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What is Community Tourism
Considering the Potential Gain to Stockholders
Planning Tourism with Communities and other Stakeholders
Developing Viable Community-based Tourism Products
  Ensuring Market Realism and Effective Promotion
  Developing Quality Products
Strenghtening Benefits to the Community  and the Environment
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

 

Ensuring Market Realism and Effective Promotion

Tourism products must be based on an understanding of market demands and consumer expectations and how to effectively place the product offered in the market place.

One of the main reasons for the failure of community-based tourism products is their inability to attract sufficient numbers of visitors. It is not uncommon to find that assumptions made about the market potential and the appeal of a particular location or experience are unrealistic and not based on empirical evidence.

Additionally, the power of the marketing mix requires understanding in order for it to be effectively used. In its absence many marketing activities can be misdirected. It is improbably that high levels of marketing savvy exist at the community level. Consequently, both the advisors to the community and the community itself must understand the elements of marketing and the interplay between the variables.

Some commonly used marketing terms are:

Consumer Behaviour: the study of which products people buy, why they buy these products and how they make their purchasing decisions.

Differentiated Market: the developments of a different marketing mix for each market segment.

Market: those consumers who currently are, or potentially may become, purchasers and/or users of a particular individual group of products or services.

Marketing Mix: Four controllable marketing variables – product, price, place and promotion – which marketers manipulate in order to achieve their marketing objectives – to influence the target market and determine demand.

Segment: The technique of dividing total markets into subgroups whose members share similar characteristics as consumers.

Target marketing: Marketing activity aimed at a particular group of consumers within the overall total population. (Swarbrooke et al, 2002)

In order to be of assistance to the communities, the Jamaica Tourist Board should conduct comprehensive market analyses of the South Coast and assist individual projects to develop the appropriate marketing mix. Scott Wilson has completed a significant portion of this work in his report but these data need to be continuously updated. These assessments should comprise of the following:

  • The patterns, profiles and interests of existing visitors (domestic and foreign) to the area.
  • The location of the existing tourism products in the area so as to be able to create an appropriate mix of products.
  • Identification of competitors within the destination with similar products.
  • Identification of competitors external to the destination.
  • A review of the in-bound tour operators and ground-handling agents in the country as well as coverage by international tour operators.

Features that are unique to that area should be identified. From knowledge of the market, the Jamaica Tourist Board can assist the communities to develop a profile of the target market. The target market can be segmented by age, income, or other demographic variables depending on the market fit.

A marketing plan should be prepared for all products that include inter alia issues such as local information delivery, Internet promotion, media and guidebook coverage, linkages with other projects and promotion through the Jamaica Tourist Board campaigns. The Government of Jamaica has recently created a web portal called Jamaica Gateway www.developmentgateway.org. Additionally, the University of the West Indies, School for Graduate Studies and Research, Institute for Hospitality and Tourism has also created a website for community tourism on which these community-based products can be marketed. Both should be included in the marketing plan.

A critical strategy for most projects is to form a close working relationship with one or more specialist tour operator. The Jamaica Tourist Board can assist the community in developing the skills necessary to cultivate these operators. These operators should be selected based on reliability and a demonstrated understanding of the Jamaican non-traditional market segment. It is wise to involve the tour operators in the early stages of developing the project in order to get an appreciation of the market standards and demands. It is also prudent to market test the product with one or two groups and use these experiences to modify the product as necessary prior to a full product launch.

While tour operators are a vital distribution source, the “free-lance” traveler, who comes to the area on his own accord, must also be factored into the marketing plan. This market segment has special needs that cannot be overlooked.

PIOJ document - Guidelines for South Coast Project -
prepared by Carolyn Hayle

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