In an increasingly competitive industry it is essential to implement marketing as а business philosophy focused on the customer (Gulf News pp.38). Although many definitions exist, they all put the customer as the central focus for business decision making. According to Kotler (1984), marketing is а “social and managerial process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging product and values with others” (Hankinson pp.6-14. Another marketing guru, Levitt (1986), states that “а truly marketing minded firm tries to create value providing goods and services that consumers will want to buy” (Pike pp.258-9).
According to Foxall (1988), marketing orientation itself is no more than an appropriate response to а given market structure: high levels of intra-industrial competition (Hankinson pp.24-32, the capacity for supply to exceed demand and consumer а.uence manifested in а large measure of discretionary spending, which can all be applied to modern tourism and the hospitality industry (Pritchard pp.215-29). Although the role of marketing in contemporary businesses is recognised and marketing philosophy is widely accepted, the tourism industry is one of the last to experience the change from а seller’s to а buyer’s market (Hosany pp.62-81); Sheraton hotel sector was slow to accept and implement the marketing concept and marketing planning is rarely discussed in hospitality related journals. Bowen andSparks(1988) made an overview of hospitality marketing literature and reported that over half of the empirical studies were in the areas of consumer behaviour and market segmentation indicating the importance of marketing research (Husain pp.46). Despite the lack of empirical work on marketing effectiveness in the hospitality industry and especially on the link between marketing effectiveness and performance (Rahman pp.1), its importance has lately been pointed out.