Malaysia has many tourist attraction places. Zoo is a place where captive wild animals and extinct animals are kept and exhibited to visitors. It brings strange and fascinating animals from far and near to the tourists. Zoo Negara literally is the National Zoo in Malaysia. It was officially opened to public in 14 Nov 1963 by our first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman. This zoological park is located in Ulu Klang near Taman Melawati on the north-east of Kuala Lumpur which covers 110 acres of land. The National Zoo is managed by the Malaysian Zoological Society (MZS), a non-government organization. The zoo has a total of over 5137 animals from 459 species of mammals, bird, reptiles, amphibians and fish. With the time passing by, the zoo has transformed itself into an open-concept zoo with 90% of its animals are kept in spacious exhibits with having natural landscape. Another 10% of our animals are from the African and American continent. The National Zoo is 46 years now. They are working to make sure the old zoo concept is changed entirely and trying move forward as a well known zoo around the world. When the National Zoo has arisen as a well known zoo around the world, it will have a higher reputation and it attracts more tourists. (http://www.zoonegara.org.my/zoo.html).
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The Role of Marketing
Marketing plays an important role within most of the organization and the society. It is an essential department in whether the organizations operate as a non-profit or for profit business. Marketing is needed to attract customers to support the zoo, raising awareness and donations. Marketing also acts as a communication between the organization and the public. It is a way of conveying the messages and changes the behavior of the people to have a better environment in the society. The purpose of marketing is to improve the perception of the society towards the zoo and transform it into a recognizable zoo worldwide. Marketing mix is a set of tools that management used to influence sales (Kotler, 2003). The 4P’s is a traditional method which is product, price, place and promotion. Product can be anything to be offered to a market for sales including services that can satisfy a customer’s needs and wants (Kotler and Armstrong, 2004). The national zoo has 5137 animals from 459 species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds and fishes (Zoo Negara, 2009). They had been trying to keep up with the other zoos by buying or accepting animals from across the world. The recent arrival of new animal is a male giraffe. The variety of different animals and species is what differentiate them from other local zoos. There are a few factors that affect price setting. The zoo needs to consider about competitors, the cost of running it and their objectives. Customers tend to go to the cheaper and money saving places. The zoo offers cheaper rates for the locals comparing to foreigners, groups, senior citizen and the schools. Place as defined by Kotler and Armstrong (2006) is a set of independent organizations involved in the process of making a product available for the customers. The national zoo was known as “Zoo in the Jungle” as it was located 8miles from the city and said it was too far (Zoo Negara, 2007). However, this location had been developed and a new city has been born. People had found it an ease to go as public transports is available. Promotion is defined as sales promotion, advertising, personal selling, public relations and direct marketing (Borden, 1984). The zoo had been trying to attract more customers to increase the revenue to support the zoo. They have Savannah Walk and Zoo Negara Bear Complex to host personal functions such as birthdays and family day. They have a special Valentine’s Day promotion and the zoo was included in the government’s program of promoting the country.
In 2007, Zoo Negara had1608 schools which is about 78400 students to visit. The zoo is a good example place to educate those students to know more about animal knowledge. This large making profit zoo has to upgrade their system and provide more services to comply with the increasing demand. The zoo does provide guided tour on the zoo tram and this support by college and university volunteer to give more understanding for those students. This service is free of charge. Zoo Negara also has an aquarium named Akuarium Tunku Abdul Rahman (ATAR). It is one of the oldest public aquariums in this country. It provides different type of animal information to the student and the public. Zoo not only has indoor activity, they are also co-operating with external marketing team name Global Soft Marketing to organize events in Selangor schools. They offer a wide variety of program such as talks, animal appearances, coloring contest and quiz. The education department continues to receive undergraduates from institution of higher learning or university for their practical training in the zoo. The zoo is the place for them to do their undergraduate and post-graduate research thesis. This is more convenient for them as the zoo has many varieties of animals and the tools for it are available. The education department also has responsibility in organizing monthly seminar. They can invite universities and schools to attend these sponsored seminars which are open for public. Topics that have been covered in year 2007 include “The Global Amphibian Decline”, “Animal Management – An Islamic Perspective”, “Save the Synchronous Fireflies”, “Hand Rearing of Hyenas” and many more. Zoo Negara has a Veterinary Hospital to take care of the animals and thus it gives the students great opportunity to do research from the lab.
Zoo Negara’s income had increased significantly in year 2007, 10.49 million compare with 9.13 million in year 2006. It showed that the Zoo Negara contributed in improving the economics of the country and earning money for government. Besides that, they used manpower to upgrade their system or service. This will decrease the percentage of unemployment. Zoo Negara promotes Valentine’s Day celebration too where registered couples were taken for a visit around the zoo and then for a set dinner in the vicinity.This will attracts more visitors from foreign country to have this chance to experience the Valentine’s Day with a different and yet unique environment. This is one of the steps taken by the zoo management to increase the revenue and contribute to the country’s income. Besides that, Night Zoo also aids in improving the economic because of foreign visitor especially if the zoo co-operate with the travel company to create interesting tourists packages. Zoo Negara is included in the Program Zoom 2009, Malaysia. One of the reasons why are the zoo is included because it is an important heritage of Malaysia. It is getting famous as it is being promoted by the Government of Malaysia. This promotion comes with a name called “Fun with Nature” and also offers Zoo Negara loyalty card.
The zoo develops a certain target market, demographically, in terms of age, generation and occupation. The zoo now mainly markets itself to the younger generations or working families. Now the zoo has a purpose in their target markets, usually on younger generation (generation X, Y and Z), this is to educate them on the natural habitat of flora and fauna as they are the next in line to manage the community. In actual fact, younger generations bring a big impact in increasing the sales per annum of the Zoo. Without children and teenagers, parents might not even find the reason to pay a visit to the Zoo. A recent activity has begun attracting locals to the zoo, stated in the article http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2009/11/27/central/5109363&sec=central . This article also stated that a survey was conducted due to a poor number of visitors in the year 2006. It was concluded that many local visitors found the entry fee of the zoo was too expensive. The recent price slash down to 50%, had a positive impact on the number of visitors. However, over 70% of the visitors are locals not foreigners. On the other hand, the Zoo has worked in conjunction with the KL HoHo Bus (Hop on and Hop off), this bus makes various stops at tourist destinations area around Kuala Lumpur including the Zoo Negara. The article also stated that ticket price has increased few months back, due to in lack of contributions from the government and sponsors. 80% of the ticket sales go straight into the zoo’s finances. Overall in terms of meeting customers’ needs, the zoo is not up to par yet. It only focuses on local visitors while casting the foreigners aside, special rates for visiting families and the ease of transportation should be implemented for both visitors. Visitors play an important role in the Zoo’s development. If there are lesser visitors, it will result in smaller turnover. When turnovers are smaller, funds might be insufficient to support and manage the Zoo. In event of this, the animals might not have enough to eat or they may not be able to do maintenance to attract more visitors.
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Competitions among the other zoos located in Malaysia are rather steep. The Zoo Negara, Kuala Lumpur has a better location and in terms in size, it out beats the other zoos in Malaysia. As the Zoo Negara is the biggest zoo in Malaysia, so they are able to keep more species of animals compared to the other zoos, example the Zoo Malacca or the Zoo Taiping and Night Safari. A smaller zoo does bring an impact because they cannot compete with the other bigger zoos to care for more animals and also to cater to visitors need. Partnerships with other tourist attraction companies made a positive impact on the zoo. Such as the partnership with the Kuala Lumpur HoHo Double-decker bus, helps the locals and foreigners to access the zoo with ease, this scenario is stated in the article http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2009/11/27/central/5109363&sec=central. Even though there is a price competition between the zoos in Malaysia are incomparable because the entry fee of Zoo Negara is pricier than other the zoos, Zoo Negara still manages to attract tourists by conducting various activities such as zoo marathon, photo competitions and fishing competitions. This gives the zoo a leg ahead from the others, not only attracting youths but also adults. Zoo Negara manages to sustain its differentiation for a long period of time by coming up with packages and discounts while maintaining its position within the market which is stated in http://www.mymalaysiablog.com/malaysia-zoom-zoo-negara-and-visit-zoo-negara-year-2009/ . Therefore, prices of the tickets for sale have to be more reasonable to fulfil the requirements of visitors hence to lower impact brought to the zoo.
- Philip Kotler, 2003, Marketing Insights From A to Z: 80 Concepts Every Manager Needs To Know, John Wiley & Sons, USA
- Philip Kotler & Gary Armstrong, 2004, Principles of Marketing, 10th Edition, Pearson Education, USA
- Philip Kotler & Gary Amstrong, 2006, Principles of marketing, 11th Edition, Pearson International, USA
- Zoo Negara, 2007, A Journey Through Time, retrieved on 30th December 2009, from http://www.zoonegara.org.my/Microsoft%20Word%20-%20Journeythroughtime.pdf
- Neil. H. Borden, 1984, The Concept of Marketing Mix, Journal of Advertising Research, 1 (9), 2-7.
- Zhin, C.M., (2009) ‘Special Discounts for Locals at Tourist Spots’, The Star Online, 27th Nov. [Online] (Accessed : 20th Dec 2009) Available at :http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2009/11/27/central/5109363&sec=central%20.
- Malaysia – Zoom! Zoo Negara and Visit Zoo Negara Year 2009, (19th Jan 2009). [Online] (Accessed : 20th Dec 2009) Available at :http://www.mymalaysiablog.com/malaysia-zoom-zoo-negara-and-visit-zoo-negara-year-2009/
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