If only every destination could be marketed with free advertising in popular songs and musicals. So, the following is the basis of plans to maximise the economic, environmental and social benefits from successful and sensitive tourism development.
What is destination marketing?
Understanding what makes a city, town, region or country attractive to potential visitors and through promotional and sales strategies makes consumers aware and choose to become VISITORS.
Why market a destination?
1. Nobody will visit a place they have not heard of and have a favourable impression of.
2. The appeal of the destination is generally more important than the tourist product.
There are six types of destinations
Great International Destinations - the list of must go places -London, New York, Paris.
Significant International Destinations - mass appeal to large numbers of international travellers.
Developing International Destinations - in the growth phase - about to become significant on a world scale.
Emerging International Destinations - little known which are attracting only minor international recognition - exploration stage.
Undiscovered Destinations - only known to relatively few explorers and drifters.
Undesirable Destinations - known about, but due to security or hostile environment do not appeal even to the most ardent traveller.
How are destinations perceived?
The further away the visitor comes from, the broader the destination: For Australians, Africa or South America are destinations defined by continents. For an Argentinean or Kenyan this would not be the case.
What makes a great city or region?
It is the totality of a set of mental associations.
Who are the people who communicated the images?
1. Builders of signature images - civic and private landmarks.
2. Writers who set novels and plays there.
3. Composers and Song Writers who compose songs about the place.
4. Film Makers who use it as identifiable setting.
5. Painters who immortalise it on canvas.
6. Broadcasters who report the local events.
Other communicators are:
7. Journalists who visit and pass judgement.
8. Sport Stars who praise the facilities, the crowds, etc.
9. Actors and Entertainers who refer to it on "chat shows" as their favourite town.
10. Business and Government Leaders who by their presence say it"s "OK".
11. Socialites and Celebrities who give it their approval as an "OK" place.
12. Tourist Promoters
13. The Tourist Operator who knows that to sell his product he must first sell the destination.
14. Civic Leaders must use their position to promote the region.
Operators or regions have two options:
1. STAND ALONE MARKETING: Get as high up on people"s lists as possible.
2. MARKETING BY ASSOCIATION: Get locked into tour programs that cover your region.
Marketing your destination on a limited budget
Pick your target market through research and market analysis.
Develop a strategy with goals for 1, 5 and 10 years.
Invest in that Internet portal - don’t fall in love with your images and your destination - make it easy and fast for users to get the information in their native language and make booking fulfilment available through your own or reservation portals.
Develop local media relations - editors and journalists.
Send out news releases to the trade media: Brochure releases, Staff appointments, Industry awards, Special promotions, Renovations and extensions, and Special events/tours.
Provide professionally written articles to selected magazines - local, nationally and internationally.
Approach radio/television and print media for interviews.
Track results through a media monitoring service.
Keep up to date on new communications technologies.
Ensure local authorities’ policy favours filming.
Encourage art exhibitions - local artists.
Create events to generate publicity and awareness.
Host travel agent and media familiarizations.
Provide the wholesale and retail travel industry with buyable product.
Live with the industry - attend tradeshows, etc.
Co-opt other beneficiaries to support you - e.g. carriers, petrol companies, game shows prizes.
Develop point of sale/merchandising material for retail outlets.
By David Barbuto (Managing Director, JPI Tourism & Leisure Consulting Pty Limited)