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RESEARCH PAPERS

Critical success factors in


destination marketing
Received (in revised form): 12th July, 2007

Michael J. Baker
is Emeritus Professor of Marketing at the University of Strathclyde where he founded the Department of Marketing
in 1971. The author of numerous books and papers, his interest in the application of marketing techniques to tourism
development is founded on his research into Country of Origin effects and Branding.
Emma Cameron
graduated with a first class honours degree in Tourism (International Travel) Management from Glasgow Caledonian
University and a masters with distinction in Marketing from the University of Strathclyde. She is currently working
in a marketing position within the Office of Marketing and Communications in the University of Strathclyde.

ABSTRACT As a consequence of globalisation, the marketing of places has grown in importance as countries, regions
and individual destinations compete with one another to attract investment and visitors. In order to compete effectively,
it is essential to identify the critical success factors (CSFs) and ensure these are incorporated into ones strategic plan-
ning. An extensive review of the literature covering place and destination marketing indicates that image and identity
play an important role in differentiating between objectively similar alternatives. Accordingly, the branding of destina-
tions has become of major importance and is analysed in depth. Thirty-three factors are identified, clustered into four
categories, that may be considered CSFs to be taken into account when developing tourism strategies and plans.
Tourism and Hospitality Research (2008) 8, 7997. doi:10.1057/thr.2008.9; published online 17 March 2008

KEYWORDS tourism planning, place and destination marketing, branding, literature review, critical success factors

INTRODUCTION Place marketing is defined by Kotler et al.


The marketing of places has received increased (1999) as
interest and become accordingly more sophisti-
a place planning procedure concerning the
cated over the last three decades (Deffner and
satisfaction of the needs of target markets. It
Metaxas, 2005).This is in part due to the growing
could be successful when it satisfies two main
number of transactions across international
parameters: a) The enterprises and the resi-
borders, which has repercussions for the compet-
dents satisfaction from the purchase of goods
itiveness of places. Indeed, as competition for
and services that the place provides, b) the satis-
inward investment, residents and revenue from
faction of the expectations of potential target
tourism has rapidly increased, the application of
markets (enterprises and visitors), as long as the
marketing techniques to places has also increased.
goods and the services that the place provides
to them are those that they wish to get.

Michael J. Baker In essence this requires the satisfaction of


Department of Marketing, both internal and external stakeholders and
University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
Tel: 0141 552 4400
involves four primary activities: designing the
E-mail: mjb@westburn.co.uk right mix of community features and services;

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Critical success factors in destination marketing

setting attractive incentives for the current and tionship are illustrated in Kotler et al.s (2002)
potential buyers and users of its goods and serv- framework Levels of place marketing (Figure 1).
ices; delivering a places products and services Clearly, place marketing is not only limited to
in an efficient, accessible way; promoting the increasing tourist arrivals but also plays an impor-
places values and image so that potential users tant role in regional/urban development, country
are fully aware of the places distinctive advan- positioning in international relations and
tages (Kotler et al., 1993: 18). Six generic strat- economic development (Deffner and Metaxas,
egies are suggested to achieve this: 2005; Papadopoulos, 2004). Indeed, according to
Attracting tourist and business visitors Ashworth and Goodall (1988) in Howie (2003:
Attracting businesses from elsewhere 145), tourism is one function within the
Retaining and expanding existing businesses multi-functional place to be managed on the
Promoting small business expansion and basis of professionally determined norms and
fostering new business start-ups political decisions about the role it should play
Expanding exports and outside investments in the wider spatial setting for the attainment of
Expanding the population or changing the municipal goals. Howie uses Silicon Valley in
mix of residents (Ibid.). California, which is an area promoted as the ideal
location for companies developing new tech-
Intuitively, these would appear to be ranked in nology, as an example of an alternative use of a
some kind of ascending order with the attrac- place and the differing objectives that may occur
tion of visitors leading to business, and social among the various internal stakeholders.
and economic development. While each of Hence, tourism should be integral to place
these might be regarded as a different market marketing as it supports and leads the develop-
segment their interdependence and interrela- ment of a place brand by creating celebrity

Figure 1 Levels of place marketing Source: Kotler et al. (2002: 46)

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Baker and Cameron

and emotional appeal that other organisations the development of a successful marketing
can use when communicating to potential strategy for a destination.
residents, businesses and investors and that the
whole economy will therefore benefit from DESTINATION MARKETING
(Morgan, 2004: 19). Morgan uses New Zealand A destination is a place that attracts visitors for
as an example of a place that started with a a temporary stay, including continents, coun-
tourism-led marketing initiative, and that is at tries, states, cities, villages and purpose-built
the leading edge of destination marketing, resort areas (Pike, 2004), and thus is an amalgam
which now uses its website to promote business of all the tourism services and experiences
as well as travel opportunities.Tourism frequently offered to consumers (Buhalis, 2000). According
acts as a catalyst for other development while to the WTO (2004: 10):
also contributing significantly to the economies destination marketing covers all the activities
of many countries. For example, worldwide and processes to bring buyers and sellers together;
earnings on international tourism reached focuses on responding to consumer demands
US$623bn in 2004, with the United Kingdom and competitive positioning; is a continuous
earning US$27bn of this (WTO, 2005). Thus, coordinated set of activities associated with effi-
the development of tourism can benefit the cient distribution of products to high potential
economy as a whole. Consequently, the markets; and involves making decisions about
marketing of places as destinations has become the product, branding, price, market segmenta-
increasingly competitive in recent years as it tion, promotion and distribution.
has become well established that such a large,
complex and special entity as a destination is Additionally, Horner and Swarbrooke (1996)
able to be marketed in much the same way as argue that destination marketing involves using
a product (Howie, 2003). tourism as a means to an end rather than an end
Against this background, our purpose is to in itself for reasons including: improving the
explore the nature of destination marketing and image of an area to attract industrialists; increasing
identify factors associated with its successful the range of facilities and amenities available to
planning and execution. To achieve this we the local community; giving local residents more
begin by defining destination marketing and pride in their local area; providing a rationale
reviewing evidence from both academic and and funding for improvements to the local envi-
practitioner studies that spell out some of the ronment; and trying to make the destination
key considerations that need to be taken into politically more acceptable to outsiders.
account. Foremost among these is the need for While it is widely acknowledged that marketing
effective planning. As with other competitive contributes greatly to destination development (see
situations however, strategic planning tends to eg Cooper et al., 1998; Howie, 2003; Prideaux and
achieve parity with ones competitors rather Cooper, 2002), the process is not always straight-
than a sustainable competitive advantage. forward or well understood and is a particularly
Increasingly, this elusive property calls for a challenging form of the marketing art (Bennett,
value proposition based on subjective rather 1999). These challenges are related to the
than objective factors that are encapsulated in complexity of the tourism product and the number
a brand. In recognition of this we first define of stakeholders involved in destination marketing.
branding as a generic practice and then its As the definitions of both place and destina-
application to destinations. In turn this leads us tion marketing indicate, a major challenge is
to consider what is involved in brand building the fragmentation of ownership. There is no
and the challenges faced in brand development. single product over which the producer has
Finally, based on our review we identify 33 total control, instead the tourism product is
critical success factors that are associated with comprised of organisations of varying sizes,

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Critical success factors in destination marketing

government and the natural environment, and Table 1: Strategic marketing objectives for
the image of a destination can be affected by destinations
uncontrollable external events (Bennett, 1999).
1. Enhance the long-term prosperity of local
Thus there are many different stakeholders people
involved in the process, including both public 2. Delight visitors by maximising their satisfaction
and private organisations and local residents, all 3. Maximise profitability of local enterprises and
of whom, individually, have little control over maximise multiplier effects
the marketing of the destination product. This 4. Optimise tourism impacts by ensuring a
lack of control over the tourism product has sustainable balance between economic benefits
led many destination marketing organisations and socio-cultural and environmental costs
to focus primarily on the promotional aspect
of the marketing mix (Horner and Swarbrooke, Source: Buhalis (2000).
1996).
In addition, the definitions suggest that desti-
Host
nation marketing must satisfy the needs of all Population

these stakeholders as well as target segments.


Thus, Prideaux and Cooper (2002) argue that Tourists
destination marketing should occur not only Tourism
Interests and
on the demand side to increase visitor numbers, Enterprises
and SMTEs benefits
but also on the supply side to market the desti- Public sector
nation to intermediaries and to increase the and
government
numbers of sellers through investment in
accommodation, entertainment and infrastruc- Tour
Operators
ture, etc. The authors, however, note that the
supply side of destination marketing is an
under-researched area, as opposed to demand Figure 2 The dynamic wheel of tourism
side marketing. Moreover, Buhalis (2000) stakeholders
proposes that destination marketing be used as Source: Buhalis (2000)
a strategic mechanism in coordination with
planning and management to provide suitable Similarly, Ritchie and Ritchie (2002) suggest
gains to all stakeholders, and not simply as a the need for a move from promotion-oriented
promotional tool. Buhalis further suggests that destination marketing to a more holistic, stra-
in order to fulfil this aim, the most successful tegic approach in order to attain sustainable
and competitive destinations will be those that competitive advantage. Their study illustrates
impose effective human resource training, the process by which the tourism industry in
cooperate with competing and complementary Alberta, Canada enhanced its competitiveness
destinations to learn from them, undertake as a travel destination through the development
innovative, research-led marketing using new of a research and intelligence collection frame-
technologies and fulfil the four key generic work that could be used as guidelines for other
strategic objectives listed in Table 1. destinations in implementing a destination
Buhalis (2000) argues that the implementa- marketing information system (DMIS). The
tion of these objectives will depend on the authors argue that as research is increasingly
relationships between, and the dynamics of, important for an effective marketing mix,
the different destination stakeholders that comprehensive DMISs can underpin the
are represented in Buhaliss (2000) dynamic promotional efforts of destination marketing
wheel of tourism stakeholders as illustrated in organisations (DMOs) and ensure a strategic
Figure 2. perspective.

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Baker and Cameron

A further problem in destination marketing objectives can be achieved more effectively


is often the lack of proficiency, resources and if stakeholders recognise their interdepend-
flexibility in public sector DMOs or NTOs, encies.
which can be self-serving bureaucracies, which
are not nimble nor fleet of foot (Bennett, Clearly, collaboration between stakeholders and
1999). Thus, considering this and the need to the development of a strategic plan are funda-
satisfy the needs of all destination stakeholders, mental to success in destination marketing.
cooperation between public and private sectors
is important. Prideaux and Cooper (2002), for DESTINATION PLANNING
example, investigate the relationship between The tourism plan addresses what is to be done
destination growth and destination marketing and when, estimates costs, suggests which agen-
by examining the relationship between DMOs cies will be involved in implementation, and
and local government authorities in the Gold suggests how to measure change and the effec-
Coast and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, tiveness of the response (Howie, 2003). While
Australia. They note that destination marketing there is no defining text that states what consti-
can be undertaken in several ways, including tutes an effective destination marketing plan,
membership-based organisations; local or national several important and emerging areas are cited
government-funded promotional organisations; in recent literature.
bodies formed through a mix of private and First, the increasingly competitive tourism
public sector funding; or occasionally competing environment and the nature of destinations
organisations each attempting to represent either require that a strategic perspective is adopted
the whole destination or areas within the destina- when developing tourism plans. Hovinen
tion. Their findings, however, highlight that the (2002) applied Butlers (1980) tourism area life-
growth of destinations is influenced by public cycle model to the stagnation that occurred in
private relationships, with the role of local govern- the 1980s in Lancaster county, in the United
ment being particularly important. States. Hovinens analysis identified that desti-
Correspondingly, Palmer and Bejou (1995) nations have the potential to experience signif-
argue that the challenges and complexities of icant decline if appropriate planning and
destinations and the marketing of them and the management decisions are not made, and thus
interdependency among stakeholders for highlights the need for proactive, strategic
example, increasing tourist visits benefits, the destination marketing planning (Hovinen,
social objectives of the public sector as well as 2002).
the economic objectives of the private sector Similarly, Deffner and Metaxas (2005) argue
has resulted in the development of local that during the last 20 years developing a long-
tourism marketing alliances between public and term vision has become of increasing impor-
private sectors. The authors further stress the tance to European cities, in order to become
need for such alliances, claiming that the alter- more competitive and increase market shares.
native a free market solution is prob- The authors discuss the strategic planning
lematic because: process, which involves analysis of the internal
and external environment of a city, as a basis
individual stakeholders would create less for developing an effective plan covering: iden-
promotional impact on potential visitors tification of the citys vision; identification
than if they collaborated; of development objectives; market research
a promotional campaign where resources and market segmentation processes in order
are pooled allows the benefits to be shared to evaluate the potential target markets,
equally among all tourism businesses, small to investigate the global tendencies and to
and large; change experiences; planning the appropriate

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Critical success factors in destination marketing

strategies, tactics and alternative scenarios per define the former as a process of joint decision
action; and planning the feedback procedure. making among autonomous, key stakeholders
They add that, according to Ashworth and of an inter-organisational, community tourism
Voogd (1990), strategic planning is particularly domain to resolve planning problems of the
important, considering that public local author- domain and/or to manage issues related to the
ities and private sector organisations cooperate planning and development of the domain.
through common policies and interests to Gunn (2002) also argues that collaboration is
define their differing goals. Similarly, Buhalis required for successful tourism planning and
(2000) notes that destination marketing facili- development, in particular collaboration
tates the achievement of a tourism policy, which between public and private organisations.
should be coordinated with the regional devel- Integration is also an issue that has been well
opment strategic plan and which should focus documented in the tourism planning literature
on all the impacts on the destination over and (see eg Gunn, 2002; Inskeep, 1991). Gunn, for
above visitation such as overcrowding, envi- example, contends that destination plans must
ronmental problems, visitor safety and security, be developed within the context of regional
seasonality problems and sensitivity to local tourism plans. This is to ensure that tourism is
culture in order to ensure fulfilment of the developed in concordance with the broader
objectives of all stakeholders. goals of the destination and is thus more effi-
Gunn (2002) notes the significance of image cient and consistent.
in tourism planning today. In the competitive Some of the difficulties of achieving this are
tourism market, the author warns of the danger exmplified in Curtis (2001) case study of Brand
of replicating the same theme of tourism devel- Oregon. With the weakening of the Oregon
opment and so argues that analysis of factors economy in the mid-1990s, all the regional
such as the destinations cultural and natural tourist offices receiving government funding
resources, geographical characteristics and tradi- were required to use the Oregon Tourism
tion is required in order to differentiate the Commissions advertising agency and comply
destination from the competition. with the umbrella Brand Oregon.This was seen
According to Howie (2003), the present as restrictive and led to considerable resistance
approach to tourism planning in the UK is underlining the need for cooperation and
characterised by acknowledgment of constant collaboration rather than fiat and regulation.
change; continuous monitoring and response; Yet, as noted earlier, formal strategic planning
and continuous revision. Likewise the WTO rarely creates a sustainable competitive advan-
(1994: 16) recognises: tage in its own right. Rather, it has become a
necessary but not sufficient condition to ensure
During and after implementation, tourism
that ones offering is at least equivalent to those
development must be monitored to ensure
offered by ones competitors.Through the anal-
that it is accomplishing the objectives and
ysis that underpins strategic planning it may be
achieving the recommended policies. Moni-
possible to pinpoint attributes and features that
toring will detect any serious problems that
will offer additional benefits to customers. The
arise so that remedial measures can be taken
problem is that unless these are protected by
before the problems become serious.
IPR (intellectual property rights) the competi-
Thus, implementation, monitoring and review tion will soon copy and so erode the advantage.
are crucial aspects of a destination tourism Protection against this is afforded by the organ-
plan. isations reputation which, in turn, is reflected
A further issue pertinent to tourism planning in its brand equity. While difficult to measure
and destination development is collaboration precisely, brand equity reflects the additional
( Jamal and Getz, 1995). Jamal and Getz (1995) benefits and values that consumers perceive

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Baker and Cameron

they receive by preferring one brand over have come under criticism in recent years and
another. It is for this reason that issues of repu- political and environmental backlash against
tation and branding have become so vital in them has increased (Howie, 2003; Kapferer,
developing effective strategies and long-term 2004). Brands have, however, become increas-
competitive advantage. In the sections that ingly important to organisations for several
follow we will look first at branding as a prac- reasons. First, Kapferer (2004) argues that, if
tice and then examine its application to desti- managed properly, brands are one of the few
nations. strategic assets at a companys disposal that can
provide a long-lasting competitive advantage.
BRANDING In addition, Pike (2004) argues that one of the
A brand is defined by Keller (2003: 4) as a most important impacts of branding for
product, but one that adds other dimensions commercial organisations is brand equity, the
that differentiate it in some way from other increasing awareness of the balance sheet value
products designed to satisfy the same need. of brands, which can create competitive advan-
Additionally, a brand is a shared desirable tage by generating greater sales or margins than
and exclusive idea embodied in products, serv- would be achieved without the brand name.
ices, places and/or experiences (Kapferer, 2004: To achieve competitive advantage, a successful
13), and to be successful it must establish an brand strategy is required and brand equity
emotional relationship with the consumer by must be strong. Keller (2000) proposed ten
ensuring that there is a fit between the consum- characteristics that should be present for a
ers needs and the brands values and features successful brand strategy. These are that: the
(Hankinson and Cowking, 1993). brand excels at delivering the benefits customers
Howie (2003) stresses the importance of truly desire; the brand stays relevant; the pricing
branding and positioning in relation to the strategy is based on consumers perceptions of
product element of Kotlers marketing mix that value; the brand is properly positioned; the
comprises: product, price, promotion and place. brand is consistent; the brand portfolio and
So, according to Hall (2002), brands encom- hierarchy make sense; the brand makes use of
pass: and coordinates a full repertoire of marketing
activities to build brand equity; the brands
a clear and distinct image which differenti- managers understand what the brand means to
ates them from competitors; customers; the brand is given proper support
association with quality and a distinctive and that support is sustained over the long run;
way of relating to the customer; and the company monitors sources of brand
the ability to deliver long-term competitive equity.
advantage; Further reasons for the growth in branding,
something greater than a simple set of according to Pike (2004) include the increasing
physical attributes. global competition due to globalisation that has
led to greater awareness of global competitors.
On these grounds, it could be argued that For example, as 70 per cent of international
branding is now a fundamental component in travellers visit only ten countries, over 90 NTOs
a destination-marketing plan. Indeed, Kania compete for only 30 per cent of total interna-
(2001) argues that branding is the most impor- tional arrivals. Pike (2004) also cites: the
tant element in any marketing plan. increasing commoditisation of products as
Brands have become so prevalent and congested markets make differentiation difficult
powerful in modern society, making their way and lead to growth in price-based competition;
into all aspects of life, including economic, the growing power of retailers own labels,
political, social and cultural spheres, that they which acts as a barrier to smaller suppliers; the

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Critical success factors in destination marketing

Table 2: Roles that brands play for consumers


and manufacturers Brand Identity
Mission/vision
Values Brand
Consumers Manufacturers Desired brand
Brand Positioning
Image
image
Identification of sourceMeans of identification
of product to simplify handling or
tracing
Assignment of responsi- Means of legally protecting Figure 3 Brand identity, brand positioning
bility to product maker unique feature and brand image
Risk reducer Signal of quality level to Source: Pike (2004: 75)
satisfied customers
Search cost reducer Means of endowing
products with unique Pritchard, 2004).This relationship is particularly
associations important for tourist destinations for many
Promise, bond or pact Source of financial reasons, including the changing tourism
with maker of product returns environment and consumer behaviour. These
Symbolic device Source of competitive factors will now be discussed, along with the
advantage process of destination brand building.
Signal of quality

Source: Keller (2003: 9). DESTINATION BRANDING


Geographic locations, like organisations or
increasing sophistication of consumers; brand products, can also be branded and the goal of
extensions and portfolios; decreasing effective- such branding is to make people aware of the
ness of traditional advertising and declining location and then link desirable associations to
advertising budgets, which are resulting in the create a favourable image to entice visits and
use of niche media and below-the-line commu- businesses (Keller, 2003). According to Dinnie
nication; and the short-term performance (2004), the interests of companies and places
orientation of many organisations that place are similar and often overlap as, ultimately, both
tactical gains over strategic advantage. desire stability and prosperity. Fan (2005),
As a result of all the above benefits of however, warns of the dangers of treating place
branding, Keller (2003) identifies the roles that brands like commercial brands as there are
brands play for both consumers and manufac- fundamental differences between the two. He
turers (Table 2). cites, for example, that products can be altered,
Likewise, Pike suggests that it is useful to re-launched, replaced or withdrawn from the
think of a brand as representing an identity for market, whereas places can not; a nation brand
the producer and an image for the consumer can only create emotional benefits due to
and that brand positioning is the interface intangibility; product brands have a single
between the two (see Figure 3). owner with legal rights, whereas a place is
Branding is thus concerned with creating an owned by any organisation that chooses to
emotional connection with consumers through exploit the image of the place; and the audi-
the development of a unique personality or ences for place brands are diverse and hard to
image for a product or service and therefore, find, unlike product brands that have targeted
as stated by Weinreich (1999), is a two-way segments.
process that is developed with rather than to the Although, the topic of destination branding
consumer and can help to bridge any gaps did not appear in tourism literature until the
between a products or services strengths and late 1990s (Pike, 2004), it has, like corporate
potential consumers perceptions (Morgan and and product branding, become increasingly

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Baker and Cameron

important in recent years. As suggested and Munro, 2005). Luhrman (1998) confirms
earlier, the definition of a brand appears to this when he states:
satisfy many of the aims of destination marketing
the next century will mark the emergence
and thus highlights the importance of branding
of tourism destinations as a fashion accessory.
to destinations. Several authors confirm this,
The choice of holiday destination will help
arguing that branding provides a good starting
define the identity of the traveller and, in an
point for destination marketing and a sound
increasingly homogeneous world, set him
framework by which to manage the image of
apart from the hordes of other tourists.
a place (see eg Kavaratzis, 2004; Kotler et al.,
1999) and that branding is at the very heart of Additionally, tourists are looking more for
destination marketing strategy (Pike, 2004). discovery on holiday and less for escape, asking
Furthermore, many believe a successful brand the question who can we be on holiday? as
to be a key national asset (Kotler et al., 1999; opposed to what can we do on holiday?
Kotler and Gertner, 2002; Olins, 1999; and Van (Morgan and Pritchard, 2000: 278). Thus, desti-
Ham, 2001) perhaps because branding provides nations have been required to find new ways
an advantage over promotion on its own, as the to differentiate themselves from the competition
branding process forces the development of the and to establish connections with consumers.
place resulting from the process (Rainisto, Morgan and Pritchard (2002) emphasise that
2004). An example of such development is that the key to effective destination differentiation
of Australia and the Sydney 2000 Olympics. is the development of brand saliency, which is
Together with the branding of Australia as a the creation of an emotional relationship with
whole, the Sydney Olympics helped impact not the consumer through highly focused commu-
only on how other countries viewed the nications campaigns, of which New Yorks I
country, but also on how Australia viewed love NY and the Glasgows miles better are
itself, as events have the ability to both appeal two well known campaigns. Howie (2003) also
to target markets and excite residents (Brown identifies the I love NY campaign as one of
et al., 2002). the most successful brand identity building and
The reasons why image and branding positioning campaigns, as well as the Super
have become of such importance to organisa- Natural British Columbia campaign. Several
tions in recent years are also shared by destina- further branding campaigns and slogans, past
tions, with the main reasons for destination and present, that have been cited as particularly
branding growth being related to either effective are presented in Table 3.
competition issues or consumer behaviour. Clarke (2000) further emphasises the rele-
Substitutability has become one of the main vance of branding to tourism destinations by
problems for destinations today, especially in highlighting the marketing advantages of
the most competitive markets such as sun, sea branding to tourism organisations or destina-
and sand markets, and many destinations tions, which she summarises into six points.
are becoming increasingly substitutable (Pike, These are as follows:
2004). In addition most destinations have
excellent facilities and services and claim to Tourism involves complex and high
have unique culture and heritage (Morgan and involvement purchase decisions and so
Pritchard, 2002). Further to this, tourists are branding can reduce the choices available
becoming increasingly sophisticated and to consumers.
discerning and destination choice is now a Branding can help offset the effects of
considerable indication of lifestyle and a way the intangibility of the tourism product,
to express identity in an increasingly homo- especially if combined with positive past
genous world (Morgan et al., 2002; Yeoman experience.

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Critical success factors in destination marketing

Table 3: Destination branding campaigns model suggests that consumer-based brand


and slogans equity consists of four major components:
brand loyalty, brand awareness, perceived quality
Destination Campaign/Slogan
and brand associations. Additionally, Morgan
New Zealand 100% Pure New Zealand and Pritchard (2004) recognise that neither
Australia Australia: A Different Light place reputations nor visitor choices are made
Spain Everything Under The Sun in a vacuum, and so destinations must compare
India Incredible India their image to those of key competitors. They
Scotland Silicon Glen suggest that wish you were here? appeal and
Cyprus The Island for All Seasons celebrity value are critical, that is, do tourists
Singapore Live It Up in Singapore
see the destination as a fashion accessory or a
Paris Paris is for Lovers
fashion faux pas? Figure 4 positions several
Copenhagen Wonderful Copenhagen
Amsterdam Capital of Inspiration destination brands according to these two
factors.
Las Vegas What Happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas
Morgan and Pritchard (2004) also identify
the stages involved in destination brand building,
that are presented in Table 4.
The authors further add that in order to
Branding can communicate consistency in create an emotional attachment a destination
a sector that is sensitive to variability of brand has to be:
experience.
Branding can act as a mechanism to reduce Credible
the risk of ill-spent time through selection Deliverable
of a poor destination. Differentiating
Given the inseparable nature of the tourism Conveying powerful ideas
product and the desire for segment compat- Enthusing for stakeholders and partners
ibility therefore being high, branding helps Resonating with the consumer
ensure tourist satisfaction and thus facili-
tates precise segmentation. The second last point highlights the impor-
Motivation and teamwork are of high tance of cooperation from all stakeholders.
priority in such a high-contact service as Indeed, Prideaux and Cooper (2002) contend
tourism and brands can provide a focus for that without this cooperation brand fragmenta-
the integration of producer effort and assist tion, as opposed to brand building, would
people in working towards the same occur.
outcomes. As well as ensuring a destination brand has
all of the above features, has celebrity value and
The need for the branding of destinations and that brand building follows the stages in Table
brandings relevance to tourism appear indis- 4, however, there are various additional factors
putable, as is the view that the development within the macro-environment that create
of a unique, effective branding campaign can challenges which destination marketers must
differentiate a destination from the competition. also be aware of. We explore these in the
following section.
DESTINATION BRAND BUILDING
Given the importance of image to destination THE CHALLENGES OF DESTINATION
branding, Aakers (1991) model of consumer- BRANDING
based brand equity can be of use in the appli- Despite the advantages of destination branding,
cation of brand theory to destinations. Aakers there are a number of challenges faced by

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Baker and Cameron

High emotional pull

The Bahamas India

Ireland South Africa

Paris Scotland
High celebrity Low celebrity
value value
Poland

Antarctica Ukraine

Afghanistan

Low emotional pull

Figure 4 The destination brand positioning map


Source: Morgan and Pritchard (2004: 67)

Table 4: The five phases in destination outspend the competition (Morgan and
brand building Pritchard, 2002).This is, however, often difficult
to achieve as destination marketing communi-
Phase one Market investigation, analysis
cation practitioners are increasingly required to
and strategic recommendations
demonstrate financial accountability despite the
Phase two Brand identity development
Phase three Brand launch and introduction: fact that there is a positive correlation between
communicating the vision the promotional budgets of destinations and
Phase four Brand implementation tourist expenditures (Fall and Lubbers, 2004).
Phase five Monitoring, evaluation and Destination politics which is concerned
review with the complexity of the tourism product,
the number of stakeholders and the complexity
Source: Morgan and Pritchard (2004: 69). of the relationships between stakeholders
also poses a constraint against effective destina-
tion branding. First, due to the fact that
destination marketers. These challenges are destinations are amalgams of products, services
noted by Morgan and Pritchard (2002) and are and experiences that are outwith the control
related to financial, political and environmental of any one organisation, and also due to the
issues. differing objectives and interests of different
The first challenge facing destination stakeholder groups, image-related problems can
marketers is their limited budgets compared to occur. For example, is a tourists opinion of
many global consumer product brands. For destination image based on functional values
example, a global giant such as Sony may spend such as the shops available, social values such
as much money as the combined total of most as its suitability for all ages, emotional values
of the worlds national destination organisations such as the atmosphere of a resort, epistemic
on its annual global advertising budget (Morgan values such as the experience of a new culture
and Pritchard, 2004). This increases the need or on conditional values such as the availability
for innovative marketing communications, of cheap travel? (Tapachai and Waryszak, 2000).
requiring them to outsmart rather than In addition, destination marketers also have to

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Critical success factors in destination marketing

take into account the heterogeneity of travel study highlights the need for cooperation
motives of different target groups, which poses between internal stakeholders as a requirement
a challenge to finding a common foundation for destination branding. Furthermore, according
of associations which are unique and relevant to Ashworth (2001: 6970):
to each one, and then integrating communica-
promotion is both easiest and most effec-
tions into a joint effort (Supphellen, 2004). As
tive when it is self-promotion. A place is
a result, the image the consumer has of a desti-
sending messages to itself. The purpose is
nation brand may be quite different to the
the fostering of a civic consciousness and
self-image intended in the brand identity (Pike,
self-confidence. This is both an end in itself
2004).
and a necessary precondition for external
Howie (2003) discusses the importance of
marketing.
residents in ensuring consistency of image
between the brand and reality and argues that All this suggests, therefore, that before a desti-
despite the fact that customer orientation is nation brand can attain success with visitors, its
vital, residents, too, need to be actively involved internal stakeholder groups such as local resi-
in destination branding as they are part of the dents and businesses must understand and be
destinations marketing mix and marketing made aware of the destination brand and its
professionals cannot afford to be out of touch potential positive impacts. Therefore, successful
with the message on the street. In addition, destination branding requires balancing the
according to Ashworth (2001: 69), destination local, regional and national politics of a destina-
branding is as much about communication tion with the application of innovative
between citizens as clients, and public author- marketing communications (Morgan and
ities as service providers, as about attractive Pritchard, 2002). Despite widespread recogni-
exogenous investment, employment or tion of the need to understand local residents
customers. attitudes to tourism and to be sensitive to local
Furthermore, the need to satisfy the objec- culture, however, there has been a lack of
tives of all the stakeholders of a destination research into residents perceptions of their own
highlights the importance of internal marketing destination and the extent to which brands
to destinations. Internal marketing aims to impact on local communities (Hankinson, 2003
ensure that employees act in a service-oriented and Morgan et al., 2003).
manner and is based on the premise that if It has also been suggested that strong, effec-
management wants its employees to do a great tive leadership from top-level government and
job with customers, then it must be prepared publicprivate partnerships are a way to over-
to do a great job with its employees and should come the above political problems. For example,
therefore be viewed as a management philos- Morgan (2004) views these factors as necessary,
ophy for motivation and support rather than a otherwise large stakeholders such as airlines will
short-lived campaign (George, 1990). Greene market what they believe to be the most attrac-
et al. (1994) also note that internal promotion tive product at the expense of broader brand
can create a positive image of an organisation identity and smaller stakeholders. Similarly, Hall
and its products in the mind of the customer. (2003) argues that public and private sectors
Within the context of branding, a corporate are increasingly working together in order to
brand management model was developed by maximise revenue from tourism. In addition,
de Chernatony and Harris (2000) who argue good leadership and management ensure good
that creating an appealing corporate brand use of resources and capabilities and provide
requires consideration of both internal and alternative strategies for future uncertainty
external stakeholders. Similarly, in relation to (Rainisto, 2004). Morgan et al. (2003), however,
destinations, Prideaux and Coopers (2002) argue that destination marketers have little

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Baker and Cameron

control over the various stakeholder groups, average increases in visitors following a
due to the range of different sectors involved. successful branding campaign. These external
Curtis (2001) warns of the dangers of not forces also reinforce the point suggested earlier
following the above suggestions regarding that no individual stakeholder has control over
destination branding.The author examines why the destination product and the marketing of
Brand Oregon began to fail in the late 1980s it, including destination marketers (Morgan and
and cites inconsistency in marketing commu- Pritchard, 2004).
nications between the states brand and the Successful brands are those with strong,
regional tourism bodies, and the resistance of consistent marketing heritages that also evolve
these regional bodies against direction from the and remain contemporary, which is difficult to
top down, as two of the main reasons. Curtis achieve (Morgan and Pritchard, 2004). Given
also emphasises that it takes many years to the increasing commoditisation of destinations,
establish a brand image, establish name recogni- Morgan and Pritchard (2004) further contend
tion and develop strong awareness of a destina- that it is necessary to build a brand on values
tion or product and thus advises that destination that connect a destination to the consumer in
marketers stay the course (Curtis, 2001: 81). a unique way that the competition cannot
In recent years, the sensitivity of destinations surpass, as destinations such as Rome, Paris and
to shocks in the external environment and the India have done. As seen throughout this
ability of such shocks to reverse branding section, the issue of destination politics is one
activity and damage the image of a destination of the biggest threats to effective destination
has become even more apparent following branding, yet all of the aforementioned factors
political and environmental events and disasters related to destination politics must be effec-
and economic downswings such as the 9/11 tively managed for destination branding to be
terrorist attacks, the war in Iraq, terrorist attacks successful. It was highlighted in a previous
in Turkey, Madrid, Bali, Kenya and London, the section that brand saliency can help to over-
UK foot and mouth and bovine spongiform come many of the above challenges. Further-
encephalopathy (BSE) outbreaks, and the 2004 more, the most critical factors identified here
tsunami and hurricane Katrina. An example of were publicprivate partnerships, internal
the impact a macro-environmental event can marketing and stakeholder involvement, govern-
have on a destinations tourism industry is that ment leadership and longevity.
of Nepal. Morgan and Pritchard (2004) describe Based on our reviews of destination
the downturn in Nepals tourism industry in marketing, planning and brand development,
2001 following a highly publicised airline it has become clear that there is a multitude
hijacking and the subsequent five-month of factors that impact upon the development
suspension of key flights to Nepals interna- of effective marketing plans. In the next section,
tional airport together with several internal we seek to synthesise these into a checklist of
political disasters. The authors note that, during things that need to be taken into account.
the 1990s, tourism in Nepal had enjoyed an
exceptional period of growth and, after SUCCESS FACTORS
collapsing in 2001, the industry did not recover Success factors try to explain why place
until 2003, in part due to the countrys marketing practices are successful or unsuc-
successful celebrations of the 50th anniversary cessful and represent the ability and capacity
of the conquest of Mount Everest. Further to of a location to take these into account in
this, Morgan and Pritchard (2002) use the developing an effective marketing strategy for
example of Israel, which, until the breakdown a location (Rainisto, 2003).
of the peace process from the year 2000 Based on our review of the literature we
onwards, had been achieving above industry identified 33 different success factors. Based

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Critical success factors in destination marketing

broadly on the suggestion of Morgan and promotion-oriented approach, while Rainisto


Pritchard (2004) (Table 4), we have clustered (2004) highlighted the importance of alter-
these factors into four stages involved in desti- native strategies for future uncertainty.
nation brand building which we have called: Thus, the provision of suitable gains to all
strategic orientation; destination identity and stakeholders, long-term vision and the negative
image; stakeholder involvement; and imple- impacts of tourism over and above visitation
mentation, monitoring and review. The alloca- are indicators of a strategic orientation.
tion of individual factors was judgmental and
not based on formal cluster analysis.The specific
DESTINATION IDENTITY AND IMAGE
factors included under these headings and their
Identity development, image and communi-
importance to destination branding may be
cating the vision comprise the second and third
explained as follows.
phases of destination brand building. Place
identity is how a place wants to be perceived
STRATEGIC ORIENTATION
and is a unique set of brand characteristics that
The first phase in destination branding,
destination marketers want to create or main-
according to Morgan and Pritchard (2004), is
tain and that differentiate it from other places
market investigation, analysis and strategic
(Rainisto, 2003). Image, however, is the sum of
recommendations. This suggests that the
beliefs, ideas and impressions that people
important elements are related to situational
have of a place and must be valid, believable,
analysis factors, goals and objectives, and
distinctive and appealing (Kotler et al., 1999).
strategy.
Therefore, as noted by Pike (2004) and Keller
According to Johnson and Scholes (2002),
(2003), a brand represents an identity for the
strategy is the direction and scope of an organ-
producer and an image for the consumer, with
isation over the long term. Thus, adopting a
brand positioning the interface between
strategic orientation involves taking a long-
the two. Likewise, Rainisto (2003) adds that
term and holistic approach to tourism planning.
marketing communications can be used as
In addition, Buhalis (2000) notes that the stra-
a bridge between the identity and image of a
tegic marketing objectives for destinations are
place.
to: enhance the long-term prosperity of local
people; delight visitors by maximising their
satisfaction; maximise profitability of local STAKEHOLDER INVOLVEMENT
enterprises and maximise multiplier effects; As discussed throughout the literature review,
optimise tourism impacts by ensuring a sustain- satisfaction of the objectives and needs of the
able balance between economic benefits and various different stakeholders of a destination
socio-cultural and environmental costs. Further is one of the fundamental requirements of
to this, investment in buildings and brand infra- successful destination branding. Indeed, many
structure sufficient to make the promised brand authors argue the need for the involvement of
experience a reality is required for successful these different stakeholder groups in the process
branding (Hankinson, 2003). (see eg de Chernatony and Harris, 2000; Howie,
Several authors have identified the need for 2003; Morgan et al., 2003; Pride, 2002; Prideaux
a long-term orientation in destination branding, and Cooper, 2002).
for example, Curtis (2001), Deffner and Metaxas Stakeholder involvement involves all indi-
(2005) and Pride (2002). Similarly, Ritchie and viduals, organisations and groups who are
Ritchie (2002) highlight the need for a affected by tourism development playing a role
more holistic, strategic approach to destination in determining the nature of the direction
marketing in order to attain sustainable of development (Simpson, 2001). Simpson
competitive advantage, as opposed to a further adds that stakeholder identity and

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Baker and Cameron

scope of participation are two elements of this BRAND IMPLEMENTATION,


definition. Furthermore, the issues of leadership MONITORING AND REVIEW
and stakeholder, or publicprivate, partnerships Implementation, monitoring and review form
are prevalent in current destination branding the last two phases in destination brand building,
literature. (Morgan and Pritchard, 2004). Simpson (2001)

Table 5: Critical success factors derived from the literature review

Strategic orientation
1. Visitation statistics are included and the destinations main markets are quantified and segmented
2. The main competition is identified
3. Tourism trends are identified
4. A long-term orientation is adopted
5. The importance of international competitiveness is recognised
6. The need for infrastructure improvements is highlighted
7. The need for integration with national/regional tourism plans is recognised
8. Residents attitudes to tourism are considered
9. Local cultures, values and lifestyles are considered
10. Wealth and job creation and quality of life for residents are primary aims
11. The issue of overcrowding is addressed
12. The issue of environmental problems is addressed
13. The issue of seasonality is addressed
14. The benefit of tourism to the destination is quantified
15. Scenarios are developed

Destination identity and image


16. The need to develop brand identity is recognised
17. Brand associations are identified
18. The need for image development is recognised
19. Positioning is discussed
20. The need for coordination of industry promotional material is recognised
21. Recognition to ensuring the promises made in marketing communications are conveyed to visitors
22. New and innovative forms of communication channels are addressed
23. The need to improve branding and brand awareness is recognised
24. The importance of experiences to tourists as opposed to tangible propositions is recognised

Stakeholder involvement
25. National government agencies are involved in planning
26. Local government agencies were involved in planning
27. The area tourist board/area tourist office was involved in planning
28. Local residents were involved in planning
29. Local businesses were involved in planning
30. The need to improve communication between stakeholders (public, private and residents) is
recognised
31. Leadership is addressed to give greater guidance to stakeholders.

Implementation, monitoring and review


32. The timescale for each task is included
33. The need for monitoring and review is established

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Critical success factors in destination marketing

notes that it is often in these end phases that marketing. In addition to highlighting a number
many strategic planning processes fail, and so of CSF, this review confirmed the importance
effective planning should include implementa- of branding and the development of a strong
tion, monitoring and review elements in brand and strategy for promoting it. Evidence
acknowledgment of this. in support of this claim has been presented
Such elements, according to Simpson (2001), together with broadly based advice on the use
include prioritising objectives, assignment of of the listing of CSF as a basis for evaluating
responsibility for key tasks, estimation of costs, the content and relevance of the marketing/
the inclusion of a review mechanism and branding strategy. We believe the use of this
methods by which resources should be allo- checklist should prove useful in both the devel-
cated. In addition, Pride (2002) notes that opment and evaluation of destination marketing
continual evaluation, monitoring and adjust- plans. Inevitably, its value will depend signifi-
ment to what is being done in order to deter- cantly on the users ability to operationalise the
mine the effectiveness of the brand is required individual factors in the context of the specific
and, similarly, Metaxas (2003) in Deffner and problems they are seeking to solve
Metaxas (2005) argues that feedback procedure While the authors have used the checklist as
performance is one factor necessary for effec- a basis for evaluating the content of the
tive destination marketing. published plans of all the 14 area offices in the
The 33 critical success factors and their VisitScotland network (not reported here), and
assignment to the four categories are summa- were able to form a judgment as to the extent
rised in Table 5. and degree that they covered the key issues
Taken together, we believe the four catego- identified, there is clearly a need for further
ries and 33 individual success factors provide a research to assess its value in use. Such research
useful checklist against which to benchmark might be retrospective that is, evaluate the
extant tourism planning documents as well as success or otherwise of an implemented plan
guidance for the development of effective plans and use the checklist as a diagnostic for
for the future. analysing the content of that plan or
prospective by using the success factors in
SUMMARY constructing a plan and then monitoring their
In an increasingly competitive global environ- influence/impact on its implementation.
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Baker and Cameron

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2008 PALGRAVE MACMILLAN LTD. 1467-3584 $30.00 VOL. 8, 2, 7997 TOURISM AND HOSPITALITY RESEARCH 97

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