The Happy 8 Retreat: An “Art Stay”
It was on 5 March 2019, Tan Kai Lek, the founder and managing director of the Happy 8 Retreat, thumbed through the financial report of the hotel for 2018. The revenue and profit of the hotel was slashed by 20% in year 2018 as compared to the previous year. The revenue decline was partly due to the fierce competition as the number of boutique hotels had increased significantly around Ipoh. In starting a hotel which embraced an ecology and environmentally friendly setting and ambience, Tan described his hotel as providing an “art stay” to its guests, targeting those who want to have a novel hotel experience. Nevertheless, just like other small-sized hotels in Malaysia, Tan lack of effective marketing plan and strategies for his business. Tan believed in the importance of word-of-mouth marketing. However, he was told about the negative reviews posted on the online booking platforms by his staff which can affect the customers’ decision in choosing the hotel. Tan was aware that the online reviews have became a major source of the reference for the potential customers, he was wondering how he can improve his hotel’s sales through more effective use of word-of-mouth and digital marketing.