The aim of the promotion fall into three main categories: to inform, to remind and to persuade. It will always be necessary to inform prospective consumers about new products and services. Similarly, consumers may need to be reminded about all these types of issues, especially in the off-peak season. Promotion designed to persuade consumers will be in line with specific objectives, for example to encourage switching or to building preferences.
It is vitally important to recognize that promotion, or marketing communications generally, may not always be aimed at the potential consumer or end-user of the product or service. In many business areas it is necessary to design promotional programs aimed at channel customers to complement end -user promotions. Channel customers are all intermediaries in the channels of distribution. In tourism this will most frequently be the tour operator or travel agent.
Hotel owners and airlines will need to promote their services to tour operators. As well as promoting their service to end users. Similarly, tour operators will want to ensure that travel agents sell their services in a positive manner, and will therefore want to advertise to the agents the benefits of selling the tours perhaps inn terms of higher commissions, while advertising a totally different set of benefits to the end user. This type of promotion is referred to as `into the pipeline’ promotion. The crucial task is to asses accurately the needs ad want of intermediaries, as opposed to actual consumers and, design promotional messages accordingly.
There are a number of promotional tools available to the tourism marketing manager which can be combined to create effective promotional programs. Sales promotion via brochures, point of sale display and even video cassettes play very important roles as does advertising. Visual media is perhaps the only way to advertise tourist destinations properly. Whatever means are used, it is important to focus on the following:-
- Clearly identified segments
- A unique selling proposition
- Well defined target audiences
- Creative use of media and media scheduling to reach audiences; and
- Monitoring and evaluation of promotional effectiveness
Tourism promotional messages should always focus on the benefit attainable by the consumer for choosing a particular resort or a tour operator, selection of attractive market segments at the earlier segmentation stage should lead to greater chances of choosing the right message to target.