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Unit 14 Tour Operation Management Assignment - Cox and Kings
Diploma in Travel and Tourism
Unit Number and Title
Unit 14 Tour Operation Management - Cox and Kings
Tourism is the most interesting sector and is also considered to be the leading industries at present. The industry is experiencing a great boom as people are now much inclined towards the exploration of new destinations and spend their leisure times. The tour operation management is been mainly connected to the evaluation of the planning, market condition, execution and examination of different activities being commenced to meet the organisational objectives. The tour operators widely manage the activities for providing the prospective customers with the higher levels of satisfactions and facilitate them with the enhanced services particularly. The management helps the organisation to meet the standards and achieve the desired objectives of higher customer segments effectively. However, the present report is been carried out with the purpose to evaluate the trends and development prevailing in the current period in the tour operators industry. It would help in developing suitable holiday package proposal for the Chinese students and would evaluate different methods of contracting for the holidays. The unit 14 tour operation management assignment - Cox and Kings would also include the evaluation of the planning of the design of brochure and would identify alternatives to a traditional brochure for the tour operators. Furthermore, the report would also assess the strategic decisions being made by various tour operators along with the comparison with tactical decisions which could be taken by them. Thus in order to gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding about the tour operation management, the functionalities of Cox and Kings which is a leading tour operator would be evaluated throughout the report.
1.1The effects of current and recent trends on the tour operators industry of UK
Cox and Kings is one of the well known travel established organizations. The organizations main headquarters are situated in India and it also comprises of an expanded business across 22 countries and 4 continents. Cox and kings is the quality brand in the corporate travel, education and activity travel etc. It has generated the revenue of Rs.2, 569 Crores from the year 2014 to 2015. In recent times, the huge number of trends and development had a severe impact on the industry. Here are the recent trends:
- Technological development: Advancement in technology has given the growth opportunity to the tourism industry. Now the customer can easily avail the services online. Customer can book its tickets online; also it can go through various packages available online (Robinson.et.al, 2016). The online service provided by Cox and kings has helped in attracting the more customers towards the organization. In present time, it has become easy for the customer to make new reservations and cancellations as per the requirement of the customer.
- Climatic alertness: In accordance to my experience, the Cox and Kings are mainly concerned about the climatic conditions over a place. The organization is required to offer packages as per the climatic conditions to its customer. For example, if the customer wants to visit place where there is snowfall, then it is the responsibility of the organization to inform them about the circumstances over there and also tell them about the right time to visit for that place.
- More focus on the customer satisfaction: As I have noticed, the Cox and Kings pay more attention towards the experiences of the customer so that the customer gets impressed and returns to the same tour operator to avail the services for the second time. It is important for the organization to increase the customer satisfaction by improving the quality standards. With the help of good quality standards the Cox and Kings will gain the competitive advantage and also they will be able to maintain their customers effectively (Duke and Persia, 2015).
- Enrichment in purchasing power: The tourism and travel industry has saw the growth and development due increase in the expenses of the tourists. The increase in the expenditure by the tourists has provided the opportunity of development to Cox and Kings. It has also proved to be an advantage for the native people as they can also earn from the spending made by the visitors.
This is how these factors have lead to the growth of the tourism industry in UK. Also Cox and Kings have got the opportunity to provide the quality services to its customers by providing them with the higher customer satisfaction.
2.1 The stages and timescales involved in developing holidays
It is important to plan the entire tour activity efficiently so as to fulfil the needs and requirements of the customers in accordance to the holiday package offered to them. Thus, Cox and kings is planning for the holiday package of Chinese students from London, UK to Paris, France. The planning for package required lots of planning and scheduling and also it was very time consuming (Xiang and Gretzel, 2010). There are total 15 number of students for whom the tour is conducted for 5 days. The organization is scheduling and designing summer holiday package in August 2018. Thus, plan will be created by Cox and Kings through following some of the stages involved in the development of the package:
- Estimation of new destination: It is important for the organization to evaluate the two destinations in relation to the external environment. It is the first and foremost step in designing the tour package as it take time of easily 1-2months.
- Research: It is the most important step for carrying out an efficient plan in order to develop the package. It is important for the Cox and kings to carry out the research of environmental factor onditions at two destinations that is London, Paris. During this step, the Cox and Kings also collect the information regarding market conditions, security, accommodation facilities, major attractions etc. This step will also help in analyzing the total expenditure in inclusion to the various other facilities provided to the tourists such as transportation facilities for 5 days (Schwarz.et.al, 2015). The research team will also collect the information regarding the cost of transportation to particular destinations. All this will help in developing the plan more efficiently.
- Planning and Scheduling: At this step, the Cox and kings will be responsible for planning the activities that is required to be carried out from beginning till the end of the tour. The organization will plan for the best utilization of time and also to give wonderful experience to the students. Also the accommodation facilities, transportation facilities etc, will be taken into consideration at this step. It is required to plan the best destination as per the interests of the students. Scheduling of all the activities will corporate in completing the tour systematically within 5 days.
- Contracting: On the way of developing the packages, Cox and Kings will confirm about the assurance of all the services which is to be provided by different enterprise. For the assurance, the Cox and Kings will enter into the contract with the respective hotel which guarantees for providing the quality services to the customer including all the facilities such as transportation and accommodation facilities for the visitors (Argüelles.et.al, 2016). Moreover, the organization will enter into the contract with the airlines for tour package 2018 before the particular time so that it could lower costs and provides discounts.
It has been observed that the planning and scheduling related to the development of package will be completed in 4 months. The activities are been bifurcated accordingly through a Gantt chart underneath.
Table 1: Gantt chart
2.2 Methods of contracting for different components and different types of tour operator
In order to provide the best quality service to the Chinese students and to develop efficient plan for them it is important for the Cox and kings to enter into contract with other organizations prior 12 months. Initially, the Cox and kings has adopted two methods of contract to book different activities for the holiday package. Here are the contracts:
- Fixed Contract - Fixed contract helps the organization in assuring that volume will be used on the basis of the capacity which will help the enterprises in earning good returns during off season. The fixed contract with the hotels and airlines is been completed as per the assistance of the customers. The organizations had booked the total number of 15 tourists and payment will be done consequently (Molina-Azorín and Font, 2016). The contract also assures that if the booked seat is not occupied than the operator will return the desired amount.
- AD hoc - It is the most flexible type of contract as it helps the tour operator in making all the arrangements in respect with the tour efficiently. According to this contract, the charges are being made based on the activities conducted for an hour or daily. It also helps in dealing with the services through documentations and emails. Furthermore, the Cox and Kings have entered into contract with the enterprises ensuring that it will provide a good discount.
Types of tour operator
- Domestic tour operator: The domestic tour operator is beneficial for travel and tourism industry in UK as it consists of enormous scope of growth in present times. The domestic tour operators are responsible for improving the performance by providing the quality services to the customer.
- Inbound tour operator: These tourists’ operators directly communicate with the inbound tourists from the overseas and provide them various services such as accommodation facilities, transportation, entertainment, sightseeing, currency exchange, etc (Horner and Swarbrooke, 2016). For example, the Cox and kings provide tour package either in collaboration with the tour operators across the nations or individually.
- Outbound tour operator: The main focus of these tour operators is to plan the international tours overseas and also to provide packages to the groups and individual over a particular period. These tour operators get into contract with the inbound tour operators and then provide services such as accommodation and transportation facilities.
2.3 Calculation of the selling price of the holiday package of Thomas Cook
While developing the package it is very much important to estimate the selling prices of the package so that to meet the cost and the income for the organization. According to the given details, the cost of expenditures is in Pound and Euros. However, in order to acquire a standardized the cost of the package all the expenditures is to be converted in a single currency. Euros had been converted into pounds where 1 Euro = 0.90 pounds. It has been given that the rooms are shared so for 16 people 8 rooms would be needed.
Cost of 1 room = 60 Euro = 60 *.9 = £ 54
Cost of 8 rooms for 5 days = 54 * 8 * 5 = £ 2160
Cost of BB for 1 person for a day = 10 *.9 = £ 9 per person for a day
Cost of BB for 15 persons for 5 days = 9 * 15 * 9 = £ 1215
Cost of transportation = £ 1000
Cost of tour guide = £ 200
Table2: Cost of selling
Cost of package for 1 person will be = 5032.5/15 =£ 335.5
3.1 The planning decisions taken for the design of the new brochure for adventure holidays
For attracting customers, Cox & Kings can make use of brochures in order to inform them about the offers and packages. Brochures are the best way to promote the tour organization because it provides a room to build the brand name and name recognition in the market. According to a present case, a proper planning and decision is need to be taken in order to develop the design of the brochure for an adventure holidays. Cox & Kings according to the raising demands for adventure holiday had made some plans for it and for this it is planning to develop an effective brochure in order to inform and attract a large segment of customers (Haugland.et.al, 2011). Today, every tour organizations make use of brochure to attract large segment of customers because it is a very cost effective technique. The management of Cox & Kings should focus on the following aspects for making a decision related to developing the new brochure for adventure holidays:
Figure 2: Brochures for adventure holidays
- Format of the brochure: This is an important factor where more concentration is needed because this will capture the focus of the reader. Through an interesting format an organization can impress the reader easily. Cox & Kings should include the details about the destinations, durations, prices, accommodation, transportation, contact details and entire information related to the adventure tour in the brochure. The required and relevant information should be included in the brochure so that customers can get easily the whole information in a brochure itself. A brochure should include sufficient images in order to describe and demonstrate the entire tour and to make the brochure eye catching and attracting.
- Content of the brochure: All important and relevant information should be included in the brochure (Holloway, 2012). The information should be comprehensive and easy to understand. The management of Cox & Kings should avoid any type of indirect or complex information because it can create confusion among the customers.
- Paper quality: The paper quality of brochure also laid a significant impact on the brand name of the organization. Sometimes, it also becomes a basis of forming decision making. The Cox & Kings organization makes sure that the quality of the paper should be excellent and durable so that customers can keep it with them for a longer period of time.
- Color combination: The management should pay more concentration on deciding the color combination in order to make the brochure more interesting and attracting. The color combination should be such that it captures the attention of the customers (Johnson.et.al, 2014). The color combination can be decided according to the trends like if the package of adventure holidays is for summer then bright colors can be used while designing the brochures for such packages.
3.2 Suitable alternative of traditional brochure for different types of tour operators
There are many available alternatives instead of traditional brochures which a tour operators can be use to promote their organization. Today, the demand for broacher has increased among the tour operators because according to them it is an effective promotion tool which can be use to attract a large segment of customers easily. The brochures can be distributed physically or by using online sources like social networks for capturing the interest of the customers. Cox & Kings can make use of promotional or direct mail brochure in order to attract the customers (Kelsey, 2014). Out of all, promotional brochure would be the best for the organization as it is a finest one for specialized tour operators who prepares the plans and packages for specific objectives like for business, leisure, etc.
In promotional brochure, Cox & Kings can attach the information related to other available discounting offers and destination details of adventure holidays. The brochures like direct mail brochures or promotional brochures are also called as e-brochures. Today, everything is in an automated and cloud. Theses e-brochures provide flexibility to the customers to tailor the outcomes according to their needs. Using such type of brochures, tour operators can provide personal services to the customers at a lower cost as compared to the physical brochure. It is also beneficial in acquiring a large segment of customers very easily through a single brochure. E-brochures are also helpful in spreading the awareness in the specific targeted group and developing a strong brand name in the market (Levy, 2010). E-brochures can also be updated easily as compared to physical brochures where the whole new brochure is needed to develop in order to make updated. Using e-brochure, Cox & kings can do the unlimited distribution in order to create name recognition among its potential customers.
Figure 3: E-brochures
3.3 Distribution method used to sell the holiday for different tour operators
Today, brochures are considered as a most effective way to promote or sell the holiday tour packages. Many tour operators such as Cox & Kings are concentring more on the development and design of brochures so as to attract their potential customers. The designs are basically made by using the modern technologies in order to capture the attention of its customers. Cox & Kings uses various distribution methods like internet and online marketing, direct sales, telephonic media, etc in order to sell its holiday packages (Lewis, 2013). The distribution method used by the mass tour operators and specialized tour operators make use of brochures and sell its holiday packages by using following modes:
- Direct selling: The mass tour operators and specialized tour operators generally makes use of direct selling in which customers contact them directly either by telephone or e-mail. The customers come to know about the offers through internet brochure or mailer. This channel is very effective because today, huge amount of customers are connected to the internet.
- Travel agent: Most of the specialized and mass tour operators generally deal in retail distribution. For selling the holiday packages it is a more convenient and significant channel of distribution (Medlik, 2012). The main role of the travel agents is to promote and sell the offers offered by the mass and specialized tour operators. The travel agents generally work for earning the commission.
For marketing and distributing, Cox & Kings targets its customers through internet sources like social media, websites, etc because they are the most effective tool for reaching the large segment of customers in less time. The mass and specialized tours operators also uses e-mail for selling their holiday packages using the brochure among the targeted customers (Miller.et.al, 2010). The use of direct sales and online methods are required for having a suitable method of selling the tour packages to the customers because they can conquered easily the larger segment of customers.
4.1 Strategic decisions made by various tour operator
Cox and Kings take different kind of strategic decision making in order to provide the innovative products to the clients and for the expansion of the business. These are the decisions that assist to develop the strategy of the organization in context of customer relations, pricing, advertisement, brand image and distribution. The strategic decisions are as follows:
Customer relation: Cox and Kings assure the clients to provide the valuable services for which they are paying high money and having trust on them. When client ask for the high volume destinations, management provides the professional checks to ensure that high standard is maintained. For instance when, any clients want to visit another country than management design the package according to the demand of the customer. The management assures the client about the health and safety of the customer by providing the high quality security and provides the guidelines about the country. To maintain the good customer relation management provides the branded products to the clients and collects the daily feedback of the services offered by the management during the visit. The main aim of the organization is to give quality services to the clients and provide the faultless advice to the clients from the booking to returning home. Customer should experience the quality services on the proposed destination and customer should receive the feedback of the services through internet, mobile and through face to face contact or through call (Phadnis.et.al.2016). Management should identify the needs of the clients before developing the plan and ensure that the same meets the expectations of the customers.
Distribution decision: The product that is being offered by the clients and management needs to avail that product. Management should make the products available to the clients at the committed tenure. Management takes the decision for the simplicity of the customers. Organization takes the decision by keeping the quality standards in the mind that helps the organization to deliver the quality services to the clients. Decision of distribution must be reliable by which the customer will not be able to switch to another country. Distribution channel must be simple and easily available to the customer. While taking the distribution decision management should identify the pros and cons of the decision that it will not hamper the growth of the organization. The distribution channel of the Cox and Kings always suits the current technology that helps the organization to get the competitive advantage. For instance Cox and Kings take the decision to develop the Omni-channel scheme such as wish list that helps the customer to switch easily between store and web.
Pricing strategies: Cox and Kings set the affordable prices of the packages by which anyone can afford the prices of the packages. Management set the economic prices that motivate the buyers to purchase the product of the organization (Evans.et.al.2012). The pricing strategy of the organization is suits the budget of every customer. Management maintains the wide range of the products that motivates the customer to purchase the packages of Cox and Kings.
4.2 Comparison of the tactical decisions taken by the Cox and Kings
A tactical decision means the short term decisions that encourage the organization for short period. Comparison of tactical decisions among different situations:
- Currency fluctuation: Cox and Kings is the national organization so there is no chance of currency fluctuation. The organization has no risk of currency fluctuation. Management is focused to take the decision about the prices rather than the currency fluctuation. Management has to take the decision about the economic prices of the packages.
- Price discrimination: Cox and Kings have the limited financial capacity so management has to focus for the expansion of the capital. The prices of the packages sometimes high any many times low so management should take the decision for this kind of fluctuation. This kind fluctuation creates the discrimination in the mind of the customers and this will hamper the brand image of the organization in the market (Moxley.et.al.2012). To convert the price discrimination management should provide the discount to the customers that will retain them for the longer time in the organization. The pricing decisions of Cox and Kings are customer oriented and this creates the positive image of the organization.
- Utilization of couch and aircrafts seats: The area of Cox and Kings is large so management needs to provide the quality services to the clients in order to retain them. The main focus of the organization is to cover the larger market of UK and create the brand image of the organization. In order to achieve this goal management decides to provide the couch and aircraft seats to the clients. This will improve the financial capacity of the organization and attracts the more customers towards the organization. To avail this facility management needs to do the pre booking of the seats (Evans, 2015).
With the above report it could be concluded that tour operation management is widely referred to the management of the activities carried out to provide with the higher levels of satisfactions and facilitate them with the enhanced services particularly to the prospective customers. It has been identified that the organization plans for the best utilization of time and also to give wonderful experience to the students. It has been found that the organization would make use of the fixed contract which would help in assuring that volume will be used on the basis of the capacity which will help the enterprises in earning good returns during off season. The report even revealed that the Cox and Kings have entered into contract with the enterprises ensuring that it will provide a good discount. Cox and Kings had taken different kind of strategic decision in order to provide the innovative products to the clients and for the expansion of the business. It has been also identified that the management takes the decision for the simplicity of the customers. Organization takes the decision by keeping the quality standards in the mind that helps the organization to deliver the quality services to the clients. Furthermore, it has found that the pricing strategy of the organization suits the budget of every customer and management maintains the wide range of the products and services that motivates the customer to purchase the packages of Cox and Kings.
Books and journals
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Duke, C.R. and Persia, M.A., 2015. Purchasing Issue Importance in Service Channels of Distribution: Tour Operators and Travel Agents. In Proceedings of the 1993 Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) Annual Conference (pp. 405-408). Springer International Publishing.
Evans, N., 2015. Strategic management for tourism, hospitality and events. Routledge.
Evans, N., Stonehouse, G. and Campbell, D., 2012. Strategic management for travel and tourism. Taylor & Francis.
Haugland, S.A., Ness, H., Grønseth, B.O. and Aarstad, J., 2011. Development of tourism destinations: An integrated multilevel perspective.Annals of tourism research, 38(1), pp.268-290.
Horner, S. and Swarbrooke, J., 2016. Consumer behaviour in tourism. Routledge.
Kelsey, s. 2014. 10 Tips for Buying Art for Your Home. CANADA, 3.
Levy, D. H. 2010. Holiday Price Rigidity and Cost of Packages. The Economica, 36.
Lewis, J. 2013. The Economic Impact of cyberCrime and Espionage. Washington,D.C.: McAfee(An Intel Company).
Medlik, S., 2012. Dictionary of travel, tourism and hospitality. Routledge.
Miller, G., Rathouse, K., Scarles, C., Holmes, K. and Tribe, J., 2010. Public understanding of sustainable tourism. Annals of Tourism Research, 37(3), pp.627-645.