In the modern era, marketing has become very essential for overall growth and success of a company. It can be stated that the basis purpose behind carrying out marketing practices is to create more and more awareness of a company’s products and services among people in the market. Along with this, marketing also help businesses in creating demand among customers and getting competitive advantage over other market players (Buhalis and Foerste, 2013). The travel and tourism sector of UK is considered as one of the most potential and growing sector. Furthermore, the sector also contributes in economic development by creating employment opportunities and bringing foreign currency within the country. The present research is based on Thomas cook which is one of the most popular tour operators in the world. This study reflects different aspect of marketing within travel and tourism sector. Here, the importance of strategic marketing plan has been mentioned.
1.1 Discussing the core concept of marketing in travel and tourism
Marketing can be termed as the process of promoting products and services among people in the market with the purpose of increasing sales and profitability. It can be expressed that at present the competition among businesses operating in travel and tourism sector of UK has become very intense. This has created various kinds of obstacles in terms of achieving higher sales and profits. The core concepts of marketing with regards to travel and tourism sector are mentioned below as:
Customer orientation - It can be termed as one of the main and most important concept of marketing. Furthermore, the concept deals with the recognition of changing customer need, demand and then delivering services/ products according to the same. Here, the marketing activities are focused on satisfaction of customers needs in the best possible manner (Hudson and Thal, 2013).
Value creating – The concept of marketing also focuses on creating value of products and services among the mind of people in the market. It can be asserted that many brands carry out their marketing activities and practices with an objective to make people aware of the fact that why the goods and service offered by the brand are more satisfactory as compared to the offerings of other market players.
Development of brand image – It is another important concept of marketing and it lays emphasis on developing a small or large organization into a brand in market (Becker, 2016). The activities and practices of marketing in travel and tourism businesses are also carried out with the purpose of enhancing their overall brand image.
1.2 The impact of marketing environment on the travel and tourism sector
In order to sustain in highly competitive business environment, travel and tourism companies are required to carry out effective analysis of their marketing environment. The rationale behind this is that the factors in marketing environment have direct impact on operations and business practices of companies like Thomas Cook (Hays, Page and Buhalis, 2013). The factors in marketing environment along with their impact are mentioned below as:
Competition within industry- It can be stated that operating in destination such as Egypt is one of the most complicated task for Thomas Cook. The competition within travel and tourism industry of Egypt is very intense and this has a direct impact on sales and profits of the selected business enterprise. Any kind of changes in marketing mix of competitors directly forces Thomas Cook to make certain changes in its marketing practices and other related areas.
Barraging power of supplier – The bargaining power of suppliers operating in travel and tourism industry of Egypt is very low and therefore the brand is not likely affected by the activities of suppliers. The suppliers are very high in number and therefore they are not able to dominate marketing practices of Thomas Cook (Mistilis, Buhalis and Gretzel, 2014).
Bargaining power of buyers- It can be termed as important marketing factors which affect the business practices and activities of Thomas Cook. Due to high number of businesses operating in travel and tourism sector of Egypt, the customers always has opportunity to switch to other brands in market. In order to retain customers, Thomas Cook is required to make changes in its services, products and marketing practices on the basis of changing customer demand and needs.
Apart from this, legal, technology and economy are the key environmental factors which affect marketing practices of Thomas Cook in destination such as Egypt. Changes in legal laws or introduction of new tourism legislation directly force the brand to make certain changes in its existing marketing practices. On the other side of this, factors such as economic slowdown may encourage Thomas Cook to lower down its marketing activities as in such situations people less likely prefer to purchase services linked with travel and tourism.
1.3 Key factors affecting customer motivation and demand in travel and tourism sector
Customers can be termed as the king of travel and tourism sector as all the activities and operations of companies in the sector are carried out with an objective to attain higher degree of customer satisfaction. It is required by organization such as Thomas Cook to take care of various factors which affect areas such as demand and motivational level of customers. Some key factors are elaborated below as:
Culture- In simpler terms culture can be defined as the belief and value which affects the motivation level of an individual. Along with this, culture of people also has impact on the process of decision making. For example culture can restrict individuals in terms of visiting some places.
Income level- The decision making of customers in travel and tourism sector is also affected by factors such as income level of individual (Morrison, 2013). For instance people with higher income group prefer to select high and premium class tour packages. On the other hand, people with low income will seek for buying packages which are at low prices.
Social factors- It is another important factor which affects the overall decision making and motivation level of customers in travel and tourism industry. Many times individual’s gets motivated by their social groups which includes friends, family, colleagues and they make decision regarding purchase of a particular tour package or service.
1.4 The principles of market segmentation and its use in marketing planning
Market segmentation can be termed as the process in which entire market is divided into different sub set of potential customers. It can be stated that the principles of market segmentation are very important and play significant role in the process of marketing planning. The principle explains that organizations can divide their entire market on the basis of following criteria’s:
Demographic segmentation- It is a form of market segmentation in which different types of demographic variable. Here, factors such as age, gender, income level, nationality, race etc. are taken into consideration to divided the market and define target customers (Dolnicar and Ring, 2014).
Behavioral segmentation – This form of marketing segmentation is the one which businesses in travel and tourism sector divide the entire market on the basis of parameters such as decision making and behavioral pattern.
Geographic segmentation- Here, the market is divided on the basis of the various geographical locations. For example a company in travel and tourism sector may seek for attracting people which Asian market or urban areas.
The information collected from market segmentation plays very important role in the process of marketing planning. The main reason behind conducting out marketing planning process is to develop a strategy and key efforts which a company will be carrying out in a particular year. Segmentations help businesses to develop more effective strategies by providing them with specific information about target market (Goodall and Ashworth, 2013). Along with this, segmentation also assists in indentifying the key advertisement and promotional strategies which can be used for attracting people and developing a result oriented marketing plan.
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2.1 The importance of strategic planning process
Strategic planning process can be termed as an activity of process which is carried out by businesses with an objective to develop effective strategies for growth and make decision related to allocation of resources. At the time of carrying out its business practices and operations in destination such as Egypt, it is required by Thomas Cook to carry out strategic planning at regular intervals. The rationale behind this is that strategic planning process can provide wide range of benefits to the selected business enterprise. The above mentioned process is important because it will help Thomas Cook to set up goals in terms of operating in Egypt. This will make it more clearly for company in context of defining what it exactly wants to achieve in destination such as Egypt (Chon, 2013). The process of strategic planning is also important for Thomas Cook because it will help in decision making. It can be asserted that with the help of strategic planning, the company can effectively determine what tools; technique of marketing can be implemented to achieve desired results. In addition to this, strategic planning is also very useful in taking decisions regarding development of new products or modifications in the existing ones. The use of strategic planning process can also support Thomas Cook to increase the volume of its sales and profits in destinations such as Egypt. The rationale behind this is that strategic planning will reveal information about market conditions, customer segment, and competitors of Thomas Cook etc. On the basis of this information collected, more effective strategies can be developed by the brand which can assist in increasing profits and market share.
2.2 The relevance of marketing research and market information
It can be expressed that marketing research and market information are very important for overall growth and success of businesses such as Thomas Cook. In the modern era, it is not easy for the brand to attract more customers and retain the old ones. The reason behind this is that increasing competition has resulted in making wide range of options and alternatives for customers. This means that people in Egypt market are always avalaiable with potential options which they can opt for in situations when they are not satisfied with the products and services offered by Thomas Cook. It is required by managers working in Thomas Cook to carry out market research at regular intervals (Fernández-Morales, Cisneros-Martínez and McCabe, 2016). This will help the selected business enterprise to gain information with regards to areas such as changing need, demand of customers and gap in the market. In order to sustain in highly competitive business environment it is required by Thomas Cook managers to develop and supply products according to changing customer demand. This will create sense of satisfaction among customers and will also support in overall growth of Thomas Cook. Market research at regular intervals will also results in providing the managers of selected business enterprise with data about the products, services offered by competitors of Thomas Cook and the key strategies which has been employed by them. On the basis of data collected, managers can make modifications in existing business practices and strategies of Thomas Cook and can gain competitive advantage over other market player. The significance of market research and marketing information is that it will directly contribute in long term growth and success of the selected business enterprise.
2.3 Influence of marketing on society
It can be explained that the activities of marketing carried out by companies such as Thomas Cook has direct impact on people living in society. The concept of marketing lays emphasis on promoting products by creating awareness among people in the market. Therefore, marketing of products and services is important as it results in providing adequate information to customers in society. The influence of marketing can be directly witnessed on purchase decision of the people who are living in a particular society. The data or information render by companies such as Thomas Cook helps customers to take decisions regarding selection of products and services in the market (Minazzi, 2015). Aggressive marketing can sometimes results in changing the mind set of customers and many encourage them to buy products and services of any other market players. Marketing also provides different types of economic benefits to the people living in a particular society. Marketing results in increasing sales and profits of a company and this helps in carrying out expansion of business. Further, expansion can results in providing different types of benefit to a society by creating employment opportunities and raising standard of living.
3.1 The nature and role of the promotional mix
Promotion is one of the most crucial elements of a company’s marketing mix and it can be termed as the process which is being carried out to raise awareness among people in the market. Here, different types of tools and techniques are being employed by organization with a purpose of attracting people from target market. The promotion mix of a company consists of four major elements which are mentioned below as:
Advertisement - It can be termed as the form of media communication which is generally paid. In order to create awareness of its products and service, different form of advertisement such as placing ads on different types of channels such as radio, television, newspaper etc. The main advantage for Thomas Cook in terms of using advertisement as a promotional tool is that it helps in creating awareness among mass customers (Hudson and Thal, 2013). Along with this, the above mentioned element of promotion mix also helps companies such as Thomas Cook to increase the volume of its sales and profits. However, it can be critically argued that the use of advertisement can results in increasing the overall cost of operations of selected business enterprise. The use of advertisement can support in getting competitive advantage over the other players who are operating in travel and tourism sector of the world. On the other side of this, it can be asserted that confusing ads may create dissatisfaction among buyers and may also impact the brand image of Thomas Cook in negative sense.
Sales promotion – It is another important element of promotion mix which needs to be take care by Thomas Cook. The key benefits of using sales promotion is that it can directly influence mind set and perception of individuals towards buying a particular product or service which is displayed or presented. Along with this, the use of various sales promotion techniques also assists in increasing sales of Thomas Cook by the making the process of decision making very clear for the customers. However, the drawback of this element of promotional mix is that it is not effective in long run and thus, can be used for short run only (Becker, 2016). This element can provide with best possible results in situations where Thomas Cook introduce any new products or service in the market.
Public relation – These are the activities carried out by business with an objective to enhance brand image and develop a strong bond with customers. It can be stated that Thomas Cook can make frequent use of public relation activities and this will provide the company with potential platform in terms interacting with customers. Thomas Cook can easily make certain changes in its products and services on the basis of information gathered through public relation. On the other side of this, it can be argued that the main disadvantage of using public relation is that it is a very time consuming process and also increases the overall operational cost (Mistilis, Buhalis and Gretzel, 2014).
Direct marketing- It can be termed as traditional form of marketing which is used for attracting more and more customers. This element of marketing is not effective for a brand like Thomas Cook. Instead of selecting direct marketing for promotion, the selected business enterprise can make use of social media and email marketing as a tool to create awareness among people in the market.
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3.2 Integrated promotional campaign
The integrated promotional campaign carried out for Thomas Cook is mentioned below as:
Product or service offered – Thomas Cook will be offering new and innovative tour related services to people in the market. Here, customize tour packages will be offered by the company in order to satisfy the need and demand of people in the market. Here, customers will be allowed to design and develop their own tour package.
Target customers- Thomas Cook will be here targeting people who fall under the category of higher income group in the society. The rationale behind this is that the demand of such services is highest in the above mentioned target group (Dolnicar and Ring, 2014).
Marketing mix- Here the selected business will be laying emphasis on four major mix of marketing which are product, price, place and promotion. The product/service here will be customized tour packages whereas in terms of pricing it can be asserted that a high price strategy in order to attract customer from target market. Only online channels of marketing and promotion will be used here. Social media, internet and mail marketing are three major channels which will be taken into consideration. Along with this, the services will be delivered by making use of both online and offline channels of distribution.
From the above-conducted research report, it can be inferred that marketing has become very essential for the growth and success of companies operating in travel and tourism sector. Furthermore, it has been identified that Thomas Cook is facing very intense competition from other small and large tour operators in the country. From the above carried out research, it can be concluded that elements in marketing environment has direct impact on sales, profits and business activities of a company such as Thomas Cook. It can be inferred that the main concept or the key principle of market segmentation is to divide the entire market into different sub set of potential customers for carrying out targeting and positioning. It can be also concluded that the market research and information gathered from the same can be used by Thomas Cook for developing new products and carrying out modifications in existing range of services delivered.
Books and journals
- Buhalis, D. and Foerste, M.K., 2013. SoCoMo marketing for travel and tourism. In Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2014(pp. 175-185). Springer International Publishing.
- Buhalis, D. and Foerste, M., 2015. SoCoMo marketing for travel and tourism: Empowering co-creation of value. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management. 4(3). pp.151-161.
- Hudson, S. and Thal, K., 2013. The impact of social media on the consumer decision process: Implications for tourism marketing. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing. 30(1-2). pp.156-160.
- Becker, E., 2016. Overbooked: the exploding business of travel and tourism. Simon and Schuster.
- Hays, S., Page, S.J. and Buhalis, D., 2013. Social media as a destination marketing tool: its use by national tourism organisations. Current issues in Tourism. 16(3). pp.211-239.
- Mistilis, N., Buhalis, D. and Gretzel, U., 2014. Future eDestination marketing: perspective of an Australian tourism stakeholder network. Journal of Travel Research. 53(6). pp.778-790.
- Morrison, A.M., 2013. Marketing and managing tourism destinations. Routledge.
- Dolnicar, S. and Ring, A., 2014. Tourism marketing research: Past, present and future. Annals of Tourism Research. 47. pp.31-47.
- Goodall, B. and Ashworth, G. Eds., 2013. Marketing in the Tourism Industry (RLE Tourism): The Promotion of Destination Regions. Routledge.
- Chon, K.S., 2013. Geography and tourism marketing. Routledge.
- Hall, C.M., 2014. Tourism and social marketing. Routledge.
- Cook, R.A., Marqua, J.J. and Yale, L.J., 2014. Tourism: the business of hospitality and travel. USA: Pearson.
- Fernández-Morales, A., Cisneros-Martínez, J.D. and McCabe, S., 2016. Seasonal concentration of tourism demand: Decomposition analysis and marketing implications. Tourism Management. 56. pp.172-190.
- Minazzi, R., 2015. Social media marketing in tourism and hospitality. Cham: Springer.
- Gayle, D.J. and Goodrich, J.N., 2014. Tourism Marketing and Management in the Caribbean (RLE Marketing). Routledge.