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Marketing works to ensure that there is a common platform to which the buyers and sellers can engage. To derive maximum benefits from marketing and its related operations, it is essential to align the organization's marketing strategies and the functional strategies. Just like it is witnessed in other sectors, marketing has a profound role in the travel and tourism sector. The present elements of marketing environment usually have implications on various business operations. Any business in the travel and tourism sector should try their best in fulfilling the needs and expectations of its customers through the implementation of appropriate strategic and tactical marketing decisions. This project will use Thomas Cook Group to evaluate various marketing concepts and the different aspects of marketing in the service industry.
Over the years, the global economy has experienced a range of mixed events. For instance, the debt crisis was experienced in 2008 followed by the Euro debt crisis while on the order hand the developing nations are experiencing growth and development in their economy. As the developing countries are growing, they have to provide more clients who can afford to spend on lifestyle and travel-related activities. The increase in disposable income in the developing nations has led to an improvement in consumer expenditure. Also, the travel and tourism sector has experienced increased competition leading to the development and as a result encouraged new smaller entrants in the market space (Bennett & Strydom 2001). Due to the efforts of the players in this sector, there has been an increased provision of high-quality products and services, and this has led to the attraction of more customers. Before the increased economic growth the products offered were diverse in nature, but recently the business in this sector have started producing more homogenous and standardized products. It is notable that the number of customers in the developed world and decreased forcing companies such as Thomas Cook to developed improved marketing strategies to attract more customers.
The marketing activities of any organization are more than creating a need from clients. The big organizations in tourism and travel are shifting to market approaches that are trade oriented. The role of the market division has become central due to the increasing give customers a first priority and the need for market variations. Most businesses in this sector are changing their market strategies aligning them with long-term market objectives. The companies have provided more regulations concerning the value delivery of services to the customers to enhance customer satisfaction and consequently realizing business objectives (Bennett & Strydom 2001). The need to enact stricter regulation is that the customers themselves can directly experience various services such as vacation and tourism services. This means that business is holding more value in customer choices. Due to the increased competition, the current business such as Thomas Cook and new entrants in the market have tried to develop new and innovative ideas that attract and retains customers.
In the 21st century, the market dynamics have become highly dynamic. There is high competition among the service providers. Various emerging micro-enterprises have taken the market. ICT has had a profound effect the development of markets since you will witness technology in every marketing operations and management options. Due to the increased disposable income in developing economies, there has been an increase in the number of customers (Lamb et al 2012). Another factor have been the shift while adopting sustainable development needs. In planning the business venture in both Morocco and Egypt, Thomas Cook will need to consider these aspects.
Businesses carry out their operations in marketing environment which is categorized into micro-environment and macro-environment. Marketing environment can be defined as various factors that directly or indirectly implicate the proposed marketing activities. Micro-environment entails the internal variables such as customers, competition and other factors that are within the organization's control. Macro-environment entails those factors that are not within the business control such as demography, political, social, and cultural and technologies in the area of destination (Bearden 2006). The company needs to evaluate strategic analysis and planning to develop approaches that help the company deal with both the micro and macro environments.
In Morocco, the environment is well developed on the tourist sector. It has been evidenced that the tourism sector contributes approximately 8% of the GDP. The sector also hosts 18 million visitors every year. Morocco is suitable destination has some free trade agreements in place, and the economic and political environment is quite stable favoring the conduction of business. Also the country has a good relationship with the EU. The country has ensured to develop its infrastructure and is in line with various international standards. Another thing is that the company has put in place some fair rules that control copyright, labor and pricing and industrial property. There is a considerable gain in demand for tourism from domestic customers. There has been a cordial relationship between the governments which has led to the development of policies that promote the growth of tourism sector. Thomas Cook should however not that there are many competitors in the market and they include luxury hotels, tourist agencies owned by the government and privately owned tour operators.
The tourism industry in Egypt is quite developed and characterized as being vibrant and diverse. There is a large number of tourist attraction sites, cultural heritage and unique geographical features essential for tourist attraction. It has been evidenced that the country can quickly recover as seen from its recovery from the recession which is a promising factor for market entrants in the tourism industry. The travel and tourism sector usually contribute about 14.8% of the total GDP. Considering all the factors in both Egypt and Morocco, Thomas Coop Group has a perfect environment to make their investments. This means they can start the planning process and develop the scope of its marketing campaign.
Consumer behavior is a core factor due to the presence of many different wants and needs. This brings up the need for the marketing team to profile the needs of the consumer through the evaluation of factors that affect the behavior and demand a process which has been established on the principle of market orientation (Bearden 2006). Consumer behavior constitutes those consumer actions that directly or indirectly are considered in the process of establishing and fulfilling the customer wants and needs.
This concept involves decision making on various issues that have implications on consumer behavior such as motivation, attitudes, perception and learning ability. Other factors that determine the consumer behavior is their social status, reference groups, families and the cultural groups they belong to. Another issue worth evaluating the process of making decisions by the consumers. This process entails recognition of the problem followed by their search of relevant information (Adcock & Ross 2001). From the pool of information gathered, the consumers then evaluate the available choices. The customer then evaluates on the choice of purchase which is impacted by the present conditions. The model that defines consumer behavior in the travel and tourism sector is leisure motivational scale (Dey & Sarma 2006). This model entails intellectual motivation, social motivation, and the need for competency and has a mastery of skills through various activities. There is also the stimulus, avoidance motivations that ensure that the clients enjoy the services. The final objective of having marketing is to ensure consumer satisfaction and for them to have value for money.
Since a market entails a variety of categories of people, the company need to plan the market to ensure there is the maximum satisfaction of consumer need and wants. There is market segmentation which entails the process of categorizing the market according to various factors such as similarities, relationships, and groups. This is to ensure that the company can emphasize on the appropriate resources to the given area to ensure that the company attains competitive advantage. There is various forms of market segmentation and include geographical, psychographic and demographic segmentation. Geographical segmentation entails categorizing the marked according to the geographical areas and managing resources as per the consumer characteristics (Adcock & Ross 2001). Psychographic segmentation involves bases the category according to the attitudes, values, culture emotions, perceptions and beliefs of the consumer. Lastly, there is demographic segmentation that profiles customers according to gender, income, social status, and educational level among other factors.
In market segmentation, there are qualitative and quantitative methods of market segmentation. In this industry, there are variables established on behavior, needs, and motivation. The typologies involving interactive tourists are based on the interconnection of the environment and tourists and their destinations (Dey & Sarma 2006). There is also the cognitive-normative tourist typologies which are interlinked with the psychographics of the customers. Firms use these typologies in the market segmentation process, and therefore there can be an appropriate allocation of resources.
There is dynamism of this industry with time which brings the need for strategic planning in the organization and that of the destination. The strategic market planning involves the evaluation of the organization's environment and strengths, competition, and the overall market condition. This will aid the organization to have an understanding of its capabilities before commencing the development of the appropriate market entry strategy. It also defines the direction to be followed in addition to the provision of the vision, leadership direction and the management structure to be used (Middleton & Clarke 2012).
Thomas Cook Group has been in operation in the travel and tourism industry since its establishment in 1841. The company has various branches globally and has emerged as one of the best in the industry. For a better strategic analysis, it is essential to evaluate the company's SWOT analysis.
Strengths: The Company has a huge history of success and has vast coverage having employed people who are diverse. The company has been involved in the acquisition and merger such as that with MyTravel and Kuoni. Thomas Cook has a vast product portfolio necessary for customer satisfaction accompanied by different established brands.
Weakness: The market environment has shown instability. There has been stiff competition and reduced market share. There has been instability in the financial market leading to losses due to exchange rates.
Opportunities: There are some openings that can be explored such the growth in online booking and the global increase in demand. The financial report shows that the company is making progress.
Threats: These include economic uncertainty and the increase in competition from low-cost agencies and organization offering similar services. The company is prone to losses due to low profitability caused by an increase in competition.
Marketing research and information is essential in the travel and tourism industry. Marketing research ensures that the company links with customers and the public. The company uses information is defining and identifying new market opportunities. Market information is used by the firm to develop strategies for market entry. Through market research, Thomas Cook evaluates factors such as competitors to make decisions on mergers, franchises or acquisition. It can also be used in segmentation, targeting and brand positioning. Market research data issued in enlightening the managers on the best information systems. The data can also be important in forecasting on the market trends based on demographics. Market research can also be used by Thomas Cook in the evaluation of relevant products and understand the general trend in the industry.
Marketing is essential for the protection of consumers in compliance with government rules and regulations on products and services. There is also the increment of social responsibility which means that the society benefits. Market increases consumerism since the decision to buy is influenced by the markers' decision making (Housden 2014). Marketing is essential in raising public awareness of various government policies and also helps in the safeguarding of the environment. Marketing helps in formalizing legal implications in the market by ensuring there is compliance and creating awareness. Through ethical practices and code of conduct, marketing helps in the development of sustainability. The marketers help in the achievement of the expectations of the government and consumers' (Swart & Roodt 2014). Due to this importance, the organization should invest in marketing and ensure compliance with regulations.
Marketing mix entails a policy framework implemented for the success of marketing activities. It ensures entails variables such as product, price, and place. The product is the first element with the objective of satisfying customer requirements. It entails activities such as product services, packaging, branding (Housden 2014). Planning and the development of various products. The other element is pricing which entails pricing strategies that establish what the consumers must give for the product or service. This is viewed as the most competitive strategy and includes factors in pricing such as payment, delivery, pricing objectives, and other policies. The place in the marketing mix involves deals in making available goods and services to the consumers at the appropriate time. It entails place and time utility. This aspect deals with distribution channels and physical distribution.
The marketing mix is dynamic with time due to variation in market nature. Both controllable and uncontrollable factors affecting marketing mix exists. Uncontrollable factors are market-oriented and include competition, customer behavior and also government behavior. Controllable factors involve those factors that can be solved by the management and include product, pricing, branding, promotion packaging and distribution policies (Swart & Roodt 2014).
Service marketing mix entails to the combination of elements used in the communication of the brand to the consumers. Services have unique features such as they are intangible, heterogeneous and are a consumer as the production time. There are seven Ps in service mix and include product, place, people, processes and physical evidence.
The location of the service is essential in that it determines the comfort and attractiveness of site of the service. The place in this industry is realized through the customization of the service to meet the needs for the customer satisfaction. The pricing strategy for service is essential since it determines the direction of the demand and supply. It also provides the firm with the competitive edge. The place strategy is essential in that it helps the company to provide accurate information to the customers before they commence their journey. Promotion is important as it helps in addressing and providing accurate and timely information to its clients (Koutoulass 2001). The travel experience determines the physical evidence, and there can be the evaluation of post purchase experiences. Service mix determines both the performance and brand loyalty. Service mix marketing helps in the creation of brand awareness to ensure customers make informed decisions.
Total tourism product entails the intangible and tangible components established on a specific destination. Total product constitutes three components. First, there are integral services that can be sold alone such as accommodation, bookings and air transport. The second one is public goods which include beaches, scenery, and climate. The third one includes complementary services.
Thomas Cook Group has a total tourist product that provides the required experiences. For instance, the company has 2000 destinations globally and has a fleet of vehicles to deliver customers to their destinations. It also has more than 100 airplanes to transport to all destinations internationally (Donovan & Henley 2003). The company has a comprehensive distribution system to deliver their products such as stores, agents, websites and their call centers to enhance the customer experience. Thomas Cook's product portfolio is broad to provide the needs of various brands.
Promotional mix incorporates methods, techniques, and tools of communication in the presentation of a firm, products, and services. A successful promotional mix establishes the success of marketing mix and aids in the attraction and maintaining clients. There are various components of the mix promotion. They include:
Advertising: It entails the presentation of the promoting message, goods or services to the customers through the utilization of various media such as print media, the internet, social media, etc.
Personal selling: It entails persuading customers through the use of oral presentation. Sales representatives, samples and sales meeting can
Sales Promotion: It entails the use of media and non-media marketing channels. This is used to enhance demand and improve product presence.
Public Relations: It involves the stimulation of supply through sharing information in the media in methods such as reports, magazines, speeches and periodicals among others.
Direct marketing: These components allow the firm to directly communicate its message to the consumers. The techniques used include mobile messaging, emails, letters, websites and direct emails among others (Donovan & Henley 2003).
In the planning of an integrated promotional campaign, Thomas Cook should consider the audience. Understanding the motivation of these customers is essential. There is a need to conduct an online survey. This can be done through online booking systems and the website. The right channel to get to the customers can be decided using the correct information. The most appropriate choices would be Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The company can also adopt digital marketing.
The next stage is the creation of a message that is consistent, coherent and efficient. The areas to be visited for summer 2017 will need to be considered in the design of the message. The message should portray appeal to attract customers. There should be the integration of the message to get to the target audience. The other step will involve the evaluation of the campaign and correct present errors.
The general situation of travel and tourism entails areas such as hotel and airport operations that are very competitive. The project has evaluated various areas of marketing using Thomas Cook as the case study. The role of marketing involves the organization, the sector, and society. There is various travel and tourism sector uses some tools. This was to use traditional marketing strategy and marketing mix to implement the market approach.
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