The distinctive marketing strategies of Club Med

Contents

1.0 Introduction 3

2.0 Core product 3

2.1 Concept of core product 3

2.2 Core product of Club Med 4

2.2.1 Happy experience from great general service offering 4

2.2.2 Happy experience from great choice of activities 5

2.2.3 Happy experience from a more personalized vision of vacations offering 6

2.2.4 Happy experience from flexible transportation means 6

3.0 Service marketing and the importance 7

3.1 Concepts of service marketing 7

3.1.1 Definition of service marketing 7

3.1.2 The unique characteristics of service marketing and its importance to Club Med 8

3.2 Activities Club Med implemented to overcome challenges 10

3.2.1 Activities of using tangible cues and related techniques 10

3.2.2 Activities of managing service quality, delivery and customer relationship 11

3.2.3 Activities of maintenance product qualities 11

4.0 The distinctive marketing strategies of Club Med 11

4.1 Product strategies 12

4.1.1 Products with all inclusive concept 12

4.1.2 Distinctive holiday packages 12

4.1.3 Food offering 12

4.1.4 Other issues on products 13

4.2 Price strategies 14

4.2.1 One price all-inclusive concept 14

4.2.2 Prestige pricing 14

4.2.3 Premium pricing 15

4.3 Promotion strategies 15

4.3.1 Promotion via club membership setting 15

4.3.2 Promotion via acting as an environmental friendly organization 15

4.3.3 Promotion via advertisements on discount 16

4.4 Place strategies 16

4.4.1 Club Med agencies 16

4.4.2 Online sales 17

4.4.3 Synergies with Accor 17

4.5 People strategies 18

4.5.1 Management staff to pilot change 18

4.5.2 Identifying, encouraging and securing the loyalty of talented staff 18

4.6 Process strategies 19

4.6.1 Effective external communication and understanding 19

4.6.2 Timely and effective delivering networks 19

4.7 Physical evidence strategies 20

4.7.1 Beautiful views 20

4.7.2 Considerate service and flexible flights 20

5.0 Conclusion 21

6.0 Reference 22

 

1.0 Introduction

Club Med as the largest tourism and travel company of France was founded in 1950 by Gerard Blitz, which is the first firm to provide all-inclusive vacation packages. Under its all inclusive concept, Club Med offers 80 resorts covering more than 100 countries all over the world, which includes various activities such as skiing, golf, tennis, horsing riding, diving and water sports as well as spa. Meanwhile, Club Med also provides luxury village towards high end segmentation. Under the furious competition, Club Med tries every means to attract lots of guests all over the world.

  1. Core product

2.1 Concept of core product

Elliott, Rundle-Thiele and Waller (2010) claimed that products owns many different features providing value for customers, clients, partners and society, which have four levels including core product, expected product, augmented product and potential product. The concept of total product can help understand how the product’s value is perceived by potential consumers, in which core product concept plays a significant roles.

Core product comprises the fundamental befit that responds to the customer’s problem of unsatisfied need or want, which can assist marketers to provide the right product to the market and make sure customers purchase from you and not the rivals (Elliott, Rundle-Thiele & Waller 2010). And the core product of Club Med is described as below.

2.2 Core product of Club Med

On the basis of the information from the case and the official website of Club Med, the core product of this club is the happy experience offered to its customers, which means the fantastic services (Club Med n.d.). The happy experience to customers provided by Club Med includes several areas just as the following description.

2.2.1 Happy experience from great general service offering

On the basis of offering richer services for an experience where happiness means the world (Club Med n.d.), Club Med provides its customers fantastic happy experience via the great general service as below.

The first happy experience customers can experience is the Bar & Snacking included service which was firstly launched in the year 2005(Club Med 2005). It offers all the customers the kind of service under which customers have the chance to forget the separate paying for almost every meal as well as drink which they consume on their holidays. The second happy experience offered by Club Med is the Club Med Pass, which can be used as not only a room key but also a dedicated payment swipe card (Club Med 2005). This kind of service makes the life of guest on their vocation in Club Med simpler (Club Med 2005). At the same time Club Med tries every means to make young couples with their babies or children on vocation enjoy much simpler and happier life via the service of ‘Club Med Baby Welcome’, which provides a full range of practical baby care services such as baby equipment, nursery care, suitable food, baby bottle room and special services. And at the same time it also provides the children care service including childcare supervision for children from 4 to 10 years run by multilingual specialist GOs as well as free stay for children from 0 to 4 years old (Club Med n.d.).

These general services not only offer diverse guests with happy and simple life experience in Club Med but also offer considerate care to their children and babies.

2.2.2 Happy experience from great choice of activities

In order to offer the guest with more fantastic and happy experience, Club Med improves its service in traditional food & beverage and entertainment services (Club Med 2005 & Club Med n.d.). For instance, the garden parties and special dining events of both local food and palatable foreign cuisines have attracted lots of customers all over the world. And meanwhile, there are nearly 60 sports activities offered by Club Med including golf and tennis academies, which even provide professional introduction for skilled players as well as freshmen. And at the same time due to the cultural diversity, Club Med also offers several activities based on local culture such as the singing workshops and Moroccan cookery classes in Marrakech, casino service for Chinese gamblers. Furthermore, to improve the service for its guests, Club Med is training its working staff the local languages such as Japanese, Korean in the markets of Japan and Korea.

With these service based on the local culture and diverse requirements offered, Club Med provides great experience to its guests without any feeling of nostalgia or maladjustment.

2.2.3 Happy experience from a more personalized vision of vacations offering

The case study and Club Med official website (Club Med n.d.) offer us the following information. Club Med has designed the “Vacations à la carte” range which offers the flexibility to every guest on choosing their vacations which is best fit their own desires and potential and at the same time remaining within a controlled budget. Due to the flexibility of the “Vacations à la carte” range, guests of Club Med can experience the exceptional, living sports with passion, feeling rejuvenated, living life to the full, discovery, having a taste of everything (Club Med 2005). Moreover, Club Med also designed the “Comfort à la carte” concept, which offers flexible accommodation services for different guests including the choice between five room categories and three comfort levels such as the Club room with a view, the spacious Deluxe room, a suite and so on, which are fit for diverse customers’ needs.

With these considerate services offering, guests in Club Med can enjoy a distinctive happy and fantastic travel experience.

2.2.4 Happy experience from flexible transportation means

Due to a strong desire amongst clients to have the freedom to choose their own flight times as well as class of travel, Club Med now provides a high-quality transport offering such as the round trip and choice of airline, class type and flights to best suit the customers’ needs. (Club Med n.d. & Club Med 2005)

And meanwhile to ensure the comfort level and maximum security, Club Med has signed several agreements with national carriers in Europe, such as Air France in France, TNT in Belgium and Euro fly in Italy, which guarantee the guests of Club Med receive special service such as on scheduled flights offering, free newspapers, headphones and so on.

Furthermore, in Asian and American regions, Club Med offers guarantee for its clients of better access to outlying Villages. For instance, Club Med offers its Taiwanese guests an easy way to travel to Kabira of Japan and there are more charter flights from New York to Guadeloupe and Martinique, and direct daily flights from Fort Lauderdale to Punta Cana and Columbus Isle in North America.

With the nice transport services offering, guests of Club Med can enjoy very comfortable and happy travel experience even when they boarding the flights.

  1. Service marketing and the importance

3.1 Concepts of service marketing

3.1.1 Definition of service marketing

To explore the definition of service marketing, it is important to understand the concepts of ‘services’ and ‘service’. According to Elliott, Rundle-Thiele, and Waller (2010, p.374), services are activities performances or benefits that are offered for sale which involve neither an exchange of tangible goods nor a transfer of title, while service is the act of delivering a product of either tangible form or intangible form. And meanwhile, services are often offered via the application of intellectual or physical efforts to people or physical object, which involve a service component (Elliott, Rundle-Thiele & Waller 2010).

Based on the above information, we can get that services marketing is a form of marketing that concentrates on selling services (Smith n.d.).

3.1.2 The unique characteristics of service marketing and its importance to Club Med

The characteristics of services marketing are made up of four most important elements including intangibility, inseparability, heterogeneity and perishability, which are distinctive characteristic from goods (Elliott, Rundle-Thiele & Waller 2010).

3.1.2.1 Intangibility and its importance

Intangibility as the most fundamental nature of marketing of services refers to the fact the service is an activity not an object which can’t be perceived by physical sense (Elliott, Thiele & Waller 2010). For Club Med the happy experience offering is its core product which is made up of various types of service. Due to the intangible characteristic of service, most of customers may feel uncertainty about the products Club Med offering (Elliott, Thiele & Waller 2010). To reduce the uncertainty and attract as well as maintain more customers, it is essential for Club Med to understand the importance of handling this characteristic and make the intangible features and benefits of its products more understandable and attractive.

3.1.2.2 Inseparability and its importance

Inseparability is the second characteristic of marketing of services, which refers to the characteristic of being produced and consumed at the same time of the services (Elliott, Thiele & Waller 2010). On the basis of this characteristic of service, Club Med should differentiate its service from other competitors, which means it is important for Club Med to manage the quality and delivery of its service and build a happy relationship between itself and the customers (Elliott, Thiele & Waller 2010).

3.1.2.3 Heterogeneity and its importance

Heterogeneity is the third characteristic of marketing of services which means the inevitable but minimisable, variations in quality in the delivery of a service product (Elliott, Thiele & Waller 2010, p381). Since all the services provided not only by Club Med but also by other competitors are heterogeneous, it is essential for Club Med to handle this characteristic of services and maintain a reasonable as well as consistent level quality of its services to customers (Elliott, Thiele & Waller 2010), which can help Club Med not only win but also maintain more customers.

3.1.2.4 Perishability and its importance

Perishability refers to the inability to store services for use at a later date which is the last but essential characteristic of marketing of services (Elliott, Thiele & Waller 2010). Since the core products, in another words services, Club Med offering are perishable, Club Med should understand this characteristic and implement good preparations on the basis of this point to face the challenge of balancing the fluctuant supply and demand of its market (Elliott, Thiele & Waller 2010).

3.2 Activities Club Med implemented to overcome challenges

Since the importance of the service marketing for Club Med, it is necessary to adopts proper activities to handle the challenges which are due to the four unique characteristics of Marketing of services.

3.2.1 Activities of using tangible cues and related techniques

Club Med is smart enough to use tangible evidence to delivery its image of high quality service provider to its customers. For instance, there are nearly 75 distinctive places in nearly 25 destinations around the world for customers to choose which all have proper designed accommodations including the choices from five room categories and three comfort levels such as the club room with a view, the spacious deluxe room and a suite with exquisitely designed decoration style in different resorts (Club Med n.d.). Moreover, the eye attractive logo of a trident – attribute of Poseidon shows the dreamlike scenery offered by Club Med just like the beautiful and romantic world of Poseidon’s kingdom (Cassedy, K. 2002). And furthermore, Club Med also carries out the policy of all-inclusive concept which guarantees all the consumers of one set prices without extra cost (Club Med n.d.).

These entire well designed tangible cues and innovation of all-inclusive concept largely promote the image of high quality service providers of Club Med.

3.2.2 Activities of managing service quality, delivery and customer relationship

To make sure the high standard service quality, Club Med emphasizes the staff training and development a lot. As the case mentioned, it keeps on training its staff in local languages of different location to make the customers feel comfortable. Meanwhile it also expand the direct selling channel such as offering online booking, telephone vacation booking as well as email marketing to make sure the customers receive fast, timely and considerate booking services (Cassedy, K. 2002). Moreover, it offers the free stay for family children 0 to 4 years old and club membership policy to build a good customer relationship (Club Med n.d.).

3.2.3 Activities of maintenance product qualities

Due to the good understanding of services’ characteristic of heterogeneity, Club Med focuses so much on developing service delivery system, staff training and so on (Elliott, Thiele & Waller 2010). For instance, it introduce the Club Med Pass, which can be used as not only a room key but also a dedicated payment swipe card, which reduce the heterogeneity of its service and offers same and standard service for all the customers(Club Med 2005). Meanwhile, it also invests heavily on the staff training. Besides the above mentioned language training, Club Med also tries every means to enhance the sales skills, interpersonal skills and other important skills of its working staff to ensure customers have happy experience in Club Med (Club Med 2005).

4.0 The distinctive marketing strategies of Club Med

For Club Med, it isn’t easy to become the giant in the world of tourism industry and maintain its glory. The marketing strategy of it is the key to its success and the following will analyze its marketing strategies from seven aspects of the marketing mix.

4.1 Product strategies

4.1.1 Products with all inclusive concept

To build a strong brand and outstand itself in the worldwide tourism industry, Club Med has set up an all inclusive concept which refers to the various choices from the destination to the wide range of services including sports and childcare services in order to give its guests the pleasure of untroubled holidays in exceptional settings (Club Med n.d).

4.1.2 Distinctive holiday packages

To fulfill the different requirement of customer, Club Med offers distinctive holiday packages for different people such as couples, singles, and families and so on. And it also considerately offers sub package for family children, which provides fantastic services to facilitate parents guests in Club Med including juniors club for teenagers, free stay for children 0 to 4 years old as well as baby equipment, suitable food and baby bottle room (Club Med n.d. & Club Med 2005 & Kandampully 2000).

4.1.3 Food offering

Meanwhile, Club Med also differentiates itself by evolving its food offering, which gives clients wilder choice of fantastic international cuisines and local food including breakfast, lunch, tea, dinner and anytime snacks. With this means, clients in Club Med can enjoy not only the exotic food flavor but also their local cuisines, which not also add the romantic exotic atmosphere but also avoid the nostalgia (Club Med n.d. & Club Med 2005 & Kandampully 2000).

4.1.4 Other issues on products

Furthermore to make every customers feel happy and enjoy the accommodation in Club Med, it provides several choices between five room categories and three comfort levels including Club, Deluxe, Suites which include fantastic room services and breakfast. And at the same time, Club Med also simplifies the access to its club and offer flexible fight arrangement service for example, it provides a high-quality transport offering such as the round trip and choice of airline, class type and flights to best suit the customers’ needs (Club Med n.d. & Club Med 2005) . And to maintain its unique position, Club Med also offers several sports activities including golf, tennis, water skiing, sailing, fitness, flying trapeze, skiing to attract customers Club Med n.d. & Club Med 2005 & Kandampully 2000).

Although there are furious competition from its competitor such as Sandals and Super Club resort chains, Club Med’s brand and member loyalty are still superior due to it fantastic service and all inclusive innovation (Club Med n.d. & Club Med 2005 & Marom et al. 2003).

4.2 Price strategies

4.2.1 One price all-inclusive concept

Referring to price strategies, the one price all-inclusive concept is a great shining point of Club Med which also makes it differentiate among other competitors, which means everything is included at one set prices and there is no need for the guests of Club Med to worry about the danger of going over budget (Club Med UK 2010). Under the umbrella of one price all-inclusive concept, the guests of families, couples or friends all can enjoy food, accommodation, entertainment, fitness, and other one-stop vacation services and children of all ages can not only get professional care, but also take part in various sports and diverse cultural based activities with one set prices.

4.2.2 Prestige pricing

Moreover, one of the pricing tactics adopted by Club Med is prestige pricing, which is setting prices high to convey an image of prestige, quality and exclusivity (Elliott, Rundle-Thiele, & Waller 2010, p. 274). For example, the luxury concept of Club Med villas that is exceptional, elegant designed is an exceptional all-inclusive formula, which offers fabulous holiday experience to middle or upper income guests and strengthens as well as differentiates its brand on the segmentation of high income guests (Club Med UK 2010).

4.2.3 Premium pricing

And meanwhile, compared with its major rival Sandals, Club Med has adopts the premium pricing tactic, which offers different versions of its products from budget to premium levels with prices to match (Elliott, Rundle-Thiele, & Waller 2010) and relatively cheaper price and high quality service (Marom et al. 2003). For instance, Club Med offers different packages ranges from luxury one to family one, and with different appropriate prices which attracts lots of consumers with diverse pricing requirements (Marom et al. 2003).

    1. Promotion strategies

      1. Promotion via club membership setting

To increase its market share and strengthen customers brand loyalty, Club Med has set up the club membership policy, from which the member of Club Med can enjoy a great many benefits (Club Med n.d.). For instance, there are several preferential rates to encourage members to consume its products, such as the benefits of 5% discount year-round on all village vacations and tours as well as 10% to 15% discount at certain times of year and for certain destinations (Club Med n.d.). And furthermore, Club Med members can also enjoy discounts on some activities such as the price discount in gym activities, golf, and tennis and so on (Club Med n.d.).

4.3.2 Promotion via acting as an environmental friendly organization

To differentiate and outstand itself in the hyper competitive tourism industries, Club Med has oriented itself as an environmental friendly organization, for example it conserves the environment in and around its villages via the control of its water consumption, energy savings, training its teams on environmental issues and so on (Club Med 2005). With these environmental protection activities, Club Med build a good reputation in the society which makes guests feel safe and relieved when consuming its products especially the food items (Club Med 2005).

4.3.3 Promotion via advertisements on discount

To promote its products and beats other competitors, Club Med also uses some advertising means to attract more consumers. For example, Club Med offers some discount on some advertisements, the ad on its official web site is the typical one, which exhibit some special offer such as early booking can enjoy up to 30% off brochures prices and the free stay policy for family children (Club Med UK 2010), which not only help Club Med attract a great number of guests but also maintain its superior position in the tourism industries.

4.4 Place strategies

4.4.1 Club Med agencies

To maintaining the presence in local market, Club Med differentiates itself with other competitors via the building of Club Med agencies in several locations to sale its products such as the agencies in Switzerland, Belgium and Israel. And meanwhile it also introduce its direct representatives for Club Med agencies in German, Russian agencies, Spanish agencies and other high potential markets to reach more customers (Club Med 2005).

4.4.2 Online sales

Another distribution channel and one of the most importances is the Clubmed.com. For any customer all over the world who wants to book the holiday package from Club Med, he or she can browsing the website as well as price list and on line book the best suitable products. The distinctive point compared with other competitors of the on line booking system of Club Med is the considerate after sale services, which offers not only proper suggestions based on the real situation of customers but also deliberate and patient explanations via the e-mail, or hot line that can easily get on the website( Club Med 2005).

4.4.3 Synergies with Accor

Another shinning point which differentiates Club Med with other competitors is the Synergies with Accor, which is the leading hotel manager and market leader in Europe (Club Med 2005). Due to the cooperation with such powerful corporation, the sales links of Club Med has increased that directly contributes the increasing on its sales. For instance, just during year of 2005, there are 500,000 hits in the links between the Clubmed.com and Accor.com web sites, which expands the distribution channel of Club Med a lot (Club Med 2005).

4.5 People strategies

4.5.1 Management staff to pilot change

To meet the fluctuant and diverse marketing needs, Club Med focuses a lot on its staff training and appraisal mechanism, which are all under the guideline of its five basic values including multicultural, pioneering, friendliness, freedom and responsibility (Club Med 2005). For instance, as the case mentioned, Club Med is training its staff in different regions with the local languages, and there are almost 96 nationalities with 30 languages spoken inside the working staff of Club Med and meanwhile they are almost 15 nationalities working staff or more in 35% of Villages of Club Med (Club Med n.d. & Club Med 2005 & Marom et al. 2003). With this unique advantage, Club Med attracts so many guests from all over the world, who would never be bothered with the language problems.

4.5.2 Identifying, encouraging and securing the loyalty of talented staff

Another key priority Club Med owns compared with is competitors is the high rate of staff loyalty (Club Med 2005). To build the high rate of staff loyalty, Club Med tries every means to improve the staffs’ sense of belonging. For instance, Club Med initially carried out policies of fighting against discrimination to respect the rights of every individual and at the same time Club Med has also makes great effort to ensure the decent working conditions for the working individuals such as ensuring no form of forced or obligatory labor, making sure of no subject to any form of discrimination by elected or appointed union representatives and so on (Marom et al. 2003 & Club Med 2005). With such initiatives, Club Med maintains a large number of high qualities as well as loyal employees who offer guests with first class service compared with other competitors.

4.6 Process strategies

Club Med also owns an efficient system to assist its service delivering to its customers, which includes these issues as blew.

4.6.1 Effective external communication and understanding

To make customers well understand and know Club Med, it tries best to enhance its perception of all-inclusive holiday provider via providing guests with attractive, easy-to-read, easy-to-understand marketing materials and the well designed website www.club-med.co.com to give customers better and effective guidance, which is much more considerate than other competitors (Marom et al. 2003 & Club Med 2005& Club Med n.d. & Club Med UK 2010). Meanwhile, Club Med has also well prepared deliberate information and tools required to promote its products for its staff as well as intermediaries to make customers has a deliberate and full understanding of Club Med’s products (Marom et al. 2003 & Club Med 2005& Club Med n.d. & Club Med UK 2010).

4.6.2 Timely and effective delivering networks

To make sure its guests can enjoys the products of Club Med timely and effectively, it evolves its transportation means and offers flexible flight services and at the same time, it offers customer-friendly holiday packages to meet diverse customers’ needs, which simplifies the whole process for customers to enjoy Club Med’s products (Marom et al. 2003 & Club Med 2005).

4.7 Physical evidence strategies

Physical evidence is the tangible cues which can be used as a means to evaluates service quality prior to purchase such as the architectural design, furniture, shop fitting, colors, bank ground music and so on (Elliott, Rundle-Thiele & Waller 2010).

4.7.1 Beautiful views

For Club Med, one of its shining points which differentiates it from other competitors is its fantastic beautiful views all over the world while Sandals can only offer limited resorts for customers mainly on the Caribbean Islands (Marom et al. 2003).For instance, there are almost 80 resorts all around the world for customers to choose including the fantastic tropical views in Kani and Bali Island of Asia, the exotic romance in Riodas Pedras and Itaprica of South America and so on(Club Med UK 2010).

4.7.2 Considerate service and flexible flights

Club Med also depends on offering fantastic and considerate service to outstand its top position in tourism industries which includes simplified pay structure, various sports activities, clubs for Kids, various flavor cuisine from all over the world. And meanwhile, it also offers clients flexible choices of fights to make their journal more comfortable (Club Med n.d. & Club Med 2005 & Marom et al. 2003).

5.0 Conclusion

Club Med as the big giant in travel and tourism industry, it tries the best to offer happy experience to all the guests from all over the world, which includes great general service, variety choices of activities, a more personalized vision of vacations as well as flexible transportation means. Meanwhile, with the deliberate understanding of the importance of service marketing such as its four characteristics of intangibility, inseparability, heterogeneity, perishability, Club Med has implemented series of activities including activities of maintenance product qualities via tangible cues and related techniques, managing service quality and so on to make it better faced with these challenges in the service marketing. Furthermore, depending on several means of strengthening its global marketing strategies via seven market mix, Club Med not only maintains its first position but also differentiates its services from other competitors.

6.0 Reference

 

Cassedy, K. 2002, ATME 2002 conference report: Case study-Club Med, atme.org, viewed 26th July 2010,

<http://www.atme.org/pubs/members/75_307_1301.cfm>

Club Med n.d., All inclusive concept, Club Med-corporate, viewed 19th July 2010, <http://www.clubmed-corporate.com/?cat=218>

Club Med UK 2010, All-Inclusive Holidays by Club Med; The luxury Club Med villa concept, clubmed.co.uk, viewed 25th July 2010,

<http://www.clubmed.co.uk/cm/all-inclusive-vacations-all-inclusive-holidays-by-club-med_p-341-l-EN-pa-LE_TOUT_COMPRIS_BY_CLUB_MED-ac-at.html>

Club Med 2005, Club Med annual report 2005, electronic version, Club Med corporate,

<http://www.clubmed-corporate.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/RAPPORT-DACTIVITE-2005-GB.pdf>

Elliott, G., Rundle-Thiele, S & Waller, D. 2010, Marketing, John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd, Australia, p.274, p.374, p381,

GroÈnroos, C. 1990, Service management and marketing, Lexington Books, Lexington,

Kandampully, J. 2000, Case studies: The impact of demand fluctuation on the quality of service: a tourism industry example, vol.10, MCB University Press,

Marom, N., Dudkiewicz, A., Coyajee, J., Yair, I., Carli, M. & Closenberc. A. 2003, Club Med: From value innovator to follower, electronic version, Club Med, viewed 25th July 2010,

<http://faculty.insead.edu/adner/PREVIOUS/Projects-Jan03/Club%20Med.pdf>

Palmer, A. 2009, Introduction to marketing theory and practice, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, New York,

Smith, S.E. n.d., What is services marketing, Conjecture Corporation, viewed 24th July 2010,

<http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-services-marketing.htm>

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