Sales & Marketing

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Gay and lesbian guests

The availability of gay friendly hotels, gays only hotels, and gay and lesbian travel agencies demonstrates that the gay men and lesbian population has already been discovered by the hospitality industry. The size of this segment and its economic power, as well as new legislation prohibiting discrimination, account for the interest the hospitality industry has in gay men and lesbians. The gay and lesbian population is estimated at 5 10% of the general population.

Gap Model of service quality

The Gap Model of service quality was developed by Parasuraman, Zeithaml, and Berry (1985), and more recently described in Zeithaml, Bitner, and Gremler (2009). It has served as a framework for research in services marketing, including hospitality marketing, for more than two decades. The model identifies four specific gaps leading to a fifth overall gap between customers’ expectations and perceived service.


In the Middle Ages, kings or local sovereigns granted rights to church officials, farmers and tradesmen to collect taxes, brew ale, operate markets or hunt on their land and, in return, obtained a fee for these rights. Probably the earliest example of consumer goods franchising was recorded in 1850 when the Singer Sewing Machine Company granted agents the right to sell and repair its line of sewing machines within specific territories. Howard Johnson is recognized as the first person in the hospitality industry to use the franchising model. In the 1940s, he expanded his original ice cream business into the Red Roof coffee shops and later expanded further into motor lodges.


‘‘Framing’’ refers to positive or negative associations that accompany information. Framing occurs in two primary ways. First, the message that a company sends about a product or service is accompanied by images, sounds, or other stimuli associated with the product. These may have a positive or a negative effect on the customer. For example, a hotel company uses rock music in an advertisement, creating a ‘‘frame’’ for the customer to evaluate the hotel.


Theoretically the term forecasting means planning for the future but it is used colloquially in the hospitality business to mean short term planning. It is a less formal process than budgeting (planning for a full financial year ahead), being operational in approach and predicting the coming days, weeks and perhaps months. Budgets tend to become outdated quickly due to changes in economic conditions, weather, market activities and so on, and hence a more immediate short term estimate of anticipated volume is required.

Focus groups

A focus group consists of a group of individuals brought together to discuss specific issues. The group is usually sized between 10 and 12 participants, although mini focus groups of 5 7 are common (personal communication, Dr. Stowe Shoemaker, March 25, 2004). Participants in a focus group are frequently screened before they are selected to participate. The group is led through a series of topics, questions, and discussions by a moderator that is usually part of the research team.

Feasibility study

A feasibility study is an analysis that is most often conducted by a third party, that indicates whether a project is reasonable, meets the needs of the target market (the group of consumers to which the foodservice operator wants to appeal), and is financially viable, among other things. Such a study is generally conducted only after the concept underlying the restaurant operation is articulated.

External analysis

External analysis focuses on identifying and evaluating trends and events beyond the control of a single hospitality firm, such as increased foreign competition, population shifts, an aging society and advances in information technology (Costa & Teare, 2000; Nebel, 1991; Pearce & Robinson, 1991). External analysis helps a hospitality firm reveal key opportunities and threats confronting the organization so that managers can develop strategies to take advantage of the opportunities and avoid or reduce the impact of threats (Nebel, 1991).

Evoked set

The evoked set is part of the alternative evaluation stage in the consumer buying behavior process and refers to the alternatives that are considered for purchase. It can be viewed as a funneling process beginning with the total set of all brands or alternatives available from which a consumer can choose. The total set of available hotels in a large city contains many alternatives, as does the number of pizza or other fast food alternatives in certain geographic areas.