Every day of our life we can see examples of travel and tourism marketing around us – adverts on TV, adverts in newspapers and magazines, brochures in travel agencies, internet pages, posters in stations, etc. This is because all tourism businesses need to market their products if they hope to be successful. But marketing is not just advertising; it is about researching and identifying the needs of a specific group of customers, and then creating a product that satisfies them.
Once the company has the right product, it will use different promotional techniques to let its clients know about it. All travel and tourism products need good marketing. The marketing process includes four stages:
1) customers’ needs and wants;
2) create your products and services;
3) promote your products and services;
4) obtain and evaluate feedback.
The marketing process does not end after a product has been sold, however. Customers might not be happy with it, and, of course, people’s tastes change with time. Because of this, it is essential to evaluate how customers feel about a product. It is then possible to improve your product, and in this way continue to meet your customers’ expectations.
The idea of promotion is to sell your product. How do we do this? The answer begins with awareness, with making the customer aware that the product exists. It’s also about creating a demand. Another use of promotion is to make customers understand that your product is better than other similar products.
Creating a demand is a question of promotional techniques. Advertising is one of the things we do in promotion, but it’s not the only technique. Apart from advertising – you know, magazines, TV, the media in general – there’s also PR. There’s also what we call direct marketing. The provider – that could be a tour operator with a package holiday, or an airline with a special offer – the provider contacts the customer directly, usually by mailing information and news directly to the customers on their database. A lot of small tour operators use email, but for most big companies, direct marketing is letters through your door. There’s also personal selling. It is a travel agent sitting with a client. Personal selling’s your smile. It’s the human touch.
TRENDS IN TOURISM
Travel and Tourism
What’s the difference between travel and tourism? Well, being a traveller is more than just being a holidaymaker. A holiday is just a short time away, and it normally involves relaxation. Tourists stay in holiday resorts, not travellers. Travellers go for the experience and their journeys are usually much longer and more challenging. For example, travellers tend to avoid tourist traps and like to go off the beaten track to discover new places. Travel is an age-old phenomenon, but tourism is a relatively recent invention. Thomas Cook is often described as the first travel agent because he arranged the first ‘package tour’: a 19 kilometre trip for 500 people, in 1841.
Going overseas to experience a different way of life is what many people think of as travel, but travel does not necessarily mean going abroad. How many people can say they have visited every part of their own country? Many people who live in vast countries such as Russia or the USA have only visited a small part of their own country, and so domestic travel is also very exciting. It’s a surprising fact that about 75 percent of US citizens do not own a passport, so travelling does not mean leaving the country for them.
Some people can’t travel or don’t like the physical reality of travelling to faraway destinations. These days it is to be an ‘armchair traveller’. People can visit distant corners of the world or even little known parts of their own country without leaving their own rooms. Television documentaries make the world a small place and some people argue that travel is no longer necessary. Perhaps soon people will use interactive computer programmes and virtual travel will become common. Enthusiasts argue that by doing this we will have all the benefits of travel without inconvenience.
Rural tourism is one of new trends in modern tourist industry. There is no single definition of rural tourism, but it is generally agreed that the term implies
· activities that take place in the countryside as opposed to in cities, or in other urbanized spaces such as coastal or island holiday resorts;
· tourism on a small scale;
· employment and income for local people, but without becoming the dominant economic activity in an area;
· the recovery of local traditions, arts and crafts, architectural, and farming practices;
· services and activities that are based principally on local products and resources;
· the sustainable use of natural resources such as forests, rivers, or landscape.
Accommodation is one of the most visible features of rural tourism. However, it needs to be small-scale, rural hotels usually have fewer than twenty rooms. Other rural accommodation includes self-catering apartments and houses, bed and breakfasts, and campsites.
An important function of all rural tourism is the recovery of all aspects of an area’s local culture. This can be crafts such as pottery, weaving, or carving, or local architectural styles, food, or drink. Traditions, dress, and festivities are also recovered in this way.
Increasingly, visitors to rural areas want to get as close as possible to the lifestyle and customs of the local people. One way that they can do this is to work with them. This can mean helping farmers around the farm, or helping local builders reconstruct walls or pathways. In some places it is possible to live in the house of a local person as if you were a member of their family.
There are dangers in rural tourism. If it becomes popular, too many people may go to a particular place and so damage the natural or cultural resources. In this respect it is important to educate visitors so that they are sensitive to both the physical and cultural environments of area they are visiting.