Tourism marketing – definition and importance

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You go on holidays every now and then, don’t you? I am sure you do. I am curious about what impacts on your selection of a destination. Perhaps, someone told you about it. Perhaps, you have seen adverts on different types of media. You might know many organisations and individuals who promote destinations and attractions within through advertising or other forms of tourism marketing. So, let’s have a brief discussion on tourism marketing.

Definition of tourism marketing

According to the Chartered Institute of Marketing (2003), a leading authority of marketing in the UK, marketing is the management process responsible for identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer requirements profitably. This is a definition of marketing in general which makes customers the focal point.

Tourism marketing takes a look at how individuals and organisations make use of marketing strategies and techniques to promote their services to tourists. Marketing as a process has four main stages, namely organisational audit, marketing strategy, marketing mix decisions, and implementation. This article looks into tourism marketing in line with that process.

Organisational audit

Like organisations in all other industries, tourism organisations also have some sorts of strengths and weaknesses. An organisational audit looks into the strengths and weaknesses of an organisation. It also looks into opportunities and threats facing the organisation. A number of tools can be used for organisational audit e.g. SWOT, and PESTEL. Let us consider some strengths and weaknesses of British Airways (BA). BA is one of the world’s leading premium airlines. It has 90+ years of industry experience and has a strong brand image. However, over reliance on the UK market is one of the weaknesses of BA.

Marketing Strategy

Marketing strategy is about dealing with three very important issues i.e. segmentation, targeting and positioning. Segmentation is the process of defining and subdividing a large market into identifiable segments. There are different variables for market segmentation e.g. demographic, geographic, and psychographic. British Airways often uses demographic variables for market segmentation. It targets different types of customer segments for its four levels of services: economy, premium economy, executive and first class. It positions itself as a full service global airline, offering year-round low fares (British Airways, 2017).

Marketing mix decisions

As you know there are 7Ps that constitute marketing mix i.e. product, price, place, promotion, people, process, and physical evidence. Tourism organisations must have right services available at right places to be sold at a right price. British Airways sell flight tickets at a reasonable price. Customers can book tickets through call centres, online websites and travel agents. BA has used both electronic and print media for promotional purposes. For example, TV channels, the Internet, magazines, and billboards have been used for appealing advertisements over the years.


Once a marketing plan is developed, the next stage is implementation and control. Organisations need to ensure that they have made the right decisions concerning marketing strategies and marketing mix techniques. They also need to ensure that appropriate resources e.g. time, people, and money are available to implement the marketing plan.

Importance of tourism marketing

Tourism marketing may sometimes be challenging and expensive particularly when attracting both national and international tourists. Therefore, marketers need to fully understand their customers’ needs and desires so that they can devise an appropriate marketing plan. Tourism contributes a lot to a country’s GDP. Consequently, countries around the world invest in tourism development and promote attractions to tourists. Appropriate tourism marketing strategies and techniques help countries and organisations achieve their business objectives.

The article publication date: 29 July 2017

Further Reading/References

British Airways (2017) about British Airways, available at (Accessed 27 July 2017)

Lancaster, G. & Reynolds, P. (2004) Marketing, 1st Edition, Palgrave Macmillan

Photo credit: Pixabay

Author: Jo David

Jo David has years of experience both in the UK and abroad. He writes regularly online on a variety of topics. He has a keen interest in business, hospitality and tourism management.