The formulation of the targeting strategy starts by analyzing the profitability of the current targets and the occupancy gaps. First of all, from the results of the Marketing Audit, there should be a table drafted featuring the occupancy rates throughout the year and the percentage of tourists corresponding to each target, indicating for every period the average profitability of every target, as a result of the relation between their expenditure and the associated marketing costs for attracting this target.

With this table or graph, it may be easy to identify the profitability of every season together with the occupancy gaps that could be filled in. Ideally, the diagram should also show when the occupancy gaps correspond to specific weekdays, as in many cases the occupancy is concentrated in the weekends.

The targeting strategy formulation is to be reflected in a diagram showing how the assigned priority level evolves for every target over the period for which the Marketing Plan is elaborated.  The targeting priority roadmap should reflect how the highest priority levels are assigned –and so is the bulk of the marketing budget- to the most profitable targets, as long as there is significant potential for increasing their revenue streams. Secondly, there should be consideration of the most profitable target groups with potential to fill in the occupancy gaps.

Having started by optimizing the combination of the current target groups, destination marketing 3.0 is to increasingly focus its attention on a set of target groups identified under the label of Tourists 3.0 or Creative Society. They are to be the ones who fuel the new marketing system and therefore -regardless of their expenditure- are of capital strategic importance.  They encompass many groups:

  • Special interest travelers: these are motivated for specific types of experiences (sports, nature, hobbies, etc.), have a high education level, search for spiritual comfort, are values-driven and are keen on telling stories about their experiences as long as they feel an emotional connection with the destination they have visited. They also are among the highest spending targets.
  • Concerned travelers: these are the ones usually looking for ecotourism or responsible tourism destinations, as they are concerned about the impacts of the tourism activity in the destination’s environment and local community. They are to become active advocates for mission-driven ventures addressing their concerns and embracing their values and ideals.
  • Millennials: this is the new generation of adults –from 18 to 34 years old- showing significantly different habits and values than their predecessors. They are also concerned about the impact of business activities in the environment and the social communities, and are active advocates in and outside the social media for the brands embracing their values.
  • Teenagers and younger generations: these are the generations to be educated in the values of sustainability, and to whom the destination experience has to convey an educational message to raise awareness and concern about sustainability issues. Furthermore, they may become active contributors in creating contents and storytelling through cooperation programs with schools.

Over time, focusing the marketing efforts on the new targets helps the destination in gaining these new clients, while retaining the most profitable ones, to achieve an optimized balance of target groups. Apart from these, the continuous search of new profitable niches and segments should be encouraged.

Do you think of other interesting segments?

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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