Once the strategic plan was finished, Relais & Châteaux hired THR for a new challenge: a second phase which involved a large detailed marketing plan to answer the following question: how can Relais & Châteaux come closer to the market and transform its new business strategy into sales?
The mission of this project was to decide the bases of a marketing strategy which permitted the establisment of Relais & Châteaux's marketing budget for 2011/12 and subsequent years.
The 'Big Picture' methodology was used to set business and marketing goals and strategies.
The phases of this methodology include:
- Selecting business objectives: profits or volume?
- Selecting marketing objectives: clients acquisition or retention?
- Selecting marketing strategies: stealing market share or stimulating new demand?
- Establishing the most adequate tactics for each set strategy.
chose seven business sectors on which the company must focus, three main business models
to successfully manage the group, and a way to reposition its brand
in the market.
The 'Big Picture' model
The marketing plan concluded that Relais & Châteaux ought to focus on increasing its profits in order to be able to raise the marketing budget for the following years. In order to do that, a customer loyalty strategy should be adopted over the customer attracting strategy in place at the time.
It is crucial to retain current guests who do not book through Relais & Châteaux and to make them become 'fans' of the brand so that they choose to use its reservation centre.
Four key businesses were identified to meet the set objectives: reservation centre (including the 'inventory not used' sales programme), gift certificates, partnerships, and R&C tribe. Each of said products require their own determined marketing plan.
Furthermore, the Restaurants division, in spite of not generating financial profit, was also identified as a business in need of a marketing plan.
Relais & Châteaux also obtained a general marketing budget scheme different to the one used up till then. The need to create a training scheme for the organisation was identified and so was the need to increase the budget percentage set aside for product creation and sales. This all meant that a lower percentage of the budget went to communication and staffing.