With sufficient information available from market research and market information, it is possible to identify the key market segments. The criteria for distinguishing between segments of the total market will be demographic and socio-economic.
The product must then be formulated and given a unique identity to match the segment of the market for which it is intended. Much of the physical character of the destination, its attractions and nature are given and could be changed slowly and perhaps expensively.
In the marketing of consumer goods, the efforts of the sales force are directed towards ensuring that the retailers carry stock of the product. Without adequate stockholding the retailers, the final consumer will not find the product.
But in the case of tourist product, the retailer does not buy the stock but only orders from the supplies when he has customers at the counter.
The salesman’s role as directed towards the retail travel agent is largely one of educating the travel agent’s staff about the nature of the product and of training the agent’s staff accordingly.
He should be able to explain the merits of his firm’s products, the locations and nature of the individual hotels in a group, the extent of the airline’s network and its relations with other forms of transport.
He should be able to train the travel agent’s staff in his firm’s reservation procedure and to assist in selling the firm’s product by installing window displays and in the display of brochures.
Advertising and Sales Promotion:
Advertising refers to those methods which are available for communicating with the consumer when his identity is unknown and when the advertiser is not in direct touch with him. It thus embraces most forms of media advertising, TV advertising, press advertising and so on.
Sales promotion describes those methods of communication where the identity of the consumer is known, as when the advertiser is reaching his retailer by a letter or when he is in touch with conference organizers of club secretaries or other intermediates.
Both advertising and sales promotion are methods of communication with the consumer or with his intermediary.
The role of advertising is to impel the consumer towards the point of sale where the product is accessible. The object of advertising is to persuade the consumer that he needs the product and in particular the advertiser’s brand of it.
Advertising must not be fraudulent or misleading. The advertiser is an advocate for his product; the rational consumer is the judge.
In most cases, advertising is entrusted to an advertising agency who undertakes the planning of the campaign and its detailed realization. Advertising agencies are professional firms staffed by a variety of experts in various areas of advertising and marketing.
The effectiveness of an advertising campaign depends chiefly upon the credibility of the message converted by the advertisement and on the extent to which the message is seen by that segment of the market to which it is addressed, i.e., the coverage achieved by the campaign. Coverage depends on the frequency with which the advertisements are seen.
The broad features of the most common advertising media must be noted. The press means newspapers and magazines of all kinds.
The advertiser should advertise in a newspaper or magazine which is read by that segment of the market he wishes to reach. By contrast, television advertising is very much a mass market medium and thus indiscriminate.
Printed matter, such as brochures, prospectuses is not usually classed among advertising media but they play a prominent part in the marketing of tourism.
Because the product in tourism is intangible, there is a need to describe fully the product and this can be done by producing an elaborate brochure.
The advertising policy considers the prime objective to get the brochure into the hands of the final consumer and then relies on the brochure to impel him to buy the product.
Brochure is given the widest possible distribution even wastefully so, for it forms the main marketing tool in many tourist campaigns.
Other minor media are commercial radio, outdoor poster advertising, direct mailing and cinema film.
Public Relations in Tourism:
Public relations may be defined as the continuous and consistent representation of an organization’s policies to the public at large and to sections of the public who have a special interest in the organization’s activities as well as to its actual and potential customers.
In tourism the main Concern of tourism organizations is the creation and maintenance of an attractive image of the destination. This is often promoted by giving facilities to journalists visit to the country.
Tourism is particularly prone to natural as well as man-made disaster. Snowfields give rise to avalanches, many of the world’s resort areas are in hurricane belts or in earthquake zones.
Hotels catch fire, aircraft crash. Tourist authorities who are caught up in a disaster have a special public relations need which can be met by advance planning for the possibility of disaster.
The tour operator is the manufacturer of a true tourist product; he buys the components of the package, the inclusive tour (transport, accommodation etc.).
The inclusive tour is the fastest growing mode of tourism in Western Europe and it has been created with deliberate marketing policies.