Controlling Word-of-Mouth : A qualitative study of the hotel industry in the region of Jönköping
Since a normal person of today is exposed to a vast number of marketing messages from conventional marketing methods like advertising campaigns and commercials, the con-sumer will have to make a choice from all these offers conveyed through promotional ef-forts. Word-of-mouth (WOM) is the informal communication about a service or product between consumers. This can be said to serve as a credibility filter for the consumer be-cause of its perceived independence and trustworthiness. Gaining control of WOM from the company’s point of view could create a competitive advantage over competitors in the market place. Service industries, such as the hotel industry, are highly affected by WOM and therefore hotels were chosen in the Jönköping region in order to study the company awareness and ability to control the WOM phenomenon.The purpose of the thesis is to investigate if WOM is a factor which is controlled by the hotel firms and to detect and describe how this is done and what kind of the marketing methods that are being used.The method chosen by the authors of the thesis in order to gather primary data was of a qualitative nature were interviews were conducted together with appropriate hotel manag-ers of hotels in the Jönköping region in order to study their view on the WOM phenome-non. Secondary data was collected from relevant theoretical articles and books in order to carry out the analysis of the primary data. The theoretical framework consists of theory concerning WOM, service and relationship marketing.The authors of the thesis conclude that there is awareness among the respondents about the power of WOM and its importance for the business. However, there seem to be a greater consciousness of using actions for minimizing negative WOM than consciously in-fluence the spread of positive WOM. Some actions taken by the hotels are indeed believed to generate positive WOM but there appears to be a thin line between creating relationship and actually influencing the spread of positive WOM, this perhaps due to the problem of the WOM evaluation of the actions taken. Size/financial mean also seem to be important factors on the hotels dependence on WOM the action taken to try to generate positive WOM. Even though some methods were detected that were thought to harness WOM, there is still a rather passive attitude among the respondents towards actually being able to influence WOM to its full extent. By gaining more insights of WOM and the marketing methods currently used, the authors of the thesis believe that hotels studied would become more efficient in their marketing efforts.
School:Högskolan i Jönköping
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:word of mouth service marketing relationship hotel
Date of Publication:03/06/2007