Tourism promotion means trying to encourage the actual and potential customers to travel a destination through the spreading of information. Promotion is one of the most effective marketing mix elements used in marketing a tourist product. The objectives of promotion consistent with the general marketing plan is to identify the target group to which the promotion is conducted, to find out the effective advertising, sales support and public relations programmes to be planned, and to select the best methods to be used to control and assess the promotion operation. The following three types of promotion help to modify the consumer’s behavior in the stages of the buying process. Firstly, informative promotions are most effective at the earlier buying process stages like attention and comprehension. Secondly, persuasive promotions work well at the intermediate buying process stages which assist with attitude, intention, and purchase. Finally, after the first visit or use of the services, reminder promotions are effective to use. It is quite clear that promotion plays a vital role to advertise any destination and can help to modify the tourist behaviour by ensuring the repeat visitor continues to purchase the same product instead of switching to another destination. Promotion in tourism helps to draw the attention of the potential tourists, modify the behaviour of the existing buyers and influence them to visit a destination.

Every destination country should extend its efforts to discover the needs and follows necessary promotional strategies to raise interest among the potential tourists. It is very important for the decision makers to understand how customers acquire information especially for tourism related services and products. Research has proven that tourist information is an important element to have a positive image about the destination and the decision making process of tourists. The information about a specific destination which is mostly demanded by tourists is considered as an important means of promotion for the tourism industry. Destination marketing is identifying what tourists would like to see and a variety of methods may be used to attract tourists. Generally, the potential tourists like to know in advance about the products, services and facilities at the destination. Using various forms of promotional activities can lead the organization to carry out different promotional measures in order to provide the message to the potential tourists and influence them to visit the destination. 

Types of Promotional Activities

  • Promotion of travel to destination for the European market;
  • Discussion with trade representatives;
  • Distribution of promotional brochures to individuals, tourist operators and travel agencies;
  • Dissemination of tourism information to EU media and EU travel industry;
  • Participation in workshops both of a general and specialized nature. The purpose of workshops is to enable professionals in the tourism sector to market their product. These are the most effective marketing strategies available to companies. For the professional they offer a very direct and personalized channel for promotion and commercial relations;
  • Participation in major tourism fairs (both general and specialized) held domestically and abroad. Possibility of taking part in a fair as a co-exhibitor allows use of synergies between the public and private sectors, while also helping to create business opportunities for the company or institution concerned;
  • Participation in travel shows, conferences, seminars, conventions;
  • Travel agency e-training;
  • Arranging familiarization trips for travel agents and journalists.Trips are a direct and effective promotional tool for showing attractions at first hand and for selling the destination in situ. These are organized journeys aimed at making the destination known to influential people so they can help promote it and market it;
  • Presentations (i.e. specific activities organized to provide information about the tourist destination). Presentations may be restricted to the professional sector or at the end user (the tourist);
  • Contacting tour operators;
  • Educational visits for distribution networks;
  • Placing advertisements in newspapers and magazines;
  • Contacting travel agents and editors;
  • Taking part in tourism promotion events;
  • Engaging in social media and other online content strategies;
  • Managing current and potential customers’ needs via strategic customer relationship management strategy (using on and offline strategies);
  • Using strategic email marketing tactics to communicate specific messages for specific audiences to ensure relevancy and increase brand management;
  • Working with industry trade partners to distribute product;
  • Actively building relationships with other like-minded tourism businesses to package product to increase distribution into new markets;
  • Measuring and reviewing marketing effectiveness on a regular basis to ensure you are achieving a positive return on investment.

Four Questions

For Tourism Promotion Authorities, appraising destination image involves answering four key questions:

  1. What is the perceived destination image held by the customer or potential customer?
  2. Is it favourable?
  3. Is it different from perceptions of what is thought to exist in competitive destinations ? On average travellers are thought to seriously consider three or four destinations thus to be on the 'shopping list' of potential destinations for a particular category is essential.
  4. How can it be affected? Once a destination image has been determined among key segments and its comparative attractiveness relative to substitutes assessed, Tourism Promotion Authorities must decide to what extent they need to take action to consolidate, modify or change perceptions.

Critical Success Factors for Destination Marketing

1. Strategic Orientation

  • Visitation statistics are included and the destination's main markets are quantified and segmented
  • The main competition is identified
  • Tourism trends are identified
  • A long-term orientation is adopted
  • The importance of international competitiveness is recognized
  • The need for infrsatructure improvements is highlighted
  • The need for integration with national tourism plan is recognized
  • Residents' attitudes to tourism are considered
  • Local cultures, values and lifestyles are considered
  • Wealth and job creation and quality of life for residents are primary aims.
  • The issue of overcrowding is addressed
  • The benefit of tourism to the destination is quantified
  • Scenarios are developed

2. Destination Identity and Image

  • The need to develop brand identity is recognized
  • Brand associations are identified
  • The need for image development is recognized
  • Positioning is discussed
  • The need for coordination of industry promotional material is recognized
  • Recognition to ensuring the promises made in marketing communications are conveyed to visitors
  • New and innovative forms of communication channels are addressed
  • The need to improve branding and brand awareness is recognized
  • The importance of experiences to tourists as opposed to tangible propositions is recognized.

3. Stakeholder Involvement

  • National government agencies are involved in planning
  • Local government agencies were involved in planning
  • The area tourist board/area tourist office was involved in the planning
  • Local residents were involved in the planning
  • Local businesses were involved in the planning
  • The need to improve communication between different stakeholders is recognized
  • Leadership is addressed to give greater guidance to stakeholders.

4. Implementation, Monitoring and Review

  • The time scale for each task is included
  • The need for monitoring and review is established

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