Initially Sephats Tours will focus on the local market in the adventure travel sector. The target customers will mainly include foreign tourists intending on sightseeing various attractions.
Our marketing strategy will emphasize focus. We are a relatively new company on the market and hence must focus on certain kinds of services with certain kinds of clients. Initially the business will focus on the local market, expanding into the regional market as time progresses, and as we gain the necessary experience. Therefore the initial aim will be to instill awareness and confidence in our services. In order to achieve its goal of becoming the premiere mobile operator, Sephats intends to adopt the following strategies:
Establish Sephats reputation as a differentiated, specialty provider of city/ adventure travel and excursions. This will be accomplished through a diverse marketing communications programme directed at Sephats target market, utilizing various media as well as the establishment of strategic allies.
Provide unparalleled service to the tourists, local and international, of Botswana in order to gain repeat business and build trust. This will include providing superior service in all phases of the transaction, including timely follow-through.
Aggressively promote excursions as healthy, eye-opening and exciting activities with those who participate in them as appreciative of the finer things in life.
We intend to build image and awareness through consistency and distinctiveness in our service provision.
Our strategy is to grow the business by nurturing clients, differentiating the service from our competitors, particularly through service and staff behavior. All criteria from customer satisfaction, service provision, price competitiveness to staff attitudes are to be looked at thoroughly in the initial stages as areas for improvement. Alliances and collaboration with hotels, lodges and travel agencies are to be adopted as strategies for market penetration. Training will be conducted on a regular basis to ensure that our staff is fully meeting customer expectations.
Through the implementation of a fair, effective and competitive remuneration policy we intend to optimize our human resource output and advancement. We need the right people in the right place at the right time if we are to ensure optimum growth. We intend to develop our team so that our people can grow as the company grows - a mutually beneficial relationship. We are currently vigorously searching and recruiting the right people for our organization.
5.1 SWOT Analysis
We intend to enter a highly lucrative market in a rapidly growing economy. We foresee our strengths as the ability to respond timeously to the market dictates and to provide custom designed travel excursions to travelers. Our key personnel will have a wide and thorough knowledge of the areas we intend to take travelers, which will go a long way towards penetrating the market. Below are the summarized strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Diversified client base: This will reduce our dependency on one particular market.
Combination of skills in employees: The directors intend to engage well-qualified and experienced employees to jointly develop business strategy and long-term plans, so as to attain company objectives.
Extensive advertising and marketing: The company will undertake extensive advertising and marketing, promoting both its name as well as service/product awareness. Hence an aggressive and focused marketing campaign with clear goals and strategies shall be one of our mainstays.
Lack of a reputation in comparison to our competitors. This is due to the fact that we are still new on the market. However this shall be addressed as shown in the marketing section of this plan.
The introduction of new organizational practices and personnel who have not previously worked together presents a challenge to the organization.
A limited financial base compared to the major players in the industry.
Lack of clear strategic allies.
Current drive by government towards encouraging the participation of indigenous entrepreneurs in tourism presents an opportunity which we may fully utilize.
Current growth rate of tourism presents an opportunity for ourselves which we may take advantage of. This is further supported by the current marketing campaigns by both the government and regional tourism body, the Regional Tourism Organization of Southern Africa - RETOSA, aimed at promoting tourism into the region.
Presently there is no reliable public transportation company to take tourists to areas of interest.
International tourism trends indicate that today's traveler wants a more enriching experience than that provided by conventional 'sun and sea' vacations.
The present growth in the tourism sector may result in an increasing number of firms entering the market. This may led to increased competition emerging from a variety of given sources including:
Established travel agencies, hotels and lodges may look at the development of new lines and vertically integrate transportation so as to provide additional services to clients.
New marketing strategies and tactics by established companies aimed at providing excursions of our intended nature.
Other start-up travel companies generated by healthy nationwide economic and tourism growth.
5.2 Marketing Strategy
One core element of our strategy will be that of differentiation from our competitors. In terms of marketing we intend to ensure that our name and services are marketed on an extensive basis so that customers are aware of our existence. In price, we intend to offer reasonable and competitive prices in comparison to competition and we need to be able to sustain that. Our service marketing will strive to ensure that we establish long relationships with clients.
Initial marketing and training expenses will be relatively high as we seek to become known on the market and staff get trained in the professional provision of our services. This will be brought about by the development of sales literature and advertising expenses. As our market share increases and capital is generated, further marketing programmes and the expansion of those in existence at the time will be undertaken, to ensure market development. However with time these programmes will start generating revenue for the business, which we shall in turn reinvest.
5.2.1 Pricing Strategy
Sephats Tours will be competitively priced in relation to the dictates of the market. Due to the introductory nature of our services we intend to implement a penetration pricing strategy which will ensure that potential customers are not frightened away by our prices, up until our services are appreciated and fully operational. However this will dictate that our costs are prudently kept so as to ensure our financial goals come to fruition. This is reflected in our prices as stated in the services description of this plan charging close to PX per kilometre per person. Each trip will include an average of eight to ten persons.
We intend our income structure to match our cost structure, so as to ensure that the salaries we pay to our employees to assure good service are balanced by the cost we charge to the customer.
5.2.2 Promotion Strategy
This strategy will be based primarily on informing potential customers of the existence of our services and making the right information available to our target customer. The intention will be to highlight the benefit of utilizing our service(s), which will include:
Access to exclusive travel destinations
Service to fully appreciate destinations through information packages, and not just sight-seeing
Access to special interest travel according to the groups preferences
In such a market we cannot afford to appear in or produce second-rate material with poor labels that make our services look less than they are. Hence we intend to leverage our presence using quality brochures and other sales literature, including promotional material such as pens, complimentary slips and pads. We intend to spread the word about our business through the following:
Advertising: This shall be undertaken through trade and industry publications, which are read by tourists, as well as the local newspapers. A constant look out will be made of any special editions in the local newspapers, which may provide an opportunity for us to advertise our services and business name.
Sephats Tours will also be advertised through professionally done brochures, and other such sales literature, which allow enough detail to be communicated about the services offered by the company. This literature will be mainly targeted at potential clients and placed or made available at strategic points, such as travel agencies. With time we also intend to utilize billboards to advertise ourselves, likewise located at strategic points. Hence we intend to design and put up posters communicating the services we provide located around hotels, lodges, airports and other such areas where tourists typically pass by. However in doing so we always intend to obtain the consent of the respective authority.
Personal Selling: Undoubtedly customer solicitation face-to-face will be a powerful form of promotion mainly due to the fact that its flexibility will enable us to match the customer's needs to specific attributes of our services as well as giving concise details of what we have to offer. Another important determinant in utilizing personal selling is the fact that we are relatively new on the market. As such, potential customers/clients will, to a certain degree, be skeptical towards the intended service(s) and how they are able to benefit from them.
In cases where the opportunity of obtaining a large order exists it may be necessary for the top management to go out personally, especially considering the fact that we are still a relatively new firm on the market. However this shall be the situation in the majority of cases due to our relative infancy.
Direct Marketing: This will be used but only to a limited extent in the form of telemarketing and informing potential customers and obtaining referrals where possible. In the case of telemarketing it will involve our targeting potential customers of our services and informing them of our existence and destinations. We may then arrange for an appointment with the respective decision-maker, with the intention being to lure them into utilizing of our services.
Events: These are increasingly becoming important as more firms establish in the country and hence the need to be known. The organization aims to promote itself through attending trade shows and expositions. Not only will these increase awareness of our services and business name, but also enable us to interact with potential clients who may decide to utilize our service. Trade shows that come to mind include Botswana International Trade Fair (BITF) and BITEC.
Internet Marketing: The increasing growth of the Internet as an information source provides an opportunity for ourselves that we may exploit. This is particularly so in view of the increasing dissemination of information over the World Wide Web, as individuals and groups look at obtaining the best deal possible. More often than not these individuals and groups seek out information over the Internet due to its relatively low cost and ease of use helping to minimize time wasting. However this will require adequate planning so as to ensure that all information on the website is accurate and up-to-date, ensuring we market a professional image. This will mainly serve foreign tourists and other interested stakeholders.
In all the above we intend to communicate our ability to deliver a good service that will satisfy the customers needs. Hence our messages will influence the engagement decision of prospective customers by emphasizing our customer focus and, persuade prospective clients that we are different from our competitors. All the above promotional tools shall be well integrated and utilized in tandem so as to maximize their effect.
5.2.3 Positioning Statement
Sephats intends to offer a unique service to all of its customers, primarily travelers, so as to position itself as the premier travel provider in Botswana. This shall be undertaken through provision of affordable, comfortable and luxurious transport as well as informative insights about the various sights and areas. These excursions will be tailored to the individuals'/groups' interests and thus providing enjoyment and satisfaction. Our competitive advantage shall be our customer orientation and friendly staff who shall go at lengths to ensure the customer is served and fully satisfied.
Through our reasonable charges and satisfying excursions we intend to attract a large portion of the market, both directly and indirectly. Hence all promotional material and campaigns shall be directed to fulfilling our intended positioning on the market.
5.3 Sales Strategy
For the short term at least, the selling process will depend on personal selling/networking and advertising to lure and inform potential customers about the services we offer and the benefits of utilizing our services. Our marketing does not intend to affect the perception of need as much as knowledge and awareness of the service category.
5.3.1 Sales Forecast
The following chart and table show our planned Sales Forecast for the next three years.
All tourist services
Direct Cost of Sales
All tourist services
Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales
5.4 Strategic Alliances
In today's competitive environment it is becoming increasingly essential for organizations to concentrate on their core activities so as to gain and maintain a competitive advantage. This brings out the advantage of undertaking strategic alliances with organizations that the firm may benefit from and visa versa. Sephats Tours intends to establish strong partnerships with several hotels, lodges and travel agencies so as to be able to deliver customer wants. These alliances will assist in ensuring that we obtain a regular stream of customers from various establishments.
At this writing, strategic alliances with several companies are possibilities, given the content of existing interest and discussions. However ultimately it is the quality of our service(s) and the skill and experience of the staff that will attract customers. During the start-up phase word-of-mouth from satisfied customers will play a large part in increasing awareness and gaining exposure for our services.
5.5 Corporate Social Responsibility
Sephats Tours recognizes the fact that as it is involved in the tourism sector of the overall economy there is need to be involved in a wide range of social responsibility engagement programmes so as to invest back into the community in which we operate. We believe that through our social responsibility programme we can indeed assist in improving peoples lives. We believe that if we are to contribute to development in a sustainable way, we need to support numerous projects.
However, before we commit ourselves to projects we intend to ensure that they will be beneficial to the community, particularly in the long term. We know that we cannot address all the development needs of our society. Where we can, we assist and sometimes may form partnerships so as to increase capacity.
One of the ways the company intends to be involved in corporate social responsibility is through organizing cleaning campaigns with various communities. Basically this will involve briefing the community on the advantages of having a clean environment, now and in future. In order to entice the community to get involved in these campaigns, as well as to increase awareness about our business and services we intend to give out T-shirts and caps with our company name. These campaigns will also assist in us being perceived and appreciated as a good corporate citizen.