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Airline, Taxi & Shuttle icon Sightseeing Bus Tours Business Plan

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Double Decker Tours of Washington

Market Analysis Summary

The travel and tour industry is the third largest retail business in the United States, which generated over $100 billion dollars in revenue.  The Washington area tour industry generated over $10 billion dollars, including $4 billion in sightseeing and tour related activities, according the latest figures from the Washington Convention and Tourism Corporation.  An estimated 18 million people come to Washington each year on top of the over 4 million that live in the Metro area and the more than 2 million people that enter the city every day for work or pleasure.  With the completion of the new Washington Convention Center, WCTC estimates that an additional 3 million people will be attracted to the city thereby bringing additional customers.  Researching the future conventions and meetings booked by the Convention Center, preliminary estimates for the coming years show that 415,850 people will be attending meetings or conventions spending approximately $182 million dollars in 2003 and 497,800 people spending $274 million in 2004.

In recent 2002 WCTC figures, overnight leisure travel increased significantly, while day-trip volume was down, but the good thing was that average trip expenditures increased to 2000 levels of $480 per day per trip.  Many of trips that were made to the city centered around visiting historical places and museums (36%) and  shopping (24%).  In leisure travel, 36% of visitors were solo travelers as compared to 80% of business travelers and 23% of leisure travelers came with children as compared to 6% of business travelers.  Also many of our visitors to the city have income of over $75 thousand, were married, had no children and were in the 35-54 age group.

Our potential customers are people who want a unique tour experience at a reasonable price.  These will include people who come to the city for the day, leisure travelers, honeymooners, budget-conscious travelers, business travelers, families, students and seniors.

4.1 Market Segmentation

  1. Sightseeing, R&R, Honeymoon, Special Interest: Our most important customers will be the people who visit Washington for sightseeing, rest and relaxation, on their honeymoon or are here for a convention or other special interest.   We will develop special pricing to encourage honeymooners to spend some time with us and we will highlight their recent marriage during the tour.  Because we support our service people, we will offer discounts to active duty and retired military personnel during Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day holidays.
  2. High-income:  For these travelers price is not an option, so by pricing ourselves in the middle of the market, we will be able to attract these customers.
  3. Budget conscious travelers, families, students and seniors:  This group of travelers will find our prices competitive and the tour unsurpassed by the existing tour companies.

Overall, we split our potential market into the DC visitors and Washington area residents. The table below summarizes our market analysis projections.

Sightseeing bus tours business plan, market analysis summary chart image

Market Analysis
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Potential Customers Growth CAGR
Visitors 10% 18,000,000 19,000,000 20,000,000 21,000,000 22,000,000 5.14%
Washington Area Residents 10% 4,000,000 4,100,000 4,150,000 4,200,000 4,250,000 1.53%
Total 4.51% 22,000,000 23,100,000 24,150,000 25,200,000 26,250,000 4.51%

4.2 Target Market Segment Strategy

Double Decker Tours is located in Washington, DC, our nation’s capital.  The monuments, memorials, theatres, museums and other points of interest make this one of the most visitor intense cities in the country.  Each year over 18 million visitors come here and with the opening of the new convention center, an additional 3-4 million are expected.  Also in the next year, many new sites will be opened such as the World War II Memorial Museum, City Museum, US Capitol Visitor Center, Martin Luther King Memorial and American Indian Museum bringing many new visitors and potential customers to the city. 

All who come for a day trip or who are here for business or pleasure and stay overnight will be in our target market.  We will develop our marketing message to attract these customers and our company policy and aim will be to develop repeat business through word-of-mouth advertising and paid advertisement in the local media.  Our proposed location at the MCI Center will also help in attracting customers since it will be in the heart of the entertainment district with plenty of parking and access to Metro.

4.2.1 Market Opportunities

In addition to 4 million residents, the Washington area also welcomes around 18 million visitors annually.  As indicated above, both of these groups represent DDTOW’s potential customers.  Market research shows that our potential customers spend over 45 weeks per year in a work setting and when they come to Washington, they have between 3 to 7 days to experience our fair city.  Many take sightseeing tours to get an informative layout of the monuments and other points of interest.  This allows them to familiarize themselves with the historic monuments of the nation’s capital in a relaxing and informative way.

4.3 Service Business Analysis

The US travel and tourism industry is the third largest retail industry generating revenues of over $100 billion dollars a year.  The industry is separated into two main categories, business and leisure travel.  Each constitutes about 45% to total revenues.  The remainder of revenues are generated from combined business/leisure travel.  The market is further divided into domestic and international travel.  Domestic travel accounts for more than 70% of generated revenues.  Business travel can be divided into two categories, the medium and large corporate account and the small independent businessman.  Leisure travel is classified according to the types of trips they take, age, and income.

The four primary leisure travel groups are:

  • Adventure, Special interest, R&R, Honeymoon and Sightseeing
  • High-income Travelers
  • Budget-conscious Travelers
  • Families, Students and Seniors

4.3.1 Competition and Buying Patterns

There are many companies in Washington providing sightseeing, tours and charter services.  Most of them have one or two things in common, they use coach buses (45 passengers), Trolleys (35-40 passengers) or Tram (85-120 passengers) and the two largest, Tourmobile and Old Town Trolley, use a shuttle system where they stop at certain points in the city so the passenger can get off and explore the site.  Double Decker Tours may do this in the future, but our focus at this time will be to provide clean buses and  informative tours from a single pick-up and drop-off point.  During the warm spring, summer, and fall nights we will conduct a three-hour tour where we will make three stops so that our customers can explore the Jefferson, Lincoln, and Roosevelt memorials.

4.3.2 Main Competitors

Our main competitors in the Washington sightseeing industry are:

  1. Tourmobile:  Tourmobile is based at East Potomac Park and is authorized by the National Park Service to conduct sightseeing tours along the National Mall and in Arlington National Cemetary.  Tourmobile uses a shuttle service employing 85-passenger trams along the Mall and 120-passenger trams in Arlington.  They have been in business for over 25 years.  Tourmobile was started in 1969 as a subsidiary of Universal Studios to provide interpretive services along the National Mall.  In 1981 Tom Mack bought the company making Tourmobile, Inc. a locally-owned, Washington, DC company.  Tourmobile has over 42 vehicles and serves upwards of 2 million riders annually.
  2. Historic Tours of America:  HTA operates in Washington as the Old Town Trolley and DC Ducks.  HTA is a national company with outlets across the country.  HTA, like Tourmobile, uses a shuttle system for its passengers and they use 35- to 60-passenger trolleys.
  3. Grayline:  Grayline International is a global company with offices and tours around the world.  Grayline contracts out its services to local bus lines and runs multiple tours.  Grayline runs the Lil Red Trolley as its service in Washington.
  4. Zohery Tours:  Zohery Tours is a local company that runs 15-passenger vans and 45-passenger coach buses.  Zohery tours are about 3 hours in length.