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The Business Model

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Introduction to Business Model:

The concept of business model is used to analyse and communicate the business' essence, in order to predict implications of new projects within the organisation. The purpose of the present assignment is to propose a framework for a business model in a conceptual manner. This model will provide a base for further theory of the project and help in conducting a debate as well. The business model is also defined as an abstract concept having many facets. It provides a description of the implementation of a business concept and entails the process of launching a new project successfully. Corporations and academics use the concept of business model to describe activities related to operations (Chatterjee and Finger, 2014). Thus, despite vagueness,  this model concept has become a prominent notion in the vocabulary part of management.  

Therefore, it is necessary for the management team of Thomas Group to prepare a business model adequately. This will provide guidance to project-makers to conduct investigations and review the procedures as well. In addition to this, the main objectives of a conceptual framework of business model are based on threefold activities. It includes- Exploring existing practices of business; Prescribing future activities and Defining key terms and financial problems. Thus, a conceptual framework will provide a basis for future practice which broadly states key terms and concepts, used for identifying and debating the issues.

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Explanation of each element of the business model:

This part reveals the major elements included in the framework of the business model. It includes targeted customers, superior value propositions, channels, key activities, value chain-based resources and more (Felix and Hines Jr, 2013). In context with Thomas Group, who is going to launch a travel app to provide necessary information and updates to travellers, the business model canvas in this regard includes the following elements:-

  • Priority Customers: This part depicts the priorities of customers in terms of their preferences, demands and purchasing power. With respect to travel industries, travellers can be classified as cost-conscious, domestic and international trips, first time and more. Therefore, in order to provide information and regular updates to targeted customers, managers of Thomas Group are required to prepare holiday packages as per their interests.
  • Superior Value Propositions: In order to attract the minds of customers and gain their retention for a longer period, Thomas Group provide its services on the lowest price. In addition to this, it also offers additional services with no-frills i.e. no extra charge will be taken for supplying basic necessities to travellers while travelling. This travel agency also gives frequent services to leisure and corporate clients in order to exceed their level of satisfaction of. Products or services provided by Thomas Group include travel consultation, custom packages, reservations for lodging, pre-arranged tours, rental cars, rail passage and more. Furthermore, this firm seeks to differentiate itself from other competitors by launching a travel app for customers.
  • Channels: In the travel industry, the primary distribution pattern is generally considered from supplier to agent and then to customers. Therefore, distribution between agency and supplier is mostly regulated by the conference system. In this regard, two main conferences by which Thomas Group can gain access from air travel providers are the International Airlines Travel Agents Network (IATAN) and Airline Reporting Corporation (ARC). Along with this, there are some other distributor channels as well as online booking and telephone booking sales which aid Thomas Group in delivering its services in vast areas of the marketplace (Farace and Schöpfel, 2017). In this context, online booking software keeps the business of a company open for 24/7 hours. This will give opportunity to customers to take the services of the organisation anytime as per choice. Thus, by using a mobile app, travellers can book their tickets any time of per own choice.  
  • Key activities: For promoting features of travel apps and their benefits, managers of Thomas Group conduct various activities. It includes managing all the requests which are made by people, advertisements promotional content on social media etc. Along with this, all travel agents as well as service providers who are registered with the app are managed in a proper manner. Furthermore, solutions which are delivered to customers per their request are also recorded safely. The other key activities integrated with mobile apps by Thomas Group are spot services, currency converters, utility finders, weather forecasting, world clock and more. All these processes aid in leveraging all the demands of users.
  • Value Chain Based Resources: Low-cost airlines provided by Thomas Group give the opportunity to those travellers who cannot afford First Class; will enjoy a premium service as well. This travel agency provides air transport services to passengers which include international, regional, domestic and national (Collins, 2018). It is dedicated to providing the highest quality of customer service and delivered with a sense of friendliness, warmth and individual pride. For Thomas Group, the main issue of its target customers is budget constraint i.e. last-minute change in reservation or flight booking tickets. This gives a negative image of travel companies in their mind and they used to switch to such services. Therefore, to resolve such issues, Thomas Group ensures that any type of issues will not arise when people book tickets through mobile apps. Along with this, some other factors which attract travellers can be described by its value proposition of low cost-airline, frequent, efficient as well as punctual service.
  • Competitive Strategies: In the travel sector, there is intense competition due to innovation and high technology. It includes Internet and Computerized Reservation Systems (CRS), which have changed the way of operating business travel agencies. Therefore, by launching travel (mobile) apps, Thomas Group give opportunity to travellers to offer tickets online at discounted rates. This travel agency has introduced computerized reservation systems which has increased the speed as well as efficiency of the agency in terms of customer transactions. Along with this, its managers have formulated various plans and strategies to give tough competition to rivals like TUI Group. Such strategies can be explored in terms of promotion, pricing, distribution and marketing.
  • Key Partnerships: Thomas Cook is considered one of the leading travel agencies which is supported by nearly 22k colleagues. It operates business in more than 17 countries having approximately 100 aircraft, 190 own-brand hotels & resorts, 22k employees and 20 million customers (Tukker and Tischner, 2017). Therefore, all are taken as partnerships of this travel agency which aids tourists to get a one-stop shopping and save their precious time.  
  • Relationship: To launch a travel or mobile app successfully and provide high-quality of services to customers, it is essential for employers of Thomas Group to develop an effective relationship with key partners. It will help in getting the cooperation and support of partners in launching new apps more successfully.  
  • Costs & Cost Budget: The main step in the creation and development of a travel app is to select best technology which will help in developing a mobile application. At present, three main technologies are available at the marketplace, viz. Native, Web and App builder. In native technology, a company can use a native coding system to build a travel app which caters to the requirements of smartphones with Android and iOS. While through web technology, a firm can develop a hybrid app. In place of this, there are many app software available which need zero effort to create an app. It includes UX which helps in designing an app and gives the option to choose from a wide range of services. Thus, in this regard, Thomas Group adopt App builder technology for the creation of mobile apps. This app includes various features like car rental software, hotel and flight booking engine, guide selection etc. Therefore, overall £20K is required to develop and launch a travel app. It includes

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Particular

Amount

Initial Investment

100000

Expenses:

          Operational Activities

          R&D Activities

         Cost to IT Experts

         Licensing Fee

         Maintenance

 

22000

28000

16000

6000

8000

Closing Value

20000

  • Revenue Stream and Cash Flow: The revenue stream in the travel industry generally comes from selling online air tickets, fees charged for additional food and beverages,  commissions acquired from business partners etc. While cost structure involves airport charges, aircraft maintenance and staffing as well. Therefore, M&S uses small airports mostly which are available at low prices and are less congested.

Chapter 5: The Business Plan

In today's world, tourists face many issues and challenges in order to plan a holiday. So, by launching a travel planner app, Thomas Group help tourists meet all their requirements. Through this app, they can discover new destinations, famous dining places, hotels and more, related to travelling. Therefore, a business plan for Thomas Group is given as below:-

1) Overview of the company

Thomas Group deals in tourism sector and was founded in 1841 in London, UK. It serves a wide range of products and services in the global market. It includes Charter and Scheduled passenger airlines, holiday packages, cruise airlines, reservations hotels and restaurants etc. In terms of revenue, this firm generated near about 9k million Pounds.  

1.1) Objectives

The main objectives of Thomas Group behind launching the mobile app are:-

  • Increase sales performance by near about 650k million in the upcoming three services.
  • Maintain margins of 10% on all airline travel.
  • Develop strategic alliances with service providers nationally, internationally, and in regional areas.

1.2) Mission and Values

TEntrepreneurship and Small Business Management Group is a travel agency which specializes in the adventure of the tourism sector. This company provides tour packages, custom travel arrangements, solutions related to designing or planning holiday trips and more (Van Manen,  2016). The main mission of this firm is to develop personal leisure travel experiences and become the foremost provider of adventure tourism and travel. Along with this, to enhance the values of the business, Thomas Group also seeks to develop connections with small companies operating businesses in the same field, employers of hotels & restaurants, transporters and more, who are fit in fulfilment of desires, budget, and skill level of tourists.

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1.3) Key to Success

In order to accomplish the mentioned objectives, managers of Thomas Group follow some keys to success. It includes market segmentation which helps in determining the demands and desires of customers on the basis of their demographic, purchasing power, interest level etc. In addition to this, successfully acquiring a position in the adventure travel industry, creating differentiation in products and services, developing a business base of loyal customers and more, are some other key factors to achieve the present goals of this company.

2) Service Description to accomplish mentioned objectives

Thomas Group is a leading integrated leisure company which provides leisure travel services, including airline, Visa and Passport. It operates business in more than 21 countries across 4 continents. Some additional services provided by this travel agency to tourists are access to top-of-the-line equipment and supplies, assistance with passports, accommodations and entertainment which make the journey of people more comfortable and enjoyable. The value added to Thomas Group's offering is its expertise team who provide the best services to customers, competitive and affordable rates, low airline tickets and more which aid in exceeding the satisfaction of the customers. As per economic data, it has been evaluated that today people spend a lot to travel best destinations of the world in a comfortable manner. Therefore, it gives the opportunity to travel agencies to offer them the best deals and get their retention for a longer period of time. In this regard, it is estimated that Thomas Group is considered as a niche service provider within the tourism and travel market which offers high-quality holiday packages for various sporting trips at affordable rates. This agency also serves the adventure and leisure travel market as the highest quality (Chatterjee and Finger, 2014). Thus, more than 5k millions of customers are engaged with its services. People of developed and under-developed countries prefer the services of this company when planning holiday trips for both domestic and international markets. All suppliers, distributors and partners with whom Thomas Group deals belong to top-notch professionals with accomplished backgrounds.

Concept of new product

In order to provide the best services to customers and provide them with updated information, Thomas Group is going to launch mobile apps. It helps travellers organise domestic or international trips by providing a comprehensive list of destinations, holiday packages, different kinds of deals, offers and more. As per the basis of lifestyle and purchasing power, the travel planner app will provide holiday deals exactly as they are looking for. It also gives details about facilities according to the mentioned destinations. In addition to this, trip plans can be categorized on the basis of seasonal variations. For example: In summer vacations, travel plans will include facilities like trekking, skating, resort trips etc. This will enhance the travelling and tourism experience as well as save money. Some top features of travel or mobile apps, introduced by Thomas Group at the international marketplace are mentioned below:-

  • Plan travel and tour requirements: A proficient or efficient travel planning mobile app will undoubtedly have many attributes. In this context, a well-featured travel app provides benefits to tourists in finding perfect destinations, online booking airline tickets online, including some additional features like offline access, QR code scanning, navigation and tracking etc.
  • GPS( Geo Location Positioning): The concept of travelling can be defined as exploring unknown destinations and places. Therefore, as a tourist, an individual has no idea about the location of such places. Thus, in this regard, one of the most advanced features of mobile apps is GPS (Geo Location Positioning) technology. It helps travellers navigate the path and find destinations by mobile apps which include maps and navigation tools.
  • Maintain and manage a travel diary: The most amazing feature of Thomas Group’s mobile app is allowing users to share their experiences about visited places. They can create their own blogs too as well as upload photos, videos and audio files into the mobile planner app (Welford, 2016). In addition to this, it also shows reviews, feedback and personal experience of travellers.  

Thus, integrating travel apps with GPS systems will raise its efficiency. It helps tourists in making their journey more safe and secure. This system includes tools like Google Maps which help in tracking down the locations of new places.

3) Steps to ensure arrival

3.1) Market Analysis

Thomas Group plans to expand its market area in more developing countries. For this process, it targeted such market areas where people would like to explore new places, grab the history of famous dining places and make holiday plans accordingly. Since its travel business primarily comes under the leisure category. Therefore, a major portion of revenues are generated from leisure travel which exceeds near about 50 billion Pounds annually. Annual expenditures in the marketplace of the U.K. are estimated at approximately 12-15 million Pounds for hard adventure travellers and 40-50 million Pounds for soft ones.

3.2) Market Segmentation

Thomas Group's main target customers belong to young age, health-conscious or new couples and individuals having gross income not exceeding 50k Pounds. Therefore, it offers low-cost airlines which aid travellers who can't afford First Class, can enjoy a premium service. Along with this, it also targeted those travellers who have an interest in popular adventure activities like white-water sports, skiing and mountain biking. Thus, in this regard, Thomas Group's targeted urban areas lie within the states of the UK, Australia, Africa, China, Florida, India and more.

3.3) Market Trends

The notable trend in the travel and tourism industry is increased deregulation. Through this aspect, the requirement for differentiation is enhanced accordingly. In addition to this, to win competitive advantages, organisations deal in the travel sector and offer airline tickets and other transportation services at the lowest rates (Cardon, 2014). Trends in the travel market are rapidly changing due to an increase in airline facilities, increased demand for leisure and adventure travel, good economic conditions, per capita income and more. Therefore, introducing travel or mobile apps, will aid Thomas Group in meeting the demand of tourists on time and exceed their expectation level.

3.4) Market Growth

Today with changing trends in the marketplace, the business of the travel industry is rapidly growing. The other reasons for this process are good economic conditions, a rise in per capita income, the exchange rate of currency and more. Therefore, this would have made tour and travel services less expensive for people. As per statistical data, it is estimated that leisure travel rise by 3.2% and is predicted to grow by 2.0% more in upcoming years. In this regard, there is a large scope for Thomas Group to launch travel apps. It will help to enhance sales performance by 10% annually, which aid this travel agency to become one of the fastest growing in the travel industry.

4) To ensure arrival

4 .1) Business analysis

In the travel and tourism industry, the UK is considered the third favourite country, which is rich in terms of adventure places, heritages and destinations. Therefore, enhancement in tourism helps this country in improving and developing its economy at high rates. In the last decade, revenues generated from travel and tourism have increased by near about 90%. This market is segmented on the basis of business class and leisure travel, where each contributes to near about 45% of total revenues. In addition to this, the market of tourism can also be further categorised into international and domestic travel. Here, domestic travel accounts for nearly about 70% of revenues. As Thomas Group engages in leisure travel, therefore, it segments the market on the basis of trips, taken by travellers as per income or age. In this regard, four primary leisure travel groups are: Adventure, Adventure, Interest, Honeymoons, and Sightseeing Trips; Business-class and High-status Travelers; Budget-conscious Travelers and lastly Families and students who visit for educational purposes.  Therefore, in this regard, introducing mobile apps, it can give information to people as per their interests.

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4.2) Competitors:

In the travel industry, with enhancement in tourism, competition among travel companies also increased. In the UK, many travel agencies are running their businesses with different strategies and policies in order to gain retention of customers. It includes Rollins & Hayes, Global Adventure Travel, TUI Group, Travel Finders and more. All these companies offer high-quality of services, tour packages at attractive rates, accommodations and more. Therefore, in the contest with Thomas Group, intense competition in the marketplace, affects it profitability in a high manner. Thus, to win a competitive advantage, this company is required to develop effective and unique strategies. For example: By using social media platforms, managers of Thomas Group can make good connections with travellers and give information to about its new mobile app. Through this process, they can promote the high-top features of travel apps and their benefits to tourists. By making differentiation in products and services, this firm can build trust among loyal customers. Aggressively promoting features of mobile apps like navigation tools, Google Maps, attractive list of holiday packages at affordable and discounted rates, aid this travel agency in enhancing its customer base.

4.3) Value proposition

The value proposition of Thomas Group services is generated from experiences gained by travellers. High satisfaction and exceeding the expectations of tourists show the value of its business in the marketplace. In addition to this, workers are highly skilled and knowledgeable which helps in meeting the requirements of customers. They provide solutions related to complaints and issues of travellers and give them satisfaction by making their journey more enjoyable. 

4.4) Marketing Strategy

Marketing activities related to travel and tourism is a tricky task which requires much attention and strategies for a company. Using digital technologies will provide a head start to a firm over its competitors. The goal of Thomas Group’s business is to develop and keep customers with products and services. Offering holiday packages as per interest and purchasing power of people has reflected its efforts to reach the mentioned goals. Therefore, to get more bookings via mobile apps, this travel agency can adopt the following strategies:

  • Partnerships with luxury hotels and restaurants: By developing relationships with employers of luxury hotels, Thomas Group can offer leisure services and high accommodation to travellers at affordable rates. This would also aid in meeting and increasing the expectations of customers.
  • Manage online reputation: Before taking the services of a company, every person used to read reviews of other individuals who have acquired the same before. This would help in determining whether such services are beneficial for satisfying their needs or not. In context with travel sectors, near about 80% of tourists when planning national and international trips, used to look out for summarised feedback and reviews. Thus, in this regard, it is necessary for Thomas Group while marketing its products in the marketplace, to manage its online reputation.  
  • Go to visitors before they arrive: Companies engaged in travel and accommodation should develop a good and long relationship with tourists before they visit a place. So, by providing a mini-campaign to travellers through mobile apps, helps in resolving the basic queries of visitors. It includes hotels to stay, transportation facilities and local guides who help in exploring the new place.  

4.5) Sales strategy

Sales refers to an activity which deals selling of goods and services in order to earn profit. Sales strategies are those techniques followed by companies to generate revenue from operational activities. Schemes for sales play a vital role in large organisations. One-time planning will not work under income, step by step plan of action accomplishes enterprise goals effectively and efficiently. Making of strategy will not work, firstly it should be evaluated then implementation in the correct direction will help in achieving targets in an effective manner. In this context THOMAS Group, its main priority is to stay on top of tourists' minds. For this process, developing effective plans on discounted rates, especially in the off-season period, refers to the best sales strategy. In addition, it is essential for Thomas Group to be concerned on that customers who used to take services of this company in a repetitive manner, are expected to avail lower price rates on the next journey. Thus, fulfilment of their expectancy will aid this company in retention of loyal customers and boost sales performance as well. Some other strategies by which Thomas Group can boost sales performance are:-

  • Be concerned with advertising strategies: The concept of this strategy can be shown in different processes where the hospitality and travel industry needs to thrive it. Advertising suite-level rooms for visitors during the off-season period on a low budget helps convince them to avail of travel packages. Running some special ads in tourism guides, promotions of club facilities, luxury rooms at affordable rates and more, are considered as best strategies for developing the minds of tourists to avail travel packages.   
  • Target business travellers: Since the majority of leisure visitors are influenced by seasonal trends, therefore, targeting to business-class people is considered as best strategy to increase profitability. People who belong to the corporate world, are used to travelling for business purposes in all over the world in a regular manner. Thus, developing holiday packages for business travellers will aid Thomas Group in increasing sales performance and enhancing profitability as well.

4.6) Promotional strategies

Tourism company influences economic growth and development in the market by providing better and easy-going services. Thomas's group will organize several packages that will be affordable for all kinds of people.  In today's era, everyone uses smartphones and laptops or tablets to gather information, ticket booking and other services. Mobile applications are more used than websites of companies by users. It will assist in the booking process, nowadays no one wants to go to booking places or wait in a public queue, so this app will provide better service on time to their customer. This app saves customer's passport details so at the next booking it will consume less time and reduce paperwork. Also providing rebate information from time to time through this app to attract join these services. Moreover, this app customer will be aware of the destination views by watching videos and images.

4.7) Pricing strategy

Setting prices of products and services in travel industries refers to the most complicated task. To set adequate prices for tour packages, a firm needs a strong mix of marketing techniques and financial analysis (Buckler and Creech, 2014).  Accommodation, components people who are engaged in making the holiday experience of travellers and pricing strategies, are considered as main aspects in developing a brand and market share. The other factors are uniqueness in business and flexibility of products, which help in deciding price. Similarly, competitors dealing in the same field, their strategies to attract the minds of customers, pricing policies and targeted market are some other factors which are required to be concerned most. In context with Thomas Group, the price of holiday packages is totally dependent on value-added services which enhance the travelling experience. Furthermore, its managers are required to calculate break-even points, occupancy rates and operational costs. It will help in determining the minimum price on which a company can make a profit and offer products at low rates as well.

As per The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), prices in the travel sector dramatically increased in the 20th century, all around the world. The pricing of holiday packages is dependent on the economic stability of a country or region. Along with this, in the international marketplace, the price of air travel is also grown by by 3.5% as compared to 2017. The reason behind this is the increase in demand and the rising of fuel prices. Moreover, the price of hotel and restaurant accommodation is also considered to rise by 3.7% in 2018 (PRICING STRATEGIES FOR TOUR OPERATORS AND ONLINE TRAVEL AGENTS, 2018). Thus, in this regard, it is much more difficult for Thomas Group to offer holiday packages at below rates. But, to gain competitive advantages, it uses some effective sales strategies. It includes-

  • Tour packages are used to target niche markets like food and wine tasting, golfing, beauty and relaxation etc.
  • The different price levels of travel packages are based on seasonal variations which include low rates in the off-season period.
  • In the off-season period, attractive discounts are offered to those customers who are price-conscious. It helps in generating revenue in such a period also.
  • Thomas Group also prefer some basic price strategies on the basis of individuals, age and group. Under this process, some discounts are given to senior citizens with the option to choose accommodation and transportation facilities as per interest. While, per unit, pricing sets the price for 1 unit of service i.e. single package for 2 adults with two kids.

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4.8 Risk Management

Preparing a risk management plan is the most important part of a business plan which entails the process of identifying hazardous situations and developing strategies to overcome them. If project-makers can evaluate potential risks which may come during the implementation of new techniques in business then they can find ways to overcome such situations. Along with this, they can minimise the impacts of such adverse risks, which will help in recovering from loss in quick manner if an incident occurs (Bradbury, 2015). The occurrence of risk can vary as per business in which a company deals, but preparing a risk management plan, includes a general procedure. It involves a detail about strategies to handle and deal with risks, by specifying business operations. Therefore, in the context of Thomas Group, its managers has formulated a risk management plan for launching a mobile app without any interruptions successfully. For this process, they have developed unique strategies in order to cover business from risk. In addition to this, they have formulated proper budget, resources and more, as per requirement to prepare a risk management plan with a business impact analysis. This would also aid Thomas Group in a meeting with legal obligations to run the business more appropriately. Furthermore, it also helps in creating a safe workplace by reducing the likelihood of an incident, which creates an adverse impact on business.

In this regard, employers of Thomas Group have appointed a highly experienced and skilled Director of Risk and Audit. By working in collaboration with a selected person of the management team, the newly appointed director gives assurance that the planned management of risk will be integrated into strategic and operational processes. This point reflects that in Thomas Group, risk management is considered as a set of actions to run operations in an appropriate manner.  

5) Expected outcomes

5.1) Financial Plan

When any firm launches new products or services in the marketplace, it is estimated that there will be little growth in the first two-quarters of operation. Along with this, the expectation to cover up operational costs and gain profitability also seems to be difficult in the initial stage (Bourn, 2014). Thus, in this regard, Thomas Group needs to keep enough funds to maintain its initial performance in the marketplace. With the assistance of this, it can easily capture customers' attention by providing them with better services as per their requirements at cheap rates. Keeping an adequate amount of cash also helps in enduring negative cash flow situations which may be encountered due to less generation of revenues. This would also anticipate an increase in sales volume and gross margin as well. Therefore, the overall financial plan of Thomas Group represents a conservative and realistic depiction of its position in the marketplace.

  • Key financial indicators

Economical conditions, support of the government in the enhancement of tourism, increased demand of customers to avail of tour packages etc. are some factors, which forecast the growth of business in the travel market. Therefore, the success and growth of the business by launching a travel app in the upcoming three years, in context with Thomas Group, can be indicated by the following chart:-

   (Source: Benchmark for Thomas Group, 2018)

  • Break-even Analysis: The following table shows a description of Thomas Group's break-even analysis which includes monthly sales BEP points. As per key financial indicators, this analysis assumes near nearly 20% gross margin. This estimate will help in improving and increasing the profitability of the business at a certain point in sales.

(Source: Break-even analysis, 2018)

Critical Factors for Success

There are many factors present which contribute to obtaining effective outcomes for a project. It includes efforts of team workers, smart planning, open communication, careful risk management and more (Bonner and et. al., 2012). In context with Thomas Group, some critical factors which led to execute the project successfully are mentioned below:-

Team-workers: Without building the right team, any strategy or plan of a project cannot be executed successfully. Due to this, expert members, core project staff, suppliers, distributors and all other stakeholders are considered as part of the team dynamic. Therefore, to strive for overall success, all members of the team should give high commitment as well as share similar visions. Any type of dispute related to different backgrounds and opinions will create serious trouble for project managers. Thus, any out-of-sync team or inept leadership may lead a plan towards failure. Thus, managers of Thomas Group should introduce the right persons in the team as well as assign them roles and responsibilities as per their abilities (Why the mobile app is important for travel industries, 2018). In addition to this, they should provide training and development to team members so that they can understand in what manner activities are required to be done. each aspect of the project and make sure that they are working well together. Additionally, it is the major responsibility of project makers to give timely information to team members and involve their participation in each decision-making process. It will help in obtaining the most successful outcome after the implementation of a project.

Smart planning: Comprehensive planning assists a firm in setting up the activities of a project carefully. This would help in implementing such a project more successfully. Under this process, it is necessary that all stakeholders must be on board during the planning process. Along with this, they must always know updated information as well as the direction in which the project is going (Birley and Moreland, 2014). The main important aspect of planning is to aid team members in meeting deadlines as well as staying organized. Moreover, a good planning process not only keeps project-makers focused towards business objectives but also makes stakeholders aware of project progress. Thus, in context with the Thomas Group, there are various advantages to smart planning. It includes the creation of a time scale in a reliable and realistic manner, ensuring accurate time for delivering outcomes of the project, and providing documentation of deliverables and milestones which will help in determining the progress of a project. In case of any urgency, an efficient plan gives details about alternatives by which serious problems and issues can be handled.

Introducing required technology: It is the most critical factor which meeting the requirements of a project successfully. Thomas Group is going to introduce a mobile app in marketplace by which people can avail of its services anytime. Therefore, this process, it requires replacing old technologies with new ones and developing infrastructure and software at the organisation. For introducing a mobile app, this firm needs to make modifications to organisational and working processes. Along with this, managers should organise training at the workplace to develop the skills and knowledge of employees accordingly. By introducing effective technology like the cloud technique, they can store records and personal information of customers in a safe and confidential manner. This would aid employees to easily access data and use it to give the best services to customers. Thus, all these processes help in launching mobile apps more successfully.

Careful risk management: Implementing any new project successfully without any interruptions is rarely possible. The main reason behind this is the execution process which is not done exactly as planned. Every project includes various types of risks which may lead the same towards failure (Avermaete, 2012). Therefore, during the planning process, it is essential for project-makers to create a risk log with an action plan. This would give information to associated members about risks which may arise while conducting planned activities. In this regard, by developing a risk log or management plan, managers of Thomas Group give details to stakeholders where complexity can arise. Thus, in case of urgency, team members can take quick action to resolve the issue. This would raise the confidence level among team members and stakeholders to face any issue more easily. Along with this, if something happens wrong, then they could find solutions for increasing the progress of the mentioned projects.

Having a central online database of project information is vital to ensure you don’t lose crucial project momentum during the project, but also in the event of losing key participants, you can quickly get your new team members up to speed.

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Visibility of plan

A powerful and attractive visibility plan is made to ascertain what strategies and techniques are used for the implementation of a specific project (Allweil, 2016). Therefore, to launch a travel or mobile app successfully, the main keys for the creation and execution of an effective visibility plan are:-

Have a plan in advance: This part indicates the overall marketing plan which is going to be conducted for an entire year. In this context, managers of Thomas Group update marketing strategies in order to meet objectives and corporate goals by creating a business plan. With this assistance, they have held some conference meetings with investors, team members and all stakeholders to obtain information about how activities of the business plan will be going throughout the year. In addition to this, discussion is also made to determine the need for improvement by focusing on future profitability of the business. Thus, it has been evaluated that a visibility plan is necessary to make which show outcomes of marketing performance, trends of the marketplace in the current year and goals that need to be achieved in a set period of time.   

Make the plan more elaborative and visible: Creating a visibility plan is necessary for exploring tactics like marketing, sales and competitive strategies. It should include overall objectives that need to be achieved in a given time frame, targeted group, activities covered in the plan, and communication tools for conveying messages to employees and team members and motivating them to carry out activities effectively. Along with this, the most necessary part includes resources and a budget by which the whole plan is executed. Thus, in context with the present plan of Thomas Group, the main objective of this travel agency is to increase sales and generate high profitability by introducing mobile apps. This agency targets youths and middle-class people mostly and creates holiday trips as per their purchasing power (Al-Mubaraki and Busler, 2013). To boost sales performance, this firm offers holiday trips in the off-season period at attractive discounts. While, for promoting its mobile apps including features which provide benefits to tourists, the marketing team uses the platform of social media. For this purpose, they have made various campaigns and advertisements to bring awareness to people. Moreover, to gain a competitive advantage, this firm offers flight tickets at the lowest rates to gain retention and meet the requirements of middle-class people. In addition to this, to implement the business plan successfully, Thomas Group give employment to highly skilled employees having good experience and knowledge in the travel industry. This firm also introduces an adequate amount of budget which is near about £20K. 

Adopt visibility strategies which march strength of business: There are many visibility strategies available which show how effectively a company execute activities of its business plan and promotes services. It includes e-mail, in-person workshops, advertising campaigns, blogs, Twitter or other modes of online techniques (Williams, 2014). Therefore, in this regard, managers of Thomas Group have formulated various strategies for promoting mobile apps in the targeted area. It includes developing interaction with users through social media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and more.

Enlist business partners: A company having expansion of business in many countries, cannot convey its vision and message to the entire world alone. With this assistance, such organisations need to create partnerships and develop relationships with joint ventures. Therefore, partnerships are considered as one of the best visibility tool in business plans. When a firm develops effective relationships with partners and individuals who are associated with the business, then it will help in promoting and spreading information about new projects more successfully. In addition to this, it also increases the ability of businesses to reach ideal and loyal customers exponentially. Thus, in this regard, Thomas Cook which is one of the leading leisure travel groups in the world, has been running its business for more than 176 years. It has served near about 19 million travellers till now, which shows the effectiveness of its services. Its main partners who help in making holiday trips of tourists more enjoyable and comfortable are- SENTIDO (Hotels & Resorts), Smartline, SunConnect Resorts, SunPrime Hotels, Sunwing, Casa Cook and more.  

Activate Persistent and Consistent Action (PCA): This is the most important part which shows the difference between successful and non-successful plans. In this regard, Consistent Action assists managers of Thomas Group to monitor and track records to ensure how activities of business plan are conducted (Adekola and Sergi, 2016). Persistent Action states to follow up on every instruction and strategy which helps in reducing error in executing a project adequately.

Visibility of budget and investment:

The most concerning part of any project is the evaluation of the finance required to conduct entire activities. As shown in the business model, for launching the mobile app, Thomas Group has made an investment which is near nearly £20K. To optimise this cost-effectively, managers have formulated a proper budget plan and distributed it in a proper manner. It includes 22k Pounds for operational activities, 28K Pounds for R&D operations, 16k Pounds to IT development, 6k Pounds for licensing and 8k Pounds for maintenance of the entire project.

RESEARCH REFLECTION REPORT

This is the most important part of any research report where project makers share viewpoints point, problems and give recommendations for further improvement as well. As present report is based on evaluating the concept of mobile apps and their benefits for travel agencies like Thomas Group. Therefore, for this process, researchers have used various methods and sources to collect relevant information. It includes qualitative research, which is a scientific approach with non-numerical data to reach a potential understanding of social life and the target place or population. It allows to exploration of existing problems with complete relative depth. I have conducted this research to learn about customer's experiences, opinions, and beliefs regarding products. This can be accomplished through personal interviews whether in the form of telephonic or face-to-face interviews. This is the most effective method used by corporate experts. Another interaction can be done with group discussion, the company's executives and leaders observe body language, often facial expressions and gestures of customers.

Therefore, to collect information about a present topic in a subjective manner, I have used qualitative research techniques. It is helpful in generating content by arriving at genuine ideas from demographic and social areas. It includes smaller size samples than other methodologies that deal with lower cost and quick results. With the help of new insight, it makes authentic and accurate information about the related topic. Furthermore, this travel agency can improve its product growth and market share by analysing customer behaviour. In order to see whether mobile apps help in increasing the efficiencies and sales performance of a company, I have used secondary sources to collect data. It reveals information which is already collected by someone else and available from other sources. It includes company records, information from government departments, tax records, magazines, newspapers and census. It covers large samples of the population with less time-consuming and at low cost. This data helps in assessing demographical changes, tracking consumer preferences reviewing products and services. Secondary data evolves new strategies, and innovative ideas with new concepts and provides a better prediction on the whether new features and functions of products it will be sustainable in target markets or not.

Under this research, I have analysed that business concepts are important to understand which outlines the major activities that need to be done to turn an idea into reality. It also shows the concept behind launching a new product or service, the area that a firm will target and in what manner objectives are completed. In order to investigate the major concept, I have used a nominal scale for determining recent trends in the marketplace. This would help me in formulating a business plan accordingly. Furthermore, feasibility research is also done which gives alternative sources for accomplishing the mentioned objectives in the given time frame. This type of research identifies issues which may occur while implementing a new project in business. Thus, as a researcher, it makes me able to face different situations, which might arise in future during implementing a project. For developing feasibility research, both primary and secondary data are required to be collected. This would help in exploring information related to a specific topic in a deep manner. The main key areas which I have focused on while conducting feasibility research are the Industry where a company deals; the concept of new products or services; the target area of the marketplace and is structure of the organisation. All these areas help me in determining which business model canvas is beneficial for smart planning.

Thus, through qualitative research techniques and secondary sources, I have collected relevant information for conducting further activities. This would help me in understanding the concept of mobile apps and their benefits for both people and organisations. By doing this research, I have evaluated services provided by travel agencies. In this project, I have taken Thomas Cook Group which deals in the travel and tourism sector. This agency offers a wide range of holiday choices including both domestic and international trips. Through launching mobile apps, this firm gives benefits to targeted people to get amazing deals by advance booking. Holiday trips provided by this firm include famous destinations of Turkey, Egypt, Majorca, Switzerland and more. The main beneficial point of this travel agency is the rate of holiday packages, which suits the budget of all kinds of travellers. Under this research, I have evaluated that partners help a firm in promoting and executing its activities more effectively. As per the case scenario, the major partners of Thomas Group are its stakeholders, investors and business partners which include some hotels and restaurants.

Thomas Group Agency mainly targeted youth, newly married couples and people who go with their families. With this assistance, they develop holiday plans as per the interest and purchasing power of the targeted audience. But it is recommended to this agency that if it targets business-class people then it will help in increasing high profitability. People who belong to corporate  world used to go to business meetings and attend conferences in domestic and international states on a regular manner. Thus, for targeting business-class, managers of Thomas Group are required to develop attractive trips and travel plans. This would help in gaining retention of organisational people for a long period of time through which profitability can be generated in a high manner. By investigation, I have analysed that there are many benefits a company can gain if it introduces a mobile app. In context, Thomas Group is launching an application to provide tourism services faster. It will assist in facilitating employees in making the booking process easier and timely. This mobile app customises services with different purposes that help to customers in corporate as well as exploring trips. The application should include essential functions such as geolocation tracking services, climate forecasting, language translation, currency converter, emergency services, cab integration, social dining, washroom finder, trip review and so on. From a tourist's perspective, these functions will allow to gather adequate information about destination, and relative services. Through all those facilities trips become more easier whether it is international or domestic travel.

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I have analysed that every technology consists of both pros and cons, which create so many issues and challenges in front of a company. Therefore, talking about launching mobile applications, has also possessed both pros and cons. Fully based on the internet connection as a traveller, an individual will face various problem. For example: When there are server issues or connectivity is poor, then it creates problems in searching Thomas's website. When tourists go on international trips, then roaming issues can arise at several stages. Hence, the worst internet connection is a major problem when travellers search or trace locations while visiting an unknown place. Apart from this, problems regarding downloading applications due to poor connectivity will also put travellers in trouble.

The main beneficial point as I have evaluated during the investigation of this report is that mobile apps are the proliferation of big data. It gives the opportunity to travel industries like Thomas Group to collect more information related to customer demand. It includes purchasing habits, preferences, desires and more. This will give benefits to travel sectors to create holiday trips more specifically cater desires and trends of tourists. The process of analysing data and then convert into action is termed personalisation. This will tailor the needs of customer needs and exceed their expectations as well. In the context of travel industries, this has revolutionized the way of managing and developing customer relations with businesses. For this process, by creating unique and personalized travel research, the booking experience of travellers will definitely be craved. A mobile app in the travel industry has the capability to show potential bookings as per basis on the past interests of travellers.

Through investigating this report, I have analysed that the profitability of travel organisations after introducing mobile technology has significantly increased. It also drives the cost of developing a sophisticated travel app with has capacity to make effective interactions with customers. But as compared to other digital technologies, the development and launch of a mobile planner app seems to be much more expensive for organisations. In addition to this, it has been ascertained that the value recouped by introducing these apps can far exceed than initial cost. It may robust online presence and decreased growth in revenue as well.

From this assignment, I have explored that under what conditions, travel companies may fail to anticipate success. It includes the cost of maintaining, monitoring, updating, and modernizing travel apps. The main reason behind this is a requirement to develop infrastructure, make alterations in an organisation and adopt new technology. Therefore, this would increase the cost of production and operational companies of a company. , in order to overcome such conditions and keep pace with modifications and advancements in technologies, Thomas Group is required must keep an adequate amount of funds. In addition to this, they must prepare a proper budget plan to update and reconfigure mobile apps to keep pace. By investigation, it has been estimated that for about 70% budget of travel, companies keep reserves to upgrade and maintain operational processes after the implementation of mobile and roll-out of the complete process. Thus, if it is not properly managed then this could be expensive as well as a time-intensive process also. Along with this, it can damage the entire process of the company and can adversely impact profitability.

Thus, from the overall mentioned project, I have summarised that the tourism industry might be successful by launching mobile travel apps. It helps in optimising and extracting extract the expected Return on Investment (ROI). Travel companies like Thomas Group can become able to create a strong presence in the minds of tourists as well as to reach out targeted customers. For this process, managers of travel organisations are required to conduct proper research. It will help in determining which segment of the marketplace they need to target. It will help in developing strategies to create awareness among customers about the benefits of mobile apps. Through this process, they can provide information about the top features of travel planner apps and what kinds of benefits they will provide. Mobile apps which may integrate user friendliness and some high functionalities have the potential to attract people in a vast manner. This would help in enhancing sales performance and the base of customers for travel agencies. According to my perceptions of, the top features of mobile apps to attract the minds of customers in travel sectors include: Browse by holiday destinations; searching through types of domestic or international trips, lifestyles, facilities etc.; creating wish lists and saving holiday expenses; track locations and landmarks more easily.

REFERENCES

  • Al-Mubaraki, H. M. and Busler, M., 2013. Business incubation as an economic development strategy: A literature review. International Journal of Management. 30(1). p.362.
  • Allweil, Y., 2016. Homeland: Zionism as housing regime, 1860–2011. Routledge.
  • Amersdorffer, D., Bauhuber, F. and Oellrich, J., 2012. The economic and cultural aspects of the social web: Implications for the tourism industry. Journal of Vacation Marketing. 18(3). pp.175-184.
  • Avermaete, T., 2012. Making a new world: Architecture & communities in Interwar Europe (Vol. 13). Leuven University Press.
  • Birley, G. and Moreland, N., 2014. A practical guide to academic research. Routledge.

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