Destination marketing aids in the accomplishment of tourism policy, which should be synchronized with the regional development strategic plan. Marketing destination also steers the tourism effects optimization and the optimization of the benefits for specific regions. According to Cooper et al, destinations are the concentration of amenities and services, which is devised to meet the requirements of the tourists. The components of destinations include:
- Activities available.
- Amenities or facilities.
- Ancillary services for instance banks.
The traditional approach to destination marketing is focused on increasing visitation and deals with it similar to other products. However, this approach demonstrates weakness through failure to identify the distinctive needs and challenges of every destination. Additionally, the approach does not recognize the social-cultural, geographical, and environmental attributes of the target destinations. Conversely, planning literature focuses on the impacts of tourism together with the limitation of these impacts on tourism development. Therefore, planning literature disregards market dynamic and the needs of the investors at the target destinations. In order to generate tourist satisfaction, the tourism ought to utilize societal marketing strategies, which entail careful monitoring of tourist satisfaction levels, the host reactions to tourists, host tourist interaction, and adequate knowledge of the infrastructure development and its influence on the type of tourists.
Management and marketing different destinations are challenging, considering that different stakeholders are involved in the creation, and promotion of the various tourism productions. This implies that strategies and activities within the different destinations ought to consider the interests of all involved parties. Tourist experiences are products of different elements that are generated and run by individual players. The overall experience is used in judging a destination after visiting resulting into coinciding of the strategic marketing of the entire destination with that of the individual players. Therefore, the competitiveness of individual player has links with each other, which are nearly indistinguishable. Consumers value environmental resources and are willing to pay for these at premium prices. Consequently, local resources are central assets for all destinations and tourism suppliers. Therefore, their sustainability is considered a core function of tourism marketing.
Marketing Management and Strategies for Destinations:
- Boost the long term status of local people.
- Delight tourists by increasing or optimizing their satisfaction.
- Maximize prosperity of indigenous enterprises and maximize multiplier impacts.
- Optimize tourism impacts by guaranteeing a sustainable equilibrium between economic benefits with the socio-cultural and environmental expenses.
In tourism, marketing ought to be utilized as a strategic technique in conjunction with planning and management instead of a sales tool. De-marketing is an imperative tool for destination marketing to avert various market segments from attending at specific periods.
Main Markets and Destination choices
Business trips are fairly inflexible and usually, travelers cannot select destinations. They are shaped by the business opportunities and the connection of the tourist with parties at the destination.
Leisure travelers utilize comprehensive criteria in the selection of the destination. They possess high price elasticity and the price considerably influences the decision making process.
Types of Destinations, Target Markets, and Marketing Strategies
- Urban destinations.
- Seaside destinations and resorts.
- Alpine destinations.
- Rural tourism.
- Authentic third world.
Market research is desirable in the identification of the markets segments for the destination products that the tourism industry develops. It assists in the determination of the types of customers for definite destination products.
- Identification of the main attributes anticipated by each market segment.
- Design and attributes required for tourism products and services.
- Evaluation and development of destination image.
- Segmentation of market and development of corresponding marketing mixes.
- Opening new markets and reducing dependency on existing ones.
- Evaluation of the elasticity of demand for each market segment.
- Reduction of seasonality by matching market segments.
- Examination of reasons deterring people (suppressed demand) from visiting destinations.
- Assessment of compatibility with other target markets.
- Examination of alternative distribution channels.
- Assessment of tourism impacts to the destination and selecting the right segments.
- Evaluation of marketing effectiveness and selection of media for promotion.
Destinations are not similar to other enterprises and cannot be marketed or managed similar to other enterprises considering the dynamics of interests and benefits that stakeholders seek. The rich history and legacy development ought to be considered in the development of appropriate tourism marketing strategies. Therefore, adequate understanding of the destination life cycle is important in the development of the marketing strategies. Several frameworks that depend on demand and supply and other external factors have been developed in order to assess a destination’s competitiveness. Ritchie and Crouch framework explicates that the success of destinations is reliant on the competitiveness of every economic sector together with competitiveness of tourism.
Porter’s generic strategies
- Overall cost leadership.
- Differentiation of products.
- Focus on specific segments.
A marketing mix is appropriate after creation of a feasible marketing strategy. Formulating a destination product involves integration of all parameters that affect tourism after which pricing is carried out. The destinations are then distributed, and the process entails delivering the right quality and quantity of a product in the right place, at the right time, at the right cost, to the right customer.
The destination products have to be promoted to augment awareness and persuade consumers to purchase products. Producing innovative and specialized tourism products will enable destinations to attract intentional demand and to differentiate their products. The competitiveness of each supplier locally as well as their distributors determines the competitiveness of destinations. Therefore, local suppliers should co-operate instead of competing. Tourism destinations should learn from past mistakes and appreciate that their strategic management and marketing must lead to the optimization of tourism impacts and the achievement of their strategic objectives for all stakeholders.