Every year, the participants of the International Master in Tourism and Hospitality Management take part in the unique Marketing Challenge – a great opportunity to apply what they have learned during their Marketing course to a real consulting project.
This year, EADA participants collaborated with Le Méridien Barcelona Hotel to position their restaurant “CentOnze” as a destination venue and to attract more clients, including as many as possible from the iconic market, la Boqueria. The name of the restaurant references the fact that it is 111 steps (CentOnze in catalan) from la Boqueria, and as well that the products used in their cuisine are from the market. The restaurant has a “marketarian” concept, a market to table experience focused on bringing the freshest products to the fore.
Le Méridien Barcelona Hotel is a 5-star family-friendly hotel in Barcelona ideal for fun family holidays and relaxing city breaks. The hotel is part of one of the largest hotel chains in the world: Marriott International.
The project was presented to the students on January 11 by Rosemary Trigg, EADA Professor and Sandra Martinez, Director of Sales & Marketing of Le Méridien Barcelona Hotel.
The main challenge for the students was to prepare a marketing plan for the hotel’s restaurant with the aim of targeting their two most potential audiences: locals and tourists.
The following week, 12 students collaborated in 3 groups, 4 participants in each group to analyze Le Méridien Barcelona Hotel using their own capabilities as well as the knowledge and abilities they had learned in their marketing classes. The groups presented their marketing strategies to a jury on January 25 that was made up of the program director, EADA academics, and Le Méridien Barcelona Hotel Sales and Marketing Director.
The marketing plans contained the following strategies that were covered in-class that combined analysis and strategy:
7P’s in the Marketing Mix
The jury praised all the teams for the caliber of their proposals after reviewing the presentations and the marketing plans. The decision was tough and as there can be only one winner, the jury announced the winning project that was the one presented by the group formed by Marc Fisa (Spain), Cheng Hua WU (Taiwan), Regina Pablo (Philippines) and Elizabeth Truffa (United States).
When we asked about their biggest takeaways from the challenge, Cheng Hua described the experience of doing a challenge for a real company and presenting to their jury as exciting. For him it was exciting to share the results that they had been working on through the month and also showing the work and get feedback from the real company.
Elizabeth pointed out that as a team, they worked together to leverage their skills and strengths in order to put their best work forward together. She also explained that as a team they also emphasized the little details – even color coordinated their outfits to match the branding of the company, and because of their collaboration, she thought that the challenge was not necessarily “challenging” – for her it was exciting, motivating, energizing, and fun. When it came to aspects of sustainability, she remarked that they were naturally integrated into their rebrand and marketing proposal for CentOnze, through a focus on authentic and culturally-rich experiences. From looking to strengthen social cohesion between Catalans and tourists (the culturally curious) and creating economic development opportunities by supporting local entrepreneurs (i.e. artists and musicians), social sustainability influenced their approach.
As Regina told us, they wanted to focus on “Nostalgia” as their big idea, so her team was able to provide creative tactical initiatives. In terms of Physical Evidence in the 7Ps of the Marketing Mix, they were enthusiastic about applying the Catalan story in the restaurant. Tying Joan Miro’s mosaic work along the Las Ramblas to their idea, they wanted to embed this in the restaurant as part of the art and history of this tourist attraction but also encouraging their consumers to take part in the art.
Marc argued that participating in a real-life scenario like this project puts you in the mindset of wanting to be part of their success. For him, it triggers the team to collaborate and create something tangible that they would like to see implemented or at least to provide some valuable inputs the company can utilize moving forward.
His biggest takeaway from this experience was realizing that cooperating with an international team was the key to address our research to valuable conclusions. While developing the strategic positioning of CentOnze, he could approach the issue from the local point of view (since he is from Barcelona), and this blended perfectly with the international perspective his colleagues brought to the project. Each one of them had the opportunity to contribute to the success of the project.
What he learned in this Marketing Challenge is the importance of identifying and prioritizing the most valuable ideas. Since they had limited resources to carry out their project, especially time, they had to focus their efforts on one specific opportunity from all the possibilities that they could have pursued to meet the Challenge goals. Once the concept they wanted to create and develop was selected, by having a clear conceptual framework it was easy to think of endless possibilities to target the desired segments and create new products.