Generally, the Internet and the hospitality industries are enthusiastic about the mutual benefits that they could possibly bring each other. In the hospitality industry, Malaysian hotel companies have begun to recognize the importance of understanding Internet marketing; there is likely to be increased recognition of the potential. Since no research has been done on the Malaysian hospitality industry’s use of the Internet technologies, this researcher took the opportunity to look into current Malaysian hotel website marketing to examine the successful elements. The purpose of the study is to evaluate Malaysian Hotel Website marketing in the context of the elements of successful Internet marketing identified in the literature. This study is mainly based on primary qualitative data. The main benefits of this study approach were the ability to gather the richest and most reliable data within the prescribed limits of the study. Ten hotels representing the hotel industry in Malaysia were chosen. An interview was conducted with marketing managers at five hotels in Kuala Lumpur and five hotels in Pulau Pinang. The hotels that were chosen were well known to Malaysian tourists and included four and five star establishments. The Internet was found to benefit most of the Malaysian hotel companies in promoting the hotel’s image, branding and creating awareness in the public. Notable differences were found in hotel online pricing strategies. Online prices were found to be either higher, lower or the same as offline prices. Online purchasing styles were found to provide an immediate response from the hotel, and were convenient and easy to perform. Online service delivery did not alter offline service delivery. The major difficulties of marketing an online product were that not many Malaysian people use the Internet and it is hard to attract the attention of viewers. Online bookings and reservations provided the company with lower revenues than other distribution channel. The Internet was considered likely to play an important role in the future.
Keywords: Online marketing, the internet, tourism industry, hospitality industry
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