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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 competitors.

Customer Incentives

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 Market Research.)

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 random basis.

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, and employers.

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.

Commission

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.

 

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