This Marketing Plan aims to create a web site â named Click on Portugal .... you wish to spend your vacations? ..... Does Your Website Have What It Takes?
-‐ Information System on Tourism -‐
Table of Contents
Introduction and Goals This Marketing Plan aims to create a web site – named Click on Portugal (CoP) – that will ensemble a set of information (ranging from the widest one to a much specific one) about a region, city or even a typical district in Portugal. In today’s Europe, where boundaries have no more the role of other times, it’s getting crucial to invest in the most valued product of exportation that Portugal has: its Tourism. And facing today’s global crisis and, particularly, the hard times that Portugal is currently confronted with, it’s getting increasingly obvious that such product should be one of key starting points to overcome the current difficulties. There is an immense offer to explore and, possibly, new offers to create/instigate. Thus, it’s necessary and relevant to gather a whole set of information that it’s currently dispersed, as well as, other information that still needs to be documented all aimed to tourists in general (from the most casual one to the most “sophisticated” one). Why the choice to create a web site for such purpose? Well, the first reason is related to the fact that there is a lack of documented content in a well-‐organized and schematized manner. On the other hand, today’s market trend shows us that people increasingly tend to satisfy their necessities by a simple “click” on the Internet. And, in this respect, the offer found on the Internet about Portugal fall short and simply aren’t good enough (and the few one may find presents concerning gaps/lacunas). However, the idea of this project is not to create something entirely new in terms of a whole new platform or even creating/unlocking entirely new information about Portugal. No. That is not the purpose. The “innovation” about the proposed plan is rather to integrate a whole set of already existing technologies that would constitute the platform of the web site itself and, thus, would provide information about Portugal in a much complete/comprised manner.
Situation Analysis Customer Analysis The product proposed by this Marketing Plan aims to satisfy the necessities of any potential tourist regardless the age and origin. If one analyses the content of the platform proposed, it will be able to respond to the requisites of any given tourist. Thus, it will be important to create various user profiles in order to try and meet more efficiently the contents searched by the users. As an example, a Spanish user would have an initial page that would be different from a German one, as well as, a registered user that would indicate that he/she is an unconditional fan/follower of golf would be alerted about the range of tourist destinations regarding the golf sector. Having this in mind, one should analyse the Tourism Market segmentation in Portugal as being based in a topological order that comprises a set of possible choices being at the disposal of both national and foreign tourists. Thus, and in a more incisive and detailed scope, the target customer segments of the product proposed would then be: A) Re-‐creative Tourist Driven by the pleasant climate, the approximate 1853 Km of coast1, the navigable waterways and the whole range of existent Casinos in the Portuguese territory, this segment seeks the sun and the beach, cruises and the game, as well as, theme parks and leisure shopping. B) Cultural Tourist This is a type of tourism that Portugal has variety of offers, possessing a vast quality patrimony (natural, built and immaterial), a rich history and a creased culture, a contemporaneous architecture that is internationally recognized, as well as, a considerable variety in terms of gastronomy and handicraft. This segment includes the historical tourism, the religious tourism, the literary tourism, the theme tourism, the romantic tourism, the ethnic tourism, the city break and gastronomic tourism, as well as, the wine tourism. C) Relaxing/Reposing Tourist Due to the crescent preoccupation on health and well-‐being issues, the relax/repose tourism in Portugal is well supported by the abundant therapeutic waters existent along the Portuguese territory, as well as, by the rise of urban agitation and tension. In Portugal, one may find great examples of relaxing/reposing tourist destinations, namely: SPAs, rural spaces and both climatic and landscaping offers. 1
accessed November 25, 2011.
D) Nature Tourist This type of tourism is “stimulated” by the existence of abundant natural and wild life, as well as, by a culture and traditions that are highly identified with the nature and a lifestyle that is much more individualized and personalized. Portugal offers, then, a good set of solutions in terms of environment and rural conditions. Furthermore, the tourism of observation and hiker are also great solutions/offers for a nature tourist. E) Sport Tourist This segment is characterized by individuals that seek a sort of natural “antidote” to sedentary lifestyle and are attracted to animation and liveliness (that are not limited to the participants. All the surroundings also play a key role in that stimulation). In this respect, Portugal offers, then, a whole set of fantastic opportunities, namely: nautical/marine sports, hunting and fishery, as well as, all new football stadiums that were built for the Euro 2004 Cup. F) Business Tourist Finally, the privileged geographic location of Portugal also encourages/stimulates another type of tourism: business tourism. This type of tourism may also well be integrated with other type of products that will have the benefit of extending/delaying the stay of a given business tourist in Portugal. Having in mind all these 6 identified segments, and in order to try and understand the real necessities/needs they might have upon searching on the Internet about Portugal’s tourist destinations, I decided to carry out a survey/inquiry composed by 9 questions. There were interviewed 59 people – 49 men and 10 women – (ranging from co-‐workers to friends). There were no foreign people interviewed, which obviously did not potentiate even more the all-‐purpose of the survey. I’m conscious that the figure “59” is not the most representative/desirable one and, obviously, is too limited to even take it as being representative of the Portuguese society. But, considering the time limit (“only” about 2 weeks) to construct and present this Marketing Plan paper, there wasn’t more time to interview more people (both in numbers and nationality). Nevertheless, the idea was to have a well-‐based database for me to analyse, interpret and build my own conclusions (no matter the size of the universe of people that were about to be interviewed. I just needed to get some data – mostly qualitative – to empirically understand the criteria used by potential tourist customers upon searching on the Internet about possible tourist destinations within Portugal). The results of the survey would ultimately lead me to deduce what product this representative sample was looking for. In other words, it would help me to define how the product proposed by this marketing plan – CoP – should be constructed (what content should it have), so it exactly met the needs/expectations of potential customers.
On the following paragraphs/pages, one may see and analyse some of the results obtained by the carried out survey (I selected 6 questions of total of 9, considering that they were the more relevant ones for the present paper): Question 1 – Do you usually spend your vacations in Portugal?
The main fact to retain from this question is that the respondents choose Portugal as their preferred tourist destination due to monetary reasons (and even more due to the current crisis facing the country). Obviously, the relevance of the question would had been much more vast/comprehensive in case there were also people from other nationalities.
Question 2 – Do you usually search information on the Internet about the location you wish to spend your vacations?
Question 3 – In case you have responded a “yes” on the previous question, do you normally find what you’re looking for?
These two last questions allows one to conclude that indeed the Internet is a peerless source for information search, although it may turn out to be a complicated task to find the location/site one is seeking. Question 3, then, shows us that 83,21% of the respondents admits to find what he/she seeks when preparing a trip.
Question 4 – What is your general opinion about the organization/schematization of the information available on the Internet concerning tourism?
The outcome of this 4th question supports to main ideas: a) there is a clear difficulty in finding very good/excellent information references on this topic and b) there is a very clear facility in finding some/reasonable information, notwithstanding the information found is dispersed and incomplete. Question 5 – Have you ever planned/reserved your holidays (hotel reservations, campsites, full trip packages, etc.) trough the Internet?
The result of question 5 shows and reflects the degree of familiarity of the respondents with the new technologies (and, most importantly, with the Internet). Having 66% of the respondents answering “yes”, simply re-‐confirms me that the 8
Internet and the use of tourist Internet sites is a key platform that organizations/entities use to reach their potentials customers. And customers do indeed find such platform as being an indispensable one to find information about a given region/country and even to plan their vacations. Question 6 – Briefly describe what you reckon to be important and useful for a web site to have complete information about tourism in Portugal. This last question (which was also the last question of the survey – the 9th one) was purposely set to have a free answer. The idea was to try and effectively understand what the respondents most valued in a product of a kind. The outcome was that there were some repeated answers. The most repeated ones were:
Information that is updated, concise, reliable and complete. Places to eat and sleep. Key interest spots. Prices. Photos. FAQs and the possibility of asking questions with quick response. Possibility to “punctuate”/spot the locations. Easiness of navigating.
The last question had the direct benefit to deduce/conclude what would potential customers most value in a product of a kind – a web site assembling a set of information about a region, city or even a typical district in Portugal. In one final statement and again: the whole idea of the described survey was for me to have some notion (on-‐field re-‐search) about the real needs and expectations (qualitative data) of potential target customer segments upon searching on the Internet information about Portugal. The idea was to, trough my own re-‐search, find and draw key important points that would support me in elaborating a feasible and credible customer analysis.
Competitor Analysis In terms of analysing the current existent competition on the market, and based on my own re-‐search on the web, I clearly spot 3 main competitors: 1) Large Industrial Hotel Groups (LIHG), 2) Counties and 3) Other Tourism Websites (like Exit and Escapadinha). And why/how do these 3 main competitors appear as key players on the market? Well, it’s simply due to the fact that all three realized since the very beginning (from the “birth” of the Internet) the key importance of the platform for them to divulge/promote their services (in case of LIHG and other tourism websites) and advertise their heritage (in case of Counties).
Nevertheless, and despite their strong presence (which is their main strength) on the Internet platform, both players – LIHG and Counties – do have a major weakness. And that is: their presence on the market is based on what I would call an “individualized” footprint, where they solely and understandably defend their own interests. Their major weakness (including Other Tourism Websites), which makes a strength for the product proposed in this marketing plan, is that all three cases do not materialize an assembling of whole set of information about Portugal (already described along this paper). To my eyes, and very clearly, there still lacks a main website (with similar contours of Wikipedia, for example) where one may find any (literally “any”) information about Portugal. A site that would constitute the big reference (The “compass”) about tourism in Portugal. Thus, and having in mind that the project proposed on this marketing plan would be a product that is complete, independent and reliable, it’s fair to conclude that the mentioned competitors wouldn’t be up to the challenge to directly respond to the product proposed on this plan. Again: upon re-‐searching on the web, I have clearly spotted this major lacuna. There isn’t any product of the kind on the cyber-‐market. Knowing these facts, it becomes very clear/obvious that CoP wouldn’t have a competitor up to what it offers, at least, in terms of the quantity of the information provided. This allows me to conclude that the existent competition does not present itself as being threatening. However, one should have in mind that, indeed, there may be a strong danger for other products of the kind to appear on the market, and thus, supplanting the service proposed by CoP (but, today and upon the re-‐search done to support this marketing plan, there still isn’t any product identical to the mentioned product). And why do I mention this danger? Simply, because, as one may easily agree, the speed at which products of this kind appears on the Web is very fast.
Company Analysis CoP will be inserted within the scope of tourism and information technologies (IT). The focus/objective will be to bring the Portuguese tourism into the global village, and consequently, fulfil a key lacuna: the absence of information on tourism about Portugal and, at the same time, start to make available information about places to stay. Thus, the stake will be high. As it will be a brand new product, the challenges to build/construct an appealing Brand, being in terms of appearance, personality and reputation will be immense. Since it’s a new project (a totally new product), I would say that the biggest medium/long term challenge will be to nourish and reach a high standard of reputation (in other words: become a reference in the market). But, in order to achieve that, there are two vectors that should firstly be worked on: the appearance and the personality. Once these two are well established, then the reputation will come naturally. On the other hand, these three vectors – appearance, personality and reputation – will also be dependant on the quality of what I would name “a 4th vector”: the content provided by the product. And, furthermore, the quality of the information that will be provided will depend on the participation/collaboration of all stakeholders that might be interested on a project of this nature.
The objective will be to construct and present a reputable Brand. And I’m convinced that that reach may well be attainable. Why? Because the project will have associated to it already reputable and successful entities: Governmental Organizations (GOs) – local municipalities/counties – and Non-‐Governmental Organizations (NGOs) – LIHGs. Due to the fact that the company will mainly be based on the collaboration principle, the company will present a fairly “soft” organization structure. And why? Because it will largely be composed by a team that will be responsible in ensuring the quality of the data provided (detecting abuses from external participants) and the rising/capturing of as many external stakeholders (municipalities, hotels, etc.) as possible. The existence and lifetime of the company will, then, mainly be dependent on the participation of external stakeholders. They will be one of the bases of the success of the project. The information and collaboration provided by these players will be the key to develop the product. They will be the ones who will supply the information that will, then, be checked and assembled by the mentioned team. The success of the product will be much dependant on the influence/participation of these players. Since the platform channel for CoP will essentially be the Internet, all the appearance and personality of the product will be constructed around what the building and maintenance of a web site requires. There might be several ways to construct a web site, but, in order to build a good one (to say the least), one should follow a series of key pillar premises that will enhance its appearance, personality, reputation and, ultimately, the Brand it represents. Today, there are lots of useful information/guidelines found on the Internet to construct a well effective website. And, upon building the CoP website, it would definitely be helpful to consult some key guidelines found on the following website: http://www.spritzweb.com/good-‐ website-‐characteristics.html. The key characteristics of an effective website found in the mentioned link would be the main guide that the team of CoP would have to follow to help the company to build an attractive appearance and personality, as well as, a solid reputation. Turning the needle to what the main strengths and weaknesses of the company/product might be, I would emphasize the following: A) Strengths The use of the Internet as the central platform to be explored (why the Internet? Because it’s a simple and mass medium). Be a website product. What’s the strength on that? It meets today’s high interest of the population in technological artefacts. The targeted market and product offered – tourism in Portugal – have a great interest among customers. Exploring the image of Portugal, which is very appealing and positive (both domestically and internationally).
Being present in a market where the prices are competitive – the attractiveness of new customers is, therefore, high. Being present in a market (both national and international) that is young (with easy access to the new technologies) and that is interested in living unique experiences in Portugal. Be a unique (in the true sense of the word, as there is no similar product offered by the market) platform for both GOs and NGOs to publish their services/products on the web and, consequently, publicise themselves. Provides the faculty to potential users/customers to make on-‐line reservations (there are still many hotels that do not provide such option). The website will be a secure one with reliable official information. B) Weaknesses Be a new product of the kind, which naturally and understandably has its own risk, as it may take some time to promote itself, reach new potential customers/users and establish itself with a strong position in the market. A lesser budget capability, comparing with the already established competition (both GOs and NGOs). At the start of the business, there may be an understandable distrust from people regarding the information and the security offered by the service provided. Like the start of any new business, the quality of the product may well not be the best one (despite all efforts that will be put for the cause). It will have to be a continuous and evolving project, where the preoccupation for the constant improvement must be a high priority in order to progressively conquer the targeted public. Having this in mind, one should be very conscious about the already existent high quality of other websites in this market segmentation.
Community/Climate Analysis Coming into a new market, and particularly, launching a new product has direct implications in terms of getting a complete notion/mapping of the existent external environment (both the community and general “climate” around the targeted market). In other words, one should carefully and meticulously analyse all factors, players (potential stakeholders and collaborators) that could significantly influence/affect the marketing plan’s outcome. Having this in mind, the analysis of the external environment it’s a key element when elaborating a marketing plan. In terms of a macro analysis (an overall overview of the market), then, the business proposed in this marketing plan, will be inserted in a market sector that is directly related to tourism, and more specifically, to the promotion and divulgation of touristic offers. And why do I re-‐stress this? Because it’s important to know the overall snapshot of the current touristic market. That is: it’s a market that also has other countries competing with Portugal. In terms of a macro overview, it is important to have the notion that the market of tourism has an already “condensate” climate around it. There are lots of offers out there and, obviously, Portugal is not the only available country as a possible destination. This fact will, then, have direct implications on the attraction/affiliation of potential new customers/tourists.
In order to have a much precise notion about what tourism offered by Portugal means at a global scale, one may see below a table from the World Tourism Organization (WTO) that shows the placement of Portugal in a global ranking (the period shown on the table is not so up-‐to-‐date. It reports to the years 2000, 2002 and 2004. Nevertheless, it’s represents a good compass to have a notion about how the trending of the market). By 2004, Portugal appears on the 19th/20th spot (together with Thailand), which, considering that it’s a small country, it’s very good and quite encouraging for the success of tourism in Portugal (and, consequently, for the real potential of a product like the one that is proposed by the marketing plan). Being consistently in the top 20 of the WTO is, almost by default, very encouraging and will significantly affect the outcome of this plan. Share in the global tourism market (Top 20; % number of tourists received)
(Source: World Tourism Organization quoted in Plano Estratégico Nacional do Turismo, found at http://www.turismodeportugal.pt/Português/turismodeportugal/Imprensa/Documentos%20e%20Lin ks/Documents/Plano%20Estratégico%20Nacional%20do%20Turismo.pdf)
Now, on the following pages I will analyse and describe the political, economical, social and technological factors that could indeed affect the outcome of the plan presented by this paper. Political Factors Tourism has been one of the most fasting growing sectors over the last years worldwide. And this fact has been a key element for small countries like Portugal that attract a great number of tourists every year. All governments that have been in power over the last years (I would say, the last 10/15 years) have continuously invested in the promotion of Portugal, as well as, in the improvement of the conditions offered. On the other hand, the adhesion of Portugal to the European Union, and most crucially to the Schengen Agreement, constituted a key factor that
positively influenced the free circulation of European tourists. In this respect, one should emphasize that 90% of foreign people welcomed in Portugal come from countries within Schengen’s Agreement (mainly: Spain, United Kingdom, Germany and France)2. There are, then, much favourable political conditions to continue to invest in the tourism sector. The existent political factors are the ideal to invest in a product within this sector. The current conjuncture may well positively affect the outcome of the marketing plan proposed in this paper, as today’s tourism tendency, and specifically the one in Portugal, shows that this it’s a good sector to invest. Economical Factors Tourism has increasingly been one of the sustainable activities of the Portuguese economy, representing nearly 8%3 of the all-‐national GDP. Furthermore, this sector absorbs almost 10%4 of the total national employment. Another indicator of the crescent rising of the sector in Portugal is the consecutive increase of revenues, as in 2010 they reach more than 7.6 thousand million Euros, registering a positive evolution of 10.2% comparing to the previous year5. As seen by the figures described above, also the economical environment is well in favour of Tourism in Portugal. It constantly has been a key profitable activity that directly influences the development of the Portuguese economy. Thus, the economic factors are well in favour of a project like the one presented by this paper. Technological Factors Technological innovations have increasingly and determinately been having a crucial/central role over the last decades in all sectors of activity, including Tourism. Regarding Tourism, technology indirectly contributes for its sustainability and promotion, in the sense that it is not technology that creates touristic attractions by themselves, but rather strongly contributes to boost their impact on visitants/tourists. On the fundamental roles of technology is the speed and quickness that it transmits information and, thus, it determinately becomes a key factor in the promotion of touristic destinations. Thus, the use of audiovisual mediums (television, radio, Internet) to advertise a given country has been explored along the years. The results have been unquestionable and clear to the eyes of everyone. The technological factors will, then, be in good favour of the plan proposed in this paper. The product proposed – a website that will promote Tourism in Portugal – will be at the very core of today’s technological trend – the use of the Internet. In technological terms, the business will be using a modern/up-‐to-‐dated platform to reach their potential customers/clients. 2 3
http://dev.aol.com/article/2007/04/definitive-‐guide-‐to-‐twitter , accessed November 27, 2011.
http://pt.shvoong.com/law-‐and-‐politics/1682577-‐turismo-‐importancia-‐na-‐economia-‐portuguesa/ , accessed November 27, 2011. 4 http://pt.shvoong.com/law-‐and-‐politics/1682577-‐turismo-‐importancia-‐na-‐economia-‐portuguesa/ , accessed November 27, 2011. 5 http://www.portugal.gov.pt/pt/GC18/Governo/Ministerios/MEI/Notas/Pages/20100221_MEID_Com_Turismo.as px , accessed November 27, 2011.
Socio-‐Cultural Factors Portugal has extraordinary touristic resources and potentials. It’s a country that has one of the richest/valuable historical legacies in the world, a pleasant climate, the beauty of the its 1853 Km (approximately) of coast, a great diversity of natural landscapes, good infrastructures for the practice of sports, and a good level/standard of hotel resources. In addition, Portugal is known for the great hospitality and welcoming of its people, as well as, has an already undisputable statute (conquered throughout the years) of a granted touristic destination. Thus, the socio-‐cultural factors are also in good favour for the success of the business proposed in this paper. There is a set of socio-‐cultural factors that are well allied with the central ambition of the business: promoting Portugal.
Positioning One of the key aspects of a marketing plan is to define the position that the new product proposed will occupy. In other words, it’s crucial to well define the image and the value offered to clients/customers in the targeted market. Well, I would then classify the value (and image associated to it) of CoP in two main aspects: Characteristics/valences of the product that are similar (aspects of parity) to already existent products of the same category –
Tichy, Noel, 2002. Cycle of Leadership: How Great Leaders Teach Their Companies to Win. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.
Internet Resources -
Does Your Website Have What It Takes? (Webpage) Available from: http://www.spritzweb.com/good-‐website-‐ characteristics.html (accessed Saturday, 25. November 2011). Ministério da Economia da Inovação e do Desenvolvimento (Webpage) Available from: http://www.portugal.gov.pt/pt/GC18/Governo/Ministerios/MEI/Notas/Pages /20100221_MEID_Com_Turismo.aspx (accessed Sunday, 27. November 2011). O Turismo em Portugal: evolução e distribuição (Webpage) Available from: http://br.monografias.com/trabalhos2/turismo-‐ portugal/turismo-‐portugal3.shtml (accessed Sunday, 27. November 2011). Plano Estratégico Nacional do Turismo (Webpage) Available from: http://www.turismodeportugal.pt/Português/turismodeportugal/Imprensa/ Documentos%20e%20Links/Documents/Plano%20Estratégico%20Nacional%2 0do%20Turismo.pdf (accessed Saturday, 25. November 2011). Projecto Coastwatch (Webpage) Available from: http://www.confagri.pt/Ambiente/AreasTematicas/DomTransversais/Pages/ TransvProCoast.aspx (accessed Saturday, 25. November 2011). Turismo importância na economia portuguesa (Webpage) Available from: http://pt.shvoong.com/law-‐and-‐politics/1682577-‐turismo-‐ importancia-‐na-‐economia-‐portuguesa/ (accessed Sunday, 27. November 2011). World Tourism Organization UNWTO (Webpage) Available from: http://unwto.org/ (accessed Saturday, 25. November 2011).