INTERNET MARKETING COMMUNICATION STRATEGIES BEYOND WEBSITES AN OVERVIEW OF DMOs IN EUROPE

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18 Νοε 2013 (πριν από 3 χρόνια και 9 μήνες)

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1

Iva Slivar, Msc

Online marketing coordinator at Maistra d.d.

52210 Rovinj

Phone: +385(0)52800333 Fax: +385(0)52800309

E
-
mail address:
iva.slivar@maistra.hr


Danijela Križman Pavlović,
Ph. D.,
Associate

Profess
or

J
uraj Dobrila

University of

Pula,

Department of Economics and Tourism “Dr. Mijo Mirković”

52100 Pula

Phone: +385(0)52

377 012 Fax: +385(0)52
377013

E
-
mail address:
dkrizman@efpu.hr





INTERNET MARKETING COMMUNICA
TION
STRATEGIES BEYON
D WEBSITES


AN OVERVIEW OF
DMOs

IN EUROPE



ABSTRACT


The majority of internet marketing studies focus on content analyses of
websites
. T
he present
study

investigates internet marketing communication
strategies

used by selected DMOs i
n Europe
that can’t be evaluated
by
observing
websites;

t
herefore, a survey was released
.
The population of the
study
includes

two regional DMOs
of six European

countries each,

situated
by the sea
, as well as all
Croatian
regional DMOs
also
by the sea
.

The

survey
consists of

five sections: sales of
destination

products, websites
analytics
and
related
communication metrics used,

communication strategy
in general, communication
strategy

on
o
ther
we
bsites/
platforms and digital
marketing.
The results show that
DMOs are
rarely

involved in sales of
destination
products

and
more
oriented to traditional, offline
communication
strategies

rather than online
;

l
eaving
thus
,
quite

a lot
of room for
improvement

in terms of
internet marketing
tools and
techniques

use
d

and
the
ir

optimisation
.




Keywords: internet marketin
g, communication strategy, DMOs
, Europe,
Croatia






2

1.

INTRODUCTION



Marketing communication process is the exchange of information in order to
achieve certain goals

(Kesić, 1997, 93)
.

Its aim is mainly foc
used on
generating

and

maintaining demand
as well as
positioning products and/or
services.


Key elements of marketing communications are: sender, recipient, message,
communication channel and effects.

Communication channels are
in most
cases
media, althoug
h it may be a salesman.

M
edia

which allow to reach a
wide audience in different geographical areas, are called mass media (
e.g.

radio, television and newspapers), and media that enable two
-
way
communication such as internet or telephone, are known as inter
active media.



Destination

Management Organisations (
DMOs
)

in their addressing
the

market use different strategies. In today’s business environment, a special
place among means of communicat
ion

with the

tourist market belongs to
i
nternet. The characterist
ics of tourism product, such as intangibility, on one
hand, and the possibility of multimedia presentation of information, on the
other hand, have made it a very convenient and popular means of
communication
with

the tourism market. There are many advantag
es of
internet in relation to traditional media: reduction of costs of information
exchange, access to information from anywhere at any time, new
opportunities of market segmentation (one to one) and the adaptation to
needs of each cus
tomer, a greater flex
ibility of shaping
the marketing mix,
more consumer involvement in the communication process, simpler
measurement
of

effectiveness of selected marketing communication
strategies etc.


DMOs are
today faced with
a
functional and legal
transition

in order to
become
more oriented towards satisfying customer needs. This refers mainly
to the provision of accommodation booking services and sales of other
touri
sm

products

such as
event
tickets.
Launching a website is considered
to
be
the first step in internet mark
eting, as it provides DMOs with a virtual
presence.
For most companies internet marketing communication strategies
include three key steps

(Chaffey et al.,

2006, 133
)
: gain
ing

visitors to their
websites
,

keeping them online with the purpose
of goals
achiev
ement through
the website (
e.g.

increase

of bookings, enquiries etc.
)

and retaining them.


The purpose of this study
was to research
e
-
communi
cation strategies that
can’t be evaluated by observing websites
,

used by regional DMOs

in Croatia

3

and
its competi
ng countries.
The research instrument was therefore, a
structured questionnaire.


This

article is composed of six parts. P
art two “Theoretical
Framework

,

covers two sections:
the

R
eview of professional solutions and website
metrics
” and
the “
Review of i
nternet marketing communication tool and
techniques of internet marketing communication on other
platforms”.

Part
three

deals with research methodology through the following sections:
“Population and sample

definition”, “Data collection”

and “Limitations”.

In
t
he
fourth

part
research results are presented, while the fifth

provides an
insight into implications of the research. The
sixth and last part is the
c
onclusion.




2.
THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK




2.1.
Review of professional solutions and website metrics


Professional websites are usually managed thought a CMS (Content
Management System). A CMS is an interface that allows content
management of dynamic websites through which a website can be updated
without

practically
any

technical knowledge about the cod
e
a

website is
written

in
. Administrative interface is accessed via a web browser.



Another professional solution is CRM (Consumer Relationship Management)
software. It enables management over the process of collection and
systematization of data about cu
rrent and future customers

(Chaffey,

2008
)
.
Of course, without any strategic approach, there is no point in using one.


There are two ways of collecting metrics and data on the use of
a

web
site
.

One way
includes
web analytic services
which use cookies and

a code placed
on the
web
site. Today
this

is
a far more popular method.
The

first method of
collecting data about user
behaviour

is also called

tagging


of pages, based
on the fact the

code
(usually JavaScript)
is placed on
web
site

page
.

The
code’s
functi
on is to inform the third party web analytics provider when the
page is loaded in the browser

(Ružić et al., 2009, 144.)
.

One of the most
popular website analytics
solutions

based on the principle of

tagging


pages
is the free Google Analytics. The second

method is based on collecting
metrics and data of websites
via log entries


data obtained by loading data
from a server

(
Hofacker,

2001, 137
)
.
Some

of the most commonly web
analytic metrics include:


4

-

Visits


the number of times visitors were on site
(unique
visitors’

session).
A session lasts 20 to 30

minutes. I
f a user stays on a site longer than 30
minut
es it will start a new session
, which will

be

count
ed

as two visits, but
just one visitor.

-

Visitors



t
he number of unique users who visit the
we
b
site. Although it is
actually the number of unique devices from which the website is accessed.

-

T
ime on site


the time visitors spend on
the web
site.

-

Bounce rate


the percentages of visits that view only one page or lasted
very short (
usually
less

than five seconds) after which users
navigate away
from
the
web
site.

-

Number of
pages
visited


refers to the number of pages that were visited
during one visit.

-

Goals


a goal may be a visit to a certain page, download
of
a brochure, a
booking
, any
completed action that is set up to be tracked
.

-

Offline website conversion



refers to the monitoring of offline actions
taken by user
s

who ha
d

previously visited the website. Conversion usually
involves sales, but
it may also include

e
-
mail

or
fax
enqui
ries
,
request
s

to
send brochure
s

or just phone call
s
.


It is important to
emphasize

that the purpose of a web analytics tool is not
only in the choice of a good web analytics

product and
data it provides, rather
in
the interpretation

of data

and actions
taken upon.



2.2.
Review of internet marketing communication tool and techniques
of
internet marketing communication on other platforms


After
the

review of professional solutions

and web analytics metrics
,

internet
marketing communication tools and techn
iques investigated in this study
are
presented.
M
ost authors
apply the old five

instruments communication mix to
online communication, although, some strategies
, like SEO

(Search Engine
Optimization
)
,

explained below,
may not fit in
to

this

division.
Anyway
, i
n
this review of literature the five instrument
s

communication mix
concept
will
be used.
The focus on most tools and techniques reviewed in this study is on
those used on other platforms, not on DMO’s own
official
websites;

e
-
mail
marketing campaigns, c
ommunity websites etc.


P
opular way
s

of drivi
ng traffic (or visitors) to
websites
are

search engines
(like Google, Yahoo, AOL

etc.
)
.
SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

includes

specific strategies and tactics
related to driving visitors from search engines
to
websites.
SEO includes all activities and tactics carried out in order to get
web pages listed as higher in natural/organic results (unpaid) of web search

5

engines for targeted keywords. SEO is part of SEM
,

an internet marketing
strategy including

also

paid

activities like paid inclusion marketing or
advertising on search engines in order to improve visibility in search engines.
One of the main benefits of SEO, compared to most internet marketing
strategies, is the low cost investments. Compared to other SEM

strategies,
SEO is the cheapest. It is important to stress that SEO is not a non paid
activity, as most authors define it, rather a low cost one a
imed at good
positioning in
organic or natural (
non
-
paid
)

search engine page
results. For
instance, gaining i
ncoming links to
websites known as link building (one of
the key SEO tactics)

implies

investments in
e.g.
, content quality,
copywriting, translations, webmasters and various experts thus requiring
know
-
how, time, effort and/or money.
Other paid only SEM ac
tivities will be
reviewed as part of advertising.



The following tools and techniques, part of advertising as one of the five
instruments of

marketing communication w
ere investigated in this study

(
Nothnagel, 2006,
177


178
)
:

-

Banner advertising


Ban
ners are the counterpart of print ads online. In
most cases are referred to ads in form of rectangular horizontally placed.
In a
broader sense, other ads are also called banners.
A classic tactic associated
with them is a banner exchange (
which
is

also

ass
ociated with link
building
).
The
re are banners of various sizes and,

based on
the
ir

dimensions
,

the
Intera
ctive Advertising Bureau (IAB) of USA h
as

standardized them into
eight
categories.
For example, sidebars or skyscraper are very narrow,
vertically pla
ced ads.
They are perceived to be
more effective than traditional
banner ads,
simply because are longer visible
even when users scroll the
page, while horizontal ads
easily disappear from the screen. Banners can be
written in HTML or another language, or b
e
in a form of an image. They can
be
static or animated (dynamic)
. The latter are part of
rich media
website
content
, or in simple words,

content that moves


(
Woodman, 2007, 13
)
.
Floating ads and tickers are ads that follow the user while browsing the sit
e,
usually from five to thirty seconds.
The most irritant of its kind,
are certainly
those
ads that

follow
users the longer
, so it is necessary to find
the
“x”/“close” button

or
the

statement that the ad will no
longer
follow

the user.
F
loating ads are dee
med to be
more
effective th
an
skyscraper
s
, according to
click
-
through
-
rate
s
, and in terms of brand awareness
, they

definitely
do
attract

attention and can reach the size of the entire screen

(Brain, 2005)
.

-

E
-
mail marketing



Under this tool will be inve
stigated
other e
-
mail
marketing campaign
s done on behalf of DMOs. E
-
mail and discussion lists
are
one of the oldest
i
nternet service
s. The latter
are based on the principle
that each subscriber can send e
-
mail to all other users as opposed to the
newslette
r.
Newsletters
too

are based on mailing lists (
lists of contact

6

information of users or subscribers, where data on the mail address

is,

of
course, indispensable
)
. Mailing lists can be rented or
owned (in
-
house lists)

and

the latter are of course more desir
able. In order to attract new contacts

to

mailing list
s one can use
the
referral

marketing technique towards existing
subscribers

(offering subscribers something in return
for

bringing new
subscribers to join the mailing list)
. Advertising on other
compani
es’ /
organizations


e
-
mail marketing campaigns can be in the form of banner ads
and similar, editorial comment, sponsored article, etc.

-

Paid inclusion in search engines or directories


Some
search engines allow
new
entr
ies
in the index or even in the s
earch results for selected keywords
at
a
charge.

R
esearch
es show
that search engines
which
do not accept paid
listings
in their organic results
are usually more relevant for users, and
therefore more frequently used
.

-

Interpolated ads


a
ppear in
their

ow
n window, and there are two kinds: pop
up (ad
s
appear above the content user
s

are

viewing, the pop
-
up window) and
the second,
less intrusive, pop under (
ads
appear when user
s

close

the
browser window). Newer browsers have built
-
in functionality that
blocks

pop
-
ups. Similarly
to

banners
, interpolated ads can be animated. W
hen the
pop up window appears in a video
, this

is called unicast.

-

Advertising on search engines


advertisers pay to have their text ads
appear on search engines when s
earching for speci
fic keywords (
e.g.

include
G
oogle Adwords, Yahoo Search Marketing

programs etc.).

-

Contextual advertising


Ads appear to users in accordance
to

contents of
the website users viewed. To marketers
,

Google’s platform is known as
display network or
contextu
al advertising within Google Adwords,
to

we
bsite
owners (where ads appear) as

Google Adsense network.

Google’s new
variation of this kind of advertising is called “Remarketing” and is based on
behavioural techniques, meaning that ads are displayed to users

according
their past behaviour (content of pages they visited previously). This way a
user might view sport ads
on a non
-
sport related website, as opposed to the
technique of contextual advertising.

-

Other forms of advertising through links (online partn
erships)


T
his last
category includes all
link building
techniques, such as online sponsorship, or
sponsorship of content, affiliate marketing and banner exchange and links.
Sponsorship is usually

tied

to a particular section of the website or, more
rarel
y,
to

a topic of e
-
mail

marketing
, and implies the existence of a
relationship between advertisers and
the
content that is sponsored. Sponsors
tend to have greater visibility than other advertisers

on the site.
S
ponsorship
are sometimes classified as part
of

public relations, given its broader
communication function of advertising. Links can be text
ual or

graphical and
depending on the model of coope
ration between advertisers and w
ebsites

7

where
the

ad is placed, it is possible again to talk about sponsorshi
p banners
or banners on affiliate sites, etc.


Among PR tools and techniques, the following were
investigated

(
Ružić et
al.
,

2009, 233


237 and Nothnagel, 2006, 110


115
)
:

-

Online events (virtual events)


using webcast and streaming technology it
is
possible to
have

various events (
e.g.

concerts) available

to the public

thought
i
nternet.

Online events include online seminars, virtual meetings and
other types of events.


-

Viral market
ing


It b
egins by
spreading “
viral


content via e
-
mail and
expands
on social media platforms.

Its

controlled form starts with the first
contact
of
an organization to the audience, but its essence is
in
users
sharing

advertising content to each other.

Viral marketing
is
therefore classified as
a
PR

technique, as
it encoura
ges

commu
nication

from mouth to mouth

.

-

Blog


I
nexpensive,
until the advent of social networks very
popu
lar and
unconventional,

blog stands for
weblog

and indicates a personal on
line
diary.

May be published on

own

website
s

or blog service
s
.


-

Social m
edia marketing


It

uses web 2.0
platforms as well as one own, to
create virtual communities.

Web 2.0. is “
the second generation of web
communities and hosted services that enable the cooperation and content
exchange among web users of such services


(
Carn
et, 2009.)
.
Social
networks (like Facebook and Myspace) have become synonyms for social
media
.


-

Adding content

to specific
web 2.0.

services


T
here are several services
that allow upload of content (
e.g.

press releases, multimedia).

One such
service is
WorldPress and among best known to a wider audience there are
YouTube

(video sharing website)

and

Flickr

(
photo

sharing website)
. Other
web 2.0.

web
sites worth mentioning
include

social rating services, where
users upload news
contents e.g. articles
, while

other members vote for
them.

Social bookmarking websites are web services that allow consumers to
access their choice of your
favourite

pages (bookmarks or
favourites

in the
language of Microsoft) from any device to access the Internet. Users of these
ser
vices can viewed which pages are most popular among
other
users of
this
service.



E
-
coupons, discounts and special offers, contests and sweepstakes, gifts and
free stuff

as well as games

are
among tools and techniques of sales promotion
included in this s
tudy.
They are explained above:

-

E
-
coupons, discounts and special offers
-

E
-
coupons are certificates that
allow the use of a discount on a purchase.

E
-
coupon websites are specialized
websites where users may (download and) print e
-
coupons.

Discounts and
special offers are the traditional form of encouraging purchase in

8

tourism.

D
iscounts are price
-
focused deals, while special offers usually
contain a package of products/services added to the primary product being
sold.


-

Contests and sweepstakes
-

Contes
ts are based on specific abilities of users
(
e.g.

a photographic competition)

and the prize is
received

based on an
assessment of a jury. Sweepstakes contain an element of luck.

Typical
prizes
in travel

include stays, packages, tickets etc. As is the case
with the sharing
of free stuff, contests and sweepstakes are also techniques that are used to
attract visitors to the site

and the occasional use of such activities can
contribute to and returning visitors

on
the site

(
Sweeney, 2006, 365
)
.


-

Sharing of gi
fts and free stuff

-

This category differs from the above
because users are given something for free without having to take part
in

contest
s

or

any

game of chance.

Tourist

guides, culinary recipes, e
-
books

etc
.
may be donated. The t
rigger word online

is


f
ree

.

-

Games
-

Those are
recently become increasingly popular communication
tool
s

especially when addressing a younger audience.

The
ir

primary function
is to entertain visitors, of course,
the side effect is

stimulating interest and
loyalty to particular
brands

(
Schimp, 2003, 576
)
.

Numerous applications on
social networks are games, tests, etc.



Personal selling has no application online. Online booking system
s

may be
considered
its
counterpart online.
A DMO, besides having its own booking
system, may als
o use intermediary’s online booking systems to sell
destination products online.


Customisation and personalisation are two techniques
part of
direct
marketing communication included in this study.
As mentioned previously,
internet allows the customisatio
n of marketing messages to the level of an
individual or a very narrow segment. The emphasis of the concept of
individualization is to use customer information for further communication,
which is implemented with the support of CRM software in order to mai
ntain
existing and winning new customers. Very often the terms of customisation
and personalisation are used as synonyms. Bo
th refer to “
the offering of
products and services for consumers, information or informat
ion about
products and services”
(
Mulvenna

et al.,

2000, 124
)
.

The difference is in
control over the process of adjustment held by the user

(
Nielsen, 2009 and
Nunes, 2001, 32
-
34
)
. Customisation is a user
-
initiated and user
-
driven
process

(
Treiblmaier, 2004, 2
)
.

With customization, users can modify
themselves, according to their needs, some website content that can be
changed or they can choose among a number of static predefined website
profiles. With personalization users have no control over the s
ystem which
adjusts the content

of their preference
s. In simple words, personalisation is

9

the way of providing users with what they want without having to explicitly
ask them for it.



A variety of devices
are available today to access internet
.

I
t is important
for
DMOs to

include
mobile
, in
ternet TV and r
adio on internet

as

digital

media

in

their
internet marketing communication strategies.



3.
RESEARCH
METHODOLOGY


The goal
of this study was to
determine what

internet marketing
communication

strategies are used by DMO
s

at

a
region
al level in
Croatia
an
d its competing
European
countries.

Given the above objective, the
following is explained:
types of research
undertaken, its
constraints,

population and sample, method of collecting and processing data

and

development of

questionnaire.


DMOs
have

relative
ly late
r than other tourist player

start
ed

to
adopt
information and communication technologies associated with their new,
commercial role.
DMOs

at the regional level have been selected because this
level
is

among the first

in adopting e
-
commerce.


The res
earch is more quantitative nature because most of the investigated
structured items in
the survey

answer the question of

the application of
reviewed

internet marketing communication
tools and techniques. As
the

research instrument
,

a structured questionnai
re was used. In

regard to the
purpose and objectives,
this
research is also descriptive. The author had no
control over the variables in the sense that they could be manipulated. The
survey was conducted once and provides insight into the communica
tion
str
ategy by the DMO at a certain
point in
time
.



3
.1.
Population and sample definition


There are two sample strata: one for overse
as and the other for domestic
DMO
s

at

a

regional level

situated
by

the sea
. The sample of foreign

DMO
s

in
this paper
is system

determined

and includes the following regional DMOs:
Lisbon

and Madeira (Portugal), Catalonia and Balearic Islands (Spain),
Provence
-
Alps
-
French Riviera and Languedoc
-
Roussillon (France),
Tuscan
y

and Friuli Venezia Giulija (Italy),
Peloponnese

and
Athens
-
Attica

(Greece),
Istanbul

and
Antalya

(Turkey). I
n the case of
the domestic

DMOs, the

stratum
covers

all Croatian DMOs at a

regional
level situated by the
sea
:

10

Istarska, Primorsko
-
goranska, Ličko senjska, Zadarska, Šibensko
-
kninska,
Splitsko
-
dalmatinska i
Dubrovačko
-
neretvanska county
.



3
.2.
Data collection


For entering and processing data
M
icrosoft Excel 2003

was used
. The survey
served as method of
obtai
ni
n
g

information that was not possible to
collect by
observing

websites
. The survey consists of 15
questions divided into five
sections (I. Sale
s
, II. Website, III.
S
trategy of communication

in

general, IV.
S
trategy of communicati
on

outside own platform
s

and V. Digital marketing).
Respondents were able to c
omplete the survey online or

in
Microsoft
Word
and submit it electronically or by mail.


Surveys were distributed
by
e
-
mail,
in a

computerized and impersonal way.
The first e
-
mail
sent to DMOs was

informative in nature and structured as a
letter of intent where the recipients of the general e
-
mail add
ress
was
urged to
cede the contact person in their organization dealing with

i
nternet marketing
or marketing. In the second e
-
mail the survey was sent, followed by e
-
mail
reminders and phone calls. Surveys were then sent to specific business e
-
mail
address
es

of persons
, rather than to the organization’s e
-
mail. Some e
-
marketers were discovered thanks to Linkedin and Facebook pages (Tuscany
and Catalonia).


The collection of survey responses began
on

29
th

July 2010 and lasted three
months.


A tot
al of 14
surveys were collected, accounting a response rate
o
f

78
%.

Some of the limitations of
the
structured surveys were a common unanswered
questions or errors, or inappropriate responses. In two cases, Croatian DMOs
did not
understand

the question about frequen
cy of use
of other
e
-
mail
marketing

campaigns
:
they

respon
ded that

those were performed

on daily
basis, which is not very likely.


One of the limitations in data collection
using a

survey

is that surveys issued
in word documents allowed respondents to eas
ily skip questions, while
the
online
version

was designed so that key question required to be answered (the
survey could not be submitted
if

these questions remained unanswered).


Special attention in collecting data through surveys was given to privacy o
f
respondents.
S
ent e
-
mails included a privacy statement where it was pointed

11

o
ut that the survey is anonymous,
that information will be used only for
specified purposes and
data would be
only processed as a
whole
.



3
.3
.

Limitations


The
sample size of
only
14 respondents,

who submitted a questionnaire, is
too small to
allow

generaliz
ation of

results
to be
applied to all regional
DMOs

by

sea in Europe, but still
,

the r
esearch give
s

an insight into the usage
of internet marketing tools and techniques. App
lication of random sampling
is likely to contribute to improving the accuracy of the data for the entire
population.


The rapid development of internet and the opportunities that it provides for
communication with the market are the main reason that, duri
ng replication
of this study, the reviewed tools and techniques will need to be
complemented
with

new ones, which makes this research and data that it
collected, a research of short
-
term validity (it may be considered obsolete,
immediately after its comple
tion).


T
he

evolutionary dimension
of

internet marketing tools and techniques

was

not investigated
.
Another l
imitation of the research
is the

lack of
knowledge
in terms of
concepts and classification of internet marketing

by respondents.
It is

therefore r
ecommended for future research
to use guided
survey
s

so the
examiner could

clarify ambiguous terms (
e.g.

too low

perc
entage of the
DMO that use CMS
is probably a reflection of
ignorance of
terminology).


Furthermore, to determine the

effectiveness of comm
unication
,
it is ideal to
correlate

it
with physical and financial performance, which
was

not done due
to different ways of measuring success of
DMOs
marketing campaigns, or
rather because
of low
measurement
practice
in general.



4.
RESULTS


T
he results
of the survey are presented section by section.

I.

Section: Sales of destination tourism products

Out of 14 DMOs included in the study, only 4 (28,57%) perform sales of
destination tourism products. Besides accommodation, tickets for active
vacations, nationa
l parks, cultural tours as well as taxi voucher are being
sold.



12

II.

Section: Websites analytics and related communication metrics used

Analytics

website
solutions

are used by 13 DMOs (92
,86%), meaning that
just one DMO

who has
established

a basic internet p
resence
through

a
website, doesn’t use one. The free Google Analytics web analytic tool is the
most frequently used (61,54%), while other tools record just one frequency of
use each, and those are: Web trends, Wysistat and Log Analyzer.
Two DMO
s

fail to
re
spon
d.



“Visits/v
isitors” (11 DMOs respectively 78,57%) and “
p
age views
” (9 DMOs
respectively 64,29%) are the most frequently used metrics to measure the
efficiency of communication strategies. Those are followed by “time on site”
(9 DMOs respectively 64,
29%), “bounce rate” (6 DMOs respectively
42,86%), goals (4 DMOs, 28,57%),

offline web site conversion


(1 DMO
respectively 7,14%). In each of the above mentioned metrics, one response in
missing. It would be interesting to get a deeper insight in the kind

of goals
DMO have set to track. The same applies to offline website conversion.


III.

Section: Communication strategy in general

Only one DMO (7,14%) tracks sales of destination tourism product

by
tourism providers

(
e.g.

hotel)
generated by
customers that had

previously
visited DMOs websites.
Operationally
,

this feedback of generated sales that a
DMO can take credit
for
,

is carried out using promotional codes visitors
insert
themselves

in online booking systems of accommodation providers.
None of them is abl
e to connect t
his situation to a step earlier
: know
which
marketing campaign led to the DMO website, then to the

hotel website and
finally resulted
in a sale
.

Respondents where ask to rate the importance of the
implementation of such a system in term of ma
rketing communication
strategy optimisation. The average score is 4,29 on a scale of 1 (min.) out of
5 (max.) based on 7 answers.




Out of 5 marketing communication mix instruments, all respondents
have
formalised
plans for advertising, 10 (71,43%)
publi
c

relations
, 4 (28,57%) for

direct marketing and 3 (21,43%) for sales promotion and personal selling
each.


The average percent of budget spent on online co
mmunication is 28,80

based
on 11 answers.


Within promotional campaigns performed, all DMOs indica
te that they
include their websites addresses.



13

SEO
and CMS are used by eight DMOs in total.
Only
three

DMOs use CRM,
while customisation and personalisation are used by one DMO each.


IV.

Section: Communication strategy on other websites/platforms

The answe
r
s

to the question of tools and techniques use
d on other websites
and platforms as well as frequency of use and importance

are

presented in the
table

1
.



14

Table
1
.

Frequency and importance of u
se of
internet marketing
communication

tools and
techniques
according to

selected DMOs in Europe in 2010

*Remark: percentages may not add up to 100 due to rounding



Technique

/ tool

Daily

Weekly

Monthly

Once a year

Never

N.A.

Importance

Banner advertising

7

(50%)

1
(7
%)

4

(29%
)

1

(7
%)

1

(7

%)

1

(7%)

3,7
7

E
-
mail marketing
-

not
your own

2

(14
%)

2

(
14
%)

3

(21
%)

2

(14
%)

4

(28%)

1

(7
%)


3.36

Paid inclusion on
search

engines

and directories

1

(7
%)

2

(14
%)

0


3

(21
%)

7

(50%)

1

(7
%)

3,00

Pop up, pop under

1

(7
%)

0

(14%)

4

(29
%)

2

(14
%)

6

(43
%)

1

(7
%)

3,00

Advertising on search
engines (
e.g.

Google
A
dwords)

7

(50%)

1

(7%)

2

(14
%)

1

(7%)

3

(21
%)

0

4,33

Other forms of
advertising using links
(content sponsorships
banner exchanges)

2

(14
%)

1

(7
%)

5

(36
%)

1

(7
%)

3

(21%)

2

(14
%)

3,5
5

Contextual adverti
sing
on

website networks (
e.g.

on other websites with
in
Google Adwords
campaigns)

1

(7
%)

0

5

(3
6
%)

4

(29
%)

2

(14
%)

2

(14
%)

3,25

Online
coupons

/discounts/special offers
on other websites

0

2

(14%)

0

2

(14%)

8

(57
%)

2

(14%)

3,8
9

Competitions

/Contests
on other websites

0

1

(7%)

0

4

(29
%)

6

(43
%)

3

(21%)

3,
33

Free stuff

(
e.g.

e
-
guides
,
e
-
books
)
on other
websites

3

(21
%)

0

1

(7
%)

1

(7
%)

6

(43
%)

3

(21%)

3,25

Online

events

on other
websites

4

(29
%)

0

0

2

(14
%)

6

(4
3
%)

2

(14%)

2,90

Viral marketing

1

(7
%)

0

3

(21
%)

1

(7
%)

5

(36
%)

4

(2
9
%)

3,83

Blog

1

(7
%)

1

(7
%)

1

(7
%)

0

8

(57%)

3

(21
%)

3,00

Games
on other websites

1

(7
%)

1

(7
%)

1

(7
%)

0

8

(57
%)

3

(21
%)

3,00


15

V.

Section: Digital marketing

Out of a selection of seven social media websites and web 2.0. se
rvices,
Faceb
ook is the most frequently used counting 9 DMOs (64,29%). The
micro
-
blogging
website Twitter

is the second most popular
among the sample
as it is being used by 6 DMOs (42,86%).

It is followed by Wikipedia (5
DMOs respectively 35,71%),
Flicrt (
4 DM
Os respectively 28,57%) and

Linked
in (2 DMOs respectively 14,29%). None of the respondents has
selected Myspace and Wikitravel. Three DMOs have added You Tube video
sharing service.


Mobile internet is used as a communication medium by 5 DMOs (35,71%)
,
internet TV by only one (7,14%) while radio on internet is not used at all.



5. IMPLICATIONS OF RESEARCH

RESULTS


Measuring
DMOs sales

results

represents a new dimension
in terms of
measurements of communication strategy effectiveness
. In this context,

DMOs implementation of sales of destination
’s

tourism

products

certainly is
an advantage.
In relation to that, web analytics

solutions and

related

metrics
monitored should be tailored to communication goals
achievements
.


All surveyed DMOs have formalise
d plan for advertising while
71,43
% of
them has those for PR. As m
ost tourist products providers a
re small and
medium enterprises, they are

in general

too small

to engage in PR
independently and continually,
therefore, t
his communication instrument
should
be part of DMOs tasks. DMOs in their communication with the public
should incorporate different aspects of destination’s tourism products.
Sales
promotion and personal selling are such marketing communication
instruments that should be integrated
once

DMOs

are involved in sales.

Total
spend in online communication should be planned in relation to internet
usage of their target market in different phases of decision buying process.

De
stination marketers should include more often in their communication
stra
tegies
SEO (
not a
t all a

new
internet marketing strategy, but
important

in
terms of gaining traffic from search engines to their

websites). In the context
of growing trends of mobile internet usage

and social media
, DMOs should
consider mobile market
ing an
d more
involvement in
social media

marketing
.







6.
CONCLUSION



16

Less than one third of
investigated
DMOs are involved in sales of destination

tourist
products. Although this study had no intention to propagate the need
of DMOs


involvement in sales,

i
ts application allows

more precise

tracking

of
their
marketing communication
achievements and it also
makes perfect
sense to
implement some marketing communication strategies (like personal
selling, sales promotion or con
sumer relationship management).


I
n conclusion, optimization of internet marketing communication preformed
by and in behalf of DMOs is vital to justify the existence and performance of
these organizations. It is essential to explore further possibilities of
measuring performance of marketi
ng communications of DMOs and
correlated them with destination tourism results in order to further optimize
DMOs marketing communication, wh
ich should contribute to achievement of
overall destination
s’

goals
.





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