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Managing a Marketing Research for a Hotel Project

Introduction
Projects can be defined as "one-off activities with a well-understood end goal" (Webb, 1994, p. 37).  And the project manager is seen as the "expression of [the] need to bring together, to co-ordinate and control individuals in different disciplines, in pursuit of a common goal" (p. 38). This project reports on the managing of the marketing research for a hotel project. This research was commissioned by a European hotel chain that plans to build and operate three hotels in Jamaica. Since the chain had no experience in the Caribbean, they needed to gather research on several elements before they commenced hotel building. As one element of this research, we were commissioned to undertake an investigation of the potential customers. The first component involved determining which types of tourists generally visited Jamaica and why they do so. The second component was more complex and involved determining the internal and external style and structure of hotel that American and European travellers would be attracted to. Both these elements would help the chain narrow down their target market and design the hotels to their customers' expectations, without losing to their own distinctive style and within the confines of Jamaican building regulations.

To undertake this research, a project format was deemed appropriate and project team was put together. This team was mainly comprised of marketing personnel, but also included an architect and a specialist on Caribbean culture. As the head of the marketing department, I became the project manager. The main focus of this report is thus on the project management element and how to manage projects effectively. However, other elements of management, particularly problem-solving and decision-making, are highlighted throughout the report as they arise.

The agreement upon a written specification has several benefits:

  • the clarity will reveal misunderstandings
  • the completeness will remove contradictory assumptions
  • the rigour of the analysis will expose technical and practical details
  • the agreement forces all concerned to actually read and think about the details

In project management, teams of people are brought together from different backgrounds to complete one project. The project manager has to be skilled in putting a team together and making it work, and this also will include communication skills, decision-making, and problem-solving. The project manager has to clarify the team goals, identify those issues which inhibit the team from reaching their goals, and address those issues by removing the inhibitors and enabling the goals to be achieved. Different teams have to be managed in different ways, which I think is a key point. The best practice that is recommended for the 'average' team must be tailored to the personalities in each particular team and the stage that the team is at.  Finally, always look at problems as opportunities to gain knowledge as well as experience.

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