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Marketing Mix of Tourism Industrys

By: Yogin Vora on February 19, 2009 1 Comment

PRODUCT

  • PRODUCT LEVELS

In planning its market offering, the marketer needs to think through five levels of product. Each level adds to the customer value, and the five constitute a customer value hierarchy.

The levels of the product that the travel and tourism industry offers to its customers are as follows:

1) Core product

The core product offered by Travel and Tourism industry is the destination. It is core because the main aim of the tourist is the destination where he has to reach or go.

2) Basic product

The basic products offered by Travel and Tourism industry are ticket booking, transport, sight seeing, hotel booking.

3) Expected product

These are the products that the customer expects the organization to offer. These are impeccable services, seat availability on needed time as it is critical to business travelers, accurate information, quick check in for the senior manger of the company, authentic information, information about various packages, different routes leading to a particular destination.

4) Augmented product

These are the products that are offered by the companies to distinguish itself from others. These products become expected products in the future. Those are flat beds in business class, Wi-Fi connection in hotels, customized meals on board, tele checking 8hrs booking in hotels, hotels providing laptops on request, internet access as complimentary for the corporate packages.

5) Potential products

These are the future products that the companies will offer to its customers. These can be underwater tourism, hovercraft for traveling. Also Virgin Atlantic airlines are thinking of adding a casino and a shopping mall in the airline.

PRODUCT WIDTH AND PRODUCT LINE

Product width of the product mix refers to how many different product lines the company carries. The width of the product mix refers to how many variants are offered of each product in the product line.

The product length is the total number in the product lines.

RATER

The well-known concept of five-quality dimension RATER, we hereby relate them to 7’s of Travel and Tourism. So what do we mean by 7’s Travel and Tourism Industry and what is its significance in relation to RATER.

1) RELIABILITY – Suchna – Information

The way and the kind of information, which is provided, by any Travel and Tourism organization to its customers is the parameter of judging the Reliability of that organization. Why do we make such a statement? To explain that let us take an example of Travel agency. The various services provided by agency includes Planning Itinerates, Ticketing, Working out travel routes , Providing information on Destinations ,Arranging visas, Making stay reservations. Here information plays a very dynamic role. Let us assume that the customer comes for booking a ticket. It is very important on the part of the service provider (travel agency) to give accurate information on all types of flight available, their fairs, and new schemes going on which would in turn help customers to choose most suitable product for their traveling. Such repeated and accurate information creates of a reliable organization. I.e. in future the customer would trust the organization for any information.

2) ASSURANCE – Suraksha – Safety

It is one of the prime factors considered when talking about this sector. A safe travel is the top priority of any traveler. Thus it is very important for Travel and Tourism organization to consider the safety of the tour package. The safe travel will in turn ensure the customers traveler.

3) TANGIBLES – Swagat – Suvidha – Safai.

These are the backstage elements, which help in a great way for the customers to evaluate the service. When we talk about tangible product in Travel and Tourism the 1st would include

a) Swagat

It means warm welcome. Everyone loves a warm welcome. It really gives a good start to the whole holiday. Thus keeping this tangible factor in mind the tourism agencies for example Thomas cook always keeps in mind the Swagat of their traveler. One good example of such is in this package of Thomas cook from Mumbai to Goa, wherein they give a welcome drink to travelers and provide them with a fruit platter and famous cashew nuts of Goa.

b) Suvidha

It means facility. Today if you talk top any business traveler they want to be pampered silly from flat beds in business class to Wi-Fi in hotels customize the needs. These are the kind of facilities they expect. Thus if a Travel and Tourism organization is able to provide all such demanding facilities then it adds value to its travel products and makes the product hike from standard quality level to superior quality level.

c) Safai

It means cleanliness. Hygiene is also an important factor of a travel package. Clean hotel rooms and lobby create a spik and span impression of the package and add to the quality level.

4) EMPHATY – Sahyog – Cooperation.

A famous quote from Stephen Cowe book goes like this –“Seek to understand and then to understood” is very important. Thus the‘s’ that we relate to empathy is sahyog i.e. co-operation i.e. listen to the customers understand them and co-operate with them to come down to a solution this factor creates a very positive impression in the minds of the customers and helps the service to get a tag of its excellent service quality.

5) RESPONSIVENESS-Sanrachna – Information.

This is the last element in the concept of RATER. It is related to the last‘s’ i.e. Sanrachna which means infrastructure. Why do we relate4 infrastructure to responsiveness is because how flexible is the infrastructure of Travel and Tourism organization affects the service responsiveness. For example if you plan and book a Qualis car to travel from place A to place B and if the car breaks down then how fast can you respond by replacing it with a new car shows the flexibility of the infrastructure i.e. the no of cars.

COMPLAINT HANDLING

No matter how well prepared you are there is always the potential for something to go wrong. The way you and your personnel handle complaints can be the determining factor in turning a “disaster” into a “success.” Tourism & More offers the following ideas on handling complaints:

1. Listen. When a visitor is angry or upset allows the person to know that he/she is being heard. Prepare your personnel to listen and to handle each complaint as if it were the most important part of their day.

2. Understand. Make sure personnel have a full understanding of the complaint. Prior to responding to the complaint they need to determine the exact nature of the complaint. Personnel should try to focus in on the main context of the complaint, and not be diverted by side issues.

3. Take Action. The visitor should see that he/she matters, and that you seriously consider their complaint. Make sure the upset visitor knows exactly what can or cannot be done, and what he/she may expect as a form of recompense. If the problem cannot be solved, immediately tell the visitor approximately how long it will take to find a solution. Often something as simple as an inexpensive complimentary gift or some special attention from the manager or boss can turn a negative situation into a positive one.

4. Learn. Every complaint and/or complainer provides a the tourist professional with a learning experience. Have your personnel share with colleagues what things went wrong, and the steps they took to correct the situation. Keep records of past complaints, not only for in-house training purposes, but also as a guide of future problems to prevent.

DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE

Here are some suggestions to help your staff cope with the angry guest.

1 Do not fight to win every battle. Often it is easier to simply say, “Yes Sir/Mam you are right. Very few angry visitors are willing to listen to your side of the story.

2.Take the angry person out of a public area. Whenever an angry person decides to do battle in front of other “guests” you lose. Invite the person into a private room, offer him/her a drink and then listen.

3. Make sure that you know that the angry person knows that you will deal with the issue at that moment. Your credibility with an angry tourist is very low; telling him/her that you will get to the problem will only make the visitor even angrier. Start the repair process at that moment. Let the visitor see that you are doing something.

4. Use the person’s right name and title. If the angry visitor introduces him/herself as “Dr. Smith” don’t say Mr. or Ms. Smith and don’t use a first name unless given permission. The misuse of names or titles only adds fuel to an already explosive situation.

5. Make sure that the person addressing the problem is competent to solve it. If a member of your staff cannot solve a problem, then turning to someone who can help, is doing something. Never just shrug one’s shoulders and say “sorry!”

6. Rather than getting angry, try to think of something comical. For example, imagine what this person would look like angry in his/her underwear, and then laugh to yourself.

PART II

1 Don’t be defensive. Try to understand that people on vacation are often a bit irrational. Instead of reacting in a negative way, coolly ask how you can make their situation better

2 In a like manner, never argue, but rather apologize. Once the apology is made the upset/difficult person is more willing to listen. Win by losing!

3 In a like manner, never argue, but rather apologize. Once the apology is made the upset/difficult person is more willing to listen. Win by losing!

1. Dress in a professional manner. It is amazing how much more respect a well dressed functionary receives. It is a lot easier to deal with a difficult person when dressed in a suit rather than in jeans.

PRICE MIX.

In pricing decisions, the product or the service mix of the tourist organization is important. They have to set prices in line with the quality of services to be made available to the customers and the type of customers they are targeting. Pricing decisions are influenced by internal factors like pricing policy of the company, and external factors like the destination itself. They are required to think in favor of discounting price. These may include discounts for cash payments, seasonal discounts, trade discounts etc. But while offering the discounts, it is not to be forgotten that it may also create image problem since some of the value sensitive tourists may doubt the quality.

PROMOTION MIX.

Creation of awareness has a far-reaching impact. The tourist organizations bear the responsibility of informing, persuading and sensing the potential tourists in a right fashion. The marketers need to use the various components of promotion optimally so that they succeed in increasing the number of habitual users. Promotion helps in maximizing the duration of stay, frequency of visit by offering new tourist products in the same country to areas, which have remained untapped or partially tapped. The various dimensions of tourism promotion are as follows:

Advertising: Advertisement gives important information to the actual and potential tourists. Its coverage is wide. Advertising is aimed at the public to create awareness of the travel offers available on a resort and its attractions to influence their business decisions. Intangibility can be compensated with the help of visual exposure of scenes and events. We can project hotel bedrooms, well-arranged restaurants and cafeterias, swimming pools etc.

Publicity: It focuses attention on strengthening the public relations measures by developing a rapport with media people and getting their personalized support in publicizing the business. It helps in projecting the positive image of tourist organizations since the prospects trust on the news items publicized by the media people. The publicity program include regular publicity stories and photographs to the newspapers, travel editors, contact with magazines on stories etc. advertising is a part of publicity.

Sales promotions: Sales promotion measures are the short-term activities seeking to boost sales at peak demand periods to ensure that the firms obtain its market share and are used to help launch a new product or support an ailing or modified one. The tool of sales promotions is designed to appeal particularly to those customers who are price-sensitive. There are a number of techniques to promote sale and the tourist professional need to use them in the face of their requirements vis-à-vis the emerging trends in the business. Eg. In the tourism industry, a travel company offers give-aways to their clients, such as flight bags, wallets for tickets, Foreign Exchange (Forex) and covers of passport. The hotels offer a number of facilities like shoe shine clothes, first aid sewing kits, shower caps and shampoo. Further, the VIP clients also get fruits and flowers in their rooms.

Word-of-mouth Promotion: Most communication about tourism takes place by word-of-mouth information, which in a true sense is word-of-recommendation. In the tourism industry it is found that the word-of-mouth promoters play the role of a hidden sales force, which help the process of selling. The high magnitude of effectiveness of this tool of promotion is due to high credibility of the channel, especially in the eyes of the potential tourists. The sensitivity of this tool makes it clear that tourist organizations need to concentrate on the quality of services they promise and offer. The marketers or the tourist organizations need to keep their eyes open, identify the vocal persons or the opinion leaders and take a special care of them so that they keep on moving the process of stimulating and creating demand.

Personal Selling: Personal Selling is based on the personal skill of an individual. The travel and hotel business depend considerably on the personal selling. The development of travel and tourism has been possible due to well-educated and trained sales personnel. The development of tourism business has been influenced by the services rendered by the travel agents and travel guides since they work as information carriers. Personal selling is the personal presentation of a tangible product or intangible services or ideas to the customers. It is important to mention that in the tourism industry, the personnel who attend tourists form an essential ingredient of the product, such as sales personnel are found responsible for dealing with customers behind the counter, the resort representatives cater to the need of tourists when they reach the destination etc. all of them play a vital role in ensuring that the tourism products satisfy the tourists. The phrase- the customer is always right applies specifically to the tourism industry. No reduction in price would compensate for impolite and indecent travel guide, a solvent waiter and a surly or a haughty coach driver. These facts are testimony to the proposition that the travel business is linked with the performance and behavior of sales personnel or travel staff.

Telemarketing: It is a method of selling in which a professionally sound telemarketer markets the business. The quality of technology and the communicative ability of the telemarketers determine the magnitude of success of this component. In tourism, the travel agents, offices of airways, receptionist, and secretaries can’t work efficiently if the telephonic services are not up to the mark. Also recruiting a person considered to be professionally sound, personally-committed sales personnel having an in-built creativity, innovation and imagination is very important.

Exhibitions The participants include state and national tourism promotion boards, travel agents and tour operators, airlines, car rentals, cruise liners, holiday financiers, technology providers, hotels and resorts, education institutions in the field of hospitality and tourism. Over the years the participation of foreign tourism promotion boards like the Dubai Tourism and the Mauritius Tourism, etc has increased in order to aggressively promote their respective countries.

PLACE MIX.

Most tour operators sell their services through travel agents, however some deal directly with the consumers and eliminate middlemen. For example, Thomas Cook has its own branches situated throughout the country so they are easily accessible. The customer, in the travel and tourism industry, has to go to the service provider. Hence strategic locations are very important for Thomas Cook. Other companies may also utilize more than one method of distribution.

Location:

Transport also plays a major role in the tourism industry. It makes the destinations accessible to people from around the world. Also, in the case of tangible products in tourism such as souvenirs and cuisine, transportation becomes a major logistical component.

EXTENDED 3 P’S OF MARKETING

PEOPLE

Like other industries, the tourism industry depends substantially on management of human resources. The tourism industry is an amalgam of the services of a lot of people and hence this industry cannot work efficiently if the travel agents, tour operators and travel guides lack world class professional excellence. Of course the offices of travel agents depends on the new technology but after all employees and the other staff contribute significantly to the process. The travel guides need professional excellence since the projection of a positive image regarding a destination in particular requires their due cooperation, failing which even the world class services offered by the travel agents are found meaningless. The tour operators also need to manage human resources efficiently.

In the management of people, the related organizations are required to think in favour of developing an ongoing training program so that we find a close relation between the development of technologies and the quality of personnel who are supposed to operate and maintain the same. They need a lot of credentials to fulfill the expectations of the customers. The organization has to make the environmental conditions conducive and focus has to be laid on the incentives to the employees for energizing the process of performance orientation. Employee orientation requires due weightage to efficiency generation, value-orientation and perfection.

In the tourism industry the travel agents and the travel guides are the two most important people who speak a lot about the industry. Hence it is imperative that they have to be at their best at all times. Travel guides especially, are expected to have a lot of patience, good sense of humour, tact to transform the occasional tourists into habitual ones, thorough knowledge of the places, linguistic skills etc.

The Government plays an important role in providing the right kind of people for this industry. As such there are a lot of Govt. and Pvt. Institutes which offer training for the same.. The training courses run by the Institutes are designed to suit the needs of the various target groups.

PEOPLE – in service marketing includes

· EMPLOYEES

· OTHER CUSTOMERS

EMPLOYEES – They are the representatives of the company. Their performance can create a positive as well as negative impact of the service process and the image of the company. Keeping ‘people’ factor healthy is one of the prime concerns of the company. When we talk about people in travel and tourism industry, they are really crucial part as at every stage they play a role of the service provider on the stage of service encounter also known as moment of truth.

SERVICE ENCONTER –

The so-called stage service encounter or moment of truth is the element of interaction between those providing services and the customers. The instances of service encounter in travel and tourism industry are –

· In the ticket booking process when the customer calls the service provider that is the front line staff in order to book the tickets is the first service encounter incidence. It’s the moment of truth where, there is one to one interaction between the service provider who is booking the ticket and the customer who wants the ticket booked. This interaction takes place on the phone.

· In the itinerary planning process the service encounter takes place when the customer visits the travel and tourism agency to purchase a holiday package and meets the travel manager.

· When the customer is experiencing the holiday package there are numerous service encounters that he goes through and one of them is his constant interaction with the tourist guides.

These were some examples of service encounter.

This stage is a very crucial one where in the provider has to perform at the optimum level in order to avoid the customer from having the experience of credence quality.

CREDECE QUALITY

Is the quality, which is difficult to evaluate, and when you ask the customer the question on how was the service? He usually gives vague answers like ‘it was ok’, ‘I don’t know’.

A very important concept in ‘people’ is the – service profit chain. In the service profit chain the first step is to keep the internal customers happy and satisfied the internal customer being the employees. To keep them following point have to be taken care of

· Work place design

· Job design

· Employee selection and development

· Employees rewards and recognition

· Tools for serving customers.

These aspects in turn lead to employee satisfaction, which would result in to employee retention and productivity, this would result in providing value services and that would yield customer satisfaction. Which would lead to customer loyalty and finally revenue growth and profitability through referral and repeat business.

PROCESS

It is the way of undertaking transaction supplying information and providing services on a way, which is acceptable to the consumer and the effective to the organization. Now to make this definition of process true, it is necessary for the organization which provides services to recognize the critical moments in the entire process which makes the service acceptable or not acceptable to the customer depending on the zone of tolerance and effective or not effective to the organization. Further to realize what are the critical moments in the considered process a concept of blue printing is introduced.

PHYSICAL EVIDENCE

It is a very important factor for the travel and tourism industry. This marketing p is important in 2 distinct ways:

1) as the environment in which the sales takes place

2) the environment where the product is consumed

Explanation of the first case

when the purchasing of the product is taking place, however the customer cannot be sure whether they will enjoy the product or not. In the mean time their expectations and emotions are influenced by factors like layout of the room, the furniture, noise level, temperature, lights and other factors like the brochure of the company. In case of customers who by electronically the appearance of the website is the physical evidence.

Explanation of the second case

In the travel industry where the product is being experienced s particularly important in securing repeat business thus extensive facitilities that prove to be physical evidence are provided to lure and woo the customer

The tangibles include flat beds in business class, Wi-Fi connection in hotels, customized meals on board, tele checking 8hrs booking in hotels, hotels providing laptops on request, internet access as complimentary for the corporate packages.

The critical incidences in this process are

  • Understanding the customers needs and expectations from the holiday or business tour which ever he or she is opting for
  • Making an apt travel plan and route adhering to the requirements of the customer

Execution of the planned itinerary is the most critical one. As a company has committed some thing and this is the time when the customer is actually experiencing the entire product and if any one of the commitments don’t materialize then the zone of tolerance is affected and lot as it is already low because the customer on a tour whether leisure or business expects perfection.

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