Tourist destination


Introduction

The vital role of the tour operators to arrange and offer the various services as a complete package to the consumer has made them very important in the overall chain of tourism industry. These agencies provide for the transportation, accommodation and other facilities to the consumer. The basic objective of these tour operators would be to reduce cost for the consumers by being a part of the overall supply chain in travel and tourism industry (Davies, 1981). Furthermore, the tourists are obtaining all the services under same umbrella and they do not have to go to different service providers for getting services.
The current project will provide with a clear understanding regarding the tour operators and their functions in the tourism industry. The given four aims of the tour operators will be discussed in the given paper for the purpose of obtaining proper knowledge regarding the tour operator management area:
P1 Understand the tour operators industry within the travel and tourism sector:
P3 Be able to review brochures and methods of distribution used to sell holidays
P4 Understand strategic and tactical decision making for tour operators 
The above mentioned objectives of the tour operators will help in exploring the information about the present trend in tour operator industry. This exploration will help in providing an insight about the role of the tour operators in tour package design stages. For the purpose of understanding the importance of brochure, the exploration of brochure design and distribution method performed the tour operators will also be done. As a result, complete knowledge regarding the strategic and planned decision making by the tour operators will be obtained.


Task-1

LO 1 Understand the tour operators industry within the travel and tourism sector:

P1.1- Analyse the effects of current and recent trends and developments on the tour operators industry

As per World Trade Organization (WTO), tourism has become a major source of economic booster for the developing as well as the developed nations of the world. The standard growth rate of the tourism sector in UK is 4% which is considered to be quite good when compared with the other industries in the country. The major developments and the trends developed in the travel and tourism industry has been described below:
Technological development in E-commerce
The present development of the tourism industry is dependent on the development of the new E-commerce technology. This technology has provided information on-line and has attracted several consumers. The on-line booking services have been very helpful as the customers were able to make reservation and cancellation with encountering the distance issue. There has been an increase in the tourist visits in UK by 1.9% in the year 2008 (Medlik, 2003).
Enhancement of spending power
There has been an increase in the expenditure by the customers towards travel and tourism and this has helped the entire tourism industry to expand and develop. The enhanced spending power for the consumer has helped to increase the opportunities for the tour operators working in UK market as it has become profitable industry. Moreover, the local people who are residing in the tourism destination are also getting advantage from the spending made by the consumer in this tourist location.
Niche tourism segment
In current tourism sector is shaped with the help of a large number of niche target segment. For instance, the newly married couple is one of the major tourist segments for the tour operators in the current age. Furthermore, the tour operators are focusing on this specific segment because they are providing a high opportunity development and big spending in terms of the total amount spent on the tourism activities (Aramberri and Butler, 2005).
Customized Holiday packages
For the purpose of allowing the consumers to obtain benefit from the customized holiday packages, the tour operator industry maintain high flexibility. In order to get the maximum benefit, the consumers are able to select their own tour packages as per their choice and in this way the tour operators are able to provide maximized customer satisfaction.
Change of demographic pattern
In tourism industry, the change in the demographic pattern for the consumers had helped to open up a new horizon. In this process, the tourism packages are designed based on the demographic condition of the customer. In this case, the consumers like to travel in nucleus family or with friends.
Market Research
The tour operators perform the market research for the purpose of outlining the demands of the consumer and to find out several strategies that will help them to meet these demands and there maximize the customer satisfaction.
PESTEL factors
The tourism industries are shaped by the PESTEL industry. The vital factors such as the technological, political and economic factors are affecting the entire tourism industry. The consumer would not consider spending money in the destinations with poor political stability. The choice of the tourist to visit a specific place is also hampered by inflation, currency prices and other economic factors (Gee, Makens and Choy, 1997).
Concentration on customer satisfaction
In current tourism industry, instead of providing mere services to consumers focus is given to make customer experience. The main objective of the tour operator is to provide such services that will impress the customers and thus they will return to the same tour operator to avail services for the second time. For the purpose of gaining the competitive advantage, it is important for the tour operators to develop the loyal customer base by increasing the level of customer satisfaction. This helps them to retain their consumer share unaffected from competition that is taking place in the market (Spilsbury, 2011).
Role of Government and other organization
Government has also provided support for the growth and the development of the tourism industry in UK. This support is provided in terms of flexible VISA policies, providing money for tourism destination development as well as relaxing taxation norm for the tourism activities. The other private and the government organization that deals with tourism also support local people whose reside near the tourist locations.
Tourism marketing
The marketing activities in the tourism segment have aided the tour operators and destination owners by creating awareness among consumers about the service offering and attractiveness of a specific tourist spot.  This enables the consumer to have a clear knowledge about particular tourism destination and spots (Chaudhary, 2010).
Focus on Conservation
Along with the objective of increasing the revenue of the company, the tourist operators also aim at conserving the tourist destinations for a longer period of time. The government and the non-government organization also play a vital role in protecting these tourist destinations so that the local people can have a regular source of income from these tourist destinations.
Function in economy
Economic importance in tourism activities is enhancing day by day in which tourism activities form a very essential part in the overall economy or GDP in the country. Along with contributing in GDP, tourism has also helped to provide employment to the stakeholders who are working in the tourism segment in UK (Bardgett, 2000).
After scrutinizing the entire scenario of travel and tourism industry it can be concluded that it will be profitable for the stakeholders to work in tourism industry.


Task-2

LO2. Understand stages involved in creating holidays

The current task is involved in creating the various stages for designing a wedding tour package of seven days in Las Vegas and walking tour and walking tour in VIA ALGARVIANA.

P2.1 Assess the stages and timescales involved in developing holidays

Planning is considered to be an integral part for developing an overall tour activity in order to fulfil the consumer needs that are included in the holiday package offered to them. The development of the holiday package in Las Vegas and VIA ALGARVIANA is quite complex and time consuming and it may take up to 12 months’ time. For designing a holiday package, several issues like currency fluctuation and tax structure are encountered and these issues must be handled properly. The stages for developing the holiday packages are mentioned below:
Examining the new destination
There is a vital need for examining the two destinations that are selected in terms of overall external environment. This is the key step in the entire tour design and may take time of 2-3 months.
Research
For the two selected destination, consumer research has also to be done. For instance, for the purpose of designing the wedding tour packages in Las Vegas, research must be conducted on the various types of wedding ceremony features that can be offered to the customers. Similarly, for VIA ALGARVIANA, consumer would be researched for the possible tourism activities needed by them. This process needs at least two months’ time.
Negotiation
It is also vital to negotiate with several service providers in two selected destination to offer services like accommodation, food, transportation, and other facilities that will be required by the tourist looking for the tour packages. This will include the tome period of 4-5 months (Sharpley, 2006).
Tour development
This is the final step in which the design of the tour package would be done by negotiating with the service providers and conveying the features to the tourist to ensure promotion of the newly designed tour package for the consumers worldwide. This step will take 4-5 months of time.

P2.2 Evaluate the suitability of different methods of contracting for different components of the holiday and different types of tour operator

There are two methods which are employed to book the different aspects of the tour package that are developed by the tour operators. These two methods are sale only contract and fixed contract.  In these project,  Air tours and Flight centres  are the two selected tour operators and they will compared for the purpose of making different types of order for the services. These services include transportation, accommodation, and other services that are arranged by the tour operators. The following two methods contracting are used by the two selected operators:
Fixed Contract
These types of contracts are made by the companies to ensure the utilization of volume based capacity as well as to maximize the revenue collection of the company during the time of the off season. Arrangement has been made through fixed contract by Air tours depending on the customer expectation. The total capacity has been booked by Air tours and payment will be made as per the utilized capacity. A risk regarding the non-utilization of the capacity is involved and the operators have to pay the unutilized portion. However, this package has been designed by Airtours keeping in mind the fact that summer is the peak time of tourist visit and there are very little chances of non-utilization of capacity and as a result fixed contract will come with the added benefit of high discount.

Sale only Contract
Flight centres have selected the sale only contract method for designing their tour package in South America. This package is designed for the niche consumer segment because for highly expensive tour there will be particular consumer segment which would be interested for such travel package. In this type of contract, Flight centres will pay the price for the hotel and the transportation as will be used by the customers. These types of contracts are basically made at the time of the lean session and to reduce the risk of weak response for any tor package designed by them (Page, 2011).
After analysing the two methods we can understand that the fixed contract method can offer several benefits to the customers like high discount, ensuring availability as the contract has been made in advance and pre-decided levels of profit for the organization. The sale only contract will enable them minimizes the wastage by avoiding paying for the un-utilized capacity and thereby reducing the risk of loss.

P2.3 Calculate the selling price of a holiday from given information below.

This current project will include a seven day package to Greece by booking Boeing 737-800 plane that have a maximum capacity of 180 tourists. The agents residing in Rhodes will make arrangements for the accommodation in Avra Beach resort (McKenna, 2006). This is a 3-star hotel and it will be booked on the basis of twin sharing. The booking will be made for 80 passengers with Thomas Cook Airline on a fixed cost basis. The tour operator will be bearing the cost if no consumer turns up. The total cost of the present tour will be 102.7 pounds and extra 7.9 pounds will be charged for the coach from airport to hotel and for taxi the charge will be 27.65 pounds. The table below displays the incurred cost for various activities in the current tour:



Table 1: Showing the total cost involved in package of Greece
Package detail
Sale price/person
Sale price/couple
1
Charges for transportation in airplane
102.7
189.6
2
Transportation local
0
0
By coach
7.9
15.8
By taxi
27.65
43.45
Representative visit
79
79
3
Booking for Hotel
15.8
23.7
4
Other charges for sightseeing and misc.
31.6
63.2

Total cost in pounds
264.65
414.75
1 Euro=0.79 pounds


Task-3

LO3 Be able to review brochures and methods of distribution used to sell holidays

P3.1 Evaluate the planning decisions taken for the design of a selected brochure

In tourism industry, brochure is used for conveying information and selling holiday packages through both on-line and off-line method. In this project, the planning decisions related with the Thomas Cook brochure will be delve deeply into. The low cost and high reach are the two basic advantages that are obtained from the distribution of brochure for tourism package. The designing of brochure for the current package requires proper planning, research, implementing and organizing process.  The planning decisions for the design of the brochure for the current project have been mentioned below:
Recognition of planning issue
Several issues like format, objectives of brochure, target segment, and timescale are needed to be considered for the purpose of designing brochure. These issues are of vital importance to the brochure.
Format
To make the brochure attractive and increase its visibility it is important for the tour operators to pre-decide the format and match the format of the brochure with target segment identified by the tour operators.
Target market and Budget
Depending on specific niche segment like wedding tour or mass market the target market for Thomas Cook will be identified. Since budget is major factor and so the spending power of the consumer will also be identified by the target segment of the company.

Timescale and the stages involved in the brochure design 
The appropriate time for designing the entire brochure will also be mentioned in the planning decision of the brochure. The relevant stages for designing the brochure will also be involved in the planning decision (Haber and Reichel, 2005).

P3.2 Assess the suitability of alternatives to a traditional brochure for the following tour operators of the THOMAS COOK group: Air Tours, Summer 2014 THOMAS Cook Cruises Summer 2014.

The current task will provide an opportunity to look into the alternatives for the consumers for the purpose of changing the traditional brochure for Thomas Cook cruise summer 2014 and Air Tours summer 2014. In order to improve the quality of brochure and attract a large number of consumer, alternatives for traditional method are provided. The traditional brochure has really been an important medium for conveying information. However, the development of new technologies in the present age enables the tour operator adopt other mediums. An efficient method for designing brochure and conveying information to the customers is the use of E-brochure. 
The on-line designed brochure has much wider reach as compared to the physical brochure, so it will be profitable for Airtours and Thomas Cook to design the brochure in the above mentioned way. The cost efficiency will be another benefit for the tour operators for using the E-brochure method. The cost of designing and developing e-brochure will be much less as compared to the physical brochure.   Another effective alternative for the above two companies will be to use the visual medium of brochure since they have greater impact and can attract a large number of people toward the tour operator offerings.
The important information and the visual beauty of the tourism destination can be properly conveyed by the use of the visual brochure by the tourism industry. This will also help to increase the sale of the tourism packages as designed by the tourism industry. Video brochure designed can also be utilized for promotion purpose by incorporating it with social media tools like Facebook and social sharing tool like You Tube. After analysing the several aspects of E-brochure it has can be recommended that Airtours and Thomas Cook must design an integrated brochure in which e-brochure, video brochure and online marketing campaigning are effectively designed and linked with each other. Integration of all these tools for conveying information to the consumer will help in promoting wide research along with efficient implementation (Davies, 1981).

P3.3 Evaluate the suitability of different methods of distribution used to sell a holiday for different types of tour operator within the THOMAS COOK group.

In the past as well as in the present time, brochure has proved to be an effective medium for the selling of the tour packages that were designed by the tour operators. However, with the passage of time there has been a change in the system of designing and developing the brochure. In the present the design of the brochure had highly become technology oriented. In the current scenario, the selling of holiday package of Thomas Cook can be done by online marketing, direct sales, telephonic sales, and call centre etc. Direct sale method employed for the online sales of the brochure will be profitable for the tour operators wherein Thomas Cook would be able to target a large number of customers through on line marketing and data can be provided with the help of the online source only. For the purpose of employing suitable method for selling the holiday package and brochure to targeted customer segment, e-mail marketing tools can be used. Thus, after reviewing the several methods involved in distribution of brochure in order to sell holiday packages it is vital to make use of both online method and direct method (Medlik, 2003). 


Task-4

LO 4. Understand strategic and tactical decision making for tour operators 

P4.1 Evaluate the strategic decisions made by different types of tour operator

The flexibility in the tour operator system is involved in the terms of a large number of elements that will help to enhance the profit of the business. A large number of decisions and strategic plans are needed to be taken by the tour operator in day to day. The strategic plans undertaken by the tour operators include adopting of price efficiency, competitive strategy and selection of specific consumer segment that tour operator would target. The strategic planning is very vital for this type of organization because they help to decide about the future course of the organization. The vital strategic planning that will be undertaken by the organization is listed below:
Discount pricing strategy
Pricing is considered to be an important aspect of the tour operators. By adopting the fixed price contract, the tour operators are able to provide high discount to the customers. This discounting pricing strategy would help the tour operators to attract the customer to their designed packages and thereby provide them a competitive advantage in the market.
Segmentation, targeting and positioning
This is one of the vital strategic decisions that are made by the tour operators, in which segmentation is done in the industry; target is made by the organization while the positioning of the company will be finalized by the tour operators. The final decisions will be taken by the tour operators on all these aspects after analysing their competitiveness of their company and the desired consumer segment that they needed to target. These decisions has to be made after properly reviewing the situation because other important decisions like pricing, promotion, and place will also be based upon the STP strategy as employed by the company.

Seasonal aspect
There are different types of season which are associated with different types of sales with variety of pricing. The season can be classified as peak season and lean and pricing should be selected as per the particular season for the tourism activities.
Competitive pricing strategy
The pricing strategy that are utilized by the organization should be competitive as well as decision making in relation to the competition that is needed to be made by the tour operators in order to create a competitive advantage by acquiring competitive pricing technique. This technique will be very beneficial for the company as it will help to attract the consumers as well as develop the loyal consumer base even in high competitive market.
Creative promotion strategy
The creative strategy will help the tour operators to promote their tour packages. In this process the tour operators has to decide the method of promotion, the tool used as well as the budget which is required for the promotion. This decision is very important because the creative promotion technique adopted by the company will decide the profitability of the organization. Along with the profitability, the number of the consumers to be acquired by the company will also depend on the above mentioned techniques (Buhalis and Law, 2008).

P4.2 Compare the tactical decisions that could be taken by a selected tour operator in different situations

The decisions which are taken by the tour operators to handle the day to day business activities relating to the designing and the sale of the tour packages can be termed as tactical decisions. Tactical decisions are very important in order to ensure smooth business functioning by the tour operators. A few important tactical decisions that are made by the tour operators for proper functioning of their business include conciliation with the service providers, organizing accommodation and maintain tie up with several stakeholders who would be a part of entire value chain in offering services to the customers regarding travel package as needed by them.
Another tactical decision that is needed to be made by the tour operator is regarding the tie up with several service providers. For the purpose of making these decisions it is very important for the tour operators to adopt the personal and corporate selling tools. There is need of conducting meeting with several service providers and then the tie up would be done depending upon the suitability of the customer catered and the pricing aspect and this will surely be a tactical decision for the tour operators.
Consideration of consumer experience by the tour operator for the tour package is yet another tactical decision making process in which tools and methods are utilized by the tour operators for the purpose of understanding the consumer experience regarding the tour package developed by them. In order to understand the satisfaction level of the consumer with the present tour packages, data will be collected by the tour operators. This will also help the tour operator to identify the problem associated with the tour packages and also solve them. Depending on the types of the problems identified, remedial actions will be undertaken to prevent the consumer from encountering such issues in future and it will also help to generate high level of consumer satisfaction from the planned tour packages (Page and Connell, 2010).


Conclusion

The present project has helped to provide an insight into the various aspect of tour operator industry in relation with the two pioneers in the industry namely Air tours and Thomas Cook. In the first take, the assessment of the tour operator industry has been made imparting to the present development and improvements that are taking place in the travel and the tourism industry. This task will help in obtaining a clear knowledge about the trends that help to outline the travel and tourism industry.  The second task has helped to prove broad idea regarding the designing and developing of the tour packages and required timescale that are needed for each stage of tour package design. The third task of the given project has explained and analysed the different means of brochure design as well as distribution in order to develop an efficient method of designing and sale of brochure. In the last task, the identification of the strategic and tactical decision making for the tour operator industry has been made along with their importance in the tour operator industry.


References

Aramberri, J. and Butler, R. (2005). Tourism development. Clevedon, UK: Channel View Publications.
Bardgett, L. (2000). The tourism industry. [London]: House of Commons Library.
Buhalis, D. and Law, R. (2008). Progress in information technology and tourism management: 20 years on and 10 years after the Internet, The state of eTourism research. Tourism management, 29(4), pp.609--623.
Chaudhary, M. (2010). Tourism marketing. New Delhi, India: Oxford University Press.
Davies, A. (1981). Strategic planning in the Thomas Cook group. Long Range Planning, 14(5), pp.27--38.
Gee, C., Makens, J. and Choy, D. (1997). The travel industry. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.
Haber, S. and Reichel, A. (2005). Identifying performance measures of small ventures: the case of the tourism industry. Journal of Small Business Management, 43(3), pp.257--286.
McKenna, S. (2006). Tour operator handbook, terrestrial. Bentley, W.A.: Dept. of Environment and Conservation.
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Page, S. and Connell, J. (2010). Tourism. Los Angeles: SAGE.
Sharpley, R. (2006). Travel and tourism. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Spilsbury, R. (2011). Tourism industry. New York: Rosen Central.

            

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