STA Travel Business Strategy
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STA travel's primary aim is attract young and active as well as adventurous consumers anywhere around the world. A sensible business strategy might be to offer what the customer want when they need it, By operating more than 400 retail agencies around the world STA continues to take more risky environment and would planning to expand into new markets to further its reach in to the student travel world. As many of organizations, STA travel managers give the impression that upgrading or changing components of information system will positively impact a business strategy. Therefore it takes advantage to expand it market by developing staff training mechanisms on networking system and modernizing its electronic communication with their customers. STA provided "BLUEe" which is a single booking system pointed to every purchase in STA travel by offering features on network, infrastructure, finance and operating system. Furthermore STA make available to their customers a highly interactive website which attributing video reports STA customers about their travel destinations and freely downloading facilities the second life client or mainland as an advantage to becoming a playing member.
It is important to balance the strategy triangle. By making any changes in the information strategy or organization strategy in first then the triangle getting out of balance and will be have an effect on other involving areas too. By considering on that view point when STA building their virtual world they do changes in business strategy like making staff are more productive and making widest possible work place opportunities. As well as STA travel is trying to attract more customers by holding expensive resources, using expertise's knowledge and international programs in their group service division. By building these changes they trying to make connection between managers and their travelers.
STA travel build a contract to develop their marketing attendance on second life through the computer simulated virtual world.
As a well run organization the business strategy of the STA makes the rest of the organizational and informational strategy is not appear a big different.
When considering the STA travel organisation design, STA had grown-up and spread out its global reach through a chain of mergers. To responsive to their globally distributed and various cultural consumers that the STA organised around responsiveness and would be including elements of autonomy, empowerment and authority as close to the action as possible. If organisation needs to have responsive, it would not work to have centralized decision making authority. Because it takes long time to get information up and decisions back to the field. The travelling process organised through the market analysis and service histories. Also they do series of organisational process (such as STA travel second life, by building a virtual world) and make sure customers the STA travel is able to actually ready to provide their booking service when customer need their service.
STA designed web portal attract more travellers in to business and provide more information by downloading second life client software guide. From this second life web site STA travel offer their potential players to free download game and through the online the software connected to the grid computer servers and it is hosting one small area of many islands and the mainland.
The new organisation structure in STA is centralized and provide more flexible infrastructure. Accordingly it has most advantageous of environment for monitor and implement new process. STA travel implements shared services measurement for certain processes and functions. And also STA provide level of structure when they making any decisions (CODA Group, p.3)
In STA second life travel locations structure organisation would include;
- Dedicated portal and orientation island - this will provide easy ways students to joint their second life and learn to find the way to the virtual world
- Virtual dorms - helps to have private meetings and get together.
- Virtual travel destination - provide experience in Mayan ruins, Asian temples and French cafes.
- STA travel main office - provide the tour package information
- Produced Live weekly events and tours
- Sandbox - provide practice to build own their virtual world.
STA travel's information strategy supports its business strategy through the innovation and openness. It has decentralized information strategy in each business unit and each unit responsible for their own IT operations. Currently STA has consistent and cost effective IT base that provide facilities to maintain of their world around operations. (Savvis ,2009,p.)
Its web portal attract potential travellers by permitting their customers to downloads their client software and maintain online travel arrangements to suit the needs of the business. Their web sites provide mechanism to connect to their world wide travellers, to take their bookings, to provide services when the traveller needs more information regarding any destination and link to other branches.
In STA most counties web pages consist look and feel and each country marketers feel free to design their marketing campaign using methods attach to internet. Fir instance, the US office run a virtual marketing campaign for spring break called "body shots". To get more advantage they advised it on face book and Myspace too and also they offer facility to their customers to contact them through emails. STA taking the advantages of the through their new web technology such as they used to advertise, set up discussion groups and entertainment , use tools like second life to promote its services.
Furthermore, STA travel information strategy support to their business strategy by helping to meet their business objectives of revenue generation as well as increasing referral income and improving online business sales conversion rates. Moreover, STA travel accept to work with IBM global Business Service and build up long term business plan with them to develop their business strategy. Also they help to STA travel to implement a global electronic commerce technology system to control STA across multiple web sites as the same time they offering the elasticity to adopt their local content.
By having support from IBM and Open Text, STA travel keep up their latest online tends to get more benefit on their global business. The STA travel increasing their sites demand by offering new facilities, such as user generated travel log access and personal recommendation.
Very speedily they rolled out new online services to thirteen countries. They can easily and quickly make the updates and changes in the web sites. Because the template or code of the web site updates are implement only once to the master project. (Open Text, 2009)
It is good having virtual staff with proper information technology knowledge according to their whole system changes, because it will be more efficient and lead to increase their production and business operations.
The STA travel flexible information structure supports the innovation and creativity to its business strategy.
According to porter's value chain model STA travel also do some activities that create, deliver and support the organization's service.
The real world
From the beginning STA travel attract their customers through the retail travel agencies. Most of these agencies located in the near or on the campuses. When they started to run their application through internet they met new online competitors. For a instance, student universe and student city and less focused online travel agencies like Travelocity and Expedia. However porter's value chain model suggests that competition can come from lowering the cost to perform activities and adding value to product or services. To be approachable to their global and culturally different customers STA travel gives more independent, responsibility and authority coverage. STA travel branches in each country have a power to maintain their own travel sales and marketing arms. north American STA division owned highly interactive web site which providing video reports about their travel destinations.
As we can also think that there is tremendous relationship between STA travel business and information strategy. Because of the information system completely support what STA travel trying to accomplish in their business plan. Such as STA travel provide flexible and reliable information on a worldwide scale through their web site. They introducing different cultures, provide the experiencing with variety people and places around the world, make study groups, works and entertainment facilities.
STA travel business model build up to meet the individual customer requirements through their on line booking and information system.
STA travel expecting feed back about their quality vision from customers. Also they visible in the value chain on the product and service selling point, the place the where the travelers buying their tickets, in the airline operating point. STA always able to provide best value for their customers and had world class finance foundation in the financing system. (CODA Group, p.)
The virtual world
The work package as described in the contract with Electric Sheep Company (ESC) will develop virtual marketing on second life. This package given more attention to the island by designing high visibility site regarding on second life, producing the island and manage the events. Also by using electronic performers firm organized to marketing in virtual environment.
From the second life web site players can download the client 'game' software. Once in the online the client software connected to a grid of computer servers, each hosting area contain many islands and mainland which present in the second life.
'Machinima' competition among current residents of second life is important point in the virtual world value chain because 'machinima' is a style of movie making by using avatar as members of the cast and then using those entire make a film mix with virtual world context too. Selected videos provide within second life with their service information. STA travel provides opportunities to players to make up initial design of their online persona - their avatar. From this mechanism players can see back of their avatar, nearby people, signs and buildings. And For new players system provide basic tool including instant massage and chat capabilities for communication with each other.
In the contract mentioned that island include the STA mall and presenting free or with payment virtual goods which providing from second life trades, community lounge area, exhibition area for holding the events, STA information centre, various online initiatives and information about their travel partners. Further more plan to provide mix of tours of second life, live music from local musicians as well as tutorial sessions.
STA is a larger globally expanded student travel agency, presently attracting more than 6 million travelers world widely. It provide reasonably price as well as wide spread services to their customers. Such as financing air and train tickets, booking facilities for travelers accommodations, work and tours and study programmers. Furthermore they provide subsidiary services relating to their main services. Such as shopping discount cards, travel insurance, electronic visa processing system and discounted cell phone services too. Additionally, STA travel organization locates their retail agencies around the world and operates numerous call centers and stylish web site which make easier access to their world wide customers when their bookings and online travel research and customer support service. (Savvis ,2009,p.)
STA travel is more competitive, well leading sales organization.
By presence in second life, STA travel arranged more web base analysis and activities than earlier life. By providing free downloading client software to second life or occurring facilities to visit mainland. Because of more entertainment and new technology they use STA able to achieve more customer satisfaction and attraction. Second life strategy generates numerous destination islands to attract more customers and holding 'machinima' competition among the second life clients. 'Machinima' the movie making style make films by using avatar as cast members and with the context of virtual world. The main idea is to boast second life members who already make virtual world. STA travel used some of selected movies to provide information regarding existing visiting places and more details about those packages. The orientation island is another important element in the second life strategy. Most of the organization makes it to promote their island but it is main barrier to newcomers. For the every newcomers orientation island provide lessons in communication, mobility and also avatar outfitting. However, it is difficult to maintain and attract return visitors in Destination Island. Newly, STA introduce new social community service to their customers such as share stories and questions with each other in the world.
In the second life strategy STA travel try to maximize their online campaign by keep an eye on all activities on web applications. Additionally, make the improvement in visitor's online visit by using analytics web tools and given that broader approaching to business performance.
As mentioned in case, still STA travels does not sign contact and its work package explain that commitments to develop virtual market in the second life. The Electronic Artists, a specializing company in marketing virtual environments will be going to create web blog. However keep the 'machinima' completion with other second life residents. It is good idea making movie in the context of virtual world and planning to attract more clients and by using best selected movies to provide same real world services to second life. By taking advantage in virtual STA in second life customers can save time and money taking information from web portal before actually they make any tour. other interesting point in here is the earlier visit traveler can make an web account by placing their own tour experiment in second life and have a discussion group and also they can make feed back about STA travel campaign.
STA virtual world applications help to predict customer behavior by providing Enjoyment attractions.
When considering the STA's virtual world, there are several threads we can face, such as use of new technology, IT support, business development, arising legal security issues, grown up content and discussion group and cost.For the large scale of virtual world need speedy computer processor and video cards with steady network. Therefore players want to familiar with the new technology parts and need to have knowledge in IT environment. STA's virtual world completely run by the grid computer server therefore it is essential for the IT support to maintaining and running the STA's virtual world. by considering current and future business development it is essential to take expertise's support in their IT strategy and wants to handle the system carefully. Another challenge STA's virtual world has to face with the personal information safety and data protection. Players mostly concerns security issues given by the vendors before they enter to the second life. When bearing in mind the content of the virtual world, concerns of the legal issues important point to vendors, for an instant gambling. When providing software guide about the virtual world it is vital to think about time they have to spend. Most of players expecting shot time leaning curves. STA needed carefully planned about their investment for lon term virtual world development.( Penfold, 2008,p.)
The SWOT analysis used to concerns the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threads for STA virtual world in second life.
Strengths -Providing better travelling experience with enjoyment is main advantage I can see in the STA virtual world in second life. Pdf6
Considering the network services it is providing quicker, easier online facilities such as through the web portal they can access user travel logs and private advice. STA own independently running web sites all around the world. (Open Text, 2009)
Weaknesses - main disadvantage is the cultural differences they have to face with when they expanding globally. Technology difficulties are the next weakness that the STA has to familiar in their virtual world in second life. Because the there are able to occurring functionality difference from site to site. and also to provide learning-edge services to younger generation is more costly. (Open Text, 2009)
Opportunities - STA virtual world in second life adding variety of interactivity and enjoyment opportunities for their client's life. Social interaction and group communication is another opportunity can be able to access. ( Penfold, 2008,p.)
During the team players communication virtual world helping them by providing instant feedback, can be set up trust through several communication paths and enable to remove boundaries in geographic and culture differences. Can offering a chance to improve their member attraction by providing playful environment. (Owens,Davis,Murphy,Khazanchi & Zigurs, 2009)
Threats - when considering further more, the time limits, new technology support and available resources are main challenges in the second life. ( Penfold, 2008,p.)
It is challenging to find new technology well-known and educated audience in each location. In addition, it is not easy task to control content of individual sites and always to keep STA travel organization's information current. (Open Text, 2009)
It is not true that attendance of STA virtual world cannibalizing its real world presence. STA virtual world just only taking more advantages in business strategy than real world by improving their earlier web based technology capabilities. For a instance the 'machinima' style just has step further technology advantage only the content or the services by using it same as STA provided in their real world, providing existing visiting places information and information reflect to how to travelers get there. Because of virtual world capabilities providing more facilities to collaborate and interact it's more attractive with second life members.
Furthermore in the virtual world student can easily and quickly give feedback on their experience and to make upgrades and changes in the web sites is quicker than eailer.
(Owens, Davis, Murphy, Khazanchi & Zigurs, 2009)
The virtual world development and vividness of environment have some similarities to the real world web. In the virtual business in second life have joint technology like stream media, 3D together with grid computing and all are apply in to the virtual world structure. Therefore in conclude can suggest development of the virtual business strategy is parallel to the earlier web base business development have in the real world. And these business relationships more effectively help to the virtual world developments. (Wei, 2007,p.)
To get better answer for this question I suggest it is important to go beyond with the benefits severing by STA's virtual world in second life.
Second life is likely a virtual world society. Virtual world has brightness environment and new technology ability to make available occasion to build social interactions and partnership with other team members. Also virtual world and its technology ability support teams to take challenges in IT field. This technology facility is unique advantage in the virtual world. By using STA's virtual world technology capabilities quickly members can have face to face group discussion using their avatar in virtual space. Members can modify, design and build their avatars like to produce direct trust. Another advantage and possible chance that people can taken from current virtual world technology is can share virtual objects and documents in between virtual world and other software tools too. And new technology expertises expect that this opportunity will be explore within the virtual competitors. (Owens,Davis,Murphy,Khazanchi & Zigurs, 2009)
Furthermore, virtual world provide more cost effective platform to discover STA's travel destinations. For the newcomers they provide a flexible introductory programmers and chances to have an experience in virtual world and offering student support for innovation and research on traveling destination.
Another point we need to bare in mind that most of second life competitors having the benefit from virtual world technology. Virtual world is not just a fun space it have potential improvement in educational programmes too. ( Penfold, 2008,p.)
By considering above facts I suggest that STA management may taken this action by bare in mind that their main target audience is younger generation and usually students like to move to virtual world in second life fun to use, make more interest in learning and have an interactive experience.
In addition, uses and technology capability provide in the virtual world in the second life be able to carry on wider grow globally. Because currently, most of the young people use virtual technology to learn, entertain and work as also build up more social interaction. More over, nowadays among the younger generation the time virtual world is becoming a more common place for communicating with each other including instant massage, chat facilities and email service in the virtual space.
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