Travel Industry

Oct 24, 2018 | 0 comments

Oct 24, 2018 | Miscellaneous | 0 comments

Travel Industry

  1. The marketing concept may be common to many organizations; however, a marketing philosophy is unique.

Marketing is a term that evolves with the strategies used to improve customer preferences to a product. One particular concept is that the customers are always right, has been quoted repeatedly. Marketing concept is the idea that satisfies a customer’s desire will in turn satisfy their needs. This means that the central idea in marketing is that the customer is the most important person in the organization. This concept assertion is that customer invests in goods and services that satisfy their needs. For a customer to choose to invest in a particular organization, then they must first be satisfied that the organization or company will satisfy their needs. Consequently, when an organization satisfies the needs of its customers then it is satisfying its own needs.

On the other hand, a marketing philosophy is based on the different strategies an organization markets its products and services. Through the marketing philosophy member of the organization are guided on how to best perform their marketing duties. As explained by Drucker marketing is a philosophy (1954) since it considers the organizations characteristics, the market, customers and the product or service. This section shall discuss how Virgin Australia relies on the marketing philosophy to achieve customer satisfaction and company goals.

Virgin Australia is one of the largest airlines in the world and the one of the biggest domestic carriers in Australia. The Airline, previously known as Virgin Blue, rebranded to the current name in 2000. The marketing philosophy of Virgin Australia Airline focuses on the customers’ needs. The Airline giant company focuses on ensuring that every contact they make with a customer is for the good of the customer. The Airline ensures that their workforces are engaging and embrace the values and culture of the company, which entail focus on the customer. The company has set standards for behavioral expectations that increase the ability of the Airline being Australia’s best customer led organization.

Virgin Australia is a food example of an Airline that embraces the selling philosophy. The Airline is at the forefront of innovativeness, which is usually at the heart of creating better customer experience. The Airline believes that meeting the customer’s needs will enable it to meet its own needs. For example in 2008, the Airline introduced a premium economy class in its fleet to cater for the business corporate customers. The class offered various services such as large luggage allowance, lounge access, priority boarding, inclusive flight entertainment and meals, and increased legroom. The airline has from year to year won awards for excellent customer service. Travelers of the airline have access to the member’s lounge that provides different services on pay as you go basis.

Therefore, we find the marketing philosophy is different from one company to another. For instance, even in the travel industry the marketing philosophy of one airline is different from the other, since marketing philosophies are based on the organizational values and culture. The ultimate goal of a marketing concept is for the company to obtain more customers and make even more profits on its products. As explained by Kotler, Bowen and Makens marketing philosophy is beyond the mere function of the company and is primarily the way ideas are structured (2006). Additionally, the concept of marketing is founded on first understanding the needs of customers and later tailoring the products and services offered according to those particular needs (Kotler et al 2006).

  1. The evolution of marketing is a quest to best satisfy the needs of customers, organizations and society.

The definition of marketing has evolved over time. However, marketing encompasses marketing concept and marketing philosophy principle. This means that marketing is acceptance of the marketing concept as the foundation of the business, suing the customer’s needs to create a marketing philosophy, familiarization with the principles of marketing and using the information to maximize profits (Smith, 1776). As a result, it is important to understand the evolution of marketing to understand the changing perspectives of business (McCracken, 1986). Additionally, understanding this concept will enhance the understanding of customer behavior and society, which is beneficial to both the customer and the business. This paper will discuss the importance of understanding the marketing evolution process to satisfy organizations, customer and society’s needs.

The evolution of marketing, acknowledges the ancient days of marketing, how the industrial revolution influenced marketing, retail evolution and the changing phases of marketing. The ancient marketing days were coupled with production of goods in small scale since the goods were made by hand The main way of marketing was by word of mouth since bar trade was dominant at the time (Boucquet-Appel, 2011). Later, the industrial revolution increased industrial production of goods; however, there were still shortages for goods in the pre-industrial error. The goods were sold at a lower price and resulted in the expansion of the market.

All the changing phases of marketing are for satisfying the needs of the organization, the society and the customer. First, the marketing evolution is important to best satisfy customers needs. As earlier mentioned, marketing is premised on the marketing concept and philosophy. Proper understanding of the marketing philosophy will ensure that the marketing concept is attained. Customers’ are guided by the need to satisfy their own needs, hence selection of the best service or product provider (Bernstein, 2004). For example, Air Australia offers the best services to its customers to avoid its competitors like Air Singapore from taking its customers. Thus understanding the evolution of marketing informs us that the customer needs should first be met and that products that best satisfy the customer’s needs are likely to be picked (Gibson, 2015)

Secondly, the evolution of marketing informs us of the need to satisfy the needs of the society. A business or an organization is usually located in the society. Such an organization looks at the society as its market. Therefore, the societal needs of the customers must be satisfied in the marketing evolution (Buttle & Maklan, 2015). For example, Virgin Australia Airline has been at the forefront in environmental conservation through adoption of renewable jet fuel. The Airline is working with the government to encourage financial support in research. The Airline has also supported the development of a fuel sustainability standard for Australia. Consequently, the Airline is a member of the Aviation Global Deal Group that is concerned with the development of sustainable environmentally friendly policies. To create a noise free environment, the Airline is investing in technologically advanced fleets that comply with the noise standards set.

Understanding the marketing evolution means that the societal and customer needs. Both of these concepts adopt the philosophical approach to marketing (Webster, 1992). Once marketing philosophy has been attained, it is easier to attain the marketing concept, which satisfies the needs of the organization or business. For example, one Virgin Australia Airline has satisfied the needs of its customers, and has ensured that the society’s environment is free from pollution then more and more society members will choose its services, in return, more profit is made.

  1. Understanding the buyer decision process is particularly important in the travel industry.

Consumer behavior is a very important concept in marketing; it involves questioning the purchase behavior of buyers. It is therefore important for the business to recognize the often-used services and products since the information will help them understand the position of the service to encourage consumers increase its use. There are different models that explain consumer decisions making that are used to research on their behavior. In the travel industry for instance, different researches have been dedicated to understanding the travel decisions of consumers. The most applied theory is the grand model that explains the purchase decisions and choices of travelers. This section shall discuss the importance of understanding buyer decisions in the travel industry (Dholakia, 1997).

The buyer patterns vary depending on the market, the customer, the situation, the product and the organization. The buyer process is categorized into purchase behavior, product delivery and post-purchase behavior. The nature of product availability and familiarity also influences buyer decisions of consumers. Customers will choose to buy a certain survive if they realize that they have unmet needs. The business can opt to influence the decision here by creating awareness of the need, motivate buyers to cater to their needs, and create the desirable need (Nelson, 1970). For instance, a customer may recognize the need to travel to a particular destination. Such a customer wills therefore require the services of an Airline company. To make sure that the customer chooses to invest with Virgin Australia Airline, the airline has to ensure that it is capable of meeting the need, for instance if the customer is a businessperson, they can buy a business corporate class ticket. In this era of increased use of technology, the Airline has to ensure that its customers can access information online. Just like if one accesses www.virginaustralia.com they can buy their tickets online or access the information they are interested in.

After customers have purchased the desired service, their post purchase behavior determines if they will invest in the same product in future. This is the stage where technology comes to use, for example, customers may be invited to state whether or not they enjoyed the service delivery process and what changes they would recommend (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2012).

An understanding of the buyer process decision process in the travel industry is critical for the creation of buyer decision destination models. When customers recognize the need to travel, they always have particular decisions in mind. The information can then be collected to either increase or reduce the range of alternatives. The choices of customers are usually vested in the advantages and disadvantages of the destination of choice. The travel industry is associated with risks and uncertainties (Dewey, 1910).

Accordingly, it is prudent to say that understanding the buyer decision process is important to enhance profits for both the organization or business and customer satisfaction. Most of the time the first buyer decision made will give direction on the consequent buyer decisions. It is therefore important for the business to ensure that they obtain feedback from the customer and observe the decision-making trends to ensure adequate service delivery (Nicosia, 1966). Since the buyer-decision process model has been researched on for over 100 years, the recommendations the model makes regarding understanding of the buyer decision process are very important for nay business especially in the travel industry.

  1. The six product components can vary greatly from product to product.

Services and products are usually created for the purposes of meeting the needs of the target market. Both products and services have their characteristics, which are grouped into material and non-material. For instance, in the travel industry, the services offered are usually meant to fulfill the needs of travelers. It is therefore important that the services be tailored according to the needs of the customers. This section shall discuss the six components of product, and, how they vary in the travel industry. References shall be drawn from the travel industry with specific reference to Virgin Australia Airline.

Product value, this is the quality of the product or service being delivered to the customer. The product value must meet the customer’s expectations. Since the product value is the total organizations offering, (Kotler et al. 2007), then it must meet the standards of its market. Product value must reflect product leadership, which makes sure that the services the organization provides are of superior quality, the organization should rebrand its products every now and then making its competitors products obsolete.

Product delivery duration looks into how long the product or service is offered. For instance, the service travel delivery begins at the time the air ticket is purchased up to the time the customer arrives at their destination.

Product strategy, which is the realization that an organization or business can only compete for value (Porter, 1980). Additionally, Trout and Reis suggest that completion is usually on either the price or the non-price basis. The price basis offers the service to the target market in return for money, for instance Virgin Australia Airline sells its airline tickets for money. For this strategy to be successful, the targeted market has to have similar needs, such as travel. The non-price basis on the other hand, is offering the service to the market for values and quality. The target market in this case is a mixed market of premium customers who will invest in particular services. For example, the Australian Airline has the Business class economy, the international business class just to mention a few.

Product comprehension involves communication to the customer regarding the type of service or product they are buying. When the customer fully understands the benefits of a particular service then it becomes easy for them to select the appropriate service they need. The product becomes difficult to comprehend when the necessary information is not provided. For proper comprehend the product information such as product warranty should be provided. This ensures and guarantees the customer surety that, for instance, if they are not able to report for their scheduled flight they can reschedule it perhaps at a fee.

Product uniqueness is another component of products. As mentioned earlier, a marketing philosophy is a generation of the specific needs of customers. Product uniqueness varies depending on the product being sold and the values of the company. For example, the product offered by Virgin Australia Airline is different from that of its competitors, since Virgin Australia, tailor makes specific services as requested by the customer. Product uniqueness is the primary influence of the buyer decision process.

It is therefore clear that the characteristics of products vary from one product to another. It is the duty of the business or company to package its product to increase its competitive advantage. Product uniqueness influences, buyer decisions. Product strategy influences the marketing technique for a product. Product comprehension and product value relate the communication and the quality of the product respectively.

  1. Marketing practitioners are interested in the circle of satisfaction with special interest in transactional, cumulative, and collective satisfaction.

The circle of satisfaction is a combination of the buyer decision process and the total product concept. Through the circle of satisfaction, steps towards the achievement of competitive advantage are outlined. According to Gummesson, the quality of service offered is important for the achievement of customer satisfaction and that it is customer satisfaction that is the sole purpose of marketing (2002). Therefore, according to (Zeithmal, 1988) quality is a means to an end and not the end objective. Quality should be strategic since it creates both value and satisfaction. The circle of satisfaction is related to the buyer decision process

Service providers aim at achieving collective satisfaction. To ensure all customers are collectively satisfied the business must ensure that quality service is a commitment by the entire organization, as explained by (Christopher et al, 2002). This can be achieved through the creation of a network of social relationships, whereby the organization aims at understanding the collective needs of its customers. As suggested by (Christopher et al, 2002), satisfaction surveys can be used to measure customer satisfaction and the performance of the organization. To add on, the surveys create more impact if they are targeted at specific areas that need the achievement of customer satisfaction (Ogle and Fanning, 2015).

Quality of service is about meeting the individual needs and expectations of the customer. For instance when customers buy an economy class ticket, they expect to get all the quality services provided in the same class. Quality should be within the customer’s ability to pay. I think it for this reason that Virgin Australia Airline has different class travel categories each meeting the needs of the customer. It is therefore important for the organization or business to have and understand the different price points. The circle of satisfaction is based on the quality, which in return is based on the concept of marketing (Easton & Araujo, 1994).

Therefore, the circle of satisfaction is a series of continuation of the beliefs of the customer for positive service. Thorough this customer will affirm that they were served as per their expectations; a trust relationship (Gronroos, 1990) is then built between the customer and the travel Airline. In the travel industry, trust and loyalty are very important for both the customer and the Airline Company since the views are easily passed from one person to another. This may serve as an advertising tool for the airline since any potential customer that has doubts is given firsthand experience. Therefore, to ensure that customers do not switch and collective satisfaction is achieved, the Airline should invest in brand programs that will buy them customer loyalty. The organization can use their long-term customers to get more customers. Collective customer satisfaction therefore buys customers loyalty, which in return gives good profits for the organization. Transactional satisfaction emanates from the process of giving quality service. Transactional satisfaction gives a positive feeling towards the organization’s services.

Marketing is supposed to create mutual benefits for both the customer and the organization or business. Marketing guarantees that equal attention is given to both the customer and organization’s needs. The dominant aspects of the circle of satisfaction are product, customer satisfaction and the effect they have in an organization. For the circle of satisfaction to be in existence, the customer must experience both satisfaction and value. In the Airline and travel industry, good and quality service guarantees customer loyalty. An organization that has customer loyalty is guaranteed a better and bigger market share thus good competitive advantage. It is therefore; clear to say that the secret to achieving profits lies in the circle of satisfaction.

  1. Marketing practitioners can be more effective if they remain mindful of the 5 Gap model when crafting strategies and tactics.

The 5-gap model was created by Zeithaml,Parasuraman and Berry, the theory presents the concept that managing quality involves identification and filling gaps. According to the authors, the gaps that exist include, knowledge, standard, delivery, communication, total gaps that exits from the service received and the expectations of the service (Zeithaml et al. 1985). This section shall discuss this gaps and their importance in designing the strategies and tactics of marketing.

The knowledge gaps just like it suggest indicates lack of appropriate information. This occurs when the managers of the business do not understand the needs and wants of the target market. For instance in the travel industry manages are expected to understand the kinds of services the customers need, when there is this lack of understanding a market gap is said to exist. The solution for this gap is for the managers of the business to inform themselves of the needs of the customers by researching on them. In this way, the goals and visions of the organization will focus on the needs of the customers creating a customer-focused culture, hence learning from the customer (Patterson, 1993).

The standard gap is failure to put in writing or correctly document the needs of the customers. After the managers have identified through research the different needs of the customer, they should be able to put into writing those needs. It is important to close this gap for future references. To close it, a quality service standard document must be established. The needs of the customers identified should be placed in a blue print that outlines how these needs are met. In addition, the blue print should contain the roles of each of the employees or the various departments in making sure that the needs are attained.

The service delivery gap is another gap outlined in the five-Gap model. This gap is usually as a result of the differences between what has been outlined in the blue print of the organization and the service delivered to the customer. To ensure that such a gap does not exist, it is the duty of the managers to make sure that service asked for by the customer is what is delivered. This is by ensuring that each employee or department understands the role they must play to ensure proper delivery of the services. The organization needs to invest in training programs and facilities to ensure that organization goals are met as well as achieving the goals of the customer.

The other gap is the communication gap, results as a failure to report to the customer the type of service delivered. In addition, it may occur as a result of what was promised to the customer is not the same as the service delivered. To ensure such a gap does not exist, is for the manager of the business to ensure that the communication to the customer is a truthful one. To add on, communication within the organization is important to ensure that the people charged with advertisement or communications to the customer are aware of the standards and inform the customer promptly.

The total gap is also outlined in the five-gap model; it is the summary of the communication gap, delivery, standard, and knowledge gap. It means that when the total gap exists all the other gaps must exist simultaneously. When the total gap exists, the customer is usually dissatisfied and is referred to as a conformation. To ensure that this gap does not exist, then all the other gaps must be closed by managing all aspects that influence customer satisfaction.

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