Destination Marketing: Why do tourists like a destination?
By Sara Fedele Marketing Communications Manager , USI Università Della Svizzera Italiana | April 2012
Which reasons make a destination worth visiting? Is there a correspondence between how tourists perceive a destination and how the Destination Management Organization (DMO) promotes it? The main purpose of this research is to identify the reasons that make a destination - in this case, the Republic of Malta - worth a visit from the tourists' perspective. The study aims on one side, at recognizing and analyzing the main arguments used by tourists - the demand side - when reporting on their experiences on a specific destination, and on the other side to compare the found arguments with those used by the DMO - the supply side - to promote itself.
The arguments have been identified through the analysis of User Generated Contents on the destination, in the Travel forums of Trip Advisor. The results make it possible to identify strengths and weaknesses of the destination, and additionally to get information on what the DMO should focus on to improve its performances.
The understanding of opinions, preferences and perceptions of tourists is a valuable starting point for the development of more effective online marketing strategies by DMO as, before speaking, they need to listen carefully to their visitors!
Where to go on holiday? This is the first question which arises when planning a trip. The answer to this question can influence positively or negatively the performance of that "couple of weeks" that are considered sacred by so many workers around the world.
Today, most of the travelers who have Internet access look for online information and tourist services, frequently asking for help and suggestions to travelers who have already been in a destination.
Recent studies have highlighted that travelers, before choosing a destination or tourist service like a hotel, prefer to receive recommendations from those who have already experienced that destination or hotel. They tend to check more and more online comments and opinions that can help them to make the right choice, trusting more the word-of-mouth by people having their same "status" of travelers than suggestions by professionals. Besides this trustworthiness, another reason of preference is that such information is cheaper and faster.
Because of the personal relation involved, word-of-mouth is viewed as a more reliable source of accurate consumer information than marketing information obtained through mass media (Pan, McLaurin, Crotts 2007). Travelers want to talk about their good or bad experiences and share their travel know-how on one or more social websites and blogs.