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A recent report conducted by the Welsh Government (Welsh Government Social Research, 2012) clearly shows that the National Botanic Garden of Wales is quickly becoming one of Wales’ main tourist attractions, which captures the interest of nature lovers, researchers, scientists, families, children and many others. (National Botanic Garden of Wales, 2012) Although all of the aforementioned categories should be taken into consideration to make sure that the garden will always be visited by an adequate number of people, particular attention could be paid to specific segments in order to attract even more visitors and increase revenues.
As McDonald (2012) pointed out, the best way to do that is to divide a vast target market into segments, so that it will be possible to develop marketing strategies on the basis of their needs, characteristics, desires and preferred communication methods. Keeping these factors in mind, the market for the National Botanic Garden of Wales can be mainly segmented according to their age, interests and lifestyle. At the moment, the garden’s senior management team offers convenient individual and joint membership options, as well as affordable packages for single-parent and two-parent families. The garden can even be used to celebrate special events, including weddings, which is also an excellent initiative. However, there is a market segment which could increase the charity’s revenues: international students. As Tan and Kim (2012) observed, botanic gardens have the power of improving young people’s cognitive and social skills and sensitise them to important environmental issues, while allowing them to learn in a stimulating environment. Considering that numerous foreign schools organise trips to the United Kingdom every year, mainly for linguistic purposes, the National Botanic Garden of Wales could be promoted as an instructive, environmentally-friendly alternative to traditional school trips which allows students to visit an English-speaking country while learning about plants and their properties.
Now that a target segment has been selected, there are a few factors that need to be analysed in order to develop an effective marketing mix. As Kotler and Armstrong (2010) pointed out, the marketing mix consists of four main variables: product, price, place and promotion. With regards to the product, an educator or a group of educators could design an introductory course to plants and their properties and supply foreign students with multilingual learning material and tour guides. With regards to prices, considering that an annual individual membership package costs £36 (National Botanic Garden of Wales, n.d.), groups of up to 15 foreign students could be charges £8 each, and a special discount could be offered to larger groups. As far as “place” is concerned, students could visit the entire garden and then special activities involving experiments and interaction could take place in specific areas. With regards to promotion, the special packages for foreign schools and students could be promoted on the National Botanic Garden of Wales’ official website and on various social networking websites; they could also be e-mailed or posted to the main travel agencies and tour operators across the world, especially in Europe as EU citizens do not need a visa to enter the United Kingdom.
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