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Impact of Tourism Marketing on Destination Image

Day, J., Cai, L., & Murphy, L. (2012). Impact of Tourism Marketing on Destination Image: Industry Perspectives. Tourism Analysis, Vol. 17, Nr. 3, pp. 273-284. Introduction and Problem Statement Despite the argument that destinations receive competitive advantage through effectively developing destination image, there has been little examination of how destination images are developed and how they stimulate visitation. Their importance to stakeholders marketing the destination, their impact on consumer buying behaviour, and the perceived effectiveness of destination branding by destination marketing organisations (DMOs) have not been fully explored yet. However, since significant amounts are being invested in destination branding, it is crucial to understand how branding affects the process leading to visitation in order to maximise the DMOs impact on destination image creation, to effectively allocate the resources and to benefit more from branding activities. Research Questions How do local tourism product providers and distribution channel members perceive the importance of destination image in attracting visitors to the destination? How do they perceive the contribution of various image creation factors to the successive stages of the consumer buying process? Which peceived role do these stakeholders play in the destination image creation process? How do they perceive the effectiveness and impact of destination marketing activities on destination image? Research Method Besides literature review, a survey that explored the opinions of senior management from two key commercial stakeholder groups which build up the Australian Travel Market - Australian tourism product providers actively marketing in the US and American-based Australian travel distribution partners was conducted (see Appendix 1). Discussion of Results Findings from Literature Review: It is assumed that destinations with significant image capital enjoy a competitive advantage in attracting visitors. The creation of destination images results from the combination of various image formation factors. Gartners (1993) research model identifies three distinct types of image formation agents (induced, autonomous and organic agents) on which the image marketing dimensions of this study are based on. In most cases, the DMO is responsible for destination branding, but other actors also play a role in the destination image development process.

Brand Management & Communication

Daniela Vanessa Bermadinger

Findings from Empirical Study: Australian Travel Marketers confirm the general importance of destination image and consequentially, the value of destination branding (see Appendix 2). They consider WOM as the most important information source across all three stages (awareness, desire and intention to visit) of the consumer buying process, alternately followed by travel media and advertising by the Australian Tourism Commission (ATC). Organic factors are perceived as being more important than induced ones. The relatively low level of importance given to popular culture contrasts the considerable attention currently given to movie-related tourism marketing. The different roles image creation factors play during the buying process result in different information needs of consumers as they progress through it. Hence, the marketing strategy should be adapted to the respective buying stage of the consumer. Although the perceived ability of the ATCs branding activities to convert desire to actual travel reduces along with the progress in the buying process, their perceived contribution to consumer actions increases at the same time. Thus, although the DMOs branding activities are very important, it faces several challenges in influencing destination image through its marketing efforts. Although the DMO can only directly control its own message, several image creation factors can be influenced by its actions. Travel media can be influenced by effective public relations campaigns. Since WOM is the most important factor in the conversion process, ways to effectly influence it need to be identified. Branding budget should be allocated to Word of Mouth/Mouse and public relations activity as well as traditional marketing activity. However, DMOs must not disregard the importance of the actual visitor experience which is key to successful destination branding. While tourism system members recognise the ATCs leadership role in destination branding, they also know that the DMO is only one actor in the image creation process. Each of the single products of a destination and the respective intermediaries contribute to and can benefit from destination image. Destination branding, therefore, should not be considered as the sole responsibility of the DMO, but DMOs should develop strategies to align destination marketing initiatives of different stakeholders in a way that supports overall brand positioning. Implications for the Tyrolean Tourism Industry The Tyrolean Tourism Board ensures the consistent strategic management and performance of the brand. Tirol is a very strong tourism brand which has now been extended to become the umbrella brand of the entire location. Its logo is well-established and the brand being used for non-commercial (PR) as well as commercial purposes the latter one referring to the sales of branded articles. The DMO recognises the importance of harmonising destination image with the actual destination appearance and connecting all stakeholders in order to ensure a uniform brand appearance and a consistent on-site experience (Tirol Werbung, 2013a, 2013b). It should serve as a networking platform for Tyrolean tourism businesses and align their different marketing activities. Since DMOs are restricted by small budgets and a limited ability to control the destination advertising message, they have to find cheaper and more effective ways to influence image creation factors. Close cooperation with companies that advertise travel to the destination is crucial. The Tyrolean Tourism Board dedicates most of its efforts to Word of Mouth/Mouse, public relations and traditional marketing activities.

Brand Management & Communication

Daniela Vanessa Bermadinger

Since WOM plays the most important role in the conversion process, the DMOs focus should be on social network marketing to manage and positively influence e-WOM. Besides the presence of the Tyrolean Tourism Board on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and in several online picture libraries (e.g. flickr) which are all well-interlinked, Tirol Werbung also features its own Youtube-channel. Guerilla marketing campaigns such as a Schuhplatteln-dance course held in potential target market destinations about which the local media reports, combined with a social media photo and video contest, would offer the possibility to effectively generate WOM. Since many tourists consult online reviews during their decision-making process (Theiner, 2012), the different Tyrolean tourism actors have to think about ways to increase the willingness of satisified guests to recommend the destination online. The Tyrolean Tourism Board manages its presence on rating sites, such as Tripadvisor and Holidaycheck. Tyrol calls the attention of potential visitors worldwide to its USP through major sports events held in the region where the sponsoring of athletes also contributes to brand visibility (e.g. Winter Olympics) (Tiroler Landesregierung, 2013). Moreover, it has launched an initiative called Cine Tirol (with its own Cine Tirol Award and Tirollywood) which promotes Tyol as an ideal film location on an international level (Tirol Werbung, 2013c). Although popular culture received a relatively low level of importance in the study, putting this content on Tyrols Youtube-channel might again increase e-WOM. Knowledge transfer to the tourism trade and hence, close collaboration with research institutions (Tirol Tourism Research) is also essential for sustainable destination marketing. In Tyrol, workshops are offered to practitioners about how a region can establish itself as an attractive destination apart from major events, how the public image can be enhanced and about how social media can be used in a reasonable way (Tirol Tourismus, 2013d).

Brand Management & Communication

Daniela Vanessa Bermadinger

Additional References: Theiner, B. (2012). Bewertungsplattformen. Tirol Tourism Research. Accessed on June 8th, 2013 on http://www.ttr.tirol.at/content/bewertungsplattformen. Tirol Werbung (2013a). Marke Tirol FAQs. Accessed http://www.tirolwerbung.at/xxl/de/faqs/index.html. on June 8th, 2013 on

Tirol Werbung (2013b). Marke Tirol Fhrung der Marke. Accessed on June 8th, 2013 on http://www.tirolwerbung.at/xxl/de/fuehrungmarke/index.html. Tirol Werbung (2013c). Cine Tirol Film Commission. Accessed on June 8th, 2013 on http://www.cinetirol.com/en/film-commission/. Tirol Werbung (2013d). Erfolgreich kommunizieren im Tourismus Workshopreihe. Presseinfo from September 20th, 2011. Accessed on June 8th, 2013 on http://www.tirolwerbung.at/xxl/de/presseinfos/_pressid/1576910/index.html. Tiroler Landesregierung (2013). Tourism. http://www.tirol.gv.at/en/tourism/. Appendix: 1) These two stakeholder groups were chosen because they are directly involved in marketing the Australian tourism product in the US. spend relatively large amounts of their marketing budgets to convert consumer interest in Australia to sales for that country. have direct contact with consumers. Respondents were contacted via email and in person at two tradeshows. Two online questionnaires were developed one for the product operators and one for the wholesalers and placed on specifically designed websites. The overall response rate was 35%. Since the two of them share some similar goals, while having very distinct perspectives, survey results were analysed for the entire group as well as in a comparative way. This research is largely exploratory in nature and part of a broader study examining the roles and relationships in destination brands. 2) Australian Travel Marketers believe that destination image is created by a wide variety of factors which when combined affect the conversion process. The earlier stages of the consumer buying process are more likely to be impacted by the destination brand. They perceive consumers awareness of Australia as a holiday destination and the desire to travel to Australia as (quite) high. The degree of success of Australian travel organisations at converting desire to actual travel is perceived as moderate. The ATC acknowledges the requirement of different marketing messages in the various consumer buying stages by separating branding from conversion activities. Accessed on April 7th, 2013 on

Brand Management & Communication

Daniela Vanessa Bermadinger