Tourism is a comprehensive industry providing hotels, restaurants, attractions, transportations, and auxiliary services (retail, tour guides, recreation, etc.) to pleasure and business travelers. These autonomous suppliers are often seen as one entity by consumers based on the totality of their experience at a destination (Bowen, 2004). Synergy between tourism suppliers can be developed through the use of destination marketing organizations (DMOs). Research has shown that cooperation between destination stakeholders rather than on individual brands will influence the growth of a destination (Prideuax & Cooper, 2002).
DMOs market their geographic areas to travel trade intermediaries, individual, and group travelers on behalf of the tourism organizations (hotels, restaurants, attractions, transportation, and auxiliary services) in their destination. Examples of DMOs include government agencies at the national, state, territory, region, country, or city levels. There are also private sector DMOs that represent large tourism organizations that own/manage multiple operations such as Disney Worldwide and Ski Country USA that may not be owned by the same corporation or entity. There are also quasi public private DMOs that are funded with public tax dollars and member ship dues. These organizations may be convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs) or tourism authorities. One of the missions of a CVB is to make sure they work on behalf of the tourism suppliers in attracting travelers to the destinations. Approximately 50% of the CVBs in the USA are funded solely by tax dollars and the other 50% solely by members’ dues or a combination of public and private funding (Hill, 2008).
DMOs funded by tax dollars operate through various government agencies at all levels of government. At the national level, the British Tourist Authority (BTA), which markets Britain abroad, merged with the English Tourism Council, which promote domestic travel and operates under the name Visit Britain (Barrett, 2003). In Hot Springs, Taiwan, the government works with local tourism suppliers to ensure tourist safety and security and to extend service to health protection and medical treatment in comprehensive offering to visitors (Lee, Ou, & Hwang, 2009). The Mexico Ministry of Tourism developed a training program for tourism destination organization members to address communication complications faced by out of the way destinations (Luzadder, 2008).
The success of a tourism destination product depends on a network of independent and interdependent organizations. Each member provides a piece of tourism picture with their unique products and services. Some of these DMO programs include cooperative advertising, tour product development, regional marketing conferences and trade shows, and travel missions. DMOs may also assess market size and performance and prime market value, and identify future opportunities for tourism related businesses development.
The growth of tourism operators with a presence on the World Wide Web offers new opportunities for DMOs to promote a composite of its members through cooperative Web Address. There is opportunity to move away from a mass marketing approach that relied on toll free phone numbers and brochures to customize information that fits the changing information channel offered through the Internet. These tourism related websites have led the way to promoting and distributing to consumers their products and services (Palmer & McCole, 2000). Interactivity provides a way for multiple suppliers to seamlessly connect their services, providing travelers one stop shopping for their travel needs. As travelers shift to the use of the Internet to book travel it becomes more important for DMOs to have strong brand recognition that is supported by a single marketing body and a single destination brand (Prideuax & Cooper, 2002).
Barrett, Lucy (2003). Putting England back on the map. Marketing Week, 3, 19, April.
Bowen, H. (2004). Cultural tourism: the partner ship between tourism and cultural heritage management. Tourism Management, 27(4).
Hill, Ruth (Summer 2008). CVB’s: search for autonomy. HSMAI Marketing Review, 23(1), 48 51.
Lee, Chen Fei, Ou, Wei Ming, & Hwang, Husn (March 2009). A study of destination attractive ness through domestic visitors’ perspectives: the case of Taiwan’s Hot Springs tourism sector. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 14(1), 17 38.
Luzadder, Don (2008). Smaller suppliers getting online boost from Visit Mexico site. Travel Weekly, 67(21), 34.
Palmer, Adrian, & McCole, Patrick (2000). The role of electronic commerce in creating virtual tourism destination marketing organizations relationship or simple coincidence? Journal of Vacation Marketing, 9(1), 35 52.
Prideuax, & Cooper (2002). Marketing and destination growth: a symbiotic relationship or simple coincidence. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 9(1), 135 147.