Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of marketing in small hotels specifically, and, more generally, to the area of SME or entrepreneurial marketing. Design/methodology/approach – A deductive‐inductive approach based on interviews with 15 small hotel owner‐managers, supported by web site analysis and three in‐depth case study interviews, was used to provide a profile of marketing activities in small hotels in North Wales. Findings – The application of Carson's levels of activity model to characterise and classify the marketing strategies and activities of the respondent hotels suggested that for these small hotels an additional category would be helpful in characterising marketing activities, inexpert marketing. On this basis, five of the hotels were in the non‐marketing category, eight in the inexpert category, and two in the implicit category; none were in Carson's sophisticated category. Further, any one hotel might fall into different categories on the basis of their engagement with different areas (such as marketing knowledge, or promotion). Originality/value – These findings suggest that, whilst the search for a definition of entrepreneurial marketing is useful in articulating the difference between what SMEs do and marketing theory, there is also a need to recognise that there is a spectrum of different styles of and approaches to marketing adopted by different SME owner‐managers even within a specific sector, such that it is important not to neglect to develop models which help owner/managers, advisors, consultants and academics to understand the diversity in this sector.
Marketing Intelligence & Planning – Emerald Publishing
Published: May 9, 2008
Keywords: Hospitality services; Marketing strategy; Tourism marketing; Hotel and catering industry; Small to medium‐sized enterprises; United Kingdom
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