When considering such matters, yet another marketing issue of real consequence is again overwhelmingly evident … TRUST ... or more accurately people’s fundamental need for it. And the high value most humans assign to this when researching travel options.International market research indicates that where potential commercial 'conflicts of interest' are perceived within the content of tourism brochures and other marketing material ... or some form of 'spin doctoring' is suspected ... a degree of skepticism and distrust is almost certain to arise. New and older generations of high frequency travelers are far more wary of dubious claims - of constant exaggeration, inaccuracies and excess. Writer James Campbell has summed up the consequent marketing dilemma very well - "Just because you're talking doesn't mean anybody is actually listening".Trust can be built by a multitude of means, among them:•Old fashioned honesty; Opportunities for independent reviews and peer verification;•Truly attentive listening; Accurate claims & tips (not influenced by 'local politics' or bias); •Relevant & reliable servicing of 'real visitor needs' - while not becoming too 'touristy';•New, simplified (or otherwise enhanced) approaches to information, design and presentation.RETAINING CHARACTER:The evident shifts in personal priorities and what people truly value can be addressed by listening more carefully, and seeing (or better still, preserving & enhancing) as a true strength the authentic, down to earth, ‘small town’ qualities of many regional destinations. (In keeping with the values evident in the rise of 'Geotourism'.)As a bonus, making firm and urgent plans to NOT lose the essential ‘sense of place’ or unpretentious (even low key) characterof a truly different & distinctive place, normally gains not only the interest & support of these increasingly discerning, more widely traveled visitors, but also your own local community!
The threat from marketing overkill (2)By Bruce Dickson (TDS), 16th August, 2004[Continued...] It is not a coincidence that wanting to relax (and escape from the stresses of the city) has become central to many travelers’ motivations. In effect, these value changes might suggest that what is also being sought is aretreatfrom the excesses of marketing & commercialism, as well as the demanding pace of business life.What threats (and potential new opportunities) could these changes possess for your approach to communicating with visitors?VISIBILITY:It is widely acknowledged that the information overload originally predicted in Alvin Toffler’s ‘Future Shock’ has long overtaken us. People do feel truly besieged. As a result, standing out in a tidal wave of messages (generated by media of every conceivable type) … let alone having your messageacknowledged, absorbed and believed… is going to test the skills of even the best of marketers.To compound the problem, on the one hand some regional tourism marketing is still being carried away by the 'big picture' - targeting all and sundry in basically random or scattergun fashion. While on the other hand, when particular market 'segments' (including those identified by demographics) actually are being targeted by destinations, ‘visitors’ (i.e. you, me and everyone else) are often being too loosely categorized, or otherwise treated too simplistically - as purely ‘one dimensional’ beings.NON-CONFORMING:Supposedly, such market 'segments’ readily conform to a pre-established and narrowly defined set of interests, behaviors, spending patterns and returns. If so, how readily can we ‘categorize’ visitors who ... by way of example ... when taking a camping trip also include (as a treat) a night of pampered luxury - deluxe accommodation with a spa and fine dining! (We could also ask ourselves why the rapid growth in demand for healthier foods - organic included – originally came as such a surprise to many fast food chains, farmers and supermarkets?) Conventional market thinking would have had us regarding those visitors as 'campers' only and offering little in the way of tourism profits! (Psychographic studies are now thankfully starting to address such issues.)