Understanding The Tourism Industry And The Tourists Marketing Essay
LITERATURE REVIEW PART 1
During the past three decades, demand for travelling has become insatiable and the tourism industry is constantly developing to satisfy the need of customers. The rapid increase in the number of senior people travelling, the number of holidays taken and the high expectations of tourists are seen as examples of trends that are shaping the industry. According to Eccles and Costa (2006), trends in the tourism sector relate to the products that tourists consume and the aspects of the destinations that they visit. During the early years, many new destinations such as Caribbean, Africa and South-east Asia had appeared on the tourist itineraries. These places had been visited by only a very few number of tourists before mass tourism became popular to the area. The tourism industry is found to generate many economical and social benefits such as the use of tourism revenues to build and develop regional infrastructure. The main objective in planning and development is usually to satisfy the recreational needs of the communities through rapid developments in infrastructures. The developing countries of the world are known for using tourism as a way of enhancing economic gains but this implies a lot of challenges.
Challenges of the Tourism Industry
The more the industry is developing, the more challenges the tourism industry is facing. The key concerns about those challenges of the trends currently are sustainability, transport and product development as explained below by Eccles and Costa (2006).
Planners must make sure that development is in harmony with the local environment when implementing a product in the market. Sustainability must grow through effective planning with clear guidelines on the breadth and depth of the development. The solution is to educate and train people who are in the tourism field.
Travel and transport has been a famous subject matter in the tourism literature, where the focus is put on the airline industry, and the impacts of deregulation on the European charter market.
Several malls have been built, combining shopping with a theme park experience, thus encouraging more tourists to visit the place. In addition, the construction of commercial and business complexes outside city centres help urban rejuvenation.
Sustainable Tourism Development
Sustainability problems happen when there are quick developments that give very little concern for the environment and community (May, 1991). The researcher Dogan (1989) mentioned that local people responded to tourism development in many incompatible and various manners, starting from extreme resistance to the absolute adoption of Western culture. To be able to understand this change of resistance to adoption, locals' perceptions must be carefully taken into account as it is an important matter for tourism planning and development (Ap, 1992). Tourists' behaviour has a large influence on the way local population perceive tourism. The amount of tourist visiting the country or area is also likely to impacts on resident's perception. To be able to surmount the problem, it is necessary to adopt an attitude so as to benefit the whole community. Successful tourism planning necessitates the contribution and participation of residents in the destination areas. It is important to develop a product that provides the visitor consideration for the local environment and which can also improve interaction between tourists and locals. It is also important to incorporate sustainability as a measure to ensure long-term success. The planning includes government's consideration for the local residents and getting them involved in the planning process (Eccles and Costa, 2006).
Understanding the Tourists
Tourists' decision making process
Schiffman and Kanuk (1997) and Kotler (1997) describe the decision making process as "the process by which a person is required to make a choice from various alternative options". It is the process of evaluating each of the available alternatives to select the best amongst them. The most basic necessity for the tourism marketers is to understand how tourists make their decisions and what factors influence them to make their choices. When it comes to making choices about where and how to travel, multiple factors influence travel and tourism consumer behaviour.
Global economy and budget influence choice for travel. Travel is often seen as a luxury, and when people are earning less or worried about earning less, they may eliminate travel from their budgets but even with a bad economy, some people still need or want to travel (www.ehow.com)
Internet and social media can influence consumers' travel choice. People turn to the Internet to research potential trips and seek out bargains. An individual's awareness, choice and selection of destination depend on available information (Leisen, 2001).
Perception is one of the key psychological factors that influence decision to travel and behaviour is seen as an outcome of perceptions (Lindquist, 1974, 1975) and vary greatly from person to person. In destination marketing, the role of perception in tourist behaviour is about recognizing how tourists view the country as a destination.
Destination image is a significant factor in determining visitor choice (Lee et al., 2002) and is an expectations communicator (Gronroos, 1990). The positive image of a destination plays a major role in the choice of a holidaymaker (Keller, 1998). Travellers are likely to opt for the destination with the most favourable image which implies the traveller's expectation of visiting the destination (Gartner, 1989).
The benefits inherent in the consumption of tourism services are primarily experiential (Leisen, 2001). Tourist destinations have to make a study of visitors' experience so as to ensure that what they perceive and what they believe is what they desire. The tourist has in mind experiences constructed upon optimistic feelings prior to the actual consumption (Petrova, 2005).
Customers' choice depends on factors such as perceived and experienced convenience of transportation, accessibility, cost, product features and security (Future Brands, 2006).
Personal Communication Channel
In the tourism industry personal communication channels are important and are separated into two categories: service agent-to-customer and customer-to-customer (Rowley, 1997).
Tourism service agents use different methods of personal communication to deal with tourists. Methods include direct response, public relations, letters, telephone and emails.
Customer-to-customer refers to the word-of-mouth communication which is very essential for situations with high levels of interest and perceived risk by consumers (File et al., 1994). Tourists prefer 'word-of-mouth' to choose destinations (Future Brands, 2006) because of the experiential nature of services. Communication from relatives and/or friends is used to better calculate a future destination experience and the more favourable the word-of-mouth communication about a destination, the higher the tourist expectations will be (Clow et al., 1997).
Non-personal communication channel
Non-personal communication channel involve the local, national and international press, brochures and pamphlets, billboards, posters, radio, television and cinema. Destinations must have a clear, consistent communication across media (Kay, 2006). The evolution of advertising styles is in developed markets, from "the manufacturer speaks" to the "brand creates its own language code". Good advertising succeeds in capturing the meanings of the general culture and making them take up residence in the brand (Aaker and Biel, 1993). Selections of channels are essential so as to provide greater visibility. An important factor in the choice of communication channels is the budget available (Rowley, 1997). The internet plays a useful role in attracting new customer and increasing destination enjoyment and satisfaction (Castaneda et al., 2007). Websites allow straightforward interactivity connecting all other destination product offer sites to provide the customer with a holistic opinion of the destination (Palmer and McCole, 2000). Marketers have tried to combine personal communication with non-personal communication to produce synergistic effects (Duncan, 2002) and studies have demonstrated that managing marketing activities can result into beneficial outcomes (Naik and Raman, 2003).
Influential Factors affecting tourist's consumption behaviour
The four influential factors affecting tourist's consumption behaviour are cultural factors, social factors, personal factors and psychological factors.
Cultural factors comprise of sub-culture and social class. It concern religion, belief, behaviours, habits, gastronomy, and dressing. Marketers, especially from the tourism sector, have to be careful of cultural change in the market so as to adjust their product (Coleman, 1983).
Tourist behaviour is also affected by social factors like the groups or family to which he forms part and his social status. In a group, interaction takes place and can influence the purchase decision. The group can include one or several people who initiate, influence, decide, buy, and use (Blackwell et al., 2003).
Personal factors can influence tourist in his consumption of the tourism product. The personal factors are unique to an individual and refer to age, occupation, financial situation, lifestyle, and personality of the tourist (Blackwell et al., 2003).
Psychological factors include motivation, perception, learning and beliefs/attitudes. Choice for travelling is effected by a set of motives (Maslow's hierarchy of needs) and perception derives from available information. Learning has the power to change a person's behaviour caused by information and experience. Attitudes are knowledge and positive/negative feelings of the tourist about a tourism product or destination, linked with perceptions, experience and peer interaction (Pearce, 1991)
Demand comprises of a wide range of tourists, each one with distinct behaviours developing from a variety of motivational factors. A good theory of tourist motivation must consider the total needs of travellers, be able to manage dynamic changes within individuals and society and must balance needs influenced by other people. When segmenting markets, a destination brand should be able to respond to customer needs. The needs for travelling can be for (González and Bello, 2002):
Leisure Tourism: Sun and sea holiday, family and friend visits, place visits, sports, adventure, festivals, concerts
Business Tourism: meetings, conference, conventions, training and sales missions, contact work
Culture Tourism: art and folklore events, theatre, monuments, museums, exhibitions, historical and archaeological site visits, pilgrimage, visit to host communities, opportunities for social encounter, experience the gastronomy
Health Tourism: medical and wellness treatments
Maslow's hierarchy of needs explaining Tourists' Motivations/Needs
Maslow's hierarchy of needs comprises of physiological, safety, love and belonging, esteem and self actualization factors and shows that lower level on the ladder have to be satisfied before the person moves to higher levels of the ladder. The travel ladder below (Pearce, 1991) is a 'multi-motive' model. It shows that motivation can change gradually when time passes and across situations. Destinations are considered as different travel experiences, where travellers select destinations, transport, accommodation, and activities according to their lifestyles, personality and motivational profile.
Tourists' Expectations and Satisfaction
The prime determinant of tourists' satisfaction is the relation or gap between tourists' expectations and experiences. Expectation is based on tourists' past experiences and available information and it is included in the tourist satisfaction process (Oliver, 1997). Past experience can impact on expectations (Fache, 2000) and beliefs about a future encounter rely upon previous levels of satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is a prerequisite of customer loyalty (Clow et al., 1997). Managing the tourist's expectations is very important because it can drastically affect tourist choice processes as well as perceptions of experiences (Gnoth, 1997). The tourist's expectations or positive beliefs about a destination would facilitate the tourist site to occupy a privileged position among the places evoked during the choice process. Predictive expectations are described as one's beliefs about how a product or service is likely to act at some moment in the future (Prakash and Lounsbury, 1984). Expectations are familiar to tourism as service provider sector as most definitions of service quality turn round "meeting or exceeding customer expectations" (Kong and Mayo, 1993). Visitors' evaluation of the service is influenced by their previous expectations. Hence, leaders of the tourism industry must seize the opportunity to manage these expectations to under-promise and over-deliver (Peters, 1988). Tourists' expectations usually emerge from explanations of service quality in relation to their satisfaction. Service quality is described as "the degree and direction between tourists' perceptions and expectations" (Parasuraman et al., 1988; Boulding et al., 1993). SERVQUAL measurement model is created to assess expectations and service quality. Service quality is seen as a multidimensional concept and comprises of ten elements: reliability, responsiveness, competence, access, courtesy, communication, credibility, security, understanding the customer, and tangibles (Parasuraman et al., 1985)
Experiential marketing is a crucial development in marketing thinking. Brands assist in creating five different sorts of experiences which can be used to better understand tourists. Schmitt (2003) theory of customer experience management (CEM) describes as the process of strategically managing a customer's entire experience:
Sense experiences from sensory perception
Feel experiences are affection and emotions
Think experiences which are creative and cognitive
Act experiences are physical behaviour, individual actions and lifestyles
Relate experiences outcome from connecting with a reference group or culture
LITERATURE REVIEW PART 2
BRANDING A DESTINATION
Brand and Branding
As a result of global interaction, real time news accessibility, consumer generated media and content, countries and companies have turn out to be progressively more concerned of their image internally and internationally. The concept of branding recently started to expand and developed into a topic of examination in the late 1990s (Pike, 2002; Tasci and Kozak, 2006). Brand and branding a destination is an interesting and popular topic nowadays. Research in this field is diverse and comprises of several elements.
Brand is an un-separate part of the world market nowadays. A brand is a name, term, symbol, design or a combination of these that is intended to identify the goods & services of a seller and differentiate them from competitors (Kotler, 2003). A brand is not only a name and a symbol. It points out consumers' perceptions and feelings about a product and its performance. The actual value of a strong brand is its power to get consumer choice and faithfulness (Armstrong and Kotler, 2005). "Brands are among a company's most valuable assets and smart companies today realize that capitalizing on their brands is important. These companies know that brands are more than just products and services. They know that brands are also what the company does and more importantly, what the company is..." (Davis, 2001) A brand is a key element of what a company stands for. It implies consistency, trust, and a set of expectations. "The strongest brands in the world own a place in the customer's mind and when they are mentioned, almost everyone thinks of the same things" (Rich, 2001).
Characteristics of Brands
Keller and Lehmann (2006) listed 6 criteria/characteristics of brands which are useful for choosing and designing brand elements to build brand equity:
Memorability: An important form of creating brand equity is achieving a high level of brand awareness. A brand should be inherently memorable, thus facilitating remind or recognition in consumption settings.
Meaningfulness: Brand should have a meaning which enlarges the creation of brand associations. It can take on all kinds of meaning, altering in descriptive, besides persuasive, content.
Aesthetic appeal or likability: A brand must be rich in visual and verbal imagery to attract customer and awake their interest to experience the product. Still, likeability depends on an individual perception.
Transferability: The transferability of the brand element can be both in a product category and in a geographic sense.
Adaptability or flexibility: Brand must be updated in course of time due to changes in consumer opinions and values, or simply because of a need to remain contemporary. Tourism industry has to be flexible and get adapted to different needs and expectation to be able to satisfy tourists.
Protectability: The brand element must be protectable both in a legal and competitive sense. The brand image needs continually to be drawn to the attention of the customer.
Equity is the value of property above and beyond what is owed on it. Brand equity is for example, the add value that a brand name gives. Brand equity helps to produce awareness, perceived quality and loyalty. Brand equity is often built on characteristic and benefit that is superior to competition (Stevens and Clow, 2009). Strategic brand management involves the design and implementation of marketing programs and activities to build, measure, and manage brand equity (Keller and Aaker, 1998). In account of the value of brands as intangible assets, increased emphasis has been put on understanding how to build, measure, and manage brand equity (Kapferer, 2005). Researchers have been done on comprehensive models of brand equity in recent years to incorporate multiple perspectives (Ambler, 2004).
Distinctive Perspectives in Brand Equity
A study on brand equity is described in these three distinct perspectives:
Customer based: From the customer's side, brand equity is either the attraction to or the repulsion from a specific product from a particular company engendered by the "nonobjective" part of the product which is being offered. Through influences such as advertising or/and activities like usage experience, a series of attachments and associations can be developed (Keller and Lehmann, 2006).
Company based: From the company's side, a solid brand serves several purposes such as making more effective advertising and promotion, helping secure distribution, segregating a product from competition, and increasing growth. Brand equity is therefore as a result the extra value that is added to a firm thanks to the existence of the brand name. Economically spoken, brand equity can be perceived as the degree of "market inefficiency" that an organisation is capable of capturing with its brands (Hoeffler and Keller, 2003).
Financial based: From a financial market's side, a brand is an asset such as equipment that can be bought and sold. The financial benefit of a brand is hence the price it can bring in the financial market (Simon and Sullivan, 1993). A brand will possibly be useful for differentiation and for the prospect of setting higher prices. Nevertheless, calculating the asset value of a brand is quite complicated. It is therefore necessary if a considerable reason is to be made for investment in the conception and conservation of a brand in an ever-tightening financial environment (Rowley, 1997).
Branding is an essential decision in marketing products. It is a methodical preparation and is an implemented process of creating and maintaining a favourable image and reputation for the organisation, by managing behaviour, communication, and symbolism (Einwiller and Will, 2002). An organisation uses a name, phrase, symbols, or combination of all these to distinguish its products and separate them from those competitors (Kotler, 2003). A brand name is any word, device (design, sound, shape, or color) or a combination of these, used to separate a seller's goods or services (Kerin et al., 2006). Whenever a marketer creates a name, logo, or symbol for a new product, brand is created (Keller, 2003). Branding is not about being on the top of something but within something. The product enriched must stand out well if it is to be spotted by the potential buyer and if the company wants to reap the benefits of its strategy before being copied by others (Kapferer, 2005). Branding includes a trade mark which is a brand name that a company registers with the authorities and it has exclusive use, thereby preventing any others from using it. A trade mark cannot be used by another person as it is illegal (Stevens and Clow, 2009). Normally, branding aims at increasing sales, maintaining or improving market share, creating a favourable climate for future sales, informing and educating the market, crafting a competitive difference and improving promotional efficiency. Branding might contribute to the success of these objectives, but it is important to identify where priorities lie (Rowley, 1997).
Branding a Destination
"Our belief is that brands truly have the power to change the world, they have the power to change the way we view the world and how we choose to see one country in contrast to another" (Brymer, 2003). Kotler et al. (1999) was one among the first authors introducing destination marketing as a research concept. Destination refers to a particular area which is marketed to tourists as a place to visit and it more specifically refers to a country, instead of small geographical place like a city or a tourist visiting site (Moilanen, 2008). A destination brand is a name, symbol, logo, word mark or any other graphic that gives a visual identity to the destination (Ritchie, 1998). Destination branding is about assembling things related with a place or with a destination, such as: all of itsÂ products and services like agriculture, tourism, sports, arts and culture, investment, technology, education and so on (www.brandwa.com). Destination branding is also the process whereby a country actively seeks to create a unique and competitive identity for itself, with the aim of positioning the country internally and internationally as a good destination for trade, tourism and investments (Nworah, 2005). Branding implies dividing the product category into product identification and differentiation, market segmentation and the fulfilment of specific customers' expectation. Effective destination branding needs a unique selling proposition that is sustainable, believable, and relevant and that "the competition wants and is maybe able to copy but which they cannot surpass or usurp" (Morgan et al., 2002). Branding management at the time of competition, is separated in two parts, namely 'brand identity' which indicates the aspects of brands' uniqueness and values, and 'brand positioning' which is the demarcation one makes from each other, thus giving rise to preference in a specific market at a specific time (Kapferer, 2005).
Brand Identity and its values
Destination branding activity has been done in several countries of the world. Each country should have a personality, a set of values, and a position it occupies in people's minds. Possessing a country brand identity signifies being unique and genuine and having its own characteristics and vision that differ from others' and is resistant to change. A destination should maintain its identity which includes features and attributes, benefits, performance, quality, service support, and the values that the brand possesses, but continuously redoubles its importance (Bennett and Rundel-Thiele, 2005). Brand identity moreover characterises what is required to stay and what ought to be change (Kapferer, 2005). It also refers to offering the country values to increase tourist consumption. Those values comprise of cultural, social, natural and economic values. Customers can be familiar with these values as those to which they are attracted (González and Bello, 2002). Branding in the tourism industry requires a double identification as local people are involved and they must be familiar with the country brand. Blichfeldt (2005) emphasises on the importance of the local people in destination branding. They form the essence of the place (Gnoth, 2007). Tourism, as a people and service oriented industry, depends a lot on the efficiency of employees. Identity must be something which all staff can understand and identify with. Authorities concerned should transmit values through awareness campaigns and training. It is necessary to enhance the self-discovery of how brand values have the strength to transform behaviour on a daily basis (Rowley, 1997).
Brand for Positioning a Tourist Destination
Destination brand positioning includes setting up strategic brand associations in the minds of tourists to differentiate the country brand and establish competitive advantage (Keller et al., 2002). The fundamental question is: 'what would the market lack if ever we did not exist?' The branding purpose takes account of (re) describing its raison d'être, its greatest necessity. It organises the market, driven by a vision, a calling and a clear idea of what the category should become (Kapferer, 2005). An important aspect of a brand's position is how similar or different the brand is perceived to be in comparison with other brands in the product category. The brand should position itself within the market as a differentiated product (Dikson and Ginter, 1987) which will then includes the creation of a separate niche for the new brand (Srivastiva et al., 1984). A country brand can be well positioned by associating its name with the benefits the country can offer to its visitors (Armstrong and Kotler, 2005). Destination branding begins with the strategic vision of that place as a strong vision results in performance (LaBonte, 2003). This should ease trade and investments (Hankinson, 2005). A destination should also take advantage of natural assets and resources, past history, culture and traditions, developed infrastructure and facilities (Future Brands, 2006). Destination can act not only as a transit point for trade, logistics but also for people. Branding should start with the people of that destination. The feeling of pride and the essence of the place create a positive association for visitors with the destination. Pride can act as one of the greatest motivational factors (Katzenbach, 2003).
Branding a Destination is complex
Firstly, it concerns multifaceted offers, cross-sector stakeholder co-operation with potentially different local perspectives and also the whole local population (Therkelsen and Halkier, 2008) and comprises of a variety of geographical and cultural entities which challenge the consistent image building (Cai, 2002). Secondly, intangibility in destination represents a significant challenge for the destination marketer (Morgan et al., 2002). Destination branding deals with a variety of brand associations such as history, heritage, and experiences (Keller, 2001). Thirdly, destination branding should deliver the promise of a 'memorable travel experience' that is uniquely related to the destination and it acts as consolidating and reinforcing the 'recollection of pleasurable memories' of the destination experience (Otto and Ritchie, 1996). Thirdly, the concept of the visitor experience needs to be integrated into the process of branding (Pine and Gilmore, 1999). Researchers have to prove that though visitors purchase individual tourism services, the entire visitor experience is what is effectively being bought.
Brand Image for a Tourist Destination
Destination image has become a very popular topic in tourism research during the past three decades. Meanwhile, the countries have implement image as an essential marketing tool to attract visitors (Pike, 2002). The objective of an image is to describe the brand's goal, value and self-image. An image symbolises brand identity through a visual figure. An image results from decoding a message, extracting meaning, interpreting signs. It is important to clearly define the brand identity before creating a logo and a slogan. While identity is on the sender's side, image is on the receiver's side and focuses on tourists' perception and interpretation of the signs of the destination brand. The visual aspect of branding a destination is one of the major tools for advertising and for providing information to the forthcoming visitors (Berry, 1989). Therefore we must know what to send and how to send it (Kapferer, 2005). Destination image is described as "not only the perceptions of individual destination attributes but also the holistic impression made by the destination" (Echtner and Ritchie, 1991). It is imperative that the visitors as well as the inhabitants get connected to both the verbal and visual aspects of country branding. The study of destination image has been of interest to many researchers in the tourism field because it influences perceptions and behaviours (Pearce, 1982). In tourism sector, destination image is a representation of the country that facilitates individuals to foresee their destination experiences (Jenkins, 1999). Image must therefore create the expectations that a visitor can have of a tourist destination prior to their visit (Bigne et al., 2001) and the more positive is the preconceived image of a destination, the higher will be the tourist expectations.
Logo in destination brand plays a crucial role in generating a readily identifiable, distinctive image for differentiating the country (Henderson et al., 2003). A logo is considered as a graphic design (with or without words or "taglines"), representing the country's visual identity. A logo is "one of the main vehicles for communicating image, cutting through clutter to gain attention, and speeding recognition of the product or company" (Henderson and Cote, 1998). According to Gernsheimer (2008), a logo should be distinctive to stand out of the crowd, sophisticated to reflect a sense of good taste, conceptual and cohesive in relation to quality, relevant taking attention to small details, versatile so that it can be well reproduced on any surface, attractive to get the attention of viewers, legible for a good and quick communication, memorable to make it easier to recall and finally enduring as branding is a long-term process. Papp-Váry (2010) states that country logos normally contain the country name and some images or graphics, for example a flag, water, sun, plants, animals, heart or an abstract shape. A brand name should suggest something about product's benefits and qualities. It should be short, easy to pronounce, recognise and remember. It must be unique and easily translated into other languages, especially if there are future plans of investment at international level. A Name should be able to be registered for legal & copy right protection (Dong and Helms, 2001). Papp-Váry (2010) noticed that many countries have used the element of flowers and animals to represents the uniqueness of that country. To his opinion, the heart is a symbol of "hospitality and a positive message but it's not really distinctive in it-self". Table 1 below, justifies the above statement.
Table 1: Grouping of some country logos (Papp-Váry, 2010)
A country slogan is usually created to attract visitors. It is very difficult to be produced as its signification must be unique and representative of the country and it is not supposed to be fitted to other countries. The brand's slogan is meant to embody the brand contract. According to Kapferer (2005), a good slogan might be rejected by managing directors because it means too much commitment for the company and may backfire if the products/services do not match the expectations the brand has created so far; and this is same for a country. The greatest values coming out from the branding must be reflected in the external symbols of recognition which have to be noticeable, clear and easy to understand at the very first glance. A slogan comprises of a variety of characteristics. For example: it should recall the brand name, include a key benefit, differentiate the brand, impart positive feeling of the brand, reflect the brand personality, be memorable, strategic, simple, original, neat, believable, competitive and likable. It should not prompt a sarcastic or negative response and make you say "so what?" or "ho hum". It must not be meaningless, complicated or clumsy, bland, generic or hackneyed pretentious, negative, corporate waffle and be in current use by others (Foster, 2001). Country slogan is categorised into 16 groups as shown in table below.
Table 2: Grouping of country slogans (Papp-Váry, 2010)
Andorra - The Pyrenean Country
Nigeria - the heart of Africa
Ethiopia - 13 months of sunshine
Spain. Everything Under the Sun
Switzerland - get natural
Montenegro - wild beauty
Nicaragua - a water paradise
Brunei - the Kingdom of unexpected treasures
The Ancient Kingdom of Tonga
Bhutan - Land of the thunder dragon
Cambodia - a world of treasures
Republic of Macedonia - Cradle of culture, land of nature
Visit Kosovo - history in the making
Costa Rica - No artificial ingredients
India - We add spice to your life
Canada - keep exploring
Kenya - experience a different safari every day
Aruba - One happy island
Hungary - Talent for Entertaining
Bermuda - feel the love
Hungary - A love for life
Albania - A new Mediterranean love
Norway - a pure escape
Israel - No one belongs here more than you
Romania - Come as a tourist, leave as a friend
Smile! You are in Spain!
Austria - At last!
Argentina - Más de una rázon
Estonia - positively transforming
Poland - creative tension
100% Pure New Zealand
Croatia - Mediterranean as it once was
Different perspectives of destination branding
The product-destination brand continuum (de Chernatony, 2008)
To be able to well develop a branding strategy, it is important to clearly understand the product. A product is everything that can be proposed to a market for interest, purchase, consumption that has the capacity to fulfil a need or a want. It consists of objects, services, places, firms and ideas (Kotler, 2003). A brand must seek at developing all products, even the simplest ones, especially if they stand for most of their sales and act as the most important process of the brand image (Kapferer, 2005). Product branding is on the creation and maintenance of an optimistic brand image in the mind of a customer and developing the brand positioning in the minds of existing and potential customers (Boulding, 1956). The four product levels by Reid and Bojanic (2009) applied in the Tourism Industry are:
Core Products are the basic form of product which attempt to satisfy the needs of the tourists. Example: Going to hotel restaurant for food.
Facilitating Products include services that enable the tourist to consume the core product. Example: Waiter hospitality in a restaurant.
Supporting Products are extra goods packed with the above to increase value for customers. Example: Multilingual staff to ease communication with tourists.
Augmented Products are all the above products assembled to form a package. Example: Atmosphere of a star hotel with high-quality restaurants.
With an increase in level of service and a decrease in brand loyalty, marketers have implemented the corporate branding which has result in a strategic marketing tool (Morsing and Kristensen, 2001). Corporate branding is considered as the sum of the company's marketing efforts to represent the corporation's value system and identity (Balmer, 2001). It is "a systematically planned and implemented process of creating and maintaining a favourable image and consequently a favourable reputation for the company as a whole by sending signals to all stakeholders and by managing behaviour, communication, and symbolism" (Einwiller and Will, 2002). Employees play a crucial role in providing services and act as a brand and an ethos in the company (de Chernatony and Cottam, 2005). They represent the corporate culture and the deeply embedded core values (Edvardsson et al., 2006) and form part of the corporate identity for the brand.
Brand management in the tourism or service sector means distributing an outstanding experience which differs from what other service sectors can offer; as well as ensuring a consequential satisfaction. If the promise for providing a good service is not delivered, the visitor will be dissatisfied (Morgan et al., 2002). Services are expressed in four main characteristics (Zeithaml and Bitner, 1996):
Intangibility: Tourism product cannon be tasted, touched, felt, smelled and evaluated prior to purchase.
Heterogeneity: There is a degree of variability in various tourism service providers and customers' needs and want, perception, expectation and level of satisfaction.
Inseparability: Tourism is a labour and people oriented industry and demand a high level of contact between staff and customers. Both have to be present for transaction to occur.
Perishability: Tourism product cannot last long and cannot be stocked for future use. A hotel room not sold to-day represents lost income and cannot be gained tomorrow.
Other characteristics are (Zeithaml and Bitner, 1996):
Seasonality: Tourism demand is not constant as it depends on seasons.
Very high Fixed Costs: These include lease, rent, wages, utility bills and loan interest.
Interdependence: A firm in the tourism sector cannot do without the other.
Inflexibility: Service such as seat capacity in an airline implies some limitations.
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