Tourism Operations Management

Task 1(L01) Tour operations sector In travel and tourism, tour operators are the ones which combine two or more businesses in a package which is ultimately offered to the consumer as a holiday package. In UK there are two kinds of tour operators- mainstream tour operators and specialist tour operators (Meyers, n.d, pp.8-9). Mainstream tour operators are the ones who sell mainstream tour packages like air, sea, sand sun to the customers while the niche tour operators serve highly specified tour packages like beaches but of a lower standard. The major mainstream companies in UK are Thompson or Thompson Holidays, Thomas Cook, Airtours and First Choice. The products offered by them are the beaches in locations like the Caribbean, Thailand and Malaysia. A number of specialist tour companies have also come up in UK as there is little competition among the specialist tour operators. Major tour operators- introduction Thompson or Thompson Holidays is a part of TUI travel PLC (Cruiseship ratings and reviews all cruises with operator Thompson Holidays, n.d). The company known originally as Thompson Tour Operations was renamed as Thompson Holidays in 1997. It was floated in the London stock exchanges in 1998. Thomas Cook was started in 1841 by a person named Thomas Cook. He floated his company commercially in 1845 for the first time. A travel brochure was also provided by it for the first time (Thomas Cook history, n.d). Airtours is well known for providing innovative tour packages to its customers according to the changing lifestyles. It targets the cheap or lower budget market but because of the high level of innovation and ideas it has become one of the top market leaders in UK. (Airtours, n.d). First Choice is the fourth largest tour operator in UK. It was established in the beginning of the 1970s when two companies named Continental Air Brokers and Economy World Travel decided to merge and form Owners Abroad (Wholesale) Ltd. in 1973. Later, the company decided to change its corporate name and in 1994 the company was renamed as First Choice Holidays (First Choice Holidays PLC History, n.d). Since mid-1997, these four players occupy 53% of the holiday market in UK in 2000 (Pender, Sharpleyfirst, n.d, pp.48). Market Segmentation UK travel and tourism market is more oligopolistic in nature because of the presence of only four major players. The process of dividing the consumer base on the basis of common needs is known as market segmentation. The British travel market is divided into the following five segments. These five segments are categorized on the level of experience they have in traveling and the attitude and comforts they seek from the travel experiences. • Self-Challengers • Comfort Adventurers • Cocoon Travelers • Pushing Boundaries • Taste amp. Try Self-Challengers are the groups who are more affluent economically and are highly educated. They are most likely to be unmarried and between 18 to 75 years of age. Australia seems to be the favorite holiday destination amongst the self challengers. They are the travelers who go to holidays with a learning quest. Comfort Adventurers are the ones who have the curiosity to visit the places before they are visited by the local market. They do not compromise with safety and comforts. Cocoon Travelers are the ones who take inspiration from newspapers and experiences of others. They are basically married, having