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COMPANY DESCRIPTION Vertical Journey is an exotic tourism company located in the Peruvian Amazon. The mission of Vertical journey is to offer new and innovative touristic activities and create beautiful experiences for all to enjoy and always fomenting responsible tourism and responsibility with the environment”. The vision of Vertical Journey is to be leader in the adventure tourism business in the northern region and all of Peru. 2 The country of Peru can be divided into three parts from top to bottom: the north, the center and the south. Currently tourism is concentrated into the southern region of Peru while the north and center have much less development. This concentration is mostly due to the presence of Macchu Picchu in the southern region. Vertical Journey is located in the northern region of Peru far from where the masses of tourism arrive. Nevertheless the southern region is becoming overcrowded with tourism and the country is currently decentralizing the tourism industry. This has created a new flow of tourism into the northern region of Peru, where tourism is growing at a high rate and the local tourism industry is struggling to keep up with these changes. Rodrigo del Castillo had been living two years in the Amazon rainforest in the region of “San Martin – Peru” when he decided to create a business around this growing demand. The idea was to create new touristic activities for the tourists coming in to “Tarapoto” (city in the region of San Martin where the airport is located). Vertical Journey has incorporated adventure activities into many touristic activities in the region while at the same time exploring and opening up new routes. In that way it has created new touristic products by innovating inside of the industry. Currently Vertical Journey is the only company that offers adventure tours of abseiling and extreme tree climbing in “Tarapoto”. Also the company distinguishes itself as being very responsible and offering a very personalized service to its clients. That is done by having a very strong team where the people working are very happy with what they do and making a beautiful and artistic tour design. The products that Vertical Journey has to offer are divided into 4 subcategories: daily tours, touristic packages, Premium Packages and expeditions. Currently the clients of Vertical Journey are: 70% Peruvian, 20% European, 9% North American and 1% Other. The potential clients are people who are seeking adventure in the wilderness. Clients currently reach Vertical Journey through: Facebook, website, Tripadvisor, local hotels, Instagram, other tourism companies and of course mouth to mouth. Taking tours with Vertical Journey is fairly cheap compared to taking tours with other agencies in the global scale. Due to low hotel and transportation prices as well as certain laws that the Peruvian government has passed to be an incentive for the growth of local business the prices are able to stay low. That makes Vertical Journey very competitive when comparing prices with other agencies. In Conclusion Vertical Journey is a Peruvian tourism company that originated in the northern jungle. As the company is looking to expand in sales it is also expanding in the products it has by expanding into more regions (currently expanding in the Chachapoyas Region). To learn more about Vertical Journey visit the webpage: http://www.verticaljourney.pe/ Market Analysis Vertical Journey has unique strengths as a start-up company that positions them well to succeed in the coming future. Vertical Journey was started by CEO Rodrigo Castillo back in June of 2016. With Vertical Journey still being a small start-up company, Rodrigo is able to work directly on the day to day operations, as well as give tours himself and participate in the adventure activities. Rodrigo also has a very knowledgeable staff that has either traveled northern Peru extensively, or has lived there for a period of time. Having a staff full of experts of the northern Peru area allows them to engage and give insightful knowledge that you would not be able to get from an average guide. The northern Peru land is also a strength of Vertical Journey. Tourist head mainly to Southern Peru leaving Northern Peru untraveled and unexplored. Vertical Journey is able to offer a product in the Northern Peru region that is extremely beautiful and very much unknown. This creates an opportunity for many travelers to experience a new region of Peru during their trip. Vertical Journey’s packages are also fairly inexpensive and offer a variety of difficulty levels, depending on the individuals in each group. Vertical Journey does not have to rely on a singular, generic product and allows customers to dictate what activities they want to participate in order to maximize their experience and satisfaction. A final strength that Vertical Journey has is that Northern Peru has recently opened up new roads and highways making the region much more accessible to the rest of the country and world. Having established some of the strengths of Vertical Journey, it is important to explore their weaknesses. One of the biggest weaknesses with Vertical Journey is that Northern Peru has a poor reputation in the public eye. Many tourists and people outside of the region see Northern Peru as under development and unsafe due to terrorism in the past. In addition, this region is also seen as inferior to the south which is home to many touristic landmarks such as Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail. Vertical Journey is struggling with their marketing. Currently, Vertical Journey is relying heavily on social media and word-of- mouth as their only form of marketing. As a result, Vertical Journey is not well-known and this is a threat to Vertical Journey’s success. An additional weakness for Vertical Journey is that they are only doing business in one location; Northern Peru. There are plans to expand; however, right now it might be difficult to attract tourists and adventurists to the same location multiple times. With that being said, Vertical Journey is also working with a limited staff and limited resources. Vertical Journey is currently operating with eight people on the field team and has little capital to spend, unless there is an investment worth spending on. There are various opportunities for Vertical Journey as they continue to grow and expand. The Northern Peru region in itself is an opportunity. As we have mentioned, Northern Peru is a very undiscovered region filled with beauty and nature. An opportunity for Vertical Journey to expand business is to partner with study abroad programs from various schools and universities around the world. This is a great opportunity because if they are able to partner with institutions and the program is successful, there will be a reliable source of income. Studying abroad programs allow free time and also group exploration. If Vertical Journey ensures they are able to book a 4-day package with individual programs, it could lead to more business for the company. The ideal target audience that Rodrigo (2017) pointed out was 20-40 years old and seeking adventure. Students who participate in study abroad programs fall into the target audience Rodrigo mentioned. Another opportunity that Vertical Journey has is to partner with international airlines. Vertical Journey takes care of all transportation, even airfare, once visitors reach Peru. Vertical Journey would like to be able to take care of transportation for the entire trip and partnering with international airlines would give them that ability. Vertical Journey also has the opportunity to increase their search engine optimization. People are constantly searching for vacation spots and Vertical Journey does not appear on the first three pages. Vertical Journey can increase their SEO and become one of the websites that appears on the first page of results and not only increase their business, but decrease the use of third party sites where they are also forced to pay a commission. Vertical Journey; However, faces a significant threat to their business operations. With their business practice, there is no copyright or patent that can protect them from imitators or copy cats looking to create the same or similar business structure. In fact, there are several competitors that we have found that run a very similar business function as Vertical Journey. This leaves Vertical Journey vulnerable to new entrants into the market, as well as competitors that are ahead of Vertical Journey. Other threats to Peru involve travelers wellness and health. There are several health risks when traveling to Peru and one of the main risks is exposure to Zika virus. For this reason, pregnant women should not travel to Peru and partners of a pregnant spouse need to take precaution if traveling to Peru. Other illnesses or health risks include Malaria, Thyphoid, and Hepatitis A and B. These risks are not exclusive to Peru; However, these are still concerns when traveling to Peru. Audley Travel is the first main competitor we see for Vertical Journey. Audley Travel has a similar business structure as Vertical Journey. Trips through Audley Travel are tailor made based the tasted and interests expressed by the individual customer. Audley Travel also offers a variety of destinations that expand across 13 regions. Audley Travel has experts in each region that have either traveled there numerous times or have lived in the area of expertise. As far as business structure goes, Audley Travel and Vertical Journey are very similar and are essentially selling the same service and product. With that being said, Vertical Journey is at a disadvantage because Audley Travel offers many more destinations, not just northern Peru. Prices cannot be compared easily because Audley Travel will not give customers a quote or price unless they create an account and provide information that includes where you want to travel and how much you are able to spend on your trip. Imagine Ecuador is another main competitor of Vertical Journey. Imagine Ecuador is specific to the Ecuador area, but offers a more extensive product than Vertical Journey. The adventure tours and activities offered by Imagine Ecuador include Galapagos Tours & Cruises, Amazon Jungle Tours, Whitewater Rafting & Kayaking, Climbing & Hiking, and Biking. Imagine Ecuador has day packages that include hiking the Tungurahua Volcano or you can book private tours, however, private tours are more expensive and range from 410 USD to 600 USD for the day. The website for Imagine Ecuador offers you a full list of pricing for each adventure tour and activity based on the length of your stay, hotel, and transportation. After examining these prices, it appears that Imagine Ecuador may also be very similar to Vertical Journey, however, Imagine Ecuador charges higher rates and does not include your hotel or transportation in the initial price. Imagine Ecuador seems to be a more luxurious and expensive option compared to Vertical Journey. Peru Explorer is the third main competitor of Vertical Journey. Peru Explorer allows customers to customize their trips to Lima, Cusco, Machu Picchu, Colca Canyon, Nazca Lines, and Lake Titicaca in Puno, Chan Chan in Trujillo, and other top destinations in Peru. Under the about us page on the website, the Peru Explorer encourages visitors to stray away from big tour buses and the cookie cutter trips. With Peru Explorer you can start viewing possible trips by indicating the quality of hotel you want to stay at, the number of travelers that will be accompanying you, trip length, and when you are looking to arrive and depart from Peru. Peru Explorer also has a slogan that reads “We are the Peru Specialists”, which separates themselves from other companies such as Vertical Journey who lack in marketing and messaging. The website for Peru Explorer also features 2,000 written letters and 300 videos of customer feedback from their individual experiences using Peru Explorer. Only 6 of the 300 videos are accessible on the website, but all are accessible on YouTube. The packages offered by the Peru Explorer range from $870 USD to upwards of $5,000 USD. This range in pricing all depends on the quality of hotels and adventure activities each group is looking to experience. Peru Explorer is definitely a company that looks to cater to a more luxurious and tourists that do not care about the amount of money they are spending. When analyzing Vertical Journey and the markets that their product appeals to, we concluded that the best market to enter into are other neighboring countries within South America, specifically starting with Ecuador. Ecuador offers an ease of re-entering the tourism market because of its geographical location. Peru and Ecuador neighbor each other and they both have a tourism market in the Amazon Rainforest. Having the Amazon forest in Ecuador would allow for an easy transition from the Amazon forest in Peru to entering the Amazon tourism market in Ecuador. In Ecuador, several key market characteristics that are important to take into account when evaluating the success of the new market are any economic, political, or cultural factors that could impact the success of the market in some way. The economy in Ecuador is seeing a steady growth rate in their GDP and other economic indicators, meaning that their economy is becoming stronger (Ecuador GDP, 2018). As for political factors that could impact tourism, the World Travel and Trade Council, WTTC, is an organization that takes initiative to help regulate and grow a country’s travel and tourism economy. Specifically, they focus on notifying governments around the world, as well as Ecuador, of any innovative ideas or ways to implement new policies which could increase growth of tourism and travel in that country, such as factors that foster a healthy business environment (Policies for Growth, 2017) . As for cultural factors that are important to Ecuador’s tourism market, respecting the ancient civilizations such as the Incas and Valdivias, the religion present in the country, the numerous buildings that show their history and culture, as well as the Galapagos Islands and other major land monuments, is very important to tourism for the country (Maloney, 2015). Since we are now aware of the most promising market and its key characteristics and factors, we can analyze the strengths and weaknesses or any threats and opportunities that are in Ecuador’s tourism market. One of the strengths that proved to be rather important was the pricing Vertical Journey offers. Through Vertical Journey, a four day three night excursion including hiking and tours of waterfalls through the Amazon, as well as sleeping accommodations and airfare has a cost of $590 per person (Kuelap and The Forest, n.d.). However, a very similar experience in Ecuador through the Sani Lodge starts at $901 per person with sleeping accomodations of camping, not including airfare (The Sani Lodge, 2018). This price advantage for Vertical Journey shows that Ecuador has opportunities for Vertical Journey’s tourism attraction. Another strength of entering the market in Ecuador is the seasonal advantage of being in the southern hemisphere. In Ecuador, the summer season falls between December to May. While this is also the wet season, it is the warmest which is the best touring conditions. Not only will this season be appealing to locals, but it will also appeal to other travelers from around the world. For example, people from the United States may find it appealing to go to Ecuador during the northern hemisphere’s winter season which is Ecuador’s summer season. An opportunity that Vertical Journey has from entering this market is that the WTTC is constantly investing and contributing to the economic well-being of the tourism industry in Ecuador. Specifically the WTTC is contributing financially to the country’s travel and tourism GDP and employment (Travel and Tourism, 2017). However, despite these different strengths and opportunities, there are some weaknesses and threats that Vertical Journey is to be aware of before entering the market in Ecuador. Having tourism branch into the Amazon and other outdoor attractions raises concern for the well-being and care of the nature being explored. While this is not a new issue to arise from traveling and exploring the outdoors, it is not an issue that has been solved. A specific concern for this market is that people who go on these excursions will not use their judgement when adventuring, meaning that they will not always clean up after themselves or protect the nature and wildlife as they should. Another threat this market faces is the loss of funding to restore and maintain national park lands. In Ecuador, park management is not heavily enforced due to the underemployment of park officials. This means that there are not always officials at the different parks or locations collecting funding that is typically received to gain entry into the land. When there are not park officials there to collect money, people do not always feel obligated to pay their dues for entering the parks. Because of this, it is feared that there will not be enough financial resources available to take care of the land people are using for tourism. One other threat and weakness that is believed to be the most important is the concern for safety of the tourists. Safety of tourists is a concern throughout all of the world regardless of where the market is. In Ecuador there are concerns for certain areas not being safe for tourists to adventure near in fear that they will become a victim of one of the dangerous crimes that can be found in Ecuador. Specific concerns currently active for Ecuador are to avoid non-essential travel around the city of Montanita, avoiding all travel in areas bordering Columbia except for the city of Tulcan, and avoid rural areas south of Cuenca. These areas are known for drug trafficking, attacks and sexual assaults on foreign women travelers, and unknown or unstable mines which is mainly in the rural areas south of Cuenca (Government of Canada, 2018). While these concerns may instill fear in a company’s eyes or other tourists, one must also take into account the numerous habits that are formed which create safe traveling and tourism. In Ecuador, there seems to be four other companies that have similar tourism ideas; Imagine Ecuador, La Selva Amazon Eco Lodge, Latin Adventures, and Audley Travel. Imagine Ecuador is a company that offers tours not only in the Amazon, but also through the Galapagos Islands (Cuyabeno Amazon, 2018). La Selva Amazon Eco Lodge is another company that does a number of different kinds of tours and packages for different experiences in the Amazon, however their prices are much higher than what Vertical Journey offers for some similar experiences (La Selva 2018 Rates, 2018). As for Latin Adventures, their cheapest package is $300 per person for a four day adventure; however, it does not include airfare as Vertical Journey does (Trip Details, 2018). Lastly, Audley Travel is a large well-known company that offers adventures around the world, including many countries in South America; yet it does not have many excursion opportunities for the Amazon, and the couple options that are available are much longer than the convenient length of Vertical Journey's options (Search, 2018). One advantage that Vertical Journey could have on these different companies all doing similar things is that they could introduce something that has similarities to Ecuador where these companies are, but also include an aspect that is successful in Peru, but may not be present or often seen in Ecuador’s market. Promotion strategies in Ecuador is another important aspect to look at when evaluating the tourism market. Their main ways of promoting or advertising is through television being their primary medium, radio stations which works as a specific target based on which station is being listened to by which group of people, newspapers, and international advertising agencies that are usually based out of the United States (Ecuador-Trade Promotion, 2016). All of these different promoting strategies will prove helpful with expanding Vertical Journey’s success to Ecuador’s tourism market by giving them more of a variety of mediums to advertise through rather than their limited sources that are currently being used. References Cuyabeno Amazon. (2018). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from http://www.imagineecuador.com/cuyabeno-amazon-tours-ecuador-rainforest-junglelodges Ecuador GDP and Economic Data. (2018, February 14). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from https://www.gfmag.com/global-data/country-data/ecuador-gdp-country-report Ecuador - Trade Promotion and Advertising Ecuador – Trade Promotion. (2016, August 1). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from https://www.export.gov/article?id=Ecuador-TradePromotion-and-Advertising Government of Canada, Global Affairs Canada. (2018, February 01). Travel Advice and Advisories for Ecuador. Retrieved February 14, 2018, from https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/ecuador KUELAP & THE FOREST OF GIANT WATERFALLS. (n.d.). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from https://www.verticaljourney.pe/en/tours/kuelap-the-forest-of-giant-waterfalls/ La Selva 2018 Rates. (2018). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from http://www.laselvajunglelodge.com/html/amazon-lodge-prices.html Maloney, C. (2015, August). Cultural Tourism: Quito Ecuador. Retrieved February 14, 2018, from https://www.pointsandtravel.com/a-city-upon-a-hill-quito-ecuador/ Net, I., & Net, M. (2015, November 27). Map of South America Continent [Digital image]. Retrieved February 14, 2018, from http://israj.net/english/?p=2928 Policies for Growth. (2017). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from https://www.wttc.org/mission/policies-for-growth/ Search. (2018, February 06). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from https://www.audleytravel.com/inspiration/search?SortBy=Price&Destination=South%2B America&Category=Outdoor%2Bactivities&Month= The Sani Lodge, Coca, Ecuador. (2018). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from https://tourthetropics.com/tours/sani-lodge/ Travel and Tourism Economic Impact 2017 Ecuador [PDF]. (2017, March). World Travel and Tourism Council. Trips Details. (2018). Retrieved February 14, 2018, from http://www.latinadventures.ec/trips-details/4358/cuyabeno-eco-adventure-amazonadventure-guacamayo-jamu-lodge/ After reading the company’s description and the Marketing analysis. Write 4-5 pages long (1300-1500 words) answering the following. Message What is the best way to convince the consumers to buy the product? What should be the main message of the marketing campaign and how should it be presented? If applicable, discuss if the brand name or its presentation should be modified to make the product more appealing to the tastes and traditions of the consumers in the new market.
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