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The Olympus Palace Hotel gave me a chance to work with and got informed on the tenets within the hotel and restaurant business. The hotel and restaurant industry has become very competitive in the recent defined by the ever changing customer attitudes, interests, expectations and needs, (Martin 2004). The Olympus Palace Hotel remains a giant in this industry in Port Aventura and the rest of the world. Its growth strategy, business culture and philosophy remain strong and flexible enough to embrace changes in this industry.
The Olympus Palace Hotel is 4 star hotel found in Port Aventura. Its nearness to the Salou beach affords it customers and spectacular experience along the beach. In addition, it's this closeness that also becomes a source of great fun for its clients who derive a lot of excitement playing, hanging and generally spending quality along the sand and its soothing sun. The hotel is renowned for excellent services in a spacious restaurant, exceptionally prepared breakfasts, luncheons and V.I.P status dinners, (Martin 2004). There is a outdoor state of the art swimming pools for adults and children. A spur tab is perfectly fitted. The hotel has a popular bar spot on by pools and spacious well equipped conference rooms, (James, 2010).
The hotel and restaurant industry that Olympus Palace Hotel operates in is considered as one characterized by slit throat competition given that the products are not differentiated. In order to produce the outputs, there are many high fixed costs and strong barriers to exit in that many hotels in Port Aventura will find it very expensive to exit and close shop. As James (2010) says, there is also cut throat competition coming from smaller hotels along Port Aventura which have proliferated in the first few years to high subsidies awarded by the government to enable entry into the market. The demand for the hotel products, as Yvonne (1999) says, is also high cyclical and therefore competitors have to strategize to hit good sales.
Olympus Palace Hotel's success is associated with a number of strategies. One of the most appealing of these strategies is the innovation strategy, (Yvonne 1999). In a restaurant, the cost, time and risk involved in creations of new recipes scares many chefs and managers. In such a case, chefs find themselves engaging in fact finding missions where they visit several restaurants that are ranked above theirs in such of newer ideas. Once these newer and appealing ideas are gained, chefs incorporate them with their restaurant's mission and vision to ultimately emerge with better versions of the acquired ideas, James (2010). This is called the innovation strategy. Olympus Palace Hotel's chefs and management have called to task this innovation strategy in ways that completely diverge from those of Hotel Dorada Palace, Sol Costa Daurada, Golden Port Salou and others, James (2010).
Unlike Sol Costa Daurada and Hotel Marinada which incur a lot of expenses and risks due the application of slightly slanted innovation strategy, Olympus Palace Hotel calls to mind the fact that the interweaving of existing menus and newer recipes significantly increases costs. The innovation strategy of Olympus Palace Hotel is guided by the philosophy in the line 'creativity means not copying'. Olympus Palace Hotel's recipes and menus reflect the adoption of newer restaurant management and kitchen skills recreationally which are ultimately changed to become the restaurants 'original' style of doing things, (Rajinder 2000).
The difference is strategies is also seen in how Golden Port Salou and Hotel Dorada Palace whose innovative strategy is not geared towards internalization and originality, Olympus Palace Hotel strives to define innovation in terms of creativity. Olympus Palace Hotel's chefs aim to consult less from cookery books and borrowed ideas and strive to re-posses borrowed and learnt techniques towards achieving an identity of their own. By the year 1997, Olympus Palace Hotel's management had seen the fruits of indulging in innovation in the hunt for creativity and had been convinced creativity that is tampered with surprise and creativity had completely defined Olympus Palace Hotel.
Olympus Palace Hotel's innovation ventures had been sourced from major restaurants of French haute cuisine where they successfully completed apprenticeship in cookery. The training was steered by Greece, French and Spanish leading chefs whose style greatly inspired Olympus Palace Hotel's chefs to make their Port Aventura base restaurant a have of diners seeking satisfaction, (Sheela 2007). The Olympus Palace Hotel team ensures there is a complete deconstruction of the inherent identity of the classical and nouvelle cuisines and ultimately emerging with its own excellent recipes.
Every business starts as a small investment with little returns. But application of various growth strategies, like those proposed by Ansoff in his Product-Market Growth Matrix, sees a small business grow into a multinational corporation. This has been the case for Olympus Palace Hotel and a number of competing hotels along Port Aventura. While the two restaurants have grown to become big and celebrated restaurants, their growth strategies are different in both the nature and manner of application.
Olympus Palace Hotel used, and still uses, the diversification growth strategy. In this growth strategy, a business establishment seeks to increase its returns and profits by forming new products and keeping a few of those products that were worth in the initial venture. The move to venture in newer products at times entails exploring newer markets and restructuring the internal operations of the business organization, (Sheela 2007). What motivates a business to venture into newer products is at times dictated by increasing demand of these products by consumers.
In its nature, diversification is inspired by foreign culture therefore provoking business stakeholders to visit other establishments of the same interests to learn the tricks and ways of the new products. In this case innovations become the order of the day. To note is that capital and investment of the business increases and the eventual growth in diversification is not guaranteed. The point is, it does not necessarily mean that diversifying a business always rewards with growth since there various conditions to be evaluated before a business diversifies its operations. Olympus Palace Hotel's diversification was fruitful and it eventually grew into a renowned restaurant that it is today, (Lockyer, 2007).
In 1989 Olympus Palace Hotel was started as classy restaurant. In 2004, it was renovated to meet the expectations of customers and sharpen its competitive edge in the wake of the increasing competition from upcoming hotels. The hotel changed its products to offer services in poolside bar, conferences and outside catering. Its target consumers have been segmented from adults of ages to children. The employment of French chefs in the year 2004 made the French food culture more inherent in this restaurant to blend with Greek and Spanish flavors, (Lockyer, 2007). The management embarked on shuttle hotel visitations to beef up his skills in French, Greek and Spanish motivated cookery. As is evident, Olympus Palace Hotel diversified its operations from single restaurant services to more compelling hotelier products within the same locality and ultimately increasing its profitability.
On the other hand, one of its biggest competitors, Hotel Dorada Palace, uses market penetration growth strategy. This growth strategy entails the approach to growth through penetrating the same market with current products. Hotel Dorada Palace, unlike the Olympus Palace Hotel, has become a center of cultures mixing various cookery styles to accommodate cultures that have otherwise been sidelined in Port Aventura in terms of feeding habits. Hotel Dorada Palace, according to Patricia (2007), has a liking for Spanish and French food culture that is at times blend with foreign cultures like Greek and Asian flavors. Hotel Dorada Palace, just like Olympus Palace Hotel, has remained consistent in terms of market staying around has a restaurant.
In the modern business society competition in volumes of sale and organizational recognition has come to transcend all boundaries. Nation states have also moved with haste to reduce cross-boarder bureaucracies of the past that has suffocated global business. With the emergent ease in operating business at a global platform, business enterprises have sharpened their competitive edge to make a kill in global business operation. Each business, however small, is dedicated to become the leading multinational corporation within its area of business operations. It is however good to note that not all businesses have benefitted (or will ever do) in face of business globalization, (Patricia 2007)
To be relevant in the current global business competitions, each business organization must call to task the global strategy. To achieve the highest coveted edge of competition, business owners must come to terms with the complex but practical nature of global enterprises and the how global competition works. An informed global strategy will ultimately reward an organization with huge returns and profits, (Lockyer 2007).
Olympus Palace Hotel has perfectly applied the concepts of global strategy and has continued to reap the advantages. The applications of global strategy include efficiency, strategic planning, risk taking and management, innovation and good reputation. Olympus Palace Hotel's efficiency is unmatched considering the economies of scale it enjoys due to its wide range of consumers and markets. It has been able to enjoy different labor forces across the nations enabling it sample from a stream of restaurant professionals. In terms of strategy, as Lockyer (2007) observes, the restaurant employs effective cross subsidization and transfer of prices across a multiplicity of spots across the nation and online. Risks have been effectively been managed through diversification of macroeconomic through business operations that are not similar in all nations. The restaurant reputation has been well matured and nurtured through corporate relation and brand identification, (Lockyer 2007).
Conclusion and Recommendations
The Hotel industry in Spain where there is no differentiation, customers are highly price sensitive and therefore very powerful. The customers are known to make their buying decisions based on price considerations and can hence be said to be highly powerful. In a market like this, the buyers are key determinants of competitive advantage with the low cost producers like Olympus Palace Hotel and Hotel Dorada have a sharper competitive edge. In addition, the over-supply and decreased demand for hotel services after the December festivities in the market also reinforces the fact that the bargaining power rests with the buyers.
As recommendations, Olympus Palace Hotel and others can adopt the following strategies in order to address the current gaps in the strategy formulation. On the management of Human Resources, as Sheela (2007) will put it, the current strategies are working well and the management needs to streamline a few issues like recruitment, selection and training of new staff on issues ranging from catering to customer care. The team dealing with online transactions should also be trained to handle cases of Credit Card breaches that have characterized the sector in the past few years.
The high performance culture embedded in the hotel employees together with the reward systems put in place are some of the positive approaches which the management has to continue implementing. It is also advisable to continue building a strong leadership team through capacity building and management leadership trainings as a way of ensuring that the management has the requisite skills to drive the hotel beyond the market environment of Port Aventura, (Sheela 2007).
In addition to this, it is important that the hotel management and the employees be always productive and motivated to meet the growing diversity of the hotel industry in the wake of globalization, competition, mergers and acquisitions. The relatively flat organizational structure is also highly recommended since it fosters the spirit of innovation, creativity and ease in decision making within the hotel industry. The only issue that needs to be addressed is the streamlining of orders placed physically and online to avoid the possible duplication of efforts and take advantage of the economies of scale in purchasing, promotions and sales.
On the area of customer relationship, Olympus Palace Hotel has to seek ways of customer retention which will ensure that its customers will remain loyal even when the demand is cyclical to include vibrant customer loyalty and retention initiatives. Research and development within the ill researched area of hotel management, is also a part of weaknesses is also part of weaknesses that needs thorough checking, (Sheela 2007). There is need for there to be multinational needs to establish a sound division to be charged with the responsibility of mapping the way forward for the new products and services proposed by the company.
This will also include the effective utilization of the industrial by products to ensure that they are converted to profits and not losses. These may possibly translate into vital inputs for another product in the same or another area within the hotel industry. The other recommendation is the expansion into new and emerging markets like Asia, Africa and South America which have all displayed high potential in sales and customer base for 4-5 star hotels. However, as Sheela (2007) warns, the penetration into these markets must clearly be supported by a very strong logistics and distribution strategy to ensure that this translates to advantage and not losses to the company.
There is also a need to adopt a niche marketing approach which will see Olympus Palace Hotel concentrate on a specific market. This will ensure that the company develops value adding more hotel service centers thereby gaining a competitive advantage.