Table of contents
1.1. Process of purchasing decisions
1.2. Changes in consumer behaviou
This assignment deals with the concept of marketing communications based on the example of the German tour operator TUI (Tourism Union International). The company was established in 1986 and is now the German market leader in the sector of leisure travel.
In the first part of this assignment the process of purchasing decisions in the light of consumer behaviour will be analysed. Then the changes in buying behaviour will be examined and their impact on TUI will be demonstrated. The second part discusses the respective steps of the planning process of an advertising campaign and its implementation on the tour operator. The assignment ends with a recommendation for the company, stressing different tools which can be integrated in the marketing communication mix.
1.1. Process of purchasing decisions
Everyday people make purchase decisions which happen mostly unconsciously. Research suggests that customers go through a five-stage decision making process in any purchase (Tutor 2 u 2010). In his book “Simply Marketing Communications” Chris Fill presents a figure which shows the five stages in the general purchasing decisions process. It is important for marketers to take note of these stages and the behaviour of the consumers in the several stages because “Marketing Communications can impact upon any or all of these stages with varying levels of potential effectiveness” (Fill 2006). The first stage is the Problem Recognition. This occurs “when there is a perceived difference between an individual’s current position and their ideal state” (Fill 2006). In relation to a potential client of the tour operator TUI the problem recognition could be the following: A stressed man goes home from work and sees the advertisement of TUI on a big placard at the train station. When he sees the striking picture of a beach or the beautiful nature, he might recognise that his current state is not desirable. He starts to think about a journey.
In the second stage, the so called Information Search the prospective customer who has identified a problem “will search for information in an attempt to resolve it” (Fill 2006). The man might now go at home and start to search in the internet or in magazines for a journey. Maybe he would go to a travel agency to receive guidance. In the next stage, the Alternative Evaluation stage, the prospective customer evaluates different suppliers in order to make the optimum choice. The tourist buying decision is “an investment with no tangible rate of return and the purchase is often prepared and planned through savings made over a considerable period of time” (Moutinho 1987). Therefore it is important that TUI sets apart from other tour operators. The marketing should persuade the potential customer that the journey will satisfy his needs.
The forth stage is the Purchase Decision. In this stage “the buyer may develop a predisposition to make a purchase” (Fill 2006). This means that he may buy the product of which he thinks that it would be the best choice.
In the last stage, the Post-Purchase Evaluation the customer might perceive a feeling of regret after the purchase. Possible reasons for this are for example that the product fails to reach expectations. The customer either becomes aware of a superior alternative or other people provide dissonant information of the product. In order to avoid this it is important to create after sales marketing, by “stressing the positive features of the product, the emotional enhancement usage brings or by providing more information to assist its use and application” (Fill 2006) to assure the customer that he has made the right decision.
1.2. Changes in consumer behaviour
Every company is faced with changes in the buying behaviour of their customers. One reason for this is a constant change of many factors. For example economical factors like regulatory changes, technology changes, competition, fiscal policy and monetary policy (Management Study Guides 1998). Moreover changes in consumer’s buying behaviour are influenced by individual`s own personality traits because these personality traits do not remain the same but change with the life cycle (Management Study Guides 1998). It is important to mention that every individual handles changes, for example changes in its income or in its general lifestyle, in a different way.
For marketers it is necessary to examine and to understand the changes in buying behaviour to be able to adapt their advertisement to the customer’s need.
A current change in consumer’s buying behaviour in the tourism industry is the increased tendency to travel. A study of the Commerzbank suggests that in 2011 the Germans are willing to spend more money than ever before for vacation trips. They will spend 3.2% more for travelling abroad than in 2010. The reason for this increase is the economic boom, which brings more money in the vacation funds of companies and private people. Also the trend towards all-inclusive journeys, longer stays and cruises is because of the increased revenue and the general prosperity of many Germans this year (Stern 2011). It is outlined that the change in buying behaviour of German tourists goes towards more luxury and extravagant journeys. As travellers become more sophisticated in their vacationing behaviour, TUI offers more sophisticated journeys to fulfil traveller needs. The brand TUI premium was introduced to cover the exalted standard in the product portfolio.
Another relevant change in consumer’s buying behaviour TUI has to deal with is the trend to buy journeys in the internet and the decreasing information advance of the travel agencies. Customers inform themselves more and more in the internet about the details of a journey they would like to buy. In an article of the magazine “Marketing Börse” H. Weiland says that the internet changes the travel industry significantly. Low-Cost-Carriers, new competitors like Expedia and Opodo and the customers’ increased familiarity with the medium online provide a serious threat for the conventional tour operator ( Marketing Börse 2006). There are target groups who show a new buying behaviour which has not been served by the tour operator until now. TUI had always offered journeys in a comprehensive package. But now it also has to serve target groups who arrange the pieces of their journey on their own in the internet. Therefore specific concentration is paid to the online marketing. The tour operator has to be active in the online-business to be able to keep up with its competitors.