For Project 1 assume you are interested in establishing a hospitality business of your choosing. The project is a marketing plan aimed at helping you identify your business and secure financing for it.
The project consists of six parts, each an integral part of a comprehensive marketing plan. Although the model offered in this project may not be as detailed as most formal plans it covers the basics and serves as a good overall introduction to formulating a basic plan. Students are to engage in an online discussion with one another and the instructor on each part of the plan over the next six class sessions (one part each week). Information gathered from the discussions should be collected by each student and used to create each part of the plan. Electronic cutting and pasting of sections from the discussion group emails is acceptable, but the final report must be the student's own work.
At the end of the sixth class period, and at the instructor's discretion, each student should assemble, review and revise the plan for submission to the instructor and grading. No minimum page length is established for the completed market plan but each segment should be answered effectively. Remember: one purpose of a marketing plan is to secure financing. Each of the items in each part should be addressed in the discussion groups as well as the final paper.
Internet Search Engines
Although any reference sources you may elect to use are acceptable, the majority of information required for Project 1 can be found on the web. Typing words in a search engine will usually provide you with a great deal of information. Try several combinations of the same or similar words to vary the results. You may use any search engine you wish, but Google is suggested. Go to www.google.com.
Search Terms Suggestions
Hampton Roads VA demographics
Information here will help you find out things like area make up in terms of income, nationality, retirees, and so forth.
Hampton Roads VA hospitality
Associations and organizations are sources of information; jobs sites can provide information on the availability of the kinds of people you might need for your business and help you determine the types of jobs your business might require, as well as the prevailing rates of pay for those jobs.
Review marketing plan web sites for ideas, examples, hints and other information that may help you.
Search words such as food service equipment, food service vendors, hospitality sales and service, and similar terms will help you find generic information. Search on specific company names (Sysco, for example) for more information.
Marketing Plan Segments
1. Purpose and Mission
• Provide a brief explanation of the type of business to be undertaken.
• Estimate how many customers the business is targeted to serve in the first year.
• The mission statement is a short paragraph that considers the following issues:
o What is our target market and what will be offer our customers?
o Who are we and why are we in business?
o What resources and competencies do we have to offer? (What are we good at?)
• Select a name for your business that might suggest some of the points covered above.
2. Situational Analysis
• Competition in the hospitality business is intense and many businesses fail within the first year. What do we do that gives us a competitive advantage?
• Who might your biggest competitors be and how would you differentiate your business from them?
• Describe the company's product, for example type of cuisine, ambiance, hotel or club setting, etc.
• Based on your target market, what might be the price range for your product?
• How big would you estimate your target market to be and how might you reach them? (Hint: This item will be covered in more detail in Project 2 in this course, but this is an opportunity for you to begin to think about how you might promote your business.)
• What external factors might impact your business? (For example commute times, parking access, availability of business sites, city zoning and ordinances, etc.)
3. Strategies and Objectives
• How stable do you estimate your market to be? (For example, new highways and/or the creation of new business districts may lead to the failure of successful, established businesses.)
• What factors, if any, might cause your market to grow or lead to new, related markets your business could serve?
• What new products might you develop to serve new markets? (For example, early bird dinner specials for retirees, discount agreements with golf courses, fishing boat excursions or other venues for your customers that might offer appeal to a different clientele.)
• In any business there are only two ones to make money: increase revenues or cut costs. So far we have dealt mostly with increasing revenue, but what measures might you use to control costs?
4. Tactical Marketing Programs
• What changes might possibly occur that could lead to either an increase or a decline in your customer base? (For example, a new similar business opens across the street or the city creates a huge bustling 6 lane road from the cozy 2 lane road you established your business on, destroying your "homey" atmosphere.) Create a plan for the most likely occurrences.
• How might you "brand" your product to create an identity different than your competitors? (For example, your business and another one close by both offer steak as a dinner selection. You might differentiate by offering "char-broiled black Angus beef steak, thick cut".)
• What message or theme will your business convey to your customers?
• Promotion is a vital part of business success and generally consists of four functions: advertising, sales promotion, personal selling, and public relations. Most of these will be addressed in Project 2, but consider the training needs your business might require for personal selling. What impact would your employees and their abilities to sell have on your marketing plan? Judging from the online jobs listings for the area do you think you could find qualified personnel?
• Describe the role pricing would play in your plan and in reaching your intended market.
5. Budgeting and Implementation
• Financing is essential in establishing any new business and the marketing plan is your first step in securing the necessary funding. How would you go about selling your idea to someone who might provide that financing?
• Where will you locate your business? Specify the physical address of the site you would like for your business. Provide one other "second choice" site. What impact will either location have on securing financing in terms of your overall market plan and target market?
• Estimate how much money would be required to establish the business. Include items such as rent, equipment purchases, licensing and legal fees, and initial procurements of food, liquor and similar items.
• Hospitality businesses, particularly restaurants, often fail due to cash shortages. Vendors generally will not extend credit to new businesses and expect payment in advance, creating a negative impact on cash flow. How much cash would you anticipate needing to operate on a daily basis? Discuss ways you might secure it.
6. Additional Considerations
• Loss of funding and/or loss of key personnel can negatively impact the business. Discuss options to deal with each of these issues.
• Depending on the product your business offers, finding a supplier may be difficult. Discuss approaches you would take to be certain of obtaining the supplies your business needs.