Communication Goals for Tourism Audiences

This article describes three important types of audiences for tourism organizations and sets forth recommended goals for communications with them. It is not meant to be exhaustive.

Individual tourists

The primary audience for most tourism organizations.

Capture their attention.

Establish trust and address comfort and security concerns.

Demonstrate the products and destinations in terms that resonate with and appeal to your target markets. Address the concerns of the various parties involved in purchase decision-making (within a family, for example).

Address specific activity interests directly.

Address the emotional aspects of travel. When appropriate, address tourists’ desire for self-actualization through tourism experiences.

Provide targeted incentives or de-emphasize destinations, activities, and travel times based on your goals.

Establish realistic expectations about the tourism experiences on offer.

Lead the tourist toward contacting you (for destination marketing offices, direct also toward contact with local operators, attractions, and amenities, or outbound operators at the tourist’s point of origin).

Collect information from potential customers at each point of contact. Use customer relation management software to track your communications with them. Maintain high ethical standards with respect to their personal information.

Provide resources for travel preparation.

Confirm, post-purchase, that the tourist has made a good decision and address common preparation concerns.

Realize that service and hospitality during the tourism experience is one of the most important types of communication with the tourist. The tourism experience should make the promotional communication ring true. Address this with training, where possible.

Stay in contact with past customers using opt-in, print, or email newsletters. Provide value to give the customer a reason to request the newsletter and to read it.

Solicit referrals from satisfied customers.

Connect tourists with others who have shared a similar experience using stories, testimonials, discussion groups, post-tour photos/mementos, and group reunions, when appropriate.
Outbound operators/tourism resellers/packagers

Potentially a very important audience for many attraction or amenities operators, and smaller inbound operators, though direct Internet sales and promotion are reducing reliance on these distribution channels.

Capture the reseller’s attention.

Demonstrate the products and destinations.

Show the products’ appeal to the target/geographical markets of the reseller.

Demonstrate the relation of your products to the reseller’s products or packages, as well as the transportation links or facilitating services involved.

Reassure the reseller of your professionalism and the capability of your staff. Support these claims with testimonials from satisfied tourists.

Present marketing tools, images, and information about your products which will help the reseller’s to distribute your products.
Government and private funders

Usually a secondary audience for tourist organizations, but an important one; particularly for tourism development projects which are dependent upon financial support.

Capture the attention of the potential funder.

Demonstrate that the project meets the social, economic, development, and environmental goals of the funders and their constituency, or convince them of the importance of your goals.

Introduce the proposed or existing products.

Demonstrate any necessary input, participation, and approval from important constituencies within the tourism host communities; and from suppliers, service providers, and distributors.

Demonstrate competency.

Address the target markets of the tourism products and demonstrate projected economic viability based on their demand.

List concrete outputs that will be made possible by the funders’ involvement.


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