UWF students prepare marketing plan for area hotel
By Josh Newby, University Communications
University of West Florida students are assisting Pensacola Beach hotels just in time for the busy tourism season.
The Hospitality Sales & Marketing class was tasked with developing a realistic and comprehensive marketing plan for the Holiday Inn Resort on Pensacola Beach. The students were given a hypothetical budget and conducted surveys and other types of research to ensure the plan’s effectiveness.
“The hotel wants to know how to better reach their guests,” said Xuan Tran, the professor overseeing the students’ efforts. “We’re here to teach the students while simultaneously helping the hotel and increasing exposure of UWF. We bring the principle of the textbook into practice, and the businesses are made aware of the importance of UWF in the community.”
Tran has been overseeing the class for six years and views it as a valuable experience for the students and the university.
Executives from the hotel were present to listen and judge the students, as well as implement some of their ideas as the busy tourist season arrives.
Jordan Frazier, a senior in the Communication Arts Department and student of the class, said the experience was enriching and she plans to use all she learned in her future career.
“It’s beneficial for us to formulate this marketing plan,” said Frazier. “We’ll have to use this knowledge in our professional careers, and this is a great opportunity to get a head start.”
John Fitzgerald, another senior in the class, agreed.
“I’ve learned a lot throughout the course,” said Fitzgerald. “I can guarantee that I will use 100 percent of this in the real world.”
Holiday Inn’s Regional Director of Operations Mike Nixon praised the students for their work and admitted that he had not thought of several marketing strategies the students presented.
“You can tell the amount of effort they put in,” said Nixon. “There have been several ideas we hadn’t thought about and several we’ll probably implement this coming summer.”
For more information on the Hospitality Sales & Marketing program, visit uwf.edu/hles/hospitality.cfm.