Critical Success Factors in Destination Marketing

Written by cheryl munson
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Critical Success Factors in Destination Marketing
Accomodations, reviews, weather and safety are critical factors in destination marketing. (roller-coaster image by JASON WINTER from

Destination marketing is a major and important category in the travel and tourism industry. Families schedule vacation time and determine a budget to spend in a city, national park or a theme park. Major cities with entertainment and convention facilities devote significant portions of their annual marketing budget to attracting conventioneers and hosting trade shows.

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Families look forward to travelling to destination sites throughout the United States, like Disney World and Six Flags, as well as worldwide destinations. Trips are generally planned to coincide with traditional vacation periods like school spring breaks and the summer. It is important that marketers of destination sites coordinate efforts with existing hotels to make sure that hotel rooms are available to accommodate the flood of guests expected during peak travel and tourism seasons. In addition to hotel rooms, travellers also look for service capabilities. These can range from access to nearby travel parks for campers and trailers to hotels that have rooms and facilities to accommodate the needs of disabled children and adult visitors. These capabilities can provide those hotels that do accommodate these special-needs services with an advantage over their competitors.

Ratings and Reviews

Positive ratings are essential to success. In the past, travel and tourism service providers primarily focused on earning favourable professional reviews. Now, with the use of the Internet as a "first stop" in travel planning, web site searchers also look for ratings and reviews from their fellow travellers. Visitors have many public websites that they can use to register reviews, feedback, comments and criticisms. This makes it essential that providers of services, from hotels to car rental companies, restaurants to airlines, provide excellence in customer service. Too many unfavourable reviews and ratings from travellers can have a negative impact on bookings and sales. Companies should use reviews to train employees on the importance of ratings so they understand the impact of their efforts on the business.

Weather and Environmental Conditions

No one knows what Mother Nature has in her plans. Unfortunately, that makes planning for weather an essential component for destination marketers. Outdoor music festival promoters have to consider if they will or will not allow for a "rain date" or a refund on tickets. Ski resorts hosting major events have to consider provisions for attendees if there is no snow or more than expected amounts that limit capabilities to get to the resort and event site. During the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, restaurateurs, hotels, casinos and entire local governments had to conduct major advertising campaigns to encourage travellers from cancelling their plans to visit. Hurricanes, snow, floods, and other weather and environmental conditions must continually be monitored and plans put in place to minimise the potential negative impact unforeseen events may have on revenue.


International destinations must also pay attention to factors that can impact travellers in regards to safety. Media reports of missing travellers, violence or political unrest can negatively impact the selection of cities and foreign destinations. Travel and tourism boards work with embassies and the industry to provide travellers with updates on safety and security alerts to lessen travellers' worries and concerns.

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