Market research is essential to track and respond to changing market needs and support sustainable development and marketing of tourism. Understanding your ‘visitor market’ and what influences their holiday planning decisions and behaviours includes:
Understanding Destination Choice
When planning a holiday and choosing a destination, a visitor’s decision-making process can be influenced by a wide range of factors. A visitor’s preference for a destination may be influenced by:
Destination Management Tip
Monitoring social trends can provide insights into future consumer trends and give your business or destination a competitive advantage.
- Marketing variables – product, price, promotion and place;
- Traveller variables – previous experience, demographics, lifestyle and values;
- Travel purpose and motivations;
- Destination awareness, image and brand.
Destination managers, marketers and planners need to understand the relative importance of destination and product characteristics to a visitor’s holiday decision-making and destination choice. Understanding what a visitor seeks in terms of destination products and experiences allows for targeted marketing and promotional programs and the development of relevant products, infrastructure and facilities. Positively Wellington Tourism’s research program actively monitors visitor satisfaction and visitation behaviours to assess visitor preferences. While visitor surveys can provide an insight into the visitor’s destination choices, the application of a consumer choice modelling process can provide a detailed analysis of a visitor’s preference for one destination over another. There are a number of reports produced by the Sustainable Tourism Cooperative Research Centre relating to visitor choice modelling for destinations and tourism products.
Understanding changing consumer behaviours
Changing consumer behaviours have a significant effect on how a destination is managed and developed over time. Research has shown a number of key trends and changes in consumer behaviour and preferences over the last decade including increasing usage of the internet and online purchasing of travel products, increasing preference for overseas travel with the introduction of low-cost airlines, increasing demand for experiential holidays and the trend towards shorter holidays.
Changes in consumer behaviour may be influenced by demographics, economic trends or social and environmental factors. Understanding how these changes in behaviour might affect the destination is important to ensure that a destination can respond to these changes effectively. Trend forecasting undertaken at a national or global level and visitor surveys at a destination level can provide an insight into changes and trends in consumer behaviour. Regional data collection programs such as those developed by the Discovery Coast and Noosa regions have assisted in decision-making and evaluation processes.