All of these steps were completed in order for Disney to respect and honor local customs and keep consistent with local values.
3.3 Promotion - Definition and application to tourism operation
One of the more multi-faceted of the 7 Ps, promotion encompasses public relations, analyst relations with the investment community especially for those companies who have publicly-traded stocks or securities, and also includes managing a company's reputation online with social networks. Public relations is responsible for making sure potential customers know what a company has to offer, in addition to keeping stakeholders in the company informed about new product and service developments.
Initial promotions of Disneyland Hong Kong were heavily focused on television throughout the Hong Kong region (Landreth, 2005). These initial advertisements attempted to evoke the same aspirational selling of the original Disneyland, not mentioned that only 22 of the 65 rides were included and only half of the lands were as well. Initial perceptions of the park was that it was much smaller than the first visitors expected it to be (Marr, Fowler, 2006) and it did not have enough interesting or thrill-seeking rides (Balfour, Einhorn, 2009). Most important however was the lacking support for the broader marketing that other Disney theme parks thrived on, and that were the movies, digital media online, electronic games and toys. There had been no comparable execution of a thoroughly defined and developed integrated marketing communications (IMC) strategy that had been the case in the U.S. For example. The most common reaction therefore on the part of consumers visiting the part has been confusion about how it is supposed to be fun (Marr, Fowler, 2006). Ironically this lack of awareness of the stories and scenarios behind the characters shows how exceptional the marketing of Disney is in other regions including the U.S. where there is ready identification of each ride and character with the visitors attending parks (Balfour, Einhorn, 2009). The lack of promotion of the entire Disney brand then forced the promotional teams of Disneyland Hong Kong to concentrate on creating awareness of the significance of each ride and four lands that comprised the park, including the development of guidebooks for Chinese-speaking students (Fowler, Marr, 2006).
3.4 Price - Definition and application to tourism operation
The most critical of the 7 Ps is price, as it has a direct impact on the overall profitability of products and also is the quickest path to communicating the market positioning of a product as well. Pricing's impact on services is to accentuate expectations of performance for a higher price point or alternatively send the message that the service purchased is going to lack differentiation and quality. Pricing communicates the price/quality relationship of a product or service faster than any other attribute of the 7 Ps as well.
By Hong Kong standards the pricing for Disneyland Hong Kong was high. At $350 (HK) for an adult ticket and $250 (HK) for a day ticket for a child, the costs could rapidly escalate for a family of four for example. With food, souvenirs and special events the total cost for a day at the park for a family of four could easily reach $2,000 (HK). This is considered exceptionally expensive compared to the costs for Ocean Park, which charges $25 (HK) per day and $12 (HK) for children. Pricing at Disneyland Hong Kong is clearly aimed at the young, wealthy parents that Hong Kong demographics analysis showed earlier in this report. A premium full year pass with no blackout dates for an adult is $1,800 (HK) and $1,250 (HK) for children between 3 and 11. Again taking the family of four with two small children as an example, a yearly premium pass would cost $6,100 (HK). As a result the company has attained a reputation for being the most expensive theme park in the Hong Kong area with fewer thrill-seeking rides than its primary competitor, Ocean Park (Leung, Nicholson, 2009). Pricing within amusement parks is used as a means to differentiate and connote greater value, with Disney often using a price premium approach to imply a price-value relationship of their brands to others (Song, Yang, Huang, 2009). This is the strategy at Disneyland Hong Kong with the pricing defining the premium market positioning of the park.
3.5 People - Definition and application to tourism operation
The people component of the 7 Ps encompass only prospects, but customers and the many people involved in the value chain of delivering the product or service. The people component of the 7 Ps is by far the most challenging in terms of making lasting change take place. People's ownership of tasks and the need attain mastery of those tasks is critical for any marketing strategy to be successful over time.
Often for multinational corporations creating entirely new ventures in foreign nations, the ability to recruit and retain the best possible staff can be problematic. Disney faced labor unions of France in staffing Euro-Disney and sought to initially train and create more job opportunities for Hong Kong employees based on the lessons learned in Paris. The Disney culture is heavily focused on education and training over time. In staffing Disneyland Hong Kong the company concentrated on hiring locally yet bringing in trainers from Disneyland Tokyo, Disneyland in Anaheim and Disney headquarters in Burbank, California. The concentrated on local employees is often used as a means to alleviate cultural distance between a business' employees and the public they serve (Freire, 2009). Disney did do this well and also sought to gain insights from these employees on how best to manage service recovery programs in the various languages and dialects spoken throughout the Hong Kong area. The net result was that by concentrating on hiring the best possible employees with cultural awareness and knowledge, the development of service recovery strategies was attained. The development of service recovery programs is critical for any business to excel and sustain its brand reputation and value over time (Swanson, Hsu, 2009). The hiring of local employees and the development of service recovery strategies with them was a major improvement over previous Disney parks in foreign locations.
3.6 Process - Definition and application to tourism operation
The process attribute of the 7 Ps refers to the many interconnected methods, programs and procedures relied on for developing, introducing, selling and servicing products and services. These processes have a wide variation in them, from the initial process steps to validate a new product idea to the development of entirely new channels of distribution, process-centric focus on the part of marketing strategies is critical for the customer to be at the center of all strategies and programs.
The processes within Disneyland Hong Kong were unlike any other throughout the Disney network of properties and therefore caused much confusion and initial customer dissatisfaction as a result (Marr, Fowler, 2006). Yet the best performing services businesses in fact focus on how to continually improve each customer-facing process, from taking the initial tickets from customers through the development, building and continual improvement of rides and attractions (Thach, Axinn, 1994). The use of Business process Management (BPM) and Business Process Improvement (BPI) based approaches for gaining greater process efficiency is also extensive in the Disney networks is evident in the development of the Fast Pass in Disneyland for example. The processes that are customer-facing and the most critical however for Disneyland Hong Kong have been undefined or at best, inaccurate, leading to significant frustration on the par of park visitors during sold-out days (Fowler, Marr, 2006). The lack of process consistency on the part of the Disneyland Hong Kong Park is what initially made the park falter, and impacted its reputation with customers (Balfour, Einhorn, 2009). The processes that are all customer-facing need to be more finely tuned and culturally acclimated than any other to ensure that a consistently high degree of customer experiences are delivered reliably over time (Milman, 2009).
3.7 Physical evidence - Definition and application to tourism operation
The physical evidence of a product or service is the experience customers have using it. This is the actual experience of hiring a service, the experience of attending an event, or the experience of using a new product. Physical evidence is essential for the 7 Ps to be all encompassing for the customer and for their expectations to be met.
The physical appearance of the Disneyland Hong Kong Park is also exceptional in its replication of previous parks in Anaheim, Orlando and outside of Paris. Disney well understands that its iconic image of the castle is as much a part of its brand as the face of Mickey Mouse for example (Echtner, Ritchie, 1991). The physical evidence of a brand is meant to evoke the emotions the brand aligns itself with. Disney's successful use of integrated marketing communication strategies to further support the physical branding of more mature and established parks is evident in the attendance figures they generate yearly. It was a painful lesson for Disney…