Business Plan Business Strategy
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With Northwind Traders’ expertise in European
adventure travel, we can create customized travel
itineraries for our clients and provide the most
thorough, informative adventure travel service
available. By offering superior customer service,
Northwind Traders can distinguish itself from its
Our market research shows that publicity has the
greatest impact on people’s choice of an adventure
vacation travel agent, followed closely by having
the right location, and having a recommendation
from a friend, relative, or colleague.
General press advertising seems to be fairly
ineffective in this sector, and event specialist
press advertising only brings in one out of seven
clients. (See Appendix 1, Summary of Findings from
Advertising and Promotion
Our advertising and promotions will pivot around
six key strategies: public relations, our shop
front, an Internet Web site, customer relations,
press advertising, and our association with the
Northwind Traders clothing store.
Public relations. We will put considerable effort
into preparing and disseminating a regular flow of
press releases. These will be based on stories
about our destinations, activities, corporate
clients, and our staff. We will employuse a
freelance public relations adviser to help us
write copy and locate publications editors.
Shop front. We plan to have an exciting,
informative, and actively managed display window.
There will be a video display showing adventure
vacations in progress. Different destinations can
be selected from outside the window via a control
panel;, otherwise, the scenes will rotate on a
Internet Web site. This is fast becoming a major
promotional channel, and we believe it will
increase in importance over time. Also, it is the
most convenient way for us to have a global
presence at the outset. (See Appendix 1, Internet
Growth and the Sale of Travel Services.)
Customer relations. We will keep records of every
sales contact. Data such as source of inquiry,
client needs, previous vacation, job, and income
will be included. By having superior information
on our clients and prospects, we intend to offer a
truly personalized service. Our database will
contain full details on all our clients, including
the vacations they have taken and their
postvacation appraisal data. We will use this data
to encourage our satisfied customers to recommend
our services to friends, relatives, colleagues,
Press advertising. We will undertake a small
amount of specialist press advertising in order to
enhance our public relations activity. There is
considerable research to support the argument that
the more often a potential client hears about you,
the more likely they are to approach you when they
have a need for your type of service.
Northwind Traders association. We will write to
all past shop clients announcing the establishment
of the travel business and offer them a special
introductory adventure vacation package.
Sales and Marketing
Excellent selling skills are vital in our type of
business. Therefore, everyone will be fully
trained in sales. Additionally, every month we
will “audit” each other by observing half-a-day’s
selling activity and giving feedback on strengths
and weaknesses in skills.
We will also be using a “contact management”
system that will allow us to monitor the
effectiveness of different promotional strategies
and of different marketing messages.
The key to our strategic advantage lies in having
superior data on prospects and clients.
The normal commission paid to travel agents for
this type of vacation is in the 10 percent to 15
percent range. While Margie’s Travel, the first
agency we have been appointed to, pays us at the
lower end of the scale, they are a prestigious
firm to represent. Having them in our portfolio
will enable us to negotiate much higher
commissions from our new principals. Accordingly,
we are planning on an average travel agency
commission of 11 percent, rising to 13 percent by
the end of Year Three. Commission on insurance and
other services will be 30 percent, throughout.