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Value Of Mission Statements: Comparrison Of Whitbread And Headwater

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A mission statement should focus on goals, clarify issues and outline visions and objectives. It should communicate the essence of the company to the employees, shareholders and to the public (Hassan, M 1988). Similar to this, Doyle (1998) points out, that a mission statement describes the purpose of the business and its essential characters.

A company without a mission statement is like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland described; “If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter which way you go.”

Most large corporations produce a “mission statement” to give a clear indication of the fundamental aims of the organisation. Whitbread and Headwater are two of those who established a mission statement.

Since 1985, Headwater is in the business of soft adventure travelling which includes guided and independent walking, cycling, canoeing and cross-country skiing in a number of destinations throughout Europe. Its philosophy is to provide customers with a real insight into local life and culture apart from mainstream tourism. Headwater holidays employs 23 employees headquartered in Cheshire and more than 30 part time employees oversees.

Whitbread are a leading force in the UK's leisure industry employing more than 80,000 people and operating more than 6,000 pubs, restaurants, hotels, shops and leisure clubs. Whitbread employees serve up to 10 million customers every week, in major chains like Pizza Hut, Hogshead, Beefeater, Marriott Hotels or David Lloyd Leisure. Whitbread Plc is headquartered in London and achieved turnover (2000) of GBP 2,951.4 million (Hoover, 2001).

The author will examine both mission statements to take a closer look at the aims and how they seek to achieve them. Both companies have their core business in leisure activities in general and aspire to be the market leader. There is a strong marketing spin on both statements.

Headwater Holidays

At Headwater, we recognise that being good is simply not enough. We need to be the best вЂ" anything short of this is not acceptable. All our staff, both in the UK and overseas are committed to one sole aim:


In order to achieve this, there are certain things we feel we need to deliver. These are summarised below. In short, we need:

• To provide comprehensively researched, designed and well thought out products which incorporate the very best that a destination has to offer

• To be the preferred UK tour operator in the eyes of our customers and suppliers

• To exceed customer expectations at all times

• To sustain and develop a knowledgeable, committed and enthusiastic team, both in the UK and overseas

• To work with our customers to continually improve our levels of service and quality in everything that we do


Our brands will be people's first choice when they want to enjoy themselves.

While making customers happy is a goal for most businesses, for us it is at the heart of everything we do. We listen to our customers, anticipate their needs and aim to deliver levels of service which are ahead of their expectations.

We recognise that to achieve leadership we must become the most efficient business in each market we serve, and manage all our activities so as to deliver faster, better and lower cost solutions. In this way, we will release resources so that we can continue to improve the quality and value of our brands and services and to support our people who are the key to long-term success.

Our most important task, therefore, is to create a positive working environment based on integrity, teamwork and respect in which everyone takes personal responsibility for what they do. Recognition, job satisfaction and pride will come from serving customers well.

When we succeed we will have created a company which is truly distinctive in the eyes of our customers and demonstrably better than our competitors. It will consistently outperform the market, generating improved rewards for our people and stronger returns for our shareholders.

Some parts of the two statements sound very similar. Headwater write “To exceed customer expectations at all times” and Whitbread “We listen to our customers, anticipate their needs and aim to deliver levels of service which are ahead of their expectations”. Both companies not only want to satisfy their customers, they want to exceed their expectations. Why is it so important?

Doyle (1998), explains as follows “Customers can choose from whom they buy, and unless the firm satisfies them at least as well as competitors, sales and profit will quickly erode. More companies are putting at the top of their agenda winning and retaining customers via increasing customer satisfaction.” In the statement of Whitbread it is additionally mentioned that they listen to their customers. Murray and O’Driscoll (1996) outline that it is a challenge to the producer to respond to customers’ needs, and competition between producers is based on their success in understanding and fulfilling those customers’ needs.

A second similarity is that both companies focus on their staff and working environment. For Whitbread it is the most important element. Teamwork seems to be a keyword in both statements. Is this coincidental?

Murray and O’Driscoll (1996) cite that if integrators and specialists are the building blocks of the successful marketing organisation, teams and teamwork are the binding mortar. While teamwork is important within each function and specialism, the distinguishing feature of the marked-focused organisation is the cross-functional teamwork, aligned with key business processes, which cut across departmental, and on occasion, business unit barriers вЂ" the вЂ?silos’ which obstruct superior customer service.

Both corporations focus on customer service and quality improvements. Headwater states it intends, “To work with our customers to continually improve our levels of service and quality in everything we do”.



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