Long Ridge Gliding Club has members and casual flyers using their facilities. Members use facilities to develop their skills and become expert in flying. The casual flyers are general members of public who want to try out the facilities and see if they can develop further interest to become regular users. Both members and casual flyers have their own set of requirements. The members use club regularly and they are very well acquainted about how everything runs at the club. The casual flyers are new to the flying and they have prerequisites such as better customer service, hands on help, trainer giving personal attention, demonstration and illustration. Most of these casual flyers also need a fearless trainer to get full out of their adventure. The trial flights are a good marketing strategy and considered a loss leader. The trial flights help the club to generate more income and a profit of around £10,000.00.This by product recoup the loss club makes on the overall operations.
Although only a small number of these casual flyers bring about permanent memberships. Casual flyers are an important part of club. People are cash rich now and because of internet, there are many ways to spend leisure time. People have many options available because of experience days offered by many companies such as Virgin. We can compare pricing and options with the Virgin Experience Days. Casual flyers are buying because of the aggressive pricing. Usually a 20 minute flying lessons costs £129.00 as compared to casual flying for £70.00.If prices are to increase, the take up will decrease and some other adventure sports will take its place. The major difference between members and casual flyers is outlined below Members use this facility for pursue the hobby and casual flyers use it as an adventure day.
Members use full facilities throughout the year and casual flyers use it as preparatory. Members help other flyers and casual flyers need throughout attention and supervision. 150 members are enrolled and around 700 casual flyers have bought trial flights. Casual flyers bring in more revenue and profit as compare to members. Members are supposed to arrive by 9.30 and stay all day long to be able to take a flight and casual flyers get first preference. Club members need multiple flights during the day weather permitting and casual flyers need just one short flight. Slack et al. (2004) argue that there are five operations performance objectives: 1. Cost: Assuming a club member takes 30 flights a year.
It means club members pay higher price than the casual flyers per minute hey flew. 2. Quality: Club members get to have multiple flights during the day on their own and casual flyers get to fly as they arrive. Both get highest quality product. 3. Speed: Members have to wait all day to get their desired flying times and casual flyers can fly as they arrive. 4. Dependability: It is not certain if members get to fly even after waiting for all day long and casual flyers are certain to fly. 5. Flexibility: Members have just one option available to wait for their time and casual flyers can walk to the flight.
Last year there were 180 days of flight and club has three single seated and three twin seated gliders. Taking this into consideration, we can conclude that this model is pro members looking at the flying hours available. The club is run by members and hence mostly things are run by members. The main objection from members is they have to wait all day long whilst casual flyers get immediate flight. Members help run the flights and casual flyers do not help. Members have issues because they feel it’s their right to be given priority before casual flyers being the members of the club. Members feel that they own the club and they are wasting their flying time for the inexperienced casual flyers.
They feel that the club is making money at their cost. They do not want to take this into consideration that it is a not for profit organization and this revenue stream is equally important. Equivalently, casual flyers feel ignored all the time. They think they do not get deserved attention and customer care. Their flight time is 10 minutes which is quite short if compared to Virgin hot air balloons at the same cost. Because of shortage of staff, they get very poor customer service. Excelling at one or more of the above five operations performance objectives can enable the club to pursue a business strategy based on a factor that keeps the members and casual flyers both happy. The chairman can consider following options:
1. Options for casual flyers: By calculating and managing the short flights taken by casual flyers, the schedule for casual flyers can be drawn. The club should reserve two twin seated gliders till all the casual flyers have flown. The club should introduce extra charges by means of offering cockpit footage and free refreshments. The club can use Groupon to get same no of bookings during the first two months of summer so that rest two months can be entirely for the members. The club should standardize the briefing procedures to reduce the time taken.
The club should try to encourage the casual flyers to book time slots by means of social media such as Facebook and Twitter and offer them free refreshments. The club can introduce dynamic fares during the holiday season for who do not book in advance. The club can offer merchandises such as caps, T shirts, polo shirts along with a photograph and a certificate of the experience. The casual flyers should be encouraged to leave with a merchandise of their choice. Once the revenue generated is equal to the required profits, the fares for the flights should be tripled until next season.
2. End of trial flights: If club ends the trial flights, it would make the members feel pretty privileged for short time. The all facility will be only utilized by the members and there won’t be any disappointments for the members. This will have a huge impact on the club’s finances and to counter this shortfall in budget, the club has to increase the price of membership by at least £120.00 (34% increase in membership fees) assuming 150 members fly for 10 hours each in a year.
3. Use of internet: The club should develop website into a comprehensive solution, where it should be encouraged to buy and book tickets online using payment such as Paypal. The club should hire two University interns to develop such website and train two people from the members to update it on Twitter and Facebook. This will definitely increase the productivity.
4. Follow the same system: If the members requests are not taking into consideration and by carrying out as it is, this might push the members away to the competition. The casual flyers are brought in as memberships are declining because of other options available and location. The chairman can use the Sandcone model of excellence along with above options Skinner (1985) argued that operations could become a ‘Formidable Competitive Weapon’ if the function was allowed to play a full strategic role in the organization. In their four-stage model, Hayes and Wheelwright (1984) categorize different types of organizations based on their attitude towards their operations. Hayes and Wheelwright’s four stage model is underpinned by their belief that an organization’s operations can provide a source of competitive advantage.
(Fig. 1 http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/research/dstools/trade-off-models/) The Sand Cone model suggests that although in the short term it is possible to trade off capabilities one against the other, there is actually a pecking order amongst the four capabilities. To build lasting capability, the club management should divert attention and resources towards enhancing quality followed by dependability and finally, while all these efforts are further enlarged, direct attention can be paid to cost efficiency. Thus the club should improve quality of the services offered first. The club should have two different groups of people to attend both the members and the casual flyers. The instructor should meet up casual flyers at designated area where they should be offered refreshments at a nominal cost.
The instructor should offer them merchandise during the briefing and club should offer them choice of GoPro cameras for taking the video footage. They should be encouraged to check in on Facebook to spread the word. The casual flyers should be briefed in a group and should be made to feel as if it’s a social gathering. The casual flyers should book the time slots if possible and they should be given free refreshments for doing so. The entire process should be well planned to give casual flyers a better experience for their money. Other revenue sources should be opened such as certificate of flying, merchandises, social events during Christmas and holidays. The volunteering amongst members should be encouraged as well.
1. Slack et al, 2004, Operations Management (4th Ed).
2. http://www.ifm.eng.cam.ac.uk/research/dstools/trade-off-models/ 3. http://cws.cengage.co.uk/barnes/students/sample_ch/ch2.pdf