An in-depth SWOT analysis will provide more insights into the future business development of The Hibiscus Tree, a thriving business in the tourism and hospitality industry in spite of the pandemic.
- Strengths and weaknesses:
First and foremost, the organization’s internal strengths include the convenient access to authentic key ingredients such as Sichuan chilies and effective marketing approaches on the Internet. Because most restaurants in this category do not have access to authentic key ingredients such as chilies from Sichuan Province, China, they are unable to offer truly authentic Sichuan cuisine in Adelaide. Loyal and seasoned customers know exactly what they want, so The Hibiscus Tree has built a very loyal following in Adelaide, South Australia. Additionally, the organization uses online marketing effectively and efficiently; as a result, it is able to reach potential customers on the Internet quickly. Truthfully, online marketing is a combination of content marketing and word of mouth marketing (Hill 2013). Hence, this approach works really well in the 21st century for almost every sector in the world.
In the second place, The Hibiscus Tree has some internal weaknesses as well. For instance, although its location is in Chinatown, Adelaide CBD, its address is not ideal: 23 Field St, Adelaide SA 5000 – this is not a main street in Chinatown. In contrast, its competitors are located on Grote Street and Gouger Street where foot traffic is extremely high. Ransley and Ingram (2012) argue that the amount of foot traffic determines the success of a traditional business like a restaurant. Another weakness is the limited space inside the restaurant. Because The Hibiscus Tree is indeed a fairly small restaurant, it is unable to host big dinner parties. Yet some of its competitors are significantly bigger and are able to host big dinner parties for nearly one hundred people at the same time. This is their competitive edge.
- Opportunities and threats:
Next, The Hibiscus Tree has several important opportunities. For example, COVID vaccines have been found and are being introduced to the general public around the world. As a result, many more people are able to go out for dinner gradually. What’s more, because of COVID vaccines, the pandemic will be managed properly and international flights will be allowed again. That means there will be overseas tourists, international students and Chinese immigrants coming to Adelaide soon. The Australian government states that Australia will be fully vaccinated by mid-2022 (Moore 2021). In addition, the federal election will take place soon, which means if the Labor Party is the winner, the relationship between Australia and China will be improved significantly, as evidenced by the current campaign run by the Labor Party – they have even created a WeChat account on the Internet in order to gain Chinese people’s political support in the election, for there are 509,555 China-born people in Australia according to the latest Census in 2016 (Department of Home Affairs 2016). As a result, if the pandemic will be over in 2022 and there will be many more Chinese tourists, overseas students and Chinese immigrants in Adelaide, The Hibiscus Tree will be able to grow its business soon. Another opportunity is the popularity of a Chinese magazine called Yiben Magazine which is based in Adelaide, South Australia. This magazine promotes Chinese businesses in the local area via storytelling and has a big & loyal following in Adelaide. Thus, The Hibiscus Tree should find a way to be featured in this magazine, e.g., the business owner can give the magazine’s editor vouchers so that the director (Iris Huang) can be interviewed by the editor and appear in the magazine. Giving the editor vouchers will make the editor spend money in the restaurant; being featured in the magazine will help The Hibiscus Tree to reach more people in Adelaide. This is certainly a typical example of killing two birds with one stone.
Lastly, a major threat that The Hibiscus Tree faces right now is the current economy in Australia. It is true that currently, the Australian economy is relatively weak, compared to the situation several years ago. Because JobKeeper ended at the end of March 2021 and a large number of people have been made redundant by their employers, many individuals are unwilling to spend money on eating in restaurants or ordering takeaways. Although those who have been made redundant all received their redundancy pay, this amount of money cannot last for a very long time. That is to say, in 2022, chances are many customers will be unable to order takeaways or spend money on eating in restaurants frequently. As a result, the business owner of The Hibiscus Tree needs to prepare backup plans now.
“When a business utilizes SWOT analysis to assist its growth, it is very likely to survive and then thrive in the tourism and hospitality industry despite the pandemic.”