To: Board of Directors From: Maxine Sample Date: 16/12/2008
Re: International Marketing Plan
As you know, the Merlin Entertainments Group is the second biggest visitor attractions operator world wide, since our partnership with the Tussauds Group in 2007. Our vision is to become world leader in branded entertainment. Currently, we are operating resorts, the LEGOLAND theme parks and Midway Attractions, including the brands Madam Tussauds, London Eye, SEA Life, Dungeons, LEGOLAND discovery centre and Warwick Castle. To achieve our goal of becoming world leader, we plan to grow continuously through opening five new Midway attractions per year. In 2009 we will open our ninth Madame Tussauds in Hollywood. With this report I am presenting you a marketing plan for a further roll-out of Madame Tussauds in Paris by 2010. We will bring Madame Tussauds back to her country of origin- France, which is the world’s number one tourist destination in terms of visitor numbers. The French are very interested in their history comprising many heroes and heroines, as well as in today’s celebrities. This is a great opportunity for us, since we have the ability and skills to give visitors an interactive, full-sensory experience where they can touch, see and hear historical events and celebrities.
2. Situational Analysis
France is an attractive destination for tourists from all over the world. Of the 81.9 million visitors coming to France in 2007 71% were Europeans. [Direction du Tourisme, 2008; #4] Therefore, it is necessary to analyse trends and changes in France’s environment, as well as Europe’s.
- Economies all over the world are impacted by the financial crisis (see appendix 1, page 21).
- GDP growth in France and the Euro area is slowing down and will be below 0.2% in 2009. Inflation rate is rising significantly. The labour market will be negatively affected and government debt will increase. Average consumer prices are high in 2008 and will be lower the following years. Global commodity and oil prices will decrease in 2009, after a high rise in 2008. (Compare table 1, page 2)
- Gradual pick-up of activity to above-potential rates by mid-2010. [OECD, 2008; #20]
- France’s labour force is skilled and productive. The unit-wage costs are relatively competitive compared with other industrialised countries. [PRS Group, 2007; #21]
Table 1: Key economic figures, outlook until 2010
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France is one of the most populous states in Western Europe. As typical of Western Europe, France’s population is aging and life expectancy is rising. [Economist Intelligence Unit, 2008; #6] According to Hofstede’s research on high and low context cultures, undertaken in 1980 the French are characterised as follows:
These characteristics are largely still true today. Especially being individualists:
- strong respect and governmental support for national cultures, traditions and identity
- French is a common second language throughout the world. The French cherish and protect their language
- criticise US-driven globalisation, spread of American cultural imperialism
“Joie de vivre” (joy of living) plays a significant role for the French. Over 50% of family budget is spent on leisure involving sound and image as well as visiting shows and theme parks. Further facts and figures on France socio-culture are outlined in the next table:
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Currently, EU leaders, including the French president Nicolas Sarkozy, are mainly concerned with tackling the financial crisis.
Under the president’s governance the legislation on the 35-hours working week was relaxed to increase employment. Tax burdens are exceptionally high. The vast majority of markets are deregulated, but interference in business decisions is possible e.g. concerning corporate consolidation. Overall the political situation is stable. [Economist Intelligence Unit, 2008; #6] In 1994 the Toubon law was passed, which makes the use of the French language mandatory in official publications and advertisement. [Steele, R., 2006]
France’s continuously improving transport infrastructure is highly developed and among the best in the world. The two main airports are located in Paris. High speed trains and the expansion of national motorways improve interregional links. The use of the internet and e-commerce has seen a strong growth since 2000. [Economist Intelligence Unit, 2008; #6]
After a remarkable year 2007 with international tourism receipts of 625 bn € and growth of 5.6%, overall growth in 2008 slowed down to 2%. Europe, which records the most inbound tourism, currently stands at +2% for the first eight months of 2008 (well down from the 5% growth of the last two years). In Mediterranean Europe and Western Europe receipts growth lagged behind arrivals growth, because they rely more on short-term tourism.
In arrivals, France holds its first position, ahead of Spain and the US, while in receipts the US ranks first, France third and Spain remains second. [UNWTO, 2008; #25 and #26] Of the 82 million arrivals in 2008, 46% stayed only 1-3 nights in France. 72% of visitors came for personal reasons and only 11% account to business travel. [Direction du Tourisme, 2008; #4] The initial forecast for the next years is for a more modest performance. Due to the overall economic condition, consumer and business confidence declines.
In the long run, international tourist visits are forecasted to expand from roughly 800 million in 2008 to 1.6 billion by 2020. The top three receiving regions will be Europe, East Asia/Pacific and the Americas. [UNWTO, 2008; #25 and #27]