2 February 2009

Marketing the competitive destination of the future

Dr Dimitrios Buhalis

Department of Tourism, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LS, UK


Destination marketing is increasingly becoming extremely competitive worldwide. This paper explains the destination concept and attempts to synthesise several models for strategic marketing and management of destinations. It provides an overview of several techniques widely used and illustrates examples from around the world. The paper also explains that marketing of destinations should balance the strategic objectives of all stakeholders as well the sustainability of local resources. Destinations need to differentiate their products and develop partnerships between the public and private sector locally in order to co-ordinate delivery. Taking advantage of new technologies and the Internet also enables destinations to enhance their competitiveness by increasing their visibility, reducing costs and enhancing local co-operation. Destination marketing must lead to the optimisation of tourism impacts and the achievement of the strategic objectives for all stakeholders.

Article Outline

1. Introducing destinations and destination marketing

2. Destination as an amalgam of tourism services and experiences

3. The strategic purpose of destinations and their management and marketing

4. Main markets and destination choice

5. Types of destinations, target markets and marketing strategies required

6. Marketing research: identifying market segments for destination products

7. Marketing destinations: strategies and practices

7.1. The position of destinations and their marketing

7.2. Strategic marketing for destinations and strengthening their competitiveness

7.3. Strategy formulation for destinations

7.3.1. Porter's generic strategies

7.3.2. Gilbert's strategic framework

7.3.3. Poon's flexible specialisation

7.3.4. Synthesis of strategic frameworks and lessons for strategic destination marketing

8. Destination marketing mix

8.1. Formulating the destination product

8.2. Pricing the destination

8.3. Distributing tourism destinations

8.4. Promoting the destination

9. Marketing competitive destinations for the future

10. Conclusion