We will be using a computer-based financial management system. With this system we can review our sales and marketing activities on a regular basis. This will allow us to analyze the profitability of sales of different vacations through each tour operator. Thus we will be able to reward staff on the basis of profit achieved rather than just on sales.
We will be developing outline scripts to help the sales staff manage inquiries. This will ensure that all incoming phone calls are dealt with in the same way and meet a high standard.
We will encourage people inquiring about vacations to give us feedback on our service:
· Our ability to handle their inquiry
· The amount of time from the client’s first inquiry to the date of actual travel
· The client’s reactions to the vacation in terms of whether it meets their expectations
New Tour Operators
Heather Mitchell will be responsible for reviewing the range of tour operators that we seek to represent and negotiating with prospective new principals.
Our offices can accommodate five sales desks. Each sales desk has a capacity to handle four clients per hour, which means over the course of a year, we could handle up to 40,000 inquiries. With our average sales rate of one in five, we could service 9600 clients from our present facilities. This is well above the numbers we are anticipating in the business plan.
Northwind Traders plans to grow steadily over the next five years, becoming the premier provider of European adventure vacations in the Greater Seattle area. OurThe financial objectives of Northwind Traders are to be operating at or close to break-even cash flow by the end of the first year, with steady growth over the next five years. We aim to be profitable from Year One onward; our goal is to earn at least $304,000 posttax profit in Year Two and nearly $496,000 in Year Three. Our profit margin on sales by Year Three will be a respectable 7 percent.
Steps for Achieving Goals
Northwind Traders’ strategy for achieving our goals consists of six major points:
Establish an extensive public relations campaign
Recruit well-trained, enthusiastic staff
Deliver superior product knowledge
Provide high-quality customer service
Create a library of tools/reference materials for clients
Offer competitive pricing on vacation packages
The first step to achieving our goals is to hire a competent public relations agency. This will be the key to producing state-of-the art publicity materials and determining where these materials should be placed for optimum visibility.
The second step will be to increase the staff. The individuals recruited will go through an extensive training program to ensure that they will be able to provide superior product knowledge in the field of European adventure travel. The present staff is passionate about adventure vacations, and we intend to maintain their enthusiasm through constant product development and skill training. We will only recruit those individuals who share our vision. We also want the business to have an enjoyable atmosphere.
The third step is to install a library of reference works in the shop. These materials will be available for clients to browse through while in the shop or to “check out” and peruse at home. An agent will be on hand at all times to answer any questions.
While at present we are offering only other company’s adventure vacations, we have protected our position in a number of ways.
First, we have a two-year agency agreement with Margie’s Travel, which gives us access to all their existing vacation products as well as any new ones. This contract is dependent on Northwind Traders achieving sales of at least 250 vacation packages a year. We intend to negotiate similar agreements with future suppliers, although sales targets with them will be lower to reflect their relative market position.
Second, we intend to maintain a high service element to our business, extending our range of value-added services such as vacation insurance, individualized prevacation booklets, postvacation follow-up, and continually updating our client database. In this way, we will seek to build up a high level of repeat business. Customer loyalty is vital to our profitable growth.
Risks Associated with Growth
We see some risks associated with our expected growth:
· Losing touch with customers
· Loss of clientele to other providers
· Quality of services diminished
· New businesses
The risks facing the expansion of Northwind Traders can be summed up in one word: competition. In order to sustain our position in the area as the premier agency for European adventure travel, Northwind Traders needs to outshine its competition. By maintaining our focus on superior product knowledge and outstanding customer service, we will be able to uphold our position in the industry, thereby retaining current clients and attracting new clients.