Sales Promotion in Tourism: Its Objectives and Methods
The business of tourism is unlike any other since the product being sold is a location and the experience it offers. As a result, each tourism destination and travel business must not only compete against similar rival companies, but also against all other destinations around the world.
The objective of tourism promotion is to create an interest in the destination and the product it offers. One of the most effective ways to turn that interest into a lasting impression, thereby establishing a brand, is to develop an identity for the destination that helps it not only find a place in the market, but also stand out from the rest. For example, Hershey, Pennsylvania's motto, "The sweetest place on earth," immediately ties it in to its candy-making fame and creates a positive and friendly identity for what might otherwise be an obscure town. Once your logo and motto have been developed, they should be used in any and all destination marketing to ensure that a steady and consistent message reaches the traveling public.
The process of linking up your small tourism business with others in the area can help you to dramatically increase the number of consumers you are able to reach while halving the expenses involved. Partnerships should be formed on a common sense basis, so that they only involve other businesses who share a customer base, not compete for it. For example, as an independent hotel you don't want to team up with a chain property across town or you risk losing instead of gaining customers. Ideally the partnership allows the presentation of both brands in a way that makes sense to the customer. A small hotel that offers discount rates to a nearby amusement park, or a restaurant that features free appetizers for guests of the local B&B, allows both businesses to benefit from the relationship as well as the consumer.
Business development managers or outside sales managers are a driving force in the promotion of travel and tourism worldwide. They are supplied with marketing materials and promotional offers by their companies and sent out into the market to find new customers. BDM's embody the old school face-to-face methods of sales promotion in contrast to Internet marketing and other less personal modern techniques. People matter, and the human contact that BDMs offer can go a long way toward increasing your travel and tourism sales.
Travel agents and sellers can help your destination of travel product reach increase sales and reach a broader audience without the time or expense of building a large network on your own. Contact travel agencies and sellers with a national customer base that suits your target demographics and sign a marketing contract with them. Your contract should outline the types of advertising, the run times of those ads and the expected returns based on market size and season. The expense of your contract can be customized to suit your needs in most situations and the benefits can be immeasurable.
No tourism destination or travel business promotional campaign is complete without the addition of an online component. If you have your own website, it is easy enough to promote your product line with special deals and flashy campaigns. If not, or if you wish to extend you market share beyond those who seek out your travel product on their own, consider signing up with travel sellers and other related companies who can offer you access to a whole new segment of the market. A few promotional banners on the Home page of a major Internet travel seller can bring more eyes to your product than your personal or local site may ever reach.