London is England’s capital and Great Britain’s most significant region as well. As it draws about 15 million foreign tourists a year, it has a leading role in world tourism. It has a Lower Regent Street Collaborative Visitor Center.
The London Ships Alliance was formed to raise the visibility of historic London-based ships and associated places such as Britain, Greenwich, Churches, Pier and Tower Bridge
The tourism sector has been the primary source of income for this relationship. The tourism industry is very competitive in the international arena, and each nation makes big investments in improving infrastructure to draw further tourism. The foreign tourism industry is also influenced by increasing inflation, evolving GDP and different participating countries’ economic conditions.
London Ship Alliance aims to create a company identity within this dynamic environment and market all historical ships present in their boats, so that they can raise recognition of the brand, previous successes and increase income for the organization’s progress in the international arena.
The organisation aims to incorporate foreign marketing campaigns and applications so that individuals that are involved in historical monuments and sculptures can capture the full international demand and create brand recognition.
London’s Ship Partnership (LSP) wants to capture more of newer international markets so that, they can target increased customer base and generate more revenue for the organization. It also wants to create awareness among people from all across the world about their brand and member vessels included in their partnership. The organisation wants to educate people about those vessels’ historic achievements and importance in world history. With all these, their main aim is to increase number of international tourists and sustain their existence in this frequently fluctuating competitive market.
External and Internal Factors that Affect Market Environment of London’s Ship Partnership
External factors that influence tourism demand are threats/crises, economy, technology, consumer attitude, tourism industry, demographic change and politics. The external factor might well have an impact on the demand of tourism as affects the ability of travelling and the required motivation for the purpose. Consumer behavior in tourism market is influenced by a whole set of external and internal factors. London is a peaceful, safe and healthy city in context of politics and also very advanced in technological infrastructure. The tourism of the city had global reputation. This provides lots of external support to London’s Ship Partnership in its branding. But the main obstacle faced by LSP is the fact that the destination has lost its attractiveness as the modern day tourists intends to visit such places where they can experience both the beauty as well as adventure.
In the case of LSP, many external factor effects its environment namely, increasing competition with emergence of new tourist destinations, changing customer trends, demand and historic existences, and most importantly unawareness in consumers.
Internal factors that affect LSP are workforce efficiency and skills, management and strategies adopted by organization in its life process. If one looks at the SWOT analysis of LSP, it can be observed that the strength of the organization have been the national and international reputed historical ships, strong governmental control on rules and regulations, attractive destination for jobs and studies and most importantly, the support that it provides to the growing tourism department.
The weaknesses consists of unawareness of brand among the consumers, faded trend and internal management strategies towards branding and marketing the brand.
LSP has opportunities in international market as it has huge scope because of growing economy and increased per capita income of citizens in other international countries, increased motivation towards international tours and travels as well as cost reduction in commercial transportation, highly developed tourism market in London, well constructed infrastructure, world class transport and accommodation facilities and highly supportive government.
Threats faced by LSP are that of heavy competition both nationally and internationally, loss of interest on historic monuments, rising inflation, fluctuating international economy and fluctuating exchange rate (Boz, 2009).
Communities within the purview of London’s Ship Partnership’s target market can be the students of all age especially those who are studying histology and that is applicable for students from all over the world, old age and retired people, along with all those who visit London for any or the reason. Two countries in Europe can be the highest preferred target markets for LSP. These countries are Germany and Italy.
According to an analysis conducted by Tourism Australia, Germany’s outbound tourists have United States as the most visited place and it is increasing year after year. Only in last year, the trend has shown little drop and the reason behind this was global economic slowdown (Tourism Australia, 2010).
In 2009, due to slowdown, Germans has shifted their vacation tour from international to domestic tourist places this shows their positive attitude towards travelling. It is assumed that the international travelling will commence only after the effects of recession reduces (Euromonitor International’s, n.d.).
According to certain figures, in Germany, there was 39% hike in market volume of outgoing tourism from 1993 till 1997 (Euromonitor, 1998).
In 2004, Germany came out as source market in Europe for foreign trip with 45 million international holiday trips. There are many new external factors affecting international tourism like new markets and demographic changes. In this new scenario, it is analyzed that Germany’s holiday trip destination in international market has grown by 58% and is expected to grow 69% till 2018. This figures primarily comprised of special trips done by old age peoples. In 2003, standard holiday trip has risen by 59% in Germany and is forecasted to rise further in future (Lohmann & Budapest, 2004).
Italy is recognised as an outbound market for broad international tourism. The outbound travels are in rise due to its tremendous economic growth that is matching the economic growth level of Europe. There is a sign of increasing outbound travelling by Italians and its maturity in Italy. This conclusion has been supported by increasing number of travelling agencies and package tours. Italy is one among all country in Europe that was able to successfully emerge out of recession. Southern Italy is one of the richest regions in Europe. All these show the wide growth in Italy which also encourages a huge growth in international travelling and big prospective customer range for LSP (Bywater, 2006).
In 2009, 20% of the market share in international tourism came from Italian tourists in United States which was numbered around 1, 50,000. Italians basically travelled for the purpose of leisure which shows a very niche market segment in Italy (Milan, 2010).
Also, both the countries, Germany and Italy are highly focused towards education and development. This has been the core factor to attract the customers from both these countries to LSP.
Marketing objectives of London Ship Partnership are mainly focused on creating itself as a brand name throughout the world. They also want to generate awareness in all its target markets to increase frequency of international tourism in their place. The target market of the company can be distinguished between niche market where all rich people and big renowned individuals assemble and middle market that include after family package deals, students and old age peoples.
In each target market, marketing objectives are planned according to the need of the time. It is a customized service with 100% flexibility and is achievable too. This can be backed up by the analysis of growing demand of international tourism in Germany and Italy, and future forecasting. It is also achievable because of changing trend towards international holiday tours. All the strategies, marketing tools and objectives are measurable and it can be measured in terms of raised number of tourists, increase in revenue, increase in goodwill in market, and increase in GDP and per capita income and also through brand reorganization among target market segments universally.
SMART Marketing Objectives
SMART marketing objective is a marketing plan which is specific to the goal, measurable, achievable, and realistic and time oriented. SMART business marketing objective of LSP is to gain market share in London tourism sector within two years’ period. For accomplishing this target, in the first two months, the marketing team and research team of LSP would analyse and evaluate the current market condition, target markets’ economical condition, the growth rate and the traveling trends of those markets. It is found that both Italy and Germany are in its growth phase and is highly international travel oriented countries. Both countries are supported with increased per capita income and supportive governmental laws. Both of the nations have shown increase in their international travel database for last one decade. Since both these two countries are developed, their government is very much up to improving better educational system to their citizens and better facilities to the working class. LSP’s target market is highly dependable on their educational choice of travelling. LSP marketing team can formulate different marketing plans to capture this target market to the maximum. After formulation of the strategies, period of one month is allocated for evaluation process where every strategy will be evaluated on the basis of SWOT and PEST analysis and most effective one will be implemented. After implementing such strategy, the task of monitoring will also continue, if any reengineering work is required on the way it can be implemented as soon as possible.
All the planning and investment on marketing is done to achieve profit with brand awareness and reorganization among customers. Planning should be time bounded so that the rate of return for each activity can be measured and further changes can be done.
Marketing strategy adopted by London Ship Partnership is based on many external and internal factors. PEST analysis of London’s Ship Partnership shows that political environment for LSP is very supportive, safe and hygienic with no wars and internal issues as such. Economically, whole world has faced considerable slowdown and mostly United State is affected but, now it is in its recovering phase and in a way towards prosperity. Recession has also brought advantage towards global tourism by cost reduction in all types of transportation and other facilities. Sociologically, London is a mixed cultured place, a home for everyone. Culture plays a very significant function, there is no denying. It is an attraction point for many visitors, mainly in the middle age group of 30 years – 40 years. The reason behind this has been the high interest on understanding and knowing old histories and culture along with experiencing of delighting traditional atmosphere. In LSP, also culture will play a very strong role in motivating visitors because all of its locations are historic in nature. The present trend shows that prior to visiting any place people collect information either form family and friend or from internet and agencies related to tourism (LA group & Interest, 2005).
Last in PEST is technology. Technology is the blood of tourism because it helps in facilitating customers with all real time information, reducing travelling time and servicing home comfort during travelling. Technology helps customers to fill their demand of cheap, reliable, safe and fast service.
Germans have culture of great interest towards historical tours and travels. According to the tour operators, the culture for international tours and travels is increasing in Germany and they are basically related to histories like ancient cities, battlefield, archaeology and inheritance (Gunal, 2009).
Similar to Germany, tourism culture in Italy is also bounded towards historical knowledge accumulation and that one can see form inland tourism destinations like Rome and Milan. Italy’s culture is open towards traditional experience and education. They have high generosity towards international destination travelling shows i.e. to know the outer world and gain knowledge from those visited countries.
Marketing strategies start form construction of a marketing plan. Marketing plan acts as a road map for approaching and selling products to potential customers. Customers, budget, target market, marketing goal and plan of action are few elements need to be analyzed during process of planning.
Market research can be a great help in this field for establishing potential and already existing markets. During market planning three thinks should conducted namely existing market evaluation, analysis of new destinations and establishing strategic goals (Arsene, 2008).
With regard to LSP it can be said that the customers are basically tourists and visitors in London. Target market is the niche market consisting of rich populace of Italy and Germany, histologists and middle market with all old age and kids interested in learning history and culture in both the countries. Its marketing goal is to establish its brand name across the world, sustain in competitive tourism market and increase revenue. Also, budget is very huge in trillions of dollars because it is dealing with international marketing prospects and aggressive competition.
There are certain steps that are to be taken under plan of action to include aggressive marketing. E-marketing can help by considerable extent in case of international tourism marketing because it has been proved from analysis that by 2001 home based internet users population has reached 492 million and spending in infrastructural development for e – commerce has increased by 54%. Marketing through internet can be done by creating own web site, registering in different search engines like that of Google and also in directories, providing editors of newsletters especially dealing with industry based e-news with current and forecasted trends and hyper linking it with own website. Buying banners and advertisement space in mostly searched corporate websites of the target market is also a viable option (NDSU, 1999).
Viral Marketing can also be a part of marketing strategy for LSP. Viral marketing is done through pre established social networking site like Orkut, Facebook or Twitter. It is a type of marketing in which messages are been passed from one individual to another. It can be through the use of technology or word-of-mouth. In LSP, viral marketing can be done by creating blogs, buzzes, network marketing through videos, text messages, print advertisement, and also through leveraging the media. In viral marketing strategy, LSP can advertise which will comprise the word “Free” in it. It would generate an interest among viewers to visit the website once. It can also attach automatic videos that will run when ever the user opens the website. Video should also contain brief information and beautiful pictures of all LSP member sites. Viral marketing plays a big role in generating awareness among internet users and persons attached to such users.
Before preparation of marketing plan, few things should be kept into consideration because only promotions cannot help. Firstly, strategy should be flexible so that it can manage rapid industry growth because it is estimated that by 2020 number of tourists may increase by three fold. Second factor is that tourism is a commodity which is perishable in nature, unsatisfied customers for once means loss of that customer forever. It is also season based so organization should be able to manage upward and downward flow. Therefore before planning core analysis of strengths and weaknesses of organization is very essential with its resource availability and capability to handle situations and with doing all this maintain and develop high degree of quality standards in services (Robinson, n.d.).
Marketing Mix at London’s Ship Partnership
There are four dimensions in marketing mix. First one is that of product. For LSP, products are there members of vessels rich with historic uniqueness. Second factor is that of price which plays main role in every individual’s life but due to recession price of all transport and travel related products are reduced. In the context of price, LSP can join with London tourism department and provide attractive packages to customers in affordable prices. Fluctuating exchange rates of different countries also play a big role. Packages can also be based on level of customers’ income and purposes of visit. Third dimension is the place. In this context, London is rich with well managed infrastructure and beautiful tourist destinations. It also provides tourist an experience of safety, learning and enjoyment. And the last ‘P’ of marketing mix is the promotion. It is evident that LSP needs aggressive and attractive promotions for its branding purpose. For this, they can take help of internet and even non internet products can be beneficial too. Within the non internet segment, they can tie up with major tourist agencies in both Germany as well as Italy so that they can motivate maximum customers to visit LSP in London. Alternatively, they can promote through advertisements in television, news papers and magazines too. Multiple regression method can be adopted for calculating product dependency of LSP in both external and internal variables (Baimai & Daniel, 2009).
With 4 P’s combination of 4 C’s will also create an efficient marketing mix for LSP because 4 C’s deal with commodity which means providing customized products to the valued customers, cost incurred during the entire operation so that marginal profit can be gained, communication for facilitating self help to customers and maintaining good relationship.
Combination of the 4 P’s and 4 C’s will help LSP to understand market trends, environments, demands and strategies to be adopted to fill up this gap.
Actions needed to make this plan work are efficient work force, effective management and financial support. For the purpose of implementation, LSP needs a strategist who can plan and train the knowledgeable workforce and who can implement plans accordingly and make necessary changes when and where required.
Marketing budget for this set of actions will cost trillions of U.S. Dollars because it is a multi task, multi level strategy focusing on international market specifically Germany and Italy that are in their growth stage. People need exposure to such type of visiting places because they are related to history.
Resource allocation of this project will be based on target market needs. It will be segregated between niche market and middle-market and also demographically between students and old age people. It will also base on-trend, development level and other kind of facilities required by the customer.
Critical issues with which LSP deals include customer’s lack of interest on historical place visits, low brand reorganization, increasing competition and inefficient strategic management to handle all this issues.
Marketing effort consists of combination of 4P’s and 4C’s of marketing to know resources, markets and channels and challenges faced in economic environment. The focus should be on aggressive marketing through information technology and contract with agencies and governments and advertisement in television, news papers and magazines.
Application of all these steps will help in increasing awareness among people and branding of LSP internationally.
Marketing Strategy Based on 4P’s and 4C’s
Marketing mix of LSP it has a combination of both P’s and C’s. Therefore, marketing plan should be a combination of brand awareness as well as customer satisfaction. For product awareness and branding, viral marketing plays a big role but for customer attractiveness its site should have high end technologies so that when customer chooses a destination, a full report about that place along with cost of travelling, and all other related reports should be attached. Its website might also possess a calculator which will provide information related to customer needs. Information will contain full chart of investment depending on customer requirements. Customer needs can vary from being budget, deluxe to luxury. So, charts should be different for the different categories. It should also attach added value what LSP is providing and information about all of the packages. Here, customers can themselves evaluate tour packages according to their needs and get the bookings done. This will reduce their time and effort of visiting tour and travel agencies and along with the cost because they don’t have to pay the attached fees of the agencies. In non-internet marketing segment, they can provide assistance at each travel sites like airports, railway stations, and bus stations by providing full informative guideline to help them choose their own route. It can also tie up with all government agencies and major travel agencies to assist their client to visit LSP vessels. The organization can think of advertising in televisions, news papers, tour magazines, banners and films. Film advertisements might play a big role as in films people will visually experience the beauty and it will invariably attract the target market to visit those vessels.
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