Market, in the case of tourism can be equalled to any domestic market i.e. the set of needs of a family. However, the members of this family are members of international community. Therefore, their interests are very highly varied and their needs are to be taken care with strategic marketing expertise. This unique situation challenges tourism marketers. Therefore, a systematic approach can only help appropriate return and growth. The tourism structure representation provides clarity on the sectors of tourism. Each of these sectors (tourism developers, travel agency and tour operators, hoteliers and entertainers) caters to needs specific to their own sectors. Their concentration is primarily on the products of the sectors and not on the needs of tourist alone. In tourism, marketing is not only on one’s own product, but also on the gamut of tourist’s need. The task of provision of tourism through appropriate marketing process can be established in the following fashion.
a. Identification of Tourist Needs
Identification here means not just for one sector but also for the total program of a tour. In doing this the needs of tourists can be comprehensively understood and the products of Tourism can be provided at every appropriate stage to them so that tourist enjoy tourism in totality. In this way, the tourists can also get categorized. On the other hand, provision of tourism gets into specific segment of tourists. This step can be termed as Market research.
b. Identification of Market Structure
Market structure is determined by knowing the potential customers and their preferences. Usually preferences fall under three categories namely homogeneous, diffused and clustered. However in tourism the preference are on all stages of tourist’s activities. Here, a tourist may want to travel by an air-conditioned coach but will prefer to stay in a tree house for accommodation. Hence the preferences come under all categories. Therefore, the preferences should be realigned in total, which may be termed as preference segmentation.
c. Developing the Product
Development of the tourism product is the crux to any marketing effort. In tourism, the product has to be developed as in the case of any other usual product, using the stages of Idea generation, screening, concept development and testing, market strategy, business analysis, product development and commercialization. However, the uniqueness in Tourism-product is that it should show the totality for any tourist to complete the tourism-experience.
d. Offering the Product’s price.
Product offer to the customer should also include the price of the product with its unique benefits and its availability to them. Pricing, in tourism, does not differ much from the rest.
Distribution is a classic case in tourism, distribution takes a reverse rule. Once the attractions are ready, it should be provided with good accessibility, so that the tourist must reach and avail the product. Thus, the relevance of competitive tourism packages in tourism is very important.
f. Promoting the Product
Promotions occupy a major role in Tourism. Since the distribution is unique for tourism, promotions try to tap the basic motivations of potential tourist, initiating them on to tour. The methodology of promotions remains the same as in any other product. In tourism marketing the product will be, transport mode, accommodation, entertainment— a transport mode (again) all put together as one. Thus, the tourism product is offered as a single system. It is important that every tourism supplier has complete information on the other sector, so that the potential knowledge is able to decide on the product of choice for the next sector. However, this certainly is not a package offer. In a package offer, the tourists are forced to take all sectorial products on a single sale, which puts the price tag much higher. Tourists are offered other possible sectorial products at every stage. The advantage of this approach is that the takers of tourism-product can avail sectorial products at various levels according to his/her purchasing power and experience the delight of tourism. So, Tourism-marketing gets the appropriate system.
Several empirical studies found that suppliers of tourism concentrate only on their own sectorial products and not on the allied sectors at all. That is, an hotelier concentrates on how to provide better accommodation only and not on the details of tourism attractions available at that place. Though they have certain pamphlets on tourism attraction, only a quarter of the hoteliers had the arrangements for a local tour in collaboration with Travel Agencies. This happens due to the lack of knowledge on the tourism market.
Market for tourism consists of people who have the zeal to visit places. It takes an extra effort to be on tour even if one knows everything about a place. It also deals with the personality of individuals. In this respect, it can be said that the market for tourism falls under the category’ of Psychographic segment, which is made up of Social class, life styles and personality of individuals. The other common market segments are geographic, demographic and behavioural.
Tourists when planning for a tour shed all their identities and want to make use of the time in tour to a maximum extent. Their social position now allows them the affordability for a product. However, they may not mind a change in product status, as they do not hold any identity of social status in mind at this time. This does not mean that the product can be substandard; it only means that there is no social stigma attached to the products in tourism. This is a great opportunity for the tourism-marketer. The products of tourism should therefore be offered on the common or assessed segment of the tourists.
For citing this article, use:
- George Thomas, K. (2008). A study on sustainable development of tourism marketing in India with special reference to South India.