Lonely Planet, company started in the 70s by Tony and Maureen Wheeler with the main purpose of just getting funds for their next trip around the globe. In the beginning there were just two people the Wheelers and they naturally didn't really think about making a big, international organization. But by the mid of the 70's they had completed few books and also working on a few other guides that covers Australia, Europe, Africa and New Zealand. In the beginning of the 80's they published one of their books and it became a bestseller, by then Lonely Planet had a staff of about ten people which was a sign that the time of getting organized had come. The company is British government owned by BBC worldwide. The size of the company by itself compared to an international brand like, Coca - Cola, it is not that big, but by the years Lonely Planet has grown to become one of the major forces in the travel publishing industry. The company, nowadays, has an official web site which offers plenty of different services and products. They offer different route trip guides, phrasebooks, international food guide, digital applications, online community and many else. The books are geared mostly toward European, Asian and Australian people because they have more than month out of work and prefer to take longer journeys. But unlike the Americans who has about two weeks' vacation out of work and because of many other reasons they do not prefer to make long journeys or even traveling by plane because of what happened about ten years ago caused by terrorist attack, they prefer to stay close to their homes and make their journeys by driving their cars.
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Culture, planning, organizing,
Analysis of current situation
Nowadays, Lonely Planet is probably the largest travel guide book and digital media publisher. During 2009 the company has changed its name from "Lonely Planet Publications" to "Lonely Planet "to reflect its broad travel industry. In the last year 2009 Lonely Planet has published about 500 titles in 8 different languages, released a TV Channel, as well a monthly magazine, phone applications and websites. Lonely Planet employees about 500 staff and 350 authors in offices in Melbourne; London; Paris; Oakland, more of the authors are professional but there are also materials written by unknown authors "Lonely Planet employs 500 professional authors, but there is also a lot of high-quality travel material written online, by unpaid but insightful bloggers" . In addition there are about 200 authors travelling and writing around the globe. The company breaks new records for membership and people that wants to be part of the organization and participate in it. One of the company's goals is to improve the group functionality and allowing people to create own trip pages online.
The employees of the firm are people who love to travel and this fact is considered as strength. The fact that the employees are people who loves what they doing makes them devoted to the work which is one of the greatest strengths .Another strength considered as internal is that even as a multinational company every office can interact with the other offices and still being independent. During the years the company became a strong brand and has loyal customers.
The core competence of Lonely Planet is making travel book guides for people who love to travel around the world and visit different places and to meet different cultures, rituals and people. Lonely Planet is the largest company in making guidebooks for the places their authors has visited, is increasing the area the work in. The beginning their books were focused mainly for the people who lives in Europe, Asia and Australia, but with the time they expanded even to the States. In the recent years they released a monthly magazine and also a TV channel.
An opportunity for the company is the technologies used in the 21st century which helps to advertise, marketing, increase their sells and also to improve their connection with the customers. Another opportunity even Strength is the globalization of all nationalities, in 21st century there are a lot of different ways to travel and so every human being is taking at least one journey per year to a different country to do business or a vacation with its family during the holidays. Maybe the biggest threat for the company and not only for this company is the economic crisis. Because of it the population is forced to spend less and keep tight its budget, so if the people are not able to travel they will not need a travel guide books which will obviously affect the multinational firm Lonely Planet. Fetched to be said a threat but there can be noticed a trend of people getting fat and doing less sports which also can affect the company, if the people are becoming lazier they will not be willing to take journeys. The threat of new entrants is not small but even if there are a lot of upcoming entrants they will not have the audience that Lonely Planet has.
Always on Time
Marked to Standard
The intense of the segment
Lonely Planet is the major company in the business/segment and they do not have many comparable competitors, there is no lack of differentiation looked from point that the authors still have a lot of places to visit and to write about their beauty.
Threat of substitute products
That kind of threat actually exists and can be seen in the face of videos. But even if video guides are made the book can be read it everywhere and anytime while the videos you need some kind of device to watch it which you cannot have all the time probably. So this threat is not of great importance.
Threat of buyers
Here the real threat is not large, meaning; the customers are mostly single persons or small families and they do not need to negotiate and that makes the selling process easier. There are not many strong buyers in the face of other large companies which want to buy large quantities and so there is no threat of buyers bargaining power.
Threat of Suppliers
The threat exists and as every kind of business the prices that the supplier offers are important for the business and nowadays, days of crisis, suppliers might raise the prices for the stock they offer. Nevertheless, a book publish business does not need so much and large suppliers, like for instance, business linked with white or black technique. Even if the slightest problem with supplier exists to prevent future problems and losses for the business it is good to use multiple supply sources.
The Strategic GAP
The GAP describes the distance between a current situation and desired one. The current situation of Lonely Planet is that the firm has healthy economic position with well organized departments. The employees have specific knowledge and one thing which are in big plus all the employees are people who love to travel and that makes the work process, writing the beauty of a certain place easier.
The desired situation is to keep its target groups and position as a leader of its area in time of economic crisis. To reach new different targets while maintaining the audience they have at the moment.
Lonely planet is large company with a lot of employees placed in several offices around the globe and a lot of others who travels and writing new books. So Lonely Planet needs to keep its level as leader in the market and it has to find enough customers who will still buy their products in times in crisis, so the company can make enough profit to keep as most employees and buildings as possible. The business has to make the books suitable for larger audience in order to be liked by the different populations in different countries and to find new potential buyers.
Option one: Market development: The Asian market is good place to get deeper. The Asian population are willing to take longer journeys than, for instance, The Americans because they prefer doing their journeys and trips by driving their cars or motors and they are not as long as the ones that the Asian people are doing. Another reason is that the Americans at the time are keeping their budgets tight after the crisis while the Asian population is not that much affected and are doing better so the Asian market is better option to go deeper with. The population in Asia has more money to spend so that can end up as an opportunity for a huge market with great spending power.
Option two: Publishers and booksellers are willing to cooperate with Lonely Planet: The smaller and weaker organization in times of crisis are not stable and they are looking for option to cooperate with bigger and stable organizations like Lonely Planet which is the largest corporation in the business.
Evaluating the choices
Option one: By getting deeper in the Asian market the business can find new potential buyers and with that to expand its range of working. By the years that probably will lead to new loyal customers and maybe new and different companies with which to make new profitable contracts and to cooperate with. A minus of going with that option and going for the market of Asia is that probably every big competitor will go for this market because of the spending power that the people who lives there possess. So if every big company goes for the Asian market there will be a lot of competitors, which will lead to price war and fight for the customer's attention.
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Option two: Publishers and booksellers cooperating with Lonely Planet will lead to expanding their range and getting stronger during times of crisis. The crisis caused a lot of casualties to small and not so small companies so that probably will make most of the smaller publishing companies to search for cooperating contract and tightness with Lonely Planet by which later, Lonely Planet, can use and offer them partnership or to take over them and after the hard time will be big advantage. The knowledge of the eventual upcoming partners can be used for the business in order to evaluate an old product or idea or to make even a new one with which the company could come forward ahead of its rivals. Minus is that the timing for making partnership is bad because of the crisis and it is hard to help to somebody else it is even hard for the big companies to help to themselves to survive this tough crisis.
The better choice that the company has to go with is option two. Even if it is hard during crisis to make contracts with smaller companies and that leads to more expenses. Lonely Planet is financially stable so can afford to interact with smaller companies and here are few of the advantages that the company can use and these are; work hand, their knowledge, resources and even premises if they have.
Nowadays, very important thing is to keep close connection with your customers to do so, the company has to get to know its customers. To improve that relation could be done the following procedure; Having meetings or conversations in person with the customer in order to understand their wants and desires. Another thing that can be done is to be made questioners or polls, so the company can improve its products and increase its productivity and sells.
From big importance for such large and multinational company to know if it is going on the right way, so it has to know do they learn, change and improve in order to get growth. How do they sell and how do they serve to their customers. Do the actions that the company is making improve the financial performance.
Conclusions and recommendations
Judged by their financial condition in times of crisis and not stopping expanding into new and new markets shows that the company is following its operational and tactical goals and covering the long-term strategic plans they have made. The customers are well served and satisfied by the products they buy and find them very helpful in their journeys around the globe.