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Tourism Marketing Plan – A Definition

The goal of tourism marketing is to increase the number of visitors at a destination and to maximize the utilized capacity of touristic businesses. This goal is reached by consistently following a tourism marketing plan which consideres the characteristics of the tourism product.

Touristic products are…

  1. intangible: The customer buys a „product“ that he personally can’t peer much less try in advance. He needs to rely on the promise of the vendor that the bed in the hotel will be comfortable, the food in the restaurant tasty or the tour perfectly organized. Thus the predominant part of the touristic “product” consists of services, for instance the transportation from A to B or the preparation of a dish.
  2. not storable: Production and consumption of the service need to take place at the same time.
  3. dependent on the participation of the customer: To consume a touristic service the guest needs to be at the place of the service provision.
  4. heterogeneous: They are provided by people for people and therefore succumb variations in quality, for example, in the friendliness of the waiter. Coming along, the subjective quality of the service is influenced by the individual perception of the customer as well as the behavior of other present guests.
Blogpost Tourism Marketing Plan, Characteristics of the Tourism Product, International Sustainable Tourism Development and Tourism Marketing for the German Target Market

For the success of tourism marketing a tactical, strategic approach based on a tourism marketing plan is crucial:

1. Extensive situation analysis

This consists of:

  1. Environmental analysis: In the context of the environmental analysis the general surrounding conditions for tourism in the particular country are researched.
  2. Market analysis: This deals with the supply side (the competitors) as well as the demand side (the customers).
  3. Operation and potential analysis: In this connection the current state of the own company is documented versus comparable companies.
Blogpost Tourism Marketing Plan, Situation Analysis, International Sustainable Tourism Development and Tourism Marketing for the German Target Market

2. Preparation of a marketing concept

This includes:

  1. Interpretation of the situation analysis: This is carried out, for example, in the form of a so called SWOT-analysis. Strengths and weaknesses of the own company related to the market and the environment are analyzed; chances and risks are deviated.
  2. Determination of marketing goals: Marketing goals do not stand isolated but need to be viewed in the entirety of the business objectives. Goals define a desire for a future condition – frequently in form of mission statements. They need to be formulated “smart”, meaning specific, measurable, accepted, reasonable and time-bound.
  3. Development of a long-term marketing strategy: This describes the way to the attainment of the marketing goals.
Blogpost Tourism Marketing Plan, Marketing Concept, International Sustainable Tourism Development and Tourism Marketing for the German Target Market

3. Consistent implementation of the determined strategy within the marketing mix

This incorporates:

  1. The traditional marketing instruments for tangible assets (4 P’s):
    1. Product
    2. Price
    3. Place
    4. Promotion
  2. The additional 3 P’s of services marketing and thereby tourism marketing:
    1. Participation and people
    2. Physical evidence
    3. Process
  3. Supplementary P‘s:
    1. Packages
    2. Programming
    3. Positioning
    4. Power
    5. Partnership
    6. Public

4. Continuous controlling of all measures as well as their final evaluation and the resultant learning effects

Although a tourism marketing plan can be set up logically and thus step by step leading to success the same mistakes are made consistently:

  1. Unfortunately, the significance of the analysis phase frequently is underestimated. For instance, marketing measures oftentimes are decided without even knowing the target group. However, the whole marketing (e.g. the product) can only be optimized for the target group when knowing who this is done for. By addressing people that don’t belong to the target group communication can become very costly for the advertiser. Anyway, communication is only worthwhile after a unique selling proposition has been worked out that causes a wow-effect for the customers.
  2. Oftentimes a precise objective is missing or the goals were not defined „smart“. Hence it is not clear whereupon is worked to and how the achievement of objectives shall be measured.
  3. There is no clear and overall strategy. This leads to an unsystematic approach, blindfold ad hoc measures and getting bogged down in separate (uneconomic) measures.
  4. In communication oftentimes the second step is made before the first one. First, it is decided on media that should be advertised in. An idea for an advertising campaign is worked out only afterwards. Thus, it would be correct to choose advertising media that fit to the idea.
  5. Oftentimes the executed marketing measures are not controlled. For this reason, a learning effect is missing which is required for the optimization of the future marketing.

Do you have your sights on the German market? Contact me! With my structured functioning and my creative ideas I will gladly create your tourism marketing plan and realize the defined tourism marketing activities.