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Table of Contents

Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 2
Situation Analysis ........................................................................................................................... 2
Environmental Analysis .......................................................................................................................... 2
SWOT Analysis ........................................................................................................................................... 3
E-Marketing Strategic Plan .......................................................................................................... 4
Segmentation and Targeting.................................................................................................................. 4
Differentiation ........................................................................................................................................... 5
Positioning .................................................................................................................................................. 5
E-Marketing Objective................................................................................................................... 5
E-Marketing Strategy ..................................................................................................................... 6
Implementation Plan ..................................................................................................................... 8
Evaluation and Budget .................................................................................................................. 9

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Introduction

Mitsui Travel is an independent and privately owned full service travel agency, which
specialized in assisting customers who are planning to travel to Japan (Mitsui Travel 2014).
Located in Sydney since 1977; Mitsui offers variety of Japan-related pre-planned tour packages,
ski packages, rail pass, and accommodation. However, the major aspect of Mitsui’s service lies
on its flexibility and expertise in terms of building a personalized itinerary for individual and
family who plan to travel to Japan (Mitsui Travel 2014).

The travel agency industry- where Mitsui operates in- has been dramatically changed due to the
significant rise of online tourism (Dixit et al. 2006). The advancement of Internet has resulted in
a rapid rise of direct bookings and reservations aided by the invention of specialist software and
GDS sites (Bergin-Seers et al. 2006). Consequently, this phenomenon gave rise to the
significance of electronic-marketing (E-marketing) for travel agencies around the world. With a
clear E-Marketing plan, any travel agent- including Mitsui- can better integrates Internet into
their traditional business method. Hence, the purpose of this report is to establish an E-
Marketing plan for Mitsui which focused on Japan as the primary travel destinations.

Situation Analysis

Environmental Analysis

With regards to legal environment, the major issues that arose for online travel retailer is the
closure of licensing and Travel Compensation Fund (TCF) requirement as of mid to late 2015.
(Australian Consumer Law 2014). TCF was first established to protect Australian consumers if
a licensed travel agent either becomes insolvent or unable to financially reimburse customer
when transaction failed. Overtime, TCF is no longer effective due to the increasing number of
customers who book their travel with online overseas agents (Orr 2012). Consequently,
Australian online travel agent was disadvantaged due to their liability of paying regulatory TCF
cost, which is not mandatory for overseas company. This recent change is a significant
opportunity because without the burden of TCF cost, Mitsui can allocate the money to other
causes that can improve its competitiveness among overseas travel agent.

In relation to technological environment, social media, such as Facebook, Instagram, and


Twitter, has become a phenomenon that’s hard to be missed. Social media is now incorporated
into how customer’s research and book their holiday right into their on-going engagement
during and after the holiday (Nelios 2014). Research showed that 70% of travellers are updating
their Facebook account while still on vacation. Another important factor is the usage shift from
desktop device into non-desktop device such as tablets and smartphone. Studies showed that

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40% of online traffic related to travel activities, now comes from non-desktop device (Gonzalo
2013). Both factors bring major opportunity to Mitsui as social media brings significant
benefits with low cost requirement. Meanwhile, non-desktop device can significantly increase
customer’s accessibility of Mitsui’s E-Marketing effort.

With regards to market related factor, research in 2013 showed that the number of people
shifting into online travel websites has doubled from 2007’s figure. However, this figure only
represents 14% of the 21,000 people surveyed. In fact, 50% still prefer to consult with a
traditional travel agent when booking overseas travel (Wallace 2013). Hence, this factor is a
major threat as Mitsui specializes in outbound travel to Japan. Another important factor is the
increasing popularity of Japan as a destination for Australian travellers. In 2014, the number of
Australian travelers in Japan has increased by 18.5% from 2012’s figures (Majumdar 2014).
Consequently, this is a major opportunity for Mitsui to increase their sales and profitability.

In terms of competitive environment, Mitsui is facing competition from other online travel
agencies that specialized in arranging travel to Japan. In particular, those competitors are JTB
Australia and Travel Japan by HIS. While both of their websites are well designed, direct online
booking is not available for customers. Thus, there’s an opportunity for Mitsui to enjoy the
benefits of being the first mover among those two travel agent, in utilizing website as an E-
Commerce platform. Furthermore, Mitsui also faced competition from leading general travel
agent, such as Flight Center and Expedia. Upon observation, both competitors offer more
limited Japanese merchandise selection in comparison to Mitsui. Most of its merchandise is
limited to only Tokyo and Osaka, which are the two biggest cities in Japan. Since Mitsui offer
wider selection of merchandise by also incorporating smaller Japanese cities into their tour,
accommodation, and flight offers; this factor can be perceived as a major opportunity.

SWOT Analysis

The SWOT analysis is presented in the table form below. All opportunity and threats listed are
identified through the environmental analysis.

Strength Weakness Opportunity Threats


1 Specialization & Lack of expertise in Utilization of social media as low Preference of
expertise on arranging integrating internet to cost platform of consumer to
travel to Japan. their brick and mortar E-Marketing strategy consult with
store traditional travel
agent when
booking overseas
travel
2 Travel accreditation as Ineffective Increasing popularity of Japan as a
member of IATA optimization of their destination for Australian travellers
& JATA website

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3 Strong customer service Lack of reputation & Abolishment of licensing and TCF
culture recognition in online requirement, which increased
travel agent sector competitiveness among overseas
travel agent
4 Strong relationship with Be the first mover in utilizing
Japanese-related travel E-Commerce platform among other
supplier travel agent that specialized in Japan
5 Limited Japanese- related selection
of merchandise in general travel
agent (only focus in big cities)

It should be noted that Opportunity4 could only be achieved if Mitsui succeed to overcome
Weakness1. Moreover, by achieving Opportunity 4, then Weakness2 is automatically overcome.
Hence, Mitsui need to build an expertise in integrating Internet into their brick and mortar store
by either working with an E-Marketing Consultant or through training and development effort
in this area. In addition, Strength2 can also be used to take advantage of Opportunity3. As travel
licenses will be no longer required to be displayed in the webpage, some customers might be
hesitant to make a transaction. As Mitsui has two accreditations under their name, it might help
to reduce customer’s perceived risk since it’s credibility is validated.

E-Marketing Strategic Plan

Segmentation and Targeting

In terms of geographic segmentation, the target market of this E-Marketing plan is Australian
citizen with no specific state, city and region due to the wide reach of Internet. While for
demographic segmentation, the target market is upper middle class individual and decision
maker in family or group of friends with no specific gender and ethnicity target. In particular,
we are targeting both late generation X and early generation Y. To be more specific, generation
X consist of people who was born from 1965 to 1980 while generation Y consist of people who
was born from 1980 to 1995 (Elliot et al. 2010). While generation Y seemed to be a lot more
tech savvy than generation X, research showed that there were more late generation X classified
as “digital adults” based on their online engagement, sophistication, and habits (Hartwell 2010).

As of psychographic segmentation, the target of this E-Marketing plan is an individual or


decision maker in a family or group of friends who belongs to the experiencers and achievers
group in the VALS framework. Experiencers are heavy users of packaged and electronic media
and like to spend time socializing (Elliot et al. 2010). Thus, experiencers are avid users of social
media to inform their friends the various events in their life (Breman 2012). Meanwhile,
achievers primarily delve in functional Internet activities including conducting online travel
booking. Moreover, achievers often use social media to paint a “perfect life” (Breman 2012).

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In terms of behavioral segmentation, the benefit sought by target market is primarily
convenience. They seek to be presented with complete information and various alternatives of
travelling to Japan in one single place, where they can book their choice whenever and
wherever they are. In terms of usage, our target market is both new and returning customer, who
predominantly uses tablet, PC, or smartphone to do their online activities.

In overall, this E-Marketing plan applied a niche marketing strategy by engaging a


concentrated marketing approach in one segment with heavy focus on Japan as the primary
travel destinations and strong service culture.

Differentiation

This E-Marketing plan strives to achieve service differentiation and site atmospherics
differentiation. As customer service has been a strong point of Mitsui’s brick and mortar store,
it will be easier to transfer such customer service culture into their E-Marketing effort. With site
atmospheric differentiation, Mitsui are required to develop a web or social media page that is
user friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and provide appropriate content (Strauss and Frost 2014).
These two differential points will significantly help to increase Mitsui’s awareness, recognition
and credibility in the online travel sectors.

Positioning

Mitsui aim to position themselves as specialized expert in all aspects of travelling to Japan
with strong dedication to customer satisfaction through its service culture and well-designed
Internet platform. With strong dedication to customer satisfaction, Mitsui offer fast and
reliable response on electronic customer queries and booking process.

E-Marketing Objective

The objectives of this E-Marketing plan are established within a time frame of two years (2015-
2017). In particular, the objectives are to: (1) increase the awareness and recognition of Mitsui
in the online travel sector through increasing the number of website visitors by 12%, (2) online
sales accounts for 20% of total sales (brick and mortar +web), (3) maintain customer
satisfaction by achieving a sentiment of feedback into 6:1 (positive: negative), and (4) maintain
a minimum online operating profit levels of 13%.

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E-Marketing Strategy

In terms of product strategies, this E-Marketing plan involves an improvement or revisions


of existing product strategy. Hence, it involves the maximization and improvement of
Mitsui’s current Website by utilizing it as an e-commerce platform where Mitsui can sell their
merchandise (tour packages, ski packages, Japan rail pass, and accommodation). This
improvement strategy is necessary as Mitsui’s current website is underutilized. Currently, it
only serves as an online brochure rather than a tool to capitalize the online tourism opportunity.

The website will also be revamped to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate as Mitsui’s
current website lack those two qualities. Moreover, this website should also be designed to
accommodate both desktop and non-desktop users as it might requires slight changes in layout
design. In terms of branding, this strategy will utilize the current E-Marketing brand and
Internet domain name to avoid alienation of existing brick and mortar customer. Moreover,
since Mitsui aim to differentiate themselves by their exceptional service, online chat bots will
be installed within the website so that customer can communicate with Mitsui’s staff in real
time.

With regards to pricing strategy, this E-Marketing involves the utilization of dynamic pricing
strategy, particularly segmented pricing where Mitsui will sell their goods and service at two
or more different prices based on segment differentiation (Strauss and Frost 2014). By applying
this strategy, consumer who booked their accommodation within 2 months before the actual
date will be quoted a full price. On the other hand, consumer who book earlier will be quoted
with 10% discount. Promotional pricing strategy will also be applied to encourage first
purchase and close a sale. Through this strategy, customers are encouraged to book their travel
within a period of time to get a special price for it.

Through the integration of Internet in Mitsui’s business model, a direct distribution model
will be applied in the distribution strategy. Mitsui will sell directly to consumers through its
Website, which act as an E-Commerce platform. As a result, the website serves transactional
functions, where it will be use to facilitate contact with buyers and processing transaction. The
merchandise sold (e.g flight ticket) and booking confirmation will be delivered in an electronic
form through the utilization of email.

In terms of marketing communication/ promotion strategy, website is not the only platform
that will be utilized. Social media will be incorporated as a low cost platform to increase
awareness and engagement of target market. Specifically, a Facebook page and Twitter account

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would be created so that consumer can research information, validate the credibility of Mitsui,
raise queries, and post their comment or feedback. Not only aiding as a platform for
communication with customers, these social media also helps to build and strengthen the
positioning of Mitsui. Instagram account should also be created, as it is an effective platform to
attract and lure potential customers by posting beautiful photos of Japan. Hence, Instagram help
to promote Japan as a tourism destination and also help to raise awareness of any promotional
pricing that Mitsui have at a particular period of time.

In addition, part of the marketing strategy is to also create a blog within Mitsui’s website. This
blog will be used to provide tips, advice, and guidance regarding travelling to various cities in
Japan. For example, the blog could post a guide on the do’s and don’t regarding Japanese dining
etiquette and table manner or a guide on the best cheap restaurants in Japan. In overall, the post
should be fun, light hearted and more importantly entice customers. By doing so, Mitsui can
also create engagement with customers, which would hopefully result in brand loyalty.

As the online travel sector is highly competitive, it is important for Mitsui to get to the top of
Google search pages. Consequently, creating a Google AdWords is a highly significant part of
this E-Marketing plan. Through Google AdWords, the link of Mitsui’s website will be
displayed at the top page when target market search relevant keyword or when they browsed
websites with themes related to planning or arranging holiday trip to Japan (Google 2014).
Another benefit of Google AdWords relies on its pay-per-click system, which can abolish the
risk of wasting money on ineffective promotional effort. In fact, Google Adword also offered
the option to set maximum cost per day, which can help to control promotional expenses.

As part of customer relationship management, Mitsui could use database marketing to send
relevant and persuasive communication at target market. This is possible by requiring customers
to create an account before they are able to book. Hence, the information stored can be used to
build a record of its needs, preferences and interest (Strauss and Frost 2014).

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Implementation Plan

Strategy Description Responsibility Schedule


Product S1 Improvement of *Finance: source fund
Mitsui’s website to *IT: search web developer & oversee the Start: Jan2015
facilitate E-Commerce process Launch: May2015
transaction *Marketing: ensure web content are ready
before contacting web developer
S2 Revamping website *Finance: source fund Start: Jan2015
design & accommodate *IT: search web developer & oversee process Launch: May2015
non-desktop user *Marketing: communicate with web developer
to create a design & layout, which align with
Mitsui’s positioning
S3 Utilization of current E- *IT: working together with web developer Continuous process
Marketing brand & *Marketing: ensure that Mitsui branding is 2015-2017
domain name consistent within the website
S4 Installation of online *Finance: source fund Start: Jan2015
chat bots *IT: work together with web developer Launch: May2015
*HR: allocate staff to be responsible for online Continuous process
chat bot (2015-2017)
Price S1 Apply Dynamic pricing *Marketing: set price based on segment Preparation:Jan2015
strategy differentiation Start: May2015
(Segmented Pricing) *IT: ensuring that prices quoted in website are Continuous process
correct (2015-2017)
*Accounting: ensuring that priced set will
bring healthy contribution margin
S2 Apply Promotional *Marketing: set price & date for each Start & End
pricing promotional period depend on marketing
*IT: ensuring that prices quoted in website are objective & available
correct merchandise
*Accounting: ensuring that priced set will
bring healthy contribution margin & profit

Distribution S1 Employ direct *IT: ensuring that webpage is functioning Start: after web is
distribution model properly launched in
(transactional function) *Frontline staff: process booking transaction & May2015
answer online queries Continuous process
(2015-2017)
Promotion S1 Utilization of *Marketing: Start: Jan2015
Facebook, Twitter and create Facebook, Twitter, & Intagram account Launch: May2015
Instagram & develop content for each platform Continuous process
(2015-2017)
S2 Create a blog within *IT: work with web developer to build the Preparation &
website blog develop content : Jan
*Marketing: create interesting article for the 2015
blog every 3 days Launch: May2015
Continuous process
(2015-2017)
S3 Create Google AdWord *Marketing: create the Adword & assign Preparation:Jan 2015
campaign appropriate keyword Launch: May2015
Continuous process
(2015-2017)

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S4 Apply database *IT: ensure system is working well Continuous process
marketing *marketing: observe customer account in (2015-2017)
website & create appropriate content for each
segment

As evident from the table, the implementation is primarily dependent with the launch of new
Mitsui’s webpage. Hence, it’s highly important that IT work closely with the web developer in
order to meet the May 2015 deadline.

Evaluation and Budget

Strategy Description Evaluation Criteria for the End of 2 Year plan Budget

Product S1 Improvement of Mitsui’s The number of visitors in website $15,000


website to facilitate E- • Increase by <10 - bad performance once off
Commerce transaction • Increase by10-19% - average performance &
• Increase by 12% - objective is met $100/ month
• Increase by >12% - excellent performance for web
Sales conducted through website accounts for 20% of maintenance
total sales
S2 Revamping website Site design allow visitors to easily navigate the
design & accommodate website, information are clear, high quality picture are
non-desktop user uploaded, and font are readable
The number of online visitors through non-desktop
device versus desktop device
• 50 : 50 – good performance
S3 Utilization of current E- Current Mitsui brick and mortar branding (e.g logo &
Marketing brand & dominant color) is incorporated into the website
domain name
S4 Installation of online chat Staff to answer customer queries through chatbot
bots within 30 seconds.
50% of customers who consult with staff through
chatbot, proceed to booked their flight, packages or
accommodation

Price S1 Apply Dynamic pricing Online operating profit level reached: -


strategy • <13% - bad performance
(Segmented Pricing) • 13 % - objective is reached
• >13% - excellent performance
S2 Apply Promotional Sales during promotional period increase by:
pricing • <20% - bad performance
• 20%-49% - average performance
• >49% - excellent performance
Distributi- S1 Employ direct distribution Booking confirmation must be send to customers email -
on model (transactional within 1 hour after customer booked their travel
function) After customers transferred their money, transaction
confirmation must be emailed within 2 days
Sentiment of feedback must be 6:1 (positive:negative)
Promotion S1 Utilization of Facebook, Facebook : page likes must reach at least 200 -
Twitter and Instagram Twitter : reach at least 200 followers
Instagram : reach at least 200 followers with average
50 likes for each pictures posted

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The number of website visitors through those 3 social
media accounts for at least 15% of total web visitors

S2 Create a blog within Each blog post is viewed by at least 15 visitors Initial $150
website Each blog post received at least 5 comments for web
developer to
create blog
S3 Create Google AdWord Each adWord created is clicked by at least 50 people $100/each
campaign each month month
Increase the number of website visitors by at least 15%
S4 Database marketing Number of transaction booked through persuasive $100/each
email sent to customers must at least reach 5% of total month for
sales maintenance

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