11.27.2010

Tourism Marketing

I read a research study that was conducted to find out information about tourists’ demographic information, the booking the method they used (online versus offline) and what hotel attributes are important to them.  Tourism is interesting to me because of the local as well national and international effects on the economy.  With consumer confidence low in 2009, the tourism industry declined globally.  However, here in Wheeling, West Virginia, our tourism industry remained an industry-high with occupancy rates at an unprecedented 85%-95% when other larger markets struggled.  The research in this paper will definitely be beneficial to us in our small market, which I will explore later in this post.

Methodology
Surveys were conducted to in-house guests at three five-star properties in Croatia.  The sample of guests were those who stayed at the Excelsior, Bellevue and Dubrovnik Palace hotels during April and May 2009. All are situated in Dubrovnik which is one of the main tourist centers in Croatia. The questionnaires were distributed in hotel rooms and generated a total of 181 responses.  (Crnojevacet et al., 2010). The surveys were administered in English. 

The surveys were divided into two sections.  The first section was meant to discover demographic information of the guests including age, gender, nationality, and the reason for their visit, i.e. leisure or business.  The second part attempted to find out what hotel attributes are important to travelers including the availability of broadband Internet. 

Type of Data Analysis Used
They used descriptive analysis in the surveys.  Descriptive analysis helps get a picture of the respondents and who they are.  Statistics include frequencies, percentages, measures of central tendency (i.e., mode, median, mean) and dispersion (i.e., range, variance, standard deviation). (WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism, 2010). Noting the limitations in the sampling method, the reasons they cite for using this are 1) because they did not want to make the surveys too long because they thought the hotel guests would not want to complete a long questionnaire and 2) was to focus on areas that have not been previously researched.  Additionally they note “small number of constructs and limited data from respondents was also the reason for applying only simple descriptive statistics although in further research advanced modeling techniques (like regression and structural equation modeling) should be considered to explain the causal relationships between the studied dimensions and factors. “ (Cronjevacet et al, 2010).

The Internet has become a powerful tool for eTourism.  Tourists use sites as broad as Google or as narrowly focused as Expedia to make travel plans. Consumers have become more sophisticated and discriminate in taste and the tourism industry must respond.  Research like this one is invaluable in helping National Tourists Organizations (NTOs) and Convention and Visitors’ Bureaus; they are essential pieces of information in helping these agencies design marketing plans.  Additionally, research like this can help hotel properties adjust the type and of level services they provide.  With a strong tourist industry here in Wheeling, we can (and now will) use this type of research to strength our local industry and the local economy overall.  It could further be used to find out tourists' spending patterns, travel method, frequency of travel, restaurant preferences, and to gauge customer service. 

Here is the link is below and the study: http://www.google.com/search?q=eTourism%3A+A+comparison+of+Online+and+Offline+Bookings+and+theImportance+of+Hotel+Attributes&sourceid=ie7&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&ie=&oe=

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