Generally an ice hotel can be said as a hotel made of ice and snow. It is a temporally hotel built up entirely of sculpted blocks of ice and snow. Such hotels are promoted by interested sponsors and have unique features for the travelers who are concerned about unusual environment. So, from this context, ice hotel can be classed as destination hotels. An ice hotel usually is reconstructed every year and is reliant on constant sub-freezing temperature at the time of construction and operation. “Québec ice hotel” is the example of such kind of hotel.
The first ice hotel in North America is the ice hotel near Québec city, Québec, Canada and is the only one of its kind in North America. The hotel first opened on the New Years Day in 2001, though it has been completely opened in 2002 (CBC News, 2001). “Crafted from 15,000 tons of snow and 500 tons of ice, the Ice Hotel is a completely unique experience in North America” (Dyk, 2007).
Necessary marketing effort
The increasing communication option in recent years has played a major role to the culture the people of earth is experiencing today. To the marketers it has become very important to put together their marketing efforts and break through the obstacle of noise to reach the target market. However, the research done on this field shows that ice hotel is successful with the integrated communication strategy.
The first stage of marketing action is to characterize the target customer. Target customer includes the complete market segment for the service ice hotel offering. In addition, promotional strategy can be applied more narrowly at a niche within the broader segment. The target customers of the ice hotel are those people who love to spend their time in the unusual environment.
Additionally and more interestingly, the price of booking room is not too much compared to the other such spots. It accommodates up to 22 people at one time, with prices ranging from $280 for a single to $120 per person in a suite shared by at least five people (CBC News, 2001). So, it is very much affordable and can be said as reasonable charge. It is a very good spot for winter weeding. No speculate, it has been portrayed as one of the 10 dream wedding positions of the world. A basic wedding package starts at $1,088 (plus about $585 in various fees), at $1.24 Canadian to the U.S. dollar, including a civil ceremony, two meals and a night in a theme suite.
Motivation is a very interesting part of marketing which influence consumer’s interest toward any product or service. Motivation is an internal force that replicates goal-directed stimulation. From the customer behavior perspective, the result for such inner drive is rising of desire for a product, service, or experience. It is the impelling that gratifies both physiological and psychological needs and wants through the buy and use of products and services. The question here is what motivates people to enjoy the service of Québec ice hotel. Or what are the reasons behind it. Here the inner drive of ice hotel customer is the personality and experiencing of difference. People love such spot more because of the exceptional feature of ice hotel and it is the main thing which motivates people to come.
Factors influencing consumer behavior
From the marketing point of view there are four factors by which consumer behavior is strongly influenced. These factors are:-
Cultural factor: the set of consumer’s basic values and behavior are considered as the most important factor which influence them in case of using any product or service. Culture, subculture and social class play their huge role in this field. Kotler (1989) states that “[c]ultural factors exert a broad and deep influence on consumer behaviour. The marketer needs to understand the role played the buyer’s culture, subculture and social class. Culture is the most basic cause of a person's wants and behavior. Human behaviour is largely learned (p.123). Indeed, the most important forerunners of the structural component of our framework are means-end chain models that seek to connect product-feature preferences to a consumer's values (Ratneshwar, Mick and Cynthia, 2003, p.10).
Social factor: social factor highly influence the consumer behavior regarding their choice of ice hotel. Groups, family and roles & status work as the great social influential factors to make the decision making process. Social identity theory in consumer behavior is largely based on two key notions. People are posited to take actions and consume products to enact identities consistent with their self-images (Ratneshwar, Mick and Cynthia, 2003, p.11).
Personal or individual factor: The individual factor, consisting in that which the observer brings out of more than individual opinions determined by personal emotion and longings (Butterworth and John, 1981, p.534). It has been conceptualized as an individual stress experience embedded in a context ... depersonalization and reduced personal accomplishment (Maslach 1993). There are many people who may view spending at ice hotel as an amazing opportunity in his or her life. On the contrary, there are also some people who think it as a waste of money. This is happened because of age and life cycle stage, occupation, economic situation, life style, personality and self conduct (Bass, 1994).
Psychological factor: psychological factor includes motivation, perception, learning and beliefs & attitudes of customer.
Place marketing is an important tool for any successful business (Pride, Robert and Jack, 2009). There are many ice hotels around the world. But the features of Quebec ice hotel are exceptional due to its geographical position. Promoting the information and marketing research should be the first target by the decision makers.
Promoting the information and marketing research
The marketing communication can be said as the basic tool to develop the information about the ice hotel and its place. The activities are done to create and inform receiver through different channels referred. In this way the marketer can reach the ultimate customer by promoting the activities of organization.
Ice hotel and tourism industry
Ice hotel of Québec can be described as a “tourist hotspot” because of its unique features and unique needs and acceptance. The hard competition within the tourism industry has made it important for the ice hotel to focus more on marketing and in particular communication. Most importantly, such kind of hotel can be said as the new addition in the line of tourism spots.
Satisfaction of needs and wants
Ice hotel does not fulfill the needs of people because it is not the basic necessity of human. Need is the situation of having to have something that you do not have, especially something that you must have so that you can have a reasonable life. From the economic point of view it rather fulfills demand of people. Today is the age of change and innovating new things. From this perspective, ice hotel provides an unusual and alternative taste of environment. Therefore, the cold beauty and quick morning escape are the part of typical Québec ice hotel. That is why people it as the experience of waking up after a night in an ice hotel as one of absolute excitement. Some say it even suffers like an achievement.
Life cycle of ice hotel
The concept of product life cycle for ice hotel is something different. In case of other products, most are the result of hard competition, change in customer needs and wants or other something like that. But the life cycle of ice hotel is different than the others. There are generally four stages of life cycle for any product. These are introduction, growth, maturity and decline. But the life cycle of ice hotel is not basis on the business, but rather on the construction process. At the initial stage the place for ice hotel is selected. Then that place is harvested through instruments and melting in the midnight sun. After the total completion, it is open for the business purpose. Generally the hotels are made near the rivers where the workers can use water and freeze it into ice. Normally, an ice hotel like Quebec takes about four to five weeks to build. But when the winter goes, all these hard works melts away and it needs to wait for re-construction until winter come. So, it can be said that by the end of winter, the life cycle of ice hotel is also come to the end.
Positioning strategy for an ice hotel is very important because it itself is a product. After selecting the target customer or market, it is time to come to a decision how it will position itself within the chosen segment. Here positioning refers to how the company wants their target customer to see their service. To build a strong brand identity, there is no applicable method except ensuring and following the positioning strategy of the product or service. It would certainly help to position the product against other potential competitors. Most importantly, it emphasizes a distinctive unique benefit for both the company and customer.