I. Executive Summary
The service of choice for the marketing plan is a luxury travel package for an upcoming business, Horizon Tours. The company is a new entrant in the travel industry which will serve as an agency to plan traveling and events on behalf of its clients. The product is significant as it will help to bridge the gap that exists in the travel market. The new service as provided by Horizon Tours will seek to provide luxury travel packages targeting the younger generation of travelers who seek to travel on a low budget. There are several competitors in the same market that Horizon Tours is targeting. However, what differentiates Horizon Tours and the existing competitors is the fact that the company intends to leverage the use of technology to create a platform through which the customers will be engaged in planning their tours. The company will also seek to create a community of service users who get to share their experiences through posting photos and videos of their travels on the relevant sites and win prizes based on the votes they receive. The company will use the social media platforms such as Facebook and Google marketing tools to carry out promotion of its products. The company will evaluate the strategies to determine the effectiveness and make the changes as required.
II. Situation Analysis
1. The Internal Environment
The success of Horizon Tours will be largely dependent on its organizational environment which will contribute to keeping the staff focused on achieving the predetermined objectives. The internal environment of the company will be critical in establishing its culture and promoting teamwork among the team members.
1.1 Company Review (business definition, mission and vision)
Horizon Tours is an online based travel agency and provides low cost holiday packages . The company offers memorable adventure experience for young people The company gives the young travelers more sophisticated and unique experiences that are tailored to daily needs with the support of existing technology.
The mission of Horizon Tours is to establish itself as the leading provider of adventure travels for individuals living in the Americas and Europe. The company will deliver on this mandate as the staff at Horizon Tours and the management pride themselves on enthusiasts who have immense knowledge about the traveling industry, having worked for various leading brands all over the world. The operations of Horizon Tours will be to work towards connecting the travelers with service providers, travel destinations as well as accommodations packages that meet the traveler's expectations.
The vision of Horizon Tours will be to ensure that all the travelers are satisfied with their tours while at the same time fulfilling their personal needs through the support of the dedicated staff. Horizons vision will seek to increase the memorable travels among the clients who have been neglected by other companies that operate within the same the industry. Horizon Tours will seek to be a market leader in the low-cost travels brand as it continues to employ the existing technology to lead its innovations in the industry.
1.2 Review: Marketing Goals and Objectives
Horizons current marketing goals and objectives seek to focus on increasing the travel packages for the untapped market that constitutes of newly employed individuals. Given that these individuals have an increased affinity for products that utilize technology in their delivery, the company will seek to reach out to them using a means that they identify with so as to increase its sales. The marketing goals are to to ensure that the company uses minimal resources in achieving the marketing goals and objectives to ensure that its products remain affordable.
The marketing goals and objectives are consistent with the firms mission to ensure that it remains the leader in the provision of adventure travels since it seeks to use technology to achieve its marketing objectives. Agency operations in the traveling industry are to cover a wider area in order to increase the number of potential clients and as a result, it is paramount that Horizon Tours leverages technology to achieve its mandate.
The marketing goals and objectives that are used at Horizon Tours are consistent with the external environment. The marketing strategies that the company uses are consistent with the social trends in the industry where organizations are seeking to leverage the use of technology to ensure that they reduce the costs of advertising.
The marketing goals and objectives are consistent with the current customer needs, wants, and preferences. The target group for Horizon Tours is the young travelers who are increasingly embracing the use of technology. As a result, when the organizations leverage technology in their operations, the company will stand to gain by having increased access to its target group of customers. Regarding the preferences of the customers, Horizon Tours will ensure that the customers can participate in the design of their travel packages and as a result, tailor each operation to the individuals which in turn enhances the level of enjoyment derived during the adventures.
1.3 Review: Current Marketing Strategy and Performance
1.3.1 Current Marketing Strategy
The companys current marketing strategy focuses on growing the awareness on the availability of the low-cost travels for the young people. The current marketing strategy regarding the 4-Ps is presented below:
Horizon Tours offer luxury adventure experiences targeting the young travelers who seek affordable travels that are tailored to their needs. The product offered by Horizon Tours seeks to allow the travelers to determine the activities that are included in their packages.
Horizon Tours use a low-price model for its products. The main objective of this approach is to ensure that the products are priced competitively. The company ensures that the price varies based on the items that a customer includes in their package. Although the product items lead to some services that are offered to seem costlier, the overall prices as offered by Horizon Tours are relatively lower than those of their competitors. The clients can also reduce the costs of their travel by ensuring that they alter the services included in their packages.
The distribution of the products is largely being done online. The business largely depends on online-based presence. The decision to use the online platform for distributing the products is based on the fact that majority of the target population tend to use the Internet as their medium of transaction. The group also tends to use social media in running their operations and is hence likely to be endeared to the travel agents that link them to their friends and peers.
Horizon Tours works with a limited budget, and most of its operations are online based. As a result, the company mainly uses the social media to promote its products. Advertisements are done mainly through the use of hashtags on Twitter and Facebook promotional updates. The company also relies on word of mouth through the clients which the company has served previously.
The pricing strategy works well as it fits into the clients budget regarding the ability to allow them to control the amount they spend during their travel. The use of social media has also been effective especially regarding the paid Facebook posts. On the other hand, the company has derived very little advantage regarding using Twitter for the promotion as it appears that the majority of users of this platform tend to be relatively small in adventure seeking.
1.3.2 Current Performance
Horizon Torus has a very minimal number of sales in the past eight months of operations. The business has been affected by the issue of seasonality as is always seen by the holiday companies across the globe. In the first three months of operations, the company only managed to achieve 60% of the targeted sales with the number falling even lower in the following months. The realization that using Twitter does not generate the high number of traffic as expected among the target groups, making the company to scale down on some of these promotion activities and increase its targeted marketing with the result being that there has been an increasing in the number of sales. The inclusion of a wider variety of countries where the company provides the services has also helped to address the issue of the seasonality that affects the travel industry. The end of the last quarter saw the company make profit of 120, 000 and is it expected to grow as the promotion activities got more targeted and refined to drive the sales.
The performance of the travel industry has been affected by some issues that arisen in the global stage over the last few decades. The main obstacle to the growth of the travel industry is the issue of terrorism which has led to a higher cost of operations among the different players in the industry. The new developments have made the realignments in the regulatory measures taken to control the traveling industry and as a result increased the cost of operations. The flawed strategies that have been adopted by organizations operating in the travel industry have not been effective enough to facilitate growth in the new environment.
1.4 Current and Anticipated Organizational Resources
Horizon Tours have limited access to capital to finance its operations. About the human resources capital, the company mainly relies on its four main co-founders who run the different operations within the company. As a result, having skilled co-founders regarding the different operations in the travel industry has enabled Horizon Tours to operate with minimal resources. The company is also working to develop relationships with the hotels and other adventure sites beyond the traditional markets of the United States and Europe.
Horizon Tours has limited capital access given that the company does not own many assets. However, the directors are young individuals and have access to many microfinance opportunities that are available online. The microfinance loans have relatively lower interest rates when compared to the other forms of finances that are available for start-up companies and as a result will make the operations of Horizon to be financed at a lower cost. The access to these low priced loans will serve as the advantage for the organization against its competitors whose founders are not in a position to access these loans.
The experience of the founders will serve as a useful resource for Horizon Tours. The owners have expertise in major areas that are required to drive the company to achieve greater success. Given Horizon Tours will operate in the travel industry, one of the founders will be a useful resource as he will bring his wealth of experience running hospitality businesses that are family owned. The marketing activities in the online space will be driven by one of the founders who worked in different internet marketing companies for eight years. Whichever resources that Horizon Tours lacks regarding the different areas of operations will be compensated through hiring skilled staff to manage the operations and ensure that the company remains competitive in the travel industry.
1.5 Current and Anticipated Cultural and Structural Issues
Horizon Tours culture as embodied by its willingness to embrace change will remain the same as the company grows. The culture is critical to the survival of the company as the travel industry and is defined by innovation resulting from customer demands that keep changing. The current culture has enabled the company to achieve some level of success, and hence it indicates that it is suitable for industry players. The company does not have any structural issues that could interfere with its operations, and these are not expected to arise shortly. If the internal environment begins to demonstrate the existence of structural issues, Horizon Tours will be willing to adopt the changes that are necessary to arrest the situation.
2. The Customer Environment
2.1 The Firm's Current and Potential Customers
The firms current customers include young individuals who seek to have adventures within their budget. The customers are mainly students and young working professionals who are newly employed and mainly do not have any children and big financial resources. The customers also include some foreign travelers from countries such as German, France, and Canada who use the Horizons services to visit destinations in the United States. The primary customers who use the company services to visit Europe include American customers as well as Asian travelers. Being online based has enabled Horizon Tours to access customers from other areas such as Australia who seek to visit destination in Europe albeit their numbers are still small but they constantly grow. The customers from the United States comprise the highest number of customers who use the companys services followed by the French and Canadian customers.
The customers mainly use the services offered by Horizon Tours to create their unique experiences. In some cases, the users from Asia and Germany use the company services to plan adventurous tours as a group who share some common interests. The primary usage for group travels that has been on the rise in the recent past is the traveling students,. The international students in the European countries also utilize Horizon services to plan their travels to the new destinations. Also, the potential customers for Horizon Tours are the corporations that seek to plan visits for their staff in the different regions across the globe. The company also understands that the growth of globalization has led to the rise of exchange programs that are financed by different institutions.
The important players in the purchase of the firms products are the customers who have used Horizon Tours services in the past. Being a business that is largely marketed online, the reviews that the customers post on the different forums are critical in facilitating the promotion activities (Gustafson, 2012). The company has created an online community where the customers who have used the services before can share their photos from previous tours and hence help to inform the target audience about the products.
2.2 Customers with the Firm's Products
The purchase of Horizon packages is based on the interests of the customers regarding their travels. Given that different clients have different time and budgets to spend during their trips, they allowed to determine of the number of days they travel, the number of places they visit as well as to make a decision to travel on their own or with a group. During the travel the company does offer complimentary products such as access to internet services in areas where it is not available.
The most notable characteristics of the heavy users of the services are individuals who seek to visit multiple places in one travel. The heavy users also tend to be couples who have been saving for a trip together. Young professionals in their new jobs who seek to reward themselves within their budget are also included in the category of Horizons heavy users. The light users are mostly elderly individuals who have been recommended to use services mainly by their children or younger colleagues. Corporate clients also comprise the group of light users given that they travel on limited budget and have semi-autonomy on the manner in which they plan their travel. The use of complimentary products is more common among the heavy users who in most cases have planned for their travel over a long period of time.
2.3 Customers Purchase of Products
Horizon Tours does not have intermediaries who sell its products. The customers purchase the organizations products online through the website. As a result, e-commerce is the basic platform that is used to sell the company products. There have been some changes in the purchase patters on the e-commerce platforms with some clients making product purchases through the links that are shared on the companys social media sites.
2.4 Customers Purchase: Time
The promotional events have largely been online based with the communication being carried out using social media. The hours of operations are mainly between 8 AM to 5 PM but there are number of individuals who tend to make requests after this time due to the time differences of the different regions served by Horizon Tours. The time perceptions based on these differences in time zones are out of control of Horizon Tours.
2.5 Customers Selection of the Firm's
One of the basic benefits offered by Horizons products compared to the completion in the same market is the fact that customers can determine what is included in their package. The use of technology to deliver the products is also another benefit that is given to the customers since they are able to plan their trips without having to leave their places of work. Through providing easy access to the products and services the company is able to fulfill the customers needs relative to the competing products. The customer needs may change in the future as it is the need to earn more money results in less time spent seeking and planning their adventure travels. As a result, the customers will seek the easiest method of planning and organizing their trips.
2.6 Reasons for Not Purchasing the Firm's Products
The most basic need of non-customers that are not met by the company products is the need to visit a physical office where they can represent their issues or meet with company sales representatives as the promotion take place through the online platforms. This physical presence is the main benefit of competing product which makes them more appealing to the older generation of travelers. The potential of converting the non-customers to customers is minimal as it would require the change of the current business model. However, by accommodating the corporate clients, Horizon Tours seeks to ensure that the older generation of travelers is also able to afford its services.
3. The External Environment
Horizon Tours does not have any direct competition based on the model that is employed to deliver services to the clients. The use of technology sets the company on a different path which is not similar to the traditional models used by other travel services provides who wait for the customers to visit their physical location when planning each of their trips. Price variations among the other service providers do have an impact on the operations of Horizon as it is possible to attract customers to other services offered by travel agencies that are not online based. Notably, Horizon Tours could face some future competition from Jonexy Travels which has started to revamp its website for use in the promotion strategies. Despite Jonexy not having started allowing its clients to make orders online for the services they need, it is likely the company will see the value of that strategy and adopt it in future.
3.2 Economic Growth and Stability
The general of economic conditions in the United States where Horizons Tours is located indicate that there has been a GDP growth of 1.9% in the final quarter of 2016 and the growth trajectory is expected to continue. The California economy which is the state where Horizon Tours operates, has been ranked among the top ten economies in the world. In the 2016 report the State had nominal GDP of $2.6 trillion making it the 6th largest economy in the world, beating countries like France with more than $37 million.
Notably though, the higher GDP in the local area does not make California life to be easy for the customers. The customers have to contend with the higher cost of living with most commodities costing more than the national average in the United States. The inflation rate stands at 2.5% based on a twelve-month report for a period ending July 2017, published by the U.S. Labor Department. The consumer confidence in the region is relatively higher than the national average. The consumers are able to afford the general expenses for their daily lives and save a considerable amount which they can spend on luxury activities like adventure seeking. On overall the traveling industry in the region has been growing as evidenced by the entry of new organizations that seek to offer these services to the clients.
3.3 Political Trends
There have been slight changes in the political trends in the region that could affect the operations of Horizon Tours. Following the November 2016 Election, there has been an increase focus on growing home-based organizations. The period has been characterized by increased advocacy to advance the interests of local people and hence this may determine the future hiring patterns at Horizon Tours. Industry lobbyist are also inclined toward promoting domestic tourism and as a result, the seek to restrict the number of visits that a firm can organize outside the country.
3.4 Legal and Regulatory Issues
The California State Agency for the Registration will be responsible for the accreditation of the Horizon Tours to enable it to start its operations. The company will also obtain an international travel certificate to allow to organize trips in different countries. The accreditation will be critical in enabling the company to avoid the legal hurdle that could arise when operating in the travel business (Andreu, Aldas, Bigne, and Mattila, 2010).
3.5 Technological Advancements
The changes in technology has an effect on the manner in which the customer searches for product information. For example, Horizon Tours is an online based organization and hence the introduction of new technology will either hinder or increase the visibility of the company. The development of the Horizon Android Application increased the ease of access about the company information for the customers. Using the Android Application, customers are in a position to obtain discounts. The application also reduced the timing of purchase as the customer get notifications on their phones whenever new products are introduced. Technology advancements also eases the process of comparing the different items to be included in the clients packages.
The changes in technology have an impact in the promotion of the products offered by Horizon Tours as the company relies on technology to promote its brand. New technology improves that ability for the company to position banners and distribute advertising materials on the online space. The changes in technology also improve customer relationship management as they make it easier for the clients to raise their queries and have them addressed in adequate time by the organization staff. The technological advancements also help the company to increase the ability of the customers to share their experiences through photos and videos of their trips further enhancing the experience of the clients. Technology also improves the ability of Horizon Tours to reach out for its partners easily and promote its brand or negotiate prices reductions.
Currently, the company is not able to use the Instagram and Telegram technology due to the limited staff available. However, as the new members of staff join, the company will have the capacity to handle more social media platforms. The amalgamation of all social media sites to be managed from one platforms is one of the future technologies that could increase the opportunities of the firm.
3.6 Sociocultural Trends
The changes in customer lifestyle such as increased need to earn a living and save for other properties as well as amenities in life affects the operations of Horizon Tours. This is because it results in the reduction of the amount of money that the customer can spend during their adventure travels. The changes in lifestyle will lead to the company to reduce its pricing for its products as a result lower its value. The changes in lifestyle will lead in the company changing the content of its promotion message to inform the customers of the reduction in prices and the promotion offered to fit into their decreasing expenditure on luxury activities. The reduction in utilization of the company services also leads to the need to downsize the number of staff working at Horizon Tours.
The cultural diversity of the customers leads to the increase in the expansion in the number of regions to which Horizon Tours can organize its travels. Being a travel agency, Horizon Tours is not directly affected by environmental issues. But its partners who manage the different sites visited by the clients have challenges that are related to the environment. In situations where there are restrictions from visiting different areas as result of the existing restrictions. The industry has social responsibility of ensuring that they inform their customers of the need to maintain the environment of the different places they visit during their travels.
4. Market Needs
Horizon Tours seeks to fill the need for cheaper adventure tours that is largely targeting young travelers with a limited budget who seek to pursue adventures that are similar to their personalities. There was a need to provide affordable traveling services for individuals who seek to pursue adventures while still remaining within the confines of their budget and busy schedules. There are no other organizations that offer similar services especially considering that the company intends to use technology to give the customers more control of the packages as opposed to having a one-size fits-all type of products. Before reaching the decision to set up the business, Horizon Tours has carried out adequate market research on the existing need and refined its business model to meet the customer expectations. The customer will benefit from being able to continue seeking their adventure in an affordable manner and still be able to match the different packages with their own personalities. Letting the customers share their experiences through the creation of the different social groups is also another value that the company intends to create for the customers.
5. Market Trends
The advent of social media uses and the integration of review platforms for the customers has always been a determinant of the changes occurring among the travel businesses. The customers are able to use the review platforms to provide feedback on the services offered and which in turn brings to the fore issues that the organizations need to address. On the other hand, the reviews can lead to prospective customers avoiding certain businesses especially in cases where the businesses have bad reviews (Stokes, Wilson, and Wilson, 2010). Integrating customer feedback into the strategic plans of a travel agency is one of the developments trends that can result to positive difference regarding the operations.
Horizon Tours has found some market opportunity that will keep it ahead of the competitors. By allowing the customers to define their travel package, Horizon will be in a position to give room for its clients to express their personality which they can share with their friends on social media. The market opportunity is critical in establishing a competitive advantage as most people in the modern day where social media use is growing seek all methods through which they can be in a position to express themselves during their daily activities.
6. Market Growth
The market for adventure travels has continued to grow as more people enter the middle class category where their disposable income tends to rise significantly. The company will be able to meet the growth that is required to remain relevant in the travel industry. Horizon Tours will keep leveraging the available technology to propel itself on a growth path. The project website sales for the first three years of operations are $400,000, $600,000 and $750,000. The growth that will be exhibited at Horizon Tours will be real and measured through the sales that will be achieved in the different quarters of operations.
III. SWOT Analysis
Horizon Tours has two primary strengths as it begins its operations in the travel business. The company has low initial costs and hence it is easy to establish its operations in the sector without the need to engage in extensive fundraising activities. Being an intermediary that links the clients to the actual places they need to visit, the company operating costs are relatively low and hence the low initial capital (Gustafson, 2012). The acquisition of a professional website, rent deposit, insurance premiums and legal fees for registrations are the only major items that company will be required to pay for before initiating its operations.
Horizon Tours also has the strength of utilizing the Internet to build the required level of customer involvement. The packages which the customer will be allowed to choose from will include transportation, dining, accommodation and other tour planned activities. Customer involvement is the core of differentiation at Horizon and hence it will help to make the company products to standout from those provided by the competitors.
One of the weaknesses that Horizon Tours faces is the adoption of a lean start-up model that entails ensuring the operational costs are minimized. The model will be effective in the initial stages of operations but significant funding may be required from the third party to finance the expansion stage. The failure to secure the required funding may at that point hinder the expansion process.
The company lacks professional input in some operational areas. Horizon Tours is not in a position to hire professionals who have high level of knowledge and experience in sales and marketing. As a result, these operations will be headed by the owners. The company will however be supported by newly graduates who will be taken in as interns to support the existing operations. The main issue that may arise from adopting such an approach is the fact that the company will experience slowed growth.
The founders of Horizon Tours have profound of knowledge on the scope of the travel cycle and hence are in a position to drive the company growth towards offering the customers a comprehensive tour experience. Most players in the modern travel cycle only focus on offering accommodation and transport services. Horizon Tours will distinguish its self as a provider of all the aspects of the travel services to the clients based on their own preferences. The company will thus be in a position to grow a base of loyal customers who appreciate self-expression as they engage in different activities.
One of the fundamental threats that Horizon Tours faces is the adoption of internet-based promotion by its current or future competitors. There has been some rise in the number of competitors that are embracing the concept of taking feedback from their customer through reviews on their social media posts. The competitors are sending website links to their customer to write a review through email or SMS platforms. The strategies are intended to ensure that the companies are able to implement the information obtained through customer feedback within their operations. By using this process, the competitors are moving towards the adoption of customer-review model that is employed at Horizon Tours.
Horizon also faces a threat that is based on the low entry barriers of the industry as a result of the low initial capital that is required to begin the operation. The low entry barriers could see the number of competitors in the industry rise significantly in the near future. The entry of new players with lager initial capital in the luxury market will lead to stiffer competition that could pose a threat to the operations of Horizon Tours. Such players may have the ability to outgrow the company given their ability to continually invent new products that meet the customer needs.
5. The SWOT Matrix
Low initial costs
Ability to utilize crowd-sourcing for internet promotion
Increasing customer participation in planning
Lean start-up model
Lack of some technical input
Competitors using customer evaluation models
Low entry barrier
6. Developing Competitive Advantages: Critical Issues and Keys to Success
The ability to utilize the crowd-sourcing in carrying out its internet promotion is one of the critical method that the company can match its strengths to create capabilities in serving the needs of the customers. Horizon seeks understands that the current practice in the industry does not give the consumers the prerequisite power in determining their own packages. As a result, creation of internet based approaches can help Horizon to take the available opportunity within the travel market. The capabilities are grounded on the principles of operational excellence and product leadership. The capabilities are provided as information to the customer in the promotional messages that are displayed to the customers.
It is possible for Horizon to convert its weaknesses into opportunities. The lack of technical input in some areas can be countered through offering training for the current members of the organization. Unfortunately, it is not possible for the lean-start model to be converted to a strength or opportunity. However, it is possible for its effect to be minimized through propelling substantial growth in its initial stages to ensure that the company is able to secure funding to finance it growth stage. Horizon Tours does not possess any form of liabilities that could hinder its ability to meet the companys ability to meet the customer needs.
7. Strategic Focus
The strategic focus of Horizon Tours follows a niche marketing which seeks to address the unmet needs of the customers. The company will also avoid limiting its operations to the identified niche market so that the products can be appreciated by the wider travel market that is also served by the other competitors. The strategic focus is tied to compensate for the lean start-up model that will be adopted by the company as it is possible to finance the operations within the niche market through a limited budget (Abdul-Hamid, 2011). The strategic focus is also tied to the competitive advantage as it will market it more appealing to the individuals who seek to have more control on their travel plans.
IV. Marketing Goals and Objectives
The primary goal of the marketing plan is to increase the number of sales at Horizon Tours from 30% to 70% which was identified as the level which the organization can be able to handle with its current staffing. The increase is expected to take place within a period of seven months. The main approach that will be used to drive the sales will include the participation in promotional events held at the neighboring universities to create awareness.
The company also seeks to create awareness among corporate groups regarding their products so that it can expand the target market. The company will display banners and posters during corporate meetings and also work with the human resource managers to offer training to the staff on how to make arrangements for traveling during the holidays within their budget as a way of creating awareness on their products.
V. Marketing Strategies
1. Primary Target Market and Marketing Mix
The primary target market for Horizon Tours includes young generation of travelers who are aged between twenty to forty years. The individuals are likely to be newly employed, pursing their college education or in youth organizations such as community groups or sports teams. Demographically, members of the primary target market live within the urban areas. These groups constitute a considerable number of foreign nationals living within the region. The shopping habits of the members of the primary target market tend to rely on the online based organizations when doing their purchasing and hence it will be easy for Horizon Tours to reach them through promotional messages.
The product offered by Horizon Tours will constitute room booking, traveling services, venue search and inclusion into an online community of other adventure seekers. The main factor that differentiates the product from Horizon and its competitors is the fact that the customers are allowed to create their own combinations when traveling. The differentiation of the product will also be based on the empowerment of the clients to make a determination of the costs they are willing to incur whenever during their travels. The supplemental products that could be included in the package for the primary target group will include magazines that they can read during their travel. The customer service will be largely focused on responding to the clients queries arising from the social media platforms.
The primary objective will be to ensure that the customer is able to access their adventure travels at an affordable price. The overall pricing strategy will be competitor based where Horizon will seek to offer its services at a price that is lower than that of the players in the industry. The profit margin for the company services will be about 70% since its does not need any inventory to operate. Horizon will use a discount and markdown policy that seeks to increase sales during the low seasons to encourage traveling by reducing the prices of its services. Special pricing incentives will be available for individuals who seek to travel as a group. The company will not offer any finance for its products in its initial years of operations but will later seek to partner with organizations that promote tourism.
Horizon Tours will use a direct sales strategy where the clients will purchase directly from the company using the web-based platforms. The company will not use any intermediaries or other supply chain collaborations. The web based platforms developed by Horizon will allow users to explore that contents and make purchases using seven different languages. The number of languages will then be increased to twelve within the initial two years of operations. For Horizon to increase the availability of the product, the customer will be in a position to make purchases throughout the day and night with the aim of accommodating clients from living in areas with different timelines.
The objective of the promotion activities at Horizon will be to create product awareness through social media and other online based strategies. The organizations bias towards internet based marketing is because the primary target market are largely individuals who are inclined towards relying on technology based approaches when making purchases.
Facebook will be one of the fundamental approaches for carrying out promotion. The company will have pages through which it will engage the clients in conversations regarding the different areas where they can visit. Facebook will serve as an advertisement platform as the company will post images of the places where the clients can visit during their trips. The company will also respond to the queries raised through the platform and also take feedback from the clients to ensure that it is able to improve its services (Fesenmaier, Xiang, Pan, and Law 2010). The company will make one status update daily and also have four sponsored posts per month to increase its reach.
Twitter will also be used for marketing purposes through sending tweets. Horizon Tours will also start tweeter conversations through using hashtags that are related to its operations in the travel industry (Gustafson, 2012). The company will also post pictures of places where the clients can visit. Horizon Tours will also engage in environmental conservation talks to create awareness about the its corporate social responsibility.
Instagram will also serve a critical role in creating a platform where the visitors can share their activities during the visits and initiate conversations. Horizons will also post photos that are linked to the website to ensure that the individuals who visit the page are converted to clients.
Google will also serve a critical role in driving targeted marketing. The company will use the Google Ads program to promote its services. Horizon will also use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to improve the ranking of its website on Google. The company will also use Google Mail to reach out to previous customers to inform them about new products and also obtain review of the services they had used.
1.5 Budget and Training
Horizon Tours will set aside $1800 for the promotion of its brand through the identified measures. The budget is based on the lean start-up model that is adopted by the company. The allocation of the amount for each promotional activity will be based on the ease of implementation and the expected sales that could be obtained. Google will be allocated 55% of the amount since it is expected to have a wider reach. Facebook on the other hand will be allocated 25% of the marketing budget while the other approaches will share the remaining amount equally.
The company intends to reach out to some corporate for training on how to manage their travel in a bid to grow its market share. The training will be coordinated through the specific organizations that will be working with the company and hence the costs of the training will be incurred by the specific partners.
VI. Marketing Implementation
1. Structural Issues
The marketing strategies will be implemented in a flexible manner based on the output obtained from the different approaches. The marketing strategy will not necessitate structural changes on the firms structure. The marketing approaches will be largely automated and driven by the founders hence there will be no need to spend a lot of time to train the employees. Employee buy-in will sort by explaining the marketing strategy to the staff and the principle that informed its adoption.
The employee will also be trained on the different products. The information will be critical in enabling the staff to be in a position to clarify issues to the customers who make inquiries. The training will be aimed at clarifying the issues that are raised by the customers with the aim of developing the prerequisite knowledge to empower the staff.
2. Tactical Marketing Activities
The following table provides the marketing activities that will be used to drive the promotion strategy at Horizon Tours.
Specific Tactical Activities
1. Identify activities to include in the packages
2. Developed detailed description of the packages
3. Identify photos to include in the descriptions
1. Contact different organizations to negotiate the prices of the venues
IMC (Promotion) Activities
1. Design and launch Facebook page
2. Design ad campaign for Google and Facebook
3. Create a Website with a blog
4. Set up Twitter and Instagram Account
VII. Evaluation and Control
1. Formal Marketing Control
The marketing strategy will be evaluated twice a year with the aim of determining the effectiveness of the measures being employed. The marketing strategies will be evaluated based on their effectiveness in increasing the number of sales.
1.1 Input controls
Before the implementation of the marketing plan, the company will not need any additional capital. The implementation of the marketing strategy will also not require any further research and development. As the marketing activities intensify, there could be need to recruit more staff to meet the marketing roles. The newly recruited staff will also be trained on the products and the manner in which they will respond to questions arising during the process. The training sessions will be included in the orientation of the new employees to enable them to be in a position to address the customer issues as they arise.
1.2 Process Controls
The management will lead the implementation of the marketing plan and as a result ensure that employees are ready to play their roles in the process. The management will also develop a reward system for the staff who are in a position to make sales during the process. The organizational staff will also seek to create an environment where the culture will be customer oriented to ensure that they increase their customer service.
1.3 Output Controls
The marketing strategy will be evaluated based on the growth in the market share. The strategy will be expected to increase the sales with 10% every quarter. The customer satisfaction level that is expected will be a rating of eight points out ten for each customer rating. In the event the marketing plan does not meet these expectations the company will organize corporate events which are deemed a more cost effective way to achieve the marketing goals.
The product brand is expected to grow over the first ten months after the implementation of the marketing plan. The organization is expected to continually innovate based on the emerging technology to enhance the quality of the services offered. A failure to meet these standards will lead the organization to seek the services of the consultant to offer guidance on how to increase performance.
The ability of the promotion will be evaluated based on its impact in initiating conversations regarding the different adventure places the clients can visit using the services of Horizon Tours. The effectiveness of the Google Ads and other social media promotion activities will be evaluated based on the number of clients who visit the website and make product esquire based on the information provided.
1.4 Marketing Audits
The number of conversations that are generated from each social media posts will be evaluated on a daily basis. The company will also measure the number of sales generated from the links provided in the social media conversations. The audit for the marketing activities will be carried out by Stephanie Lewis as the head of operations.
2. Financial Assessments
Using the systematic model approach, the evaluation of the marketing plan will follow seven steps. The goal of the marketing plan will seek to increase the sales of the organization products. The most fundamental decision that will be used to assess the effectiveness of the marketing will be the percentage increase in the sales. The source of information from the social media will be the main sources of input in regard to the evaluating the marketing plan. The data will be collected on the social media platform and as a result there will be no geographical boundaries. The decisions will be based on the ability of the strategies to increase the number of sales. The grey region of reach marketing objective will be a drop of 5% to ensure that the marketing plans remain on course (Gustafson 2012). The optimal size for measuring the effectiveness of the will be one hundred clients whose information will be analyzed to provide the required insights.
Abdul-Hamid, I., 2011. Travel agency strategies for managing the current dynamic environment. SEGi Review. Vol, 4, pp.71-79.
Andreu, L., Aldas, J., Bigne, J.E. and Mattila, A.S., 2010. An analysis of e-business adoption and its impact on relational quality in travel agencysupplier relationships. Tourism Management, 31(6), pp.777-787.
Fesenmaier, D.R., Xiang, Z., Pan, B. and Law, R., 2010. An analysis of search engine use for travel planning. Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2010, pp.381-392.
Gustafson, P., 2012. Managing business travel: Developments and dilemmas in corporate travel management. Tourism management, 33(2), pp.276-284.
Gustafson, P., 2012. Travel time and working time: What business travellers do when they travel, and why. Time & Society, 21(2), pp.203-222.
Stokes, D., Wilson, N. and Wilson, N., 2010. Small business management and entrepreneurship. Cengage Learning EMEA.
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