In the current business scenario, one of the key considerations for the contemporary business organizations is the sustainability. This is due to the reason that, sustainability is the strategy to fulfill the triple bottom line criterion of the organizations including, social, environmental and financial. However, in order to enhance and initiate the sustainable business activities the product mix of the organizations should have to be placed and designed accordingly.
Intrepid travel is the largest small group adventure travel company in the world. Thus, basically they are operating in the tourism sector. Currently, they are having their operations in more than 120 countries with offering huge variety of itineraries. However, the sector where they are operating is highly competitive in nature (Intrepidgroup.travel 2017). This is due to the reason that, various established organizations are operating in this sector along with the new entrants in the market. Thus, it is important for them to effectively position their service in the market in order to create distinctive image in the market and to stay ahead in the competition (Jay 1996). The service of them is being targeted for the premium segments. This helps them to offer more premium service to their customers and to maintain their exclusive image in the market. However, they also offer budget friendly services to the customers.
This report will discuss about the sustainable business practices of intrepid travels. The alignment of their business practices with the economic, social and environmental aspects will also be discussed in this report. Moreover, the sustainable strategies of them will be compared with that of their competitors. This will help to determine the effectiveness of their business activities over their competitors. In accordance to that, recommendations will be provided in this report.
Marketing mix of Intrepid travels
Intrepid travels are having diverse variety of services in their portfolio. This is due to the reason that, as already discussed, they cater to the customers across different income segments. As per the information on their official website, they are offering three different types of services to their customers. One is known as Basix, which is being targeted for the budget travelers. One is Original, which is the core competency of them offering more activities and facilities compared to the Basix (Michael 1985). The last one is the Comfort, which is more luxuries mode compared to the adventurous mode of the above two services. Thus, they are following the theory of product diversification in order to cater to different customers segments with different income levels and requirements (Beard et al. 2012). Initiation of this theory enabled them to cover more market area and segments.
They also follow the theory of sustainability in offering their services to the customers. One of the key sustainable practices being initiated by them is ending the practices of elephant rides from their service portfolio. This cements their stand against the animal cruelty. In addition, they are one of the first tour operators who have stopped the visits to the orphanages in view to the child protection. One of the core features being offered is the more use of public transportation system and use of local accommodation. This product strategy is having dual advantages for them. One advantage gained by them is the empowerment of the local communities, which is a key mode of sustainable development (Lacey, Peel and Weiler 2012). Another advantage is providing unique experience to the tourists. This is due to the fact that, offering the local facilities will enable the tourists to gain the real world experience of the place.
Intrepid follows the strategy of value based pricing strategy due to the reason that, their pricing is not dependent on the pricing of their competitors, rather they initiate the price of their products according to the value being offered (Liozu et al. 2012). Due to this reason, the pricing of their three types of product offerings are different based on their value to the customers. The key advantage that they gain from the value based pricing is that, they do not have to change their pricing according to the market trend or according to the competitor’s pricing.
However, in this case also, they have initiated the sustainable pricing strategy. One of the key strategies being initiated by them is the regulating the price along with offering eco-friendly service to the customers at the same time. For instance, Intrepid offers local transport and accommodations to their customers, which enable them to offer competitive price along with empowering the society. Another strategy of sustainable pricing being initiated by them is charging at some premium compared to the market price. The premium price is being used at funding different grassroots projects around the world. According to their official website, they have already funded various relief campaigns such as for the Nepal earthquake in 2016.
Intrepid involves different promotional channels in order to reach out to maximum number of potential customers along with increasing the brand identify of them. They involve Omni channel marketing including both offline and online marketing mediums (de Carvalho and Campomar 2014). The key mediums being used by them are the print media, organizing events, public relation initiatives and social media marketing. Their social media marketing involves sharing of the exotic locations and glimpses of the experiences that the customers are going to experience through their social page. Moreover, it helps them to initiate two ways communication with their potential customers. This enables the customers to have the clear idea about the services being offered. On the other hand, it helps the organization to determine the market preference and requirement and offer services accordingly.
However, in promoting their brand, they always use their tagline “Real Life Experience”, which denotes that grassroots and real world experience are the core competencies of them. In accordance to that, they communicate this tagline in every medium. Thus, their core competencies as well as their sustainable service offerings are being effectively communicated to the customers. Moreover, their social media page and their official website have ample information about the service being offered by them (Zeng and Gerritsen 2014). Thus, customers will be aware about the type and theme of the activities being promoted by them. Social activities being promoted by them through their foundation are also being communicated through their websites.
The service being provided by Intrepid is exclusive to them. This is due to the reason that, they offer tourism services, which not need to be retailed through the third party vendors. However, they are having their branches in different countries to tap the customers from different regions (Mills 2017). Thus, the distribution strategy being maintained by them is exclusive in nature. This is due to the reason that, with the help of their exclusive strategies, they are being able to offer one of a king service to their customers.
Moreover, on the other hand, due to their exclusive distribution strategy, the cost of intermediaries is low for them along with maintaining the branches of them according to their sustainable strategies. According to the reports, currently they are having 27 carbon neutral offices around the world. Till 2016, they have offset 42000 tonnes of carbon emissions. This is being made possible due to the fact that they do not have to maintain any intermediaries and have all their branches in their control (Buckley 2012).
G adventures is another leading small group adventure companies in the world and is one of the key competitors of Intrepid operating in the same business sector (Gadventures.com 2017). The followings sections will discuss about the difference between the product mix strategies of Intrepid and G adventures.
As discussed earlier, Intrepid has designed their service offerings according to their value and price. On the other hand, G adventure has designed their service offerings according to their unique experiences. For instance, the service offerings being given in their official website are stating about the genre of tourism rather than stating the facilities being provided. Thus, the product of G adventures is more concentrated towards the user experience, while the product offering of Intrepid is being offered according to the value being provided (Marrese-Taylor, Velasquez and Bravo-Marquez 2014). However, there are various similarities identified between the product offerings of both the organizations. One of the key similarities is the sustainability being attached with the offerings. Both these organizations involve community development with their offerings.
In the case of the pricing strategies, both these organizations are having different approaches. Intrepid covers more customers across different income segments while G adventures mainly targets the higher end customers. According to their official websites, Intrepid is more concentrated towards offering service to different customer segments with reduce or increased value. On the other hand, G adventure is more concentrated towards providing diverse experience to the particular target segments. However, on the other hand, similarity is also there between the two countries in terms of their pricing strategies. One of the key similarities is spending the part of the earnings on the community development.
As discussed earlier, Intrepid have initiated the strategy of Omni channel marketing in order to reach out to nether potential customers through all the available mediums. On the other hand, G adventure is mostly banking on their yearly promotional campaigns (Farahat and Bailey 2012). According to the reports, they come out with different advertising campaign every year by targeting their brand strategy with that of the sustainability. According to the reports, they have come up with a new advertising campaign in 2016, which communicates the tagline “Change the world by having time of their lives”. This campaign is intended to communicate to their potential customers about the impact of their touring on the empowerment of the local community (PARK 2017).
In terms of their marketing mediums, G adventures involves strategic marketing moves including displaying their campaign videos in different fitness clubs and movie cinemas. However, both these organizations involve the use of social media marketing (Erdogmus and Cicek 2012). Similar to the Intrepid, G adventure also have their presence in different social media networks. Their advertising campaigns are being displayed in their social pages also.
Currently, G adventure is having more than 2000 employees in their offices present in 23 countries. They also follow exclusive distribution strategy in maintaining their business operations around the world. This helps them to offer the similar approach to their customers around the world. Moreover, due to their exclusive distribution approach, they are being able to maintain the competencies of them, which set apart from their competitors (Kotler 2014). Thus, in terms of the place, both the intrepid and G adventure is having similar approach.
Thus, from the above discussion, the marketing mix strategy of Intrepid along with the strategies of their closest rival G adventure is being determined and various gaps are being identified. The following sections will discuss about the recommended steps for marketing mix strategy of Intrepid.
- Intrepid already offers diverse services to their customers based on the perceive value. However, it will be more effective if they offer their services based on the user experience. This will enable them to attract similar set of customers who are interested in particular type of tourism. Moreover, one of the key tourism styles that they can offer is the eco-tourism (Coria and Calfucura 2012). The trend for eco-tourism is rising in the global scenario and with offering it; they can enhance their sustainability in their offerings.
- In case of the pricing strategy, they should initiate the strategy of premium pricing. This is due to the reason that, initiation of the premium pricing will help to attract the higher end customers and the generation of the revenue will be more (Ingenbleek and Van der Lans 2013). Thus, it will help the organization to initiate their sustainability approach including the community development will be more effective.
- It is also being recommended that, the advertising campaign should be made in more personalized way (Van Doorn and Hoekstra 2013). This is due to the reason that, Intrepid is having their branches in different countries and offer their services around the world. Thus, in order to attract the customers, they should design their campaigning in personalized way according to the theme of the tour.
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