There are many variables to be considered when defining a destination model, and so several models may be designed based upon different combinations of these variables. However, as we all know, many of these variables usually have a strong correlation.
Seasonality: models focused on certain products with strong seasonality are not able to provide stable jobs to let the employees live all year round in the destination. As a result of that, many destinations with strong seasonality experience enormous variations of population, hence becoming “ghost towns” during the low season periods, due to the considerable proportion of empty hotels and apartments. A key challenge for sustainability is therefore to balance the demand by developing multiple products with complementary seasonality.
Product portfolio: some destinations are clearly identified with one product, whereas others manage to position themselves as multiproduct destinations hence diversifying risk, reducing seasonality and offering added value to many product categories by allowing multiproduct combinations, very much appreciated in many cases.
Target markets: as it happens with the products, there are also destinations focusing on a specific traditional market –national or proximity market most usually-, but for many reasons are not targeting other more distant markets. The reasons may be the saturation of the capacity by the current markets, making it unnecessary to attract new tourists; the lesser profitability of distant markets due to higher negotiation power of the distant markets’ tour operators, and the lack of adequacy of the destination services to the requirements of distant markets (language mastery, service standards, etc.), among many others. Conversely, many destinations have internationalized their demand attracting tourists from many markets.
Product category & target tourists: beyond the aforementioned target markets, it is necessary to determine the type of tourists that the destination intends to attract. Apart from variables such as development constraints, accommodation offer, character or style harmony –which favor the attraction of high-end tourists- the products offered should also satisfy the needs, motivations and aspirations of the target tourists. In this regard, innovative, sophisticated and differentiated products are more likely to attract tourists with higher expenditure, whereas standardized products offering “commodity experiences” compete on price attracting low end tourists.
Would you consider other product & market related variables?