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Current Market Situation An opportunity for Western Slopes's success exists because the national tourism and travel industry is growing 4% and adventure travel 10% annually. According to the Department of Commerce, the US travel and tourism industry is the nation's third largest retail industry and will be number one by the year 2000. Revenues from travel have increased approximately 100% in the last decade with US travel agencies producing over $100 billion in revenues each year. The travel and tourism market is separated into two main categories, business and leisure travel. Each contribute about 45% to total revenues. Adventure travel falls primarily under the leisure travel category. Revenues from leisure travel earned by US travel agencies were almost $50 billion annually. Reasons for this growth include a healthy domestic economy and devaluation of currency in other regions which has made travel less expensive for US residents. Leisure travel increased by 3.2% in 1997 and 2.0% in 1998. The healthy economy has increased business which in turn boosted domestic business travel 4.8% in 1997 and 3.6% in 1998. Adventure travel, a segment of the travel and tourism industry, growing 10% annually, it is one of the fastest growing segments of the travel industry. More than 50% of the US adult traveling population, or 147 million people, have taken an adventure trip in their lifetime, 98 million in the past five years. Skiing is one of the activities most commonly participated in during adventure vacations. A notable trend in the travel industry is increased deregulation. Deregulation has increased competition and the need for differentiation. In many cases, the prices of airfare and other travel-related services has dropped. Additional trends include caps on agency commissions by many of the larger airlines, and increases in adventure travel. Despite the overall increase in competition, at the same time there is a lack of competition coming from other companies solely offering ski packages. Especially packages concentrating on the five major ski resorts that Western Slopes works with. Western Slopes is planning to take advantage of this growth and lack of competition with an experienced staff, excellent location, and effective management and marketing. Western Slopes will provide a specialized and therefore differentiated service. Prices will be competitive with the remainder of the market Adventure travel is a sub-category of leisure travel and can be further broken down into hard and soft adventure travel. Both hard and soft adventures involve physical, athletic activities. Adventure travel activities are a specialized product, and first-hand knowledge of these activities is necessary in order to effectively promote and sell them. Many potential customers are unsure of the location they wish to reach. Part of the value associated with Western Slopes is the knowledge we possess about destinations. Customers look to the agency to provide them with sound advice for a competitive price. Western Sloped is confident in its ability to do so. Western Slopes can save the customer time and money, and help to ensure that they are satisfied with their ski vacation. Planning a ski trip requires knowledge of the travel industry and popular ski resort destinations, as well as other entertaining activities. Adventure travel customers are a specialty group. These are primarily young professionals who often lack the time and experience necessary to effectively plan a trip on their own. Western Slopes will communicate its ability to meet the demands of this market and fill this need. Customer Analysis Customers tend to be young and affluent . Adventure travelers are slightly more likely to be men. However an increasing number of adventure travelers are women (some statistics suggest that women comprise 49% of the adventure market). Men on average spend more than women on their adventure travels. Western Slopes's primary customers are married couples, ages 25-35, with children and household incomes over $50,000. California holds the largest population of adventure travelers, who tend to live in urban areas. Western Slopes will have its headquarters located in Los Angeles. It will be an adventure travel agency, concentrating in winter ski packages, in an area with a large concentration of outdoor recreation enthusiasts and customers who match Western Slopes's target profile. Chicago, Dallas, New York, and San Francisco are four other urban areas containing customers who fit Western Slopes’s target profile. That is why we have made the decision to have our branch offices located in these cities. Word Count: 726

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