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Tour Operations Management

Tour Operations Management



Learners will investigate the tour operators industry of the travel and tourism sector, including the different types of operators, their products and services, the scale of the industry and how it has been affected by trends and developments. Management issues will be covered by examining strategic and tactical decision making in order to develop learners’ decision-making skills.

Learners will explore the stages involved in creating a holiday and develop skills associated with determining a selling price for a holiday from given information.

The role of the brochure will be reviewed against the introduction of new methods of promoting holidays. Learners will also review distribution methods used by tour operators to sell holidays, including the traditional use of travel agencies and the emergence of methods such as the internet and television.

Aim of the unit


This unit enables learners to gain understanding of the tour operators industry, the stages involved in creating holidays, brochures and methods of distribution used to sell holidays, strategic and tactical decision making.

Learning Outcomes and assessment criteria:

LO1 Understand the tour operators industry within the travel and tourism sector

P 1.1 Analyse the effects of current and recent trends and developments on the tour operators industry.

LO2 Understand stages involved in creating holidays:

P 2.1 Assess the stages and timescales involved in developing holidays

P 2.2 Evaluate the suitability of different methods of contracting for different components of the holiday and different types of tour operator

P 2.3 Calculate the selling price of a holiday from given information.

LO3 Be able to review brochures and methods of distribution used to sell holidays

P 3.1 Evaluate the planning decisions taken for the design of a selected brochure

P 3.2 Assess the suitability of alternatives to a traditional brochure for different types of tour operator 

P 3.3 Evaluate the suitability of different methods of distribution used to sell a holiday for different types of tour operator

LO4 Understand strategic and tactical decision making for tour operators

P 4.1 evaluate the strategic decisions made by different types of tour operator

P 4.2 Compare the tactical decisions that could be taken by a selected tour operator in different situations

Unit content:


LO 1 Understand the tour operators industry within the travel and tourism sector

Tour operators: as defined by EU Package Travel Directive; different types of tour operators including outbound operators, domestic operators, incoming operators, specialist operators, direct sell operators

Industry: identification of major tour operators including their origins, ownership, market segments, competition, identification of specific operators within each category; scale e.g. number of passengers carried, market share, turnover; products and services to meet different markets; vertical and horizontal integration in leading operators; impact of integration; European and global links; trends to include changing trends in holidays (e.g. mass market tourism to customisation, product range, all-inclusive holidays), expansion of the cruise market; environmental awareness of tour operators, responsible tourism; effect of economy and other external factors e.g. discounting, emergence of e-commerce, budget airlines;

The role of trade bodies including The Travel Association (ABTA), Association of Independent Tour Operators (AITO), Federation of Tour Operators (FTO), UK inbound, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)

LO2 Understand stages involved in creating holidays

Stages: steps e.g. market research; planning and scheduling; forecasting; contracting e.g. allocation, commitment, ad hoc, time series charters, split charters, ad hoc chartering, scheduled services, using air brokers; costing the holiday (fixed and variable costs, direct and indirect costs, load factors, mark-up, profit margins, seasonal flexing, competitive pricing, skimming, special offers, discounting strategies, currency exchange e.g. forward buying of currency, interest earning, cash flow); timescales.

LO3 Be able to review brochures and methods of distribution used to sell holidays

Brochures: recognition of the planning issues including deciding the format (content, structure, style, paper quality, size), based on product, target market and budget, determining print specifications, print run, multiple editions; timescales and stages of production including creative brief, copywriting, proofing, colour proof, printing; brochure launch; recognition of legal implications; other formats e.g. CD, video, internet, intranet, television; examination of distribution channels e.g. direct mail, specialist carriers, haulier, consolidated delivery companies, travel agencies, intensive/selective distribution systems; racking agreements

Methods of distribution: methods e.g. direct sell, agencies, call centres, internet, teletext, telephone.

LO4 Understand the strategic and tactical decision making for tour operators

Strategic: examination of strategic decisions e.g. volume, pricing strategies, surcharge policy, positioning and image/branding, choice of product in relation to customer portfolio, distribution decisions; investment funded by capitalisation e.g. cruise ships and aircraft

Tactical: responses e.g. triggered by competition, price wars, external factors; decisions e.g. fluid pricing, yield management, maximising occupancy of contracted beds, utilisation of coach and aircraft seats, consolidations; tactical marketing e.g. discounting, late sales

Scheme of work

Awarding Body:  Pearson BTEC

Course: BTEC HND IN TRAVEL AND TOURISM MANAGEMENT                                   

Recommended text and links:


Learners should use the latest edition if available.

Cooper et al (2008) Tourism Principles and Practice, 4th edition, Pearson Education: Essex

Galle, D. (2010) BTEC Travel and tourism, book 2, London: Pearson

Holloway, J C (2009) the Business of Tourism, 8th Edition, Longman.

Laws E (1997) Managing Packaged Tourism: Relationships, responsibilities and service quality in the inclusive holiday industry, International Thomson Business Press.

Middleton, Victor T C and Clarke J, (2009) Marketing in Travel and Tourism, 4th edition. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford.

Further reading

ABTA/AITO Code of Conduct

ABTA Handbook

ABTA Information Bureau Holiday Statistics

International Passenger Survey

Package Travel Regulations


Thomas cook prospectuses

Air Tours

Signature from Thomas Cook

Magazines, journals and newspapers

The Financial Times and other daily newspapers which contain a business section and market reports

Travel Trade Gazette

Travel Weekly 

The travel supplement – The Guardian newspaper

The travel supplement - The Times

The travel supplement – Daily Mirror

Teaching and Learning Activities

The module tutor(s) will aim to combine lectures with tutorial activities. This environment will provide opportunities for the student to understand the course material through case study and text and to apply it in a practical way. The intent is to facilitate interactive class activities, and discussion about the significant role of research in a global and local business environment.

2.3 Teaching Ethos

The college’s approach towards teaching and learning is simple and effective. The main aim of UKCBC is to assist learners in maximising their potential by ensuring that they are taught clearly and effectively. This will enable students to engage in the learning environment and promote success in both their academic studies and subsequent career.

2.3.1 Methods of Delivery:


These will be developed around the key concepts as mentioned in the indicative course content and will use a range of live examples and cases from business practice to demonstrate the application of theoretical concepts. This method is primarily used to identify and explain key aspects of the subject so that learners can utilise their private study time more effectively.


These are in addition to the lectures. The seminars are designed to give learners the opportunity to test their understanding of the material covered in the lectures and private study with the help of reference books. This methodology usually carries a set of questions identified in advance. Seminars are interactive sessions led by the learners. This method of study gives the learner an excellent opportunity to clarify any points of difficulty with the tutor and simultaneously develop their oral communication skills.


An important learning methodology is the extensive use of case studies. They enable learners to apply the concepts that they learn in their subjects. The learners have to study the case, analyse the facts presented and arrive at conclusions and recommendations. This assists in the assessment of the learner’s ability to apply to the real world the tools and techniques of analysis which they have learnt. The case study serves as a supplement to the theoretical knowledge imparted through the course work.


Any act of plagiarism will be seriously dealt with according to the colleges and awarding bodies’ regulations. In this context the definition and scope of plagiarism are presented below:

Plagiarism is presenting someone’s work as your own. It includes copying information directly from the web or books without referencing the material; submitting joint coursework as an individual effort; copying another student’s coursework; stealing coursework from another student and submitting it as your own work. Suspected plagiarism will be investigated and if found to have occurred will be dealt with according to the college procedure. (For further details please refer to the plagiarism policy and the student code of conduct.)



The module will be assessed meeting all the LO as specified by the awarding body, Pearson BTEC.

Please read the instructions carefully while addressing the tasks specified. 

Contribution: 100% of the module

Outline Details: Details enclosed in the assignment brief



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