Marketing Communications Plan
In your position as marketing communications consultants, you have been approached by a group of entrepreneurs, who intend to open a travel agent business in Preston City centre. The business will be an independent (not part of a chain) start-up. The travel agent intends to sell holidays to private customers, but will also offer business travel services to the local business community. The opening hours of the travel agent will be 9.30am – 5.30pm Monday to Saturday, Sundays closed.
The corporate objectives set for the next three years are as follows:
1. To establish the travel agent as the preferred Preston city centre outlet for the purchase of holidays by private customers and business travel local businesses.
2. To grow the business both by expanding the business travel services offered to local businesses and by opening further travel agents in nearby towns.
3. To build the name of the business into a strong brand, which may be extended into related ventures.
The marketing objectives for the next year are:
1. To establish an appropriate positioning and well selected name for the travel agent.
2. To achieve a 5% share of the holiday market for private customers in Preston city centre.
3. To gain a foothold as a provider of business travel services to the local business community.
4. To generate positive word-of-mouth surrounding the travel agent, both amongst private customers and the business community.
As part of their planning process, they have asked you to prepare for them a marketing communications plan, which must include the following elements:
1. A contextual analysis
2. A set of marketing communication objectives.
3. A positioning proposal.
4. Promotional strategies (pull/push/profile)
5. A promotional mix/es.
"Marketing communications seeks to deliver the essence of the corporate goals, the direction and intention of the business plan and the conviction and detail of the marketing plan to its [the firm’s] target markets."
C.Fill Marketing Communications (p199)
A contextual analysis is defined as follows,
"The purpose of compiling a context analysis is to determine and understand the key [business] marketing and communications drivers which are likely to influence (or are already influencing) a brand (or organisation) and either help or hinder its progress towards meeting its long term objectives"
C.Fill Marketing Communications (p620)
This analysis is segmented into four major variables, these being customer context, business context, internal context and external context. Each variable will assist our travel agency, City Centre Travel; achieve both our corporate and marketing objectives.
City Centre Travel’s current target market is large companies, who have a
specific need for business travel and additional services.
We believe that the majority of our sales promotion will be directed towards this segment, however we believe it is important not to neglect our private holiday customers.
Our business client database is developed from information from the Chambers of Commerce, having registered ourselves we intend to use information from this source as a promotional tool. The information we require is the details of
businesses within a five mile radius of our outlet, with employees numbering over five. This information will be valuable to create our initial cliental.
The emerging market, detailed from Mintel, expects the holiday market to show 15%
growth in current terms over the next five years, to attain market value of just over
£31 billion by 2006. As a result of this factor, City Centre Travel has the ability
to benefit from market opportunities.
City Centre Travel position’s itself as a premium and convenient business travel service provider within the business travel industry. Within the private holiday sector, mainly overseas packages, City Centre Travel has positioned itself amongst the major competitors within the industry. With more focus upon attributes like price and perceived quality.
Travel agents within the city centre, which would be in direct competition to
our outlet would include establishments such as Thomas Cook, Going Places, Co op, LunnPoly, STA Travel and My Travel.
City Centre Travel is a travel agency situated within Preston City centre.
Our organisation provides holidays/travel for both business and private industry.
Primarily our target audience is the business industry focusing upon providing travel
and services for business users within our area.
As we are an establishing company, we consider ourselves in the introduction
and growth segment of the business life-cycle.
Our marketing objectives for the up coming year are initially to achieve a 5%
share of the holiday market for private customers in Preston City centre.
We also believe that an achievable aim is to gain a foothold in the business
travel services sector. Preston City centre contains a number of travel agencies that City Centre Travel will hope to compete with in terms of brand awareness, market share and turnover. City Centre Travel considers itself as an ambitious, competitive and well organised business with much to offer to the people of Preston.
Initially the hopes of City Centre Travel are based within Preston, however with future success City Centre Travel hopes to open outlets across towns and cities across the North-West and ultimately nationwide.
"Positioning is the act of designing the company’s offering and image so that they occupy a meaningful and distinctive competitive position [place] in the target customer’s mind."
Kotler (Marketing Management)
The strategy of City Centre Travel is to position itself as the premium business travel services provider. Offering convenience and quality that business travel requires.
City Centre Travel offers both business and private consumers the convenience of booking and arranging their travel information. This is brought about through on-line bookings, e-mail promotions (sent directly to home or office) and tele-communications.
As a result of online business forming a solid part of the revenue earned by
travel agents, and the result of household penetration of technology such as the Internet, satellite and digital TV rises, bookings and sales via these channels is expected to grow.
There is also expected to be a trend towards more sales via these direct
channels, especially as consumers get more comfortable and confident using Internet technology. This will reduce overhead costs of running a travel agency, while also allowing operators to benefit from improved services from selling online.
City Centre Travel hopes to benefit from these opportunities and aims to assert
the ‘CCT’ brand name with convenient and easy to book holidays and travel.
As a result of this influx of technology, the City Centre Travel employees must gain knowledge and expertise in all the technological devices. This means that a large portion of the companies resources will have to be diverted into the area of training and recruitment.
As the awareness of the City Centre Travel brand name is little to none, the original promotional campaigns must appeal to the target audience and present the benefits of the City Centre Travel brand name.
"The strength of the current (or anticipated) relationships between key stakeholders and the degree of fit with corporate and competitive strategies will impact on the form, nature, strength and desired effectiveness of the marketing communications between members."
C.Fill Marketing Communications (p127)
The external context regards factors that will influence the trading of City Centre Travel within the next few years. These appear to be an increase in the amount of travel consumers purchasing holidays and travel directly from there home or business. As a result of this factor, it has become clear that many consumers choose relative convenience over price.
Marketing Communications objectives:
The marketing communications objectives for City Centre Travel are:
Fill, C., Marketing Communications: Contexts, contents and strategies, second edition, 1999, Prentice Hall, Essex.
Fill, C., Marketing Communications: Frameworks, Theories and Applications, 1995, Prentice Hall, Hertfordshire.
Griffin, T., International Marketing Communications, 1993, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.
Varey, R.J, Marketing Communication: Principles and Practice, 2002, Routledge, New York.
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