Determining what works, what doesn’t and why

Evaluating tourism marketing campaigns

Authored by: Stephen Pratt

The Routledge Handbook of Tourism Marketing

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415597036
eBook ISBN: 9781315858265
Adobe ISBN: 9781317936206


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Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) face threats, both external and internal (Gretzel et al. 2006). Stakeholders of DMOs are demanding more accountability than ever before from their colleagues (Gretzel et al. 2006). Increasingly, DMOs have to justify their marketing budgets to their funding organizations. The funding organizations want clear evidence that the funds they provide for marketing are achieving their objectives. Tourism marketing campaign objectives need to be quantifiable, realistic, achievable, relevant and time specific. A critical factor in determining the success or otherwise of DMOs’ marketing campaigns is deciding what the key performance indicators (KPI) should be, finding the right benchmarks and deciding on what techniques or methods should be used in their evaluation. A recent study by Williams et al. (2012) among Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) members found that the performance of destination marketing/management strategies ranked second as a research priority area. Both academics and practitioners want to identify the strategies and programs that contribute to long term sustainable growth of tourism destinations. In terms of research into evaluation methods, the study by Williams and colleagues found the second-most priority area for a better understanding was return-on-investment. For practitioners, this area had the highest ranking. There is a clear desire to estimate the (predominantly economic) benefits of a marketing campaign and compare them with the costs of implementing the campaign.

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