Banyan Tree_pg521-529 - CASE CASE STUDY � Banyan Tree...

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CASE CASE STUDY · Banyan Tree: Branding the IntangibleJochen Wirtz Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts had become a leading player in the luxury resort andspa market in Asia. As part of its growth strategy, Banyan Tree had launched newbrands and brand extensions that included resorts, spas, residences,destination club memberships, retail outlets, and even museum shops. Now, thecompany is preparing to aggressively grow its global footprint in the Americas,Caribbean, Europe and the Middle East while preserving its distinctive Asianidentity and strong brand image. COMPANY BACKGROUND A brand synonymous with private villas, tropical garden spas, and retail galleries promoting traditional craft, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts received its first guest in 1994 in Phuket, Thailand. Since then, it had grown into a leading manager and developer of niche and premium resorts, hotels, and spas in the Asia-Pacific region. Despite having minimal advertising, BanyanTree achieved a global exposure and a highlevelofbrandawarenessthroughthecompany'spublicrelationsandglobalmarketing pro- grams. Much interest was alsogenerated by the company's socially responsiblebusiness values and practices caring for the socialand natural environments. With a firm foothold inthe medium-sized luxury resorts market, thecompany in troduced a new and contemporarybrand, Angsana, in 2000 to gain a wider customer
base. By October 2015, Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd. (BTHR) managed and/or had ownership interests in 38 resorts and hotels, 67 spas, 79 retail galleries, and two golf courses in 28 countries. Since its establishment in 1994, the company's flagship brand, Banyan Tree, had won some 1,200 international tourism, hospitality, design, and marketing awards, some of which included "2014 Forbes Travel Guide Award,Top 10 Hotels In Mexicoin 2014 by the US News for Banyan Tree Mayakoba, "Best Spa Resort in China in 2014 for Banyan Tree Lijiang from the 7th Annual TTG China Travel Award, National Geographic Traveleraward for Banyan Tree Yangshuo in 2014, and Best Spa Operator" at the 25th Annual TTG Travel Awards 2014 (for the 10th consecutiveyear), for Banyan Tree Spa. As the resorts market became increasingly crowded with similar competitive offerings, lured by the success of Banyan Tree, the company had to contemplate about expanding its business and preserving its distinct identity. Banyan Tree and Angsana resorts were expanding geographically outside of Asia and also into theurban hotel market in major cities throughout the world. With around 30 hotels and resorts scheduled to open over the next three years, Banyan Tree faced the challenge of translating and maintaining the success of a niche Asian hospitality brand into various market segments on a global scale.

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