Marketing management is one of the most important tools in any business’ industry as it ensures that the enterprise’s sales balance with customers’ satisfaction, and it is one of the best means to use in determining whether or not customers get reward for their money and expenses. Marketing ensures that a customer is well informed about the product he/she wishes/intends to purchase and this way the customer will be fully conversant with the product which he is about to acquire (Campbell, 2007, p. 92). This therefore becomes a very important aspect in tourism, bearing in mind that it is one of the most delicate industries which is largely affected by small changes in both the internal and external environments in which the business itself is situated. Some of these changes include changes in the global market which directly affects the dollar’s value, political changes, tensions and instabilities, changes in a country’s economical, social and most importantly religious environment. In the United States for example, tourism is one of the most versatile industries which requires a lot of tactful marketing and management to ensure success and completion of any tourism entrepreneur’s objectives and goals (Fullen, 2006, p. 104).
By looking at the industry’s trend in the United States, tourism has been largely affected by the changes in the political front as well as competition from other entrepreneurs in the industry; international, national and local, and for this reason it is important to offer unique services in the industry far from what has already been offered in order to be successful as well as have a stable and defined customer base (Krishnan, 2010, p. 65). According to the state report in June 2011, United States has been one of the most targeted countries across the globe by various tourism investors from Europe, Asia and even Africa, and has seen its tourists’ numbers increase by 37% in this year alone. These were some of the reports and statistics collected from various areas such as Green Card as well as the official state report (Roberts, 2011, p. 85). Tourists are interested in various sectors of the country’s resources which range from leisure and entertainment to other sectors such as education, medical fields, research as well as technology. In my investment and venture, I will target the leisure and entertainment category which make up to 43% of the total number of tourists received in the United States. My choice is based on the fact that these are the people who are most willing to spend in the country through touring, entertainment, hiking, visiting major areas of attraction in the country and also learning more about the American culture.
Secondly, United States has many attraction features and areas that have not yet been exploited and made known to many people across the world, and for this reason bringing in tourists both foreign and local to visit these areas will not only be of economical benefit to the state, but also to the locals living in these areas (Michelle, 2008, p. 147). From an overview observation and judging by the tourism and hospitality trend in the United states across various states, many tour companies as well as tourism agencies have majored on drafting their tour itineraries and taking tourists to the already diluted tourism sectors, with leading states being Vegas, New York and California, and emphasizing less on the other states which have tourism destinations with high potential, if only well exposed by the Government in collaboration with the tourism agencies and boards. This is one of the problems affecting tourism in the United States which has in fact made it a very predictable industry especially in the past ten years. The main aim of my enterprise will therefore to make known the undiscovered tourism sites in the United States as well as exposing the facilities that have a high potential of being big tourism destinations in various states across the country (Hsing, 2005, p. 156).
I plan to implement and launch my plan in the coming year 2012, and launching my tour company, Experience America’s Basics, I will need to have a proper and effective business strategy which should go a long way in ensuring that the services I offer stand out from the rest of the tourism services which are already in offer, which have consequently led to concentration of certain services in specific regions while other potential tourism destinations have been left unexploited (Mathis & John, 2010, p. 301).
Planning of my business enterprise will involve both the internal and external sectors. This means that I will have to consider both my company’s organization in terms of employees, each employees’ duties and areas of jurisdiction and service as well as the external factors, which involve and include the target as well as the potential markets as well as the various external factors that affect the tourism industry in the United States of America. These will be determined by both the factors that have constantly affected the market in the recent past as well as those that have the potential of affecting it in the near future, going by the political, social, environmental and economical trends (Carroll & Broakhead, 2011, p. 133).
A good marketing strategy for the company will include defining and establishing the problems that have been affecting the tourism sector in the United States. This will be very important because it will determine the direction the tourism sector will take in the near future following the trend that has already defined the market (Pryce, et. Al, 2011, p. 111). Secondly, it will be important for Experience America’s Basics, my tour company, to determine the measures to take in order to make tourism in the United States a sustainable industry. With these two aspects having been put into consideration, it will be easy for the company to ascertain and establish the route which it will take to ensure that the industry’s demands and expectations are met, effectively (Reinertsen, 2009, p. 83).
A planning process is very important for any company to make sure that it achieves its desired goals, which do not only bring satisfaction to both the entrepreneurs and the customers, but also brings financial success to the company. Experience America’s Basics is no exception. Planning process for this tour company will involve the following stages.
b) Provision of clear direction
As earlier discussed and pointed out, defining a clear direction to be taken will be important to ensure that the company’s objectives are met. These objectives include offering quality services to the tourists both local and international, which will be achieved by making them fully satisfied with their tour through visiting other places which they have not yet visited and that are yet to be realized. Provision of a clear direction will include appointing staff employees to handle specific areas in services’ provision as well as ensuring that all areas specifically the human resource desk and the marketing and management desk are well organized (Preston & Doreen, 1987, p. 132).
It will be of utmost importance to determine and clearly point out the company’s values. Experience America’s Basics is a tour operating company which is dedicated to provision of quality services to al its esteemed customers, with the provision of these services being based on integrity, transparency, fairness and free from discrimination regardless of the customers’ background, origin, race or nationality (Kotler & Armstrong, 2009, p. 145). This is the most important value that the company will work towards achieving, especially based on the fact that a survey conducted among most of the registered tour operators across the United States indicate that over 45% of these companies show some level of discrimination in their services provision, with over 68% of these discrimination cases being based on the tourists’ social and economical class and background (Hephaestus books, 2011, p. 80). This has consequently hindered provision of quality services to the customers, which consequently undermines the values that should always be upheld by any hospitality or tourism agency or company across the globe.
d) Set standards and behavior
Experience America’s Basics will be a tour company that seeks to bring back life in the tourism industry in the United States and to achieve this it will be important for all its employees to maintain high levels of discipline, respect and professionalism in their services’ provision (Cooper, et. Al, 2007, p. 83). This is based on the fact that handling international tourists who are mostly interested in learning the American culture will have to be carried out with utmost care and respect based on the fact that different people from varied regions across the world have different cultures, values and traditions, and what is acceptable in one community might not be acceptable in other cultures, and for this reason it will be upon my tour company to ensure that no tourists gets intimidated or feels insulted by the services that will be offered to them by my company (Goldsmith & carter, 2011, p. 92).
Lastly, having considered all these building blocks to quality services, it will be easy to define and clearly carry out the company’s objectives, which is provision of quality services to customers, as well as making their tour across the United States a memorable experience and better and memorable services than the ones being offered by other tour companies (Lydenberg, et. Al, 1986, p. 901). However, when setting up the company’s objectives, in order to make them realizable it will be important to carry out a PESTEL analysis in the tourism industry across the United States (Khanna, et. Al, 2001, p. 116). This analysis will include a critical study of the political, economical, social, technological, environmental as well as the legal aspects that may directly or indirectly affect the company’s operations. This is important because it makes sure that the company’s objectives are not interfered with by the above outlined factors (Ian & Serafemi, 2010, p. 178).
BENEFITS OF PLANNING
Planning in the above described structure is one of the most important aspects that should always be considered by any company to ensure that all its goals are met. In this case for example, planning will ensure that all areas have been considered and these include the staff working with Experience America’s Basics, the customers both local and foreign, the company itself as an entity through conducting a STEPLE analysis and finally the quality of services to be offered to the customer (Greening, et. Al, 2000, p. 299). Secondly, planning will be important for the company in the essence that it will act as a guideline and a watchdog for the company’s performance and will keep it checked if it attains the set and desired goals within the specified time period. It will also ensure that the services provided by the company meet the expected standards (Freeman, et. Al, 2007, p. 156).
A SWOT analysis is important for any company since it assists it to determine how it is performing in comparison to other competing companies. From a look at the company’s objectives and goals, the major strength about it is that it will be venturing into an area that hasn’t been exploited, and for this reason it won’t be facing as much competition as other companies which are scrambling for the already diluted tourism market in the United States (Chatterji, 2010, p. 79). Secondly, the major weakness that the company faces is the fact that as much as it has ventured into an area where there is less competition, a lot of capital will be required to start up the business, especially bearing in mind that transportation of tourists from one region to another will require reliable transportation means. Thirdly, the company has the biggest opportunity bearing in mind that there are very few companies that are willing to venture in areas and attractions that haven’t been invested in or discovered before (Campbell, et, al, 1991, p. 68).
This leaves Experience America’s Basics in a good position to venture into undiscovered tourism attraction areas and popularize them as long as the right approach in marketing itself as well as these attraction destinations is implemented. Lastly, the major threat that the company faces is the fact that in the recent past, many tourism companies have started investing much into rural tourism across the United States, which is one of the areas that would be of benefit to the company and this means that with time less unexploited tourism destinations will remain, and this will reduce the company’s available opportunities (Campbell, 2007, p. 68).
With this SWOT analysis, it will be easier to draw out a SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic & Time) Marketing plan based on the knowledge of the business environment (both the internal and external environments) as derived from the SWOT analysis (Buchanan & Albert, 2010, p. 47). With this in mind therefore, the company’s objectives will have to be SMART tested, and found if they are specific to their task, measurable to determine whether they are being achieved or not, achievable and realistic and have a time limit (Barlow, 2002, p. 71).
Having this informational background about the tourism industry and hence the organizational structure of the tour company, it will now be important to define the marketing strategies to apply in the company. The importance of a marketing strategy is that it ensures that the limited available resources are effectively used to achieve maximum returns (Brassington & Pettitt, 2008, p. 68). There are various marketing strategies that Experience America’s Basics can employ in its marketing activities, and these include market dominance, porter generic, growth strategies, innovation strategies, market welfare strategies and market segmentation strategies. All these are marketing strategies that various companies in various fields apply in their marketing activities, based on various factors such as competition, the customer base as well as the nature of services and goods to be provided. In this case however, innovation strategy is the best marketing strategy to apply, since the tour company seeks to introduce new tourism destinations that have not been popularized to the public and especially to new tourists both locally and internationally (Apergis et, al, 2011, p. 78).
One of the most important things to consider when applying this marketing strategy is the fact that there should be effective and up to date technology which enhances communication, both in marketing, communication between staff as well as between staff and customers and also between various stakeholders within the company. The easier the communication between two parties (stakeholders in the company) the faster the relaying of information which makes a company act long before its competitors have the same information. Good and competent technology on the other hand enhances innovativeness which is important for our tour company especially because it is launching its services into unexploited areas (Arbinger Institute, 2005, p. 35).
Creating a marketing program is one of the most important aspects in marketing, as it ensures that a defined routine is established which over time becomes a marketing culture for any given company. In this case, it will be important to establish a marketing program, which will involve building a niche market, establishing niche partners (in this case the clients), making sure to provide efficient services to earn their loyalty, keeping the company’s eyes open for any new potential customers and finally taking care of the customers, for example through asking for feedback to help improve the services offered to them. This is a marketing program that has been applied by many companies across the world and has turned out to be a success (Aupperle et. Al, 1985, p. 277).
Finally, budgeting is another important aspect to consider in any company as it ensures that the amount of resources required to set up the business is ascertained and well spelt out. Budgeting involves evaluation of all the costs to be incurred for any business to take off, and initial budgeting is normally calculated for a period of 3 to 6 months, within which period a company is able to break even of all its expenses (Al-Yami, 2008, p. 78). In this case for example, budgeting for a tour company will include payment of staff employees (both managerial and subordinate staff), vehicles required for transportation of tourists, office furniture and requirements (such as rent and electricity bills), camping material which include tents, bedding and utensils in case of outdoor camping and finally insurance for both the office, employees as well as the transportation vehicles. Other variable costs will include fuel, salaries as well as entrance fees to some destinations as well as air tickets for the international (outbound) tourists (Abdul, 2004, p. 57).
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