Sta Travel Case

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STA Travel, the largest student travel agency in the world, needs to evaluate whether or not the company should establish a presence in Second Life, a growing role-playing game that many companies began to invest in around the world. STA Travel has the choice to develop a virtual marketing presence on the computer simulated virtual world of Second Life. The website would include information about destinations and help to promote events related to the real-world destinations that users will eventually want to visit. When Internet was introduced in the 1990s, STA Travel experienced an increase in competitors as the Internet was predicted to account for more bookings than offline alternatives. In an effort to respond to the technological transformation while continuing to build the company’s customer base, STA Travel developed the philosophy: “as local as possible, as global as necessary.” To remain local, each country was responsible for the upkeep of STA Travel sales and marketing arms. However, to achieve the “as global as necessary” aspect, STA Travel also explored interactive websites and potential marketing tools to increase appeal. The North American division first explored the possibility of Second Life and believed the website could foster a desirable virtual environment to customers in order to gain a competitive advantage over competitors, but this would face resistance from marketing departments abroad. The commitment to Second Life would be a sizeable investment for the marketing department and require a significant amount of deliberation from STA Travel executives. The investment would enable STA Travel to break into the “virtual tourism” market; however there are hesitations to committing to the contract due to reservations that STA Travel will not be able to design events on the Island that would attract young users and guarantee continued growth for the company as a whole. Overall, the idea of these virtual destinations, or islands, having the...
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