Etivity 4

We focused our questionnaire on the potential of the German Icelandic horse rider market and if they are, in general, interested in visiting and travelling to the Hay Hotel or not. Also, we tried to identify the motivations that German Icelandic horse riders have if they decide to visit the Hay Hotel.

In order to approach our potential respondents, we posted our questionnaire in two different Facebook groups which both deal with Icelandic horses and their German riders. Additionally, we send out e-mails to 14 Icelandic horse rider clubs as well as 21 Icelandic horse rider stables in entire Germany.

Our questionnaire has been answered by 54 respondents, who differ in age and riding experiences. As the number of completed questionnaires is not enough to really be representative, we can only refer to tendencies so that it can be said that further research is needed.

Our key findings are that 85% of the respondents are interested in horse holidays in Denmark. The main reasons for this are enjoying nature and the passion for Icelandic horses.

The main challenge we found is that 60% of the respondents who are interested in staying at the Hay Hotel and enjoying a horse holiday, do not want or cannot bring their own horses. This has several reasons: some respondents say, that they do not have an own horse, thus, they are not able to bring it there. Others said that the Hay Hotel or Denmark in general is too far away or it is too expensive to bring their own horses there. Other reasons are also that some horses are not in the condition for being transported over such a long distance and consequently think that it is too dangerous. In addition, some horse owners themselves feel too old for such a journey and that it takes too much effort. Most of them state, that it is much easier for them to rent a horse at the Hay Hotel. Consequently, 97% of the respondents who do not want or are not able to bring their horses prefer to rent a horse at the Hay Hotel.

In order to solve the problem of not being able to bring own horses to the Hay Hotel, we came up with three possible solutions.

The first solution would be that the family only targets Icelandic horse riders living in northern Germany. In order to be sure that this solutions works, further research is needed as we focused on entire Germany and only had a few answers from northern Germany. With this solution, the potential guests do not have to travel such a long distance to the Hay Hotel and thus, it is not that expensive which makes it possible to bring their own horses to the Hay Hotel.

The second solution we propose is that the family buys some additional Icelandic horses for the tourists. Hence, German Icelandic horse riders, not only from northern Germany but also those who do not have an own horse, have the chance to experience a horse holiday in Denmark. This could be a good possibility as we have proof that a lot of German Icelandic horse riders are interested in that. The family does still have their horses for their competitions and can target even more potential guests. Also, the family already has all facilities needed for accommodating more horses like paddocks, stables and knowledge. Regarding the extra costs which will arise when buying additional horses, again, further research is needed and calculations have to be made regarding the number of tourists which have to stay at the Hay Hotel in order to cover these costs.

The third solution we thought of is a co-operation with an Icelandic horse stable from which the family could rent some Icelandic horses on demand instead of buying them. This also solves the problem of Icelandic horse riders, who want to stay at the Hay Hotel but do not want or are not able to bring their own horses. At least for the family, this solution is easy to plan as tourists could state if they want to rent horses or bring their own horses when booking their trip. This possible solution, however, might be even more expensive than the second solution, buying additional horses, as every time tourists want to rent horses, costs arise. But again, calculation is needed.

All three suggested solutions require some changes in the current Business Model of the Hay Hotel. Especially the elements customer segment, cost structure and revenue streams, key partners, values as well as channels are affected.

Changes in the customer segment depend on the family┬┤s decision whether they want a broad customer segment from Germany or whether they choose to only focus on the region of northern Germany. To focus on northern Germany might be easier for them as the target group will not be that broad. But if they choose to buy some additional horses or rent horses from other Icelandic horse rider clubs and consequently, could target Icelandic horse riders from all over Germany, the customer segment will be very broad and thus probably not that easy to target.

Additionally to the changes in the customer segment, also changes in the cost structure have to be mentioned. The family has to invest into new horses or into renting horses. These additional costs have to be included into the Break Even calculation they presented to us. This might change a lot in their revenue streams as well. In addition, the family has to set prices for renting the horses with the Icelandic horse clubs from which they rent the horses, as well as think about prices which tourists have to pay when renting the horses for a day or even a week.

Another big change in the Business Model of the Hay Hotel is also the element key partners. If the family decides to rent horses from other stables, they have to set up a co-operation or a network with one or more Icelandic horse rider stables in their region. Another potential key partner could also be the horse sellers, if the family decides to buy some additional horses. Then, they should think about working together with either private horse sellers, Icelandic horse breeders or even horse traders.

The element value is also affected by our suggested changes. As the Hay Hotel might get a competitive advantage through additional value, which means through renting horses, they are able to target a much broader target group. Since they do not only have to address Icelandic horse riders with own horses, they are able to differentiate from their competitors which consequently leads to a competitive advantage.

In general, it can be said that when entering the German market as a potential target group, also additional channels are required. In order to address German Icelandic horse riders, a possibility could be to send flyers to Icelandic horse stables or the Icelandic Horse association in Germany, either only in the northern region or in entire Germany. With these flyers, they have the chance to market their Hay Hotel and to reach more potential customers.

All in all, it can be said that the challenge we found during our analysis of the questionnaires, can also be seen as potentials in order to improve the customer segment and target mainly those potential customers that they want to reach. The challenge also gives the opportunity to make the best of it and rethink the Business Model segment and thus to ensure a good basis for a competitive advantage.

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