Starting your own travel tour agency but don’t know how to compile your business plan? Here’s an example of a dummy company’s business plan to get you thinking about how to create yours.
Travel Tour Agency Business Plan
The tourism industry has undergone rapid growth of unsurpassed nature over the last several decades. This has mainly been due to the advent of a ‘borderless’ world and increased information dissemination about the majestic sceneries throughout the world, with the southern African region being no exception.
We are on the brink of penetrating a lucrative market in a rapidly growing industry. The current trend towards an increase in the number of tourists entering the country presents an opportunity for Sephats Tours to penetrate the market.
An opportunity for Sephats Tours’ success exists because the national tourism industry is growing at a rapid pace annually. Sephats Tours is poised to take advantage of this growth and moderate competition in the city travel portion of the industry, with a dedicated and experienced staff, excellent networking, and effective management and marketing. Sephats Tours intends to provide travel and adventure packages to tourists primarily in the Southern region, but also the whole of Botswana.
Services and products provided by Sephats will initially include pre-arranged tours, custom packages according to clients specifications, travel consultation, and as time progresses making reservations for lodging amongst other related services. Sephats Tours seeks to differentiate itself as the premier adventure mobile operator in the greater Gaborone area.
Our services will be positioned very carefully: They will be of extremely high quality, comfortable, informative and tailored to the clients needs such that they will enable individuals to have a greater appreciation of the natural environment and its intricacies.
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Our marketing strategy will be based mainly on ensuring customers know about our existence and the service(s) we fulfill. Hence our intention is to make the right information available to the right target customers. This will be done through implementing a market penetration strategy that will ensure that we are well known and respected in the tourism industry.
We will ensure that our prices take into consideration peoples’ budgets, that these people appreciate the service(s), know that it exists, and how to contact us. The marketing will convey the sense of quality in every picture, every promotion, and every publication.
Our promotional strategy will involve integrating advertising, events, personal selling, public relations, direct marketing and the Internet, details of which are provided in the marketing section of this plan.
It is important to recognise that we do not intend to just take individuals on sightseeing excursions, but also to ensure that they appreciate nature through informative briefings on objects’ origins.
This element will assist in differentiating us from our competitors and contribute towards the development of a sustainable competitive advantage. Hence we need to engage 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 project sales to increase from more than P350,000 (Botswana Pula [P]) the first year to more than P556,500 the second, and P630,000 in the third year.
In a nutshell, we do not just intend to market and sell our service, but to market and sell travel solutions and a total-quality environment. This will ensure we establish a reputable corporate image.
Our business strategy will revolve around the need to provide quality service to our various target customers, in the process fully satisfying their needs. This shall be undertaken through recruitment of a professional team and the provision of good quality custom-designed travel packages, catering to the client’s particular needs.
With time our marketing campaign will increase the awareness of our services in the various market segments we shall be targeting. This is particularly so with the organisation looking at establishing a clear advantage(s) in an increasingly competitive market.
We will provide clients with the opportunity to focus on their core activities whilst their transportation side needs are fully satisfied. Marketing material shall be professionally done so as to be reflective of our intended image and reputation.
We shall position ourselves as a quality commercial transportation operator that provides customer-need fulfillment, enjoyment, reliability and a good image. We intend to establish a good rapport with all the relevant stakeholders, especially hotels and travel agents.
We also intend to have well-designed brochures and other promotional material that will enable clients to have an understanding of the types of services we offer and advantages of utilising them.
In addition well-done, informative brochures, fact sheets and business cards often have a triggering effect on clients contemplating utilising our services. Hence this will undoubtedly generate increased sales of our service.
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In summary we intend to attain the following objectives:
- Continuously provide enjoyable quality excursions/trips on time and on budget.
- Develop enthusiastically satisfied customers all of the time.
- Establish a market presence that assures short-term and long-term profitability, growth and success.
- We are fully committed to supporting growth and development in the tourism and overall economy of Botswana.
- Contribute positively to our communities and our environment.
Internally we intend to create and nurture a healthy, exuberant, respectful, and enjoyable environment, in which our employees are fairly compensated and encouraged to respect the customer and the quality of the service we intend to provide.
In addition follow-up will be mandatory so as ensure customer satisfaction and make any improvements as recommended by the customers in future.
We seek fair and responsible profit, enough to keep the company financially healthy for the short and long term, and to fairly remunerate employees for the work and effort.
3. Keys to Success
The keys to Sephats Tours success will undoubtedly be effective market segmentation through identification of several niche markets and implementation strategies.
Along these lines the company intends to implement advertising, personal selling and direct marketing strategies to the target markets.
Our personal selling marketing strategies will rotate around keeping in touch with hotels and travel agencies for major customers, and advertising for more individual customers. Hence our key success factors will include the following:
- Excellence in fulfilling the promise: We intend to offer completely enjoyable, comfortable and informative travel excursions that will ensure that travelers are thoroughly satisfied and appreciative at the end of their trip.
- Timely response to customers’ requests: We cannot afford to delay our clients for whatever reason, as this will have a negative bearing on our image and reputation, including future business. Hence we need to be continually communicating with the client, including hotels and lodges so as to ensure that we are constantly available to the client meeting their expectations.
- Solid and fruitful strategic alliances: Considering the nature of our services and our relative infancy on the market, we realise the importance of establishing and maintaining fruitful strategic alliances with various stakeholders, including hotels, lodges, and travel agencies, amongst others, so as be assured of a constant flow of customers, fulfilling their needs at every opportunity.
- Marketing know-how: As a relatively new company on the market there will be a need to aggressively market our business and the services we provide so as to be continuously at the top of our prospective clients minds. This will also act as a temporary deterrent for companies contemplating entering our market. Advertising shall be undertaken on a regular basis.
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Sephats Tours intends to provide individual and group travel to leisure clients. Services and products provided by Sephats will initially include pre-arranged tours, custom packages according to clients specifications, travel consultation, and as time progresses making reservations for lodging amongst other related services. Sephats Tours seeks to differentiate itself as the premier adventure travel company in the greater Gaborone area.
As it grows it will take on people and expand into related markets and services. It will also look for additional leverage by establishing relationships and representations with appropriate strategic allies.
1. Company Ownership
Sephats Tours is a Private Limited company incorporated at the Registrar of Companies through the foresight and vision of Mr. X and Mrs. Y. It is a 100% wholly owned Botswana firm.
2. Start-up Summary
Thus far the directors have contributed one hundred and sixty seven thousand pula (P167,000) to purchase a Mercedes Benz mini bus currently in its possession and P30,000 for cash expenses. Total start-up expenses covered (including legal costs, business plan compilation, license costs and related expenses) come to approximately P5,000.
3. Company Locations and Facilities
At present the company offices are located at Plot Number 28338, Block 3, Belabela road opposite Gaborone Television Station, near Hill Crest Primary School. However, as time progresses the intention is to move into more accessible and attractive offices in a prime area. This regardless of the fact that our type of business is not too dependent on office location and size.
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Sephats Tours is a travel company that intends to deliver leisure travel excursions to customers. Sephats intends to guide customers in selecting a trip(s) based on pre-defined vacation criteria. This analysis will be based on user profiles, set by the consumers, which includes preferences such as:
- Activities sought
- Destination, and
- Time of Travel
A traveler will hence be able to select areas of interest based on their preferences and subsequently identify destinations to visit. The intention is to provide customers with access to exclusive travel destinations, service to fully appreciate destinations through information packages, not just sight-seeing, and access to special interest travel according to the group’s/individual’s preferences.
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1. Competitive Comparison
There are presently few competitors offering services similar to ours. However considering the pace of change and current growth rate of the tourism industry luring many companies into the sector, this may be short-lived. Hence there will be a need to not only firmly establish ourselves on the market, but also strongly differentiate ourselves from these other businesses. However on a broader scale our competition comes in several forms:
The most significant competition are hotels and travel agencies offering travel excursions to their clients. They undertake this service in order to establish a competitive advantage over their competitors. However, instead of directly competing with them we intend to establish good working relationships in the form of strategic alliances such that we are able to offer the service for their clients and thus enabling them to concentrate on their core activities whilst ensuring customers are fully satisfied.
Our key advantage in this regard will be our specialty of the service and hence wide knowledge ensuring customer satisfaction at all times as well as flexibility in providing the service. Existing hotels, lodges and travel agencies may identify the opportunity to diversify into our intended services utilising their current client database.
Naturally, existing clients will be inclined towards utilising these familiar companies due to the fact that a good relationship may have already been nurtured over the years during their business dealings.
This presents a potential challenge to us, as we need to aggressively market our services and expertise in the field. Existing safari operators that mainly focus on the remote environs such as Maun and Kasane are at times able to compromise, offering excursions in and around Gaborone, though very rare. Hence we intend to focus on this market. An analysis of competition is provided in the Market Analysis section of this plan.
2. Service Description
Sephats Tours intends to offer the service and knowledge a discerning leisure traveler seeks whilst on vacation, with the intention of seeing and appreciating the numerous sights in the area.
Keeping in mind the comforts of a tourist, our fleet shall be very well maintained and designed as per customer standard and expectations. However not wanting to limit ourselves we intend to be open to special hire by churches, organisations, groups, schools and sports teams, amongst other related groups.
The game reserves and lodges that we intend to be our main destinations are:
- Mokolodi Nature Reserve
- Goborone Game Reserve
- Gaborone Dam
- The Oodi and Mochudi Craft Villages
- Kolobeng and Thamaga
- Khutse Game Reserve
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Below is a briefing of several places of interest and their various attractions.
- Mokolodi Nature Reserve: Set in a wide valley just 10 minutes drive from the city, this scenic reserve offers a well-developed network of game drives and stone and thatch chalets overlooking a water hole. Mokolodi also offers the rare opportunity to track rhino or to walk through the bush with young elephants. These excursions offer excellent photographic opportunities. Evening drives can include a bush braai giving visitors the chance to see the more unusual nocturnal creatures.
- Gaborone Game Reserve: This 550 hectare reserve provides an ideal get-away for tourists who can see a remarkable range of wildlife in the park including rhino, eland, zebra, gemsbok, wildebeest, kudu, ostrich and impala, all on well-maintained bush roads that are designed for easy access. Bird watching in the Gaborone Game Reserve is excellent, particularly along the eastern edge, bounded by Notwane River, and it typifies the incredible diversity of bird life to be found throughout the Gaborone area.
- Gaborone Dam: On the south bank a remarkably rich variety of bird and wildlife can be seen, including herds of impala, kudu and scuttling families of warthog. New picnic sites, which are currently under development will also provide places of interest. The Gaborone Yacht Club is the main attraction on the dam with its swimming pool, bar and wide verandah overlooking the water off a rocky koppie in the middle of the dam which often becomes an island in the wet season.
- The Oodi and Mochudi Craft Villages: In Oodi the main attraction will be the Lenstwe-la-Oodi weavers. In Mochudi apart from traditionally decorated Setswana architecture, the tourists will find the most southerly baobab trees in Botswana and traditional crafts including the Ithuteng Tin Workshop and Ikgabiseng handmade jewelery. The Phuthadikobo Museum in Mochudi will also be an attraction site.
Other sites will include Matsieng Foot Point, Gemsbok National Park, Mabuasehube Game Reserve, Legaga la ga Kobokwe, Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve, Nxaii Pan and Khama Rhino Sanctuary.
Integrating the above places of interest into our tours we intend to be offering the following tours:
- “Capital Crusade” – City Tour: This will be a professionally guided tour around the city centre including visits to the Main Mall, Finance Mall, National Museum, City Council Library, Gaborone Station, and House of Parliament including others. These tours shall be eye opening in terms of the normal Botswana town folk life style providing knowledge and information throughout the guided tour. Included in this package will be refreshments and information folders detailing the main sites and history of Gaborone. This tour will cover approximately 50 kilometers taking about half a day to complete. Cost: PX per person.
- “Cultural Enrichment” – Cultural Tour: This shall involve tours to the main historical and cultural sites in and around Gaborone including Mokolodi Nature Reserve, Oodi and Mochudi Craft Villages, including the cultural dances. This tour shall reveal the ‘Kgotla’ – cultural villages, traditional paintings and art, as well as the traditional lifestyle. Obviously baobabs will make for good viewing. The tour package will include an information folder, guided tour and refreshments. This tour will cover approximately 200 kilometers taking the whole day to complete. Cost: PY per person.
- “The Essence: Past & Present” – City & Cultural Tour: This will be a combination of the cultural tour and city centre excursion. This will be marketed as a “total package” enabling tourists with very little time to appreciate the Botswana lifestyle, both in the present and past. This tour will invariably take the whole day and cover approximately 250 kilometres. The tour package will include the information folder, guided tour, refreshments and a picnic lunch. Cost: PZ per person.
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At a large scale research demonstrates that tourism is undergoing a rapid growth of unsurpassed nature. Generally there is a trend towards shorter stays but increased visits, as individuals strive to experience as many cultures as possible, including seeing as many attractions as possible.
Increasingly Botswana is being marketed as “one of the few places in Africa where game sanctuaries have remained completely unspoiled.
A destination that unlocks the mystery of nature – an oasis in a wilderness which is an ideal escape for nature lovers. Very little of this fascinating country has seen human habitation – this is true Africa in all her remoteness and authenticity.”
With such marketing in place the number of tourists entering the country is bound to increase, presenting a larger potential market for ourselves. This potential market is what we seek to tap.
4. Sales Literature
The business will begin with a general corporate brochure establishing its position on the market. This brochure will be developed as part of the start-up expenses including the business cards and Company Profile, mainly for the large organisations that often recommend services to potential customers.
Compliment slips are also intended so as to raise awareness of the company and its services. We also intend to have information pamphlets that will provide information on our various tour packages. Literature and mailings for the initial market forums will be very important.
The key fulfillment and delivery will be provided by the employees of the company. The real core value will be professional expertise, provided by a combination of expertise, experience, hard work, and education (in that order). Hence we intend to ensure that the work we undertake is always thorough and relevant to the clients’ needs.
We will turn to reputable companies for supplying the necessary individuals and groups for our services. Hence the need to establish good relationships with our strategic allies.
Sephats Tours will strive to ensure that it contains the latest, or extremely recent personal computer including relevant software so as to ensure that the company is continuously at the forefront in our market arena.
The one certainty in our industry is that technology will continue to evolve and develop, changing what we market as well as how we market it. Our aim will be to be aware of the implications of this new technology and utilizing it in our existing framework where possible. However it should be noted that as we are new on the market it will take some time before we have in place our own website and other multimedia presentations.
With time we also intend to have the latest and most efficient software in place to enable smooth operations.
7. Future Services
In putting the company together we have attempted to offer enough services to allow us to always be in demand by our customers and clients. The most important factor in developing future services/products is market need.
Our understanding of the needs of our target market segments shall be one of our competitive advantages. It is critical to our effort to develop the right new services. In the future, Sephats Tours intends to broaden its coverage by expanding into additional markets.
One of the main services it aims at providing is to become a destination management company that brings alive the magnificence of this country to the traveler. This will be done by co-coordinating the traveler’s entire experience from hotel bookings, safaris and tours, greeting and porter services, and to tour packages and incentives. However in doing so we will strive to ensure that it is compatible with the existing products and company personnel.
As time progresses the intention will to provide a Southern Africa tour package covering the whole of southern Africa.
Market Analysis Summary
We are today experiencing a rapid growth in the economy of unsurpassed nature. This has been brought about by, amongst other things, the relaxation of foreign exchange policies and macroeconomic policies geared towards attracting foreign investors into the country.
The fiscal and monetary policies of the government geared towards maintaining growth with social justice have largely contributed towards this, evidenced by our economy averaging a growth rate of 7% since 1990 – very high by international standards.
The current drive and emphasis by the government on diversification of the industrial base away from the minerals sector presents an opportunity for Sephats Tours to make a valuable contribution towards achieving this goal. Having undertaken a thorough and comprehensive research of the market we realized that there was a need for a tourist transport company that focuses on providing leisure excursions to tourists.
Though there are mobile operators currently on the market, some of whom have been in existence for a relatively long period of time, we believe that there is a market need for one that specializes on providing comfortable and enjoyable transport to tourists and visitors.
This, also considering the fact that, potentially Botswana’s richest natural resource, the tourism industry is becoming an increasingly important player in the economy and may in the long term prove even more valuable than mineral resources in earning foreign exchange.
Aware of the fact that operating in such a market is largely dependent on good networking, we intend to establish networks and strategic relationships with various hotels, lodges and travel agents to ensure a steady stream of clients. However in so doing we intend to ensure that the service we provide is of extremely high quality and comfortable. Our initial overall target market share shall be 10% of the market, mainly focusing on the greater Gaborone area and southern Botswana.
We appreciate that entering such a market is not a ‘bed of roses’ and will require us establishing strong links with strategic partners as outlined previously. Hence we intend to implement an aggressive marketing strategy, well supported by the other business functions.
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The above prognosis influenced our decision to enter the tourist transport industry.
1. Market Segmentation
We will be focusing on those foreign tourists seeking leisure travel and excursions whilst on vacation in Botswana, with the intention of letting them see and appreciate the numerous attractions in our country.
Though we realise that the majority of our tourists come from South Africa we shall be mainly targeting those from Europe and the Americas who often do not have transport or adequate knowledge about the country, unlike their South African counterparts who often do. Hence we shall be mainly targeting those who are not that mobile but wanting to see as many sites as possible.
These people often do not want to waste their money on hiring vehicles to move about by themselves, but instead want to be escorted around places of interest by a reliable source. Hence the need to professionally market ourselves and the services we provide, offering a service of uncompromised nature.
2. Target Market Segment Strategy
Our marketing strategy will be based mainly on making the right service(s) available to the right target customer. We will ensure that our services’ prices take into consideration organisations’ and peoples’ budgets, and that these people know that we exist, appreciate the value of our services, and how to contact us.
The marketing will convey the sense of quality in every picture, every promotion, and every publication. Our intension will be to target those individuals and groups looking for leisure activities and places to visit.
We realise the need to focus our marketing message and our service offerings. We need to develop our message, communicate it, and make good on it. The decision to establish strategic alliances with several hotels, lodges and travel agencies is aimed at tapping our target market effectively and efficiently.
2.1. Market Needs
Though the tourism sector has undergone rapid growth over the last decade the vast majority entering this sector have rushed to the North where we have the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, and other sites as attraction points.
Very few have focused on south and central Botswana. With this in mind we intend to exploit the untapped market in this area so as to provide our customers with a good service and realize our business objectives.
We understand that our target markets need more than just being shown the areas of interest but also to be informed about their significance and origins. Hence we don’t just intend to provide a service(s), but to provide one of unparalleled nature relative to the market.
2.2. Market Trends
Of all the uncertainty surrounding this industry, one fact is certain: tourism is here to stay. The only question is how large the industry will become and whether it can sustain, if not exceed, its current growth rate. However large the market ultimately becomes, the company strongly believes that travel will be an important component of this market place. Tourism statistics provide a reliable guide as to the size of the market.
According to the latest tourism statistics total arrivals for 1998 amounted to 1,351,798 representing an increase of approximately 12.65% from the previous year. Of the total arrivals in 1998 205,146 (15.2%) were holiday/tourists whilst 319,440 (23,6%) were visitors, both groups of which constitute our target market, totaling approximately 524,586 individuals.
Source: Tourism Statistics 1998 – Central Statistics Office.