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Future  research  directions  in  tourism  marketing  

Rodoula  Tsiotsou,  Vanessa  Ratten  (2010)  
Future  research  directions  compared  with  the  marketing  development  of  the  Alps  -­‐  paper  written  by  Lisa  
Hammertinger  based  on  the  article  mentioned  above.  

Tsiotsou  and  Ratten  mention  in  the  article  that  consumer  behaviour,  branding,  e-­‐marketing  
and   strategic   marketing   are   important   future   research   topics   in   the   tourism   industry.   To  
further   discuss   these   issues   in   relation   with   tourism   marketing   in   the   Alps,   some   figures,  
facts   and   specialities   about   the   Alps   need   to   be   clarified.   First   of   all,   the   region   reaches   6  
different   countries,   namely   Austria,   Germany,   France,   Switzerland,   Italy   and   Slovenia.  
Altogether   there   are   5814   villages   situated   in   the   Alps.   (Leitner,   2013)   This   fact   makes   it  
particularly  difficult  to  identify  who  exactly  is  responsible  for  tourism  marketing  in  the  Alps.  
The  first  'promoters'  of  tourism  in  the  Alps  were  various  clubs  like  the  "Austrian  Alpine  Club"  
in   1862   or   the   "German   Alpine   Club"   in   1869.   (Leitner,   2013)   This   fact   shows   that   tourism   in  
this  region  started  developing  a  very  long  time  ago  and  consumer's  behaviour  most  certainly  
changed  a  lot  over  the  decades.  In  the  50's  and  60's,  there  were  no  big  cultural  differences  
to  face  in  tourism,  and  also  the  whole  industry  was  more  a  supplier's  market.  There  was  no  
big   competition   to   face   and   the   travellers   weren't   very   experienced   either.   The   situation  
changed   a   bit   in   the   70's   and   80's,   when   the   first   tourist   boards   were   developed.   Air  
transport  also  was  something  unaffordable  for  most  people  before,  but  at  that  time  charter  
flights  developed  and  flights  got  cheaper.  The  seller's  market  became  a  buyer's  market  in  the  
90's   and   with   that,   the   service   quality   got   more   important.   Marketing   got   a   very   serious  
topic  at  that  time  due  to  various  facts.  Firs  of  all,  tourists  then  already  demanded  a  service  
chain   that   was   coherent   and   harmonious,   global   competition   arose   and   new   destinations  
emerged.   Branding   also   started   to   be   an   issue.   In   every   decade,   tourism   businesses   invested  
in  different  new  infrastructure,  like  in  the  80's  there  was  a  golf-­‐course  and  congress  boom  
and  in  the  90's  many  alpine  hotels  constructed  costly  wellness  &  spa  areas.  Nowadays,  the  
Alps,   after   the   Mediterranean   coast,   are   the   second   largest   tourist   destination   worldwide.  
(Leitner,   2013)   The   visitors   of   the   alps   not   only   got   as   mentioned   above   more   challenging   in  
terms   of   service   chains   and   their   growing   experience,   also,   as   Tsiotsou   and   Ratten   (2010)  
mention,   the   population   in   general   is   getting   older,   middle   class   grows   globally   and   cross-­‐
cultural  competencies  are  getting  more  and  more  important.  In  Tirol  for  example,  the  main  
visitor   markets   are   Germany,   Austria,   the   Netherlands   and   Switzerland.   Noticeable   is,   that  

the  overnights  from  German  visitors  decreased  in  the  last  10  years,  whereas  overnights  from  
guests   coming   from   further   away   regions   like   China   increased.   (  
Consumer   behaviour   not   only   changes   because   of   the   different   cultures   that   the   tourism  
industry  in  the  Alps  is  confronted  with.  Also  more  and  more  people  put  greater  emphasis  on  
sustainability  issues.  (Tsiotsou,  Ratten  2010)  This  issue  is  something  that  most  certainly  not  
only   tourists   are   concerned   about,   but   also   the   players   of   the   regions   as   well.   The   Alpine  
Convention   published   a   new   report   in   2013   (Sustainable   Tourism   in   the   Alps)   that   should  
inform  the  industry  about  the  current  state  of  the  art  concerning  sustainability  issues  in  the  
Alps  and  also  suggests  guidelines  and  actions  for  members  to  preserve  the  region.  The  alpine  
regions'  tourism  websites  mention  the  sustainability  issue  frequently  and  seem  to  be  aware  
of  the  fact  that  it  is  from  growing  importance  to  their  target  group.  Also  mentionable  is,  that  
many  of  the  advertisements  of  the  Alps  are  focussing  on  recreation,  the  purity  of  the  nature  
and   empathize   the   regional   products   that   are   offered.   These   factors   are   often   also   part   of  
the  brands  that  were  developed  in  the  different  regions  of  the  Alps.  There  is  not  really  one  
big   brand   marketed,   probably   because   there   isn't   one   tourism   organisation   for   the   whole  
region.  The  Alps  are,  according  to  Pechlaner,  Raich  and  Zehrer  (2011)  a  very  good  example  
for   umbrella   branding,   which   is   typical   in   tourism   nowadays   and   that   gives   the   region   the  
possibility   to   differentiate   itself   from   competitors.   According   to   Leitner   (2013)   one   of   the  
challenges   of   the   Alps   is   their   lack   of   clear   positioning   and   their   lack   of   differentiation.  
Another   issue   that   affects   the   whole   alpine   tourism   industry   is   the   development   of   the  
Internet.   Not   only   the   whole   distribution   process   changed   and   online   travel   agencies  
boomed,   but   also   online   review   platforms   got   more   and   more   important.   The   electronic  
word  of  mouth  confronted  hoteliers  with  a  completely  new  challenge  as  consumers'  decision  
making   process   is   influenced   by   it.   (Teufel,   2010)   The   alpine   region   is   dominated   by   small  
businesses,   mainly   family   run,   and   new   technologies,   apps   and   social   networks   are   still   a  
challenge   for   many   of   the   companies.   In   Tirol   for   example,   only   43%   of   the   tourism  
businesses   provide   a   website.   (   Still   tourism  boards  like   the  Tirol  Werbung  
want  to  keep  up  with  the  latest  trends  in  tourism  and  introduce  various  apps  like  the  "Tirol  
Travel  Guide  App",  which  is  available  in  three  different  languages.  (  Another  
important   step   for   future   research   directions   in   tourism   marketing   mentioned   by   Tsiotsou  
and  Ratten  (2010)  is  strategic  marketing.  In  the  Alps,  introducing  a  common  and  consistent  
marketing   strategy   for   all   the   different   regions   is   surely   very   difficult   as   the   area   is   managed  

by  many  different  tourism  boards  situated  in  many  different  areas  and  even  countries.  Still,  
tourism   boards   have   the   possibility   to   individually   implement   strategies   to   improve   the  
touristic  performances  of  the  regions.  Tourism  management  and  marketing  for  a  destination  
like   the   Alps  can   be   a   quite   unique   matter   that   requires   profound   and   current   knowledge.  
For   that   reason,   leading   alpine   tourism   regions   pool   together   once   a   year   since   2010   to   gain  
and   exchange   expertise,   inform   themselves   about   current   trends,   do   business   with   each  
other,   work   together   and   also   promote   sustainable,   value   intense   tourism   in   the   Alps.  
Alpine  Convention  (2013):
Leitner,  T.  (2013):  Introduction  to  Alpine  Tourism,  Lecture  WS2013,  Marketing  Management,  
Entrepreneurship  &  Tourism,  Management  Center  Innsbruck,  2013  
Pechlaner,  H./Raich,  R./Zehrer,  A.  (2011):  The  Alps:  Challenges  and  Potentials  of  a  Brand  
Management.  Tourism  Analysis  12  (5-­‐6),  pp.  359-­‐369  
Teufel,  M.  (2010):  Social  Media  im  Tourismus  -­‐  Erfolgspotenziale  von  
Hotelbewertungsportalen.  Diplomarbeit  2010,  FH  Wien  der  WKW,  Institut  für  
theALPS  Secretariat  (2014):  http://www.the-­‐  
Tirol  Werbung  (2013):­‐
Tourism  Research  Tirol  (2014):­‐studie-­‐zum-­‐
Tsiotsou,  R./Ratten,  V.  (2010):  Future  research  directions  in  tourism  marketing.  Marketing  
Intelligence  &  Planning  28(4),  pp.  533-­‐544