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The meaning of tourism marketing

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By definition, tourism marketing is the relevant marketing steps and methods used in making tourist locations and sites attractive to visitors. The ultimate goal of tourism marketing is to attract tourists to a specific tourist destination. Some of these sites may include hotels, specific cities having special tourist features, states with peculiar consumer attractions, centers of conventions and other locations which are of recreational or travel interest. Tourism marketing mainly entails using basic marketing techniques and specific strategies to market and drive up tourist visits.  Tourism marketing is sometimes broken into two main forms: Location marketing and Activity Marketing.

 Bangkok Thailand Floating Market Boats Riv
Location Marketing

Location marketing deals with the methods used in attracting people to specific locations. Often location marketing is silent on sites or kinds of accommodation available. The principle here is that when a location is well known, other attractions within the location is marketed as well. In instances where the location may be so well known the tourism marketer simply needed to remind potential visitors that the place exists and that they stand to have a good time when they visit.

Location marketing like many marketing measures uses slogans, catchwords and zingers. For example, concerning a city like Las Vegas in the USA, the often used catchphrase used to market it is “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” suggesting privacy and the benefit of a place where one can be free from scrutiny. For a place like Florida, “the Sunshine State” is used to market it. The slogan highlights its beautiful climate for tourists who are seeking a place to have a warm weather vacation. For a city in Ghana like Kumasi, the accolade “the Garden City” is used in touting its impressive landscape and greenery. In Bauchi State, the slogan “Pearl of Tourism” is used to indicate to the world that there are several tourist attractions in the state to be visited by inbound tourists.

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Activity Marketing

Another form of tourism marketing is Activity Marketing. Activity marketing involves putting measures in place to attract people to a tourist destination by using interesting activities which goes on there. For example the Cane Film Festival, held annually is used by many tourism marketers to attract many people to the Southern breathtaking beaches of the French Riviera in France. Other such similar activities marketed to attract visitors include the special way Easter Festivities are celebrated in the Kwahu Land in Ghana, the Resort Communities in Hilton Head Islands in the USA where different adverts are designed and mounted to attract people around different activities such as golfing, tennis playing, and families looking to have a destination with beaches. In Rivers State in Nigeria, “Carniriv”, an annual carnival is marketed to attract tourists to the city of Port Harcourt. Activity marketing can also be created around hiking, and gambling for example.

A marketing strategy is a description of the plan made by any business organization or a manager to reach people who may be interested in purchasing or patronizing its services or products with the aim to turn those people into customers of the goods and services which the business organization provides. The marketing strategy of a firm is the steps and plans through which the business makes customers see how valuable it is for them to purchase its goods and services. In the same way tourism marketing strategy is how a tourist venue or activity is made to look attractive to ensure that it attracts repeated visit from tourists.
It must be understood that this explanation, brings out the difference between tourism marketing tactics and tourism marketing strategy. Tourism marketing tactic is the little, little steps taken to make a tourist activity or a programme successful while “tourism marketing strategy” refers to a master plan, this is based on long term goals.

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Market segmentation is a marketing strategy which involves dividing potential customers which the business is aiming to reach into groups with the same or identical tastes, buying behavior, preferences and expectations. After dividing potential customers into groups or segment, the marketing managers now package their services or products in such a way that the needs, tastes, expectations and preferences of customers in each segment or group are met when they patronize or buy those goods and services. This strategy can probably be said to be the direct opposite of mass marketing where no attempt is made to segment customers into groups.

Tourists are often made up of people from different walks of life. As a result, all of them are likely to have, for example, different expectations of how they would wish an excellent holiday would look like, as well as how much they may be willing to spend on their vacations. By grouping these into persons with similar tastes, tourism marketers are able to provide vacation packages to meet the taste, preference and purchasing power of each group.

Sometimes, target market is ideal when a company or tour operator does not have the financial means to cater for the various groups of tourists. By segmenting them, a tourist service provider can concentrate his/her resources in meeting the needs of only the few groups that his business strength can take care of.

Mass marketing
Mass marketing is also known as undifferentiated marketing. It is a marketing strategy where the tourism management tries to reach every potential patron in one go with the same marketing approach. Usually in mass marketing, mass advertising is used to distribute information about the tourist destination or activity. Mass media, mass distribution of messages of the fun to be had and the attractiveness of the tourist site is extensively used. Unlike in the case of segmentation, no attempt is made in mass marketing to group potential customers into various segments with similar preference and taste. Instead one product is marketed to all potential customers with the aim of reaching as many people as possible.

One major advantage of mass marketing is that it saves cost which is incurred in marketing to different groups separately by designing different messages and distributing through different mean to target customers in each group. 

Niche marketing (new emerging markets)
Niche marketing in tourism is where tourist destination managers use special programs to attract tourists in very special market segments. Unlike in the case of market segmentation, niche marketing focuses on just one group of customers or tourists who has a special need and; are looking to visit places where those needs and passion would be satisfied. For example a tourist who needs some quietness and moments of reflection would not go for a crowded street jam. Because his need is not to meet people and have fun.

Niche marketing in tourism is based on the understanding that tourists are usually looking for experiences. Because of this they would want to visit those places where the opportunity to have those wonderful experiences to match their interests and passion. Creating a niche tourist product and service actually helps the tourist organization to increase visitation from people with passions that match the tourist packages they offer. 

Some examples of particular niche tourist markets include: Agri-tourism (for tourists interested in farming); Eco-tourism (for people interested in the peculiar nature of an areas vegetation and wildlife); Wine tourism (for tourists who have a passion for wine, its taste, history and preparation; as well as buying, drinking and keeping good wine). Typical region most visited by wine tourist include the Finger Lakes region in New York, USA and France.

Contrary to what many believe, a niche market is not necessarily a small market. For example there is currently a form of niche tourist market which attracts thousands of people every year known as medical tourism where people take vacation to regions where health care bills are low to get treated for illness while on vacation.

1.a.Explain the term tourism marketing.
   b. Highlight how the following are used in tourism marketing.
       i.   Segmentation
       ii.  Mass Marketing
       iii. Niche Marketing

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