Series of Essays on Communications by solehin251


									The importance of strategic management and planning Series of essays

1.1 The importance of strategic management and planning The increasing popularity of strategic management planning specially in corporate communication practice can be attributed not only to accelerating changes in tourism industry but also to the increasing of global corporate business competitions. Strategic management model /theory can be defined as planning of a systematic analysis and investigation of a company and its environment that can be used to generate new ideas for business strategies and to evaluate the feasibility of business ideas before they are actually implemented.

Application of strategic management theory in corporate communication practice in tourism industry can allows the industry players such as airlines, travel and hotel management to become more aware of the businesses strengths and weaknesses and to understand the reasons behind successes and failures. It can also open up channels of communication between high-level among its managers, executives and non-executives, allowing them to share ideas and perspectives. This participative process can help all involved to accept changes more readily after decisions are made.

Good communication skills and sound knowledge about the competitive environment by the players in this industry can help the players to anticipate and plan for changes and predict how competitors or other stakeholders such as customers will respond to new strategies or other organizational activities.

2.0 Strategic management in corporate communication practice for tourism industry Michael Porter (2000) proposed that the nature of competition in an industry can be defined by the market power of customers and suppliers, the level of inter firm rivalry, and the strength of substitutes and entry barriers. Although this so-called "five forces" model has stood the test of time, its practical limitations are also apparent.

For example, although Porter's five-force approach helps to define competition through customers, suppliers, competitors, substitutes, and entry barriers, it does not include an evaluation of other important stakeholders that have a bearing on industry and firm performance, such as unions, financial institutions, the media, and local communities. Also, the model does not incorporate political factors.

Corporate strategists communicate to gather information about external stakeholders for a variety of purposes, many of them self evident. A hotel company, for instance, it makes sense to track frequent guests' preferences to meet their needs more effectively and to look at its competitors for innovations in products, services, processes, and strategies. In fact, excellent ideas can come from virtually thorough good communication practice to any of its stakeholder. Tourism players such as airlines, travel, hotel and restaurant industries are clearly adept at this aspect of observing the task environment.

Today, business and corporate governance initiatives across the globe have been pleading with companies to become more transparent in their dealings with stakeholders.

The benefits for a company that becomes more transparent in corporate communication practice includes the closing of information and perception gaps, likely increases in share price values because stakeholders such as analysts will perceive the difference between the importance of certain information and the degree to which it is reported. It will provided better understanding and ultimately improvement of the trust factor in business relationships.

The problem lies in how to improve transparency. One way to impact on transparency is to adapt some traditional models of interpersonal communication practice for use in an organizational context which helps the players and people to improve interpersonal interactions through assessing the ways in which they give and receive information.

Corporate communication practice and political power Political power can be defined as the ability to persuade lawmakers, society, or regulators to take steps that influence a firm's actions or performance. For example, a politically strong connected industrial player might influence government to enact legislation to protect its rights, or a politically strong connected industrial group may be able to influence the government to save their business.

It was showed currently in Malaysian scene. When the Malaysian government announced that all state and federal department not held government courses and conventions in hotels due to the cost cutting measure, the hotel operator association of Malaysia (MAHA) pleaded against that move and push the government to rethink it decision again, on the basis that it will destroys the hotel business.

In general, great corporate communication skills can do well for business. It is a good idea to keep track of the attitude of political leaders with regard to business factors, as well as any indication with regard to their attitudes about particular industries. With regard to investments, it is important to evaluate the stability of the government regime, as well as its attitude de toward players of the industry and investors.

Corporate communication practice and economic factor Since strategic management theory in corporate communication deals with planning for the future, it is especially important to anticipate likely to business changes. By anticipating changes in the business, one can devise strategies for dealing with those changes.

For example, a hotel company may adjust its pricing strategy or its marketing strategy on the basis of anticipated consumer demand. In can be done through good communication practice among the players in the industry through sharing of business and economic information and forecasts

Business information which includes measures such as the economic climate or gross income per-capita which translate to the ability to travel and spend is more readily available than information about other aspects of the broad environment. Consequently, one has little excuse for not including economic factors in the planning processes.

Corporate communication practice and competitor power Competitors have economic power based on their ability to compete. Competitors with disproportionately strong resource bases can be aggressive and create a strong rivalry. It is important to define the nature of rivalry in each market, as well as the industry as a whole. The key to rivalry in some tourism markets such as airlines and hotels is pricing, for example, whereas in others it may be brand differentiation.

Fierce global competition in tourism sector has brought companies together to share resources and pursue joint activities. The industries players in Malaysian tourism such as MAS and Air Asia now realize through good corporate communication practice in strategic management in cooperation and sharing can bring great benefits to industry as whole. Today alliances of all types are being formed in increasing numbers on a worldwide scale.

Although alliances are common in tourism industries such as in travel and hospitality businesses, that does not mean that the company should necessarily form one with every stakeholder. Alliances have costs, such as contracting and administrative expenses, and alliances also entail the risks associated with potential loss of private information, employees, customers, or technology.

In considering alliances, one should create a communication priority list of stakeholders based on such factors as economic or political power or access to resources.

But problems may still arise. For example, some potential partners may offer intangible resources, chiefly knowledge or technical ability. Many hotel and restaurant companies enter markets through joint ventures because by themselves they have neither resources in nor sufficient knowledge of the host country. It is not so different to the airline industry.

Although the airline industry has operated as an oligopoly entity, it was never well organized, in the sense of demonstrating a high level of cooperation among major competitors. Strategic management between parties involved through effective communication can be vital to ensure the success of the cooperation. In MAS and Air Asia case, such cooperation can take the form of avoiding head-on competition by focusing on different market segments, forming alliances, price leadership, or even collusion. In recent years, these two national carriers have tried to become more organized by forming alliances such as code-sharing agreements to keep their share on the local market cake.

Corporate communication practice and company resources It is part of the tourism industry's character that among the most important resources for a travel or hospitality company to possess are its human resources and how the corporate communication is done within the organization. As a consequence, human-resources management analysis should be conducted at all levels, starting with regular evaluation of top managers' performance. Moving one level down in the hierarchy, executives should communicate evaluate the skill levels, training, experience, and performance of supervisory personnel. Moreover, an organization should continuously evaluate the effectiveness of its communication flows, training programs and policies, as well as its employee-reward systems.

A company's organizational knowledge and learning systems also should be evaluated regularly. People skills and intellectual assets are among the most vital assets of all healthy organizations. The most effective organizations tend to be those that can learn and communicate well. Indeed, every company in the industry should monitor its own knowledgecreation systems to determine where its knowledge comes from, how it is recorded, and how it is distributed to appropriate parts of the organization through well distributed communication flow. It's also worth noting whether the organization is developing innovative knowledge or is constantly playing catch up with other company.

Corporate communication practice and technological advantages In tourism industry, corporate communication technology emphasis should rest on the way services are produced and delivered. It would be incorrect, however, to assume that communication technologies do not apply to the tourism industry such as hospitality and travel business.

Consider, for example, the effect of computer technology on hotels or airlines distribution. The use of electronic reservation systems through website revolutionized the industry. This approach not only building up the corporate brand among players in hotel industries but also reaching out for its customers. It also changed the way many people make reservations for hotels, airlines, and car rentals.

Building up corporate brand through communication practice is importance in tourism industries. But current communication technology has made it much less expensive to implement a wide range of service procedures. Now hotels and airlines can maintain customer profiles on computer. Ritz-Carlton and Hilton, for instance, tracks the tastes and preferences of its regular visitors. Ritz-Carlton properties use their guest database to good advantage by arranging for express check-in for regular guests, who need only to call and say when they plan to arrive.

That differentiation strategy helped Ritz-Canton and Hilton to expand rapidly by appealing to value-conscious business or leisure travelers through effective communication in marketing and brand appeal strategies.

Corporate communication practice and integrated marketing A strategic communication approach is necessary for the delivery of integrated marketing communication. This helps to build an understanding of the differences between buyer/consumer behaviour and how marketing communication strategies are developed, organized and implemented.

This addresses critical issues relating to e-commerce and the Internet in the light of corporate communication strategy. International communication management image, identity and reputation are the three major constructs used to explore well constructed strategic communication and corporate management. The fundamental differences and similarities between theories of image, identity and reputation are analyzed. „Think global, act local‟ and e-commerce driven campaigns are discussed in the light of local management and web usability.

Crisis management techniques are evaluated within a framework of continuity planning and risk analysis. The roles of environmental activism and pressure groups are explored as well as matters of public relations counseling and corporate personality.

Practicing communicators in good public relations (PR) for tourism industry need an understanding of corporate and business environment. An information professional perspective on the field of corporate communication and PR is an asset to the industry. Through an exploration of contexts, needs and requirements its shows how appropriate information and knowledge strategic management techniques can be applied to PR and corporate communication problems.

Developing methods, using the digital technologies, and shaping policy and strategy in practice, it aims to strengthen the industry players to grasp overmasters relating to information, intelligence and knowledge resources in order to solve problems and develop solutions.

The mass in tourism industry, while now new and innovative, will follow the same economic rules as other more mundane industries that also struggled to adapt to global economic shifts. Price advantage is fleeting and for this reason price should not be the sole basis for comparative advantage. To remain a player in the increasingly competitive tourism world, destination countries will have to offer more than just a price advantage. Niches based on state-of-the-art technology, quality of care, and personalized service will become more important although, alas, harder and harder to establish.

Strategic management communicators today must think and practice strategically to be relevant in today's corporate organizations, achieving measurable results and influencing reputation and performance. That the only reason corporate communication exists is to achieve measurable results that help the organization achieve its mission.

The focus of strategic management in corporate communication practice is to impact and influence reputation and performance. Most strategic approach in management for tourism industry can be found within the company and organization, in people's minds and in the files.

For all tourism industry management communicators, they can learn a great deal from 'classical strategic planning'. The process and its techniques, language, and methods of measuring success, all combine to help the organizational communicator learn to think strategically and manage corporate communication in a strategic and successful manner.



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10) M.E. Porter. (2000). Competitive Strategy: Techniques/or Analyzing Industries and Competitors. New York: The Free Press

11) Michael B. Goodman. (2006). Corporate Communication Practice and Pedagogy at the Dawn of the New Millennium. Journal: Corporate Communications. Emerald Group Publishing Limited: UK

12) Robert D. Reid, David C. Bojanic. (2005). Tourism and Hospitality Marketing Management, Student Workbook, 4th Edition. John Wiley Publishing. Hoboken: NJ

13) Stephen Taylor, Fevzi Okumus. (2007). Strategic Management in the International Hospitality and Tourism Industry: Content and Process. J Butterworth-Heinemann: London

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