Strategic Analysis: Hyatt Hotels and Resorts
The hotel or hospitality industry consists of integration and correlation of several other related services and product industries such as the food industry, tourism, and airline industries (Kim and Kim, 2015). The hotel industry is one of the largest industries in the world, and for many countries, the revenues generated from the hotel industry contribute majorly to their annual GDP (Jauhari et al., 2012). For example, Spain received 82.6 million tourists in 2018, making it second only to France, which welcomed 90 million tourists in the same year. In the recent decades, there has been a proliferation in the number of hotels all over the world which is evident from the increased number of luxury hotels globally (Barros, Peypoch and Solonandrasana, 2009). The hotel industry has been there for a long time and therefore, a large number of factors, for example, culture, languages, infrastructure, visa facilities in the region, education, income level, fares of the hotels etc., exist that influence the hotel industry all over the world. To study these factors and to know about their impact on the overall growth of the industry, it is vital to conduct an in-depth analysis of the hotel industry (Law et al., 2011).
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In specific, the hotel industry of Oman has shown promising growth in the last decades. According to the GCC Hospitality industry report, the Oman hospitality industry is expected to show a growth percentage of 7.5 from 2017 to 2022 (Fusion, 2019). Hyatt Hotels Corporation is a multinational company which is headquartered in Chicago, America. Hyatt Hotels and Resorts has grown over the years and also expanded internationally to other countries through acquisitions and rebranding strategies (Hyatt, 2020).
In this research paper, a detailed PESTEL analysis and Porter’s Five Forces analysis is given to explain all the relevant factors that come into play in the hotel industry. This also helps to analyze the growth opportunities that exist in this industry and the threats that can be faced by individual businesses operating in this industry. Moreover, Hyatt group of companies is chosen to observe the trends in Oman Hospitality Industry. The strategies of this hotel and resort chains will be analyzed, and a set of recommendations are also given.
The PESTEL analysis includes the political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal factors that influence the industry.
The politics of the world have a profound and long-lasting impact on the global hotel industry. These political factors either related to the unrest in the political landscape of a region or the aspects related to terrorism in a country, have a direct impact on the hotel industry worldwide (Nikunen, 2016). Businesses flourish in a politically safe environment. For example, Asian and European hotel industries have grown recently because of relative political stability in these regions at a macro level as compared to the countries like Egypt (Hsu, 2015). Recently, the Brexit was a political event with a noticeable impact on the hotel industry of the world. The hospitality industry is the 4th largest industry in the UK and constitutes about 10% GDP. After the Brexit, the resources available to these businesses in the hospitality industry will have lesser resources available to them (Gebbels, 2018). A single terrorist activity in a region affects the businesses of hotels and resorts in that country over a prolonged period (Chang and Zeng, 2011).
In Oman, the government has been cooperative in recent years towards the hotel industry as it announced a subsidy of $1 billion to reduce the unemployment rate in the country (Peterson, 2016). This has given rise to “Omanization” according to which, the locals are preferred over foreigners for the job in the hotel industry. The foreign hotel businesses can benefit from this as the labour is readily available if these businesses are willing to pay a fair wage to these Omani Workers (Al-Balushi, 2018).
The economic factors have a direct influence on the hospitality industry all over the world. The labour market has grown over the years due to an increase in the world population, and therefore, there has been a growth in this services industry globally (Dogru et al., 2019). Another factor for this growth of the hospitality industry is the increase in the per capita disposable income. These factors have had a positive influence on the hotel industry (Bonn and Harrington, 2008). Not just the hotel sector, the other industries associated with it such as the airlines and tourism industries have also observed a boost due to the accelerated economic activities in recent years. The air travel grew by 2.5 times as the global GDP in the last two decades (Dimitrios, John and Maria, 2017). However, the recent pandemic has signalled towards a recession period in the coming years, which will have a long-term negative impact on the hospitality industry. The pandemic-led recession has worsened the situation by forcing travellers to reduce or completely limit their travelling, and it has also affected their purchasing power (Linka et al., 2020).
The economic situation of Oman is not favourable of the hotel industry as the unemployment rate is high in the country (De Bel-Air, 2015). The inflation rates also cause a direct impact on the pricing and cost of living in the country (Oukil, Channouf, and Al-Zaidi, 2016). Similarly, the unemployment rate, especially among women and the youth is high in the Sultanate of Oman. Because of this reason, imported labour is a source of driving the economy in the country. The policies of Omanization have been introduced to reduce the unemployment rate in the country and to deal with the challenges of imported labour (Zerovec and Bontenbal, 2011).
Over the years, consumer preferences have changed considerably. The preferences of the customers have shifted to private accommodations. Similarly, there are recent trends of Uber and other online taxi and carpooling services that have made travelling easier (Cannon and Summers, 2014). The current trends of experiential buying have also influenced many industries and shaped them altogether from scratch. An example of this is the rise in the number of luxury and five-star hotels in the world.
The upscale dining in Oman is mainly carried out through hotels. Oman is a Muslim country, and therefore, bars only exist in the hotels considering the restrictions on drinking in the Muslim countries (Baporikar, 2012). The government of Oman has allocated RO 298 million for encouraging growth and development in the Human Resources of the hospitality industry. His Majesty Sultan Qaboos stated about the importance of prioritizing the tourism and hospitality development in Oman on the 38th national day of Oman. He added that there is a considerable potential in these industries, thereby offering career opportunities to several Omanis (Khan, Firdouse & Kays, Jay, 2016).
The technological factors have influenced many industries over the years and have given birth to several new sectors. The advancements in technology have resulted in newer and more efficient marketing, positioning, targeting strategies. The birth of artificial intelligence has changed the hotel industry completely (Scherer, 2015). The recent trends have forced many companies to either shift their business on online platforms or go obsolete. An example of this is the shift in the way hotels booked rooms for the customers. Nowadays, several online platforms facilitate the whole process of booking, staying and departure of the customers from a hotel (Alghamdi, Zhu, and El Saddik, 2016). Common examples of such platforms are TripAdvisor and Expedia. Similarly, technology has made the flow of information much faster and easier. Customer preferences can be targeted through advanced data analytics, and therefore, the marketing is done accordingly (Malhotra and Malhotra, 2012). Recently, the trends of kiosks and digital check-ins have also been observed (Kim and Christodoulidou, 2013). Social media has also made the whole hotel industry undergo a massive transformation as most of the companies prefer marketing their services via social media influencers these days. Social media in Oman is also a significant contributor to the development of the tourism industry. People in the country prefer searching for the tourism destination on online platforms before actually visiting them (Zeng and Gerritsen, 2014).
Sustainability is a top concern in the industries such as the hospitality and tourism industry. The concepts such as ecotourism, green marketing, and other such environment-friendly strategies have emerged globally to preserve the environment. For example, Pennsylvania, which was a region previously dependent upon the timber of the forest country, has currently started promoted itself as an ecotourism destination. This gave a boost to the hospitality industry of the region as well. This idea of ecotourism relies upon the unique selling point of the region based on Allegheny hardwood forests which come into being after the harvesting of timber (Che, 2006).
The weather and climate change also impact the operations of hotel chains and other businesses in the hotel industry all over the world (Chan and Hsu, 2016). The concepts of seasonal tourism and hospitality are related to environmental factors as well. The regions that are cleaner and greener have more travellers coming and staying in the hotels (Vita et al., 2019).
The environment is hostile towards the hotel and food industry in Oman as the country has only a 0.1% of the land available for irrigation. 80% of the food items are imported, and the economy is heavily dependent upon the oil reserves in the country (Al-Ghafri, Inoue and Nagasawa, 2007). However, Oman has been the first nation to acknowledge the SDGs at the UN summit 2015. Oman not only recognised these sustainability goals first but also became one of the member states that agreed on making efforts to achieve these goals.
The regulatory environment in the hospitality industry is complicated all over the world. The main reason for this is that the regulations are not just for the hotels, but also exist for the labour that works in the services sector, the health regulations in the food industry related to the hospitality industry, the travel restrictions, and the tourism legalities in that region (Biga, Spott and Spott, 2015). Brands and companies that do not follow all these rules and regulations in a specific region risk losing their market share in that region, and sometimes the risk is survival related as well in extreme cases (Dewhurst, Dewhurst and Livesey, 2007).
For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act restricts the hospitality business to ensure that all the guests in a hotel or motel receive equal facilities and amenities despite their physical abilities. This translates into the fact that the hotels ought to have ramps for differently-abled people so that it becomes easier for them to go up with their wheelchairs. The businesses that refuse to cooperate with these law-enforcing agencies and do not abide by such rules face lawsuits.
In Oman, the hotel chains cannot employ foreigners, and therefore, the workforce has to be Omani. The minimum wage requirements are also applicable in the country, and the workers are to be paid for their overtime. The hotels are obligated to preserve water by law and prevent pollution caused by their business operations (Katzman, 2011).
In a Porter’s five forces analysis, the industry is analyzed at a macro level. Below is the Porter’s five forces analysis of the global hotel industry.
Barriers to entry in a hotel industry depend upon several factors such as the cost structure, the level of differentiation that can be provided, switching costs, reliability, economies of scale, economies of scope, capital and assets requirements, taxation laws in the industry, government policies including subsidies and incentives, the overall supply chain etc. (Okumus, Altinay, Chathoth, and Koseoglu, 2019). The global hotel industry is characterized as an industry with high fixed costs and an overall high-cost structure. The most critical factors for differentiation in the hotel industry are the location and the quality of services provided (Whitla, Walters, and Davies, 2007). The trends of cross-selling profitable products such as food and beverages are also very commonly observed in the hotel industry. The barriers to entry are high in the hotel industry. The main reason for this is that the hotel industry is an integrated industry with several related industries working together to provide premium quality services (Cheng, 2013). The Arab and the Middle Eastern states are also prioritizing to develop their hospitality sector, and it is evident through some investments that are currently being made to establish these interrelated sectors (Hvidt, 2013).
This threat to the offerings exists because of alternatives that can provide the same or related services due to which the customers are inclined to choose the alternative products. The customers can choose travelling and stay in hotels as an alternative to other means of recreation or vice versa. Substitute products do not usually threaten the hotel industry in the world except during the times of economic downturns or recessions. For example, in the recent pandemic, the restrictions on international travel have resulted in an increase in domestic travel as compared to international travelling (Zhao et al., 2020). The hotel industry has dramatically suffered in these situations. The substitute products can serve the same purpose at a low cost or provide better quality. In usual cases or to reduce the expenses related to hotels, the customers might opt to stay at relatives instead of hotels or the cheaper hotels might replace the expensive ones.
Even though the market is price-sensitive, there are no uncontrollable threats of substitutes in the hotel industry. A hotel may not be subject to intense rivalry because of the strategic management, quality services and the support gained by forming a strategic group in the industry to achieve economies of scale (Cheng, 2013). With the recently increased level of marketing, the hotel industry has been diversified to a great extent. This has resulted in speculations about Oman hosting a broader infrastructure in the hotel industry with 3 star and 5-star hotels by 2023 (Oxford Business Group, 2020).
The bargaining power of suppliers is high if the relationships with the customers are not long term. The customers are reluctant to switch to an alternative if the switching costs are high. Moreover, if the change pertains to an alternative product that serves low quality or higher prices, the customers are less inclined to switch to an alternative product. The bargaining power of suppliers is high if their input is a significant driver of the overall industry (Cheng, 2013). In the hotel industry, the hotels do not face extreme pressure from their suppliers, and the competition from indirect competitors is also low in comparison to other sectors such as the retail industry.
In Oman’s hotel industry, there is a need for increased differentiation to exert greater bargaining power of suppliers. The employees in the services sector, like the hospitality industry in Oman, are the major suppliers. The bargaining power of suppliers in Oman is high because of Omanization policies concerning labour in Oman. The bargaining power of suppliers regarding other necessities is low because these involve basic products such as food and furniture in the hotel industry.
The bargaining power of the buyers depends upon their ability to reducing the profit margins in the industry by affecting the prices, which, in turn, relies on the concentration of buyers in the industry. The high concentration corresponds to purchasing in large volumes which reduces the pricing as well. In the hospitality industry, the customers belong to different categories such as tourists, business travellers and people travelling on vacations. Some groups of buyers can exercise bargaining power when they buy hotel rooms services in bulk. However, the buyers who belong to strategic groups such as business traveller have low bargaining power (Whitla, Walters and Davies, 2007). However, in cases of extreme rivalry for market share, the bargaining power of buyers is greater.
The intensity of competition in an industry depends upon the number and size of the competitors. The intensity of competition increases in the case of low switching costs and low differentiation. The hotel industry is highly competitive because of these factors (Lehr, 2015). The hotel industry in Oman has seen significant growth in recent years as a massive surge in business travellers was observed in 2019. This has increased the competitiveness in the hotel industry in Oman (Oxford Business Group, 2020).
The key features of Hyatt’s current strategy are given as follows:
The Hyatt group plans to expand globally in the coming years with its well-developed global expansion strategy. As the Hyatt group has witnessed exceptional growth in Europe in the recent decade, the brand has built a good reputation in the real estate business as well. Hyatt places itself as a group of luxury hotels market segment through an extensive renovation in the existing hotels. The group of hotels plans into new markets to expand its customer base all over the world. Planned Alila Hinu Bay openings in Oman in 2020 are an example of this global expansion strategy of Hyatt (Businessware, 2019).
Hyatt has started building its perception as the luxury hotels group among its customers with its luxury hotels addition through its expansion strategies. The group has shown extensive growth in the luxury segment, which has also expanded the capacity of the hotels to cater to a larger number of customers. The brand has also started marketing its luxury hotels and services more extensively in recent years after an extensive renovation period (HospitalityNet, 2019).
Hyatt group has a culture of respect for all its employees and promoting an environment of personal and professional growth at Hyatt. This is done through exclusive reward systems and specialized strategies to retain the employees. The Hyatt group of hotels considers the workforce as an asset against the competitors. The group respects the cultural values of its workforce, and that of the customers to co-create an outstanding customer experience. The current Omanization policies about the employment opportunities at Hyatt have resulted in a localized workforce that understands the culture of the country better (Hyatt Annual Report, 2019). Hyatt focuses on diversity among the employees and equal employment opportunities to cater to the diverse talent among the population of the country. This has helped Hyatt to come up with a service model that represents a model of genuine care for the guests (Ali et al., 2017).
The Hyatt group has focused considerably on the Middle Eastern region but less on the hospitality industry in Oman. It can be a significant player in the country if it can work around the government policies of Omanization in the country. It has currently worked on the Alila openings in Oman but other major projects such as Park Hyatt Openings, Grand Hyatt Openings are more concentrated in European and the Asia Pacific regions. The Hyatt group of hotels can build a more loyal customer base through a career-oriented and purpose-driven workforce. For this purpose, Hyatt should hire and build a more localised workforce so that the process of co-creation of hospitality services becomes more sustainable (Mashood, Verhoeven and Chansarkar, 2009).
The recent pandemic has gravely affected the global hotel industry. Therefore, the only option for the businesses operating in the hotel industry is to comply with the rules and regulations of the government of the respective country and that of WHO. The occupancy rate of luxury hotels was 100 per cent in 2019, and it dropped to 50 per cent in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic (Arabian Business, 2020). In order to deal with these challenges, it is recommended to Hyatt Group to market the domestic tourism and the customer segment that travels domestically instead of focusing on international travellers while the situation of Covid-19 remains unchanged.
The long-term impact of covid-19 can be dealt more effectively by heavy digital promotional activities of the Hyatt group so that the process of digitalisation in the company becomes faster and more efficient. These strategies can help build Hyatt group a competitive business strategy that can help it outperform its global competitors more sustainably. The porter’s analysis and the PESTEL analysis gave a detailed overview of the market, industry, and the macroeconomic forces of Hyatt group operational in Oman and at a global level. It is recommended that Hyatt adopts a more differentiated strategy in Oman that builds a self-sustained competitive advantage in the form of loyal, skilled, and active workforce for the company. This can be done by continuously motivating the staff so that the rate of customer retention increases. The group is also recommended to have a stronger social media presence to reduce the distance between the sellers and the buyers. This will also help Hyatt to minimise the costs incurred due to third party agents in the supply chain. The dis-intermediation strategy is useful as it can promote a more effective allocation of financial resources.
The hotel industry is an age-old industry of the world. It is a major contributor to the GDP of many countries such as Spain, France etc. It is affected by and also impacts several other industries such as the airline industry, tourism industry, food industry and other related industries. The hotel industry of Oman has shown positive growth in recent years through the efforts of the government of Oman, but it has still not reached its full potential in the region. Hyatt Hotels Corporation is an international group of hotels and resorts which has currently started its expansion in Oman. However, it still faces the major challenges regarding workforce and policies of Omanization. Detailed PESTEL and Porter’s Five Forces Analysis show that the government of Oman has recently announced to cooperate with the players in the hotel industry of Oman to accelerate the growth of the sector. These policies will also help in reducing the unemployment rate in the country, which is relatively high in the region of the Middle East.
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