Stobo Castle Health Club: Sales and Marketing Plan
Stobo Castle Health Club: Sales and Marketing Plan
Stobo Castle Health Club
Stobo Castle is among the top health spas in Scotland. It is located near Peebles in Scotland. The spa boasts its wide array of treatments and services as well as its state of the art facilities such as sauna, samarium, flotarium, swimming pool, whirlpool, gyms.
Stobo Castle traces its history to 1805. It was built by Sir James Montgomery and his family. The family resided at the castle for 100 years. In 1978, after being abandoned for many years, the castle was renovated and opened as a health spa. The spa has been successful in attracting the high-end market. In the course of 29 years in the business, the spa was constantly developed and redesigned in order to improve the services and amenities. The baronial country house that combines the latest health and beauty therapies has been attracting many visitors for almost three decades.
Because of the spa’s success and the increase in demand by both day and residential guests, the spa has embarked on an expansion program that aimed to improve the facilities and services of the health spa. The expansion program included the creation of a new Spa complex with 25 meter swimming pool, thalasotherapy spa, aromatic steam room, aerobics studio, state of the art gym, heated mosaic relaxation couches and new treatment rooms. The existing treatment rooms and pool area will then be transformed into additional bedrooms. It is envisaged that an extra 30 to 40 staff will be employed as the expansion will enable Stobo to welcome a further 20 residential guests.
The spa has 29 bedrooms that can accommodate a total of 59 guests. The spa emanates a feeling of privacy, tranquility and elegance that attract guests. The rooms are elaborately designed. Each room radiates elegance and rich history, something that attracts guests. The spa boasts its deluxe accommodation. As many women come with friends or relatives, most rooms have twin bed. Groups whether friends, family or business colleagues can be accommodated at the Park Lodge, a newly converted cottage in the castle grounds with luxury accommodation for up to 12 gusts with a private sitting room and garden.
Stobo Castle is considered as one of the tourist destinations in Scotland. The health spa offers a historical site and at the same time a place for tourists to pamper themselves and to relax. A marketing audit is a comprehensive, systematic independent and periodic examination of a company’s marketing environment and activities. The intent is to determine problem areas and opportunities and to recommend an action plan to improve the company’s marketing performance. This is s thorough and objective evaluation of an organization’s marketing philosophy, goals, policies, tactics, practices and results. Such a comprehensive procedure can provide a valuable perspective on the performance of the company’s marketing plans. A periodic review of marketing plans is invaluable both in identifying the tasks that the organization does well and highlighting its failures.
The aim of conducting a marketing audit is to identify the weaknesses in the marketing strategy of Stobo Castle. Although there are some positive changes in the business environment and there is a significant increase in demand for spa services, the marketing strategy of Stobo Castle must be re-planned and re-developed in order to attract more visitors from B2B and B2C markets. A marketing audit is a comprehensive, systematic, independent, and periodic examination of a company’s marketing environment, objectives, strategies, and activities to identify problem areas and opportunities and recommend a plan of action for improving the marketing performance of the company.
Marketing Audit: Internal Marketing Environment
In line with the expansion and development program of Stobo Castle, the spa needs to upgrade its Five M’s (Men, Money, Machinery, Minutes and Materials). In terms of Men (Labor) the spa needs to employ more staff. The management has expressed its desire to recruit more beauticians. In terms of money, the spa has allocated budget for the business makeover strategy. The facilities at Stobo Castle are of high quality. The product portfolio of Stobo Castle is profitable. Last year, the spa had a total of £5m. However, in terms of price, the spa needs to offer more affordable packages in order to attract a wider range of consumers. In terms of marketing communication, the management aims at informing the consumers that the packages at Stobo Castle will become affordable. The spa needs to communicate to the consumers and to let them know that luxury spa treatment does not cost the earth. The spa needs to better reach the consumers and to make them aware of the different packages that will suite their budgets. In terms of people, the spa employs trained staff. The opening of 12 bedrooms necessitates the recruitment of more staff that will serve the guests.
Marketing Audit: External Marketing Environment
The competition is becoming more intense. New entrants are increasing in number and the existing competitors are becoming more aggressive. There are also some indirect competitors that are now offering the same spa services. All of these add to the intensity of competition. The current niche market of Stobo Castle are “big spenders” meaning wealthy people that spends large sum of money for treatments and therapies. The spa needs to attract more price conscious guests. The primary communication tool that the spa uses is its website and brochure.
Marketing Audit: Current Marketing Plan
The current marketing strategies of Stobo Castle is geared towards the wealthy market. Stobo Castle is positioned as an exclusive wellness spa with state of the art facilities and services that are fit for royalties. Also the current marketing strategies aim to position Stobo Castle as a premiere destination for guests that are health conscious and at the same time willing to spend for relaxation and pampering.
- Product – the main product of Stobo Castle is service in the form of accommodation, spa treatments and dining services. The main offering of Stobo Castle is its spa treatments and therapies. However, the spa also caters to guests that want to stay longer in the castle. Stobo Castle has a number of rooms where guests or residents can stay. Lastly, Stobo Castle also offers dining services through its restaurants.
- Price – the price of the packages at Stobo Castle are aimed at the A and B market. These market segments are health conscious and are willing to spend much on wellness and spa treatments.
- Place – the place where service is distributed to the guests is accessible to the target market. The castle presents a unique concept that adds to the attraction of the spa. Also, the castle radiates a feeling of exclusivity, tranquility and privacy to the consumers.
- Promotion – the promotion is usually centered in the website of the spa. Brochures are the primary promotion tool of the spa.
- People – as a service-oriented organization, the staff plays an important role in the marketing of Stobo Castle’s products and services. The staff is the ones who facilitate the service encounter. Stobo Castle employs professional and well-trained staff.
SWOT (Strengths and Weaknesses, and Opportunities and Threats) is a basic analytical tool in management that has become popular in recent years. SWOT analysis is often used by strategic planners and top management in developing competitive strategies. It is typically used to decide corporate strategies and to make product or market level analyses (Reddy 1994). SWOT is a widely used thinking framework for identifying Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. It enables key factors to be visibly recorded as a high-level summary of a business. SWOT analysis is a summary that is simple but powerful. The technique is commonly used by consultants to document the key factors arising from the review of a particular project or business. The use of SWOT enables an assessment to be made of the overall internal state of a business and the direction in which it is heading, through looking at its Strengths and Weaknesses. It also enables a judgment to be made about aspects of the external business environment, which can affect the performance of the business, through looking at the Opportunities and Threats it faces in the wider world (Elkin 1998). The SWOT analysis on its own is not a strategy. It is merely a tool that helps an organization in making informed decisions. The SWOT analysis is primarily used to identify and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the organization, as well as the opportunities and threats exposed by the information collected of the external environment. The SWOT analysis is a simple yet useful tool in analyzing both the internal and external environments of the organization. SWOT analysis together with other tools such as PEST (Political, Economic, Social, and Technological) analysis can be used as a basis for the analysis of business and environmental factors.
1. Excellent Service and Facilities
The deluxe service and top of the line facilities of Stobo Castle are among its strengths and what differentiate it from other spa. Wealthy consumers are attracted with the elegant theme and designs of the Castle. The spa facilities are also high-end. Stobo Castle aims to provide its guests with excellent accommodation, services and food.
2. Unique Theme/Design
The idea of building a spa and wellness center within a baronial castle is rather unique. One of the things that attract the wealthy consumers is the perception of elegance, exclusivity and privacy.
3. State of the Art Technology
The spa has state of the art facilities and amenities. It has been the aim of the spa to offer only the best when it comes to treatments. There are also different attractions and features inside the castle.
1. Limited Market Reach
One of the biggest problems of Stobo Castle is its inability to attract visitors with more modest incomes. From the time of its opening, the spa has attracted wealthy guests. The spa needs to attract a wider consumer base in order for it to be more successful. The price of treatment packages offered by the spa are rather expensive.
1. Growing Industry
The spa industry is growing. As a result more market segments are accessible. Consumers are also starting to get more health-conscious. Spas are also becoming the ultimate short-break destination.
1. Increasing Competition
The growth of the spa and wellness industry has led to increased competition. The existing competitors of Stobo Castle are becoming more eager in attracting consumers. There are also threats pose by new spas in Scotland. Moreover, hotels are also entering the spa and wellness industry in order to have a share of the growing health-conscious markets.
Competitive Forces Analysis
Porter identified the five forces model of competitive strategy. He identified the five forces as:
- The threat of new entrants and the appearance of new competitors
- The degree of rivalry among existing competitors in the market
- The bargaining power of buyers
- The bargaining power of suppliers
- The threat of substitute products or services which could shrink the market
The strength of each of these forces varies from industry to industry, but
taken together they determine long-term profitability. They help shape the process firms can charge, the costs they must pay for resources and the level of investment that will be needed to compete. The threat of new entrants limits market share and profit; powerful buyers or suppliers, using their superior bargaining power, can drive down prices or push costs up, eroding margins and so on (Witzel 2003). The five factors affect the strategy of the organization. It is important to analyze and study these five forces to be able to craft a successful strategy. To be successful, the organization must respond effectively to the pressures of these five forces.
Competitive Forces Analysis for Stobo Castle
Threat of New Entrants
The spa industry is now becoming more competitive. Different spas with different concepts and themes are entering the market. The threat of new entrants for Stobo Castle is high as new spas are being developed and built. These new spas are likely to become competitors. There are many hotels in Scotland that are adding spa facilities.
Degree of Rivalry among Competitors
The competition in the spa industry is becoming stiffer. The degree of competition is considered high among competitors. The existing competitors of Stobo Castle are spas within Scotland’s leading resort hotels such as Turnberry, Gleneagles and the Sheraton in Edinburgh. Among the direct competitors of Stobo Castle are the spa facilities at Peebles Hydro and MacDonald Hotel at Cardona.
Bargaining Power of Buyers
More and more people are becoming health conscious. The fact that spas are increasing in number in Scotland means that the market is growing. As the market grows, different markets are becoming more accessible. Consumers have more choices. Different spas offer almost the same services as Stobo Castle. The bargaining power of the consumers is considered strong.
Bargaining Power of Suppliers
The impact of the suppliers to Stobo Castle is very minimal.
Threat of Substitute Products
Other forms of wellness and health spas are also sprouting. For example, spas are now being built inside hotels. This could shrink the market for Stobo Castle.
Marketing Research Plan
Stobo Castle is one of the premiere spas in Scotland. The spa attracts numerous guests. Since its opening, Stobo Castle has attracted has attracted wealthy customers. The current aim of the spa is to attract a more diverse customer, aiming at customers with modest incomes.
Research Problem and Objectives
The aim of the marketing research is to identify the customer needs in B2B and B2C markets. Specifically the marketing research aims to answer the following questions:
1. How can Stobo Castle attract the B2B market?
2. How can Stobo Castle attract the B2C market?
3. What are the characteristics of the B2B and B2C markets?
4. What marketing tools and strategies should be used in order to attract these markets?
The aim of the marketing research is for the Stobo Castle to attract more visitors. Through the marketing research the management aims to discover ways of communicating and attracting the B2B and B2C markets. In order to gather the needed information, the marketing team will use both secondary and primary data. The secondary data will come from existing researches and information about B2B and B2C markets. The marketing team will investigate by examining secondary data. The secondary data will provide a starting point for research and offer the advantages of low cost and ready availability.
In order to increase the reliability of the secondary data, the researcher will collect primary data. In order to discover how visitors and target markets feel about the topic in question, the researcher will conduct a series of data-gathering procedures.
Primary data will be gathered through surveys, focus group and observational research.
- Survey research – surveys are best suited for descriptive research. Stobo Castle can conduct surveys in order to learn the visitors’ and target markets’ knowledge, beliefs, preferences, and satisfaction.
- Focus-group research – the researcher can gather six to ten people in order to discuss the services, facilities and amenities of Stobo Castle. The discussion will be facilitated by a skilled moderator.
- Observational research – fresh data can be gathered by observing the relevant actors and settings. The researcher can observe the visitors in order to assess the impact of the services and other features of Stobo Castle. The researcher can also go to Stobo Castle’s competitors in order to observe the quality of service and therapies.
Secondary data will come from published materials and existing literature regarding the research topic. The internet will be useful in the collection of data regarding the B2B and B2C markets. Published materials such as books and journals are useful in order to assess the characteristics as well as the needs and requirements of the target markets. Secondary research will also aid in the analysis of the developments and characteristics of the spa industry and the competitors of Stobo Castle.
Research Methods for B2B Market
The research method for B2B market will be survey group research and focus group research. The researcher will send mails to the different companies that are near or accessible to Stobo Castle inviting its employees to participate in the survey and focus group. Those that will participate in the survey and focus group will be sent mails explaining the background and the purpose of the survey and focus group.
Research Methods of B2C Market
The data gathering procedure for the B2C market will also involve survey research and focus group research. A survey questionnaire will be given to the guests of Stobo Castle. Some people from the target market segment will also be invited to participate in the focus group discussion.
Sales and Marketing Plan
The mission of the sales and marketing plan is to increase sales by attracting more consumers and at the same time maintaining the loyal guests of Stobo Castle.
The objectives of the sales and marketing plan is to formulate strategies that will help Stobo Castle to attract the B2B and B2C markets.
Product – the spa is undergoing a series of development in order for it to serve a wider customer base. New amenities and facilities are introduced in order to satisfy the needs and requirements of the consumers.
Price – the diverse packages offered at Stobo Castle is expected to fit every consumers needs and requirements as well as their budgets. The wide arrays of treatments are now more competitively priced.
Place – the location of Stobo Castle is still one of its advantages. The location is private and exclusive, yet accessible.
Process – the services, products and treatments at Stobo Castle are of excellent quality.
People – employment of added staff in order to cater to the needs of a wider customer base. The spa is currently looking for well-trained and experienced beautician. Training and development of the current employees must also be given priority.
The objective of the advertising is to convince the consumers that there are packages offered by Stobo Castle that are affordable. The consumers must be convinced that the spa treatments are not for wealthy consumers only. Thus the aim of the advertising campaign of Stobo Castle is to inform and to persuade. Informative advertising can be useful in building primary demand among the target markets. Persuasive advertising is also important in order to build selective demand among the target markets.
- Direct Mail
- Travel Agencies
Sales Promotion Strategies
Sales promotion is a key ingredient in many marketing campaigns of a diverse collection of incentive tools designed to stimulate trial, or quicker or greater purchase of particular products or services by consumers.
- Samples – Stobo Castle can offer a free amount of the spa service to the target market.
- Coupons – Stobo Castle can make use of certificates offering a stated saving on the purchase of the service.
- Premiums – Stobo Castle can offer merchandise at a low or no cost as an incentive to purchase the service.
- Patronage Awards – These can be values in cash or points given to loyal guests to reward their continued patronage.