Chapter 8. Services Marketing

8.1 The Evolution of Marketing


Vintage advertisement. Long description available.
Figure 8.1 A vintage ad marketing the cost-effectiveness of Econo-Travel hotels from the July 1978 National Geographic. [Long Description]

Marketing is a continuous, sequential process through which management plans, researches, implements, controls, and evaluates activities designed to satisfy the customers’ needs and wants, and meet the organization’s objectives. According to Morrison (2010), services marketing “is a concept based on a recognition of the uniqueness of all services; it is a branch of marketing that specifically applies to the service industries” (p. 767). In general, the aims of marketing are to “create value for customers,” “build strong relationships” and “capture value from customers in return” (Kotler, Armstrong, Trifts, & Cunningham, 2014, p. 2).

Marketing in the tourism and hospitality industry requires an understanding of the differences between marketing goods, services, and experiences. To be successful in tourism marketing, organizations need to understand the unique characteristics of their tourism experiences, the motivations and behaviours of travelling consumers, and the fundamental differences between marketing goods, services, and experiences.

Until the 1930s, the primary objective of businesses was manufacturing, with little thought given to sales or marketing. In the 1930s, a focus on sales became more important; technological advances meant that multiple companies could produce similar goods, creating increased competition. Even as companies began to understand the importance of sales, the needs and wants of the customer remained a secondary consideration (Morrison, 2010).

In 1944, the first television commercial, for Bulova watches, reached 4,000 sets (Davis, 2013). The decades that followed, the 1950s and 1960s, are known as an era when marketing began to truly take off, with the number of mediums expanding and TV ad spending going from 5% of total TV revenues in 1953 to 15% just one year later (Davis, 2013).

A colourful abstract poster that says, "Life is so beautiful. Stay alive. Don't smoke cigarettes."
Figure 8.2 A 1970s Peter Max–designed ad for the American Cancer Society, urging people to not smoke.

The era from approximately 1950 to around 1970 was known as a time of marketing orientation (Morrison, 2010). Customers had more choice in product, which required companies to shift focus to ensure that consumers knew how their products matched specific needs. This was also the time when quality of service and customer satisfaction became part of organizational strategy. We began to see companies develop internal marketing departments, and in the 1960s, the first full-service advertising agencies began to emerge.

Societal marketing emerged in the 1970s when organizations began to recognize their place in society and their responsibility to citizens (or at least the appearance thereof). This change is demonstrated, for example, by natural resource extraction companies supporting environmental management issues and implementing more transparent policies. This decade saw the emergence of media we are familiar with today (the first hand-held mobile phone was launched in 1973) and the decline of traditional marketing through vehicles such as print; the latter evidenced by the closure of LIFE Magazine in 1972 amid complaints that TV advertising was too difficult to compete with (Davis, 2013).

The 1990s ushered in the start of the online marketing era. E-commerce (electronic commerce) revolutionized every industry, perhaps impacting the travel industry most of all. Tourism and hospitality service providers began making use of this technology to optimize marketing to consumers; manage reservations; facilitate transactions; partner and package itineraries; provide (multiple) customer feedback channels; collect, mine, analyze, and sell data; and automate functions. The marketing opportunities of this era appeared limitless and paved the way for the maturation of social media marketing and a number of other marketing shifts including the increased use of big data, mobile technology, and short- and long-form video content in marketing, as well as a more empowered and engaged consumer. Table 8.1 summarizes the evolution of marketing over the last century and beyond.

Table 8.1 Evolution of marketing in the 20th century and beyond
[Skip Table]
Timeframe Marketing Era
1920–1930 Production orientation
1930–1950 Sales orientation
1950–1960 Marketing department (marketing orientation, internal agency)
1960–1970 Marketing company (marketing orientation, external agency)
1970–Present Societal marketing
1990–Present Online marketing
2000–Present Social media marketing
2010–Present Several competing and interwoven trends (big data, customer-centricity, content strategy, mobile, etc.)
Data source: Morrison, 2010; Callahan 2020

Typically, the progression of marketing in tourism and hospitality has been 10 to 20 years behind other sectors. Some in the industry attribute this to the traditional career path in the tourism and hospitality industry where managers and executives worked their way up the ranks (e.g., from bellhop to general manager) rather than through a post-secondary business education that is more the norm today. It was previously commonly believed that to be a leader in this industry one had to understand the operations inside-out, so training and development of managers was based on technical and functional capabilities, rather than marketing savvy. And, as we’ll learn next, marketing services and experiences is distinct and sometimes more challenging than marketing goods. For these reasons, most businesses in the industry have been developing marketing skills for only about 30 years (Morrison, 2010).

Long Descriptions

Figure 8.1 long description: A black-and-white advertisement. A man holds up a calculator looking skeptical. He says, “Are you kidding me? A big double bed, television, air conditioning, and only $12.95 a night? It doesn’t compute.” A hotel staff member stands behind him looking pleased and says, “Please, sir. Economy is our first name.” At the bottom of the ad, it says, “Econo-Travel: Motor Hotels and Lodges. Economy is our first name.” [Return to Figure 8.1]



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Introduction to Tourism and Hospitality in BC - 2nd Edition Copyright © 2015, 2020, 2021 by Morgan Westcott and Wendy Anderson, Eds is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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