Destination Marketing: an integrated marketing communication approach
There is no doubting the importance of effective marketing in today's increasingly competitive tourism world, an importance reinforced by the present difficult economic climate. Steven Pike makes the case for marketing cogently and convincingly in a book which, in addition to setting the contexts for marketing, gives clear practical advice from strategy to image, positioning to distribution and public relations to disaster management. The appeal of the book to a wide audience will lie in the two strands that provide the basis of Pike's approach. First, he looks critically at the inherent challenges associated with marketing multi-faceted places in continually changing and fragmented markets. Second, he presents a practical and theoretical evidence base that bridges the gap between the world of hard nosed practice and detached academia. In taking this approach Dr Pike takes a broad view of the need to move the perspective from promotion through selling and simple marketing to what he calls 'societal marketing'. This leads to a proactive interest in stewardship of the destination's resources, which include social, cultural and environmental dimensions. In other words to a destination management approach, although Pike prefers to stay with the word Marketing rather than Management for the 'M' in the DMO acronym. He argues that not only does societal marketing embrace the broader agenda, but from a purely practical perspective 'marketing' is more likely to appeal to those who hold the purse strings! However, there is a missed opportunity in not taking the sustainability issues inherent in good destination management further within the marketing perspective: you will look in vain in the index for words like climate change, carbon emissions, environmental capacity and sustainable transport. These are matters that a societal approach should address more fully. Marketing is vital, and as the author argues, it is much more than promotion and judging success by the head-count alone.