Perceptions of Visitor Relationship Marketing Opportunities by Destination

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Tourism Management 33 (2012) 1281e1285

Contents lists available at SciVerse ScienceDirect

Tourism Management
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/tourman

Research note

Perceptions of visitor relationship marketing opportunities by destination marketers: An importance-performance analysis Samantha Murdy, Steven Pike*
School of Advertising, Marketing & Public Relations, Queensland University of Technology, 2 George Street, Brisbane, Queensland 4001, Australia

a r t i c l e i n f o
Article history: Received 14 November 2011 Accepted 28 November 2011 Keywords: Customer relationship marketing CRM Visitor relationship marketing VRM Destination marketing organisations Importance-performance analysis

a b s t r a c t
Customer relationship marketing (CRM) initiatives are increasingly being adopted by businesses in the attempt to enhance brand loyalty and stimulate repeat purchases. The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which destination marketing organisations (DMOs) around the world have developed a visitor relationship marketing (VRM) orientation. The proposition underpinning the study is that maintaining meaningful dialogue with previous visitors in some markets would represent a more efficient use of resources than above the line advertising to attract new visitors. Importance-performance analysis was utilised to measure destination marketers’ perceptions of the efficacy of CRM initiatives, and then rate their own organisation’s performance across the same range of initiatives. A key finding was that mean importance was higher than perceived performance for every item. While the small sample limits generalisability, in general there are appears to be a lack of strategic intent by DMOs to invest in VRM. Crown Copyright Ó 2011 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction Customer relationship marketing (CRM) has become one of the fastest growing practices within business (Raman, Wittmann, & Rauseo, 2006). CRM is a customer-orientated and cross-functional business strategy process integrated with business technology (Goldenberg, 2000), rather than merely a software package (Harker & Egan, 2006), to enhance an organisation’s ability to create ongoing relationships with high yield customers, which is considered more cost-effective than a series of one-off transactions with new customers. The key goals are to create and enhance brand loyalty, increase customer retention, and stimulate repeat purchases (Chang, Yen, Ku, & Young, 2002; Marchand, 2006; Ozgener & Iraz, 2006). By increasing customer loyalty, value is added to the life of the customer (Beaujean, Davidson, & Madge, 2006) and reduces the overall cost of marketing (Ozgener & Iraz, 2006). This reduced cost is emphasised by the suggestion that it is at least five times more cost-effective for an organisation to retain existing customers, as opposed to continually acquiring new ones (Ozgener & Iraz, 2006). Of interest to this study was the proposition by Pike (2007) that maintaining meaningful dialogue with previous visitors is a more

* Corresponding author. E-mail address: sd.pike@qut.edu.au (S. Pike).

efficient use of resources for destination marketers than traditional above the line advertising to attract a continual stream of new visitors. This is an important consideration given most destination marketing organisations (DMO) must use scarce resources for marketing communications across an increasingly fragmented media space, in multiple and diverse markets of interest to stakeholders, and in ways that effectively positions the destination against an almost unlimited range of direct and indirect competitors. Pike’s qualitative research explored the extent to which regional tourism organisations (RTO) in Australia were employing visitor relationship marketing (VRM) initiatives in their most important domestic market. While all the senior management of the RTOs acknowledged the potential for VRM in the future,...
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