166 ISMAIL ET AL.
using the member states of the EU, this study evalu- Though tourism and travel may be big business
ates the extent to which EU members market cul- on the Internet, the niche marketing of specific tour-
ture using their National Tourism Organization ism products is a relatively new topic. Cultural tour-
(NTO) Web sites. Following on the second objec- ism on the Internet is one of these niche-marketing
tive, a comparison of the NTO Web sites of EU coun- opportunities that requires more detailed analyses.
tries for differences in technical qualities and mar- As such, very little information exists regarding the
keting strategies using the Balanced Scorecard evidence, impact, and promotion of cultural tour-
approach is also conducted (Morrison, Taylor, ism using the Internet. With the growth in electronic
Morrison, & Morrison, 1999). Since all EU coun- commerce, the ability to market one’s culture using
tries are represented on the Web by NTO Web sites, the Internet is becoming more important. With over
this third approach of comparing the sites was 1 billion international trips in 2000, and a large per-
adapted to determine if there were significant dif- centage of holidays being planned online, the issue
ferences in the approach to marketing culture in the of marketing culture via the Internet and as a tool to
various countries. improve e-commerce initiatives has become ex-
Cultural Tourism and the Internet A major problem in analyzing the marketing of
cultural tourism online is the vast scope of mean-
For the past 28 years, the Internet has functioned ings implied by the terms “culture” and “cultural
as a collaboration among cooperating parties and tourism.” Many researchers, notably Tomlinson
has become the dominant force in the marketing and (1991) and Richards (1996), have discussed the hun-
distribution of many products and services, with dreds of definitions that exist for the term culture.
expected sales of $240 billion in 2001 (Abramson Richards (1996) contends that the solution being
& Hollingshead, 1998; Cerf, 1993). In 1998, ap- proposed is not to seek an all-embracing definition,
proximately 1.5 million new Web pages appeared but to concentrate on the way in which the term is
each day (Chen, 1999; “eGlobal Report,” 1999). This being used. Adapting this guideline for the purposes
development of the Internet and its growth as a busi- of this research, Silberberg’s (1995) definition of
ness tool has created new opportunities for market- cultural tourism is utilized. Silberberg defines cul-
ers to target consumers more precisely (Sivadas, tural tourism as “visits by persons from outside the
Grewal, & Kellaris, 1998). Often referred to as “mi- host community motivated wholly or in part by in-
cro marketing,” the Internet has allowed for busi- terest in the historical, artistic, scientific or lifestyle/
nesses to more clearly define their markets based on heritage offerings of a community, region, group or
interests and preferences. This is critically impor- institution.” Using this definition, marketing culture
tant, as the focus of control in electronic commerce on the Internet in this initial analysis is being viewed
has shifted from sellers to buyers, thus making it as a product, allowing for a more objective analysis
more difficult to influence consumers, although they of Web site contents. Table 1 presents examples of
may be easier to reach (Buhalis, 1998). the cultural tourism products as defined by
Tourism is one product that has definitely found Silberberg (1995).
its niche on the Internet. The number of U.S. travel-
ers using the Internet for travel-related purposes in-
creased by 141% from 29 million in 1996 to 70 mil- Table 1
lion in 1998 (Travel Industry Association of America, Examples of Cultural Tourism Products
1999). The World Tourism Organization contends
Component Generic Examples
that the Internet is the ideal medium for promoting
travel and tourism destinations and products. Tour- Historic Castles, historic museums, and historic
ism entities currently use the Internet for sales pro- villages/communities.
Artistic Art galleries, performing arts venues and events
motion, and distribution, while consumers are us- Scientific Industrial museums and tours, science centers
ing the Internet to search for information on travel Lifestyle Food, entertainment, sports venues and events,
destinations and products, and to consummate sales laws/regulations
Heritage Traditions, customs
or deals (World Tourism Organization, 1999).
MARKETING OF CULTURE IN EU NTO WEB SITES 167
Benefits of Marketing Culture on the Internet increase the tourist’s desire to visit the destination
where it is located. Potential visitors are also given
Consumers buy meanings and marketers commu- the opportunity to make better-informed decisions
nicate meaning through products and advertise- concerning their destination choices and what they
ments. Many of these meanings are culture based would like to do upon arrival.
(Cox, 1999). Nicovich and Cornwell (1998) con- In developing cultural tourism products, packag-
tend that the Internet is an interactive mediator be- ing and promotion is crucial. Promotion increases
tween cultures, so much so that it may become the tourists’ motivation to participate in cultural activi-
bridge between differing cultures. The Internet may ties, while packaging increases the tourists’ expo-
play a key role in marketing culture, with the pack- sure to a culture. The Internet is a medium that is
aging of culture beginning well away from the cul- able to provide both promotion and packaging in
tural sites. Often, cultures are reduced to a two-di- one place, thereby creating the opportunity to de-
mensional world through the use of glossy brochures sign superior cultural tourism products. In short, the
(Robinson, 1999). However, with the Internet, pro- Internet increases the destination marketer’s ability
moters of cultural tourism now have the opportu- to effectively promote and sell cultural tourism prod-
nity to use an interactive medium to depict and ucts.
present their cultures to the world. Silberberg (1995) states that the concept of pack-
According to Business Times (“The Significance aging, partnership, and marketing to create cultural
of a Website,” 2000), Web sites, one of the most opportunities in one place or at one time is crucial
prominent aspects of the Internet, are not only to creating a cultural tourism destination. This au-
sources of entertainment, education, enrichment, and thor also contends that the better the cultural prod-
enjoyment, but they also contain art, music, muse- uct, the greater the likelihood that residents will
ums, and culture. By using Web sites, culture can be spend money within a region or country. Cultural
depicted more realistically for potential tourists. For tourism plays an even more important role due to
example, Web sites can show a streaming video of a the ability of cultural tourism products to attract or
native dance, give a short tour of a cultural attrac- increase the length of stay of long-haul tourists to a
tion such as a museum (often referred to as “virtual destination. In general, the Internet often outper-
reality”), as well as introduce snippets of local mu- forms traditional media in return on investment
sic. In addition, promoters are able to provide (Loro, 1999). The increased return on investment
Internet discussion groups, enabling potential tour- may be attributed to the fact that the typical Internet
ists to become familiar with local customs, trends, user is generally categorized as influential, affluent,
and laws (Quelch & Klien, 1996). The Web, in es- and highly educated, thus having a greater spending
sence, presents marketers with the opportunity to power (Kasavana, Knutson, & Polonowski, 1997).
showcase the country’s historical, artistic, scientific, This matches well with the established profile of
lifestyle, and heritage offerings. cultural tourists as comprising predominantly well-
The e-commerce world views the Internet as the educated members of higher socioeconomic groups
medium by which two traditional marketing mod- (Richards, 1996). However, it must be realized that
els are united: the mass marketing, unidirectional Internet usage is becoming increasingly pervasive
information flow, and the bidirectional personal and throughout all socioeconomic groups, especially in
relationship marketing providing faster responses to developed countries (Edmondson, 1997).
personal questions. This uniting of the two market- In addition to creating motivation or desire for
ing models gives cultural tourism an opportunity to cultural tourism products, the Internet also provides
realize greater success in communications. Not only easy access to the product. Parsons, Zeisser, and
can tourists “visit” cultural attractions through vir- Waitman (1998) state that the Web offers a power-
tual reality, but they are also given the opportunity ful combination of two-way interactivity, seamless
to ask questions and receive feedback before actu- transactions, addressability, on-demand availability,
ally visiting the attractions. This translates into ben- and customization. In support of this argument,
efits for destination marketers, as the ability to view Gretzel, Yuan, and Fesenmaier (2000) contend that
and form an opinion about a cultural attraction can using these features leads to greater and more pro-
168 ISMAIL ET AL.
found relationships with visitors as well as creating motional materials and partnerships for the destina-
greater personalization of tourism services. tion. Braunlich, Morrison, and Feng (1995) stated
Before the Internet, potential visitors to a desti- that the official information disseminated by NTOs
nation had to visit a travel agency, request informa- has a high degree of credibility with potential visi-
tion from the NTO, buy a guidebook, or visit a li- tors to destinations.
brary. With the Internet, the information on cultural Traditionally, the role of NTOs has mainly been a
activities and resources at a destination is more passive one, with NTOs acting as “order-takers” and
readily accessible. In fact, a wider market is created sending out literature about the country upon request.
with the search engines, proliferation of banner ad- Over the years, this role has changed and many NTOs
vertisements, reciprocal linking (where companies now play a dominant role in the marketing and devel-
are connected to each other through hyperlinks), opment of the tourism products that countries pos-
third-party promotions, and recommendations. In sess. To keep pace with the demands of potential visi-
addition, users can accidentally be taken to a Web tors, many NTOs have offices in other countries.
site. Table 2 gives an overview of the strengths of However, the distribution of literature to potential visi-
the Internet in comparison to the traditional media tors continues to be a mainstay activity of NTOs
for marketing culture. (Morrison et al., 1995). NTOs are faced with the con-
temporary challenge of ensuring that they not only
The Role of NTOs in Promoting Culture have the resources for effectively marketing the des-
tination, but that they also meet the needs of potential
In order to examine the extent to which EU mem-
tourists in an increasingly time-sensitive manner.
ber countries display culture, the Web sites of the
The Internet may prove to be the ideal solution
NTOs were examined. NTOs were chosen, as they
for many NTOs, as tourists requiring “real-time”
are the primary organizations marketing countries’
information are no longer satisfied with requesting
tourism to other nations. In addition, all EU mem-
information and waiting on its arrival in the mail.
bers maintain a NTO site. NTOs play a critical role
Additionally, the Internet enables the NTO to pro-
in marketing a country’s cultural tourism products,
vide a higher degree of one-to-one marketing. Ac-
as the distribution of a country’s promotional mate-
cording to Gretzel et al. (2000), the Internet enables
rials to individual consumers is often carried out by
NTOs to blend publishing, real-time communica-
NTOs. In previous research, Morrison, Braunlich,
tions, broadcast, and narrowcast, as it attracts atten-
Kamaruddin, and Cai (1995) identified the common
tion, creates a sense of community, and acts as a
objectives of NTOs. These include increasing the
mass-market medium as well as personalized rela-
availability of the tourist products through packag-
tionship builder at the same time.
ing, securing maximum promotional exposure, and
playing a leadership role in the development of pro-
The European Union
In 1946, Winston Churchill called for the coun-
Table 2 tries in Europe to formulate a “kind of United States
Strengths of the Internet for Marketing Culture Over Tradi- of Europe.” Five years later this integration became
tional Media in Marketing Culture a reality. The EU began with six countries: Belgium,
Accessibility Provides instant access for a wider market of
Germany, France, Italy, Luxembourg, and the Neth-
potential visitors. erlands. In 1973, 22 years later, Denmark, Ireland,
Interactivity Ability to incorporate music, videos, chat, and and the United Kingdom joined. It was to be an-
Cost savings Cheaper to develop and update than other media.
other 9 years before Greece became a member in
Availability Potential consumers can access the information 1981, followed by Spain and Portugal in 1986, and
24 hours a day. Austria, Finland, and Sweden in 1995. The EU now
Customization One Web site can be used for mass marketing of
culture as well as providing information for a
has 15 members and is preparing to grow by adding
specific niche. countries from Eastern and Southern Europe.
Timeliness Consumer inquiries can be responded to in a The general goal of the EU is to promote eco-
shorter time frame.
nomic and social progress, assert the identity of the
MARKETING OF CULTURE IN EU NTO WEB SITES 169
EU in the international marketplace, and to main- gional main cultural attractions and resources (Irish
tain and build on established EU law. In addition to Tourist Board, 1988), and Table 3 displays a count
these general goals, the EU works to develop free- of the main cultural attractions and resources for each
dom, justice, and security, as well as citizenship for EU member.
the people of country members (The ABC of Euro- Tourism in Europe is important because of the
pean Union, 2000). The EU has a population of over size of the industry and its social and economic im-
370 million people, speaking 11 official languages, pacts. The increased awareness of the economic
and numerous dialects. The challenge of uniting such importance of tourism, as well as its connection to
an ethnically and culturally diverse collection of cultural and natural heritage, led to the explicit rec-
nations into a union with a common set of goals, in ognition in the Maastricht Treaty of the role of tour-
spite of conflicting national agendas, is enormous ism for the Union. The first visible initiative under
(European Union, 1996). this Treaty was the declaration of 1990 as the “Eu-
ropean Year of Tourism.” In 1992, the “First Plan of
The EU and Cultural Tourism Action in Favour of Tourism” was also launched
Tourism has grown into a huge economic phe- Further recognizing the significance of cultural
nomenon enjoyed by millions. According to the tourism, the EU developed the “Culture 2000” pro-
World Tourism Organization (2000), “some 664 gram to support the various cultures of EU mem-
million tourists worldwide traveled to foreign coun- bers. Prior to the Culture 2000 program, EU mem-
tries, spending U.S. $455 billion in 1999, tourism bers debated over the various ways in which culture
worldwide is a $3 trillion industry.” In general, the should be promoted in Europe (Peck, 1996). With
EU is the most dominant force in tourism, with tour- the Culture 2000 program, the EU wanted to
ism contributing 5.5% of the EU’s GDP and account- strengthen cooperation between Europeans on a
ing for 6% of employment (“EC Assists Tourism,” cultural level, while respecting and promoting the
1997). NTOs of the EU member countries play a cultural diversity of its members. Under this pro-
vital role in ensuring that this dominance is main- gram the EU has allocated approximately $167 mil-
tained. lion to 55 different projects, ranging from theater to
Several studies have identified cultural tourism exhibitions and heritage sites (Legrand, 2000).
as an important area of tourist demand in Europe
(Bywater, 1993; Thorburn, 1986). Since its incep-
tion in 1951, the EU has maintained an interest in
tourism and culture, but this focus on culture has
Inventory of Major Cultural Attractions
been extremely controversial. Member states of the and Resources by EU Members
EU have been very reluctant to lose control over their
educational systems, since education is the main way Country Total
in which the national culture, official language, his- Austria Under 10
tory, and geography of the country is passed on to Belgium 80
younger generations. Some member states have ar- Britain 79
gued that EU directives and regulations can seriously Finland Under 10
impinge on national identities, cultures, and tradi- France 94
tions (“Sceptical?,” 2000). Germany 117
Richards (1996) details the long history of cul- Ireland 23
tural tourism in Europe, spanning from the private Italy 216
18th century art collections of royalty to the Luxembourg Under 10
postmodernistic influences of the 1950s and 1960s, Spain 55
to the museum boom of the 1980s and 1990s. The Sweden Under 10
EU is, indeed, a thriving ground for cultural attrac- The Netherlands 13
tions and cultural tourism resources. Collectively, Source: Irish Tourist Board (1988) data.
the EU has over 737 international, national, and re- Adapted from Richards (1996).
170 ISMAIL ET AL.
The EU and Internet Promotions sound, effective in their marketing approaches, and
must be customer friendly, catering to a wide range
Given the recent emphasis placed on culture by
of cultures and needs. This study attempted to de-
the EU, it stands to reason that promotion of culture
termine to what extent EU member NTOs have
would become integral. The Internet has emerged
achieved this goal through their NTO Web sites.
as one of the mediums through which the EU is
marketing culture. The EU is using the Internet as a
marketing tool, as it performs the function of “gap The Balanced Scorecard Approach
bridging,” enabling countries to be affiliated with
To ascertain the extent to which EU members
each other yet retain their individual identities. Ac-
market their cultures, a content analysis of EU mem-
cording to Sheehy (1997), the EU launched its first
ber NTO Web sites was carried out, with the data
Web site, “I’M Europe,” in September 1994, and
being collected in the first half of 2000. One of the
since then the number of EU institutions and coun-
research team members evaluated all the sites. To
tries developing homepages has rapidly increased.
ensure the accuracy of the data collected, the other
Table 4 gives an overview of annual growth rates in
team members cross-checked the results.
Internet usage of EU member countries.
The instrument used for this evaluation was de-
EU members have taken advantage of the World
veloped based on Morrison et al.’s (1999) adapta-
Wide Web’s popularity as a source of tourism infor-
tion of Kaplan and Norton’s (1996) Balanced
mation by sponsoring their own NTO Web sites. This
Scorecard (BSC) approach. The original BSC ap-
Web presence has created a new level of accessibil-
proach was developed as a business performance
ity to these countries, enabling the promotion of
measurement tool to overcome the dominant use of
products and services to a worldwide audience 24
one-dimensional performance indicators, such as
hours a day, 7 days a week (“The Significance,”
profit. The basic idea of this approach is that busi-
2000). In order for EU Web sites to be effective as
ness performance is multidimensional and this needs
marketing tools, these Web sites must be technically
to be reflected in measurement approaches. Thus,
measurement must be conducted in a more “neutral
or balanced” fashion, including summative measures
Table 4 such as finances and formative measures such as
EU Growth on the Internet customer satisfaction (Kaplan & Norton, 1996,
Growth in 2000).
Number of Hosts per Hosts Morrison et al. (1999) adapted the BSC approach
Country Hosts (1999) 1000 People (Annual %) to evaluate the design and maintenance of hotel Web
Britain 1,901,812 38 48 sites. The authors’ approach was to measure Web
Germany 1,702,486 20 42 site performance across four balanced perspectives:
The Netherlands 820,944 50 54 technical, marketing, internal, and customer. They
France 779,879 10 57
Italy 658,307 8 63 recognized that Web site performance is also a mul-
Finland 631,248 122 29 tidimensional construct and, as such, performance
Sweden 594,627 68 46 has to be conceptualized and measured in a way that
Spain 415,641 10 59
Denmark 336,928 60 53 reflects a balancing of the dimensions identified as
Belgium 320,840 30 73 critical determinants in relation to the issue under
Austria 274,173 27 60 consideration. In this case, the issue under consid-
Portugal 90,757 9 56
Greece 77,954 5 65 eration is NTO Web sites of the EU countries.
Ireland 59,681 16 36 Morrison et al. applied their approach in an evalu-
Luxembourg 9,670 45 56 ation of a group of small hotels in Scotland. The
A host is a single machine on the Net. However, the definition of a authors operationalized the four Web site perfor-
host has changed in recent years due to virtual hosting, where a single mance perspectives by first identifying a set of criti-
machine acts like multiple systems (and has multiple domain names cal success factors (CSFs) for each perspective.
and IP addresses). Ideally, a virtual host will act and look exactly
like a regular host. Both are counted equally in this analysis. Measurements and scales were then developed for
Source: Internet Software Consortium (www.isc.org) each CSF, and the hotel Web sites were evaluated
MARKETING OF CULTURE IN EU NTO WEB SITES 171
through a content analysis. The authors concluded errors. Browser Compatibility evaluated how the site
that their modified BSC approach was effective in appears using different versions of Netscape and
differentiating the performance of the hotels’ Web Internet Explorer, the two most popular Internet
sites. However, they also acknowledged the diffi- browsers. The Load Time check evaluated how long
culties experienced in measuring the “internal” per- the homepage took to load under several common
spective. modem speeds. The load times for all sites were
To determine the marketing effectiveness of EU checked on the same day during peak hours in the
NTO Web sites based on culture, Morrison et al.’s US so that load times were comparable and repre-
(1999) approach was amended from the four bal- sentative of peak time performance.
anced perspectives of technical, marketing, internal, These technical aspects identified by Morrison et
and customer perspectives to include more cultur- al. (1999) are integral for Web site performance and
ally related items. The added items came from a re- are the most common technical aspects used for the
view of literature providing definitions of culture evaluation of Web sites. Load time has been exam-
and the marketing of culture and cultural tourism ined in investigations on the impact of waiting times
(Jafari, 1992; Myerscough, 1988; Prentice, 1993; on consumer’s retrospective evaluations of Web sites.
Richards, 1994; Silberberg, 1995; Smith, 1989; The results show that waiting can negatively affect
Storey, 1993). Thus, the modified BSC approach for evaluations of Web sites by consumers (Dellaert &
this research consisted of the following four aspects: Kahn, 1999).
technical, site visitor relationship (user friendliness), In order to arrive at an accurate evaluation of each
marketing effectiveness, and cultural. A pictorial Web site, Net Mechanic (www.netmechanic.com),
overview of the modified BSC approach is shown an online service that rates the technical performance
in Figure 1. of Web sites, was employed. Net Mechanic uses a
five-star rating approach to evaluate each Web site,
Technical Aspects based on the four previously stated criteria. Each
site can receive a maximum score of 20 points. Net
The evaluation of technical qualities was con-
Mechanic contends that 46% of Internet users re-
ducted using objective measures. Specific technical
port that they have left Web sites because of site-
aspects were evaluated under four categories: Link
related problems (personal communication, Decem-
Check, Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
ber 18, 2000).
Check, Browser Compatibility, and Load Time. The
Link check included the total number of links and
the number of broken links found in each Web site. Site Visitor Relationship Aspects
The HTML check evaluated how effectively “alt
Visitor relationship was evaluated based on four
tags” were used and the number of HTML language
criteria: Ease of Navigation, Ease of Contact, At-
tractiveness of Site, and General Availability of
Travel and Tourism Links. These are very important
considerations in Web site design, from the customer
perspective. In support of the importance of site visi-
tor relationships, Evans and Wurster (1999) believe
that navigation is primary for reaching potential cus-
tomers on the Internet. These authors contend that
sites such as www.amazon.com, for example, are
not booksellers but navigators, as they provide cus-
tomers with reach, richness, and affiliation. Custom-
ers, who find Web sites difficult to navigate, or ex-
perience difficulty in getting quick and efficient
electronic responses to inquiries, will click away to
a competing site if they are not satisfied immedi-
Figure 1. Balanced Scorecard (BSC) aspects. ately (“Design Matters,” 2001).
172 ISMAIL ET AL.
Sites with font sizes that are too small (less than sites, and attractions, among other variables. This
12), fonts that are difficult to read, or graphics that evaluation also used the objective “yes/no” approach.
load too slowly (more than 30 seconds) have diffi- The number of different languages available on each
culties in maintaining customers. The General Avail- site was included in the evaluation, as well as whether
ability of Travel and Tourism Links was included as each available language had its own unique site. The
the authors hypothesized that a tourism site should availability of pictures and graphics representing a
have general links to traditional customer informa- country’s culture was an additional aspect of the
tion, such as a listing of hotels and accommodations, cultural evaluation.
travel and tour agencies, restaurants, and embassies In keeping with the overall intent of the BSC ap-
and consulates, as well as transportation informa- proach, the technical results yielded by Net Mechanic
tion. Attractiveness of Site included factors such as and from the other three aspects (user friendliness,
clear and uncluttered pages, reinforcing text with marketing, and culture) were weighted and then scaled
pictures, effective background to match content, and so that each final score was a percentage, with the
the use of color based on the acceptability criteria highest possible score being 100%. A general over-
stated by computer industry professionals (http:// view and examples of the elements that were used to
builder.cnet.com/Graphics/Design/). derive each aspect’s score are shown in Table 5.
Evaluating Web sites can be an extremely subjec-
tive task. In order to minimize potential subjectiv- Statistical Analysis
ity, the EU NTO Web sites were not evaluated on a
Likert scale as was used in the Morrison et al. (1999) Each Web site was ranked from 1 to 15 on each
BSC approach. Instead, 32 specific attributes were of the four aspects. Kendall’s Coefficient of Con-
evaluated and assigned a yes (1) if present and a no cordance was then used to arrive at a final balanced
(0) if the attribute was not present. ranking for each site. This approach is appropriate
when the association among three or more vari-
Marketing Effectiveness Aspects ables is to be analyzed. Given the fact that judg-
ment decisions had to be made when analyzing Web
The marketing aspects were also evaluated in an sites, Kendall’s Coefficient of Concordance ap-
objective manner, using the “yes/no” approach. Based proach is also useful, as it examines interjudge re-
on Morrison et al.’s (1999) marketing CSFs, the as- liability (Churchill, 1991). The coefficient of con-
pects included were marketing research and market- cordance is calculated as:
ing segmentation. With respect to marketing research,
data was obtained regarding whether EU NTO Web s
sites collected information on the visitor’s country of 1 2 3
origin, contact information through guestbook sign- k n −n
ing, and whether or not the site had a statement en-
couraging inquires. Marketing segmentation questions 2
∑ (R )
focused on whether the site was available in different
versions based on country of origin, and was infor- where s = i − R , k is the four aspects, n is
mation provided specifically for business travelers,
the 15 EU Web sites, and R is the Web site ranks.
couples, honeymooners, families, children, and rec-
Using the BSC approach, the country with the low-
est overall rank would represent the most highly
ranked Web site. It must be noted that when there
are more than seven observations, Kendall’s Coef-
Cultural aspects of EU Web sites were evaluated ficient of Concordance is approximately chi-square
based on whether or not the Web site had informa- distributed calculated as χ2 = k(n – 1)W. A signifi-
tion on the country’s history, traditions, and customs, cant χ2 suggests that there is agreement between
laws that would impact visitors, visual and perform- the rankings of the four aspects across the EU NTO
ing arts, information on normal business hours, fa- Web sites, allowing for a more objective estimate
mous people, places and events, historical buildings, as to which Web sites are doing a good job of mar-
MARKETING OF CULTURE IN EU NTO WEB SITES 173
EU Web site Balanced Scorecard (BSC) Aspects
Aspects Factors Examined
Technical Net mechanic test
Link check; HTML check; Browser compatibility; Load time
Site visitor relationship Ease of navigation
(32 items tested) Example of items tested: Navigation menu, index, or site map, availability of FAQ
Ease of contact (clearly available)
Example of items tested: Direct email contact, mailing address, telephone number & fax; Were email responses
prompt (2-day response period given)
Attractiveness of site
Example of items tested: Clear and uncluttered pages, color used to improve visual appeal
Availability of general travel and tourism links
Example of items tested: Links to shopping, attractions, embassies, and consulates
Marketing effectiveness Marketing research
(12 items tested) Example of items tested: Tracking visitor country; Gathering contact information; Statement encouraging inquiries
Example of items tested: Different version of site based on country of origin; Information for specific groups
(15 items tested) English language availability; Site available in four or more languages
History of the country, traditions, and customs; Normal business hours; Famous people, places, or events;
Historical buildings, sites, or attractions; The environment and nature; Professional sports and participating
sporting activities; National holidays, festivals, and events
Availability of picture and graphics representing the country’s culture
keting culture and which Web sites have opportu- Kendall’s Coeffcient
nities for improvement.
The calculated value for Kendall’s coefficient of
Results concordance was W = 0.45. This value, though not
perfect, is significant and confirmed that Denmark
was the best country in using culture in the design
The results of the BSC approach to evaluating the and marketing of its Web site. In order to determine
NTO Web sites of European Union members are if there was some level of agreement, or
shown in Table 6. From the results it can be seen interjudgment reliability among the rankings across
that Denmark received the best overall ranking, fol- all Web sites, a comparison of chi-square versus criti-
lowed by Spain, then Finland and Holland tied for cal chi-square was performed. As 15 Web sites were
third place. A screen capture showing Denmark’s evaluated, W = 0.45 is approximately chi-square dis-
Web page is shown in Figure 2. tributed with 14 degrees of freedom. Assuming an
Portugal and Greece received the lowest overall alpha value of 0.05, the critical chi-square value was
rating. Denmark, Spain, and Belgium had the most calculated at χ2 = 25.36. With the chi-square value
technically sound Web sites, with France and Ger- exceeding the critical chi-square, the conclusion can
many having some browser compatibility and load be drawn that agreement existed among the four
time problems. Spain was ranked as the Web site rankings.
that was most user friendly, while Holland and Aus- To support the above analysis, and determine if
tria conducted the most marketing research and the numerous ties in rankings had any effect,
marketed the most to different segments. Holland Friedman’s two-way nonparametric ANOVA was
did the best job of representing cultural aspects on also employed using the SAS statistical analysis soft-
their site, followed closely by Ireland and Denmark. ware package. Friedman’s two-way nonparametric
Holland, Ireland, and Denmark all offered more than ANOVA is often used to compare data generated
10 different languages, with Holland offering sites from two or more related samples. When conduct-
specially designed for each language. ing this analysis, the PROC RANK procedure in SAS
174 ISMAIL ET AL.
Balanced Scorecard Results for European Union Countries NTO Web Site Evaluation
Technical Relationship Marketing Cultural
Country Web Address Ranking Ranking Ranking Ranking Total
Denmark www.dt.dk 1 5 2 3 11
Spain www.tourspain.es 1 1 5 7 14
Finland www.mek.fi 3 3 3 6 15
Holland www.holland.com 5 8 1 1 15
Britain www.visitbritain.com 5 4 4 5 18
Ireland www.ireland.travel.ie 4 10 2 2 18
Luxemburg www.ont.lu 2 4 6 8 20
Austria www.austria-tourism.at 6 12 1 4 23
Belgium www.toervl.be 1 7 8 11 27
Italy www.enit.it 6 2 10 9 27
Sweden www.visit-sweden.com 6 6 7 12 31
France www.franceguide.com 7 11 11 10 39
Germany www.germany-tourism.de 8 13 9 9 39
Portugal www.portugal.org/tourism/index.htm 6 9 12 14 41
Greece www.gmor.com/infoxenios 3 14 12 13 42
must first be used to assign an average ranking where which assume a normal distribution of the depen-
ties occur in the EU data set. In this analysis, after dent variable.
creating an average for tied values, the treatment used Correlation analysis was then performed to as-
was the score assigned, and the blocking variables sess the relationship between the four balanced
were each of the four aspects rankings (Technical, scorecard aspects. All correlation coefficients were
Site Visitor Relationship, Marketing Effectiveness, positive and statistically significant, but ranged from
and Cultural). Table 6 shows the results of the analy- low to high in magnitude. The results showed that
sis as well as the overall average of the four aspect culture was the most significant contributor at 0.91
rankings. The pertinent chi-square statistic, calcu- (p < 0.0001), followed by marketing at 0.90
lated to determine if there was significant agreement (p < 0.0001), to the overall ranking. Correlation was
among the rankings, was 26.83. This chi-square sta- high between culture and marketing at 0.89
tistic was calculated as [12/(N × N –1)] × SST, where (p < 0.0001), and also between technical aspects and
N was the number of treatments, and SST was the friendliness at 0.49 (p < 0.0609). Correlation among
sum of squares treatment produced by the ANOVA the other aspects was low.
The results of the Friedman’s analysis confirmed Discussion
the earlier findings, although some of the rankings
changed slightly. Specifically, when using average From the analysis it was evident that EU coun-
rankings, the last four countries swapped places in tries are maintaining their individualism despite the
the total ranking. Thus, Portugal had the lowest av- push for more cultural unification. EU members are
erage rank, followed by France with the second low- choosing to promote their own cultures and identi-
est rank. Greece also moved up two spots from the ties through their NTO Web sites, although some
original BSC results. The scores for each of the four are doing so more aggressively and effectively than
aspects are presented in Table 7 along with the others. The results also show that EU member coun-
rankings. The letters in the right-hand column give tries do market their culture, with Denmark doing
an indication of where significant differences in av- the best job of promoting its own culture, as well as
erages exist. These rankings are nonparametric in marketing to various cultural groupings. Technical
nature, and the differences expressed by the letters qualities and marketing strategies also differ widely
are based on the t-test results from the ANOVA, among EU member Web sites, and this may be due
MARKETING OF CULTURE IN EU NTO WEB SITES 175
Figure 2. Screen captures of Denmark—most culturally aware Web site: Initial screen and second page.
to the fact that Internet marketing for NTOs is still found that countries with high numbers of cultural
relatively new. attractions and resources did not necessarily use
In comparing the results of this analysis with the the NTO Web site to effectively promote them. Italy,
amount of major cultural attractions and resources with the highest total of 216 major cultural attrac-
possessed by the various countries (Table 3), it was tions and resources, and Germany with 117, did
176 ISMAIL ET AL.
Figure 3. Screen captures of Spain—second-most culturally aware Web site.
not market their cultures very effectively through In another comparison with Internet growth by
their NTO Web sites. Italy placed 10th in the over- EU countries (Table 4), it was noted that a high num-
all results, while Germany placed 13th. France and ber of hosts or machines linked to the Internet, as
Belgium, with 94 (third) and 80 (fourth) signifi- well as a relatively steady increase in annual growth,
cant cultural attractions respectively, placed 10th did not affect the marketing of culture. Britain (first)
and 11th, respectively, in the cultural aspect and Germany (second) are the two EU countries most
rankings. highly connected to the Internet. Britain and Ger-
MARKETING OF CULTURE IN EU NTO WEB SITES 177
Friedman’s Analysis of Web Site Rankings
Site Visitor Site Visitor Marketing Marketing May Not Be
Cultural Cultural Relationship Relationship Effectiveness Effectiveness Technical Technical Average Significantly
Country Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Rank Different
Denmark 0.84 3 0.90 6 0.90 3.5 1.00 2 3.625 A
Spain 0.62 7 1.00 1 0.50 9 1.00 2 4.750 A
Finland 0.65 6 0.93 3 0.80 5 0.89 6 5.000 A
Holland 1.00 1 0.74 9 1.00 1.5 0.83 8.5 5.000 A
Britain 0.75 5 0.91 4.5 0.70 6 0.83 8.5 6.000 BA
Ireland 0.89 2 0.67 11.5 0.90 3.5 0.84 7 6.000 BA
Luxemburg 0.58 9 0.91 4.5 0.50 9 0.94 4 6.625 BAC
Austria 0.77 4 0.65 13.5 1.00 1.5 0.78 11 7.500 B DA C
Belgium 0.31 12 0.81 8 0.50 9 1.00 2 7.750 B DA C
Italy 0.58 9 0.99 2 0.40 12.5 0.78 11 8.625 B DA C
Sweden 0.30 13 0.82 7 0.50 9 0.78 13 10.500 BDC
Germany 0.58 9 0.65 13.5 0.50 9 0.61 15 11.625 DC
Greece 0.25 14 0.58 15 0.20 14.5 0.89 5 12.125 D
France 0.32 11 0.67 11.5 0.40 12.5 0.72 14 12.250 D
Portugal 0.21 15 0.72 10 0.20 14.5 0.78 11 12.625 D
ANOVA Model: df = 17, F = 2.35, p = 0.0124, R2 = 0.48.
many ranked 4th and 13th, respectively, with regards comparing the results with those obtained in this
to cultural marketing on their NTO Web sites. These study.
findings support the position of marketing experts
that the Internet has “leveled the playing field” Conclusions and Recommendations
among competitive organizations, allowing anyone
to become a dominant force regardless of the high Previous research indicates that there is a strong
growth levels in technical advancements (Ince, relationship between marketing culture and business
2001). performance (Appiah-Adu, Fyall,& Satyendra-
In examining the correlation results, where the Singh, 1999). EU countries can capitalize on the
technical and site visitor relationship aspects were marketing of culture by using their NTO Web sites.
highly correlated, it must be noted that these results Reisinger and Turner (1998) contend that it is im-
are quite realistic. Technically sound Web sites have portant to understand and cater to the cultural dif-
faster downloads, and have easy-to-navigate com- ferences of tourists, as this leads to positive tourist-
ponents, which make them more user friendly. Mar- host contact, which in turn enhances tourists’ holiday
keting and culture were also expected to be highly satisfaction and repeat visitation.
correlated, since some of the elements present in In this research, the effective use of culture in
marketing are necessary for promoting cultural tour- marketing the NTO sites is a driving force in the
ism products (e.g., market segmentation). overall effectiveness of the site, as measured by the
Bonn, Furr, and Susskind (1998) found that BSC approach. As such, every effort should be made
Internet marketing is well suited for tourism-related to depict the culture and traditions of the host na-
products and services. While there is an abundance tion. The site design should be based on the mission
of literature on designing Web sites and the critical of the site and the overall goal or objective of the
role that an effective Web site plays, very little re- NTO. Examples of such a mission may be to make
search has been conducted evaluating tourism Web the “feel” of the site as close as possible to the ac-
sites. In particular, discussions on cultural tourism tual country, giving visitors a preview of what their
in an Internet context are very limited. Future re- visit to the country will be like. On the other hand,
searchers might consider replicating this analysis and nonvisitors can also receive a realistic portrayal and
178 ISMAIL ET AL.
sensory appeal of the country from visiting the site. Europe, it is crucial that NTOs and their local part-
It must be emphasized that much of the technical ners quickly develop greater mastery of the new
aspects are “motherhood traits” that should be con- world of digital marketing.
formed to by all sites engaged in the marketing of
tourism destinations. Load time, ease of navigation, References
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