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Tourism and Hospitality Marketing
the Alabama Outdoor Adventure (AOA) Center
The Alabama Outdoor Adventure Center began operations seven years ago. It offers boating services, horseback riding, and mountain bike rental services at the Horseshoe Bend Military National Park in the Tallapoosa region, East Alabama. The owners expect to expand the scope of their recreational activities as well as the size of their facility to enable them meet changing client needs and the ever-rising customer demand.
Since its inception, the center has contributed positively to the Dadeville community, operating as a competitive outdoor recreation facility and focused, at the same time, on ensuring that its customers are kept satisfied. This business plan focuses primarily on the center's operational aspect. It defines AOA Center as a combination of two complementary functions - a recreation and sales center on one hand, and a customer-care facility devoted to ensuring that all persons are accorded equal opportunities to enjoy the beauty of nature. This undertaking presents a strategic plan for both components, and outlines a strategic direction that the center could take to increase its market share.
AOA has always had an edge over its competitors particularly because, unlike many other recreational centers, it offers multiple, complementary outdoor adventures; and for this, it has drawn the attention of both customers and critics. In the same spirit of customer satisfaction, AOA owners have noted the increasing number of persons with disabilities visiting the Horseshoe Bend National Park and have identified this as a promising business opportunity. On average, approximately 5% of people visiting the park annually have some form of mobility disability. Such persons have, for years, been limited to boat-riding at the Canyon, because at present, that is the only activity that has been adapted to suit their mobility needs. Can you imagine how frustrating it is to engage in the same activity over and over, with no clue what the rugged terrains and hilly mountains on the other side of the Horseshoe have to offer?
AOA understands that its success depends on how well it can transform ideas into real-life solutions for its clients. In this regard, the owners undertake to include a paratransit road tour service to the center's adventure list, where persons with disabilities will enjoy a road tour across the three-mile nature trail in vehicles designed to suit both their mobility and adventure needs. The paratransit road tour service, discussed in detail in the plan, presents every indication that if properly-executed, it is capable of yielding a 30% increase in revenues over FY2015. This plan is meant to solicit funds for the implementation of the same. The program is not only necessary, but also enthusiastic, and we believe that with a dedicated staff, volunteers with a vision, and the necessary financial resources, it could be a successful benchmark for disability-appreciation in America.
The adventure travel market has, and continues to undergo rapid growth, accompanied by an enormous availability and variability of adventure recreational products. The center targets adventure-seeking travelers with active lifestyles, and the owners view this as a promising opportunity, particularly because of the increased emphasis on healthy and active living.
The Center is co-owned by Sherry and Eddie Green. Mr. Green acts as president, and Mrs. Green as his vice. They both have first-hand experience in communication and management, and a combined fifteen years of professional education.
Apart from its innovative and experienced leadership, the AOA center enjoys a number of other strengths, including being strategically located between the towns of Dadeville and New Site, both of which offer political, demographic, and economic environments favorable for outdoor adventure programs. Further, in just two years of operation, the AOA center has managed to build a strong reputation for itself, particularly in regard to customer service. The owners reckon that in a budding industry such as this, where success is based on customer perceptions more than it is in reality, client satisfaction is key.
From the very onset, AOA Center has been developed through the transformation of hypothetical ideas into real-life solutions capable of meeting the changing needs of clients. It all began in 2005 when Sherry Green, then a postgraduate student at Auburn University, undertook a project for a marketing class, where she developed a marketing and operation strategy for a venture that would provide mountain bikes on a rental basis to adventure-seeking travelers on tour at the Horseshoe Bend National Park. Her husband, Eddie, saw this as a promising idea and immediately acted on it, transforming it into a real venture. Seven years down the line, what began as a local bike-rental venture with five Mountain bikes and a computer in a one-roomed office has transformed into a nationally-advertised outdoor recreational center with tour equipment, high-quality Mountain bikes, twenty horses, and a warehouse, right at the heart of the State of Alabama.
The same determination and ambition to see dreams transformed into reality informed the owners' decision to offer road paratransit tour services. To most people, the creation of the National Park Service Special Programs and Populations Branch and the subsequent passage of the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Act in 1990 were just some of the many ways through which the government sought to increase opportunities for persons with disabilities; but for the owners of AOA Center, this was an opportunity for persons with disabilities to take part in outdoor recreation activities (EEOC, 2014; FHWA, 2014)
This faction represents an emerging market often unable to enjoy the benefits of outdoor recreation because their participation is constrained by, among other things, psychological issues and mobility limitations (Williams, Vogelson, Green & Cordell, 2004). In their research geared at assessing the viability of their project, AOA owners discovered that very little literature exists in regard to the constraints and participation patterns of person with disabilities in outdoor recreation activities. Based on their experience, they estimate that 5% of the annual visitors at the park have some form of mobility disability. Such visitors are mostly limited to boat riding at the canyon because all other areas are either too steep or too terraced for them. In an informal session with Mr. Green, one of the center's former customers, a 60-year-old disabled male, reveals that he stopped visiting the park because he was tired of doing the same things over and over, and not being able to engage in his activity of choice.
Currently, there are only three road tour providers serving the 3-mile road at the park, but none specializes in the transportation of persons with disabilities. Often times, the available providers are overwhelmed, and those who fail to make an advanced booking with the superintendent have to fight their way to the tour services. For this reason, the AOA Center identifies the need to embrace the idea of providing paratransit road tour services.
Features and Attributes
Operating under the slogan 'A Special Outdoor Experience for a Special Group', the paratransit tour vehicles will be designed as to make the disabled client's experience at the park solemn, complete with swing-out seats and fitted racks for such mobility devices as wheelchairs (Rosenbloom, 2007). Private vehicles will be availed to those persons unable to transfer from their mobility devices.
The paratransit road tour service will address the mobility needs of adventure-seeking clients constrained by disabilities by increasing their ability to experience the beauty of the Horseshoe Bend beyond the canyon. To the greater American community, the service will act as benchmark for disability-appreciation, and will reinforce the idea that the provision of opportunities for persons with disabilities begins with the individual.
30% increase in revenues over FY 2015
5% increase in market share
Customer Segregation and Target Market
AOA Center's market consists of approximately 10,000 adventure-seeking customers in the travel and recreation industries. This includes both clients with mobility disabilities, and those without mobility disabilities. The center currently enjoys approximately 12% of the Horseshoe Bend National Park's client base, and the owners expect the same to hit 17% by the end of FY 2017.
The paratransit service targets customers with mobility disabilities. Our segmentation process is based on a 2004 study by Williams and his colleagues, who found that persons with disabilities are often times more likely to participate in arch sites visits, nature studies, and boat-riding (canoeing) activities, because their participation in other activities is constrained by a number of crucial factors (p. 92). The most statistically significant of these factors were -- inadequate information, inadequate transportation and support systems, and cost limitations (Williams, et al., 2004, p. 93).
Based on this framework, we have divided our persons-with-disability market into three groups -- disabled persons constrained from engaging in their preferred outdoor activity by the high costs of the same; disabled persons constrained by information inadequacies; and disabled persons constrained by inadequate transportation and support systems. We estimate that each segment represents one-third of the entire persons-with-disability market.
Target Market Segmentation Strategy
The paratransit road tour service will target all…[continue]
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