Tourism Marketing Explained

Any marketing strategy employed by destination marketing players in the tourism industry is referred to as tourism marketing. Destination Management Organizations (DMO), accommodation like hotels, hostels, airbnb, guest houses and the like, transportation companies like airlines, trains, buses, or car rental companies, dining establishments, entertainment and sporting venues, travel agencies, and tour operators are few examples. Tourism marketing serves the same objectives as other marketing strategies, including brand exposure, customer attraction, and business promotion. The same marketing channels are also employed like website marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, search engine marketing, affiliate marketing, and other digital marketing channels. Also, the use traditional media channels such as billboards, radio, TV, print ads, and radio are utilized in tourism marketing.

Consider that you have never travelled abroad but you are planning your first overseas trip. Since you were a child, you’ve had a long list of countries you wish to see – Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, and the list goes on. When you finally decide where to go, there are so many things that will affect your choice of destination. The list of factors include, among others, your budget, what to see and do in that country, what people who have been there say about their experiences, what bloggers and vloggers say, what’s the weather (or season) when you arrive, and the need for a visa are some of the factors that affect your decision. Whatever your decision is, a great factor of that is because of tourism marketing. 

Marketing for the tourism industry is done by both the government sector and the private tourism enterprises. On a state level, countries compete with one another to attract the most tourists. To establish a “country brand,” they use tourism marketing. A country brand consists of the abstract qualities and ideas that people associate with the name of the country. For example, “It’s more fun in the Philippines,” “Malaysia, truly Asia,” “Incredible India,” and “Amazing Thailand” are country brandings.  Also Paris for example, it’s the city of light, fun, fashion; New York is the city that never sleeps; and Zamboanga is the Latin city of Asia. Here, both DMOs and tourism enterprises come up with tourism marketing strategies to attract their target tourists.

Each county, and even each province, city, or municipality has a “brand story” to tell. People are inspired to add these destinations to their bucket lists because of these marketing strategies and branding which inevitably results to more travelers choosing one destination over the other competitors. But behind this, it takes the cooperation of many stakeholders to establish a brand for an entire country, province, city or municipality. This normally begins with the media channels that shape the destinations brand image to potential tourists and ending with the elements that travellers encounter when visiting the place. In the case of the Philippines, both the Department of Tourism and the Tourism Promotions Board work hand in hand in shaping the image of the country as a destination. On the other hand, local government units also have their own branding to promote their destinations.

A successful tourism marketing strategy is one that can build a sizable base of loyal tourists. The spending capacity of tourists is a clear sign of a powerful destination brand more than the number of tourist arrival. This goes without saying that destinations should not only count tourist arrivals as a metric of destination popularity or success. The devil is in the details, not just the number of tourists.  Loyalty is a trustworthy and accurate sign of a destination’s brand performance. In other businesses for example, retention of customer is a key performance indicator. In the tourism industry, if a visitor is eager to return to the same destination, the brand has undoubtedly lived up to its promise. Word-of-mouth advertising through social media is yet another success aspect. People enjoy sharing their travel experiences especially if the destination offered something new to them which are not available in their place of origin.

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