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This section resumes the marketing opportunities, strategy and financial objectives for senior manager who are in charge with the approval of the marketing plan.
TUI Travel PLC is looking to extend its already integrated operations by opening a sightseeing division. The pilot will be executed in the UK, as London is one of the major destinations for overseas travellers. The company will be able to compete with the sightseeing at local level and the pilot out of London tour, which provides the same attractions as the three already established sightseeing tour operators.
The product will be offered to all our customers, orientated principally to families and empty nesters.
The primary marketing objective is in line with the corporate policies of integrating and offering customers a customised service suitable to their needs.
2 – BUSINESS OVERVIEW
TUI AG is considered the leading integrated tourism provider in Europe, it is divided in three sectors: TUI Travel PLC, TUI Hotels & Resorts and the Cruise brands Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten and TUI Cruises.
TUI Travel PLC was formed in 2007 by the merge of First Choice PLC and the Tourism Division of TUI AG. The company operates in four sectors: Mainstream, Specialist and Emerging Markets, Activity and Destination and Accommodation.
According to Interbrand, the success of TUI AG as a corporation is the message embedded in its mission statement ‘ Putting a smile on people’s faces, along with their corporate culture of excellency aim to provide customers with an unforgettable experience during their holidays, while reinforcing sustainability in all its destinations.
TUI Travel PLC possesses the strengths inherent from being part of a major corporation including brand awareness, comprehensive services, leading domestic player. The key opportunities come from the joint ventures and the growth in hotel industry. Its principal weakness is dependence in the European market; also face the threats of competition from low cost carriers and slowdown in the markets economy.
TUI Travel PLC operates principally through First Choice and Thompson, both have a reputation for servicing the leisure travel customer, providing differentiated and flexible options to meet changes in demand.
Having a broad range of services, the company’s operations cover the whole tourism segments and the diverse stages of a holiday: from retail, tour operating, flying and accommodation up to additional services at the destination.
The company owns a network of travel agencies with active presence in more than 15 markets in Europe, as well as a fleet of aircraft through TUI Fly. TUI Hotels provides hotel accommodation to its various destinations. Additionally, the company offers luxury and premium class cruise liners through its Hapag-Lloyd Kreuzfahrten joint venture.
Leading domestic player
The company supplies travel services for over 30 million customers from 27 source markets. It also provides airline services with a fleet of more than 146 aircraft and 350 retail shops in Europe. Additionally, TUI Hotels & Resorts is considered the leading hotelier in Europe with around 243 hotels with approximately 154,000 beds in 28 countries. The major brands of hotels include Riu, Grupotel, Iberotel, Robinson, Grecotel, Magic Life, and Dorfhotel.
Dependence on Europe
TUI AG is greatly dependant on Europe for its income generation, around 79% of its revenues. High focus of operations in a single region increase the company’s chances to more diverse risk exposure such as local factors i.e.: lower demand, severe weather conditions, labor strikes, change in regional laws and economic conditions, thus constraining the ability for growth.
Joint venture agreements
In March 2009, TUI Travel and Air Berlin come into a long-term strategic partnership for their German sector flight segment, based on a cross ownership where TUI Travel, through a subsidiary, will have an interest of 19.9% in Air Berlin.
Growing global hotels and motels industry
The worldwide hotels and motels sector has observed a major growth in recent years. The industry performance is anticipated to recover further. With well-built geographic presence in hotel industry, TUI Hotel & Motel is well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity head on.
Economic slowdown in Europe
Since the company’s revenues rely on the general economic conditions of the region and the economic position of Europe is projected to be weak after the recent chaos in financial markets and consumer attitude, it could reduce the demand for the company’s products and services.
Competition from low cost airlines
Whereas traditional airlines are encountering rigorous challenges such as elimination of routes and reducing staff, the low cost sector carry on expanding at a incredible rate, trends show that the low cost carriers are becoming leading players on a considerable number of intra-European short -haul point-to-point routes. Strong competition from low cost airlines could negatively influence the company’s operations.
3 – MARKET OVERVIEW
Although the tourism industry had a steady growth over the last few years, it is evident that it is not immune to the effects of economic and health alerts. According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of visits to the UK fell in 2008 for the first time since 2001, overseas residents made 31.9 million visits to the UK in 2008 compared with 32.8 million in 2007, a fall of 2.7 per cent. Despite the decline in the number of visits, spending on trips to the UK reached record levels during 2008; overseas residents coming to the UK spent a total of £16.3 billion, an increase of 2.3 per cent on the 2007 figure (published 16th July 2009) 
However the same office, has reported that in the three months to February 2010, compared with the previous three months, the seasonally adjusted results from the international Passenger Survey showed that: â€¢ Overseas residents’ visits to the UK increased by 2 per cent to 7.5 million. Figures for the most recent months are provisional and subject to revision in light of (a) more accurate data on passenger figures becoming available at the end of each quarter (published 15th April 2010) 
Although the figures above only represent the winter trends, gives an indication of improvement in the market. TUI Travel PLC, could see such indication as an opportunity to get stronghold in the market in the future.
3.1 – CUSTOMER INFORMATION
The company uses a policy based on its brand identification, for example First Choice is aimed primarily to families, while Thompson has characterised its segment target to be oriented to couples and seniors. Both segments assumed to have additional disposable income.
3.2 – SERVICE INFORMATION
As previously stated, the company offers an integrated range of tourist services, personalised according to customers’ demands and needs.
Thus, in order to integrate further its operations the aim of this project is to highlight the relevance of a sightseeing venture to facilitate the overseas customers visiting UK for example.
4 – OBJECTIVES
The key objectives for the UK sightseeing division under TUI Travel PLC are:
Further integration of services provide to overseas customers.
Continue with the differentiation policies in all products offers.
Aim to carry 50% of UK visitors from its various brands to different sightseeing attractions during the first year of operations. The carrying rates are to rise on 20% on yearly basis thereafter.
5 – STRATEGY
The UK Sightseeing division will provided customers with a friendly, personalised experience while using professionals guides to accompany groups in their trips to the historic and most relevant sights.
5.1 – PRODUCT
Initially the products will encompass the following products:
London tourist sights: Panoramic of London, Photo stop at Buckingham Palace, Photo stop at Saint Paul Cathedral, Lunch in a traditional English pub, cruise for the river Thames and entrance to the London Eye.
Outside London: Entrance to the Windsor Castle, Roman Bath with walking tour of the historic town, Lunch in a traditional English pub in Salisbury and entrance to Stonehenge.
Customers will be pick-up from their hotels at a pre-determine time in order to ensure that all passenger are present at time of departure. At the meeting point customers will be introduce to their guide for the day and will be taken to the vehicles designated for the chosen tour.
5.2 – PRICE
Considering that there is three more sightseeing tour operators in the UK, the prices should be in line with similar products offers by the competitors in order to maintain the demand for the products.
However, since the business unit will be part of a package holiday, TUI Travel will surely achieve a higher level of economies of scale when contracting the services of suppliers involved on the operational side of the tours.
5.3 – PLACE & PROMOTION
Stores: The Company have to its disposition over 650 retail shops around UK, which will give them a competitive advantage over its competitors, as the three major sightseeing operators only serve London through their call centres.
Website: First Choice and Thompson both enjoy large websites, which are characterised for being user friendly and easy to navigate, thus any customer interested in additional services will be able to find the combination of products suitable to their needs.
Search engines optimization: To improve the discovery of the websites, UK sightseeing division will ensure that links are built within key Internet search engines sites, as well as key word register to the main domains (i.e. holidays, short breaks, all inclusive, etc)
Advertising: Once the operational site of the UK sightseeing division is up and running, TUI Travel will make the announcement through its major website, as well as to link the release news on the websites for all its subsidiaries within the group, to ensure that customers booking holidays in advance are aware of the new available services.
Public Relations: Prior to the opening the company will invite representatives from its hotel portfolio to enjoy the tours offered and request feedback on their views as to evaluate the services in offer. The company will arrange for a formal launch of its new division, inviting relevant press representatives from major newspapers as well as tourism specialised magazines.
Promotion: High quality brochure is to be promoted and make available in all hotels belonging to the group for display (concierge desk for example) available to all customer staying at the hotels.
5.4 – PEOPLE
Appropriate staff is essential for a service to be perceived and recognised by its customer. The difference between customer retention or not is mostly attributed to the way services and management customer techniques are delivered by a company. Staff must have the suitable interpersonal skills, attitude, and service knowledge to give the service that consumers are paying for. 
TUI is very supportive when it comes to training and ongoing development and believes it is vital that people are given opportunities to learn throughout their career. The company has its own dedicated in-house Learning and Development team and there are many opportunities for development such as workshops on a variety of topics, one-to-one coaching, e-learning and where appropriate, TUI support their staff to undertake professional and vocational qualifications relevant to their role. All staff has regular one-to-one reviews with their managers to support their ongoing development and explore further opportunities for training and development. 
5.5 – PROCESSES
Relates to the systems used to aid a company to deliver the service. The company will ensure that time tables are kept in order to avoid delays on the running of the tours. Make certain that customers place their lunch order in time during the morning tour, as to ascertain that lunch meal will be served according to schedule. Any complains or recommendation should be dealt promptly to maintain customer confidence.
5.6 – PHISICAL EVIDENCE
The physical evidence is an important element of the service mix, customers evaluate their perceptions based on their view of the service provided, having an impact on the organisations perceptual plan of the overall service. 
Primary the company will aim to close the gap between customer expectations and company perception of the customer needs.
6 – BUDGETS
Measure of success
Number of hits per month 3000
Payment to search engines adv to increase exposure
All subsidiaries sites carrying links
Deliver to all hotels in the group
Advertising in specialised magazines
Monthly slot secure for 6 months
Site hosting costs
Google, Mozila secure feature on first page
300 people attendance
7 – ACTION PLAN
Improvement of website
Logo design align with TUI Travel
Link website into Sub- websites
Advert in magazines
Invite reps from news papers and mag
First customer running tour
Measure of passengers on tours
Evaluation of results/correctives if needed
8 – Evaluation of Results
During this face of the project, the aim is to evaluate the overall performance of the tours operational and tactical side. TUI Travel subsidiaries websites (First Choice and Thompson) have the capability of allowing customers to publish live comments on their experience.
A team will be assigned to evaluate and quantify the comments in order to assess the performance of tours, and implement correctives if necessary.
9 – Conclusion
Where TUI Travel to implement the above plan, it will improve further their policy of differentiation and facilitate customer choices at the time of browsing for a package holiday with London as a destination. The assumption is that the new business unit will be implemented as a pilot project to evaluate its feasibility and acceptance from customers in general, local and overseas travellers.
TUI AG, continue to endorse its mission statement even in the light of lost of revenue in the case of natural disasters; like the one recently experience due to the Volcanic ash from Island which closed European airspace for over a week.
TUI Travel PLC, announced on the 21st April that they were implementing their crisis plans, which included provision of welfare to customers in resorts and commencing the repatriation action as soon as possible. Their plan contemplate repatriation through coaches, ferries and owned cruises and according to their estimation all of its customers will be back in England by Friday 23rd April.
Measures implemented as above, form milestone for brand recognition and undoubtedly give customer peace of mind, as they are confident that their travel company cares about them and will do whatever takes to ensure a safe return home.
Individual Critical Reflection of Learning Outcomes
During the course of the subject Marketing Management, I came to realise that marketing is a complex theme.
The models and other techniques studied where made easy to understand by the tutor and the evaluation of it through practical examples facilitate the assimilation of the material.
Personally I feel that the simulation done through the Marketing Game software was critical for the understanding in how marketing a product affects the whole of an organisation, and how the decisions made in terms of cost/investment can have both, positive or negative outcomes.
Another skill that was put to the test relates to communication, as in some cases we were grouped in teams to solve/discuss material regarding the subject matter.
Regarding the assignment I found it quite difficult to tackle as, first English is my second language and 2nd although I have presented written works before they were in my mother tongue and oriented to practical experiences rather than research itself.
As a next step, I will work through future assignments with more time in order to share my queries with my tutor, as to ensure that I have understood the approach to be evaluated with the written work.
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