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1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
The Nigerian Hospitality industry started during the colonial area, with the establishment of rest houses by the colonial administrators at various district areas in Nigeria. Government records shows that by 1923 and 1931, European rest houses at Port Harcourt and Lagos were established respectively (FGN, 1989:67). The earliest catering establishments in the hospitality industry were in initially built and run by government and located at very important seaports, railways terminus or important towns where there seats of government.
The next most important development phase of the hospitality industry brought to being to different institutions, such as guest houses, hotels, staff canteens and staff clubs. Obia (2003:2) states that “there are three most outstanding groups of hotel chains in Nigeria namely: Nigeria
Hotels Plc, Artewa Hotels and Western Hotels with its Lagos Airport Hotel (commissioned in 1942)”. These hotel chains performed uniform functions of development and management of property, sale of management franchise to already established hotels and consultancy services.
Big international hotel chains such as Sheraton, Hilton, Hyatt and Le-meridian have opened in Nigeria.
Upon independence, various regional governments started the development of hospitality outfits such as federal palace Hotel, Lagos; independence Hotel now presidential, Enugu and Premier Hotel, Ibadan. Currently, the private sector owns most of the operating hospitality outfits in Nigeria, government having privatized their holdings in the 90s.
The Nigerian hospitality industry has witnessed in the last three decades a cycle of growth and decline. The unstable condition in the hospitality industry has made it a nightmare for investors, customers and regulators alike. This unstable condition is attributed to lack of marketing planning process in the hospitality industry. Most hospitality centers are set up on ego basis or guess work, without adequate planning on how their service/products will be marketed.
Lack of marketing planning process has affected and will continue to affect the realization of the full potentials of the Nigeria hospitality industry. Marketing is the only item on the profit and loss account that yield revenue, every other item is cost. The neglect of the important managements function by the Nigerian hospitality industry is a major threat to the long-term profitability and sustainability of the industry.
Planning in its simplest form according to Davidson (1987:109) involves answering the following questions:
1. Where are we now?
2. Where do we hope to in the future?
3. How do we get there?
Planning is an important function performed by all managers in organizations, irrespective of specialization and their levels in the organization. Planning could be formal, in which case, it is done regularly and the responsibility is assigned and usually reported in writing.
Marketing planning could be defined as the conscious assessment and projection of an organization’s marketing abilities to achieve the organization’s goals. It involves the application of planning process in the assessment of problems, opportunities and organizational capabilities, the specialization of goals to be achieved and the actions to be undertaken to achieve these goals. Agbonifoh (1988:295) defined marketing planning a “ a systematic managerial process involving the identification an assessment of marketing problems, opportunities and organization capabilities, the selection of target markets mix or mixes designed to achieve the marketing objectives and plans, identification and assessment of marketing opportunities, the formulation of marketing strategy and marketing programme and a pre-implementation review of the resulting plan”. Marketing plan contains a brief review of past marketing performance, assumptions about the environment, environmental opportunities, marketing objectives, programmes in the area of products, price, promotion and distribution, a target market profiles and a control mechanism.
The marketing planning process consists of series of steps outlining the activities, which are performed in the course of formulating a marketing plan. Leppard and Mc Donald (1991:6) stress that corporate culture in an organization is a vital aspect of successful marketing planning. They state further that “while the marketing planning process appears on the surface to be just a series of procedural steps, it does in fact, embrace a series of underlying values and assumptions”. The marketing planning process, depending on the corporate culture should be an integral part of corporate decisions and communication.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
Most organizations in the Nigerian hospitality industry lack marketing plans. Where it exists, it is not implemented with adequate management attention it deserves. As a result, the following specific problems are prevalent:
i) Non-existence of marketing departments in most hospitality firms to plan, coordinate, implement and manage marketing activities.
ii) Non-existence of marketing objectives to serve as a guide post for implementation and achievement of corporate goals.
iii) Non-existence of budgets for marketing activities, where it exists, the allocation is often too small to make any significant impact.
iv) Non-existence of marketing information system that will assist in providing relevant information for decision-making.
v) Non-existence of formal plan for the development and training of personnel to perform marketing functions.
The above problems are as a result of failure to recognize the importance of marke6ting planning process in the Nigerian hospitality industry. This has inhibited performance, productivity and profitability in the industry.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The objectives of the study are:
i) To access the impact of adequate marketing planning process on the profitability of the industry.
ii) To examine the level of understanding of the marketing planning process by employees of the Nigeria hospitality industry.
iii) To make recommendations on how the Nigerian hospitality industry could introduce and adopt marketing planning process in their operations.
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