were positioned in the "lap of luxury." This experience was solidified by the idea if individual cabins that the guests would sleep in, and the other private amenities that they could have. The case study gives the example of a private villa with its own pool. This would allow the guest to have a private "skinny dip" while enjoying the exclusive services of the resort (Lovelock, Writz & Chew, 2008, 439). The second part of this was the design that the owners felt would take the guest away from the humdrum of their normal lives to the luxury that a resort should be. They wanted to make sure that people had as much of the native feel around them as possible. All of the resorts have a distinctly Asian feel because the company originates in Asia. This means that many of the villas resemble pagodas, or have koi ponds, or other features that made them feel more exotic to the guests. this ploy was actually a good method for taking the guests away from their normal lives and putting them in vacation mode.
The company also has a unique way of advertising. They have not invested in blanket advertising on television and radio the way that some resorts do. They have taken out advertisements in trade publications such as Conde Nast, but they primarily allow the advertising to be done by the people who have already visited one of the resorts (Roy, 2009). People who have already visited one of the resorts are able to tell their friends and acquaintances about the experience which gives the Banyan Tree all of the coverage that it needs.
Finally, the owners were able to enhance their brand. People were already raving about the sensation that is the resorts, but that just meant that other entrepreneurs and established chains were ready to capitalize on this new market. That meant that the owners of Banyan Tree had to think of a new way to generate revenue. They did this by opening up shops for local crafts people in the resorts and by extending the brand. They opened a new brand of resort and hotel and they came out with their own brand of products. In this way they were able to make the already valuable brand even more so.
2. Evaluate Banyan Tree's brand positioning and communications strategies. Can Banyan Tree maintain its unique positioning in an increasingly overcrowded resorts market?
The owners of the name Banyan Tree decided on the name because the tree is native to the area where they grew up. They said that the tree provided a canopy which seemed to shield people from the outside world, "like the canopy of a rain forest" (Lovelock, Writz & Chew, 2008, 439). The reason they wanted to use the tree is to give the customer the feeling that they were also covered by the luxury of the vacation site. The use of the Banyan Tree probably meant little to people from the West who patronized the resorts, but to people from that area of the world it most likely meant a great deal. The branding began with the choice of a name and a symbol that evoked peace and harmony. It was a brilliant strategy for an up and coming resort that was trying to make an inroad into a field that was crowded with entries. The group also wanted to establish a set of values that they knew their customers could get behind. They let it be known by their means of construction, use of products, and minimalist nature that they cared what happened to the environment. The owners also realized that of they treated their staff well then the employees would have a greater sense of ownership for both the brand and the welfare of the customers. This is borne out in the research that has been done on marketing. Wazir (2011) says that "you must understand the needs and wants of a business, its promoters, its clients and associates. Then you must recognize the role you play in the business and how you can influence its outcome positively." Banyan Tree realized from the beginning that for its employees to truly feel like they needed to make the business better, they would have to take some ownership for the brand. This meant a pride in doing what was needed in their own small corner of the enterprise to make the entire corporation run better. The employees also realized that if they did this, then they would be richly rewarded also.
The method of communication was mainly word of mouth, as was mentioned before, but the company also communicated its brand through the subtle advertising that it conducted. This was done in some of the trade publications specifically designed for the travel market, and in luxury travel magazines as well. Communication was also maintained through the position of the brand in other areas beside the resort community that they had established.
The fact that the owners of Banyan tree have been able to grow their brand into different products shows that the owners have the knowledge to further expand and grow. The best way that Banyan Tree can grow its existing sales while other brands are entering the market is to either develop its product further or to diversify into new products (The Product, 2012). They have done this with all of the new names and products that they have worked up since the marketplace became crowded. The company has diversified its product base to include a new hotel and spa name, and other product offerings that people know come with the same quality that they have come to expect in Banyan Tree.
3. Discuss whether the brand portfolio of Banyan Tree, Angsana, Colours of Angsana, and Allamanda, as well as the product portfolio of beach resorts and city hotels, spas, galleries, and museum shops fit as a family. What are your recommendations to Banyan Tree for managing these brands and products in the future?
The ownership of the original resort and hotel chain of Banyan Tree have tried to keep all of their offerings within the same window of products. The resort and hotel industry is not so overcrowded that they could not find room originally, and as they continue to open new markets, customers will flock to their new offerings. This is a lot like what Apple, Inc. did with their products just a few years ago. Originally, they were seen as just a computer company that dabbled a little bit in other venues. The Apple came up with a new way to listen to music with the iPod. They also created a proprietary system specifically designed to fuel the iPod with songs. Next, they remade the laptop computer. There next market invention was the iPhone. People were happy with their limited flip phones (like the ones from Star Trek) until Apple created a new desire. Then, Apple created another new market by envisioning and making the iPad. That is three completely new markets that Apple created in about a decade (Marketing Minds, 2012). Banyan Tree has used the same kind of strategy when it has come up with new ideas to help increase sales. Angsana was an idea that grew out of the fact that he company purchased a hotel in downtown Bangkok, and it was turned into a luxury hotel that would offer many of the same amenities that the resorts offered. They could not give the people in downtowns the same villa experience that people gained at their resorts, but they could give them the five star care and the spas. The Colors of Angsana was in response to another need that the hotel and resort guests probably did not know that they needed at the time. It was offered to give the guests the full experience of the culture of the surrounding city and region. All of these offerings fit well into the original idea from which the original spa was created.
The reason that all of this works so well and will continue to work…