External Environment Analysis of Global Hospitality Industry

The global hotel industry is established since the 1700 century (Tuclea & Ana-Mihaela, 2008). With the advent of advanced technology, automated operational system, and creative consumer demands, the industry has revolutionized in the past 50 years. Today, the global hotel industry revenue hits approximately USD 600 billion (Statista, 2020). Research shows that 14 million people in the US alone and 272 million across the globe are directly employed in the hotel industry which reflects on the pertinence of hotel industry in the worldwide economy (Crina, 2017). However, the hotel industry’s progress is prone to multiple challenges such as the intensely competitive environment, fluctuations in the global economy, resource management, skill recruitment, changing consumer demands and brand image development (Katsitadze, 2018). The hotel services typically include dining, room stay, and entertainment and leisure amenities. Quality, efficiency, standardization, and value for money are key parameters for customers to assess the performance of a hotel in the requested service or product (Wu & Ko, 2013).

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In this article, the global hotel industry is evaluated with specific emphasis on Hyatt hotels. The Hyatt hotel is one of the renowned hotel brands in the world (Joni-Coeur & Dr S.Pougajendy, 2019). As per the annual report 2020, Hyatt hotels earn $83 million per year (Bryant, 2020).

PESTEL Analysis of the Global Hotel Industry

In order to understand the macro-environment of the global hotel industry, a PESTLE analysis is conducted below:

Political

The political environment affects the global hotel industry for revenue production, customer retention and resource management. Due to the global unrest and political turmoil in developed countries caused by Brexit, the hotel industry also seeks influence (Ivanov et al., 2016). An example of such effect is the announcement of closing US four-star hotel Roosevelt in New York City by Pakistan International Airlines due to the change of political government in the country (Ghazi, 2020). Furthermore, the fiasco of princess Diana’s arrival to Ritz hotel London with her friend (Rosenwald, 2017) is an example of political factors which could affect the hotel’s image and political influence on hotel’s revenue, brand image and customer satisfaction.

In Oman, the political environment is stable with no major unrest in the past two decades, and hence, the Omani hotel industry is growing (Oukil & Zaidi, 2017). However, considering the Omanization policy devised by the government, the hotel industry aims to produce jobs for the local populace and design profit optimization strategies to reduce Oman’s economic dependence on the oil sector (Al-Balush, 2018). In 2018, the number of Omanis working in the hotel industry was 5,754, comprising only 30.9 per cent of the total workers employed in 2018 (Zawya, 2019).

Economic

The total revenue of the global hotel industry is $525bn industry which comprises 2.5% of the world’s GDP (IHG, 2018). The hotel industry revenue is earned by owning properties, giving franchises, and launching byproducts of leading hotel brands such as design hotels by Marriott. Total employment by the global hotel industry is 969013 people who devote their services for the progress of the sector (IBIS, 2020). Hence, any change in tax, trade, and FDI policy affects the consumer purchasing decision. Hotels are affected for increase/decrease in tax levies and license renewal that can result in lawsuits against the hotel. The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) of Oman is $79.28 billion with PCI (Per Capita Income) is $18,972. The hotel industry of Oman is stable with 229.5 million (Corder, 2020), and therefore, the Hyatt hotel is also under the influence of economic changes as they affect the financial portfolio of the hotel. Any change in the disposable income of people, the change in tax and levy policy, the VAT charges and import-export taxes can affect Hyatt hotel’s revenue because of related issues in resource management, customer satisfaction and profit management policies. Moreover, the global tourism industry revenue is $4.7 billion (Statista, 2020) and in Oman’s tourism industry, the OMR 1.4 billion (Oman news, 2019) is earned. Therefore, the opportunity exists to flourish the tourism by strengthening services and offerings of the hotel industry.

Social

Lifestyle changes, customer preferences, development in leisure and entertainment service and growing awareness in people regarding mental health and family time are some social changes which affect the global hotel industry (Langvinien & Daunoraviþinjtơ, 2015). Global changes in socialization norms, business operations, entertainment chances, and tourism development are some factors that lead to high revenue for hotels across the world (Goldstein et al., 2007). In Oman, the social trend of family time and vacations, the increase in cosmopolitan nature of tourism and the changes in tourism trends from shopping malls and restaurant to countryside areas and beaches are some factors that affect the hotel industry of Oman (Tewari, 2019). For example, the research shows that millennial customer is inclined towards Airbnb hotels as they offer high-quality services at lower prices (Amaro et al., 2018). The upscale services exceed branded hotels in terms of pricing and customer services because the customer can now experience a similar comfort in much less price (Guttentag & Smith, 2017).

Technological

The global hotel industry is under imposition to use advanced technology in their operations in order to access a broader target market and meet customer needs (Yousuf, 2011). In response, hotels like Marriott and Hyatt are using advanced features of Google locations, mobile apps, and navigators to facilitate customers. Review sites like trip advisor, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter and use of technology like MIS (management information system) has enhanced performance of Hyatt hotels as well (Leung & Bai, 2017).

Legal

The hospitality laws, tourism policies and consumer regulations and rights defined by each country affect the hotel industry practices (Sharma, 2014). In Oman, Royal Decree no. 12/88 monitor and regulates the construction of hotel establishments and general hospitality and tourism policies. Consumer laws regulate issues related to customer complaints and related concerns as per the law (Aleidan, 2017).

Environmental

The global hotel industry is facing challenges to maintain sustainability in all operations. Some key challenges are sustainable services, less wastage, water scarcity, pollution, and sustainable custom behaviour (Jones & Comfort, 2014). In Oman, environmental sustainability is handled by complying with the Omani tourism sustainability policy (Yuksel, 2017).

Five Forces Analysis

By unfolding the second layer of business environment, the global hotel industry’s five forces analysis is conducted below to yield the opportunities and threats from stakeholders and general competitive environment.

Threat of Substitutes: Moderate to High

The threat of substitute is high in the global hotel industry as various hotel brands exist in the industry, such as Ritz and Marriott. Only Oman hotel industry has 1500 hotels in four-star and five-star categories and 10,000 rooms (Baporikar, 2012). Therefore, For Hyatt hotel, due to the strong presence of global as well as local hotel brands, the customer can easily switch the purchasing decision to other hotels if Hyatt’s customer retention strategy would fail.

Threat of New Entrants: High to Moderate

The global hotel industry is growing with every passing year. In the US, six new brands of hotels are launched in 2020, and projections show more saturation in hotel brands till 2022 (Hess, 2020). Hence, the threat of new entrant is high to moderate. In Oman, international brands show interest due to tourism and business activities in the country. Hyatt has been working for six decades to build the brand image along with millions of investment to launch the hotel branches and expand the brand presence in a global context to combat the threat of new entrants.

Bargaining Power of Suppliers: Low to Moderate

The bargaining power of suppliers is low due to a global supply chain system developed by countries. The Hospitality Sustainable Purchasing Consortium is aimed to set the Hospitality Sustainable Purchasing Index, which lowers the bargaining power of suppliers (Odoom, 2012). Hyatt’s brand image is robust and unavoidable by suppliers. The association with Hyatt to supply quality products adds to the supplier’s branding image. Therefore, the bargaining power of suppliers is low to moderate.

Bargaining Power of Customers: High to Moderate

In the global hotel industry, the research indicates that the purchasing capacity of the customer is dependent on the variety of hotel service offerings, the hotel brand image, pricing, and the marketing style of the hotel (Cheng, 2013). The customer can easily switch the decision if a hotel brand lacks in any of the said features. Thus, the bargaining power of customers is high to moderate due to the presence of competitors with distinct competitiveness and pricing strategies. The customer can evaluate the choices and bargain to switch to retain the buying decision.

Industrial Rivalry: High to Moderate

The industrial rivalry in the global context is high due to the presence of strong competitors with their retained and loyal customers (GÖRAL, 2015). Key competitors of Hyatt include Marriott international, Hilton worldwide, the Intercontinental hotels, and the Wyndham hotel group. Competitors compete on pricing, quality, service offerings, branding image, global presence, and versatile product portfolio. The presence of strong competitors intensifies the industrial rivalry for Hyatt hotels.

Key features of Hyatt’s current strategy

Hyatt hotel has a global presence with brand-owned hotel properties in 67 countries (Hyatt, 2020). The study of political and economic factors reinforce the notion that Hyatt is working on globalization strategy to expand business by fighting economic and political challenges which exist in the global hotel industry. Currently, Hyatt hotel is working consistently to develop its business and launch more hotel branches in countries which are socio-economically driven to use hotel services. The Hyatt hotel is present as a strong brand to serve the needs of customers and help them to navigate the hotel through advanced technology. For example, Hyatt has launched collaboration with Google Ads, Hangout, and YouTube to launch engagement ads for customers. The 17 million users have been reported to be engaged with Hyatt’s new revamped strategy by using technology (Hyatt, 2020)

The Hyatt’s strategy to build up brand image and company’s versatile operations is the implementation of the inside-out approach. The Hyatt hotel adopts the outside perspective by identifying opportunities in the target country and analyzing market demand and local hotel industry structure (P.Krupskyi et al., 2019). For example, Hyatt hotel in UAE (United Arab Emirates) is launched by analyzing the tourist arrival in the country in millions every year (Bontenbal, 2011). The need for tourists to stay in hotels is evident, and thus, Hyatt decided to avail the opportunity by launching a spacious hotel in Dubai. The adaptation to the environment is conducted by offering modern facilities at Hyatt, Dubai that can suffice the requirements of diverse tourist arrival. Moreover, the advantageous position is obtained by providing modern features such as Google navigations to locate Hyatt offerings, the digital presence, modern infrastructure, variety of meal menus to cater meal needs of multicultural customer market and more. However, Hyatt also considers the sustainability aim of UAE as a tactical move and complies by natural resource conservation. The bargaining power of customers is reduced by setting market-competitive prices and reduced mobility barriers by collaborating with local suppliers (Bruijl, 2018).

Hyatt’s current strategy is aimed to reduce cultural barriers and expand the brand globally to cater to diverse customers in different countries. The strategy of Hyatt is to train staff to speak multiple languages (Hyatt, 2018). The hotel introduces diversity in meal menus, and features services to tackle customers from different religion such as prayer area for Muslims, Christmas celebration events for Christian customers and more (Hyatt Hotels, 2018). In the light of these efforts, the diversity and commitment to Hyatt have resulted in winning the award of “Best Companies for Asians, Blacks, and Hispanics” (2017-2018) by world’s renowned Fortune magazine (Business Wire, 2018). The drivers of differentiation, such as unique differences, product quality exception and pricing, stabilize the Hyatt brand to compete in the international environment.

The strategy of Hyatt is based on continuous expansion through different techniques that are aimed to end up in creative ideas. For example, the declaration by Hyatt hotels to sell two hotel properties in Phoenix and Arizona shook the hotel industry (Ting, 2017). However, later it was learnt that the hotel intends to spend on the ‘capital-light’ approach and spend on innovative features installed in all hotels of Hyatt such as Mobile app and Google translate (ibid). Hyatt is now expanded to 67 countries with 950 hotel properties. Moreover, the 19 Executed Management and Franchise Contracts were made by Hyatt to expand the hotel globally (Sez, 2018). By launching sub-brands Hyatt Place, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Centric and Hyatt House as per the regional demand, Hyatt has successfully expanded the brand in Europe, Africa, Middle East, Southwest Asia, US and the Asia Pacific region.  In Oman, the Hyatt hotel is launched by considering the arrival of 50,000 tourists and MICE (Meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) held in Muscat and other major cities of Oman (Drive, 2020). The Hyatt hotel implies the policy of value-based pricing to provide value for money and become the central choice of event organizers on a national and international level to host events at Hyatt only (Baporikar, 2012). Moreover, the expansion of hotel portfolio in Oman’s hospitality industry is a triggering factor for Hyatt that has led the hotel management to become robust and creative in service offerings such as personal butler and hiring luxury cars to increase customer satisfaction (ibid).

Figure 1: Current Strategies of Hyatt Hotel

Strategy formulation for Hyatt

As per the study of Hyatt hotel in global hotel industry’s competitive environment, it is necessary to build up a strategy which could work for the growth of the brand and also develop long term relations with customers. The strategy is expected to mitigate the strategic risk of losing position in the competitive scenario and also align with the resource and brand image of Hyatt. By looking into these key considerations, the following strategy is developed, which would work in all directions of business development.

The PESTLE analysis revealed that the political changes are evident to every business and thus, the need is to devise a strategy that should work for the changing political scenario and does not seek influence from political fluctuations. Moreover, as per the uncertainty in the global economy due to COVID-19 pandemic, a decline in global oil prices and technological advancements, Hyatt’s strategy is developed to combat the risks and be proactive to become a survivor of the fittest in all circumstances. The economic situation, as revealed by the PESTLE and the Porter’s analysis indicates that Hyatt should have a robust strategy to stabilize pricing of services. Moreover, the strategy should head in all directions such as competitors (to reduce the threat of new entrants and combat the changes in the socio-economic environment of customers), profit, resource management (make use of advanced technology and establish a strong position in industrial rivalry by using advanced technology as a competitive edge) and an ‘outside-in approach’ which is becoming important in today’s dynamic business environment. As per the outside-in approach, the Hyatt’s strategy is developed over the notion of community-based customer relations (CRM) which yields innovative idea and creative solutions for long term business sustenance as well as development.

Hyatt is recommended to yield the opportunity of advanced technology use in the hotel industry. Another option identified from PESTLE and Porter’s five forces is the growing hotel industry rivalry as per globalization of businesses and organizations. In Oman, the tourism industry growth and the Omanization policy are the factors that yield an opportunity for Hyatt to grow further. The Hyatt hotel can grasp this opportunity by launching an extensive marketing plan, preferably based on psychological marketing to indulge in brand image development and attracting tourist arrival. Moreover, the strong brand image and strong financial position (as indicated by their decision to sell hotel properties’ ownership to invest in different dimensions), are the factors in outside-in approach with ‘opportunity-driven’ orientation.

The Hyatt hotel is recommended with ‘differentiation’ strategy to be different, unique, advantageous, and competitive to all dimension of business as per the outside-in approach. The differentiation strategy recommends Hyatt to introduce revolutionary features for customers in a separate category. In global hotel industry where hotels like Burj-al-Arab offer gold iPad (BurjAlArab, 2020), open-air and sky-high tennis court, infinity pool touching 321 feet high in the sky and vehicle rental services to the extent of hiring private jets and Audis (Lux, 2020), the Hyatt hotel is recommended to compete as per the brand image. Hyatt is a four-star brand, and the differentiation strategy is suggested to bring revolution in Hyatt customers’ brand perception and brand identity. Therefore, Hyatt hotel is recommended to revamp economic strategy and invest in special services to be launched at each branch of Hyatt to achieve differentiation by introducing integrated services of iPads, luxury transport services, personal butlers, and personal chatbot to create a unique experience for customers. The Hyatt strategy as per technology is to aim at the customer’s convenience and ultimate differentiation from competitors. As per Hyatt’s current radical move of association with Google, it is recommended to introduce chatbot for customers in Hyatt who could assist the customer as he leaves his location to arrive at the hotel and ends until the customer leaves the premises. The idea is expensive, yet it would create a distinct customer experience with the Hyatt brand. The customer of premium and executive class should be offered with the said service to create value for money and show the exceptional quality of inputs by the Hyatt brand.

For pricing, the value-based pricing strategy is recommended to combat the fluctuating economic environment in Oman and the global hotel industry (Macdivitt & Wilkinson, 2011). As per Omanization policy, the threat of new entrants would also be mitigated with the strategy by hiring a skilled workforce for proposed differentiation (Bontenbal & Zerovec, 2013). The value-based pricing for differentiated and new services would make the customer ready to pay the price for changed and distinct services before they are launched. Therefore, the value-based pricing would yield strong brand image, optimize business profit, give a high return on profit and premier services for all Hyatt customers worldwide (Netseva-Porcheva, 2011). However, it is essential to evaluate whether the strategy would work in all dimensions of the outside-in approach or not. Therefore, the following checklist for evaluation is developed.

Factors to be considered Evaluation
Consistent approach The strategy would work consistently in all branches of Hyatt hotel and will also be adaptable to changes in PESTLE scenario of the hotel. For example, the changes in technology would be accommodated by the offering Chatbots and can be replaced or upgraded with new and modern technology.
Benefits are clear (internal and external) Internal benefits such as profit, staff skill requirement, workforce organizational identity and growth of Hyatt’s brand identity will be certain due to distinct offerings made to uplift the trust and benefit of stakeholders. Externally, Hyatt would establish stronger brand image and within the coming decade, the brand could be competitive to services of world’s high-end hotel such as Burj-al-Arab.
The related risks are understood The related risks are threat of under-skilled staffing, the risk of losing investment in case the idea fails, and the risk of losing brand identity if the new services are not quality-oriented to meet customer requirements. The strategy can combat all these risks by recruiting the staff internally and selecting those employees who are best in their performance appraisal profile. The selected staff would be sent to customize training session in order to acquire skills and capabilities to adopt new offerings. The risk of losing investment will be mitigated by setting value-based pricing and preparing customers with extensive advertisement to develop brand image psychologically. Lastly, the risk of losing brand identity would be mitigated by implementing total quality management (TQM) approach in all stages of new service offerings. The TQM approach will not leave any loophole in quality of services and mitigate the risk of losing brand identity.
Demand on resource and capabilities is clear The strategy clearly recognizes the demand of investment, skills, and resources to launch proposed changes. Therefore, it is mentioned to invest the money earned from selling hotel properties in new services addition. The capability demand is clear and specialized training is proposed to ensure strategy success.
The plan is achievable or not The plan is achievable by developing extended feasibility report in coordination with finance, marketing, HR, supply chain departments to get approval from top management.

Conclusion

Hyatt hotel is a renowned brand in the global hotel industry. The report has analyzed the PESTLE factors of the global hotel industry and implied Porter’s five forces to yield the opportunities for the future business strategy of Hyatt. The opportunity is identified in the advanced technology, growing tourism market and changing customer demands. Therefore, the Hyatt hotel is recommended with a differentiation strategy to prosper and grow in future. The strategy is built on the notion of consistent growth and integrated operations that should satisfy the customer in the long run. As per the outside-in perspective and development of community-based customer relations, the Hyatt is suggested to introduce new and distinct services to customers and compete with the world’s top-notch hotels on vital parameters. Hyatt hotels are concluded as a renowned brand with a loyal identity which has resulted in the global expansion of Hyatt hotels around the world. However, the need is to consistently monitor the strategy implementation, hire proficient staff, and train them to learn specific skills that should work for successful implementation of the strategy.

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