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tourism promotion

  1. 1. THE BRAND – AN INCREASING FACTOR OF A TOURIST DESTINATION’S COMPETITIVENESS Lecturer PhD Maria Carmen IORDACHE Lecturer PhD Iuliana CEBUC Lecturer PhD Laura PANOIU Constantin Brâncoveanu University of Piteşti Abstract: The increase in external pressures upon competitiveness makes companies quickly adapt to the criteria of modern competition. One of these criteria is the brand which has proven in developed economies the main competitive advantage and it influences to a certain extent the demand for any service. In these circumstances, the concern for a brand is a need, not a custom. Yet, the decisive influence shall belong to consumers – as their new life style includes the right to choose and to be somehow cynical when being able to give up a brand as soon as it does not fulfil its duties. Accomplishing the task to increase an area’s competitiveness requires the improvement of actions meant to develop and promote an area as a tourist destination both nationally and internationally as well as to develop a sustainable tourist industry. The sustainable growth of tourist promotion, the design and promotion of a tourist brand are a basic constituent both to achieve at normal, best levels the image of an area as a well-customized tourist destination, different from other competitive destinations on the national and international market, and to attract investors and other strategic partners for the growth of tourist industry. Key words: brand, competitiveness, tourist destination, strategy Introduction A brand’s capital is one of the most In a more and more complex important topics in current world, with more and more demanding management. The Institute for consumers, where media become more Marketing Sciences has recently taken and more diverse and the Internet tends soundings among its members to cover all fields of activity, developing (Abimbola, T., 2008), and its results a powerful brand means a challenge have proven the existence of increasing concerns related to branding, as well as aiming at recognition, growth, trying several organization forms in development and competitiveness in the order to improve and better protect future. brand capital. A brand is the starting One is surrounded by brands that point for all marketing decisions and all influence buyers’ consumption media creations (Aaker, D. A., 2005). behaviours more or less (Morgan N., Creating a brand is defining and Pritchard A., Pride R., 2002). Yet, the expressing the personality of an lack of brands is an obstacle in any organization or destination, not only activity, since a brand makes one think creating a logo, but also creating verbal of what one sees, it develops and gains and visual identity at the same time confidence in the long run and has more building a brand by its strategic platform often than not such a strong effect upon and by all its marketing and people. communication activities.
  2. 2. Branding conveys information identification of proper strategies about what a product is and can be, it (Morgan N., Pritchard A., Pride R., can render value to a product, it is the 2002). This implies on one hand an set of methods by means of which an analysis of the domestic/local market in organization or product communicates, order to emphasize the strengths and symbolizes and differentiates itself weaknesses of tourism and on the other towards its audience. According to Temi hand an analysis of the market’s Abimbola (2001), branding means external environment which shall lead to ”identifying and/or creating, then the identification of opportunities and exploiting certain sustainable threats in tourism development. competitive advantages”. The two constituents, the internal Creating a brand supposes and external environment, are to be defining and expressing the personality analyzed according to their reference of an organization (Ries, Al., 2004) or a elements, as such: destination, not only creating a logo, but • the strengths and weaknesses of also creating verbal and visual identity, the system are to be emphasized at the same time building a brand by its according to: tourist resources, tourist strategic platform and by all marketing infrastructure, product and service and communication activities. A supply, tourist demand, marketing powerful brand renders a strong policy; relationship with customers. • the opportunities and threats of the general external environment: The competitiveness economic, political, social, cultural, background of a tourist destination demographic environment as well as The current context marked by the those of the environment typical of globalization of phenomena and the tourist markets as regards global tourist widespread recognition of demand and competition on domestic interdependence has imposed new and foreign tourist markets. rules: nations’ prosperity supposes To a destination that has tourist competitiveness on international values, tourism means the economic markets and enterprises should access sector that has a major growth potential world value chains. and can become an attraction source Accomplishing the goal to improve both for foreign investors and tourists. an area’s competitiveness requires Yet, this is still difficult because of the more and more actions that aim at the ample issues related to tourism national and international improvement competitiveness in a certain tourist of an area as a tourist destination along region (Evans N.,Campbell D., with the development of a long-lasting Stonehouse, G., 2003), in general. tourist industry at national level. The most significant elements of a Growing a destination’s tourist destination’s competitiveness are competitiveness must start from the mainly rendered by: good knowledge of tourist supplies in all 1. Factor conditions, respectively: their aspects: resources, valuation level, natural and cultural resources, capital as well as of the economic, social and resources, infrastructure, human political context that influence tourism resources; growth. A useful analysis pattern is the 2. Suppliers’ status and structure: diagnosis analysis achieved by means natural status (environment conditions), of the SWOT matrix which synthesizes material status (hotel and dining certain information regarding the current equipment, transportation, trade, state of tourism in an area, allowing the cultural, sports equipment, shows etc.), 152
  3. 3. non-material status – software position on the market, the position it (services, management/administration, should have to a certain consumer organization, education etc.); segment as compared to competitors, 3. Market structure, distribution taking account of buyers’ needs and the networks; level of their cultural background. 4. Conditions in which demand Placing a brand must comply with occurs and supply meets it generated functional, emotional and cultural needs by the dimension and structure of a of the targeted segment and convey the market (the share of a specific tourist advantages it is to get and the time market, the level of incomes, social stability of the brand’s elements. It must: level, surfeit level etc.) and by travellers’ • be highly popular not only from expertise as to the new products and the perspective of the tourist percentage norms; knowing its name, but also from the 5. The ability to make itself known perspective of its attributes, features, both on the national and international values, essence etc; market, using an active promotion policy • be trustworthy, namely it must in the middle of which a strong brand reflect the potential of a destination, its with unique and attractive features unique resources and sights, should be placed. specialists’ ability or skills in launching a The extent to which these new tourist product or in bringing forth a elements may contribute in creating a new destination on the tourist market; competitive position depends on • be relevant, distinct and easy to destination types, respectively on the remember. level of social and economic growth, To a certain extent, every topographic traits, climate, culture, destination is differentiated but not political regime, special factors etc. every different feature is important and taken into account by tourist consumers The brand – determining a (Evans N.,Campbell D., Stonehouse, tourist destination’s competitiveness G., 2003). Therefore, a destination must The increase in competitiveness’ carefully choose differentiation direction external pressures requires companies in compliance with the following criteria: to quickly adapt to the criteria of modern • Importance. It is a pretty attractive competition. One of these criteria aims and important advantage to most at the brand which in developed tourists (along with relaxation and economies has proven to be the main entertainment, one can benefit from competitive advantage and influences in health treatments as well); various ways the demand for any • Genuineness. This attribute is service. In these circumstances, the either not used by competitors, or it is interest in a brand is a must, not a used in a specific form (the only region custom. Yet, the decisive influence is where one can cure a certain disease, the one of consumers’ – as their new for example); life style includes the right to choose • Superiority. It is a feature superior and to be somehow cynical which to all other ways to get the same allows them to give up a brand as soon advantages (one can have several as the latter does not meet their activities in the same place, for demands anymore. example). In order to develop a brand, it is In an environment where there are very important how it is placed on the several similar models of business, market (Temi Abimbola, 2008). Placing products and services, where the a brand’s image means identifying its 153
  4. 4. struggle to be the best in a world of better organization and its efficient similarities is harder and harder and promotion. consumers are provided with enough In order that a tourist region should options, being different can mean the become an important tourist destination, major factor in a customer’s decision it is necessary that adequate marketing taking. elements should be intensely used as It is known that the most famous well as proper distribution channels tourist destinations are very well placed should be set up (Evans N.,Campbell to a tourist consumer and that is why it D., Stonehouse, G., 2003). When accomplishing competitive is difficult to influence opinions that tourism, new elements and promotional already exist. In order to create and materials’ quality contribute a lot, in promote the image of a destination as to correlation with the best choice of tourists, the following strategic distribution networks. Marketing means alternatives can be applied: setting up a strong brand as seen by • Strengthening the current position potential tourists. If one can build a as related to tourist consumers; strong brand, one shall have a strong • Finding and occupying the free marketing programme. position that might be recognized by Sales are done by brands. In our most tourists; age dominated by media, the verbal • Outdoing competing destinations acknowledgement of a tourist or repositioning them. destination and its guarantee are Accomplishing the goal of represented by the ”brand” competitiveness growth in an area denomination rather than by the requires more and more actions that personal recommendations of tourist aim at developing and promoting an agents. area as a tourist destination at national A high position in the brand-based purchasing activity is held by the and international level as well as Internet. Tourists purchase tourist developing a sustainable tourist products on websites, without even industry. being sure they are real or the quality- The sustainable growth of tourist price ratio is what they expect. promotion, the design and promotion of Promoting a tourist destination on a tourist brand are a basic constituent the Internet requires potential tourists’ both in order to reach normal, best awareness of destinations, attracting levels regarding the image an area has tourists by special offers and rendering on the national and international them loyal by using new instruments. markets as a well customized Tourist companies’ interaction in the destination, distinct from other destination with potential tourists leads competitive destinations, and to attract to the development of direct marketing investors and other strategic partners and face-to-face marketing. for the growth of tourist industry. Among the instruments used to The efforts to place itself as an promote a brand on the Internet, one attractive destination from the tourist can mention: (Iordache C.,Ciochină I., perspective is difficult to an area Andrei A., 2007): especially in an age when consumers • E-mail marketing. Its low are more and more skilled and competition is becoming harsher and production cost, easy usage and harsher. An area’s ability to win in this quickness make this instrument the ”struggle” is firstly connected to ideal response when customizing a becoming aware of the strengths and destination brand on the Internet. weaknesses that tourism has, to its 154
  5. 5. • Marketing interaction. Websites and promotion of the area’s tourist such as ”” or brand; ”” should introduce Developing the domestic market from their very first page the respective of tourism by the sustainable destination brand followed by the improvement of tourist products and promotional offers available from … till specific marketing activities in the area; …. Developing the area network of • Cyber promotion. The ”game” to Tourist Information and Promotion launch a website of a destination brand, Centers and setting up a computerized the various contests organized, tourist data base including an integrated customized spots, specialized lists are system to collect and distribute them. some Internet promotion techniques A tourist destination needs a used by enterprises in the tourist strong tourist brand created in industry. compliance with the genuine, Competitive success in the authentical strengths of advertising on restrictive circumstances of market national and foreign channels according economy and a product that meets the to its tourist potential that should be same demands but is more attractive able to persuade visitors that it is a than competitors’ can be emphasized unique, customized, competitive by promotion. destination. It is necessary to set up a Generally speaking, developing a real, complex tourist image by the national tourist brand and a destination introduction of new elements to promote brand in particular are both a general and diversify promotional materials priority by the contribution in achieving a (brochures, CD’s, films, maps, study- country’s brand having as effects the tours, road-shows etc.). attraction of foreign investment and the That is why the authors believe balance of current accounts, and a that a brand is the starting point for all specific priority if one has in view marketing decisions and all media tourism growth and its effects which, creations. although few at present, especially Branding conveys information on because of poor infrastructure, can what a destination is and can actually have an important role on medium term be, it can render value to a destination, in the increase of the overall it is the set of methods by means of competitiveness of the economy. The which a destination or a product European Union accession should bring communicates, symbolizes and makes about the strengthening of traditions, itself different to its audience. authenticity and national customs, as these attributes can be the best to make Conclusions the difference between many national A destination’s success is also destinations and European ones. dependent on the tourist products Promoting a tourist destination on provided by the enterprises in the the domestic market by a national respective region – the former should campaign is also another way to have certain quality, meet tourists’ real support national companies from the needs and last but not least, have a competitive perspective. market. The quality of the new product The actions indicated in this or destination should be at least at the respect include: same level with the one of the product introduced by the national tourist brand. Creating the image of a region Otherwise, no matter how famous a as a tourist destination by the definition national brand might be and no matter 155
  6. 6. how beautiful its image, the destination accomplished with devotion and after extension shall fail. Moreover, the poor some time. quality of tourist services rendered in a Diminishing a national tourist tourist destination shall reflect in its turn brand is the highest risk of an upon the national tourist brand. Beyond unsuccessful or exaggerated extension the dynamics between the national which eventually leads to losing brand and its extension, a product that consumers’ loyalty. The decrease does not supply quality cannot simply process may occur due to various sell. causes. Thus, if a new product has low Country branding means state- quality, it will make consumers think centralized management. It primarily negatively, therefore having an impact means coordinating macro-economic upon mother-brand and this will policies in order to get the country’s eventually make them wonder whether competitive advantage. In order to have producers will worsen the quality of their a country’s brand, there should be value original products one day. as well, and value should be REFERENCES Aaker, D. A.(2005), Management of a Brand Capital – How to Value the Name of a Brand, Brandbuilders Grup Publishing House, Bucarest. Abimbola, T. (2008), “The Dynamics of Brand, Corporate Image, Identity & Reputation in the Knowledge Economies”, European Journal of Marketing, Emerald, UK, 1, 46-58. Abimbola, T, (2001), “Branding as Competitive Strategy for Demand Management for SMEs”, Journal of Research In Marketing & Entrepreneurship, 3, 97-106 Evans N., Campbell D., Stonehouse, G. (2003), Strategic Management for Travel and Tourism, Butterworth-Heinemann, New York, NY. Iordache C.,Ciochină I., Andrei A. (2007), ”Tourism on the Internet”, Trade Magazine, 2, 24-29 Kotler Ph., Haider D., Rein I. (2001), Marketing of Places, Teora Publishing House, Bucarest. Morgan N., Pritchard A., Pride R. (2002), Destination Branding, Butterworth- Heinemann, New York, NY. Ries, Al. (2004), The Twenty-Two Immutable Laws of Marketing, Curier Marketing Publishing House, Bucarest. Ritchie J.B.R., Crouch G.I. (1997), ”Quality, Price and the Tourism Experience. Roles and Contribution to Destination Competitiveness”, St. Gallen. 156