Two feet and a heartbeat deliver an innovative travel experience to its clients. It is not just another guided tour providers that take travelers to famous spots of a city and follows an itinerary that will only let them see the place and click pictures, but they allow passengers to understand the culture, history, and significance of a travel spot by conducting various fun activities during the tour. They take you along to discover hidden gems of Western Australia. The professional guides conduct the tour that has been well researched in advance and make the traveler get a true sense of culture and tradition of that area. The tour can be customized as per the preferences of the group (two feet, n.d.). We have selected children with the condition of autism to have a fun travel experience in which they get to explore the gems of Perth through various activities that they can participate in.
In this report, we will present an IMC strategy to cater to a special group of people with a disability and provide a guided tour that will give them access to a completely different tourism opportunity. We will identify the target market’s characteristics and draft an effective integrated marketing plan that will accomplish the goal of the organization to provide an exceptional traveling experience to the children having autism.
The values on which Two feet and a heartbeat swear by is to provide a different tourism experience to people and make them sink into the history and culture of places in a completely different way. Since the requirement of this assessment is to provide tourism opportunity to people with special disabilities and so far the organization does not have a specially crafted tour plan for people with a disability or for children we have chosen autistic children for a customized tour plan. Traveling with children is a challenging task and when you take a tour with a child having autism the complexities add up. Traveling leads to discomfort and disruption in the normal routine of the child with autism and if the tour is not well planned it can give more stress to the child. Due to many challenges that can be faced while traveling parents of autistic children often refrain from taking their child for trips and choose not to travel or travel alone with a nurse or guardian taking care of their special child at home.
Autistic children can have a joyful experience while traveling as they will get to explore a new world and get a break from the monotonous routine they have at their homes and care centers. At this time they can even bond with their parents and learn new skills (Total spectrum care, 2019). Thus, having such children and their families in our tours Two feet and a heartbeat can get recognition as an organization that supports the special needs of their tourist and start an altogether new way of development of the child with autism.
So far there is no such tour operator in Western Australia to cater needs of the travel support for parents traveling with their autistic child. The service model in this section will form groups of schools as well as families. The government of Western Australia is investing more in the welfare of autistic children. According to (Johnson, 2018) a sum of $32 million has been invested in the 16 programs to offer specialist learning program for students with autism disorder is being rolled out from 2016 to 2020. In Australia, one out of 160 or 100 children is born with autism disorder. While 39 out of 1000 aboriginal children are born with this disability in Western Australia, 15.7/1000 non-aboriginal children face this disorder (Bourke, N, Smith, & Leonard, 2016). Two feet and a heartbeat can introduce customized tour program services wherein small groups of autistic children will be accompanied by their parents or caretakers or small groups from their special care schools accompanied by teachers and nurses. They will be taken through places where they can spend some fun time without any discomfort. The hours will be fixed after confirming with the parents or school staff to ensure that the child does get tired or irritated.
The audience profile selected is the schools or families which have children with Autism disorder. The service will be given by way of field trips to places of attraction for children where they are accompanied by the school staff or a group of families with children having autism will be formed and they will be taken along. The kid with autism has a neurodevelopmental condition wherein they face difficulties in communication, social interaction and repetitive patterns of behavior. The research figure indicated that 0.5% of the Australian population is diagnosed with this disorder which is more likely to be found in boys. Thus, the target market of the campaign is the schools and families which have children of age group 5 to 14 with autism. In Australia, autism is most commonly diagnosed in the children of the age group of 5 to 14. The frequency of autism among different age groups between 2009 to 2015 is depicted in the graph below.
It can be seen that the diagnosis was made more among the age bracket of 5-9 and 10-14. Under this age the shaping of habits of the autistic child takes place. This age is the most crucial part where the child can develop basic learning skills and habits of independently doing daily chores. During this age, the children will be most interested in activities such as visiting theme parks (Australia Institute of Health and Welfare, 2017).
Our main focus geographically at the initial stage will be the residents in the areas of Western Australia only. We cal also cater to international visitors to Perth who are traveling with a child having autism. The spending power of our target audience has moderate spending power. Due to the limited budget allotted to schools for field trips and the families already having a lot of expenses to take care of their child, we cannot charge high amounts for the tour services. Also, the costing of the tour will be less as the duration will be short in a day to meet the comfort needs of the children. We will also target international travelers who find it difficult due to the specific care needs of their autistic child.
The kids having autism display keenness to explore nature and natural beauty. They might have sensory issues while being in public that needs to be dealt with empathy, respect, and kindness. The parents are treated disrespectfully at public places when their child gets cranky. By providing such customized tours such group people can get an opportunity to have a peaceful and fun family outing.
The campaign revolves around the idea of giving more accessible tourism opportunities to children with autism and support there caretakers and parents while traveling. There have been many instances when parents take their children outside and the child gives them a hard time due to which they usually avoid traveling. Like any other normal child autistic child also needs to have exposure to outdoor activities to explore nature and indulge in games and other fun activities.
Traveling is often recognized as a risky area that may cause problems in the development of a child with autism. Many international travelers face a challenge while traveling as the travel industry of most of the countries does not cater to the special care needs of those traveling with children with specific psychiatric disorders. The autistic person needs to have a specific routine that becomes difficult when they travel even for a day. The travelers face problems while waiting in a queue and at crowded destinations. Thus lack of familiarity might lead to anxiety and depression in an autistic person. According to studies, a spontaneous and unplanned trip may cause emotional and behavioral turbulence in an autistic person. The anxiety may cause the children to escape the place or conveyance that can prove to be unsafe for them (Neo & Flaherty, 2019). There is a large social stigma surrounded by the children having autism and they are forced to live in isolation along with their families. There are very fewer people who understand to be compassionate with such children and support them when they face sensory difficulties in public places.
Kulture City is one such initiative that supports autistic children and their families to lead a normal life and help them in taking small steps towards progress. They run various programs that include donating a toy to an autistic child, life books a Bluetooth tracking bracelet, and such other safety appliances that help the families to wander with their children safely. They provide technology and community services to the people in order to support them in their daily needs while dealing with an autistic child (Kulture city, 2019).
Our campaign will work as an extension to the service by not just providing a safe environment to children and their families but also give them a guided tour which will be more than just sigh seeing. We will provide such services during days of the weeks in which the footfall of tourists is less. Along with giving safety devices for the children, we will also have the provision of extra caretakers who can help teachers and parents in taking care of the child. There will be a full-time medical practitioner available during the tour.
Many of the NGO and government departments are working towards the development of children with autism. The government agencies run various programs and meet up for such parents to share their experiences and find a solution to the problems that they are facing in taking care of their children.
The service that two feet and a heartbeat are going to offer will include small day trips to attractions of Perth which will be customized to offer highly comfortable facilities and valuable teachings that the student can learn during the tours. The tour package types will include trips for all interest groups such as art, history, culture, nature, wildlife, and parks.
Since there have not been such past campaigns except few initiatives taken by the Autism Association of Western Australia that held short breaks programs there is a lot of potential in the market for more customized vacation options for such kids (Autism Association of Western Australia, n.d.). Our tour programs will provide lots of choices for the client as per their child’s interest area. Since there are a variety of activities to do in Perth and nearby areas a wide array of tour plans can be offered. The three chief categories will constitute of-
Treasure hunt in the city Perth
A problem statement depicts the issued to be address and a problem that is to be worked upon. It shows the perception of the intended audience that might be a barrier to the success of the campaign.
The main problem that the families and schools to trust on the tour services that we will handle their child’s needs and be able to provide them all the required facilities that might be faced in case the child does not cooperates during the tour.
As the kids having autism will be frisky if they do not stick to a proper schedule and made to visit places that are completely different from their routine environment, proper planning according to a child’s behavior and needs should be made. The plan should cover all of the common needs of such children so that more than one family or children in a group from a school can travel together. The main problems faced by the kids during such trips are that they can have a meltdown, might get injured or run away from the location. Thus, to ensure that the tour gives a soothing experience following points should be taken care of-
Get a detailed description by the parents or the teachers about the behavioral problems, phobias, medical necessities, and other likes and dislikes of the child. This will help in making an effective child-friendly travel plan. For example, if a child is scared of animals he should be taken for zoo tour or if scared of water then he must not be taken to river banks or such similar types of water bodies.
The management of the spot where the children are taken should be intimated in advance about the nature of tourists that are going to come. The management of that place will help in making necessary arrangements and give an advance warning about the challenges that might be faced by children at some points in that tour.
If a school trip is organized an authorization letter from the parents should be obtained and it should include special conditions to be met to take care of the child.
The activities on the tour should be focussed to enhance the child’s strength. Subjecting to over adventurous tasks can prove to be daunting to them. The activities should involve limited mobility if the child could not bear with a lot of mobility and easier activities if the child faced more difficulty in understanding complex tasks. A fun-filled trip will encourage the child to take more such trips in the future. The child likes and dislikes should be known in advance and the child should be made aware of the upcoming day trip in advance. Visual tools such as brochures and videos about the tour’s attraction should be shown to the child to create excitement among them.
Special care should be taken that the autistic children are not bullied during the tour.
The tour should be guided by an expert who has knowledge and understanding of how to deal with an autistic child and special care needs that they require (Linehan, 2019).
Our specially crafted tour for autistic children will be named as “Wander Blue” as the blue color is the official symbol for autism. The campaign will aim to boost sales of the tour by increasing its popularity along with creating awareness about what measures can be taken to improve the quality of life of the kids with autism.
The marketing objectives of the campaign are listed below-
To conduct at least 6 group trips initially every month during high season and 2 group trips every month during low tourism season in Perth which is from June to August. The marketing campaign should be able to attract bookings from local families and international tourists who wish to have a day trip with their child dealing with autism. After 6 months this target will be revised as per the traction that the company is able to generate in the market.
To increase awareness about how such small day trips can improve the mental health of children with autism among at least 20% of the target audience within 6 months. The awareness percentage can directly be measured by the number of queries we get during this time span.
To get bookings from 10% of the schools with autistic children in the first six months. The schools will be offered different packages so that they can form small groups of children with different needs.
The essence of the motive of two feet and a heartbeat should not be lost. The tours should include a visit to offbeat places of Perth that are not generally explored by children. This will encourage children with autism to have the courage to travel in unusual places and see the beauty and culture of untouched locations.
The central theme that should be conveyed through the integrated marketing plan should be that that the child will be able to have outdoor fun like any other normal child and have a fun time with his friends and family. Travel would be no longer a demoralizing task for parents who feel that taking their child out would be overwhelming for him and cause trouble at public places. The core message of the campaign is to promote schools and families to bring out their children from daily routine and let them enjoy nature’s beauty and other activities that the city of Perth has to offer.
Two feet and a heartbeat are known for their innovative vision of looking at Western Australia differently from a clichéd way for which it is known for. They take around tourists to the hidden places of Australia that have never been explored earlier. The tactics and techniques used during the tours ensure that each tourist remains engaged during the activities and learn something for a lifetime from the rich culture and heritage of Australia.
The attention and awareness will be created among people to cooperate and not to bully children with autism. The ad campaign will also have short stories of how the parents faced hostile attitudes from other people when their child had an anger episode at a public place.
The campaign will include blogs and video clips of experts that will describe how a short trip can help in enhancing autistic child’s social and intellectual skills.
For promotional purposes there will be seminars conducted at schools and parents will also be invited wherein the importance and features of such tours will be demonstrated.
Since our business model also has an embedded social cause. Our brand promotion strategy will be more oriented towards increasing awareness about the importance of services that we offer rather than offering promotional pricing offers to increase sales. As stated in the problem statement there is a need to build trust among parents that their child will have a quality time at the tours, Two feet and a heartbeat will have to communicate their vision and values through the marketing campaign. The conversations made through ad campaigns should be as creative as possible. A playful conversation will also leave an impression in the minds of the children that go through it. The marketing campaign should be ethically driven and should not promote its own interest. The marketing campaign should first aim to promote a good brand image first and then look for financial interest; however, it will be necessary to remain cost-effective while undertaking marketing campaign as the organization’s ultimate aim is financial growth. Thus the marketing communication strategy should be driven by the following core strategies-
The schools and parents should be encouraged to plan such short trips to give their child an experience apart from their routine activities. Visiting new places and engaging in such activities will give them exposure to Perth’s nature, culture, and tradition.
The marketing campaign should be effective enough to spread awareness and people should start taking initiative for promoting traveling with autistic kids. The management of public places such as the zoo should provide medicinal facilities and restrooms for helping children when they face difficulty during the trip.
Initially few trips should be taken for nominal or no charge to spread popularity about the services offered and let the schools and parents try how effectively the new concept works for their child.
Once the campaign becomes popular the advanced bookings should be taken from schools and private groups of locals as well as international travelers who want to spend a peaceful and learning day with their children without worrying about the necessary arrangements required while traveling with an autistic child.
The selection of marketing communication tools is a crucial decision as the most effective medium for picking up the target audience must be selected. Under an integrated marketing strategy, the promotional tools should be able to attract the target audience and communicate the key message that the service intends to give effectively.
For our marketing campaign “Wander Blue”, we will rely mostly on digital marketing medium. The primary sources will be social media, official websites, and online advertisements. The secondary source in which minimal budget will be allocated is print media, mainly newspapers in which articles will be published to spread awareness about the campaign. The maximum budget will be spent on promotion through digital medium and face to face meetings.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing through regular posting on facebook twitter and Instagram handles and running facebook advertisements will effectively attract the target audiences of similar demographics. Through features of social media ads, people following pages relating to autism on social media will automatically get to see the ads of the Wander Blue campaign.
Facebook is the most widely used social media platform in Western Australia in terms of the number of users as well as the average time spent. 94% of Western Australians use facebook and spends an average of 13 minutes' time on it. If the share some content it is seen by an average 139 facebook friends. Youtube ranks second with 44% of citizens using it followed by Instagram and Snapchat users. Instagram ranks seconds in terms of average minutes spend (SMPerth, 2019). These platforms have all the features of showcasing all the content of the marketing campaign and generating good leads. Thus the social media marketing efforts should be focussed only on facebook, Youtube and Instagram.
The official websites play an important role when the client shows interest in the services and wants to make some queries regarding the trips that Two feet and a heartbeat offer. Thus the official website should remain updated and user-friendly. It should be able to easily navigate the users and provide detailed information about the Wander Blue Campaign.
Print media marketing
There will be articles by the expert and media coverage of initial trips will be given for publishing. This will boost publicity among people who are not on social media and regularly reads newspapers.
In this report for two feet and a heartbeat, we have selected children with the condition of autism to have a fun travel experience in which they get to explore the gems of Perth through various activities that they can participate in. They will introduce customized tour program services wherein small groups of autistic children will be accompanied by their parents or caretakers or small groups from their special care schools accompanied by teachers and nurses. They will be taken through places where they can spend some fun time without any discomfort. The hours will be fixed after confirming with the parents or school staff to ensure that the child does get tired or irritated. They might have sensory issues while being in public that needs to be dealt with empathy, respect, and kindness. Our tour programs will provide lots of choices for the client as per their child’s interest area. Since there are a variety of activities to do in Perth and nearby areas a wide array of tour plans can be offered. The three chief categories will constitute the Nature walk, Wildlife tour and Treasure hunt in the city Perth. The “Wander Blue Campaign” will be promoted majorly through digital medium and spread awareness about the importance of autistic kids to travel and indulge more in outdoor activities.
Australia Institute of Health and Welfare. (2017, April 5). Autism in Australia. Retrieved from www.aihw.gov.au: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/disability/autism-in-australia/contents/autism
Autism Association of Western Australia. (n.d.). What is included in the breaks? Retrieved from www.autism.org.au: https://www.autism.org.au/our-services/school-aged/short-breaks-children-respite/
Bourke, J., N, K., Smith, T., & Leonard, H. (2016). Population-Based Prevalence of Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorders in Western Australia: A Comparison With Previous Estimates. Telethon Kids Institute, University of Western Australia (JB, NDK, HL), and Disability Services Commission, Perth, Western Australia, Australia (TS).
Johnson, R. (2018, September 19). Seven WA schools to get innovative autism program. Wa today.
Kulture city. (2019, October 4). OUR STORY. Retrieved from www.kulturecity.org: https://www.kulturecity.org/our-story/
Linehan, M. (2019, october 4). 10 TIPS FOR VACATIONING WITH A CHILD WHO HAS AUTISM. Retrieved from myfamilytravels.com: https://myfamilytravels.com/content/13624-ten-tips-vacationing-child-who-has-autism
Neo, W. X., & Flaherty, G. T. (2019). Autism Spectrum Disorder and International Travel. International Journal of Travel Medicine and Global Health, 1-3.
SMPerth. (2019, January 28). 50 STATS ABOUT WEST AUSTRALIAN SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE. Retrieved from www.smperth.com: https://www.smperth.com/resources/50-stats-for-west-australian-social-media-usage/
Total spectrum care. (2019, January 14). 10 Tips for Traveling With an Autistic Child. Retrieved from www.totalspectrumcare.com: https://www.totalspectrumcare.com/10-tips-for-traveling-with-an-autistic-child/
two feet. (n.d.). Who are we? Retrieved from /www.twofeet.com.au/: https://www.twofeet.com.au/who-are-we-perth-tours/
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