Destination Marketing v. Destination Management

Introduction

The destination is an area of any size popular among tourists due to the quality of destination products and services. It happens that destination brand image plays an important role in economic sustainability and brand loyalty. At the same time, it is necessary to take into account another controversy that arises in the analysis of destination concept: destination management and destination marketing are often used as the same concept whereas they mean different stages of the development process. As such, though both these concepts are essential for destination sustainability, they are applied to different procedures aimed at making the tourist place better concerning changing needs and expectations of consumers.

Goeldner and Ritchie (2009) and Reid and Bojanic (2009) contributed greatly to the discussion of destination management and destination marketing. Marketing in the domain of tourist destinations is addressed more like a process for promotion of the place, its facilities, and overall quality of services. Destination management can be defined as a process of improving services to gain customers’ satisfaction. Marketing deals with letting people know about services and facilities available in a specific place while management focuses on reaching the level of services and facilities that would be attractive for potential tourists of a destination.

The current study focuses on the main domains and sub-domains of destination marketing and management about the difference between these concepts and their roles in the economic sustainability of tourist destinations. Though strategies and globalization play important role in the popularity of some destinations and shifts in cultural social preferences and expectations, it is necessary to take into account all factors that may potentially influence the sustainability of a tourist destination. Managers and marketers work on the application of best practices and the elimination of drawbacks in management and marketing.

Literature Review

Branding can be considered one of the important components in destination marketing. However, a brand is not always approached as a name or an image that makes tourists become aware of it to come back again. Some researchers address brands from the perspective of intangible values. Blain, Levy, and Ritchie (2005) as well as many other researchers (Baker, 2007; Dasgupta, 2011; Glaser, 2010) focus on destination branding. As the concept of a brand is somehow related to the intangible value, it positively contributes to the effective management of an organisation and facilitates the marketing of the destination organization which presupposes the promotion of products and services.

Karamarko (2010) analyses destination management applied in a Croatian tourist destination concerning brand building and development of sustainable business. As such, Karamarko (2010) concludes that the following perspectives should be evaluated while building a destination brand: “brand as tourist product (organization and destination), brand as a person (employees – salespersons, civilians), brand as a symbol (organizations and destinations)” (p. 964). As such, destination management presupposes control and development of a destination with regard to marketing strategies used to promote a developed destination and improve it with the help of market research conducted in the domain.

Hankinson (2009) claims that brand managers should receive more information and guidelines on the branding of destinations as they require a special type of marketing and should be approached differently than other businesses. As suggested by Hankinson (20090, such categories of destination branding as “brand culture, brand leadership, departmental coordination, brand communications, [and] stakeholder partnerships” (p. 99) should be addressed when taking into account the emerging necessity of destination branding as a strategy of development. Destination brand management can be considered a component of destination marketing but is necessary to differentiate these two concepts although they are interrelated and are often used interchangeably which is not correct.

Ruzzier (2010) addresses the issue of destination branding with a new perspective of a more in-depth including analysis of brand loyalty, brand quality, and brand awareness into the study. Besides, the researcher emphasises the popularity of ideas that demand perspective of destination management is believed to be more important for the development of a tourist destination. Moreover, a destination is not only associated with a brand but also is treated as a specific brand applied to products and services originating from a particular destination. As such, the customer’s perspective is taken into account while analysing and evaluating destination image and other intangible values such as brand loyalty and awareness implied to a particular destination.

Sometimes alternative definitions of the same phenomenon emerge. For instance, a destination can be treated as a place or as an amalgam of facilities. Presenza, Sheehan, and Ritchie (2005) discuss “activities involved in the ‘external destination marketing’ (EDM) function and the ‘internal destination development’ (IDD) function” (p. 2). It is necessary to realise the roles of managers and staff of destination marketing organisations as applied in practice about the ambiguity that emerged when concepts of destination marketing and destination management begin to be used interchangeably. Though different models are introduced in the study, their effectiveness and applicability should be further analysed and discussed. Jamieson (2006) discussed developing economies in terms of destination management strategies and their effectiveness.

The roles and interests of stakeholders play an important role in the management of a destination concerning potential revenue. As such, it is necessary to take into account the expectations and desires of local authorities, environmentalists, indigenous people, and other parties concerned. Franch and Martini (2002) define destination management as decisions made for more effective strategic and operative promotion of destination products and services including those originated from the destination or bearing some signs of the destination brand; besides, destination management can be treated as the process of controlling the sustainability of resources and flow of tourists with regard to roles and interests of stakeholders (p. 5). Elbe, Hallén, and Axelsson (2009) emphasise the role of stakeholders in the development of a tourist destination and the importance of reaching a consensus concerning the management strategies to be applied in order to perform marketing activities. As suggested by Pearce (1992), “Destination-management organisations are… given a central role in the marketing of a destination because they… take the overall responsibility for promoting tourism and for attracting visitors” (cited in Elbe, Hallén, & Axelsson, 2009, p. 283). Besides, the brand image and the consequences of changes are also discussed with regard to stakeholders and their interests in destination development.

Yoona and Uysalb (2005) investigated motivation and satisfaction in the domain of tourist destinations as well as the concept of destination loyalty which can be considered the result of effective marketing and management strategies applied to a specific tourist destination. As “satisfaction with travel experiences… contributes to destination loyalty” (Yoona & Uysalb, 2005, p. 45), it is important to take into account the fact of intangible value such as loyalty and marketing and management techniques used to gain customers’ satisfaction and cultivate their loyalty. As indicated by Chon (1989), “found that tourist satisfaction is based on the goodness of fit between his/her expectation about the destination and the perceived evaluative outcome of the experience at the destination area” (cited in Yoona & Uysalb, 2005, p. 47). Though tourist satisfaction is one of many factors, it can be treated as a highly-motivating one because management and marketing organisations in destinations address the needs and expectations of consumers to gain customers’ satisfaction and to maintain the quality of their services at an appropriate level.

Systems of information should be developed for destinations because it is a proper way to inform people about the actual quality of services, facilities available, and other issues that are usually interesting for tourists. Ritchie and Ritchie (2002) evaluate the destination marketing information system in their study which is used to improve the quality of services and sustain competitive advantage. The competitive destination was also discussed in the study by Ritchie and Crouch (2003). As such, some researchers claim that the information available on destinations may be inefficient for the industry to be properly managed while a number of factors should be applied in practice because research in destination marketing is “rarely exploited to its full potential” (Ritchie & Ritchie, 2002, p. 451). In this respect, analysis of resources and facilities should be useful for its development and more effective destination marketing and management.

Another source of information includes feedbacks from tourists that have already visited a particular place and can comment on the level of services, rate lodging and food as well as other important components. Pan, MacLaurin, and Crotts (2007) analyse the role of travel blogs in destination marketing. As “interpersonal influence arising from opinion exchange between consumers is an important factor influencing consumers’ purchase decisions” (Pan, MacLaurin, & Crotts, 2007, p. 35), destination marketing organisations should take into account the information potential consumers retrieve from the internet. Though DMOs are not able to control travel blogs as a source of information about services and overall impression of the destination, they can analyse the information and make necessary changes in their marketing strategies and management of destinations. Pan, MacLaurin, and Crotts (2007) emphasise the role of customers’ feedback in shaping the destination marketing strategies and recommendations to take into account the experience introduced by previous travellers with the help of travel blogs.

Management strategies and techniques implemented in various destinations present another domain for analysis and evaluation because it is necessary to understand if strategies are universal and can be applied to any destination or some cultural differences may prevent a manager from using particular techniques. Collins and Buhalis (2003) analyse management strategies implemented by destination marketing organisations to make destinations of England sustainable and profitable. In this respect, business models and different mechanisms are discussed to identify the best practices to be applied to destinations. In other words, it is possible to consider destination marketing as the mechanism that implies management strategies for more effective functioning of the destination. As suggested by Sheldon (1997), “Destination Management Systems (DMS) can be described as the IT infrastructure of the DMO” (cited in Collins & Buhalis, 2003, p. 202). In other words, marketing is the way to tell potential customers about services while management is a set of procedures aimed at controlling the process and reaching the goal so that services were on the same level as customers expect after being addressed with marketing approaches.

Manente and Minghetti (2006) claim that while defining destination management, it is necessary to remember that “the main objective is to manage and support the integration of different resources, activities and stakeholders through suitable policies and actions” (p. 230). Destination marketing is defined in this case as a concept “concerned with the overall promotion of destination image and the distribution of local tourism products” (Manente & Minghetti, 2006, p. 230). At the same time, destination marketing and destination management are closely related within the domain of tourist destinations and strategies applied more or less effectively to sustain competitive advantage, attract customers, and raise profitability.

A study by Djurica and Djurica (2010) focuses on the destination and strategies in marketing management to develop a destination with regard to consumers’ needs and further ability of the destination “to attract tourists and meet their needs” (p. 890). As such, mission, goals, segmentation, and many other components are named as the basic management issues in management marketing of a tourist destination. Finally, “To respond successfully to the challenges imposed by global tourist environment, tourist destinations need to adopt marketing concepts in their businesses” (Djurica & Djurica, 2010, p. 900). Though challenges and changes in the global culture may influence destination marketing and destination management techniques, it is necessary to take into account all those changes including a range of potential benefits and losses.

Destination marketing organisations are special services that work on government grants to improve destinations’ economic sustainability. As indicated by Palmer and Bejou (1995), destination marketing organisations “undertake the functions of promotions, hotel bookings, collection of market research information, information dissemination to local tourism organizations, and operation of visitor centres” (cited in Hornby, Brunetto, & Jennings, 2008, p. 185). Hornby, Brunetto, and Jennings (2008) investigate the participation of tourism operators in the development of destination marketing systems that can be improved with the help of feedbacks and recommendations though it is impossible in case tourism operators do not use the systems.

Notably, many authors emphasise globalisation and its role in destination development and the necessity of managers to adapt to changing needs of consumers whereas those changes are based on globalisation and shifts in cultures and perceptions of people. Skinner (2008) discusses changes in social values and interests as well as shifts in culture due to globalisation as basic premises to development of destination management which was not as profound sometime earlier. Moreover, the author emphasises globalisation as a driving force in the promotion of services and the importance of their quality to consumers of such services and products. As tourists are the main consumers of destination amalgams, it is not surprising that destination management and destination marketing are of crucial importance for the economic sustainability of destinations.

Bieger, Beritelli, and Laesser (2009) approach the issue of globalization from the perspective of a proper response to an emerging rise in costs and market needs in terms of tourist interests and needs. As reported by Bieger (1998), tourist destinations “be seen as the tourist product that in certain markets competes with other products” (cited in Bieger, Beritelli, & Laesser, 2009, p. 311). Destination management organizations operate effectively when their framework is counted for the size of the area of destination.

Another important strategy in attracting tourists to particular destinations is film-shooting that also makes sponsors invest money into the projects aimed at the development of such ‘traps’ for tourists. Saltik, Cosar, and Kozak (2011) emphasise the importance of the popularity of a tourist destination in terms of appearing in films or TV series. At the same time, Beeton (2005) also reported about film-induced destination management and destination marketing. For instance, the process of shooting a film within a destination can positively contribute to its economic sustainability and become a marketing technique effectively applied. Investments are one of the greatest benefits of film-shooting in a tourist destination.

Discussion and Analysis

As suggested in the study by Buhalis (2000), destination marketing should be aimed at “optimisation and the maximisation of benefits for the region” (p. 97). This means that marketing of tourist destinations is not the same as destination management because the former deals with the promotion of the ideas about the place and services while the latter focuses on the organisation of processes within the organisation and outside it. In other words, it is necessary to emphasise that differences are apparent while there is one feature in common that cannot be missed – it is the area of application. As destinations are approached specifically and researchers consider that a tourist destination needs unique management and marketing. Besides, Buhalis (2002) considers that “Destinations offer an amalgam of tourism products and services, which are consumed under the brand name of the destination” (p. 97) where the brand name and goods and services consumed under it are results of destination marketing while the effectiveness of those services and their quality are mostly the result of effective management. In other words, management of tourist destinations is the act of making all staff members work effectively to attain a specific goal such as the well-known brand name of a destination and goods and services distributed under this name. At the same time, Buhalis (2000) focuses more on the development of facilities and various strategies of planning applied to the tourist destination concept. It is clear that services provided at tourist destinations are important and “tourists perceive the destination as a band comprising of a collection of suppliers and services” (p. 99). In this respect, it is necessary to analyse management techniques implemented to attain marketing goals and marketing as one of the techniques to reach the general goal of effective performance and profitability.

The study by Gretzel, Fesenmaier, Formica, and O’Leary (2006) is focused on destination marketing organizations and their activities that can be introduced in future to make the visitation of specific areas by tourists more active and profitable. As every research in the domain of destination marketing can be helpful for future improvements in techniques applied, authors of the research think that adaptation to changes in technologies, social and political perception of areas by people, and other factors are important to make the touristic visitation stable. As such, researchers find it necessary to use acquired knowledge to meet expected changes and adapt to challenging situations that may emerge.

Increasing globalisation, changes in technological development, and shifts in the consumer market make it necessary to revise the marketing strategies applied to tourist destinations (Gretzel, Yuan, & Fesenmaier, 2000, p. 146). Moreover, Kozak (2004) also investigated benchmarking in destination management. When one component of the scheme changes completely, the entire system should be adapted to those alterations. However, even slight changes lead to global consequences that should be taken into account. For instance, Gretzel, Yuan, and Fesenmaier (2000) discuss webspace as a new medium for advertising while they also emphasise “an increasing trend toward customer-focused Web design” (p. 150). As suggested by Gretzel, Yuan, and Fesenmaier (2000), “changes should be directed toward increasing organizational flexibility and openness to change” (p. 155). In other words, changes should be properly managed concerning other possible emerging consequences of the changing environment for marketing strategies applied to tourist destinations.

Prideaux and Cooper (2003) analyse tourist destination marketing as an integral part of destination development and emphasise that it is important to identify and use the relationship between marketing and local government authorities. As such, cooperation between destination stakeholders is one of the important steps after acknowledging that the development of effective services and products are essential for the infrastructure and profitability of destinations. Destination marketing is aimed more at attracting tourists through advertising and other strategies applied to a developing tourism industry with the help of destination marketing organisations that are mostly non-profitable and sponsored by government funds. As suggested by Prideaux and Cooper (2003), cooperation in the form of “the role played by local government” (p. 48) played in the development of destination is one of the factors that contribute to the economic profitability and effectiveness of marketing strategies applied.

Conclusion/Recommendations/Limitations

The limitations of the present study included a lack of clear definitions by researchers to identify their insight into destination management and destination marketing. Though there are many explanations and general descriptions of what this or that concept may imply, it was important to find out what the two concepts under discussion mean and how it is possible to differentiate them strictly. As such, the comparison of explanations made it possible to understand and try to formulate a definition presented in the introduction section.

As destination management and destination marketing exist within the domain of tourist destinations, it is necessary to know a clear definition of each concept in order not to confuse them and not to use them interchangeably because these processes do not imply the same meaning. The present study enabled us to find out that destination management strategies can depend on the place in terms of country and cultural differences despite globalisation. At the same time, it is necessary to remember that such destination marketing techniques as film-shooting can help to attract more tourists and investors to the place.

Further research on destination management and destination marketing can concern comparison of some strategies of situations when two destinations have the same competitive advantage though use different business models and have different results in terms of brand loyalty and awareness and revenue. Moreover, it is possible to address the issue of information systems more closely to understand how proper data can influence destination popularity contrasted to travel blogs or other resources of information about the destination.

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