Tourism marketing is different because the customer purchases a series of services, but is left with very little concrete value at the completion of his trip. As a result, the marketing initiatives have to emphasize the value of the memories, make the collection of services easily accessible and add value through additional programming and other factors. A key challenge is to convince potential customers that the item they are purchasing provides good value for the price, and that the services will be as described and expected. The 8 P’s in marketing tourism summarize the special approach that is required. Many small businesses market tourism products and employ these marketing strategies.
Product: What You Have to Offer
The product is the collection of services that have features and benefits. Standard features and benefits include the normal amenities of a hotel room, for example. Good marketing adds special features, such as free breakfasts or free Internet.
Price: What Customers Will Pay
The price has to match the product, but good marketing makes the price seem more attractive. The operator can either add features to the product and keep the price the same or give a discount for the same features.
Promotion: How You Sell Your Wares
The promotion gives details of the product and the price. The key characteristics of your travel marketing strategy are the method of communicating the information, the content of the promotion and the cost to the operator. The promotion has a target market, and the method and content of the promotion has to appeal to the people who it reaches. The price the members of the target market are willing to pay has to cover the cost of the promotion.
Place: Where You Do Business
Place refers to the location where the customer buys the collection of services. Ideally, the operator who sends out the promotion uses it to encourage the potential customer to visit the operator’s location and complete the purchase. With the convenience of online payments, the operator may find that the best strategy is to direct potential customers to an attractive website where they can complete the purchase.
People: Your Hidden Strength
Since the product is a collection of services, the people who provide the services are a key to the success of the transaction. Operators must have top-level service to initially complete the sale and to encourage repeat customers.
Planning: Look Ahead
The key service component of the tourism experience is planning. The customer expects that the experience will correspond closely to what he purchased. The only way to ensure that kind of correspondence is to execute according to detailed plans, and have contingency planning in place for problems.
Programming: Cater to Your Clients
One way to add value to the standard product and to distinguish a particular offering from competitors is to offer exclusive programming, a practice known as service marketing. Customers will purchase a product that caters to their particular interests. Special programming can address such preferences and draw in additional customers.
If possible, the provision of physical evidence that the customer experienced the particular tourism product can help sales. Providing professional photographs of the customers at key events or the supply of branded products are effective strategies for promoting particular tourism products.