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Why is marketing important in travel and tourism

Why is marketing important in travel and tourism

Travel and tourism marketing is crucial for the industry as it drives demand, encourages tourism growth and aids in competitive positioning. Effective marketing strategies ensure a steady stream of tourists, contributing to economic development, job creation and fostering cultural exchange. The right marketing efforts can transform lesser-known destinations into popular tourist hotspots, boosting local economies.

What is marketing in travel and tourism?

Marketing in travel and tourism involves promoting and selling various aspects of the tourism industry, including destinations, accommodations, attractions and experiences. It uses different strategies and tools to understand tourist behaviour and attract and retain tourists by satisfying their requirements while ensuring sustainable and profitable operations.

The objectives of travel and tourism marketing 

The primary objectives of marketing in the travel and tourism industry are:

  • Customer attraction: To attract potential tourists by creating awareness about destinations, services and experiences
  • Customer satisfaction: To fulfil the needs and exceed the expectations of tourists, ensuring their satisfaction and repeat visits
  • Brand development: To establish a strong brand image and reputation in the competitive tourism market
  • Profit maximisation: To increase bookings, sales and revenue
  • Sustainable tourism development: To promote responsible tourism practices that contribute to the conservation of natural and cultural heritage

Promoting destinations, accommodation and experiences

Marketing is crucial to promote destinations, accommodation and adventures:

  • Destination marketing: This involves promoting a city, country or region to tourists, and tactics can be to highlight the destination’s unique features, attractions, culture, history or events
  • Accommodation marketing: Focusing on promoting hotels, resorts, vacation rentals or other types of accommodation, marketing may include showcasing unique features, amenities, location, value for money or other aspects that make an accommodation appealing
  • Experience marketing: It’s all about selling memorable experiences, which include adventure activities, wellness retreats, cultural tours, gastronomic experiences and other  offerings that may appeal to tourists

The importance of marketing in travel and tourism

Travel marketing is vital as it generates awareness, stimulates interest and attracts tourists to various destinations and experiences, driving the industry’s growth and success. It also plays a crucial role in establishing a strong brand, enhancing customer satisfaction, encouraging repeat visit, and promoting sustainable tourism practices, thus contributing significantly to the socio-economic development of regions worldwide.

Boosting  customer awareness and engagement

Marketing is pivotal in the travel and tourism industry by boosting awareness and fostering customer engagement.

Creating awareness

Marketing is crucial for informing potential tourists about various destinations and tourism offerings. Effective marketing strategies bring a destination’s unique features, attractions and experiences to light. Whether it’s a pristine beach, a historic monument or a thrilling adventure experience, marketing communicates these offerings to the target audience.

Engaging potential customers

Interactive marketing campaigns and tactics, such as social media, content and experiential marketing, allow businesses to engage with potential customers on a deeper level. This engagement can foster strong relationships, build trust and stimulate interest in the offerings, creating a connection before a tourist sets foot on the destination.

Generating interest and leads

The primary goal of any marketing activity is to stimulate interest and generate leads, which is the same in travel and tourism. By showcasing what a destination or service can offer, marketing incites curiosity and desire among potential tourists, leading to inquiries, bookings and, ultimately, visits.

Building relationships

Marketing is not just about attracting customers; it’s also about maintaining relationships. Through personalised communication, loyalty programmes and customer service, marketing helps tourism businesses keep their customers satisfied and encourage repeat visits.

Driving economic growth and supporting local communities

Marketing in travel and tourism plays a significant role in driving economic growth and supporting local communities. 

Economic impact of tourism

Tourism contributes significantly to the economy by attracting foreign direct investment, increasing foreign exchange earnings and boosting a country’s gross domestic product.. 

Increasing tourist spending and revenue

Effective marketing strategies can attract a more significant number of tourists to a destination. These tourists spend on accommodation, food, local transport, attractions, shopping and other experiences, injecting money into the local economy and generating revenue for local businesses and the government through taxes.

Supporting local businesses and creating jobs

Increased tourism demand driven by marketing helps sustain local businesses, from hotels and restaurants to shops and tour operators. It can create job opportunities in travel-related sectors, including hospitality, transport and retail, helping to reduce unemployment and improve living standards.

Examples of economic growth due to effective marketing

Destinations, such as Dubai and Iceland, have experienced significant economic growth due to effective tourism marketing. Dubai’s “Open for Business” and Iceland’s “Inspired by Iceland” campaigns have been successful in attracting millions of tourists, leading to increased revenue, job creation and improved infrastructure.

Developing and promoting a unique brand identity

By defining and highlighting the unique features, values and experiences a destination or tourism business can provide, marketing efforts help create a distinct brand identity. This can include everything from a city’s cultural heritage to a hotel’s exceptional service or a tour operator’s exclusive offerings.

Differentiation is crucial in the crowded tourism market. Effective marketing can help tourism businesses stand out from their competitors and appeal to their target customers.

Marketing also plays a pivotal role in bringing local brands and experiences to the global stage. By strategically promoting these offerings – using the right channels, messages, and tactics – marketing can increase their visibility and appeal, attracting tourists and boosting local economies.

What is marketing mix in travel and tourism?

The marketing mix concept, initially developed by Neil Borden and later refined by E. Jerome McCarthy, refers to the marketing tools and strategies a company uses to promote its brand or product in the market. In travel and tourism, the marketing mix involves the strategic combination of product, price, place and promotion to attract and satisfy tourists.

  • Product: In the travel and tourism industry, the product is the tangible or intangible offering provided to tourists. It includes destinations, accommodation, attractions, events, experiences and transportation. For instance, a cruise line may offer a product that combines accommodation, food and drink, entertainment and the experience of visiting multiple destinations.
  • Price: This refers to how much tourists pay for the products or services. Tourism pricing strategies must consider factors like competitive pricing, seasonality, demand and cost of services. Airlines, for example, often use dynamic pricing, changing fares based on demand, time of booking and available seats.
  • Place: In tourism, ‘place’ refers to where and how the tourism products or services are distributed and sold, including travel agencies, tour operators, online platforms and direct sales. For instance, a hotel might sell its rooms through its website, third-party booking platforms, travel agents and tour operators.
  • Promotion: Promotion involves the methods used to communicate with potential tourists and persuade them to visit a destination or use a service. It can include advertising, sales promotions, public relations, social media and direct marketing. For example, a tourism board might use a combination of social media campaigns, TV advertising and PR events to promote a destination.

For example, a unique cultural festival can be marketed as a ‘must-see’ event (product), offered at a reasonable price for international tourists (price), sold through popular travel agencies (place) and promoted via engaging social media campaigns (promotion).

Harness the power of marketing for travel and tourism success

In conclusion, marketing is a powerful tool that shapes the success of the travel and tourism industry. From boosting awareness and customer engagement, driving economic growth and supporting local communities to developing a unique brand identity and effectively utilising the marketing mix, marketing strategies are key to attracting and satisfying tourists.

The travel and tourism industry relies heavily on marketing to promote destinations, accommodation, and experiences, stimulate interest, generate leads, and build strong customer relationships. Through innovative marketing strategies, it is possible to create a distinct brand identity, differentiate from competitors, and bring local experiences to a global audience.

Additionally, marketing contributes significantly to economic growth, supporting local businesses, creating job opportunities, and promoting sustainable development. By attracting tourists and encouraging them to spend on local goods, services, and experiences, marketing indirectly aids in conserving cultural and natural heritage.

Therefore, whether promoting a destination, running a hotel or offering unique tourist experiences, investing in effective marketing strategies can significantly enhance your success in the competitive travel and tourism industry. Harness the power of marketing to attract, delight and retain tourists, contributing to your business growth and the socio-economic development of your region.

As a travel agent, you will ultimately benefit from the marketing campaigns of the tourism boards. It’s important you help spread the word to your customers and reinforce the destination marketing messages. If you happen to work under the brand umbrella of a parent company – The Travel Franchise is a prime example – then they will most likely work closely with the tourist boards themselves. As agents, you may well be invited on trips to the destination to educate and familiarise yourself with the various attractions, hotel offerings and major sites. Engaging travel agents is all part of the marketing model.

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