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I.

Opening paragraph: outline what the issue is

Classique Hostel is a private owned student residential hostel. Located in Nairobi West, Classique Hostel is situated on Kisauni Road off Gandhi Avenue. The hostel can be accessed through routes: No.14, 15, 125, 126, 24 and city hoppas 24. Although its tactical location provides a customer base spanning neighboring learning centers, Classique still is menaced to lay among second spot level behind giant leading hostels in the area.

II.

History/background of Classique Hostel, including its vision, mission and values

Established in 2005, Classique Hostel pledged the "best service at lowest rates" to its residents, and has used this formula as an inducement force for over six years. At a walking distance to Strathmore University, Classique is designed to cater for the needs of college students. It offers accommodation and meals, and redistributes its facilities to match specific needs of each student. In 2006, Classique had a total capacity of 96 beds, and for 2 years (from 2005 to 2007) kept an average occupation of 74%. Classique Hostels customer base spans students of learning centers in the area, including: Strathmore University, Kenya Polytechnic, Daystar University, and College of Insurance. For over six years, Classique has been loyal to its two advertisement strategies i.e. the use of brochures and Internet website for its. Although, the hostel industry is facing stiff competition, Classique still has considerable plans to make its way through. Some of these plans are discussed in section V, VI and VII.

III.

External environment analysis

Over the last four decades, enrollment at high education level has drastically increased within developing countries in general, and in East Africa in particular. From then, university education in Kenya has expanded with a rise in student enrolments, expansion of universities, diversity of programmes and setting up of new universities and campuses. The social demands with respect to higher education in Kenya have clearly intensified (Nyaigotti, 2004). Learning centers are brazening out large demand to accommodate long distance students. In that, most learning centers, public and private are relying on private owned hostels to cater for students accommodation. This has consequently lowered entry barriers to the hostel industry; in that, available buildings in a workable range around a learning center may easily be turned into a students hostel. More to this, landlords have acquired bargaining power over investors due to a high demand in this particular industry.

IV.

Internal environment analysis

In 2008, Classique Hostel installed hot instant showers in its washrooms. The same year, Classique met the expense of a total capacity of 126 beds of with an average occupation of 79%. Classique resolved to maintain a workforce of 8 employees to serve its residents. They include a manager leading 4 chives, 2 housekeepers and one security guard. This has not been easy work for such an undersized team to satisfy over 80 residents. Some employees could easily quite complaining over enormous workload for a modest reward; especially housekeepers. This could result into poor services delivery, and some parents could hardly let their sons stay there for long.

Classique Hostel is striving to achieve and maintain basic hostel standards facilities to attract new and keep old residents. They include: sociability, access to water, access to electricity, hygiene, sanity, basic utensils for meals, basic beddings. Classique Hostel recently introduced a forward payments practice (i.e. residents notify management if they are to be away for a while so that days out could be forwarded when they are back in the hostel), supply of substitutes needs in times of blackout (such as candles in case of a power shortage), entertainment (with extra-curriculum activities such as television, pool and football equipments) and security. Additional facilities include: hot showers, a lounge area to socialize and host visitors. Lately, Classique increased employees salary to motivate their loyalty.

V.

Strategic Options

Although, the hostel industry is facing stiff competition, Classique still can rely on good number of plans to make its way through. They include:
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Customer intimacy

In this case, Classique needs to set for well-built relationship with its customer base in order to find complete solutions for the ideal customers. This means not reacting to every whim of the customer but becoming an indispensable partner. It means moving from a simple transactional mentality to an investor in the customer's success. (Cidnee 2009) This forces Classique to focus on its profitable customers and attract more of them. For instance, by creating an atmosphere that promotes excellence in studies. Introduce someone whose services might be of help such as a consultant. Partner with students to strengthen both their studies and Classiques business.
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Customer feedback

Regardless of the type of business you are in, getting input from your customers is critical to your success (Ed Horrell, 2005). No other means would tell how graduate students would like to be treated, or what you are doing right, and what could be done better. This could be done informally through conversations in relation to the hostel or formal using suggestion box, feedback form, on-line, focus group

Suggestion box: a physical box with a pen and paper where students can give feedback. Suitable locations could be gyms, students restaurants and cafeteria, and other locations where students hung around like student centers. Feedback form: this can be mailed or delivered with a payment receipt to a resident. The questions can be structured to prompt the resident for the right kind of information. On-line: an e-mail address, on-line form, and interactive forum are all good for feedback. This form of feedback is ideal when the majority of resident are interact via Internet. This include the use of social sites and blogs Focus group: getting a group of students together for a discussion about the hostel condition and services.
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Employee Satisfaction

In addition, management should be keen and implement an employee motivation plan in order to achieve positive employee morale at Classique hostel. This is to ensure that workers are happy and contented and fulfilling their desires and needs at Classique. This generally influences employees loyalty. Since employees play a major role in an organizations objectives achievement. Employee satisfaction, while generally a positive in businesses, can also be a downer if mediocre employees stay because they are satisfied with provided facilities in a work environment (Susan ).

VI.

Evaluation of Options, and Choice of Option

While most hostels broaden their market to all kind of students, Classique can still find its way through narrowing its target market and serve it better the competitors. This strategy is well known as Focus on Market Niche. If Classique was to target graduate students so as to provide better services to them. Classique would first analyze graduate resident environmental patterns, basic needs, and preferences closely so that they efficiently pitch advertising and marketing campaign more to the proposed target.

Classique may start first by identifying well positioned rooms onto the building considering the noise around these particular rooms. These rooms would then be redesigned with a purpose to accommodate students whose time is mostly spent reading. Second, these rooms would be equipped with basic facilities that embody a reading environment. They include additional book shelves, soundproof walls, conducive ventilation, reading tables with drawers, chairs with cushions and headrests.

This may include the use of some of the techniques previously discussed in section V. i.e. Customer intimacy and Customer feedback; to thoroughly understand suitable residential conditions of a graduate student, and even giving them a chance to how they wished to be served. This increases

resident loyalty and in most cases, new customers are generally influenced by old customers impression about the services offered. It is then important to influence positively these impressions.

VII.

Action plan
Individual (s) Responsible (position) y Manager conducts a survey both over the external and internal environment y Manager analyses the finds and approaches his supervisors to seek for approval y Manager approaches employees to analyze their point of view y Manager assesses overall business responsiveness over his findings y Manager revises his finding and lay down strategies and assign tasks to various actors y Manager runs a partial test (focusing more on graduate students) y Manager and employees identify well positioned rooms onto the building (regarding noise, and convenience) y Specialist redesign these room and equip them with basic needs for reading y Management advertize the new service (conducive environment for graduate students) through various media. y Evaluate results Time Frame 6 months Resources or Cost Labor

Action Steps 1.

2.

2 weeks

Labor

3. 4.

2 weeks

Labor Labor

5.

3 weeks

Labor

6.

12 months

7.

1 week

Labor

8.

2 months

Labor

9.

3 months

10.

2 months

References:
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http://www.chipuqizi.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=127:clasiquemens-hostel&catid=79:where-to-stay

Stephen, C. 2009 "Customer Intimacy" Target Market viewed 08 July 2011, available at: http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/article/articles/1097/1/Customer-Intimacy/Page1.html

Horrell, E. 2005 The importance of customer feedback can be best found by listening viewed 08 July 2011, available at: http://www.bizjournals.com/memphis/stories/2005/09/12/smallb2.html

Nyaigotti, C 2004 "Reforming Higher Education In Kenya Challenges, Lessons And Opportunities", The Inter-University Council For East Africa At The State University Of New York Workshop With The Parliamentary Committee On Education, Science And Technology Naivasha, Kenya, viewed 08 July 2011, available at: www.iucea.org/downloads/Reforming_HE.pdf

Susan M. Employee Satisfaction, Human Resources viewed 08 July 2011, available at: http://humanresources.about.com/od/employeesurvey1/g/employee_satisfy.htm