Designing travel and tourism operations

Saga´s timeless Tunisia

Term Paper, 2007

18 Pages, Grade: 1,9


Table of Contents

1. Terms of References

2. A company overview

3. Potential fail points on the “Timeless Tunisia Tour”

4. The understanding of problem solving

5. Reconciling the Operation Mix

6. Conclusion

1. Terms of References

Nowadays it is essential for a tour operator to have a very good management and especially a well thought-out service and operation management. More and more competitors come on the market and smaller companies will be eliminated by the bigger ones. So it is much important to create innovative products to satisfy the customer in every sense. However, at the mass of variety holiday and travel products, problems during the tour operation are predetermined.

On the following pages, one big United Kingdom tour operator is presented. Furthermore, one of their touring products will be checked according to problems which could emerge during operating the tour.

2. A company overview

According to demographical statistics in the industrial nations, the number of born babies is decreasing. By contrast, the number of people over fifty years increases.

The industry has recognized that fact and has come up with more and more newly designed products which are specific to this generation.

SAGA Leisure Ltd. with its head office in Folkestone / Kent is the biggest company in the UK and has solely products for people over fifty years.

Through a well thought-out marketing concept, SAGA has become a market leader in many areas, for example in the business fields of insurances and holidays for 50+ and today it is one of the biggest companies in the United Kingdom.

The business history of Saga began in 1951, when it was founded by Sydney de Haan. After the death of Sydney de Haan, his Son Roger inherited the business.

In 2004 he put the company up for an auction. The winner o f the auction was a management buyout backed by Charterhouse (This is Money, 2007).

Charterhouse pushed the development of SAGA in all business segments, especially in the segment of holiday /cruises and insurances and made a lot of profit.

In 2007 SAGA made a deal with Close Brothers to examine its future ownership options (This is Money, 2007).

Also in 2007, SAGA will come together with the AA a UK motorists' association one, another strong and trusted brand in the UK. Therefore they set the course for the future to become more powerful (SAGA Group, 2007).

SAGA is built up by different company segments. There is SAGA Magazine with more than 610,000 paying subscribers, SAGA Holiday, Insurance & Finance, Metromail, several radio stations and the newly established SAGA networking platform, a kind of “Facebook” for the older ones, according to an article written by Hamilton (Times Online, 2007).

But finally their major income comes from insurance, especially from motor and home (This is money, 2007).

Furthermore SAGA is very committed to benefit the under-privileged communities at destinations where SAGA is operating. They supporting sustainable projects, working together with the local communities and appear as sponsor for charitable projects (SAGA, 2007).

SAGA’s success is based on several factors. On the one hand, on a good Management, like the Group Chief Executive: Andrew Goodsell,

the Group Finance Director: Stuart Howard and the Group Marketing Director: Tim Bull. And on the other hand the approximately 3.900 employees (Yahoo Finance, 2007).

Furthermore, the mission Statement of a company should be essential. The problem is _ that you cannot find any SAGA Mission Statement, but putting all information about SAGA together, you can form one.

According to SAGA’s review 2004, the companies’ key values should be, to put the focus on people who are aged fifty and over and to offer best high class customer service, the best quality and specially designed and innovative products for the target group. The customer is their future, that’s why the customer satisfaction is a very important key element for the growth of the company.

Furthermore, SAGA’s employees are very well trained and will help the customer in all service aspects to satisfy them (SAGA Travelshop, 2007).

The last essential factor is SAGA’s customer database which gives the company access to over eight million people aged fifty or over (SAGA review, 2004).

One of the smallest business segments, with 181.800 customers in 2004 according to SAGA’s Review 2004, is the holiday and cruises segment. The holiday element was also the original business by which SAGA made their first profit. Today they offer travels to different destinations in Europe, especially the Mediterranean, long-haul holidays to North America, North Africa and Asia, which are the highest value products (SAGA Review, 2004).

One of the specific value products is the ten night’s half board “Timeless Tunisia Tour” with stays in three different five star hotels. It is an all inclusive package tour with a flight to Tunisia and back to Gatwick / England.

Also different excursions are included and some optional ones. Furthermore it is possible for the customer to book an extra service like a door-to-door chauffeur service (SAGA Travelshop, 2007).

It should be the ambition of every tour operator, to operate the tour, as best as possible. To reach that aim, it is necessary to design a blueprint chart.

According to Fitzsimmons and Fitzsimmons, (2004, p. 75) “…the service blueprint is a map or flowchart of all the transactions constituting the service delivery process”. This blueprint is almost the same, concerning an operational blueprint. In an operational blueprint, all operational processes will show. Furthermore, potential fail points should be examined (Fitzsimmons & Fitzsimmons, 2004, p. 75). An operational blueprint will be shown in the appendix.

3. Potential fail points on the “Timeless Tunisia Tour”

One potential fail point should be the fact of medical intricacies, especially on the trip to the Sahara desert. Normally a tour operator must guarantee that nobody of his clients has medical problems like acute heart conditions. It might happen that one of the clients has a heart attack in the desert and nobody knows what to do. This could also happen in other places like Tunisia which is a very hot country and there the bodies of older people could be more stressed than the younger ones.

In general, older people need special medical care. Of course everybody is responsible for themselves, but the tour operator has a special responsibility towards older people. He has to keep in mind under which circumstances these people will travel what they have to consider when they travelling to Tunisia.

The second fail point could be the accommodation including Food and Beverage. Tourists and especially older people claim a high standard of their accommodations. They demand a high quality service, safety, a quiet environment and a wide range of excellent, healthy food.

SAGA mentioned in its brochure that most of the hotels serve an international buffet menu. That could produce some problems regarding to the standard of the buffet. `International` means everything or nothing. Tourist destinations like Spain, Egypt or Tunisia are noted for their big buffets and that in some cases the food was prepared under unhygienic circumstances, which could cause diseases like diarrhoea, icterus and salmonella infection. Another point could be the quantity of food. Normally the hotel has to calculate the food for a mass of tourists, but if somebody appears just before closing the menu, they still have the right to get some food.

The problem of the quality of accommodation occurs in every country. A German four star hotel is not equal to a Spanish one and a British five star accommodation does not equal to a Tunisian hotel. This might cause problems. According to SAGA`s Tunisia eBrochure (2007) the three Tunisian hotels mentioned there, will be five star hotels. It could happen that tourists travel to Tunisia with a certain expectation of a British five star hotel and their expectations will not be met.

Regarding to the fact that mainly older people travel with SAGA, the company has to ensure that the hotel is suitable for the disabled. The hotel should be responsible regarding to older and disabled people, for example elevators and suitably equipped bathrooms should be offered.

Excursions are one of the catchiest parts of a trip. It is always very difficult to meet all expectations.

Some tourists might be fascinated by an excursion, whereas others might feel bored. The latter ones might start to grizzle all the time, get dissatisfied and demand their money back. That could happen especially with older people.

Furthermore, the problem of lost tourists, theft, robbery, closed sights, swindles on bazaars and unreasonable clothing could be fail points in that category.


Excerpt out of 18 pages


Designing travel and tourism operations
Saga´s timeless Tunisia
University of Birmingham
Operations Decision Making
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
437 KB
Designing, Operations, Decision, Making, operational, blueprint, SAGA, Leisure, fail points, tour, risks, problem solving, mix, soft, hard, problems, solving, tourism, operation, management, travel, design, crtical, UK, operator, 50+
Quote paper
Thomas Punzel (Author), 2007, Designing travel and tourism operations, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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