Segmentation, Targeting, And Positioning Strategy For Promoting Conservation Strategies To Volunteer Tourists

What is Volunteer Tourism?

 The Orangutan Foundation in Central Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo runs tours where volunteers can assist with constructing buildings and fences to secure the wild orang-utans.

Volunteer tourism is also referred to as volunteer vacations, volunteer travel or voluntourism; it is a travel that involves volunteering for a charitable cause (Wearing & McGehee, 2013). It is the most popular form of alternative tourism that has witnessed exponential growth since past 20years. Volunteer tourism is a new form of tourism that takes advantage of holiday makers who wish to volunteer for a conversation project across the globe (Bruyere & Rappe, 2007). Its primary purpose is to provide sustainable alternative travel in order to assist scientific research, community development and ecological restoration (Bruyere & Rappe, 2007). Initially originated as a European and British phenomenon it has expanded to countries like United States and Australia. This assignment focuses on developing a Segmentation, targeting and positioning strategy for promoting the conservation strategies of the Orangutan Foundation of Central Kalimantan in Indonesian Borneo to Australian volunteer tourists. The Orangutan Foundation helps organising tours for volunteer tourists who help in constructing fences and buildings to safeguard wild orang-utans (Orangutan Foundation International Australia, 2015). The Orangutan Foundation International Care Centre in Kalimantan currently serves as a home for around 340 displaced or orphaned orang-utans. It plays a vital role in purpose of saving these great apes. Without the OFI care centre these precious animals would be either homeless or dead.

Volunteer Tourism

Volunteer Tourism is seen as one of the fastest growing form of alternative tourism (Vodopivec & Jaffe, 2011). Statistics reveal a considerable increase in the number of organisations offering such services and people engaging in recent past. Individuals opting for this type of alternate tourism are defined as tourists who owing to several reasons choose to volunteer in an organised manner by taking holidays by which they can aid or alleviate the material property of various groups within a society, environmental restoration or perform research related to various aspects of environment or society (Wearing, 2001). The target audience of such form of tourism are the so called new tourists who prefer being referred to as travellers rather than tourists (Coghlana & Gooch, 2011). These new tourists are very experienced travellers who look for enticing, unique, real, authentic and natural holidays experiences (Ackerberg & Prapasawudi, 2009). Maslow’s hierarchy of needs model can be used to identify the motivational forces behind suck travels. Once these individuals have met their physiological needs and safety needs they strive to meet their self actualisation needs (Herzberg, et al., 2011). Participating in volunteer tourism is the best way by which these experienced travellers can meet their self actualisation needs (Learn Marketing, 2014). The four major motivational themes that define the reason behind individuals engaging in volunteer tourism are; cultural immersion, seeking camaraderie, giving back and seeking educational and bonding opportunities. Cultural immersion refers to the ability to immersion emotionally and physically into local community and culture was identifies as a strong motivational factors behind people volunteering for a cause (Unstead-Joss, 2008). Giving back was identified as another motivational factor which presented ones desire to give back to society by reaching out to the underprivileged section of the society (Unstead-Joss, 2008). Volunteer tourism brings together the most enjoyable groups thus the associated camaraderie attracts most of these new tourists (Unstead-Joss, 2008). Volunteer vacations are also sought after by families who are motivated by the family bonding opportunities and educational values associated with it (Unstead-Joss, 2008). Thus, volunteer tourism provides ample opportunities to interact with people of distinct communities, travel groups and family members.

Target Audience of Volunteer Tourism


The process of grouping together consumers with similar needs and interests by marketers is referred to as market segmentation (Hoek, et al., 1996). It is comprises of dividing the market into smaller groups of buyers that have different needs, behaviour and characteristics and require separate marketing mixes or products (Lynn, 2011). There are four main types of market segmentation namely; demographic, geographic, behavioural and psychographic segmentation (Weinstein, 2007). It helps marketers in dividing the whole marketplace into small subdivisions called market segments which have specific and distinctive features. Dividing the whole market into small segments helps marketers in targeting the right message to right customers (Belch & Belch, 2011). Thus, market segmentation helps in developing right marketing strategy for the right segment, right marketing strategies helps achieving marketing objectives, which in turn helps achieving corporate strategies that are essential for the development of competitive advantage against competitors (Goyat, 2011). The ultimate purpose of segmentation is to concentrate of force and marketing energy on subdividing in order to gain a competitive advantage within the segment (Goyat, 2011).


Target marketing is a process which involves dividing the market into small segments and them focusing various marketing efforts on a selected segment or segments (Moschis, et al., 1997). Targeting comes after the market segmentation process and involves concentrating on a specific market segment and formulating specific marketing strategy for that segment also referred to as target market (Blythe, 2013). Organisations can select their target market by using three targeting strategies namely; undifferentiated targeting wherein the whole market is considered a single large group without any individual segments thus it uses one marketing strategy (Ferrell & Hartline, 2012). Concentrated targeting which involves concentrating on a single market segment with a single marketing strategy and Multi-segment targeting wherein organisations focus on one-or more definite market segments and development different strategies for each market segment (Lynn, 2011). Before development and implementation of targeting strategies it is essential to conduct a cost benefit analysis of various strategies available in order to choose the best suited strategy.


Once market segmentation and targeting strategies are formulated comes the process of market positioning which involves creating a brand image or product in customer’s mind (Morgan, et al., 2003). It is an attempt to inspire customer’s perception about a specific product or brand relative to their perception about competitors products or brands (Jackson, 2007). It helps in enhancing customer’s perception about the experience they will have on purchase of a specific product or service. In order to develop a successful positioning strategy it is essential to have an in-depth knowledge of competitor’s products and the benefits desired by a specific target market. Thus marketing positioning strategies help creating an image that organisation wants to create in public. Organisations can use product characteristics or customer benefits as a positioning strategy; they can focus on pricing as a positioning strategy (Morgan, et al., 2003). Positioning strategy can be based on number of factors like, use or application, product process, product class, cultural symbols or competitors.

Market Segmentation and its Types

The Orang-utan Foundation care centre Kalimantan serves as a shelter for abandoned orang-utans’. Its mission statement shows that their contribution is much more than just caring for this endangered species. They helps recognising that the orang-utan habitat is unique in its richness of biodiversity and very important for the survival of local communities who completely depend on the forest like the orang-utans (Orangutan Foundation International Australia, 2015). A marketing segmentation, targeting and positioning strategy is development in order to promote the conservation strategy of the orang-utan foundation to Australian volunteer tourists.

Market segmentation is a commonly known concept of strategic marketing that involves identifying subgroups of individuals who are more or less similar to each other and share common interests (Coghlana & Gooch, 2011). In order to segment the Australian volunteer tourist market into smaller market segments it is essential to have a good understanding of the segmentation process and the Australian volunteer tourists. The steps involved in the segmentation process are shown in figure below.

Segmentation Process

Fig.1. Source: Best (2004)

Voluntourism or volunteer tourism has witnessed rapid growth and diversification from being a small niche to developing into a well known tourism option for travellers who desire for immersive real life learning experiences at places of visit (Hammersley, 2014). Volunteer tourism is an alternative form of travel that at its heart combines volunteering and travel is predicted to generate 1.6 million tourists worldwide and an estimated annual revenue of $1.7 billion to $2.6 billion (Coghlana & Gooch, 2011).

Demographic and psychographic segmentation strategies can be used to divide the Australian volunteer tourists market into small market segments. In order to select a particular segment or segments it is essential to conduct an in-depth analysis of advantages and disadvantages associated with the segment options available. The two different market segments developed using demographic and psychographic segmentation are described below.

Segment 1: The “empty-nester” or the older travellers

Age: 50 years and above

Total Travel Experience: around 4 international travels in last 2 years

Description: This segment of tourist market is also referred to as baby boomers (Coghlan, 2006). They have entered their active retirement life thus spend most of their time travelling. Researches reveal a high propensity of travel in them.

Motivation: Giving back to the society, interacting with likeminded people, expanding their knowledge base, contributing towards the society, learning new facts about different culture and orang-utans, enjoyment and an opportunity to use their existing skills and expertise (Zahra & Mcintosh, 2007).

Advantages: This market segment is considered a comparatively more stable. There are greater chances of having repeated customers if they find it a good experience (Boone & Kurtz, 2011). They are generally well educated. This segment owing to their age is found to be more committed and involved in volunteering tasks (Graham, 2008). They have a deep urge to satisfy their self actualisation needs (Goyat, 2011). They are found to be more emotional and have a different view for the society. As they are retired individuals they prefer to keep a tight control on their travel budget so are attracted towards cheaper holidays. They want to spend more time with their family members.

Target Marketing Strategies

Disadvantages: They may not be very much interested to get tied to a routine commitment to volunteer. The period of travel and physical activities are restricted owing to physical restrictions. Their spending power is low.

Segment2. Younger Generation

Age: 18-35 years

Total Travel Experience: around 2 international travels in last 2 years

Motivations: experience real life thrills and adventures, discover the wildlife, love for orang-utans, meeting new people, enjoyment, assisting in scientific research or ecological restoration, learning new things and developing new skills and abilities, passion to contribute towards society.

Advantage: This segment of Australian volunteer tourists is witnessing high growth. It presents ample of opportunities for future growth. They fit into flexible schedules and are able to take long-term expeditions. Their spending levels are comparatively high . They are willing to explore new things, people and places. They look forward to engaging in adventurous activities. They have high physical stamina thus can live in difficult situations. They are motivated to learn new things and acquire new skills and abilities. They are more passionate to develop a good society with healthy environment.

Disadvantage: Less stable market segment. Chances of repeated customers are very less thus the organisation will have to capture new customers on a regular basis. They are not very focused and committed thus may not be too much involved in volunteering activities. They are less emotional and tend to incline more towards holidays that are fun filled at beautiful tourist places.

Based on the identified advantages and disadvantages it appears that targeting both the selected segment will be beneficial for the Orangutan Foundation as they need both type of tourists, those who are committed and form a stable market as well as those who are young and passionate and will be interested in taking comparatively difficult and adventurous tasks. Differentiated marketing strategy or the multi segment targeting strategy will be best suited for the organisation (Baines, et al., 2013). It will help them develop different marketing strategy for different segments. The organisation will design unique products and services for each segment in order to meet their specific needs. It is essential that the organisation ensure that they have enough resources and capabilities in order to meet the needs of both the segments and in any case it should not interfere with their overall performance and profitability (Dibb & Simkin, 2007). It is also important to ensure that the orang-utan foundation design two different tour packages that have unique features to match the differentiated characteristics of the two chosen segment.

Targeting strategy for Segment 1: The “empty-nester” or the older travellers

Targeting strategy for this segment should be designed keeping in mind the motivational factors that influence them to participate in volunteering activities (Kotler, 2008). Tour packages should include all requirements needed by people of such age. The duration should not be too long and should avoid activities that are too tiring. People of this age like interacting with others thus activities planned should give them ample opportunities to interact with likeminded people (Lamb, et al., 2008). They look forward to developing strong bonding with family members if they travel with family. Thus the package should include activities that family members could perform together. They would be more interested in serving the local community of Kalimantan owing to their desire to give back to the society so the package should provide them opportunity to know more about local culture and community and serve them.

Market Positioning

Targeting strategy for Segment2. Younger Generation

Motivational factors for this segment is much different from the first segment thus tour package designed for this segment should be different from that designed for first segment. This segment is full of energy and has a strong passion for learning and adventure (Rubinson, 2009). The tour package should include more physical activities for them that are challenging enough to attract them. It should also include visit to nearby places as individuals of this group also look for fun. They should be given ample opportunities to know new people (Yusofa & Aziz, 2008). They should be more interested in knowing about the wildlife rather than serving the local community thus activities should be planned accordingly. People of such age prefer travelling in groups so they should be offered group packages.

The primary purpose of both targeting strategies is to enhance customer’s travel experience so that they are willing to participate again in future.

Positioning strategies helps creating desired product perception or brand image in customer’s mind (Best, 2004). This helps in attracting customers and developing brand personality that serves as a long-term organisational asset. Positioning strategy of The Orangutan Foundation should consist of three key elements; emotive expression wherein travellers would get a chance to interact with likeminded people, develop strong family bonding and an opportunity to give back to the society. Attributes of the destination, wherein travellers will be encouraged by informing them about local places, communities and culture. Brand personality wherein The Orangutan Foundation will position itself as a low cost travel agency that is involved in volunteer tourism with a mission to safeguard orang-utans and the orang-utan habitat that has unique biodiversity and is the primary source of living for local inhabitants. This positioning strategy will inspire both the segments as they can make most of their holidays and contribute towards the society.


Volunteer Tourism is the fastest growing form of alternate tourism which gives travellers an opportunity to serve their society. It helps individuals in meeting their self actualisation needs and give back to the society they live in. It gives people an opportunity to actually make a difference and spend some meaningful time by actually serving the local communities or being a part of scientific or ecological researches. Segmentation, targeting and positioning strategies help the orang-utan foundation in developing strategies by which they can target their selected market segments in Australian volunteer tourist market.


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