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This sample marketing plan can be edited directly in Sales and Marketing Pro software.

Robert Hopkins will use software to keep careful records of the critical numbers associated with Houses On The Lake so that they may be tracked and understood.

Marketing expenses and sales will be tracked in QuickBooks, which will be associated with a reservation system created for hospitality industry businesses. This reservation system allows for customer relationship management (CRM) as well, with logging of leads generated and converted, as well as the lead source (referral or otherwise). These two programs will hold the key numbers for the business and reports can be generated from them as needed.

12.1 Sales Forecast

The business will seek to launch in October, to allow a full winter to promote the upcoming summer rental period.

In the first year of operation, the average price for a week-long summer rental will be $1,650. It will be $1,400 for a spring/fall rental, and $1,100 for an off season rental. Rentals for fewer days are available at a lower price. Additional fees and services purchased are estimated to average $400 for summer rentals, $300 for spring/fall, and $200 for off-season. These additional fees include ski boat rentals, convenience store purchases, and added fees to bring pets on-board. The prices listed reflect these totals and will be increased roughly with inflation in future years.

Direct cost of sales includes post-rental cleaning (generally $75 per houseboat) and basic amenities (shampoo, soap, tissue paper, etc.) to stock the boats for each rental ($25 per rental). These costs are expected to grow with inflation as well. Other costs of sales include gas and ice which is anticipated to cost 8% of sales as each rental will start with a boat fully stocked with both. An additional 20% of sales will be payment to the houseboat owners. This cost of sales would be higher, but houseboat owners will benefit from free moorage, maintenance, and discounted services at the Houses On The Lake marina.

Sales Forecast

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Sales Forecast
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Unit Sales
Summer Rentals 60 90 135
Spring/Fall Rentals 30 45 68
Off Season Rentals 47 71 106
Additional Fees/Services - Summer Rentals 60 90 135
Additional Fees/Services - Spring/Fall Rentals 30 45 68
Additional Fees/Services - Off Season Rentals 47 71 106
Total Unit Sales 274 411 617
Unit Prices Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Summer Rentals $1,650.00 $1,716.00 $2,230.80
Spring/Fall Rentals $1,400.00 $1,456.00 $1,892.80
Off Season Rentals $1,100.00 $1,144.00 $1,487.20
Additional Fees/Services - Summer Rentals $400.00 $416.00 $540.80
Additional Fees/Services - Spring/Fall Rentals $300.00 $312.00 $321.36
Additional Fees/Services - Off Season Rentals $200.00 $208.00 $214.24
Sales
Summer Rentals $99,000 $154,440 $301,158
Spring/Fall Rentals $42,000 $65,520 $127,764
Off Season Rentals $51,700 $80,652 $157,271
Additional Fees/Services - Summer Rentals $24,000 $37,440 $73,008
Additional Fees/Services - Spring/Fall Rentals $9,000 $14,040 $21,692
Additional Fees/Services - Off Season Rentals $9,400 $14,664 $22,656
Total Sales $235,100 $366,756 $703,549
Direct Unit Costs Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Summer Rentals $562.00 $584.48 $607.86
Spring/Fall Rentals $492.00 $511.68 $532.15
Off Season Rentals $408.00 $424.32 $441.29
Additional Fees/Services - Summer Rentals $100.00 $104.00 $108.16
Additional Fees/Services - Spring/Fall Rentals $75.00 $78.00 $81.12
Additional Fees/Services - Off Season Rentals $50.00 $52.00 $54.08
Direct Cost of Sales
Summer Rentals $33,720 $52,603 $82,061
Spring/Fall Rentals $14,760 $23,026 $35,920
Off Season Rentals $19,176 $29,915 $46,667
Additional Fees/Services - Summer Rentals $6,000 $9,360 $14,602
Additional Fees/Services - Spring/Fall Rentals $2,250 $3,510 $5,476
Additional Fees/Services - Off Season Rentals $2,350 $3,666 $5,719
Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales $78,256 $122,079 $190,444

12.2 Marketing Expense Budget

Print marketing includes additional brochure printing and press kits for travel agents as needed. Marketing will increase as efforts intensify to market an increased number of boats and to market to owners.

Website marketing includes $1,000 per month for ongoing search engine marketing, $750 per month for search engine optimization, and $250 per month for website hosting and maintenance.

The cost of the HOTL rewards program are the discounts and complimentary services offered to loyalty program members. Referral discounts include both discounts given to travel agencies and to referring customers and those they refer. Costs associated with the WOW Process are small complimentary gifts and survey follow-ups. Most costs are expected to rise at least with inflation and some more steeply as customers take better advantage of these programs and return to Houses On The Lake.

Marketing Expense Budget

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Marketing Expense Budget
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Marketing/Promotion $6,500 $8,000 $10,000
Website Marketing $24,000 $24,960 $25,958
HOTL Rewards Program $0 $6,000 $10,000
Referral Discounts $3,217 $3,346 $3,480
WOW Process $4,400 $5,000 $6,000
------------ ------------ ------------
Total Sales and Marketing Expenses $38,117 $47,306 $55,438
Percent of Sales 16.21% 12.90% 7.88%

12.3 Key Marketing Metrics

The lead conversion rate is expected to start low, and is based on Robert Hopkins' experience with conversion rates for bed and breakfast businesses. Many customers shop around a great deal, and it will only be with time and reputation that Houses On the Lake increases its conversion rate.

The other key driver of sales will be increased customer retention, shown by the growing number of transactions per customer per year. For some this will mean using more of the services offered and for others it will mean returning more often. An increase in referrals will also be a driver in the growing number of leads, requiring fewer leads to be obtained through other means.

It is expected that 10% of customers will provide testimonials for the business. PR mentions will begin with the launch of the business due to the somewhat unique business model of providing a rental outlet for existing houseboats. Press releases related to the success of the business and its offerings will be sent at least quarterly to encourage press attention.

Key Marketing Metrics

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Key Marketing Metrics
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Revenue $235,100 $366,756 $703,549
Leads 1,320 931 987
Leads Converted 14.50% 25.00% 30.00%
Avg. Transactions/Customer 1.25 1.75 2.50
Avg. $/Customer $867 $900 $950
Referrals 69 93 100
PR Mentions 15 20 25
Testimonials 19 23 30
Other 0 0 0

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