Storytelling: A Study of Marketing Communication in the Hospitality Industry (Management Project)

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There is an information surplus in the marketplace today and finding marketing resources that are both effective and affordable is difficult. As quantity and price has lost its competitive power and quality and symbolic meaning has become increasingly important, storytelling as a marketing mean can be one concept to apply, especially in the service sector.

The hospitality industry is one of the largest service sectors, facing fierce competition. Many hotels have a story to share and storytelling is today a buzzword in the industry, but it has not received much attention in the academic world. Therefore, little is known about storytelling from a business administration perspective, more specifically marketing communication, which is our field of interest in this thesis.

The purpose of this project is to study and analyze storytelling and how it is used as marketing communication in the Swedish hospitality industry.

To fulfill our purpose, a qualitative study with an inductive approach was chosen as suitable. Primary data was gathered through interviews with managers from nine different hotels, which all work actively with storytelling. Theories regarding service marketing, marketing communications, and storytelling helped us to collect appropriate empirical data and also to structure the analysis.

Storytelling in the hospitality industry is an identity or an image, and the purpose of using storytelling is to be remembered and to mediate a feeling. As a concept, it requires attributes and a certain level of truth is important to remain trustworthy. Furthermore, storytelling facilitates the communication process between the hotels and their customers and it often strengthens customers’ attitudes towards the hotel. Both private and business customers are attracted by stories, but it is easier to communicate the story to large groups during a conference. It is however difficult to mediate the whole concept through marketing communication tools as it is too compound. Storytelling facilitates an integrated marketing communication as it becomes an image and word of mouth is increased due to that people talk about the unexpected.
Source: Jönköping University
Author: Ågren, Maria | Ölund, Martina

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