Previously, in a move informed by gap analysis and needs assessment, I decided to develop a service aimed at augmenting the travel arrangements of business travelers in Sweden. This was in the form of a travel agency tasked to handle the logistics and modalities of the business travelers, although not limited to that cohort of travelers. This was informed by the need for the business travelers to ease their worries so that they would properly focus on the main objective of their travel; business. Nonetheless, the travelers might prefer to go sightseeing in the beautiful Swedish countryside, hence the incorporation of the package tour booking option in the list of services rendered. In a nutshell, the service was to ‘worry’ on behalf of the customer so that he could focus on the more important things.
As one of the elements of the marketing mix, distribution or placement might just be one of the most essential elements. It has a big influence in the success of a product or service in the market. It entails the availability of the service or product to the client. As discussed earlier, our service, that is the travel agency will have most of its operations done online via the internet. Owing to the fact that our clients were widely dispersed globally, online transactions was the most viable media for getting into contact with our prospective clients. This would eliminate the sourcing of land offices in our various hotspots thereby saving on operation costs. The clients would also acquire the service very conveniently without having to visit a land office. This notwithstanding, there would be land and liaison offices in selected localities (Lamb, Joseph & Carl 54)
In order to avail our service to the prospective clients, appropriate distribution channels have to be sourced. The nature of the distribution channels is dependent on its availability to reach the customers in order to inform them of our service. The following is an outline of the distribution channels viable for this service. It also details the pros of the channels and the advantage the company enjoys in using it to popularize and avail the service.
1. Use of the internet
As discussed earlier, the company website will be the main medium of contact between the clients and the service provider. This will make use of the revolutionized e-commerce. The company website will be designed to display the travel agency’s service catalogue. This will detail the services that the clients can enjoy through the agency. The website will be designed to be user friendly so that the clients have an easy time when surfing through the website in order to sample our services.
The website will also include also include a list of preferred hotels, tourist sites, accommodation facilities, transport companies and other subsidiary facilities that the traveling clients might need. This is in an attempt to make the booking of facilities even easier for the client. The website will display the various rates in the catalogued facilities so that the clients can make informed decisions when booking or paying any of them. This catalogue will be updated on a daily basis to capture any changes in the rates at the various facilities (Boone & Kurtz 56)
The website will also include an automated booking system that will process the orders made by the clients and relay the information to the concerned facilities. For instance, the automated booking system in collaboration with the cataloged facilities will establish availability of accommodation space, say at a hotel room, and list it for booking by clients who opt for the aforesaid facility. Payments will be made through the use of credit, debit and MasterCard’s online. This will be of convenience to both the client and the company. Proof of booking will be relayed through electronic mail to the client (Lamb, Joseph & Carl 77)
2. Land offices
These are offices run by company representatives in order to serve those clients who for one reason or another cannot access the services online. The land offices will be strategically located in pick areas where more clients are likely to access them. For instance, there will land offices at major airports and with extensions to other airfields. There will be land offices at ports, border entry points, trains stations and other entry points as determined by demand.
As stated earlier, the company website will catalogues listing companies and other business entities that we will work in collaboration with. The travel agency will negotiate for in depth collaborations with these entities with the aim of creating a micro-business environment where we keep clients amongst ourselves. This will be done through recommendations made to the clients on preferable service providers where feasible (Lamb, Joseph & Carl 109)
4. Liaison offices
These are virtual offices operated by appointed people who are not necessarily affiliated to the travel agency. Their mandate will be to liaise with use when our services are sought in regions beyond our reach.
In order to popularize our travel agency, the company will engage in intensive promotion campaign. The objective of the campaign will be to familiarize the prospective clients and nonconsumers with our services. Business travelers come from all walks of life, a fact that makes it implausible to use one promotional technique to popularize a business entity. Owing to that, the company will employ some elements of the promotional mix in order to make the campaign both efficient and effective. The following is a meticulous outline of the elements to be used in the campaign (Mullin 60)
This involves the presentation of promotional ideas on our service through the use of an identified sponsor. The promotional campaign will exploit advertising in order to reach more prospective clients and nonconsumers. For efficiency, the company will run an advertisement in mainstream newspapers to run for one week in lucrative sections of the papers. An advertisement will also be run on television depicting the customized services that we offer. In order to diversify so as to reach more clients, billboards will be erected in major highways, freeways, and major towns (Mullin 63)
2. Public relations: In order to place the company properly on a lucrative niche in the market, an investment will be made towards public relation efforts. As an interim decision to be revised by the board as deemed appropriate, the company sponsor activities to mark the international environmental day in line with the company’s policy to conserve the environment. The company will also give press releases to offer updates on new services on our catalogue (Lamb, Joseph & Carl 112)
3. Direct marketing: Through this channel-agnostic way of advertisement, the travel agency will be able to correspond directly with the client. The company will use mobile messaging, interactive consumer websites, emails, online display ads, promotional letters, catalogue distribution, fliers and outdoor advertising (Dent 34)
All the promotional activities that the company will be involved in will carry the slogan of the company, “Let us worry about your travel logistics so that you can be concerned about the more vital things”
Customer relationship management
The company will have a toll free line that is accessible any time in the day so as to respond to any concerns from of the clients. The customer relationship management will be departmentalized for proper handling of the clients concerns. The concerns will be sent to the right departments for appropriate action. Apart from the toll free line, the company will also have an interactive website where customer relations representatives will be ready to give immediate solutions to any bottlenecks the clients might be experiencing when trying to access our service (Dent 14)
The travel agency will spare no efforts to make the travelers have a smooth time while on transit.
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