As earlier mentioned this business idea mainly targets the at Prince Mohammad University students as its main customers before it can open up to the public, since, its strategic plan is to expand to other universities and schools in future, and diversify to embrace the whole Saudi Arabia, then, finally venture internationally. As a Student Travel Business, its main objective is to improve the student’s cultural heritage knowledge about Saudi Arabia, and making them more responsible, aware, and loyal Saudi Arabia community members. But, as we will learn in the subsequent parts of this business plan, this is business has a broader objective that is greater and more than an educational business.
Just as Lori (2003) observed, university students allover the world are more than ready and willing to engage in extra curriculum activities like sports and travelling (p. 134-152), and traveling encounter would be very interesting to these university students, mainly if the activities merged with the traveling, are a variety, broad, and if these activities stick to the objective of improving their social lives, knowledge, health and any other vital aspect of their lives. Hence, this business will give the students an opportunity to participate in traveling and other activities, this business can fall under local tour and travel industry, and its main purpose is to break student’s boredom from intense academic work and classroom environment, while increasing their general knowledge and knowledge about Saudi Arabia at the same time. Michael and Page (2006) emphasized that interaction with nature through travel and tour is very emotionally, physically, and mentally releasing exercise that should be often implemented by every able human being compared to the rest of recreation activities. This makes this recreation, fun and educational business idea a very vital service in the community.
A trip will be organized for a particular group of students, mainly not more than 100 students per single travel trip at a time. Each student will be consulted on their favorite or preferred travel places, and on their proffered tour activities, this is to ensure that the interest of the whole group is captured in the set travel plan. The traveling students will be taken to the top Saudi Arabia tourist sites, like the Quba Mosque, Medain Saleh, Masjid al-Qiblatain and the list is endless. A single trip time duration will range from two days to a week.
This business will improve the student’s personality, social and survival skills through, organizing activities like camping, mountain climbing, rafting, and team building activities mainly sports. It will improve the traveling student’s health through physical challenging tour activities like: biking, hiking, sports, and physical exercises. It has the objective to nourish the traveling students spiritually through, taking them to visiting various tourist sites with great spiritual significance like The Jawatha Mosque, on reaching there they will be given time to pray and get some teachings from the spiritual leaders in charge.
The execution of a travelling event will start by posting advertisements in all the university’s advertisement platforms, like the notice boards, the website, and the university publications mainly university magazines. Then a two week registration process will be done on the basis of first come first serve, and ensuring that every student pays the set amount, as well as filling a travel interest’s details form, and an informed consent from the university. Once the target numbers of registered students is attained, a travel plan will be drawn and the destination tour sites contacted for booking. Then, all the necessary materials and expertise are availed. And finally on the day of the travel tour, the students will gather at a point, board the vehicle and then travel according to the set plan.
The budgeted start up capital will be raised through the desired means before any business activity starts. During the period of start up capital raising, the relevant authorities will be consulted and necessary licenses acquired. The university clearance will be sort, as well as requesting for a room that will act as the main office for this business. Then the business will set up its main office and start its advertising. During this initial period relationship with transport providers will be built and agreements signed, now that this business will start by using hired vehicles. The relevant experts will also be sort. Once all these preparations are made the first travel event will be organized.
Starting business operation and carrying on with the business
Materials and Equipment and Personnel
As a student travel business the main equipment is a transportation machine, which is a vehicle, but, since the cost of purchasing a new good vehicle with a large carriage capacity is very expensive, this business will start by using hired transport services unit its will have saved enough money to buy its own fleets.
The office equipment are: computers at least 5, for maintain the business website and processing business information, a printer for printing documents will also be necessary. Every computer will be attached to a telephone for inquiries, customer support and query services. The computers have to be connected to the internet using internet connection devices that will be availed by internet service providers. Other office equipment are furniture like computer tables, office desks and chairs, shelves, etc. cleaning equipment, data storage equipment, and writing materials.
Two travel first aid kits will be more than necessary for any health emergencies. Mass communicating devices like hand laud speakers, binoculars that will be distributed to the traveling students for observing distant objects, food pots and water containers, camping tents, and cooking utensils for camping expeditions. Travel data collection and storage equipment like cameras, writing materials and GPRS equipment are also necessary for travel record capturing and keeping. Camping and outdoor equipment like tents, sleeping bags and many others will also be necessary.
The Personnel Required
This business will need the following personnel:
The Management Staff: the management team consists of the overall manager, the human resource manager, the advertisement manager, the operations manger, and the financial manager, they will be in charge of running the business operations.
Office Attendants: they must be qualified in computer skills and secretariat skills; they will be responsible of the office duties and customer support services, and website maintenance.
IT Expert: since the world has turned to application of information technology, the IT expert will be in charge of the business website development, giving IT related advice, network administration, and training the office attendants on new IT knowledge.
Tour and Travel Guides: they will guide the travelling students during their trips, they will explain to them the hidden details of various visited sites, and they will also be in charge of developing the travel route.
Travel Nurse cum Health Attendant: they will be in charge of giving first aids and assessing any health emergencies during the travel trips.
Drivers: after acquiring fleets, drivers will be in charge of driving and taking care of the fleets.
Fitness instructors: he will be in charge of assessing the fitness of the travelling students, advising them on the fitness requirement of any travelling event, and coordinating sporting events during the travel.
Team building experts: he will work in conjunction with the fitness instructors to organize and supervise team building exercises and related activities.
Statistician: is in charge of taking every travel statistics like photographs and other data to be sored for future planning and any necessary record requirements.
Transport services and equipment to hire are available since there are numerous travel companies allover Saudi Arabia. The office space is available, because there are a lot of vacant rooms at Prince Mohammad University, and the university management is always ready to assist student knowledge improvement businesses like this, hence, upon request the room will be availed and allocated. Apart from the room facilities, the required support staff like office attendants can be easily acquired from the students’ population, who are characterized by a majority who are willing and able to serve in businesses within the university as part-time employees, the students also possess the relevant knowledge required for these positions.
Despite the fact that the business will use hired transport in its initial stages, the vehicles have to availed overnight, in case the next day is the travelling date, hence, there must be a secure parking-lot, for the vehicles and they will also double up as the boarding stations, they must be different from the ever busy University Parking-lots and boarding stations.
A low student turn out to the first organized trip under this business is expected being a new idea, but, mainly the restriction will be the charges. A service oriented business more often start by charging high rates, while offering quality services that mainly attract and retain customers (Pakroo, Peri, & Stewart, p. 276). Likewise this business will operate under the same principle. The customer numbers is expected to grow with time, since the first students will be used as a marketing tool and the prices will also be lowered with time.
Just like any other business the initial states will be characterized by confusion, trial and error activities that might sometimes fail causing a lot or errors at this initial stage. The management will also have hard time working with the new staff, since they strengths and weaknesses would have no been identified. Financial restrictions might also cause scarcity in the number of equipment available to be used; hence, some equipment might be shared. The staff will also grow as the customer requirements increases, and with future diversifications and expansion of the business.
The low start-up capital will imply that this business will take less time to break-even; it can make it within six months. But, this will still depend on many other factors like the set staff salary scales, the rate of repayment of loans and the presence of competition.
The success of this business idea is due to the fact that there is no similar business in existing in Prince Mohammad University, thus it will enjoy monopoly and lack of competition. The new idea will draw the attention of the students and most of them will be willing to try it out, this is further because, students are used to university sponsored trips where there is a strict supervision by the lecturer in charge, but this business offers a very conducing and relaxed atmosphere. The travel trips will be with very minimum supervision and every travelling student’s interest will be highly fulfilled except, the fact that any behavior or activity that jeopardizes the security or health of one or more travellers will not be tolerated. The mode of transport to be adopted by this business will be luxurious and comfortable that the public and private transport used by most students, this comfort guarantees a bigger percentage of customers.
The budget express that this business requires a little start-up capital compared to other new businesses in the recreation industry, who will incur extra start-up costs like advertising costs. It is also a fact that this business requires very minimum start-up staff of less than 10 people, this increases its success rate in that, this reduces the start-up costs, ease management pressure, gives room for easy future expansion, and all these are business success factors.
The mode and techniques used to advertise the services of this business will be very creative and advance to guarantee wide coverage, betters understanding and persuasive to attract more customers. The adverts will highlight mainly the educative and fun nature of the travel trips, and since research have proved it that most university students globally like participating in travelling as their hobbies guarantees success. The vast population in this university is a great advantage, since the more the available students the more the chances of getting more clients.
The location of the business within the main campus will bust the confidence among the students who are the main customers; a university endorsed business also attracts a lot of confidence among the students. This location will also reduce the start-up cost since the university resources like advertising platforms where advertisements are posted at no cost, will reduce the business operating costs, which might have reduced the profit margin, lead to losses or increase the breakeven period.
The big expected burrier will be pricing, the firm will be forced to charge highly to cater for the hiring of luxurious vehicles, and the extra services like good food, safety equipment. The inexperienced staff might also be a setback, since they will be trying out various management and other strategies for the first time and this can lead to failure.
The idea of encouraging local tourism in Saudi Arabia has been advocated for from many quarters in the country including the government, this is due to various research outcome that have indicated that most Saudi citizens don’t understand well their country, and this population include university students. This business idea will as a pace setter to like minded entrepreneurs. In summary, this idea is deemed to succeed because of the vast population that it is serving giving it a larger customer base, it does not face both internal and external competition, it has a goodwill since it is a university backed project, it requires low start-up capital, and it requires little litigations at start-up.
The business has a bigger room for diversification and expansion. It can be diversified into a tour company, a travel company, an outdoor company or any other related services. It meets all the characteristics of a potential business idea, which are: innovative, requires low start-up capital, does not have any social or legal conflict, enjoys minimum competition, and have greater chances for future expansion.
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