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Tour operations management is the instant task in which organization prepares vacation packages with the information regarding tour. It attracts travellers across the world and improve sales turnover of companies operating tours. LCB Tours which is one of bus operators provide comfortable and excellent services to customers situated in Malaysia has been taken in this report. Types of tour operators, current and recent trends of development are explained. Timescales and stages involved in developing holidays are mentioned in this project. Along with this brochures used by a company in operating different tours is also explained. Further, strategic decisions made by tour operators are also described in this report (Allahyari, Salari and Vigo, 2015). Various distribution methods of selling holidays for tourist companies are also evaluated. Different tactical decisions taken by tour operators in various situations is also mentioned in this project.
In this modern business world travel and tourism sector is highly influenced by the impacts of current and recent trends. In context to LCB tours the coordinator should consider different trends which are described under.
Advancement in technology:- Technology has a vital contribution in travel and tourism industry. In LCB tours the coordinator must be aware about the innovative and advanced technologies. Tour planning, sharing, booking, etc. can be easily possible with the new techniques. So, the company should invest on technologies, in order to increase customer and growth or expansion of the company.
Increased awareness and responsible tourism:- This factor is also important in tourism sector. In context to LCB tours its operations and technologies must be executed by considering environmental factors and should perform their responsibilities effectively (Brown and Bessant, 2013).
Rise and fall in inflation:- Rise and fall of inflation is also one of the important factor which should be considered by the LCB tours coordinator. Falling inflation has negative impact on tourist companies and it also affects customers, as they don't take holiday packages due to high rates. So, stable economic prices are very important in travel industry. While, rising inflation lead to more consumption of services in the tourism sector. It lead to increase in income and employment opportunities in travel industry.
Inbound tour operators:- Inbound tour operators are the local persons in a definite destination's tourism services. In context to LCB tours they work to support the destination as a integral to fascinated travellers (De Sausmarez, 2013). They are also known by the name – destination management companies or ground operators. They provide various services such as accommodation, airlines, food services, etc.
Domestic tour operators:- Domestic tour operators offer package holidays to customers or travellers in LCB tours. They provide tour packages to residents of their own country. Tours offered by them involves cruises, national park tours, hiking, and may other places.
UK outbound tour operators:- Outbound tour operators offers holiday packages to residents of their country outside UK or any other country. They take travellers worldwide and different continents. They offer better travelling services, take care of their needs and provide security and protection to them.
Specialist tour operators:- Specialist tour operators provide special services to their customers. In LCB tours they offer packages according to travellers requirements or interests. They take their customers to a specific country and offers accommodation, transport and many other services there.
In LCB tours various timescales and stages are used in developing holiday packages. All are described under.
Market research:- It is the important stage in travel and tourism. The tour operator companies should analyse the market before deciding the holiday packages (Evans, N., Stonehouse and Campbell, 2012). LCB tours collect relevant information regarding customers and their interests. The coordinator should also consider the external factors – political, social, environmental, legal, etc. to identify travellers demands. It will assist in attracting more customers and increase the profits.
Planning and scheduling:- After analysing market the second step is to develop plan and strategies related to holiday packages and destinations for customers (Guo and He, 2012). In context to LCB tours the coordinator should make appropriate plan including – location, transport services, food, accommodation, security, medical services, etc. for travellers effectively. Better planning will provide good experience to travellers.
Contracting:- It is also an important factor while preparing holiday packages. In context to LCB tours the coordinator should create contract between company and travellers by using various contract methods – ad-hoc, fixed contract, allocation, etc. It will be appropriate for both the customers and tour operators, as it create satisfaction regarding services offered by the company.
Costing the holiday:- It is one of the important element to be considered. In context to LCB tours the coordinator should prepare holiday packages according to travellers segments. They should offer both high price and low price services for their customers. It will be affordable for customers and they will purchase packages according to their capability.
Financial evaluation and Pricing:- In this stage factors related to financial risk and fluctuations in exchange rates must be considered. In context to LCB tours the coordinator should determine the above factors and changes in exchange rates, in order to minimise the packages cost. By considering this it will help the company in increasing sales and profits.
Creating brochure:- Creating brochure is also one of the important stage in developing holiday packages. Brochure is a document which involves information regarding holiday plan, prices and services offered by them. In LCB tours the coordinator should prepare an attractive brochure with beautiful pictures and all information of package.
Advertising:- Advertising is essential to promote any product or services of a company. In context to LCB tours the coordinator should use advertising method to make customers aware about their holiday packages and services (Hoyos, and et. al., 2015). It will assist the company in spreading their business and inform travellers about their excellent services.
Operation and execution:- Operation and execution is the process of performing business functions related to holiday packages and their services. In context to LCB tours at this stage the coordinator should execute their plans and strategies effectively to provide better services to customers.
Develop tour market plan:- It is the next step after executing functions and plans of the company. In context to LCB tours the coordinator should prepare an effective marketing plan from different sources to offer best services to customers and satisfy them.
Post tour management:- It is the last step in developing holiday packages. In context to LCB tours at this stage the coordinator concentrates on feedback given by customers. The customers provide their experience regarding their holiday packages (Kauppi, Moxham and Bamford, 2013). The company address their feedbacks and make improvements according to travellers requirements and response.
Contracting is essential to carry out business and perform responsibilities of travel and tourism industry. Travel agencies in hospitality sector conduct and execute their business or its activities by considering contracting methods. In context to LCB tours the coordinator should use appropriate method of contracting which will be best for different types of operators. Some contracting methods are described under.
Fixed contract:- Fixed contracting method is a contractual relationship among the travellers and coordinator of company for a long time. In context to LCB tours these contracts are rigid in existence. It help the tour operators by providing cost efficiency and effectiveness to control and minimise the risk factors in the company. This contract is a written agreement between the company and customers involving details regarding their holiday package and services provided by them. This contract satisfy customers that they will be offered the mentioned services in the contract and the company cannot change it. Fixed contract method is suitable for outbound tour operators because they take travellers to out of their resident countries.
Allocation contracting:- In allocation contracting accommodation services are provided in advance to the the travellers. These type of contracts are valid for a particular time period for a month or season. In context to LCB tours the coordinator should prepare allocation contract including all information in written related to accommodation services. After some time the tour operator sold allotments to other customers (Luis, Dolinskaya and Smilowitz, 2012).The allocation contract minimise the risk of unsold products and offers price advantages or extra discounts to the tour operators. Allocation contacting is best for the inbound operators as they take local residents of their country for a tour.
Ad-hoc method:- Ad-hoc contracting method is an agreement used for emergency situations. In context to LCB tours the coordinator can apply ad-hoc contract regulations in emergency cases. Plans and strategies are prepared under this contract according to hours and daily services. The tour operators book hotels and transport services according to customers needs in this contract and it is ended after the purpose is fulfilled. Ad-hoc contacting will be best for the domestic tour operators because they take travellers to national parks, resorts, etc. in their own country as they can create contract according to their situation.
There are various regulatory bodies which regulates the tour operators and travel agencies across the world. Some are described under.
Association of British travel agents:- The association of British travel agents is trade association of UK which regulates travel brokers and tour operators (Medlik, ed., 2016). It was started in 1950. It has 2300 travel agencies and more than 600 tour operators concluded 7000 offices.
Association of independent tour operators:- It is a British travel business trade group which have approximately 120 specialist and autonomous tour operators. It was established in 1976. It involves unique members who offers unrivalled extent of holidays to all over the world.
UK civil aviation authority (CAA):- It is the legal corporation which oversees and set all prospect of civil aviation in UK. It have responsibilities – licensing, supervising issue of pilots, equipment testing, etc. It was established in 1972 and headquartered in London.
Tourism brochure involve actual understanding of the scientific discipline of the customer and what will be effective which attract them. The design of the brochure starts with first impressions and influence travellers by its colour, content, photos and many other things. In context to LCB tours the coordinator should consider the following factors before designing a brochure which are explained below.
Brochure 1: Before designing a brochure there are many factors which should be considered. An attractive brochure should have good design, style, format, appropriate number of pages, minimum wastage, etc. This brochure has appropriate size which can be easily hold by travellers or customers. It has attractive colours and its is designed with good colour contrast. Further it has beautiful images related to tourist places which is very important to influence the travellers. High and good quality of paper is used in this brochure. Further, it has two folds, as it is easy to open and fold. It is designed with appropriate font size which is easily visible. Its cost is also vert affordable only 3 pounds (Redjem and Marcon, 2016). Its format is also effective including whole information about holiday packages. Furthermore, it is designed by identifying customers needs and their segments. Its printing is also good and attractive.
Brochure 2: This brochure is also well designed, but in comparison to first it is not so attractive. First difference is that it's paper quality is not good, as it is less good from the first brochure. The second thing is it is only one fold and less information can be added in this. Further, it does not include images of travel destinations. Its font size is also not good and visible. It can't be easily read by the travellers or customers because size of words is small. Cost of this brochure is also high – 6 pounds which is double from the first. As it will be not attractive for both the tour operators and customers.
In context to LCB tours the coordinator should use the first brochure for their holiday packages, as it it attractive and provides many benefits. It is attractive and its colour, format, etc. are effective. Its cost is also less, so it will be easily affordable by the company. Furthermore, it is three fold through which more information of tour packages can be written in it. By designing this type of brochure in LCB tours will attract customers and increase their sales and profitability in the tourism sector.
Traditional brochures are designed with the help of as usual pictures, formats, graphics, etc.and are used by travel companies to advertise its packages and services. LCB tour is using modern brochures as it offers many advantages to the company (Ronen, Pliskin and Pass, 2012). There are various types of brochures used by tour companies such as e- brochures, out door media, social media, adverting, travel fairs, newspapers, etc.
E-brochure:- E-brochures are premeditated by the experts in advertising and marketing. In context to LCB tours the coordinator should use e-brochures as it is a modern communication channel (Robinson and et. al., 2016). Along with this, these brochures are flexible, the company can select various templates and designs according to their requirements. These are time effective and can be made at home. Furthermore, it also attract lot of customers and it is environment friendly, as it reduce wastage of paper.
Social media:- Social media is one of the fast and affordable method of advertising and spreading information of holiday packages for tour operators. In context to LCB tours the coordinator can use social media to attract customers toward their services. Mostly people use internet in today's modern world, sot it will be easy to inform clients about their packages. It is not possible to provide information through brochures for the companies who are providing their services throughout the world.
In this modern business era it is very important for travel companies to increase their distribution methods and for the sustainability of business in hospitality sector. Different distribution methods help tour operators in selling their holiday packages and services to customers. In context to LCB tours the coordinator can use various distribution methods such as direct distribution, governance website, social network website, online travel agencies, voucher sites, two level distribution, visitor information centre, etc. The distribution methods used by LCB tour are described under.
Direct distribution:- Direct distribution method is a process through which companies sell their holiday packages directly to their customers. In LCB tours the coordinator use this method to sell directly tour services to clients without any third party involvement. It is a good method, as it reduces misunderstanding between the customers and travel companies, as they communicate directly with each other (B. DiPietro, Cao and Partlow, 2013).. This method is best for the small travel companies.
Through social media:- It is also one of the best method of selling travel services and packages to customers. This method is effective for the big travel companies who are providing their services inside and outside their country because it help them in selling their packages through internet and online sights which are mostly used by the people around the world.
Online travel agencies:- Online travel agencies are the most growing channel of distribution in travel industry. It creates big opportunities for tour operators to reach their packages and services to customers all over the world. In LCB tours the coordinator can use this method to sell their services to clients and it will increase their revenue and profits by selling their services effectively.
It is very necessary for tour operator organisations to effectively take strategic decisions to enhance their performance in increasing the satisfaction level of the customers. Taking effective strategic decisions would enable the companies to increase their customer base and maximize their profitability (Ellison and Boyd, 2013). There are certain strategic decisions taken by LCB and Thomas Cook that are evaluated below:
It is imperative that effective pricing strategies be used to attract more customers that strengthens the game of these companies. LCB adopts standard pricing strategy whereas Thomas Cook adopts premium pricing strategy. There are major reasons associated with the pricing strategy of the firms. LCB is a newly formulated company. The major strategy to attract customers for the company would be to provide effective services at standard price to expand its target market. Whereas for Thomas cook, it adopts premium pricing for its unique and value added services. Moreover, it is beneficial as Thomas Cook already has large market share all over the world.
LCB is a new firm. The strategic decision to position itself in the market would be the use of social media and electronic marketing. This would help the firm to grab attention of its target markets in UK. The decisions must include compelling videos, and use of various animated and creative methods that could clearly articulate the services the firm is intending to provide (.Sigala, 2014). As for Thomas Cook, the firm uses standard and traditional methods like newspapers and televisions to sell its services to its customers in the UK and beyond. This strategy has helped the company capture a large market share in the country.
Tactical decisions define those decisions that are taken to achieve short term goals. These decisions must be effective and appropriate in order to accomplish the targets timely and cost-effectively.
LCB must take effective decisions in various scenarios that needs immediate actions and that must help the firm capture their short-term objectives. These situations are:
Currently, the firm wants to strengthen their customer relationships with the customers in the UK. The decisions that the firm must take to satisfy this need is as follows:
The firm is introducing a new service of free tours to the cities in the UK. The tactical decisions are mentioned below:
From the above project report it is concluded that tour operations management are companies who provide holiday packages to customers all over the world. Different type of tour operators help providing tour services to customers in many countries all over the world. Further, contracting is essential to conduct effective tour packages between clients and tour operators. Brochures play a vital role in attracting customers towards holiday packages provided by travel companies. Different distribution methods assist travel companies in selling their services effectively and efficiently. Furthermore different strategic decisions help tour operators in growth and expansion of their business in hospitality industry.
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