This research is based on two companies, a travel agency company which is the Trazeem Travel and Tours and ThisAndThat Safaris a tour operator. Trazeem Travel and Tours specialize with both inbound and outbound tourism and their services includes air ticketing, hotel accommodation, packages and many more (see appendix). Their aim is to provide an unforgettable travel and holiday experience to their customers, their mission is to provide a high level service to their diverse customers and to set a standard of excellent in the industry and have a set of goals which includes quality deliverance, honesty and integrity (Trazeem.co.zw, 2017)
ThisAndThat Safaris specialize in outbound and domestic wholesale tour operator. They offer travel and accommodation services and they offer products which include budget camping safaris to Mana Pools, Victoria Falls day trip to Hwange and walking safaris in Mana Pools (Conoly J and Safaris T, 2017). Their aim is to make great profits and to increase market share.
Manage a Travel Agency
· Evaluate the extent to which products and services meets customers’ needs including special interest tourism
Trazeem Travel and Tours offer products and services which meet customers’ needs who visit for leisure and business. They offer accommodation bookings, air ticketing, airport transfers for people who visit for business and leisure. In accommodation they offer all categories from low budget self-catering units to exclusive luxurious hotels and villas. It has their own stands at the arrival points of the main airports, stable shuttle bus transfers from the main airports to the main tourist regions (Trazeem.co.zw, 2017).
They also offer conference booking which will meet the needs for tourist visiting for business. At Trazeem, they cater any requirements for any design package in order to meet customers’ specification and budget restrictions (Trazeem.co.zw, 2017). For leisure tourists they provide packages like holiday and honeymoon packages.
However, Trazeem could not meet the needs for other visitors to a greater extent like people who visit their friends and relatives because they do not book into accommodation as they use their friends or relatives’ accommodation. Also special interest tourists like families.
· Assess the value of ancillary products
According to Payal Chakravarthy (2016), ancillary services in travel and tourism are services that are provided which make the entire travel experience very comfortable, safe, secure and enjoyable. Trazeem offers most competitive rates for car rental (Trazeem.co.zw, 2017). They also offer a personal chauffeur especially for inbound tourists who are not well familiar into the country. They also provide information to the tourists’ which includes maps and directions, currency exchange rates and many more.
However ancillary products are there to support other sub-sectors which are accommodation, activities, attractions, accessibility and amenities. Trazeem offers accommodation and conference service and holiday and honeymoon packages which includes activities and viewing of different attractions.
· Define the legal considerations and confidentiality issues
Insuranceopedia defines legal considerations as the exchange of two or more things of value in a legally binding contract. Confidentiality involves a set of rules or rules or promise that limits access or places restrictions on a certain types of information (Wikipedia).
The legal considerations include; fraud by independent contractors, airline-debit memos on charge backs for allegedly unauthorized card charges, airline-issued debit memos for reservation rule violations, agency loses the right to sell an important supplier’s services, signing supplier, signing of long-term contracts by unauthorized employees, an unknown person makes a fraudulent transaction in the agency’s name on a supplier website or by phone , a client confuses the agent’s responsibility with the supplier’s responsibility, stated by Maria Lenhart (2014).
Examples of maintaining confidentiality includes; individual files are locked and secured, information about clients is not to be told to people who do not need to know.
· Identify areas for improvement in travel agency operators
Trazeem have to be aware of people’s needs and wants in order to grow and improve their business. They also partner with other services to grow their business. The team should continually work on finding ways to satisfy their customers.
Trazeem Travel and Tours operations need improvements at their website. Pages should have access to online communication applications like Facebook page and a mini-blog were they announce various offers to their customers.
· Identify sources of up to date information to support sales
At Trazeem they use different sources to update information to support their sales. They advertise their sales through the website (www.trazeem.co.zw), which is online marketing. Promotions and discounts are also advertised through their website. They also support their sales through the use of flayers, magazines, posters, brochures, puff-lets and also put adverts in newspapers.
· Assess the trends and factors that will affect travel agencies in the future
Technology affect travel agencies because some book directly from the service provider. This is referred as disintermediation. According to Techopedia, disintermediation cuts out the middleman by using the internet, companies and even manufacturers can deal directly with users or end consumers, which is significant factor in decreasing the cost of servicing customers. Travel agencies should consider reintermediation. Techopedia defines reintermediation as, “is the reintroduction of an intermediary between a goods producer and consumer”.
Also the lifestyle will affect travel agencies in the future. It can be affected by time scarcity, educational attainment and mobility. Some customers would not have time to go through the travel agencies, they would go straight to the supplier. In education people would need information hence they would have the ability to use technology. Also mobility, people with private motor vehicles can visit resort areas on their own.
· Assess the factors that affect participation in tourism
Political factors can affect participation in tourism. Political groupings like trade blocks helps to raise demand for tourism because they are there to remove border controls between its member countries and this makes easy for people to move from one country member to another. Legislation; laws passed by government may increase or reduce demand in tourism. Governments also issue travel warnings against certain destinations and this reduce travel demand. Also political instability and war results in people’s movements across borders as refugees and not for tourism.
Economic factors can also affect participation in tourism. High discretionary incomes allow people to participate more in tourism whereas some people will not be able to participate in tourism because of their low discretionary income. Countries with weak currencies would not be able to participate in tourism.
Manage tour provision
· Distinguish between the functions of different types of tour operators
Tour operators build the package and sell it for one price. There are two types tour operators which include wholesale tour operator, who put together and operate tours only through travel agencies and direct sell operators who sell their products straight to the consumers. ThisAndThat Safaris specialize on outbound and domestic wholesale tour operator. Tour operators may specialize in a particular type of product, some only offer holidays within their country and some operate in a particular field such as cruises. Inbound tour operators specialize in tours for visitors from other countries and they gain foreign currency. They go under a market research on types of holidays that are on demand in order to boost their sales.
· Identify the requirements of planning and designing a tour and create tours that meet agreed objectives
The process of planning, designing and creating a tour package and thereby satisfying the tourists can be understood in the following stages designed by shareyouressay.com
§ Research on destination and market – understand and analyze the principles that are associated with a specific tourist market and destination
§ Negotiations with tourism providers
§ Financial evaluation and pricing – they figure out exchange rates, guess future selling prices and finalizes tour prices
§ Administrative staff – the tour operator handles bookings of the packages and pays commission for bookings received through travel agencies
§ Marketing of a tour package – tour operator advertises the package
§ Operation and execution of a tour – tour operator develops a tour handbook for manager, tour escort, tour guide
§ Post tour management – involves preparation of several reports and their evaluation
· Evaluate the effectiveness of different methods of selling a tour
According to Sabah Karimi (2015), the tour operators should creatively use different platforms to engage the audience and generate more bookings each season. ThisAndThat Safaris encourage customers to book with them through possible ways which includes; encouraging customers to post good views online, improving activity descriptions on their website and using an online booking software.
Also to create a hosting contest whereby the tour operator would be advertising some of their activities that are coming up. They also use indirect selling of the tour by using travel agencies and they earn a commission on their sells. All these selling methods enable the tour operator to boost their sells and making huge profits.
Manage guided tours
· Design a tour guide process that meet organizational objectives and standards
Wikipedia defines a tour guide as a person who provides assistance, information on cultural, historical and contemporary heritage to people on organized tours and individual clients at educational establishments, religions and historical sites, museums and at venues of other significant interest. For a tour operator to design a tour guide process that meet agreed objectives they should start with the market research. They research on the tourism products in a particular place and types of tourists that might demand that tourism products. They also research on the product’s prices, risks and laws of some of the attraction places like cultural places.
They set and understand objectives that are the customer satisfaction and profitability. After their market research they do financial evaluation whereby they add a profit mark-up to the cost of the products. When pricing they will be considering customers and competitors. They then design the tour, this will include the itineraries, places, logistics and times. Then the tour operator will enter some contractual agreements with the providers, customers and indemnity. Also they train staff to gain skills and good communication with the customers. They then launch their tour by taking tourists on a tour in order to get feedback and then evaluate the tour.
· Train staff on their roles, requirements and standards to be maintained
Tour guides are trained using on and off the job training. They will be trained for complaints handling and communication skills. On-the-job training enables employees to gain knowledge and skills at the working environment. It includes attachments whereby trainees spend time in different departments to gain knowledge and experience under the supervision of senior members. Also coaching and mentoring whereby trainees learn the job by working and watching what the senior tour guides will be doing concerning the job. Off-the-job training includes formal education, are training programmes whereby one will be given a qualification.
Tour guides should be professionals and are there to protect tourist against thieves and helping them with appropriate currency exchange facilities and many more. Customer service standards should be met so that the customers spread good word of mouth and also customer satisfaction.
· Ensure that guided tour processes include crisis and contingency managements procedures
Margaret Rouse posted that crisis management is the application of strategies designed to help an organization deal with a sudden and significant negative event. Before the crisis triggered it is important to foresee it and prepare for it. Crisis in guided tour processes includes early warnings and evacuation.
Contingency management leads to preparedness in the event of an emergency, disaster or system failure (Billie Nordmeyer, n.d). Every tourism provider should have a contingency plan ready. Crisis management plans for guided tours should include; building security, make sure visitors and employees are safe and many more.
· Evaluate the effectiveness and profitability of guided tours
Guided tours are effective with certain tours and groups of customers. Mostly people who visited for education and religion related reasons are the ones who require tour guides. People who visit for education reasons will be carrying out researches like in historical sites. They will need guided tours because they will need information and some clarifications in some areas. Also people who visit for religion reasons like Christians visiting holy cities like Jerusalem, they will need guided tours because they will need information and help in communication. However, some visitors would not require guided tours like people who visit for leisure, business and visiting friends and relatives.
Tour guides provide customer satisfaction in many ways which includes; security, translations of different languages and some explanations of some attractions to the visitors. The profitability of guided tours for the organization is when customers become loyal hence they would spread positive word of mouth and this will boost their sales.
Manage the performance of staff in travel and tourism
· Agree targets and objectives that align with business needs
An effective way to set targets and objectives is through an acronym SMART. According to Duncan Haughey (n.d), an acronym SMART means;
§ Specific – the targets should be well defined and clear
§ Measurable – the staff should know if the target is obtainable and finding out when the target has been achieved
§ Agreed upon – the management should agree with stakeholders what the target should be
§ Realistic – within the availability of resources, knowledge and time (Duncan Haughey, n.d)
§ Time based – every target needs enough time in order for it to be achieved
In travel and tourism business the objectives that they set includes in their sales and number of customers they receive.
· Provide training interventions that meet identified needs
At Trazeem they provide training of staff and this will make them able to meet customer service standards. They train their staff in professionalism and customer care. They provide on-job-training like job shadowing whereby trainees learn the job by watching and working with an experienced post holder of a particular department and coaching and mentoring whereby the trainee is guided with an experienced manager who provides instructions advices on how the work is carried out.
Also the enablement equation whereby employees are being empowered by the management team through delegating, training, motivating and communicating with them. The organization benefits through having responsible customer service staff and they will be hostile towards management.
When an employee is willing but doesn’t know how to do it; – train and delegate
When an employee does not know what to do; – communicate
When an employee is energetic and enthusiastic and want to participate; – empower and delegate
When an employee doesn’t want to do work; – motive
· Allocate and direct work to meet performance targets and quality standards
Allocating and directing of work procedures starts from the managers to the employees. Supervisors seek opinion from the staff in planning and reviewing allocation of work annually and make sure that all the staff have their breaks from work. Supervisors have the right to direct and allocating work to the staff. Employees determines if work allocations are realistic and they communicate with their supervisors.
Supervisors direct work to the staff using delegation and empowerment. They appoint duties, transfer authorities and responsibilities amongst the staff. Delegation result in team work and empowerment requires great trust to the employees.
To meet performance targets and quality standards there is need of team building and this enables staff to achieve targets of the business as a team. Also performance appraisal, is an annual review of an employee’s overall contribution to the company by hi/her manager (Investopedia). It helps in promoting professionalism.
· Manage underperformance and in accordance with organizational requirements
To manage underperformance of the staff, organization should measure the performance of their employees. It is measured with the number of customer complaints and the time taken to deliver goods and services to customers. After the measuring of employee performance, management will start motivating, rewarding or discipline the employees according to their performances.
In motivating customer service staff, the management use delegation and empowerment. Delegation is when the managers give responsibilities to the staff. This enables employees to gain more experience and they can learn from their successes and failures. Empowerment is when managers give freedom of independence to their staff. Empowerment makes workers to meet customers’ needs and wants. By having empowered staff an organization benefits having responsible customer service staff.
· Analyze the principles of recruitment and selection of staff
The supervisor first identifies the vacant post in the organization and then prepares the job description that are the duties, responsibilities and title of the potential employee’s post. They also include the person specifications that suite with the vacant post like the experience needed, age, qualifications and skills needed for the potential employee. They would discuss the remuneration of the potential employee before the recruitment. They then advertise the vacant through external or internal advertising.
After the recruitment they then went on selection. The managers interview the candidates and mostly they will be looking for friendliness, responsibility, clear communication and confidence. After the interviews they will went on the screening process in order to get the most suitable candidate for the post and then award the job contract to the suitable candidate.
Trazeem Travel and Tours offer products and services which meet customers’ needs and wants who visit for leisure and business. However, they could not meet the needs for other visitors to a greater extent like people who visit for health related issues. Technology has also affected them through disintermediation. ThisAndThat Safaris are able to meet their customers’ needs through the use of travel agencies and online selling. For the travel and tourism organizations to meet customer service standards they should train, empower and motive the customer service staffs.
The travel agency should reconsider reintermediation and the tour operator should ensure their customers to post good views online.
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