Positioning of Destinations
This Paper focuses on the importance of strategic positioning of destinations and its stakeholders in a globalised competitive environment. The theoretical background is based on the research on destinations and destination management, strategic marketing, strategy development and positioning strategies and positioning models. A new theoretic framework from a RBV was developed to identify the most important elements of the successful positioning of destinations and its organizations from a stakeholder perspective. An empirical study was applied to all stakeholders who form a destination by the example of three very successful positioned destinations in the Austrian Alps. The theoretical model was tested by the application of frequency distribution and multiple linear regression analysis. Most of the points were confirmed but also a few rejected which asks for further research. However, the applied model gives a great insight in how stakeholders can successful and sustainable position their organizations and the destination as a whole. It further can be used as a tool to find an efficient positioning strategy for young entrepreneurs or gives helpful advice for stagnating or decreasing businesses to formulate a new positioning strategy or aim for a relaunch.
The tourism industry is facing a global competition, where business rivalry constantly increases. Not just on national level, even smaller destinations have to compete more and more international terms (Bieger, 2008; Buhalis, 2000; Dett- mer, 2005).
A clearly defined and strong positioning on the market is one of the most important instruments for organisations and destinations to achieve sustainable success and competitive advantages in the tourism industry (Bieger, 2008; Hooley et al., 2004; Hudson et al., 2004; Ritchie & Crouch, 2000).
This paper focuses intensively on the positioning of destinations. After an extensive screen of the theoretical essentials and recent study research of destinations, destinations management, strategic marketing and positioning and positioning strategies a new framework is presented. Based on the Destination Competitiveness & Sustainability Model of Ritchie & Crouch (1999, 2005) and the Destination Competitiveness Model of Dwyer & Kim (2003) the Model for Strategic Positioning of Destinations from a Stakeholder Perspective is developed.
Destination and Destination Management Organisations (DMO)
A destination can be defined as a geographic place, which is chosen by its visitors. This place offers all facilities (accommodation, catering, entertainment, etc.) which are needed to satisfy guests. So a destination can be interpreted as one competitive business unit and has to be directed as this as well (Bieger 2008, p. 56).
All the single products of a destination form the destination product, this includes natural resources (landscape, climate, etc.) and man-made elements (touristic infrastructure, attractions, etc.) ( Althof, 1996; Dettmer, 1999; Freyer, 2006, 2009; Howie, 2003; Luft, 2007; Middleton & Clarke, 2000; Murphy et al., 2000; Pechlaner 2003, et al. 2005).
The supply and value chain of a destination illustrate the importance of the coordination and cooperation of all stakeholders of a tourist region to reach sustainable success (Bieger, 2008; Dettmer et al., 2008; Porter, 1990; Yilmaz & Bititci, 2006). The Value Fan Model (Flagestad & Hope, 2001) represents a detailed overview about this interaction. All stakeholders of a destination are responsible for the overall success of their destination, but due to many different interests and ideas of the single parties involved there is lots of space for disagreement and problems (Buahlis, 2000; d’Angella & Go, 2009; Dettmer et al. 2008; Hinterhuber et al., 2003; Sheehan & Ritchie, 2005). Therefore a effective and efficient destination management organisation (DMO) is the key to overcome this differences and to coordinate and advertise the destination as a product (Bieger, 2008; Bornhorst, et al. 2009; Buhalis, 2000; Dettmer et al., 2005; Fyall & Garrod, 2005; Flagestad & Hope, 2001; Luft, 2007; Poon, 1993; Sainaghi, 2006).
Strategic Marketing can be defined as the overall process within an organization, which aims to provide customers with added value (Carvens, 1997). The marketing in the tourism industry has the function to combine all single products to a destination wide offer which can be marketed to potential guests. The tourist region is identified as a bundle of services to satisfy the needs and desires of the guests (Bieger, 2008; Flagstad & Hope, 2001, Freyer, 2009; Howie, 2003). To do so a strategically planning process for all marketing activities is required (Bieger, 2008; Dettmer, 1999; Poon, 1993).
The strategic marketing can be either planned from a market- based view (MBV) or a resource-based view (RBV). The MBV focus primarily on the customer demand and builds resources and strategies on the requirements of the customers (Bai- lom et al., 2006; Bieger, 2008; Cooper et al., 2005). The five forces model of Porter (1990) for example, visualizes the ideas behind the MBV. The RBV focuses first on the resources and skills available to the organization and then finds the right customer segment to fit them (Grant, 1991; Grant & Nippa, 2006; Hinterhuber et al., 2003; Pechlaner, 2003). Marketing direction can be the product-push marketing based on the RBV (Barney, 2001; Penrose, 1980), the customer-orientated marketing, based on the MBV (Slater & Narver, 1998). Another option is the resource- orientated marketing which combines customer needs with the core competencies of an organization, which is the fitting best the requirements of sustainable destination marketing (Echtner & Ritchie, 2003; Flagestad & Hope, 2001; Ritchie & Crouch, 2005; Pechlaner, 2003).
The best competitive strategies for tourism destinations are widely declared as niche strategy or differentiation, cost leadership is due to the limited resources of destinations no suitable strategy (Poon, 2003; Porter, 1990; Zajac et al., 2000).
Effective and efficient processes in the development of strategies are very important to guarantee sustainable success of organizations and destinations in the dynamic tourism industry market (Cooper et al., 2005; Poon, 1993). Part of that is the efficient use of the 4Ps of the marketing mix: product, price, place, promotion (Uzama, 2009); the development of an USP: unique selling position (Dettmer, 1999; Luft, 2007) and the application of instruments like the cluster theory (Hawkins, 2004; Jackson & Murphy, 2006; Novelli et al., 2006; Porter, 1998).
Elements of the strategy development are the market analysis, the analysis of the destination product and the resources of a destination and the portfolio analysis and segmentation.
The market can be analyzed by application of the competitive intelligence, a form of data collection where the market and its competitors are screened for information (Crane, 2005; Grant, 2005, Madok & Barney, 2001). Another tool is the competitor analysis from Porter (1997) or the instrument benchmarking (Camp, 2006; Fuchs & Weiermaier, 2004; Kapplan & Norton, 1992; Kozak, 2004; Siebert et al., 2008). The SERVQUAL (Zeithaml et al., 1990, Akbaba, 2006; Akama & Kieti, 2003; Hsieh et al., 2008) and the on the tourism industry adapted HOLSAT (Tribe & Snaith, 1998; Truong & Foster, 2006) represent effective tools for the analysis of the tourism and destination products.
A profile of strengths and weaknesses and an analysis of resources is best carried out through a SWOT-Analysis (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) (Bar¬ney, 1991; Beirman, 2006; Wen & Dewar, 2003) weaknesses, opportunities, threats) (Bar¬ney, 1991; Beirman, 2006; Wen & Dewar, 2003)
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- Institution / Hochschule
- Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck – Tourism & Service Industry
- Tourism Destination Destination Management DMO Strategic Marketing Positioning RBV