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International Travel Operations By Audley Travel

Question :

A Travel agency is a kind of business that sells the products and services relating to travel such as travel packages to the customers on behalf of any third party supplier in traveling like airline, hotels, etc. This project is based on Audley Travel which is established in the UK. Travelling requires a proper planning process so that the customer can get a pleasant experience. This project shall cover the following-

  • The planning process undertaken by tour operators.
  • Product portfolio typology.
Answer :
Organization Selected : Audley Travel

INTRODUCTION

Travelling is a business for travel agencies that provides travel related services to customers. They sell products and services related to travelling mainly packaged tours. International tour operations are generally for people who travel for leisure outside from their home country.

Audley Travel is a private travel company of UK situated at Witney, founded in 1996 by Craig Burkinshaw and John Brewer (Vellas, 2016). This report on International tour operations will cover tour operators and planning process, which they undertake to bring new product in the market, and their portfolio typologies. Further, it will cover analysis and comparison of social media websites used by tour operators for marketing.

1.1 EXPLANATION OF PLANNING PROCESS TOUR OPERATORS WHEN SELECTING A NEW DESTINATION TO BRING TO MARKET

Planning process of tour operators includes planning(identifying the objectives to achieve), contracting(it is a process of negotiating with suppliers), costing(determining the cost of various activities, components, etc.), quotations(are prepared for tour packages), reservations(booking in advance for available space or services).

Russia is one of the most beautiful and a tourist friendly destination in the world and it is also the cheapest international destination. It is known for its different culture, tradition, foods. Its cultures are; folk culture and cuisine, architecture, visual arts, music and dance, animation, and so on. Today many tour operators are facing international pressure because of increase in the competition and to overcome with that they develop their packages to satisfy maximum customers. Activities like designing packages, working with suppliers, marketing plans, handling finance, dealing with legal formalities, etc. are not easy to manage rather it involves determination, risk, and commitment.

The Tourism planning process is as follows:-

  • Destination and market: the main aim of the tour operators is to select the best destination to bring it to the market (Brunette, 2017). Their objective is to analyse and understand the market for particular destination. In market research, there are some key points to keep in mind while designing a project and market analysis such as identification of PESTLE factors, which may influence the future development, the tour must meet the needs of the market, approaching the suppliers and making policy decisions. Russia, is a tourist friendly destination in the world. Some of the best places to visit in Russia are Sochi, Veliky Novgorod, etc.
  • Tour Itinerary Development: once the analysis of target market and selection of destination is done, the second process is the development of tour itinerary. Tour itinerary is a tour plan or guidebook made by operators for customers while travelling. It is a tour programme, which is summarized and designed to identify destination, origin points, en route points, transportation and other services.

Moreover, it also shows assembling point, departure date and point, legal requirements, meals and more. There are two approaches for itinerary development. The first is dealing with vendors and reservations independently from vendor companies and in second approach the tour operator makes a contract with all prospective vendors in advance. In this, the planner put all the tour components together and creates final itinerary.

  • Negotiate with suppliers: the tour operators’ work with the prospective vendors, depending upon the tour's size and nature. The mains are airlines, transport operators, lodging companies, car rentals, sightseeing vendors and so on. Negotiation with suppliers, air carrier through travel agency is an option for tour planner. Hotel negotiations are more informal than air carriers are. Negotiation with lodging properties must be done on meeting basis with top executives. The main objective of negotiation is to teach the best possible price for quality price ratio.
  • Package tour costing: under this process, tour management determines the value of a tour package. Cost means the total expenses occurred to change the individual ingredients into a tour package. The cost of a tour package is determined as per the requirements of the market or tour management strategies.
  • Final assessment and pricing: after the process of costing, tour operator oversees exchange rates, future selling price and then finalises tour price. After that, tour operator analysis future risk such as payments of hotels, airlines, foreign exchange, and other destination agencies. The final price is decided on the basis of market share, rate of return and price competitiveness.
  • Marketing of a tour package: the tour marketing applies some strategies to know what tourist will want and the satisfying needs of the clients. Marketing is a social process that results in customer satisfaction (Derudder and Witlox, 2016).
  • Developing a tour-marketing plan: it is the responsibility of a tour planner to understand both its product and market before developing a market plan. The first step for many tour companies is budget for developing a market plan. It is a short-term plan which guides the tour operator. It gives a clear direction of the tour marketing operations.
  • Tour operator's brochures: tour brochure is the operator's critical marketing tool, which contains information to motivate holidaymakers to buy products or services. It contains names of Tour Company, mode of transportation, destination details, price, booking conditions etc.

1.2 INVESTIGATE 2-TOUR OPERATOR'S PRODUCT PORTFOLIO TYPOLOGIES AND MAKE A REASONED ARGUMENT FOR THE INTRODUCTION OF A NEW NICHE TOURISM BASED PRODUCT.

Products offered by two tour operators

Both Audley Travel and Thomas cook have highlighted their products attractiveness, i.e. Russia. They have included brief description in their brochures. It includes leisure activities, modes of transport and itineraries. Both tour operators have mentioned the main tourist places in Russia such as Mount Elbrus, Valley of Geysers, Lake Baikal, etc.(Mwesiumo, Halpern and Buvik, 2017).

However, products of both tour operators differ in terms of duration and itinerary. Thomas cook offers a relaxing tour of 4 days and 3 nights in Russia while Audley Travel offers 4 days and 4 nights. Audley Travel itinerary includes Valley of Geysers, Lake Baikal, Suzdal, whereas, Thomas cook itinerary involves Mount Elbrus Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Kizhi Island, Trans-Siberian railway.

Prices offered by tour operators

Price is the value of packages offered by these tour operators. It provides an index to customers regarding product and services. Many budget consumers prefer less expensive products at reasonable price with good quality. Audley Travel charges over $600 per person for a trip to Russia including air fare whereas Thomas cook charges about $500 per person including airfare. Overall Thomas cook offers a better product and better price because it includes more attractive places to visit.

Places highlighted by tour operators

Both the tour operators are compared on the basis of distribution channels, methods of distribution, location and coverage. Both tour operators focus on tourist spots that are highly convenient. Both tour operators’ branch offices are located nearby hotels and airports. Their addresses, contact number, fax numbers and emails are clearly stated in their brochures (Wang, Weaver and Kwek, 2016). In their branch offices, they have provided detailed information about their products, accommodation, transportation, food, etc. and information regarding rooms, board, bookings and other services.

Promotions conducted by the operators

Both tour operators adopt promotional techniques like personal selling, advertising, direct marketing, public relation and sale promotion. These techniques are used to increase sales, make a favourable image of tour operators, and create a long-term relationship with customers. Both tour operators use personal selling method to promote their products in the form of personal communication. Their employees are trained on selling skills to attract customers.

Both tour operators give advertisements of their products and services in newspapers and travel magazines, which are distributed by agencies, airlines, hotels, resort and international companies. They also advertise their products in exhibitions to cover local and international market. Both of them actively take part in conferences held in different countries where they present videos on their services.

Further, they send their travel agents outside to promote their products and services. Direct marketing method of promotion is practised by both the tour operators. They mail their brochures and offers to their potential customers. Finally, both tour operators use sales promotion to add value to their products and often use discount vouchers, price cuts and free gifts to attract customers. After looking at the design, quality, pricing, and other features of both the tour operators, it is concluded that Audley Travel offers more desirable product.

1.3 Analyse and compare the social media and web sites Audley Travel utilises for their marketing / promoting destinations to reach their target markets.

Audley travel operators are one of the major tour service providers within business organisation that is operational within UK. In order to promote and sell their services related to tour services in Russia, they will opt for proper social media and usage of different websites in order to promote their products and services (Laws, 2015). This will help an organisation to have a good accessibility with their customers and improve the sales of cited business organisation.

Social media and other online websites help many organisations to communicate with their target market. Increase in social media popularity and rise of internet has changed travel marketing in the hospitality sector. This online website plays an important role in promoting tourist destination in the market.

Here are some ways through which Audley Travel promotes its destination to reach target market:-

  • Snap chat: - this is one of the best and worth learning social media to target youngsters of this generation. Audley Travel is interested in targeting young travellers. Snap chat is the fastest growing social media at this time. This social network shows a quick view of what is happening here and now. Audley Travel Company uses snap chat to make trusted relationship that converts travellers into paying customers.
  • Tweet on Twitter: - Twitter is a true and tested method to reach potential customers. Tweets allow Audley Travel to post short travel tips, promos, photos and videos related to the set destination. It is one of the most popular Social Medias for marketing and promoting destinations. Audley Travel engages in hashtag marketing as it helps to get the product into conversation. By retweeting their tweets and tagging them increases their reach. Cited organisation can look after proper trending of a location in order to increase awareness of people towards their services.
  • Facebook: - Going live is a great way to grab people’s attention. By going live on Facebook on regular basis helped Audley Travel to give its audience details of destination, tour packages, and brochures. It makes its product fun, unique, and exciting by sharing it with the world. Audley Travel creates post-asking customers to tag their friends in the posts. People respond more to these types of contests (Chen, Schuckert and Chon, 2016). The firm can opt for developing a page of their own and upload posts related to various tourist locations within Russia and can offer details of their tour plans and other services.
  • LinkedIn groups: - in travelling or hospitality sector, LinkedIn is the best way to reach the target market. This group exist for the users to share the information regarding different topics like business or travelling.
  • Instagram: - Instagram is an effective part of online promoting strategy. Contests and giveaways by Audley Travel is a part of marketing strategy from years. Instagram stories are the latest feature that greatly affects targeted market to buy their products. The IT team of firm can upload photos of various locations and can place their advertisements and offers to attract more and more customers.
  • Blog about product: - Audley Travel uses its own blog about the benefits and popularity of the packages. They encourage people to share their post to other social websites.
  • YouTube: - billions of people watch you tube videos every day. Audley Travel makes videos showing their destination advertisement. It gets forwarded and viewed by different people.
  • Other social networking sites that are relevant: - other social networks such as Trumbull, Pinterest and google and are the best and relevant for promoting tour destinations. In order to compare social media and website to promote destinations to reach target market, it is important to look for target market.

In Russia, social media activities help to promote desired results. Although, websites also help to provide photos, videos, blogs, etc. that helps to create positive image in front of customers. It seems to be effective to entail with particular features. Inspirations from different websites help to consider special services to attract customers of Russia. Nowadays, social media is the biggest source of information and helps to promote any business or product. With the help of social media activities, it can be stated that the promotional tools will develop continuously.

Other than this, various tour service providing and classified websites can be taken into consideration by the firm that will help organisation to promote its tour services and reach their target market.

However, it can be critically evaluated that a tour operator can promote its tour application through social media. It can form a website of its company and share the entire new exciting offer on that. There are many applications for sharing tour's pictures to increase the interest in people (Alegre, and Sard, 2015). The application are like Facebook, Instagram etc. it can share the videos also on the same.

Furthermore, there are several tour operators existing in chosen nation that promote different activities to focus and maintain effective growth. As a result, it would be beneficial to overall development and customer attraction. Authentic travel experience also tailor made with experts. As a result, increase in travel experience also determines and provide journey, designed with the interest, taste and budget. In all over the market, it would be beneficial to Polar Regions. Travel agency must be attaining their aims and objectives through implement website and social media. On the basis of website information, ideas also match with interest to provide luxuries accommodation and attain overall results.

Conclusion

From the above report, it is concluded that many tour operators face international pressure because of increase in the competition and to overcome with that they develop their packages to satisfy maximum customers. Further, it concluded that Both Audley Travel and Thomas cook have highlighted their products attractiveness, i.e. Russia. The Social media and other online websites helps many organisations to communicate with their target market; it can be critically evaluated that a tour operator can promote his tour application through social media. Increase in the social media popularity and rise of the internet has changed travel marketing in the hospitality sector. Finally, it is concluded that after looking at design, quality, pricing and other features of both tour operators. It is concluded that Audley Travel offers more desirable product. various tour service providing and classified websites can be taken into consideration by the firm that will help organisation to promote its tour services and reach their target market.

References

  • Alegre, J. and Sard, M., 2015. When demand drops and prices rise. Tourist packages in the Balearic Islands during the economic crisis. Tourism Management, 46, pp.375-385.
  • Brunette, G.W., 2017. CDC Yellow Book 2018: health information for international travel. Oxford University Press.
  • Chen, Y., Schuckert, M., Song, H. and Chon, K., 2016. Why can package tours hurt tourists? Evidence from China’s tourism demand in Hong Kong. Journal of Travel Research, 55(4), pp.427-439.
  • Derudder, B. and Witlox, F., 2016. International business travel in the global economy. Routledge.
  • Eid, R. and El-Gohary, H., 2015. Muslim tourist perceived value in the hospitality and tourism industry. Journal of Travel Research, 54(6), pp.774-787
  • Laws, E., 2015. Health tourism. Health and the International Tourist (Routledge Revivals), p.199.
  • Mowforth, M. and Munt, I., 2015. Tourism and sustainability: Development, globalisation and new tourism in the third world. Routledge.
  • Mwesiumo, D., Halpern, N. and Buvik, A., 2017. Effect of Detailed Contracts and Partner Irreplaceability on Interfirm Conflict in Cross-Border Package Tour Operations: Inbound Tour Operator’s Perspective. Journal of Travel Research, p.0047287517746016.
  • Ozturk, Y., Allahyari San, R., Okumus, F. and Rahimi, R., 2017. Travel motivations of Iranian tourists to Turkey and their satisfaction level with all-inclusive package tours. Journal of Vacation Marketing, p.1356766717725562.
  • Poletto, C., Gomes, M.F., and Vespignani, A., 2014. Assessing the impact of travel restrictions on international spread of the 2014 West African Ebola epidemic. Euro surveillance: bulletin Europeen sur les maladies transmissibles= European communicable disease bulletin, 19(42).
  • Vellas, F., 2016. The international marketing of travel and tourism: A strategic approach. Macmillan International Higher Education.
  • Wang, Y., Weaver, D.B. and Kwek, A., 2016. Beyond the mass tourism stereotype: power and empowerment in Chinese tour packages. Journal of Travel Research, 55(6), pp.724-737.
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