Report on volunteer tourism

1.     Introduction

Tourism is world’s most fertile industry because of its fast growth. Volunteer tourism is a new tourism phenomenon has starting its impact towards the tourism world. Volunteer tourism is like an expansion of volunteering. Volunteer tourism intends to the tourists who organize to provide voluntary service during vacations.


1.1.           Background

Volunteer tourism is a recent phenomenon, volunteerism. People travelling overseas in order of helping others long before the 1980s.Volunteering defined as un-coerced help offered either formally or informally at most, token pay done for the benefit of both the people and the volunteer. Volunteer tourism is a form of tourism that makes use of holiday-makers who volunteer to fund and work on conservation projects around the world and aims to provide sustainable travel.


1.2.          Aim

The objective of the report is to develop a marketing strategy for the Orangutan Foundation to enable the capture of tourist markets. Furthermore we will develop a STP plan based on the segmentation, positioning and targeting done.

1.3.          Scope

A literature review was presented in order to explain volunteer tourism followed by various strategies that can be used by Orangutan Foundation to attract customers with the help of segmentation, targeting and positioning of the consumer market. There is a framework of volunteer tourism developed to classify volunteer tourists into different classes. It divided volunteer tourists such as-shallow, intermediate and deep class based on duration of trips, required skills, degree of involvement, contribution to the host communities and focus of the experience.

Furthermore report will discuss some issues related to volunteer tourism and how the customers can be attracted through different marketing strategies followed by a STP plan and some recommendations for the organization to perform better.

2.     Literature review

2.1.          Volunteer tourism

Tourism through years has a serious impact in human sector.  Tourism continue to develop into many sub-sectors such as- Pilgrimage, Health, Winter and Niche tourism and all comes under these sectors.

Vast development of tourism industry lead to latest type of Tourism called volunteer tourism, where conservation scientists and recruiting agencies develop research projects and volunteers provide funding and labor. Volunteer tourism forms widely diverse ways and requires detailed analytical research on it. Volunteer tourism is interesting tourism sector that attract many new tourist (Coghlan 2006).

Volunteer tourism is a new phenomenon after the go green activity, charity events and support on sustainable tourism as ideal tourism. It is difficult to scale growth of this industry as there is hardly any statistic about volunteer tourism but much news through newspaper, articles, and journals proved to be useful.

Niche tourism can be described as a tourism that is sustainable and more capable in delivering high-spending tourist because it is offering meaningful holiday experiences that needs and wants met at the end. Volunteer tourism is part of niche tourism that supports the sustainable tourism.

2.2.          Benefits and Issues with Volunteer tourism

2.2.1.   Benefits

  1. Immediate benefits to the community incorporate expanded labor and immediate budgetary backing through placements. Roundabout advantages incorporate expanded local job opportunities (encouraged by the infusion of income) and enhanced facilities.
  2. It addresses the needs of busy individuals who need to volunteer and travel – with some special profits to families looking for an essential imparted experience and to the numerous grown-up singles (of all ages) who incline toward taking holiday time in the company of others
  3. Volunteers not only take home various memories but different types of experiences that can encourage their families and friends to do good for the humanity thinking of anything in return. Brown(2005)
  4. It is a good way of cross cultural exchange, helping two or more different communities to understand each other better.
    • Issues with volunteer tourism
  5. People often don’t go for volunteer tourism because of their resisting nature towards other cultures also known as culture shock. Due to which they are always worried about whether they will be able to adopt the culture successfully or not.
  6. Most of the times the recognizing volunteer is not able to figure out which volunteering associations and organizations are really doing good work and which are not.

3.     Marketing strategies

3.1.          Segmentation

The Orangutan Foundation in Central Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo runs tours where volunteers can assist with constructing buildings and fences to secure the wild orangutans. The mission statement for the organization informs us that “the Orangutan Foundation goes beyond that of purely protecting the orangutan. Critically it also includes recognition that orangutan habitat is unique in its richness of biodiversity and crucial for local communities, who are as dependant on the forest as is the orangutan”.  A further contribution is done to the literature by developing a deep understanding of the mechanisms through which these plans can be implemented. (Dibb & Simkin 2009)

Due to a vast no. of consumers capturing the whole market at once is not considered as a good idea. Different consumers have different preferences and tastes due to which cutting down the market into smaller parts or groups can be considered as a productively better way. Segmentation plan is very important before segmenting a market for the desired product of service. The factors that are important for the consumers and marketers should be identified and according to these factors segmentation process should be carried out in the orangutan foundation (Caissie & Hallpenny, 2008). In recent years, segmentation effectiveness has attracted increasing attention in academic literature. The current report acknowledges The Orangutan Foundations capture of segmented markets  and contributes to the literature by investigating its key drivers and link to performance. (Diamantopoulos, Schlegelmilch & Doberer 2014)

The organization can study behavioral spending pattern of consumers by investigating their social profile data. various online registrations and subscriptions are a good way of following and studying consumer’s social profiles.

Psychographic profile can be developed by studying the consumer’s browsing pattern with the help of a social media pages such as facebook pages. Its various features such as sharing of data with third party websites can help the organization in this evaluation of consumer profiles

As discussed above, Dividing the market into smaller parts or groups would be very helpful for the Orangutan foundation to focus better on the services being provided by them. There are two major factors on which segmentation can be done in the orangutan foundation.

Volunteer tourism markets and the factors are- motivation, socio-demographic profile and customer type. We should work as per above three parameter in order to segment the entire market. In order to segment the entire market for volunteer tourism in Australia towards the tourism as:

A- Younger volunteers

Younger volunteer going for a visit due to the reason of travel experience as these people would be having very low experience of tourist visits.  Young volunteer would be attracted towards tourism for the reason of conservation activities prior to this experience.  Major motivations for this segment of consumers would be to have fun through international trips, interact with new people, help the researchers, and develop skills & abilities. This segment of consumers would prefer to go along with their friends and family and a group tourism package will be required for this group of consumers.

From marketers point of view there are both advantages and disadvantages of tapping this segment of consumer in the orangutan foundation. The orangutan foundation agency should be considering making final decision on targeting this segment. The young segment market for the volunteer tourism is growing fast due to ample amount of scope for the future growth.

B- Mature volunteers 

This segment of consumers would be with age range 50+ and mature people so there would be experience based tourism for these consumers. There experience mainly based on the likeminded people travelling with them. They have an experience to travel with their families.

The experience level for these consumers can be quantified. These consumers having prior involvement into conservation activities such associated with the orangutan foundation, the orangutan foundation working towards conservation. Motivation factors for this consumer segment would involve learning about wildlife, making contribution to society, developing bonding with their children and to have fun.

There are set of advantages and disadvantages attached with this consumer segment which help in taking decision to capture this segment. This consumer segment is of high stability and not much fluctuation for the matured consumers segment.  This segment is a source of continuous sustainable income for the orangutan foundation. There would be lot of repeat consumers in this consumer segment. These consumers would be highly committed towards the principle of conservation, volunteering and travel activities (Lyons & Wearing 2008).

These factors make this segment consumer an ideal customer profile for the present business segment. There would be low growth in this segment of consumers and spending pattern of the consumers would be low. Duration and type of activities performed would be restricted in these tourism trips keeping in mind restrictions imposed due to higher age of the potential tourists.

3.2.          Targeting

Targeting is the second step to develop suitable customer base which would be catered by the organization so as to promote their products & services in the orangutan foundation context. In order to make decision regarding organization, it is important that orangutan foundation vision, objectives should be evaluated and these should be in close conformity with the market segmentation by the orangutan foundation (Brown & Lehto  2005).

Designing strategies to cater both the consumer groups should differentiate two consumer segments and designing of product & services should be done accordingly with the differentiated features of the two market segments present in the orangutan foundation. Designed tour packages for the two segments should be evaluated for fulfilling consumers need. The orangutan foundation can use various ways of advertisements such as online marketing to attract its loyal customers as well (Sin 2009).

The primary consumer segment would be young volunteers due to fast growth and increasing number of young being attracted towards the volunteer tourism activities. This would provide high growth opportunities along with expectations for long term association of these consumers depending upon the kind of experience these consumers obtained from their first visit to the volunteer tourism (Cnaan & Handy 2005).

In order to target the young volunteer tourism consumers the entire service package would be designed in such a way that consumers can get a very good experience from the visit so that they are also willing to come for the next time.

The second consumer segment present in the market is of the mature volunteer tourists. Unique strategies are to be designed the travel package by keeping in mind requirement for these set of consumers. These consumers would be willing to go on trip to create a good experience for their self actualization needs (Raymond & Hall 2008).

In order to target this segment of consumers it is important that tour package should be designed such that they fulfill needs of mature consumers by meeting their objectives for visit such as to develop bonding with their families and to interact with other people travelling along with them sharing common interest. During visit it should be taken care that tourist can have opportunities to interact with each other and contribute towards society by benefiting local communities by economic or conservation means (Jago & Deery 2010).

3.3.          Positioning

Positioning of the tourism offered by the orangutan foundation would be important to attract consumers and develop a brand personality which would become the long term asset for the organization. Positioning for services offered by the orangutan foundation consist of three basic elements- attributes of business/destination, emotive expression and brand personality.

Key attributes related with the volunteer tourism would include factors such as charm of giving back to society and making difference, opportunity to interact with likeminded people and to have a fun filled experience so as to make most of the holidays (Cnaan & Handy 2005).

Both young as well as mature volunteer would be looking for fun experience from this tour while giving back to society would also be the motive of both the segments Emotive expression attached with the volunteer tourism phenomenon would include the feeling of delighted, contribution to society, sharing common thoughts & experience and developing strong bonding with their children. Young volunteer would feel a new experience to go on tour for local community benefits. Overall both young volunteer as well as matured volunteer would be having the feeling of fun filled trip having a new experience by going to such a volunteer trip.

Brand to the present tour package would include proud, affable and spirited so that consumers having the feeling of payback to the society for contribution made by them to local community people to extend economic and conservation help (Lyons, K.D. & Wearing 2008).

4.     Marketing and Advertising Methods:

As per today’s market scenario, delivering a good product service in not enough to ensure a company’s success anymore as this would give every company easy and high profits easily. For this branding efforts should be considered as a necessity rather than an option. Orangutan foundation needs to do marketing of its product throughout different segments of customers. For every customer there should be a different marketing policy. For younger people the foundation should consider a content based and distribution services like BuzzFeed to promote a campaign to consumers through Facebook feeds, which is a very affordable and effective advertising option for the organization. Local radio channels can be used to advertise during the peak hours when most of the people listen to the radio.

Where as in case of Mature volunteers online campaigns would not be as much effective as older consumers are usually less tech-savvy or leery of entering personal data on Internet sites and most of them don’t have access to or don’t know how to use internet. Therefore they can be encouraged by doing partnerships with community programs in churches and schools, as well as hoardings at beauty salons and barber shops. Running campaign at Age Care centers is also a good option where mature customers can be attracted by educating them in entertaining way. Moreover advertising in newspapers can also be considered in order to aim and reach mature customers (Leong 2014)



5.     STP plan for the Australian tourist market

The STP analysis of Australian tourism market is:

Geographic Segmentation
Ø  CountryAustralia
Ø  RegionAsia Pacific
Ø  Age 15-24,
Ø  GenderBoth male and female
Ø  Occupational StatusPart time, unemployed, retired
Ø  ReligionAll
Psychographic Segmentation
Social ClassAll individuals of all the classes
 Men and women who are ready to go for tourism
Target Group

Target Group

The group is on two bases-the young who are keen to have fun and enthusiasm for new places and other matured who are having feeling of giving goodness to society and viewing conservative sites.
Positioning Statement“recognition of habitat and its richness of biodiversity and crucial for local communities, who are as dependant on the forest”


6.     Conclusion

Tourism in Australia has huge resources and opportunities available to assist tourism industry target leisure, business events and niche markets.

A consumer driven policy can help the Orangutan Foundation to obtain customer value. Segmentation, targeting and positioning are the key factors for services or products in tourism Australia to be successful. Australia being a bigger market place can be handled by segmenting the consumers into smaller groups among which a certain group can be targeted and therefore have a specialized plan for that particular group. Turning the opportunities into real markets is the main focus.

A market strategy to compete with other organizations is to be developed, which differentiates the Orangutan foundation from other competitors and help them gather more customers.

7.     Recommendations

Here are few recommendations that could help the orangutan foundation:

  1. Having a social media page can be helpful for the organization to promote their services through various online campaigns.
  2. The marketing team should also focus on motivational factors so as to attract more and more customers.
  3. Students can be attracted by offering some promotional and concession packages and should be given experience certificates which can be helpful for their future.
  4. Direct and web surveys should be carried out in order to study the behavioral psychographic indicators of the customers.
  5. Marketing team must explain the unique services provided by the organization in order to compete and differentiate from other organizations in the market.

8.     References

Anderson, M. J., & Shaw, R. N. (2009). A comparative evaluation of qualitative data analytic techniques in identifying volunteer motivation in tourism. Tourism Management. doi:10.1016/S0261-5177(98)00095-8

Brown, S., and Lehto, X. (2005). Travelling with a purpose: understanding the motives and benefits of volunteer, pp 32-38

Caissie, L.T. and Hallpenny, E. (2008). Volunteering for nature: leisure, motivation and benefits associated with a biodiversity conservation volunteer program, World Leisure Journal, Vol. 45 (2), pp. 38-50.

Coghlan, A. (2006). Volunteer tourism as an emerging trend or an expansion of ecotourism?A look at potential clients’ perceptions of volunteer tourism organizations, International Journal of Non-profit and Voluntary Sector Marketing, Vol. 11, (3), pp. 225-237.

Cnaan, R.A., and Handy, F. (2005). Towards understanding episodic volunteering, , 2 (1), pp. 29-35.

Jago, L., & Deery, M. (2010). The role of human resource practices in achieving quality enhancement and cost reduction: an investigation of volunteer use in tourism organisations. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management. doi:10.1108/09596110210433754

Lyons, K.D. and Wearing, S. (2008). All for a good cause? The blurred boundaries of volunteering and tourism,Cited in Lyons, K.D. and Wearing, S, pp. 147-154.

McMillon, B., Cutchins, D., Geissinger, A. and Asner, E. (2009). Volunteer vacations, Chicago Review Press, Chicago., pp. 87-92

Raymond, E. M., & Hall, C. M. (2008). The Development of Cross-Cultural (Mis)Understanding Through Volunteer Tourism. Journal of Sustainable Tourism. doi:10.2167/jost796.0

Santos, C. A. (2005). Social change, discourse and volunteer tourism. Annals of Tourism Research. doi:10.1016/j.annals.2004.12.002

Sin, H. L. (2009). VOLUNTEER TOURISM—“INVOLVE ME AND I WILL LEARN”? Annals of Tourism Research. doi:10.1016/j.annals.2009.03.001

Stoddart, H., & Rogerson, C. M. (2008). Volunteer tourism: The case of Habitat for Humanity South Africa. Geojournal. doi:10.1023/B:GEJO.0000034737.81266.a1

Diamantopoulos, A, Ring, A, Schlegelmilch, B, & Doberer, E 2014, ‘Drivers of Export Segmentation Effectiveness and Their Impact on Export Performance’, Journal Of International Marketing, 22, 1, pp. 39-61

Dibb, S, & Simkin, L 2009, ‘Implementation rules to bridge the theory/practice divide in market segmentation’, Journal Of Marketing Management, 25, 3/4, pp. 375-396

Leong, grace ‘Target market segments’ 2014, Modern Healthcare, 44, 46, pp. 36-37

Taylor K, Guerin P. Health Care and Indigenous Australians: Cultural Safety in Practice. Melbourne, VIC: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

Brown, S 2005, ‘Travelling with a Purpose: Understanding the Motives and Benefits of Volunteers’, Current Issues in Tourism, vol. 6, no. 8, pp. 479-496.

Kotler, P & Armstrong, G 2014′Principles of Marketing’4th ed, Essex,  Pearson.