Monday, August 9, 2010
WANTED: TOURISM MARKETING FOR THE MIDDLE EAST
...and I know just the company that fits the bill.
THE NEED. The Middle East and surrounding region has long been a cultural gold mine for potential tourists, but the area has largely remained untapped. The standard reasons have included political and social unrest fueled by differences in cultural and religious norms.
Moreover, the problem is largely one of perception, fueled by Western and world media. The distance between the U.S. and the Middle East is also an integral challenge, along with unfamiliarity with the region, and a dearth of direct flights into certain cities and regions.
Overcoming these hurdles takes a veteran marketer fluent in both Western and Middle Eastern culture and society. Unique Image, Inc. brings a skilled approach in bridging these cultures, and moreover, uniting them through tourism marketing.
Overall, travel tourism drives economies, helping to build a rich base of not only tourism dollars, but a positive and widespread public relations image for cities, countries and regions.
APPROACH. Unique Image recognizes that tourism is comprised of numerous components, including transportation, accommodation, food and beverage service, entertainment, shops, special events and overall aesthetics. Given this, various tourism organizations, agencies and businesses are coordinated to work as teams to package and promote tourism opportunities in their area. These aligned efforts achieve the greatest results.
- Target Markets. Attempting to appeal to every potential tourist is a losing game. What varying tourists search for in destinations is specific and often times quite detailed. Focusing on niche market elements helps narrow a message, while greatly enhancing its receptivity. Target markets may include a specific brand of tourist, a geographic region, or other groupings of preferences. Learning where tourists traditionally travel and why they travel is also crucial. One market may prefer historical destinations; another may demand economical pricing at the cost of comfort and luxury; another may require full-service resorts.
Unique Image also measures current awareness of tourism markets and their specific attractions. With that information, promotional goals and campaign themes can be designed. Through these, specific images and attitudes about destinations can be built. Follow-up marketing determines if those messages indeed registered and approaches are then refined.
- Advertising Media. Print advertising can reach more than 25,000 group travel organizers keyed in part to the Middle Eastern region. Custom publications can also be created, along with group guides and resource guides for specific cities, countries and regions. Content is designed to complement advertising messages. Electronic marketing is also essential, including email campaigns and web site banners.
- Public Relations. Public relations efforts excel in overall promotion of a region or specific location or attraction. Using free public exposure through radio, television and newspapers, attitudes and perceptions about a specific destination can be shifted.
- Evaluation Plan. Measurable goals are created, against which the questions, “Did it work” or “Did it not work” are answered. From there, marketing efforts can be further refined and calibrated.