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Individual Report: A Case of Graduate Hotels

Executive Summary

The report captures crucial information regarding the Graduate Hotels as a new development in the hotel industry that considers students in college cities in America. Since its inception in 2014, the company has done well to acquire properties near prominent universities in college cities. The report begins by providing an overview of the brand representation and its image within the industry. Equally, the report provides a detailed account of the scope of the hospitality industry in the United States. The report further offers an explanation into aspects of customer insights, environmental and cultural factors, and importantly, the social insight and how it communicates. Another interesting part that the report captures is the strategic approach that can be utilized towards pushing the core idea and achieving set objectives. The report is detailed enough and can be used to make informed decisions regarding handling of business in the hospitality industry. Future research should focus on finding solutions that can promote the coverage of Graduate Hotels in the United States.

1.0 The Brand and its Competitors

1.1 The Brand

Graduate Hotels is a group of college town hotels owned by Nashville based real estate owner AJ Capital Partners. The collection of hotels across college cities in the United States was founded by the AJ Capital Partners CEO Ben Weprin (Graduate Hotels, 2021). It is important to note that the hotels target a section of the hospitality market that mainly features students. For instance, university students can now get accommodation within areas of interest. Proximity towards campus is an important aspect and accommodation matters to everyone. Graduate Hotels is a hospitality brand that has been growing since its inception in 2014 (Hand-Crafted Accommodations, 2021). The fact that the hotels have a digital platform where clients can get information and book from remote location is an indication that it has evolved and utilized innovative practices. Graduate places its property near prominent colleges and by the end of 2017, it had established 10 hotels.

The brand is unique in the industry as it has targeted a section of the market that was previously ignored by many players. For instance, no hotel in the industry had come up with the idea of setting properties near prominent colleges to capture students as customers (Hand-Crafted Accommodations, 2021). It is important to note that brand positioning is strategic in a manner that makes it unique in the hospitality industry. The purpose for Graduate Hotels is to unlock and uncover traditions and heritage with their quirky properties that provide well-designed oases in college towns (Graduate Hotels, 2021). In essence, the brand is strategic in the market as it presents a unique aspect that captures a section of the market that has been ignored for long.

1.2 The Competitive Landscape

It is important to explore the industry and establish the level of competition existing in the hotel industry. The hospitality industry in the United States has for long sidelined students in universities within college cities without providing a solution, especially for those who study in prominent institutions (Ingram, 1998). As such, much of the existing players in the industry have concentrated on working class individuals in cities and failed to provide a solution to students (Olsen and Roper, 1998). The hospitality industry is huge and Graduate Hotels took the opportunity to innovate and develop properties for students near prominent institutions in college cities.

Competition in the hotel industry is high and developing a new strategy to capture a specific segment in the market can prove very essential for any player (Olsen and Roper, 1998). As already noted, there are many players within the United States who operate in the Hotel industry offering diverse categories of hospitality services. Being unique and innovative in the industry can give a player an added advantage to do business within the United States.

Other brands in the market have failed to provide services that the company is offering currently and it is vital to build on the brand from that perspective (Ingram, 1998). Graduate Hotels offer a favorably lower price that can be affordable to students as compared to other brands in the industry (Graduate Hotels, 2021). There are two important aspects that make Graduate Hotels unique in the industry including its proximity to institutions and affordability of its services (Hand-Crafted Accommodations, 2021). The fact that others offer high prices and do not design the rooms for specific students makes Graduate Hotels gain popularity at a faster rate.

2.0 Brand Value

2.1 Customer/Audience Insights

It is important to explore the consumer market and ascertain crucial insights that have shaped operations for Graduate Hotels significantly. The people impacted by the operations of Graduate Hotels include students who study in prominent institutions within college cities (Moore, 2016). It is vital to note that the industry had neglected the category of clients in the hospitality industry that were students. This section of customers need designed room and accommodation that supports their learning activities. Most players in the industry have failed to come up with unique designs specifically meant for students in college cities (Koricich, Chen and Hughes, 2018). In essence, there was a demand for development of well designed rooms specially meant for students in college cities. The students want an affordable place here they can stay as they carry out their learning practices. Such students would not find it favorable staying in expensive rooms that are not designed to support their activities (Olsen and Roper, 1998). In essence, the Graduate is a development that has changed the scope of operations and experience for students living in college cities within the United States. The target includes students aged between 18 and 45 years of age. Such students prefer staying in affordable places that are designed well to host and handle learning activities.

2.2 Cultural and Environmental Insights

The report should explore current trends that are shaping the audience world, which is the category of customers for Graduate Hotels. For instance, on-campus learning has been existent for several years in the United States and one of the challenges students face is accommodation. Available rooms in the market have not considered students hence the need to develop a way of helping them as real estate owners (Moore, 2016). The main purpose of the Graduate is to ensure culture and traditions are protected and preserved in a manner that supports learning. Most students within the United States have come from diverse backgrounds and protecting their heritage should be a priority. It is important to note that the culture in campuses within the United States is another important aspect that impacts the development of such hotels (Zhou, Wang and Wu, 2018). Environmental stresses that impact the audience include proximity to campus where one can easily take a walk and not necessarily a taxi. Equally, the need to stay in an environment that is designed to support learning is another stress for students who opt to take accommodation with Graduate Hotels.

2.3 Social Insights

It is vital for the report to examine social insights as they relate to the audience, in this case, the Graduate collection of hotels customers. Such categories of customers love to communicate on social media frequently than other platforms (Cline, 2002). The development of digital technology that supports communication has greatly impacted various practices. Students enjoy when they chat on social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and through mail (Zhou, Wang and Wu, 2018). As such, Graduate Hotels has invested greatly on integrated methods of communication as a strategy to boost the brand image to the targeted customers. Influential voices within the audience include institutions that can direct some of their students to accommodate with the collection of hotels (Olsen and Roper, 1998). It is important to note that such voices play a role in influencing choices as made by individuals in the hospitality industry. Below is a brand board collage illustrating how Graduate Hotel looks like.

Brand board collage

3.0 Objectives and Goals

The report should come up with specific objectives and goals that the company should purpose to meet within the market. The objective is to create an environment that is affordable and conducive for learning in college cities (Zhou, Wang and Wu, 2018). Mot college cities have a high number of students who not have accommodation that is proximal to their prominent institutions. The challenge that Graduate Hotels is facing is acquiring property within college cities that can comfortably accommodate many students. The real estate investment within the United States requires heavy capital investments that might be readily available for Graduate Hotels (Koricich, Chen and Hughes, 2018). The main problem that should be solved is finding more properties that can help the organization make a huge impact and accommodate more students. Objectives within the market should be met by providing the right procedures and governance within the organization. Solving risk and problems in the hospitality industry should be the priority objective of the Graduate Hotels in the United States. However, the company will seek to concentrate on a particular segment of the market in a manner that can help achieve objectives (Cline, 2002). As noted, the main goal of Graduate Hotels is to protect traditions and heritage as it relates to learning in colleges cities. With the development of platforms that increase communication and engagement with clients, Graduate Hotels is poised to become better and gain a competitive advantage.

The company aspires to become better in future by acquiring more properties near prominent schools in college cities. With more property, the firm can expand its capacity and ensure that a larger percentage of students have affordable accommodation that supports academics (Choi, Jang and Kandampully, 2015). People should know the need to have improved hospitality services for students who come from different parts of the world. The brand has a goal to position itself strategically in the market and ensure that needs for its target segment have been met in an effective manner (Koricich, Chen and Hughes, 2018). The fact that the company is the first one in the United States to offer such services makes it better placed to gain a competitive advantage. Developing or designing rooms that are specially meant for students promote a feeling of diversity and sharing within learning institutions. Much needs to be done through communication in a manner that creates awareness on the existence of such options for students in college cities (Zhou, Wang and Wu, 2018). Failure to create awareness on the same might be detrimental to efforts of having the collection of hotels improve performance in the future. Communication is strategic and can help gain an advantage ahead of other players in the market. Graduate Hotels offers nothing but the best to its clients across the country.

It is important to note that the hotels can give back to the community by creating value in one way of the other. For instance, accommodating many university students can help reduce social problems that can be experienced in a learning environment (Choi, Jang and Kandampully, 2015). Students living near campuses do not need to travel and this creates value by reducing gas emissions as a result of travelling. There is a need to examine the matter and establish how valuable the organization can be towards promoting societal welfare. The profits realized from its operations can be useful towards creating further value to stakeholder (Choi, Jang and Kandampully, 2015). On the other hand, taking part in community responsibility programs can be an important aspect towards promoting its reputation in the market. For instance, providing scholarships and discounts for disadvantaged children can be strategic towards changing the face of Graduate Hotels in the market.

4.0 North Star Idea

The report should come up with a core concept that can help drive efforts towards success for Graduate Hotels in the United States. The core concept is to creating a communication network that can be utilized for advertising or promotional practices (Gazzoli, Kim and Palakurthi, 2008). It is vital to highlight that communication plays a significant role in creating awareness and explaining the intentions of a business. Equally, points-of-difference can be communicated to customers with a view of creating a compelling image in the mind. Attaining success in business in any industry requires innovative practices as a way of establishing new services and product lines that can give an organization an operating advantage (Ren et al., 2016). As such, the idea is to push operations of Graduate Hotels to the next level through innovative practices. For instance, coming up with affordable rooms near prominent universities that are supportive of learning activities is a development that should be promoted through advertisements (Groth, 1999). Promotions can be conducted through digital approaches such as use of social media applications such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. American students use the internet to conduct research and explore areas that they can affordably stay within the United States. Integrated methods towards communication should be utilized in a manner that gives value to the company in the hospitality industry.

Globalization has played a crucial in promoting business activities for many companies across the world. For instance, the development of e-commerce is a concept that has proved essential towards effectiveness and efficiency in business in a significant manner (Choi, Jang and Kandampully, 2015). Graduate Hotels has an established online platform where customers can comfortably make booking and compare prices from remote locations. The core concept is to ensure that the hotels make an impact in the hospitality industry with a view of increasing its profitability. Objectively, the firm can utilize digital technology in a manner that promotes operations within the American market. Equally, providing healthy meals for individuals within the rooms can prove instrumental towards increasing its popularity in a significant manner. One of the most challenging aspects in the United States is finding accommodation for students within college cities that can offer affordable and healthy meals to customers (Ren et al., 2016). Graduate Hotels can do better by adopting and embracing a network of supply chains that helps reduce the prices of commodities such as food. Communicating articulately to target clients through media platforms and ensuring that hotel rooms are fitted with supportive academic aspects can help change the situation in a significant manner.

It is important for the report to provide rationale behind the North Star strategy for Graduate Hotels in the United States. For instance, utilizing communication in an appropriate way can promote operations and increase its coverage within the United States (Ren et al., 2016). The idea of utilizing digital technology to communicate and reach out to the target audience can be instrumental for Graduate Hotels. The company has done well in the past to ensure that its marketing and promotional strategies bear fruit. Equally, the idea of promoting business by providing affordable health foods for customers would prove instrumental as it will attract many new clients.

5.0 IEBX Strategies

The central idea is to provide affordable housing and accommodation to students in college cities within the United States. Promoting operations of the company requires strategic marketing and positioning approaches in the industry (Gazzoli, Kim and Palakurthi, 2008). Graduate Hotels should seek to promote its activities by providing necessary requirements for students in prominent institutions in the US. Adopting a wide network of suppliers for various products can help the hotel gain an advantage as it can control the prices and quality being supplied (Groth, 1999). High prices for food and other services can only be a burden to students and there is a need to look into the same and achieve a balance. The hotels can adopt a network of communication platforms that reaches out to customers when they need a solution or have a question. Equally, being on operation all the time and having support staff can promote operations in the market significantly. The core idea is to ensure that Graduate develops strategies that can be helpful in the industry towards solving customer needs (Cline, 2002). Advertising on each platform can help create awareness to the public of its intentions and goals within the market. Graduate Hotels in the United States have a chance and opportunity to become better by utilizing integrated methods to communication such as social media advertising.

The central idea presented can help solve the issue of increasing its customer base and consequently coverage. For instance, adopting the right approaches to communication ensures that the society captures the main message that is being communicated (Groth, 1999). The right message in society can build a brands reputation in a significant manner and there is a need for Graduate to look into the same. Poor communication approaches in any market have proved futile towards achieving a balance in most industries. It is through digital approaches that companies can adopt new approaches to putting their message clear in the public domain (Gazzoli, Kim and Palakurthi, 2008). For instance, utilizing social media platforms such as Facebook has proved strategic in advertising and responding to customers who make inquiries. Much needs to be done by the hotel management with a purpose to promote its operations within the United States. Equally, providing healthy meals and interactive spaces near campus is an approach that can promote operations in a significant manner.

There are various advertising strategies that the company can employ with a view of capturing the attention of the target customers within an industry (Olsen and Roper, 1998). For instance, repetition and making claims can prove instrumental towards promoting relationships with customers appropriately. The claim strategy articulately communicates what Graduate Hotels can do its target customers in the industry with a view of convincing them to use the services as offered (Ingram, 1998). Equally, repeating the advertisements on media and other platforms can make the message stick in the minds of customers, which helps convince them to try the same service. In essence, using claims strategy is a way of advancing the message to the audience and a better way capture their attention within the industry.


Choi, H., Jang, J. and Kandampully, J., 2015. Application of the extended VBN theory to understand consumers’ decisions about green hotels. International Journal of Hospitality Management51, pp.87-95.

Cline, R.S., 2002. Hospitality adjusts to globalization. Arthur Andersen & Co. SC, p.1.

Fast Company. 2021. Graduate Hotels: Most Innovative Company | Fast Company. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 24 October 2021].

Gazzoli, G., Kim, W.G. and Palakurthi, R., 2008. Online distribution strategies and competition: are the global hotel companies getting it right?. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management.

Graduate Hotels. 2021. Graduate Hotels | Hand-Crafted Accommodations. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 24 October 2021].

Groth, P., 1999. Living downtown: The history of residential hotels in the United States. Univ of California Press.

Ingram, P., 1998. Changing the rules: Interests, organizations, and institutional change in the US hospitality industry. The new institutionalism in sociology, pp.258-276.

Koricich, A., Chen, X. and Hughes, R.P., 2018. Understanding the effects of rurality and socioeconomic status on college attendance and institutional choice in the United States. The Review of Higher Education41(2), pp.281-305.

Moore, J.G., 2016. Mississippi college towns: Assessing the geography of collegiate culture. The University of Southern Mississippi.

Olsen, M.D. and Roper, A., 1998. Research in strategic management in the hospitality industry. International Journal of Hospitality Management17(2), pp.111-124.

Ren, L., Qiu, H., Wang, P. and Lin, P.M., 2016. Exploring customer experience with budget hotels: Dimensionality and satisfaction. International Journal of Hospitality Management52, pp.13-23.

Zhou, J., Wang, Y. and Wu, J., 2018. Mode choice of commuter students in a college town: An exploratory study from the United States. Sustainability10(9), p.3316.


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