Banyan Tree Hotel and Resorts is a key player in the luxury resorts and spa industry in Asia. To expand, Banyan Tree has introduced new brands and extensions including resorts, spas, retail outlets, and museum shops. The company must find a way to balance maintaining the unique identity and strong brand image of its flagship brand while growing its business through managing its brand portfolio.
The following questions will be answered in this case study:
What is the appropriate target market for Banyan Tree? How wide is its geographical reach – local, regional, global?
Banyan tree focuses on catering to the high-end market of well-off couples, who are willing to spend $2,500 for a four-night stay. The target audience comprises couples who value romance and have a taste for luxury. They seek exceptional service without exorbitant prices. Banyan Tree is the perfect destination for individuals in search of a peaceful and rejuvenating experience.
In general, the target segment of the Banyan Tree was individuals in their 30s and 40s who were seeking luxury accommodation emphasizing romance, intimacy, privacy, and rejuvenation. Additionally, the resort aimed to attract corporate clients such as financial companies, information technology companies, and aerospace industries, offering them the opportunity to host corporate meetings, retreats, or special conferences in private villas specifically designed for couples.
Banyan Tree caters to companies in need of off-site training programs, including team-building activities. With sales offices located in various countries such as the USA, UK, Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, and Germany, Banyan Tree has a global reach. Its target market consists of high-end customers looking for a private retreat in exclusive surroundings. These individuals are seeking luxury at affordable prices. Banyan Tree appeals to couples worldwide who are successful and in their 30s and 40s. Furthermore, the company also targets businesses searching for a venue to host off-site training programs.
In these markets, who are the main competitors? What are the competitive advantages of Banyan Tree (country-or firm-specific advantages)? Disadvantages?
The main competitors of Banyan Tree include Aman Resorts, Four Seasons, and Ritz Carlton. Other competitors, based on location, include Le Royal Meridian Phuket Yacht Club and resorts within Laguna Phuket. These competitors have the advantage of offering room rates as low as $150 per night.
The competitors in the market provided various amenities such as water sports, golf, dining options, day trips, excursions, health and beauty treatments, and kid’s clubs for families. While most of the competitors focused on offering different types of accommodations like rooms and suites, Le Royal dominated the luxury market segment. Many competitors also provided accommodations near a beach. Banyan Tree stood out with its competitive advantages of exclusive love-nest accommodations that emphasized romance, intimacy, privacy, and rejuvenation.
The Banyan Tree provides a unique experience for its customers by offering individual villas, which sets it apart from other high-end hotel chains. However, it is not the cheapest nor the most luxurious accommodation option available. Additionally, Banyan Tree may not be the top choice for families looking for accommodations with play areas for children or guests interested in water sports.
Banyan Tree faced competition from other luxury resorts and hotels in the vicinity. It distinguished itself as the preferred choice for couples, while other establishments were more suitable for guests looking for water sports or children’s activities.
How significant is the brand name for the target customers and the brand’s local versus global perception?
The brand name Banyan Tree plays a crucial role in targeting customers as it not only helps position the resorts but also generates favorable perceptions among the target audience.
The band Banyan Tree embodies an Asian ambiance and atmosphere, resonating with its target market and sparking their enthusiasm. The tagline “Sanctuary for the Senses” further solidifies the brand Banyan Tree. While being a local brand, Banyan Tree has a strong worldwide presence. It is crucial for the brand to be perceived as global. A growing trend is that customers now choose the resort first, before deciding on the destination. Therefore, if Banyan Tree is viewed as a global brand, it increases the likelihood of its guests visiting other locations where the resort is situated.
The brand communicates to customers the expected type of accommodation, level of service, and pricing. When guests choose a destination and search for accommodation, being a local brand can be advantageous.
Both the local flavor and global reach of the Banyan Tree name contribute to its advantage as a global brand. The brand name is significant in targeting customers by assuring them of the high quality of accommodation, service, and location. Furthermore, a brand like Banyan Tree elicits a strong emotional connection to the product/resort, attracting customers to visit.
What other methods can be used to enhance brand equity? How can expanding a product or service achieve the same outcome? What are the pros and cons of each approach? How would you evaluate the decision to introduce a second brand – is it beneficial or not?
Promotions such as seasonal savings, complimentary meals, free room nights, and tour inclusions not only boost sales but also decrease brand equity as they give the impression that the company is offering discounts to attract customers.
Advertisements, online quiz sections, travel toolkits, and banners on websites all contribute to the building of brand equity. The most effective approach to building brand equity is through offering superb accommodation, flawless service, and world-class locations. By expanding the Banyan Tree brand into e-travel, leisure, and lifestyle, the brand will be reshaped and no longer viewed solely as being associated with mystery, romance, and privacy.
In terms of benefits, Banyan Tree’s reputation among high-end customers makes them likely to explore e-travel, leisure, and lifestyle products. This association with Banyan Tree can help promote such products among the affluent clientele. However, a drawback is that repositioning the Banyan Tree brand as a general luxury brand focused on travel and leisure may be a negative consequence. The concept of introducing a separate brand for travel, leisure, and lifestyle does have some advantages. This would safeguard the Banyan Tree brand and maintain its image among customers. On the downside, creating these new brands would require KP to start from scratch.
When selecting a name, it is important to not only find an appropriate one but also ensure that it aligns with the desired levels of service and advertising. Otherwise, there will be a redundancy in advertising efforts, leading to higher costs for KP compared to the brand extension of the Banyan Tree.
How can the probability of successfully building the brand equity of Banyan Tree be evaluated? Are there any potential threats that could impede this effort? What recommendations can be made for the next steps in the brand building efforts?
The probability of successfully establishing brand equity for Banyan Tree will improve if KP follows specific steps. The likelihood of achieving success in developing brand equity will be exceptionally high if KP sticks to using the Banyan Tree name exclusively for resorts. These resorts can be situated anywhere globally, including the Caribbean. A resort based in the Caribbean under the Banyan Tree brand would bear the name Banyan Tree Caribbean. However, it is essential that each resort maintains consistent design and amenities. Essentially, each resort should offer individual villas providing similar services, privacy, and a romantic atmosphere. This approach will strengthen the brand equity of Banyan Tree.
While promotions alone do not improve Banyan Tree’s brand equity, carefully designed and skillfully executed advertising campaigns can help boost it. To protect and strengthen the brand equity of Banyan Tree, KP should refrain from linking the Banyan Tree name with e-tourism services, lifestyle products, or travel services. This is because low-quality offerings in these areas have the potential to diminish the brand equity of Banyan Tree. Brand equity encompasses both a positive reputation established through brand recognition and the financial value of a brand in terms of profitability and added service value.
Banyan Tree has the potential to increase its profits if it is utilized as intended – as exclusive resorts offering affordable luxury and privacy. By launching more resorts under the Banyan Tree name, each establishment can benefit from its reputation. However, there is a risk to the brand equity when subpar resorts or services are marketed under the Banyan Tree name, as well as when inferior travel or lifestyle products bear the same branding.