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This article examines the Red Carnation Hotel's online presence and web-based strategic approach to achieving their goals, ranking third in The Sunday Times' top 100 businesses to work with in 2016. (The Sunday Times, 2017). It investigates the website's different characteristics, contents, offerings, and functionalities to determine if the company's online presence is indicative of its core corporate principles and objectives. It also evaluates the website as a tool for implementing the company's corporate plan and trade objectives. A detailed discussion on how the company’s website aligns with its business purpose is followed by a set of recommendation on how the gap between the design of the website and web-based organizational strategy is presented in subsequent sections.
The website is built on eye-catching design, simple user-friendly interface and smooth transitional features that attract and keep its audience. The website offers online booking system on top of every page and offers a collection of hotels under the affiliation of the organization for the audience to choose from based on their stay and preference (Redcarnationhotels.com, 2017). The organization runs international hotel chains across different countries of the world–at seventeen locations to be precise, each having an individual website. The main website is designed as a common platform for all businesses, which can redirect customers to their hotel-of-interest and promote the business.
From the perspective of integrating different hotels at different locations, the website may be seen as a collaborative commerce web service model, which enables complex business logic rules and collaboration among different hotels. To speak of collaborations, a person booking at any of the hotels is seen to be a customer to the entire organization; promo code, special offers, loyalty services and other offers for returning customer starts applying in subsequent booking as soon as a customer books a room in any of the seventeen hotels. Evidently, the website database is keeping record of individual customer to track his future transactions to entice (Chen, Zhang and Zhou, 2017). Obviously, the website is good at creating and keeping customers and focusing on customer’s satisfaction.
Business Objective and its Alignment with the Web Design
Being an established brand in the industry, the Red Carnation Hotels’ main business objective is to uphold its business integrity and brand image through continuous customer services and personalized services, which the website reflects properly.
D’Amico (2013) argues that the first step in building a web-enabled business strategy is to understand that strategic planning requires a hierarchy of information. The website in the question is well organized, content-wise and functionality-wise. It presents the customer with varieties of opportunities and choices all in a single place and reduces the hassle of booking; a few clicks are all that the customer need to confirm his stay in the hotel.
To offer an integrated and highly responding service is to ensure customer satisfaction, the achievement of which is critical for any web-enabled business. An architectural hierarchy of information that comes from a thorough analysis of business objectives and mission; streamlining website design and web architecture with the business objective should be the prime concern of the web management authority (Shi and Murthy, 2003). For the Red Carnation Hotels, the main focus being on customer satisfaction, the web presence is playing a major role. The company website has a well-thought design that quickly enables the customer make his booking decisions and get ultimate satisfaction in transaction through secured channels.
Basic theory of web presence tells that the more a web page can keep its visitors in browsing the website and force him interact with data and personal information the better it will be as a web-enabled business (Giovinazzo, 2003).
Drawbacks of the Website that Falls Short from Business Objective
The economic downsizing and increased business competition create an urgent need for business to seek cost-effective and efficient method of reaching customer (AccountingWEB, 2017). Websites are best means of achieving this goal; websites offer easy way for sales promotion, marketing and customer contact (Dholakia et al., 2002). The website of the Red Carnation Hotels seems put less effort in marketing and much effort in aesthetic and contents. For example, the website does not include any promotional offers or lucrative sales attractions to visitors. Again, from the architectural viewpoint, a web-enabled business should focus on information extraction and building visitor database by tempting customers to interact with the website (Ye and Wu, 2015). Apart from newsletter, where a visitor has to input his email id, the website does not promote any popup window or something that might force the customer put his personal info and help the business track him.
Conclusions and Recommendations
The design of the website of the Red Carnation Hotels is representative of its clean business image while its functionalities and contents reflect the company’s history-long commitment and dedication to its customers and stakeholders. The web architecture and features streamline with core business strategy of offering customers with suitable choices and helping them have good impression about the company.
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