Panache Travel Group will focus its initial efforts in obtaining clients in the United States interested in the luxury travel market. Travel and tourism is the nation's largest services export industry. U.S. resident travelers spent $81.4 billion on travel to foreign countries in 1999. The travel & tourism industry is expected to account for 5.1% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Production (GNP) in 2000. The World Economic Forecast Association (WEFA) forecasts travel & tourism to grow by 4.1% a year between 2000 and 2005 in terms of real spending.
The target customers of Panache Travel Group are couples and individuals, with median household incomes in excess of $100,000 between the ages of 40-70 years of age. These people are interested in adventure, history, gastronomy, travel culture and unique travel experiences. Target groups are as follows:
Panache Travel Group is located in Salt Lake City and the New York City area. It will target and develop relationships with satisfied clients who have traveled with the PTG with the idea of capitalizing on their satisfaction by encouraging favorable word-of-mouth comments to their friends and acquaintances. It will place a great emphasis on targeting key travel agents/professionals, i.e. Virtuosi agents, who have established, luxury client bases. Luxury trade shows, informational meetings, and contact of clients from elite agencies will also be used to identify markets and clients.
The travel industry is growing. Reasons for this growth include a healthy domestic economy and the devaluation of currency in other parts of the world which has made travel less expensive for U.S. residents. Leisure travel has increased each year since 1990 and luxury travel, which is growing at an estimate 5% annually, is one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. Additionally, there has been a dramatic increase in corporate participation in the luxury travel market in the form of incentives and retreats.
Many potential customers have questions related to numerous aspects of foreign travel. Experience travelers and travel professionals have invaluable knowledge about destinations, accommodations, prices and the myriad questions that arise. General customers look to the travel professional to provide them with sound advice on these matters.
However, luxury travelers look to and depend on the travel professional to an even greater extent for an even greater number of things. Simply stated, they want someone to help them with everything: "Please take care of it all!" Panache Travel Group is confident in its ability to do just that. PTG saves the client time and money through their knowledge and travel experience, and ensures that clients are worry-free and completely satisfied.
The U.S. travel and tourism industry is the nation's third largest retail industry, and according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, indicators suggest it will be the leading industry in 2001. Revenues from travel have increased approximately 100% in the last decade. U.S. travel agencies produce over $100 billion in revenues each year.
The travel market is separated into two categories: business and leisure. Each contributes about 45% to total revenues. The remaining 10% of the revenue is generated from combined business/leisure trips. The market is further separated into domestic and international travel. Leisure travelers are classified according to the type of trip taken, income and/or age.
The leisure travelers are divided into the following groups (not being mutually exclusive):
Lifestyle, age, and disposable income influence the decision to travel and the type of travel. Luxury travelers make purchase decisions based upon their desire to combine many interests with vacation time. Panache Travel Group will emphasize high-income travelers particularly interested in special-interest, rest and relaxation, honeymoons and sightseeing trips who may be families, groups with a mutual interest and/or seniors. When combined they form a very significant, lucrative market from which to draw potential clients.
There are many activities and types of travel available to people contemplating a luxury vacation. Moreover, potential customers do not have to vacation: they may elect to spend the discretionary portion of their budget in any number of ways, or invest the money they would otherwise have spent on a vacation.
However, if they are disposed to a luxury vacation, direct competition for Panache Services can come from virtually any agency. That being said, however, these same agencies can be direct sales agents of Panache Journeys. They are valued and are to be sought out. The average luxury traveler engages in one grand travel vacation every twelve months.
As mentioned above there are competitors for Panache Services, but the market of potential clients is truly vast. On the other hand, Panache Journeys has found a very nice niche with limited direct competition.
Several luxury tour companies compete directly with Panache Journeys for the luxury travel dollar. Three competitors are listed below with their strengths and weakness:
The travel industry is similar to other industries inasmuch as it has large national chains, small home-based businesses, consolidators on the Internet, etc. Membership numbers in some of the travel-related associations give some indication of the number of participants in this market. The American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) reports 25,000 members in 135 countries, most of whom are small businesses. The Association of Retail Travel Agencies (ARTA) has another 3,000 members. In addition, many agencies are not affiliated with these associations but rather with one or more of the approximately 35 other travel industry organizations in the country.