Destination Marketing 10 An Examination of Destination Marketing Name Herman Student NR:

Destination Marketing 10
An Examination of Destination Marketing
Name Herman
Student NR: 16850720
Course: Destination Marketing
Date 01/02/2021
Words: 2230
Introduction to the Need for Destination Marketing in the Hotel Industry
The rapid development of the hospitality sector facilitated by well-endowed investors and high competition has resulted in similar service levels across the board. In such a situation, it becomes difficult for the potential customer to make a choice. Individual hotel brands, with franchises spread across the globe, tend to engage destination-marketing methods to elevate the status of their product offering in the hearts and minds of potential customers (Lee, Han & Chung 2017, p. 170). The approaches adopted in the hotel industry destination-marketing are intended at differentiating product offerings from those of the competitors, even though, in an actual sense, the quality standards are usually similar. Successful destination-marketing campaigns can elevate some brands, making them attain dominance over others. It is a sort of survival for the fittest – in this case, the fittest being the one who can project an enduring image in the market place.
The Role of Hotel Destination Branding and Marketing
The destination marketing process usually involves creating a unique identifier, branding (Ibid, 101). When we talk about destination marketing, we are referring to a place. This could be a country, or like in the hotel chains’ name, the name of the hotel. When used in the hotel industry, destination marketing creates an image of a universal offering spread across the globe in a hotel’s name. The marketer will project those desirable attributes to potential visitors and that are offered by the hotel chain. In this case, the destination is a geographical identifier, which serves a host of hospitality resources instead of a political identifier (Kruja 2018, p. 45). This sort of destination marketing is becoming commonplace due to the increased competition level in the hospitality industry across the globe. Global hotel chains, in particular, find themselves under pressure to internationalize their offerings through destination marketing.
The common theme of destination marketing in the hotel industry is experience. This is because the hospitality industry’s nature is concerned with offering features of home away from home. There are certain expectations that the destination marketer needs to put into perspective. These include the cultural perspective, pride, and solidarity. In the normal family home, members perceive themselves as part of a larger social setting. The family members are bound by a set of values towards each other and towards the larger society. The family setting is also expected to offer love and protection. These are the sort of experiences that a hotel destination-marketer is interested in. The portrayal of a set of activities, attractions, and facilities may not be enough because of rivals’ availability of similar offerings. That is why the emphasis on experience cannot be downplayed.
Destination marketing is accompanied by a set of management activities different from typical product branding. The former, being a relationship based experience, calls for a relationship marketing approach. This relationship-building approach attempts to correlate a complex set of variables, including name, symbol, logo, trademark, and visual representations. An appropriate mix of these variables is required to indicate the hotel (Fotouhnezhad 2017, p. 180). That unique identifier differentiates the hotel from the other and, consequently, helps the potential consumer choose. Of note, however, is that these variables must relate to the experience. Destination marketing, as far as the hotel industry is concerned, is influenced by externalities such as accessibility, including ports’ availability and the surrounding community’s nature. These externalities represent the value addition. This helps the destination to create a system that integrates experiences. The experiences are both tangible and intangible, and they are expressed to the customer in similar ways.
The complexity of hotel destination-marketing is marked by the fact that it is done within cost efficiency and effectiveness. This has an implication, especially for the small hotelier, on economies of scale. A small hotel in a unique and extremely attractive setting in rural Africa may not be able to spend a fortune on destination marketing. This means that such a destination may not realize its full potential because of impediments associated with a lack of communication of the experience on offer (Johnson & Vanetti 2012, p. 22). This has led to the growth of hotel franchises. Besides, his is essentially business cooperation between two (or more) parties who are independent for other practical purposes. These parties enter into an agreement in which one party, called the franchisor, allow the other party, the franchisee, the right to adopt the former’s sophisticated business systems.
Smaller players in the hotel industry can take advantage of sophisticated systems, which would otherwise cost a fortune in terms of money and time to accumulate. This contractual relationship would allow the otherwise non-descript hotel in rural Africa to obtain a descript status using the franchisor’s communication system. This is important to both players because, besides the payment received by the franchisor and the marketing assistance obtained by the franchisee, both can enhance their value-added abilities (Pont 2013, p. 26). Besides, this keeps in mind that these value-added services play an important role in assisting consumers in making choices and expanding brand offerings. In a competitive environment, the marginal increase in experience offerings can greatly impact increasing the market share.
Stages of the Hotel Destination-Marketing Process
It is helpful to approach destination marketing as a process. This is because it takes time and it requires planning. The first stage is to develop a brand strategy. To do this, one may want to begin with an internal review of your hotel’s vision (Pike & Page 2014, p. 36). Internally one needs to identify the unique strengths and weaknesses. The strengths could be the variables that are performing well in your hotel. They could describe the management, the financial and human resources, location, and so on. The weaknesses could relate to are those factors that negate the strengths, or that would require improvements. The internal review should be done hand in hand with the external evaluation of opportunities and threats. Opportunities are the variables that are not yet at hand but are at your disposal if the necessary conditions are put in place. These could include a need for enhancement; Threats are those variables that pose as risks if activated by you or by external events.
Destination marketing will also require a definition of your niche market. Since your overall strategy’s ultimate objective is to satisfy those who are more likely to be seeking your services, you will need to identify them. These could be defined in terms of their demographic characteristics, including location, lifestyles, culture, habits, needs, and income levels (Pike 2016, p. 35). The importance of identifying your niche market is that it becomes possible to target your experience offering to suit them more fittingly. It is the major basis of one’s differentiation. Part of your definition of the niche market should be accompanied by research so that you can be able to make use of empirical data to describe the characteristics of the niche market. It is important to include a description of your competitors, including their service offerings. This helps you to pick subtle features that you can use in developing a differentiation. Once this has been done, it becomes possible to develop the hotel’s positioning statement. This refers to a description of the hotel’s niche market and an indication of its image in the market place. Part of the destination market assignment is to tailor messages using the positioning statement as the guide.
The next critical stage in digital marketing is the development of the hotel’s brand identity. This refers to a collection of elements that constitute the brand image of the hotel (Petty 2016, p. 49). These are derived from the overall strategy that defines the hotel’s brand. These include the vision and the mission. The identity could include some or all of the following: name, tag, colors and graphics, logo and wordmark, voice, tone, and typeface. The process will also involve the stage of develop tools for branding. These are tools that the hotel makes use of to achieve visibility. They include online presence, business development toolkits such as letterheads, videos, and signage.
Role of Positioning Strategy in Hotel Destination-Marketing
One of the most important aspects of a hotel destination is the brand launch or re-launch. This involves professionalizing the branding process so that you position your hotel in line with the overall strategy. Professional brand launch has an important impact on the market place in creating the right publicity in line with the positioning strategy. The brand launch is followed by brand building (Rowson 2019, p. 270). This is an ongoing process that helps the hotel’s management keep the focus of the hotel’s vision. It keeps the brand awareness alive in the marketplace by ensuring regular review and updating of communication campaigns. Brand building takes cognizance that the marketplace is dynamic and needs to keep your marketing up to date. Failure to reflect this dynamism in the market place will render redundancy the tools of marketing. Also, as the hotel’s brand moves through the business cycle, this needs to be reflected in the marketing strategy.
Destination marketing is an important part of the hotel’s marketing and management tasks. Its success will rely on how well it is planned, executed, and evaluated (Sekulic & Mandaric 2013, p. 240). Perception is complicated. When successfully executed, it will heighten awareness of the hotel’s brand in the marketplace. This is particularly important to the hotel because it makes it possible to differentiate the experience offered from similar ones offered by the competitors. Depending on the positioning strategy, it also helps in pricing. The demand for particular experiences influences pricing considerations. The demand is in turn driven by the marketing process. Destination marketing for hotels also helps in maintaining customer focus. This is important in ensuring that the hotel does not get lost in the details of the marketplace. To the shareholders, they benefit from increased brand equity. This refers to the hotel’s brand’s ability to attract investors due to the perceived value of the brand.
Branding is a part of destination marketing. It is a tool that destination marketers use to create identifiers that consumers can identify easily among the competing ones. Branding involves creating an image that represents the hotel using multimedia tools such as visuals, texts, and sounds (Smithson, Elizabeth). In the hospitality industry, these multimedia tools convey experiences such as security, culture, and love over and above the tangible aspects such as accommodation and food. The comparative advantage of a destination is taking up a position in the market place (Amadeo, Kimberly). This position is referred to as the niche. Niche marketing refers to the ability to divide or segment the market to identify certain common characteristics that can identify a category of people to whom services could be tailored. When a brand capably occupies that niche over a longer period, it can be said the brand has a comparative advantage on that particular niche. Comparative advantage enables the production of hotel services at a lower opportunity cost compared to competitors. It is one of the reasons why franchises have become common in the hotel industry. Franchises can take advantage of economies of scale.
1.4 Conclusion
The role of destination marketing cannot be underestimated. It is at the heart of the entire hotel strategy, without which the hotel will find it impossible to compete effectively and efficiently. Therefore, the management is advised to adopt an overall strategy that places destination marketing as part of the management process. It is important to include the stakeholders in designing the marketing strategy. This is because there are external influences that have a bearing on the marketing strategy. The local community may, for example, influence the perception of the experience offered by the hotel. A receptive community that is crime-free is, for example, an important part of the experience the hotel can market to its customers. Other influences could include cultural heritage and geographical features. Therefore, the hotel needs to adopt a holistic perspective that incorporates internal and external influences in the destination marketing strategy.
Reference List
Fotouhnezhad, L. 2017. Advertising in the hotel industry. The Routledge Handbook of Hospitality Marketing, 180-196.
Johnson, C., & Vanetti, M. 2012. Internationalization and the hotel industry. Tourism management: analysis, behaviour and strategy, 285-301.
Kruja, D. 2018. Destination marketing research. The Routledge Handbook of Destination Marketing, 35-48.
Lee, Y., Han, H., & Chung, K. 2017. Debranding and new branding in the hotel industry : A qualitative approach. Korean Journal of Hospitality & Tourism, 26(7), 167-178.
Kruja, D. 2018. Destination marketing research. The Routledge Handbook of Destination Marketing, 35-48.
Petty, R.D. 2016 “A History of Brand Identity Protection and Brand Marketing,” in The Routledge Companion to Marketing History, D.G. Brian Jones, Mark Tadajewski (eds), Oxon, Routledge p. 99
Pike, S. 2016. Destination Marketing Essentials. Oxford: Routledge.
Pike, S., & Page, S. 2014. Destination marketing organizations and destination marketing: A narrative analysis of the literature. Tourism Management. 41:202-227. 10.1016/j.tourman.2013.09.009
Pont, S. 2013. The Better Mousetrap: Brand Invention in a Media Democracy. London, England: Kogan Page.
Rowson, B. 2019. Marketing for the hospitality industry. Modern Hotel Operations Management, 268-297.
Sekulic, D., & Mandaric, M. 2013. Quality of services as a determinant of customer satisfaction in the hotel industry. Marketing, 44(3), 231-246.