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Marketing Project – Banquet Facility

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Marketing Environment

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Regulatory Forces

There is no political force that can interfere in the banquet business. However, an entrepreneur has to obtain license to have the right for providing food and liquor. Another special feature is frequent visits of the local health inspector, who verifies compliance of food and liquor regulations, as well as compliance of the norms for kitchen and restroom facilities (Cross). Managers need to pay extra attention to the age of their clients, because main customers will be students. Therefore, according to the law they have to be at least 21 years old to be capable to drink alcohol.

Competitive Forces

New Banquet facilities will have very direct stiff competition in West Lafayette, because dozens of banquet halls work there. However, thirty-five facilities are the most popular among customers. The strongest competitor is The Trails.

“The Trails has been a part of the Greater Lafayette landscape since 1955. In 1990, the well-respected Van’s Catering Service purchased The Trails Banquet Facility to provide the area with a unique dining experience. The Trails Banquet Facility and Conference Center is the perfect historic get-away [ ] yet it is only 5 minutes from downtown. No other place can you get that “country retreat” feel within such a close distance from downtown Lafayette and West Lafayette” (United States Census Bureau).

It offers wide variety of delicious food and services for various events. For example, customers can order here seafood, traditional desserts, European food etc.  Guests are able to reserve any of 4 halls of The Trails: The Outlook room (seating 40 to 90 people), The Prophet’s room (seating 100 to 325 people), The Tecumseh room (seating 65 to 225 people), The Tippecanoe room (seating 25-60 people). The company has their official website and many advertisements in the Internet. However, prices are quite high in The Trail. There are many other banquet facilities in the city. They offer different kinds of food and price, but these competitors rival on a limited basis. These competitors are not able to cater such a big amount of people as The Trail does. Besides, quality of their food is lower. Despite big number of competitors, new player can enter this market successfully, because target market is students of Purdue University, so customers change every year. Therefore, new player primary needs to make effective advertizing campaign at the beginning of a new academic year.

Economic Forces

The economy of the city is under great influence of Purdue University. Nearly 40,000 people (more the city’s population) study there. Besides, there are 12,000 employees, who mainly live in West Lafayette and Lafayette. 

Another big economic force is Purdue Research Park that has been established in 1961. Today, the Park network has four locations, 216 companies with more than 4,000 jobs. It pays an average annual salary of $63,000 – 65 percent higher than the Indiana’s average. The Park offers state-of-the-art communications infrastructure, excellent research facilities, and a business incubation complex that is to help start-up firms and scenic walking trails and lakes., The University’s non-profit funding and technology licensing assistance, Purdue Research Foundation, own the Purdue Research Park (Economic development).

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However, Commercial activities mostly take place in Lafayette across the river. Wabash Landing/Levee area is the largest commercial area in West Lafayette.. The Levee features Wabash Landing, a complex that contains shops, coffee houses, restaurants, a 9-screen movie theater, the Riverside Skating Center and Hilton Garden Inn.

Technological Forces

Firstly, today advanced technology is available to make technical systems more user-friendly and provide a fully integrated system to manage the parameters influencing comfort conditions. For example, modern technologies are able to manage such parameters as noise, moisture, smell and heat (Gunewardane, 2012).

Secondly, banquet facilities may be used not only for parties, but also for business meetings. Therefore, modern facilities can provide permanent rear projection and screens with portable stages, under-floor trunking system, technologically-advanced audio, visual and stage lighting, connecting to utility and telecommunication services, ceiling of 9 meter height with vaulted ceilings above and vehicle access via the ballroom, series of banner hanging or rigging points in pre-function areas and the hall. (Banquet Hall ).

Thirdly, banquet halls also serve food. Therefore, they should have innovative kitchen equipment.

Finally, it is important to apply to the Internet as a distribution channel. Customers should have opportunity to reserve banquet hall for a desirable date in the Internet. This possibility should be available not only on the official website, but also on websites that present different banquet facilities, for example.  Potential clients can visit such kinds of website, check availability and price, read reviews and ratings, and than make final decisions.

Social Forces

The average American family tries to organize such events as wedding receptions, bachelor parties, etc., in a qualitative way, because all these occasions are important for every person. Therefore, demand for well-furnished, comfortable banquet facilities with delicious cuisine and educated staff will always stay stable. Moreover, population of West Lafayette continues to increase, that is why target market also expands (United States Census Bureau, 2011). In addition, Purdue Research Park still invests money in the city. For example, they spent $256 million on the Park facilities and infrastructure from 1999 to 2010. Besides, salaries of their employees are 65 percent higher than the Indiana average (Economic development). Consequently, many inhabitants have well-paid jobs, so they can afford to spend money on entertainment. However, about 6% of inhabitants are unemployed and over 9 % of families live below poverty level (West Lafayette, Indiana, 2011).

Despite stable demand for banquet facilities, there is a tendency, that customers are becoming more persnickety, that is why new players of this market should invent original ways of attracting potential customers. For example, clients can be interested with unusual decoration, innovative equipment, new menus and music options. Besides, managers can prepare various offers for students, young couples and companies, because their requirements are quite different.

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Target Market

Demographics

Market segments of banquet hall fall into three categories: students, young couples and private companies. They range in age from 18 to 60. The number of students in West Lafayette is bigger than city’s population. This market segment can be interested in organizing bachelor parties, birthday celebrations or Christmas feast in banquet halls. On the other hand, the average income of students is quite low, so they cannot afford to use this kind of service regularly. Another market segment – young couples – usually rent banquet halls for wedding reception. Fiancee and her fiance, together, have an annual income that is average for West Lafayette - $29,014 (United States Census Bureau, 2011). Besides, numerous companies of Purdue Research Park, they are also potential customers. They can reserve banquet hall for business meetings or special occasions. Money that companies are able to spend may vary. It depends on the size of the company.

Geographic

Geographic market for banquet facilities includes mainly West Lafayette and Lafayette, because this kind of business is widely presented in other areas. Market density is over 12,000 households in West Lafayette area (United States Census Bureau, 2011).

Psychographic

Students, young couples and companies clearly have different attitudes, beliefs and emotions. For example, students usually expect to receive joy and fun, and prefer ordinary food. Besides, they need enough space for dancing and appropriate music. Young couples order banquet halls for weddings, so they want romantic decorations and atmosphere. They also need nice photos, so illumination should be appropriate. Business people require formal and serious atmosphere, modern equipment and exquisite food. Besides, this market segment expects outstanding service. Companies pay less attention to prices, than students and young couples.

Benefits Sought and Usage Rate

Potential customers usually save money in order to pay for banquet facilities, as they cannot afford to pay for this service because of too low average monthly income. Clients reserve banquet halls online, by phone or during personal visits. Choice of facility depends on recommendations of people that previously used the halls. Therefore, new players of this market need to keep good reputation from the beginning. Besides, another distinctive feature is infrequent usage rate. For example, students and young couples reserve banquet halls once or few times a life. Business people need this service more frequently but usually for special occasions.

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