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BEST Sustainable Tourism. Marketing Dr. Tracey Firth University of Western Sydney. Purpose of Module. The aim of this module is to introduce, discuss and analyse sustainable tourism as applied to tourism marketing.

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best sustainable tourism

BEST Sustainable Tourism


Dr. Tracey Firth

University of Western Sydney

purpose of module
Purpose of Module
  • The aim of this module is to introduce, discuss and analyse sustainable tourism as applied to tourism marketing.
  • Students will explore the ways in which tourism and hospitality marketing can play a more responsible part in tourism sustainability.
  • This module takes, as its foundation, the potential positive and negative outcomes of marketing activity, and helps the student to create a favourable mix of these outcomes for destination and business marketing.
  • It examines the main concepts behind sustainable tourism development and how they can be integrated into the marketing of tourism destinations and tourism enterprise.
learning objectives
Learning Objectives


  • Incorporate sustainable development principles into the strategic marketing of tourism products as well as destinations
  • Understand the meaning of sustainable tourism development and its key components
  • Critically analyse and apply a range of concepts, approaches and tools and techniques necessary when marketing sustainable products and services
learning objectives4
Learning Objectives
  • Understand how responsible marketing practices can enhance both the organisation and tourism industry in general
  • Discuss impacts of tourism marketing management practices
  • Formulate, implement and evaluate marketing strategies, to assist in achieving sustainable tourism marketing of individual enterprises and destinations as a whole
sustainable development for business
Sustainable Development for Business

Sustainable development for business means,

“adopting business strategies and activities that

meet the needs of the enterprise and its

stakeholders today while protecting, sustaining, and

enhancing the human and natural resources that will

be needed in the future”

(International Institute for Sustainable Development 1994:4).

1 identification
1. Identification
  • Tourism marketing management procedures need to be developed to influence the five primary variables central to achieving sustainability:
    • Location
    • Timing
    • Access
    • Products
    • Education and knowledge
the role of marketing in sustainable tourism
The role of marketing in sustainable tourism
  • Through their marketing activities, organisations and destinations have the power to greatly influence consumer demand for certain types of tourism experiences and products
  • Can increase knowledge and awareness of more sustainable products and practices among key market segments
the role of marketing in sustainable tourism8
The role of marketing in sustainable tourism
  • Marketing strategies provide a coordinating framework so that the destination and individual operations are being pulled in the same direction.
  • Marketing holds important tools for understanding and influencing what visitors buy and techniques for designing and delivering product quality designed to sustain the local environment
the role of marketing in sustainable tourism9
The role of marketing in sustainable tourism
  • Marketing managers will have to target, involve and work jointly with regulators and elected representatives of local resident interests in order to achieve sustainable tourism objectives
impacts of tourism marketing activities
Impacts of tourism marketing activities
  • Marketing a destination involves organisations at two levels:
    • Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) responsible for marketing the destination as a whole;
    • Individual operators promoting tourism products at the destination
impacts of destination marketing
Impacts of Destination Marketing
  • Destination marketing is designed to influence visitor behaviour including:
    • Type of products and activities they choose
    • Times of the year they visit
    • Type of accommodation they stay in
    • Their expenditure patterns
activities of destination marketing organisations
Activities of Destination Marketing Organisations
  • Research to establish promotional priorities for targeted market segments and to define destination images and branding
  • Liaison with private sector partners to achieve priorities
  • Coordinating elements of tourism products such as tourist information and web sites
activities of destination marketing organisations13
Activities of Destination Marketing Organisations
  • Providing investment and marketing support for new products
  • Creating marketing facilities and cooperative campaigns
  • Providing advice and leadership based on information sources
impact of individual business marketing
Impact of individual business marketing
  • The 5Ps of product, price, place, promotion and people are often manipulated with the aim of attracting visitors and their associated spending
  • Product includes the destination product as a whole and individual commercial products that are components of the overall tourism experience
  • Products are often designed only after considering the needs and wants of visitors and the key competencies of the business, with little consideration given to goals of local community
impact of individual business marketing15
Impact of individual business marketing
  • Pricing structures are often based on maximising visitors to an area and associated spending without factoring in the cost of protecting and maintaining a high quality environment
  • The promotion of non-sustainable products can result in the degradation of the cultural and physical environment at the destination and inevitably the economic sustainability of a destination
impact of individual business marketing16
Impact of individual business marketing
  • Advertising and promotion has been aimed at conveying a certain image to relevant target segments so as to maximise visitor numbers rather than portraying an accurate image of a destination
  • Market targeting has traditionally been focused on consumers’ willingness to pay the highest prices rather than the types of tourists most suited to the destination
benefits of adopting sustainable practices from a marketing perspective
Benefits of adopting sustainable practices from a marketing perspective
  • Long run profit and business survival depends on maintaining an attractive, healthy environment
  • Cost savings
  • Compliance with the law
  • Avoidance of negative public relations
  • Meeting growing customer expectations and demands
  • Achieving competitive advantage
  • Reducing operational costs
benefits of adopting sustainable practices from a marketing perspective18
Benefits of adopting sustainable practices from a marketing perspective
  • Maintaining good-neighbour policies locally
  • Compliance with business to business procurement policies
  • Meeting membership criteria
  • Compliance with investors’ funding criteria and investment risk reduction
  • Conservation of business assets and resources
2 formulation
2. Formulation
  • Formulating DMO marketing strategies
    • The local destination is the logical basis for understanding the specific impact of tourism and for developing the tools of visitor management needed for sustainability.
formulating a destination marketing strategy
Formulating a destination marketing strategy
  • Formulating a destination vision is the first step in formulating the marketing strategy
  • The vision will drive the marketing strategy and all promotional activities undertaken by the DMO
  • Involves DMO liaisons with other key stakeholders at the local level including: Local residents, community groups, environmental groups, business operators, government agencies and regional economies.
2 1 strategies of dmos
2.1 Strategies of DMOs

1. Promotional strategy

  • Involves devising and implementing promotional programmes to communicate destination messages to targeted segments of potential visitors
  • Can be used to create awareness of sustainable products and to educate visitors on how to behave in a manner that contributes to the goals of sustainable tourism
strategies of dmos
Strategies of DMOs

2. Facilitation Strategy

  • Aimed at creating marketing collaboration bridges between DMOs and individual travel and tourism operators and between the umbrella campaigns organised by DMOs and industry marketing expenditure
  • Requires extensive cooperation between DMOs and private sector partners regarding allotment of budgets for competing marketing priorities
2 2 formulating marketing strategies for individual tourism firms
2.2 Formulating marketing strategies for individual tourism firms
  • The principles of sustainable tourism can be integrated into each major element of the strategic marketing system:
    • The mission statement
    • Master marketing strategy
    • External environmental analysis
    • Internal environmental analysis
    • Feedback, market research, market intelligence
3 implementation
3. Implementation
  • Operational marketing strategies are used by marketing managers to implement actions to move an organisation from its current position to where it wants to be
  • Allow the organisation to match its products/services to relevant target markets, to the goals of sustainable tourism and to allocate resources to generate consumer demand for such products
key operational marketing strategies used during the implementation stage
Key operational marketing strategies used during the implementation stage:

1. Target Market Strategy:

  • Effective forms of visitor management involve targeting appropriate and desirable market segments that exhibit characteristics compatible with the goals of sustainable tourism
  • Need to target market segments that maximise environmental (physical, social, cultural) benefits and minimise environmental damage
  • Develop management techniques to achieve optimum sustainable balance of segments at the destination.
key operational marketing strategies used during the implementation stage26
Key operational marketing strategies used during the implementation stage:

2. Product strategy:

  • Should be directed at developing more sustainable tourism products that cater for growing tourist demand for quality tourism products that are sensitive to the surrounding cultural and physical environments.
  • Identify unique attributes of the local environment in which they operate
key operational marketing strategies used during the implementation stage27
Key operational marketing strategies used during the implementation stage:

3. Competitive strategy:

  • In choosing where to compete, tourism firms should adopt a long term view rather than a short term focus on attracting the maximum number of visitors and associated expenditure in the shortest period of time
  • Firms need to consider how the generic strategies of cost leadership, differentiation, and niche marketing might impact upon the achievement of sustainable tourism objectives
key operational marketing strategies used during the implementation stage28
Key operational marketing strategies used during the implementation stage:

4. Market strategy:

  • Taking the product to the market –

Involves using the distribution system to take the sustainable tourism product to the market, forming relationships with travel intermediaries to distribute the new products

  • Getting the market to the product –

Choosing appropriate tools from the promotional mix to reach potential tourist markets with relevant images, messages and information about sustainable tourism product alternatives.

key operational marketing strategies used during the implementation stage29
Key operational marketing strategies used during the implementation stage:

5. Positioning strategy:

  • Buyers tend to remember “number one” messages or number one positions such as “best quality” , “best service: or “lowest price”. With increasing consumer concern for the environment, firms can also position themselves in the minds of their target customers by emphasising “best environmental practice”.
destination marketing by dmos
Destination marketing by DMOs
  • When implementing their marketing activities DMOs can contribute to the achievement of sustainable tourism through various actions depending on whether their focus is a promotional or facilitation strategy
  • Promotional strategy - Target markets more in line with the goals of sustainable tourism have unique informational requirements and will need to be communicated to differently using tools of the promotional mix
destination marketing by dmos31
Destination marketing by DMOs
  • Facilitation strategy-

In order to develop the desired images, messages and information concerning the sustainable tourism products on offer, DMOs will need to liaise and cooperate with individual tourism operators.

  • Key elements of the facilitation mix that can be used include:

Business to business (B2B) Internet services, Travel workshops, Joint campaigns, Tradeshows, Journalists visits, Familiarisation trips, Reservation systems, Representation abroad, Tourist information services, Destination management systems

marketing by individual firms
Marketing by individual firms
  • Individual firms can utilise and manipulate the 5Ps of the marketing mix in order to influence consumer behaviour towards behaving more in line with the goals of sustainable tourism development
  • Five product characteristics that need to be considered when attempting to make new or existing products conform to the principles of sustainability. They include:
    • Design of facilities
    • Sustainability designed into business operations
    • Presentation of the product
    • Service elements
    • Branding or the designed image of the product as communicated and promoted to targeted customers
  • Price is a key element of product design and is an important tool for influencing demand
  • Prices reflect commercial judgements of what the market will bear, the nature of the segments to be attracted and the volume or capacity to be offered
  • When formulating a pricing strategy businesses consider the various costs that need to be covered such as purchasing, equipment, and payroll
  • Environmental costs also need to be factored into product prices rather than being considered a free public good.
place distribution marketing access
Place/distribution/marketing access
  • Place refers to the location or destination where a product is produced and consumed as well as all the places at which a customer can gain access to the product
  • Some tourism products are sold directly to the customer, others are sold using travel intermediaries who have an important role to play in sustainable tourism
place distribution marketing access36
Place/distribution/marketing access
  • Marketing decisions of tour operators strongly influence:
    • The customer segments targeted for promotion and distribution
    • Product design and quality in terms of what they think the customer will buy
    • Capacity to be offered for sale
    • Prices at which they will be sold
    • Destination images and positioning (focusing directly or indirectly on the environment)
place distribution marketing access37
Place/distribution/marketing access
  • Marketing decisions of tour operators strongly influence:
    • The information flow to customers about the destination
    • Evaluation of customer reaction through questionnaires
    • Customer knowledge and profiles held on database for future analysis and marketing
    • Marketing objectives, target volume, budgets and programmes
  • The messages conveyed in advertising and promotion are a powerful influence over customer expectations of what they will find at a destination and in attracting a certain type of tourist.
  • Individual organisations should work with local government tourism managers who are largely responsible for tourism promotion to accurately portray the destination product in their advertising and promotional messages so as to increase the awareness of potential visitors regarding acceptable behaviour
  • An addition to the traditional 4Ps relevant to travel and tourism is ‘People’.
  • The behaviour of certain groups of people either individually or combined also conveys messages that become a part of the tourism experience
  • Visitors:

Include the individual consumers of the product as well as other tourists present at the same time and place. Visitors need to be educated on the impacts of their behaviour on the environment of the destinations they visit and on the experiences had by other visitors

  • Employees:

Include the staff at individual organisations and any third party organisations which supply different services to the principal provider. Employees have an important role to play in communicating knowledge and messages to visitors regarding appropriate behaviour and educating visitors about the destination environment

  • Host community:

The goals and wishes of local residents regarding tourism development need to considered

4 monitoring and evaluation
4. Monitoring and Evaluation
  • A critical component of implementation strategies aimed at achieving sustainable tourism involves developing and implementing monitoring processes that provide credible measures of how well tourism is doing in achieving sustainability goals
  • Marketing managers can analyse their existing practices against various sustainability indicators to measure their progress towards sustainability goals
sustainable tourism indicators should
Sustainable tourism indicators should:
  • Be selected on the basis of input received from a broad base of stakeholders
  • Be designed to meet the varying informational needs of these different audiences
  • Include objective measurements
  • Include subjective measurements
  • Signal where necessary the need for comprehensive studies of more complex relationships
the process for developing sustainability indicators
The process for developing sustainability indicators
  • Scoping
  • Selecting indicators
  • Identifying appropriate methods for gathering data
    • Qualitative methods
    • Quantitative methods
  • Analysing and reporting findings
  • Soliciting feedback
  • Involves establishing the scope of the monitoring programme politically, temporally, and spatially, to identify:
    • The development issues to be addressed
    • The relevant data to be collected
    • The methods to be used to collect the necessary data
selecting indicators
Selecting indicators
  • Involves selecting a final set of indicators from a list of measurement options
  • Each indicator is judged according to its appropriateness on a predetermined scale
  • Selection decisions are based on:
    • Data affordability
    • Data availability
    • Perceived relevance for potential users
methods for gathering data
Methods for gathering data
  • Selection of qualitative or quantitative methods will be based on:
    • Appropriateness of each method in terms of ability to gather necessary data;
    • Affordability;
    • Access to necessary resources (financial, human, expertise, time) in order to use each method.
methods for gathering data47
Methods for gathering data
  • Qualitative Methods
    • Public meetings
    • Focus groups
    • Key informant interviews/ Delphi studies
  • Quantitative methods
    • Internal and external environmental audits
    • Administering survey questionnaires
analysing and reporting findings
Analysing and reporting findings
  • Reporting should include:
    • Individual indicator values
    • Historical trends in indicator values
    • Progress towards achieving sustainability goals
    • Explanations of significance of each indicator
    • Assessments of past trends and anticipated future trends in indicator values relative to target levels
    • Discussion of linkages between indicators
monitoring and evaluation by dmos
Monitoring and Evaluation by DMOs
  • Monitoring customer perceptions
  • Monitoring community perceptions
  • Monitoring destination image
  • Reporting
monitoring and evaluation by individual firms
Monitoring and evaluation by individual firms
  • Stakeholder analysis
  • External monitoring system
  • Internal monitoring processes
  • Measurement and reporting on progress and performance