The tourism industry has a high level of instability as it's influenced by political changes, seasons and the economy. However, a brand-marketing strategy can improve stability over time for a tourism company. The strategy may involve destination branding, by which the company works to develop a specific perception of a place. A local community could also develop its own destination brand in partnership with tour companies. Alternatively, a tourism company could develop a brand for the types of experiences it markets, which may take place in diverse locations. The company could then develop specific branding strategies for each place.
Maintaining an Image
Developing a clear brand helps a company or destination stand out as a distinct venue and to understand its own most attractive qualities. A number of U.S. cities have realized they needed an "image makeover" because travelers did not view them as tourist destinations, as Roger Yu wrote in a 2010 article in "USA Today." When the company or local community decides what makes it distinct and what travelers would enjoy most about the location, it can focus on promoting those qualities.
Dominating a Market
After developing its brand, the tourism company can more efficiently target potential customers. Rather than wasting money and time marketing its tour packages to a general audience, the company will advertise in ways that will reach its target market. The target market, in turn, will more frequently encounter ads for the company, which helps the market perceive the company as a leader in the field. Likewise, as the company focuses on what it can provide for a particular demographic, like 20-somethings or adventure travelers, the company can provide more for that group. With some groups, such as young, affluent travelers, these marketing efforts will have lifetime value, meaning travelers are likely to return if they enjoyed their trip.
Benefitting Local Communities
Tourism that provides a steady income to local communities over time tends to have a more positive effect on those communities. If a large influx of tourists led the community to create new facilities and programs and then tourism suddenly plummeted, local people might be left in debt or jobless. Striving to create a successful marketing brand will help locals benefit in the long run, assuming local people profit from the industry, are included in significant roles and the tourism is culturally and environmentally sustainable.
In 2007, Santa Rosa changed its slogan from the bland "Come Visit" to the more distinct "Place of Plenty," playing up its thriving agriculture and other business industries. A number of Asian destinations such as Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong have developed branding strategies centered around their distinct cuisines, an increasingly popular trend, say Liping A. Cai et al in the book "Tourism Branding." Tour companies may brand themselves as offering ecologically conscious outdoor adventures or volunteering experiences that help people and lead to cultural understanding. Companies specializing in luxury travel may brand themselves as pampering travelers with the ultimate spa experience.