Clay. Hutama Basera
Abstract: Relationship marketing is a post modern development that has seen the practice of marketing evolving from a medieval production orientation in the early 1900s, when demand for goods and services exceeded supply to a period where organizations regardless of their sizes, nature of business and organizational objectives, have realized the strategic importance of entering into long term relationships with various stakeholders as a means of enhancing profitability. This research aimed at examining the extent to which Hotels and Lodges in Masvingo engage relationship marketing strategies at all the three tier levels as a means of fostering sustainable competitive advantage (SCA). A cross sectional descriptive research design was used to unravel the relationship between RM and customer retention. A drop and pick survey technique was administered on 51 respondents, comprising managers and section supervisors selected from firms in the sectors, using a structured undisguised questionnaire developed on the basis of a prior pilot study. The findings were indicative of the fact that indeed Hotels and Lodges in Masvingo use RM strategies to retain their customers as reflected by a strong perfect positive correlation. Firms in this sector however focus on a few strategies at each relational level, an aspect which does not guarantee a firm`s SCA in the long run. Executives and managers of these organizations need to embrace RM strategies in the three tier levels holistically in a manner that will enable them to foster strategic SCA in a highly competitive business environment.
Keywords: Relationship Marketing, RM Tenets, Sustainable Competitive Advantage, Hospitality Industry