Internationalisation is increasingly becoming a key strategy for the survival of many tourism businesses.
However, many tourism companies have not previously defined a strategy on foreign markets. This means they risk being unprepared for certain activities, and can end up investing a significant effort into something that does not give the expected results.
If you want to start a process of internationalisation in your tourism company, you must first prepare an international marketing plan. You must be clear on what this is, as well as the points to keep in mind when developing it.
We will discuss the following in this article:
An international marketing plan is the document that defines and details the information about where you want to go with the company from an international point of view – and how you will go about doing it.
It is therefore the ‘guide’ for the internationalisation process. It will be adapted to the target market and will establish the various steps that have to be developed.
But before you define where you want to go, you need a ‘reflection’ period. You must analyse the initial situation and inform yourself about the advantages and difficulties in each internationalisation process.
Before tackling the elements to consider when developing your international marketing plan, you should consider the following tips:
Below you can see the minimum that any international marketing plan should include:
You must first carry out a preliminary assessment to identify factors that may influence the development of the plan. You should consider the business environment and the circumstances, as well as strengths and weaknesses.
The assessment should also include aspects such as:
You should sum up the result of the assessment in a SWOT analysis.
List all capabilities, resources and competitive advantages that will help the company make the most of new market opportunities.
List all aspects that limit or reduce the capacity for enterprise development. These involve potential difficulties of the internationalisation process which you must control and overcome.
List all pressures in the market environment that may prevent or hinder the growth of the company or the execution of its strategies. Likewise, consider pressures in the environment and industry that may increase risks.
List all aspects that could represent a possibility to improve profitability, increase revenues and strengthen competitive advantages.
It is vital to choose ‘candidate’ target markets. Choose candidates for the short and medium term, establishing a ranking of priority countries. Justify your choices according to different variables, such as market niches, competition, taxes, etc.
You must thoroughly analyse the market(s) that interest you. Consider:
You should also conduct an environmental analysis, including the study of economic, cultural, political and legal variables in each market.
Consider competitors, the products and/or services they offer, the countries in which they operate, their strategies, etc.
Examine factors such as:
Define the element, support, intermediary or instrument that will allow you to introduce your business to the overseas market at the same level as the competition.
Ask yourself how you will enter the market: joint venture, franchise, etc. For more information entering international markets, watch the tutorial on expanding a tourism business into Europe.
Decide which line of services will be introduced into each of the markets. Consider if you will need to adjust your services to fit the markets (for cultural or legal reasons, etc.).
Incorporate a mix of promotional activities to create as much communication as possible. Decide which methods of promotion to use – they could include:
Determine if it is relevant to have a pricing strategy in order to:
The decisions made will influence the following:
Each year, both strategic and operational objectives should be reviewed to correct or adapt the plan to the current situation.