BUSINESS PLAN

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BUSINESS PLAN



Introduction to the Sample Plan

The following document is a sample of a finished business plan. In your final plan, you have the opportunity to elaborate on those ideas in your outline that you feel are most integral to your business. In composing your business plan, you can follow your outline as loosely or closely as you choose. For instance, in the sample plan, the Executive Summary, which is the last section of the Business Planning Wizard, is presented first in order to emphasize the most impressive features of the business. Your goal in composing a finished business plan is to construct the most comprehensive, thorough document possible, in order to attract investors and to confirm that you have taken the time to explore as many potential issues for your business as may arise.


Mr. Richard Carey
Canton Street
Seattle, Washington 22222


Dear Mr. Carey:

My attorney, Mr. William Hollands, suggested I write to you regarding my business, Northwind Traders. I am currently seeking funding, and I believe that my company would coincide with your interest in businesses relating to the travel industry makes my company a great investment for you.

Northwind Traders is positioned to take advantage of the significant market opportunities available in the customized travel-planning field. Through a professional approach to marketing, experienced management, and an emphasis on outstanding customer support and service, Northwind Traders can become the Greater Seattle area’s premier provider of planning services for European adventure travel through a strong marketing campaign, experienced management, and an emphasis on outstanding customer support and service. From that base, the company will expand to become a regional force.

We are seeking $83,500 in funding, and anticipate this to be the extent of the funds required. The funds will be used to refurbish the shop, to expand the staff, and to developincrease marketing activities, primarily our Web site and databasee development.

I appreciate your consideration of the business plan for Northwind Traders. I will contact you next week in approximately ten days to see if you have any questions andor to discuss how we may proceed. Thank you.

Sincerely,



Heather Mitchell
President



Table of Contents
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 1
DESCRIPTION OF THE COMPANY 1
MISSION STATEMENT 1
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES 1
FINANCIAL FORECAST 2
FINANCING REQUIREMENTS 2
HISTORY AND POSITION TO DATE 4
THE COMPANY’S MISSION 4
MANAGEMENT TEAM AND KEY PERSONNEL 4
SERVICES 6
TRANSPORTATION 7
COMPANY HISTORY 7
GUARANTEES AND WARRANTIES 8
BUSINESS STRUCTURE 8
MARKET RESEARCH 8
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL FACTORS 9
COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT 9
LONG-TERM OPPORTUNITIES 9
GEOGRAPHIC AREA 10
MARKET DESCRIPTION 10
TARGET CUSTOMERS 10
MARKET DEFINITION 10
MARKET OPPORTUNITIES 11
COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS 12
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES 13
COMPETITORS’ POSITIONS 14
POTENTIAL FUTURE COMPETITION 14
BUSINESS STRATEGY 15
CUSTOMER INCENTIVES 15
ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION 15
SALES AND MARKETING 16
COMMISSION 17
OPERATIONS 17
PREMISES 17
CHOICE OF LOCATION AND PREMISES 17
HOURS OF OPERATION 17
EQUIPMENT 18
STAFFING 18
FORECASTING 18
SALES FORECAST 18
CASH FLOW PROJECTIONS 20
INCOME STATEMENT 20
BALANCE SHEET 21
PERFORMANCE RATIOS 21
BREAK-EVEN 21
FUNDS REQUIRED AND TIMING 21
FUNDING OPTIONS 22
BUSINESS CONTROLS 23
ACCOUNTING SYSTEM 23
QUALITY CONTROL 23
NEW TOUR OPERATORS 23
CAPACITY 23
LONG-TERM GOALS 24
STEPS FOR ACHIEVING GOALS 24
POSITION 25
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH GROWTH 25
APPENDIX 1: MARKET RESEARCH 26
APPENDIX 2: FINANCIAL FORECASTS 35
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY 6
THE COMPANY 6
THE COMPANY’S MISSION 6
PRODUCTS AND SERVICES 6
MARKETING AND SALES TECHNIQUES 6
THE COMPETITION 7
TARGET MARKET 7
OPERATIONS 8
MANAGEMENT 8
FINANCIALS 8
FUNDING 9
HISTORY AND POSITION TO DATE 10
THE COMPANY’S MISSION 10
MANAGEMENT TEAM AND KEY PERSONNEL 10
SERVICES 12
TRANSPORTATION 13
COMPANY HISTORY 13
GUARANTEES AND WARRANTIES 14
BUSINESS STRUCTURE 14
MARKET RESEARCH 14
ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL FACTORS 15
COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT 15
LONG-TERM OPPORTUNITIES 15
GEOGRAPHIC AREA 16
MARKET DESCRIPTION 16
TARGET CUSTOMERS 17
MARKET DEFINITION 17
MARKET OPPORTUNITIES 18
COMPETITIVE ANALYSIS 19
COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGES 22
COMPETITORS’ POSITIONS 22
POTENTIAL FUTURE COMPETITION 23
BUSINESS STRATEGY 23
CUSTOMER INCENTIVES 23
ADVERTISING AND PROMOTION 24
SALES AND MARKETING 25
COMMISSION 25
OPERATIONS 25
PREMISES 25
CHOICE OF LOCATION AND PREMISES 26
HOURS OF OPERATION 26
EQUIPMENT 26
STAFFING 26
FORECASTING 27
SALES FORECAST 27
CASH FLOW PROJECTIONS 28
INCOME STATEMENT 28
BALANCE SHEET 29
PERFORMANCE RATIOS 29
BREAK-EVEN 29
FUNDS REQUIRED AND TIMING 30
FUNDING OPTIONS 31
BUSINESS CONTROLS 31
ACCOUNTING SYSTEM 31
QUALITY CONTROL 31
NEW TOUR OPERATORS 32
CAPACITY 32
LONG-TERM GOALS 32
STEPS FOR ACHIEVING GOALS 32
POSITION 33
RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH GROWTH 34
APPENDIX 1: MARKET RESEARCH 35
INTERNATIONAL ARRIVALS BY WORLD REGION 35
INDICATIONS OF TOURISM DEMAND IN 1997 36
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS FROM MARKET RESEARCH SURVEY 37
NORTHWIND TRADERS QUESTIONNAIRE 41
INTERNET GROWTH AND THE SALE OF TRAVEL SERVICES 44
APPENDIX 2: FINANCIAL FORECASTS 46
CASH FLOW PROJECTION YEAR ONE 46
INCOME STATEMENT, YEARS ONE TO THREE 48
BALANCE SHEET AT END OF YEAR ONE 51
SOURCES AND USES OF FUNDS 53




EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The Description of the Company
Northwind Traders, Inc. provides travel-planning services for European adventure vacations to residents ofindividuals in the Ggreater SeattleRedmond area. The service industry, including travel agencies, is one of the fastest growing business sectorsareas of the economy, and Northwind Traders intends to capitalize on the success of this industry by taking advantage of travel planning opportunities in the Pacific Northwest region.


President Heather Mitchell and Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jim Kim currently hold the company’s stock. Prior to starting the Northwind Traders travel agency, Ms. Mitchell cofounded, co-owned, and operated the Northwind Traders clothing store. She has selected a small team with extensive travel, sales, and computer skills, all of whom will be invaluable to the new venture. Her coworkers bring a combined total of 35 years of travel industry experience to the agency.

President Heather Mitchell and Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jim Kim currently hold the company’s stock.

The Company’s Mission Statement
The mission of Northwind Traders is to become the premier provider of adventure vacations for 25- to 35- year-old professionals. Northwind Traders is dedicated to building long-term relationships with customers through quality training and customer support, and wants to be recognized as the leading adventure vacation company in the Ggreater SeattleRedmond area. The company’s goal is to grow steadilyy expansion, becoming profitable by the secondthird year of operations.

Products and Services
Northwind Traders recently became the appointed agents for Margie’s Travel, one of the largest and most respected tour operators in the market. With virtually no marketing effort, Northwind Traders has sold some 200 adventure vacations in the past six months, netting $66,800 in commissions. Sales of insurance policies and other services have added to this total, and could potentially add much more. Northwind Traders offers a comprehensive range of services to support the adventurous traveler, including pre- and postvacation briefings, travel insurance, and a directory of services specific to each destination and activity.

Marketing and Sales Techniques
Northwind Traders believes that by concentrating on one market segment and one geographic destination, it will be able to deliver a service that is superior to anything currently on the market. Published research shows that tourism is a fast-growing business sector and that Europe is the favored location for most travelers. Adventure vacations, while a relatively new and small market, looks set for explosive growth.

In addition to targeting adventure travelers and working as the appointed agents for established travel tour firms, Northwind Traders plans to leverage its relationship with its sister business, Northwind Traders outdoor clothing shop, by offering discount services to shop customers.



The Competition
From desk and field market research carried out on 300 clients, it is clear that there is considerable potential in the adventure travel business. Research indicates that Northwind Traders’ target market finds it difficult to obtain reliable and authoritative advice on destinations and activities. Research also suggests that the customers in this market are unlikely to purchase their vacations again from the firm who provided their last vacation due to a lack of informative sales personnel. Northwind Traders will cater to these needs and develop a strong return-customer base.

Because they are currently the only travel agency focused on European adventure vacations that is located in the SeattleRedmond area, Northwind Traders has a substantial opportunity to dominate the region. In order to maintain and improve their current position in the region, they will need to invest in a Web site, as well as database software and systems, and in refurbishing the shop premises. Northwind Traders maintains the following advantages over existing competition:

ongoing support to clients;
extensive knowledge of the European adventure vacation field;
superior customer service;
specialized training programs for staff; informative Web site; competitive rates.

informative Web site
competitive rates

Target Market
From desk and field market research carried out on 300 clients, it is clear that there is considerable potential in the adventure travel business. Research indicates that Northwind Traders’ target market finds it difficult to obtain reliable and authoritative advice on destinations and activities. Research also suggests that the customers in this market are unlikely to purchase their vacations again from the firm who provided their last vacation due to a lack of informative sales personnel. Northwind Traders will cater to these needs and develop a strong return-customer base.

Operations
The Northwind Traders travel agency business will operate from a self-contained facility within the existing clothing shop, with its own shop window and entrance from the main street. The business will benefit both from its accessible location in the heart of SeattleRedmond’s downtown shopping district, as well as from the clientele it will gain through its proximity to the already established Northwind Traders clothing store.

Management
Prior to starting the Northwind Traders travel agency, Ms. Mitchell cofounded, co-owned, and operated the Northwind Traders clothing store. She has selected a small team with extensive travel, sales, and computer skills, all of whom will be invaluable to the new venture. Her coworkers bring a combined total of 35 years of travel industry experience to the agency.

Financial Forecasts
Northwind Traders started as a clothing store and has expanded into the travel agency business, with its focus on adventure travel in Europe. Last year, Northwind Traders clothing store made $200,400 profit on sales of $1,419,500 and employed seven people.

Northwind Traders expects that by concentrating full-time on selling adventure vacations, clients will increase from the present level of 200 (achieved over a six-month period with only a part-time effort), to at least 660 in the first year, 1400 in the second, and 2100 in the third. To help achieve this growth, Ms. Mitchell has identified three other tour operators she wishes to represent and has begun negotiations with them.

Selling between two and three vacations a day will allow the business to reach cash flow break-even in Year One, while makeing a modest profit in Year One. By the Year Two posttax profits should be $3040,0600, and will increase to nearly $496501,000 by Year Three.

FundingFinancing Requirementss Sought and Utilization
Ms. Mitchell plans to sell her shares in the clothing shop and invest the proceeds in the new travel business, Northwind Traders. In addition, she will be investing $41,750 of her own money in the business, and seeking $83,500 from outside sources. Return on shareholders capital by Year Three is projected to be close to 100 percent. The purpose of the business plan is to communicate this highly profitable opportunity to Ms. Mitchell’s partners in the clothing shop and to outside investors, and to attract interest in the venture.

Alternatively, Ms. Mitchell is considering loan finance made up of a $41,750 two-year loan and a credit line of $58,450. In total, about $125,250 will be needed to fund the business during the initial months.



HISTORY AND POSITION TO DATE

Northwind Traders, Inc. provides travel-planning services to individuals and businesses in the Ggreater SeattleRedmond area. The business is located at 1234 Franklin Street, SeattleRedmond, Washington.

The Company’s Mission
The goal of Northwind Traders is to be the leading provider of hassle-free European adventure vacations to the 25- to 35-year-old business professional market. Initially operating in the SeattleRedmond area inoutside of Seattle, Washington, Northwind Traders is rapidly expanding to sell its services worldwide via the Internet. Travel service sales is the fastest growing category of business to consumer activity on the Internet, and by the year 2000, the value of this market is estimated at $4.500M billion (see Appendix 1, Internet Growth and the Sale of Travel Services).

Our emphasis will be on providing a complete specialized service based on having a detailed knowledge of the vacation destination and adventure activities being offered. Market research indicates that the major criticism our type of client has of existing travel agencies is that their agents “know nothing about their products, they just open the catalogue and read,” to quote one of many disappointed travelers.

By capitalizing on our experience in the Northwind Traders clothing shop, we will be able to both advise and direct our clients to the type of travel equipment they will need to get the very best out of their vacation.

Management Team and Key Personnel
Heather Mitchell, President and CEO. Before founding Northwind Traders, Ms. Mitchell owned and operated Northwind Traders, an outdoor clothing shop in the Seattle area. Prior to that, she managed the Olympia branch of one of the larger regional chains of general travel agencies operating throughout western Washington, where she was responsible for managing the office systems and a staff of four. She has a degree in travel and tourism from State University.

In addition to Ms. Mitchell, team members Jim Kim and Richard Bready will be moving into the new venture on a full-time basis, and Amy Egert has been recently recruited to cover Saturdays and vacations. Freelance business consultant Jae Pak will be advising during the business’s changeover from clothing shop to adventure travel agency.

Jim Kim, Vice President Sales and Marketing. Prior to joining Northwind Traders, Mr. Kim worked for the marketing department of a major airline. His current responsibilities include the company’s direct marketing campaign and all sales-related issues.

Richard Bready, Office Manager. Twenty years as a travel agent has given Mr. Bready the ideal background for Northwind Traders. A knowledgeable salesperson, Mr. Bready’s expertise in the area of European travel enables him to entice the adventure traveler.

Amy Egert, Sales Assistant. After completing her undergraduate degree at the Institute of Art, Ms. Egert spent a year traveling abroad and joined the staff at Northwind Traders recently as a sales assistant.

Jae Pak, Business Consultant. With over 20 years of consulting experience in industries ranging from aerospace to technology to retail, Mr. Pak’s knowledge and guidance will be instrumental to the success of Northwind Traders.

The volunteer members of the Board of Directors provide guidance to the management and staff of Northwind Traders. The board meets twice yearly to discuss policy changes, review the mission statement, and update the business plan if needed.

Members include

Lisa Jacobson, retail store owner
Holly Barrett, CPA
Jo Brown, former travel agent
William Hollands, lawyer
Lisa Garmaise, retail store owner
Tony Chor, human resource manager
Prasanna Samarawickrama, caterer

Services
We are currently the appointed agents for Margie’s Travel, a major supplier in the market. Currently, Margie’s Travel offers some 40 different adventure vacation packages throughout Europe, including horse trekking in Iceland; above-the-clouds trekking on islands and in remote regions in such areas as Corsica and Norway; van-supported inn-to-inn bicycling; mountain biking and hiking adventure tours throughout France, Germany, Italy, and Austria; and ballooning across the Alps.



We intend to be appointed agents by three other major adventure travel tour firms with whom we are currently in negotiation:

Enchantment Lakes Corporation. Offers rafting, sea kayaking, and yachting trips around remote European rivers and coastline areas, covering such areas as the Adriatic, the Black Sea, and Turkey.

West Coast Sales. Offers adventure vacation packages to corporate clients to use as incentives and rewards, and as part of management development programs. They are particularly strong in France, Italy, and Germany.

Exploration Air. Specializes in adventure vacations in Eastern Europe and former Soviet countries, covering Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, and Latvia.

These are three relatively new and small tour operators, but they have acquired a reputation for innovation and reliability–and they are currently underrepresented.

In addition, we will offer a comprehensive range of complementary services to support the adventurous traveler, ensuring that they will have a safe, enjoyable, and memorable experience. These services will include insurance, pre- and postvacation briefing packs, and a directory of advice and information services particular to each destination and adventure activity.

Transportation Systems
The vacations we will offer will use all principal travel systems, including planes, trains, buses, and where appropriate, taxis. We will aim for a standard of travel higher than that offered by the general travel industry. The feeling we are looking for is definitely not that which is engendered by the backpacker market.

Company History
Five years ago Heather Mitchell cofounded Northwind Traders, an outdoor clothing shop in SeattleRedmond, Washington. Over the years, Northwind Traders has extended its product range to include everything the adventurous traveler could want, from tents and sleeping bags to maps, guidebooks, and insurance. The clothing shop has sales of $1,420,000 per year (see Table 1), makes a gross profit of $202,400, and employs seven people, either full- or part-time. A mail-order service is now provided by catalogue and via a new Web site.

Table 1. Northwind Traders Clothing Shop Performance Over Past Five Years

Year 1 2 3 4 Last Year
Sales $183,700 $422,510 $669,670 $1,023,710 $1,421,170
Gross Profit $62,625 $167 $100,701 $133,602 $201,916

Increasingly, shop customers have asked for advice on adventurous places to go on vacation.

Last year Northwind Traders acquired an agency from Margie’s Travel, one of the largest and most respected tour operators in this market, and began to promote and sell their products.

In the six months that we have been selling travel agency products, some 200 vacation packages, at an average cost of $3340, have been sold. Northwind Traders’ commission on the sales has been $66,800 (10 percent commission). In addition, 35 insurance policies have been sold at an average price of $167, yielding $1754 (30 percent commission).

Heather Mitchell, one of Northwind Traders’s founding partners, intends to sell her shares in the store and to concentrate on setting up the new travel business, Northwind Traders.

Guarantees and Warranties
Our clients will be protected financially against either our own or our tour operator’s failure, by virtue of the ARC bonding held by our principals. We will only use vacation providers who can provide 24-hour emergency support services for clients while on vacation.


Business StructureLegal Status
Northwind Traders is incorporated under the laws of the state of Washington. The company has authorized 10,000 shares, 6000 of which are owned by President and CEO Heather Mitchell. Vice President of Sales and Marketing Jim Kim owns 1000 shares, and the remaining shares are held by the company for future distribution.

In the next few weeks, the business will be set up as an operation independent from the clothing store. This structure will clearly separate the travel business from the clothing shop and make it possible to attract the risk capital that will be required when the business starts to grow.

At a later stage the business may wish to sell and issue airline tickets and to create its own charter vacations. This will require membership in the ARC (Airline Reporting Corporation) and IATAN (International Airlines Travel Agency Network). These organizations regulate the collection of money and distribution to the appropriate airlines. However, in the period covered by this Business Plan we intend to operate only as the appointed agents for a number of tour operators. As such we can “shelter” under their licenses and bonds.

MARKET RESEARCHINDUSTRY ANALYSIS

During the current period of strong economic growth, Northwind Traders can capitalize on the many significant opportunities in the travel industry.

Economic and Social Factors
Service industries represent the fastest growing sector of the national economy, and travel and tourism agencies are poised to flourish in the midst of today’s economic boom. These services are projected to grow at an average annual growth rate of 4.1 percent over the period from 1990 to 2010 (Appendix 1). The travel and tourism industry thrives in a vital economy.

The general economic climate in the city of SeattleRedmond is very strong. An influx of new businesses has added to the area’s prosperity, and the already large population of young professionals is growing. Nearby, tThe city of Seattle is the center for business in King County, with over 400,000 people employed in industries such as aerospace, transportation equipment, health services, tourism, computer software, and biotechnology.

Competitive Environment
Currently, tThe qualitylevel of service and the number of providers in the travel industry constantly fluctuatebroadly uneven, and providers enter and leave the field rapidly. Our competitive edge will be in attracting and retaining our customers with the most highly trained and well-informed individuals we can recruit. With our expertise in European adventure vacations, we will be able to provide the most accurate, up-to-date information possible.

Long-Term Opportunities
Tourism in general is on the rise (Appendix 1), Europe looks like it will continue to be the major destination, and the Internet will be an important channel into this market. The state of the economy will be the most influential factor in how many people travel. Other driving forces for travel will include the cost of tickets, fuel prices, the threat of terrorism, and currency rates.

Northwind Traders Can Develop Strong Position in Region
The current lack of industry leaders in the European adventure travel industry represents an exceptional opportunity for Northwind Traders to develop a dominant presence in the European adventure travel industry in the Ggreater SeattleRedmond area. With their exceptional knowledge of the adventure travel industry, strong customer base, and competitive prices, the company will be well situated to take advantage of the region’s current economic prosperity.



TARGET MARKET ANALYSIS
Geographic Area
Northwind Traders is basedoperates in the SeattleRedmond, Washington, area, and targets individuals interested in adventure vacations in Europe. The region comprisesgeographic area includes the incorporated cities ofof Redmond, Bellevue, and Tacoma and the encompassing counties of King, Snohomish, and Pierce.

RedmondSeattle
Bellevue
Tacoma

and the encompassing counties of

King
Snohomish
Pierce
Market Size and Description
The Ggreater Seattle area—including all of King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties—is home to approximately 3 million people (1994 figure), half of whom fall within our target market. Seattle’s job rate is climbing at a rate of 10 percent each year, and new jobs and growth are expected through the year 2007. Seattle has become a world-class destination, and the downtown retail and shopping core has grown steadily over the last decade. The following major facilities reside in the Ggreater Seattle area: an international airport, several major medical centers, and a state university, and four other colleges and universities.

The percentages of employment by industry are as follows: 28 percent services, 25 percent wholesale and retail, 16 percent manufacturing, 14 percent government, 6 percent transportation and communication, 6 percent finance and insurance, and 5 percent construction.

Target Customers
Seattle/King County's labor force is highly educated, skilled, productive, and stable. It consists of individuals who are deeply attached to the area and have tended to stay and wait out past periods of economic downturn. The vital economy, the Northwest lifestyle, and its unique environmental qualities attract people. Both public officials and business leaders recognize the need to keep our labor force well equipped with marketable skills.

From within this population, our target customers are individuals who are professionals with incomes of $40,000 ,, ages 25 to 35, with incomes of $40,000 , single or married, without children, and college educated.

Market Definition
The world travel market is forecast to expand at a 4.1 percent average annual growth rate until 2010. This is faster than the general economic growth rate, which is expected to be around 2.4 percent per year.

The European market, while not the fastest growing, will be the most important destination, accounting for over 50 percent of all international arrivals (see Appendix 1). Within Europe, France, Italy, and Spain are the most popular destinations. This is why we have selected tour operators with appropriate products in these areas as our initial partners.

Figures for the size and projected growth of adventure vacations are sketchy, but the figures from one recent study (World Adventure Travel Data Corp.) are in Table 2.







Table 2. Adventure Travel Vacations - World forecast (Million Arrivals): 1990 - 2010

Destination 1990 1997 2003 2010
Europe 0.25 0.60 1.60 2.35
N. America 0.45 0.60 1.40 2.20
Rest of World 0.10 0.25 0.95 1.10
Total 0.80 1.45 3.95 5.65

Age 1990 % 2010 %
16 - 24 61 38
25 - 35 20 31
36 - 45 15 25
46 4 6
100 100
Source: WATD Corp. 1997



Market Opportunities
We believe that by concentrating on the European travel market, offering a limited but extensive range of vacation packages, and targeting our service at affluent professionals, we can meet the needs of our clients. Our specialized knowledge of Europe and adventure travel will allow us both to satisfy our customers and to surpass the services offered by our competitors.

Our market study (see Appendix 1) has shown that theis group composed of affluent professionals has specific needs that are not currently being met, as 65 percent of those planning vacations would not purchase them from the same source again! Specifically, they want their travel agent to have comprehensive knowledge of the destination (87 percent); to have an efficient administration system in which they can have confidence (84 percent); to go on vacation with similar professional people (81 percent); and to be offered useful advice and ancillary services such as insurance (79 percent).

In addition, our market study confirms that Europe is likely to be the largest destination market for adventure vacations. Our study shows only 30 percent of adventure travelers to be under 24 years of age, while the World Adventure Travel Data study claims 61 percent is under 24. We feel the difference is because our survey sample is confined to relatively affluent people who had spent at least $350 on adventure clothing (see Appendix 1).

One further emerging market segment for adventure vacations is that of corporate clients. Our research suggests that up to one in five adventure vacations is at this top price end of the market.




CompetitiveOMPETITIVE AnalysisNALYSIS
Northwind Traders is the only travel agency located in the Seattle area that is focused on European adventure vacations. However, there are many adventure travel agents in capital and secondary cities such as RedmondSeattle, Bellevue, and Tacoma that compete with Northwind Traders to provide adventure vacation packages. These agencies are described below:

· General Travel Agents
These agents have added adventure vacations to their services, but often have little or no knowledge of adventure destinations or activities. They sell literally from the page, offering limited advice, information, and support. According to our market study, 40 percent of adventure vacations are booked through these general travel agents, but only a third of clients would use them again.

· Adventure Tour Operators
These tour operators who advertise their vacations in the press attract about a quarter of all adventure vacation clients. However, clients have to shop around several tour operators to find what they want, and clientsthey cannot get unbiased advice or much help with information. Only 45 percent would go back to a tour operator for their next vacation.

· Independent Travelers
These travelers comprise about 15 percent of those going on adventure vacations, of whom 65 percent would travel that way again. We need to persuade this group that our superior product knowledge and service is worth their consideration.

· Internet Providers
These providers sell only 5 percent of adventure travel vacations; however, 70 percent of adventure travelers would buy their next vacation via the Internet. There is plenty of scope to offer a superior Web site. We believe that by having daily face-to-face contact with clients, we will be better able to manage a fresh, vital, and relevant Web site aimed at the specific needs of our market segment.

· Specialist Adventure Travel Agencies
These agencies sell only about 15 percent of travel packages at present, but we feel this is partially due to lack of client awareness and to the comparative rarity of such outlets. We will differentiate ourselves from our competitors by offering the most extensive material available from the most up-to-date, well-informed staff. Clients will return for our service, knowledge and competitive prices.

These findings are some of the most powerful results of our research. While general travel agents may be the most likely resource for those travelers taking an adventure vacation, they are in fact the least likely place those clients will return to. And tAlthough specialist adventure travel agents, such as the business we are setting up, account for only 15 percent of the market, 65 percent of clients would use them again. We aim to increase this percentage through our superior service.

Competitive Advantages
Some 65 percent of those clients using specialist adventure vacation travel agents would use them again—many more than would use either a direct tour operator direct or a general travel agent.

However, these agents were criticized for having such a wide range of activities and destinations that their sales agents knew little about them. Our research shows that while 41 percent of clients take adventure vacations in Europe, only 23 percent of the 5000 adventure tours offered are

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