Locales in Scotland guarantee visitors short stay accommodation in the form of restaurants, bars, and travel agents, the presence of recreational facilities such as museums and cultural activities further embellish the Scottish tourism market. According to Hallier (2011), the tourism sector is ranked fourth in the nation’s export-earning scales. The tourism sector in the Scotland has shown rapid growth as compared to other sectors that drives the Scottish economy, for example, the retail, utilities, and manufacturing sectors. Marketing tourism in Scotland acts as a hinge between leisure as a tourism activity, while offering an opportunity for an inbound investment. Moreover, in the Scottish economy, other sectors of income also benefit directly or indirectly from the reservoir of wealth, or resources that the tourism sector guarantees (Transport tourism and the environment in Scotland report, 2000).
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The Tourism Products and Destination Identity
Scotland attracts tourists from all over the world. For the Scottish tourism sector, the most domineering visitors have been from the UK and the US. In the event the day trip revenues are added into the mix, the value of the United Kingdom alone increases the Scottish market score significantly (Transport tourism and the environment in Scotland report, 2000). However, speculation is rife that Scottish share of the United Kingdom’s daily catch might be on a declining scale. For the Scottish tour market, prospects lie in the sense that nearly half of the England’s population yearn for an opportunity to experience the Scottish beauty.
The Scottish tourism market score still looms large; the overseas market, for example, remains at a high value. The prospects of overseas tourists visiting Scotland in recent years have swollen exponentially from 2.4 million to 2.7 million of visitor arrivals between 2012 and 2013 (Latest Statistics, 2014). This is expected to grow further in the months to come, and a great visitor score is expected to be documented at the fall of 2014. The Scottish tourism sector seems to be having an augmented market score even in the face of great economic hitches that have trivialized the world.
The core of Scottish oversees tourist resources remains the US, as well as a collection of Western European countries and the Scandinavian countries, such as Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, which naturally share a mutual ethno-cultural Germanic heritage. Moreover, there are yet emerging potential tourism resources from an influx of tourists visiting Scotland from other parts of the world, especially from Brazil, Russia, India and China, otherwise identified as the (BRIC) markets within the Scottish tourism sector (Joao & Estevao, 2009).
Nationals of various origins come to various parts of Scotland for many reasons and the most outstanding ones are ether leisure or business. By estimation, the United Kingdom and oversees market score for Scotland worth 21% of the total daily tourism revenues. Tour surveys in Scotland conducted in recent times indicate that Scottish sceneries and other activities happening in Scotland stands out as the robust market scores for Scotland as a holiday destination for worldwide tourists (Hallier, 2011).
As a nation, Scotland is well endowed with various assets, and an expansive reservoir of resources that offers visitors satisfying experiences, good expectations, and security as well. Scottish tourism market strengths emanate from the natural heritage such as quality of the landscape, culture, food and drink offering, distinctiveness of its destinations and a sense of place. Other factors that pools mass visitation to Scotland includes viable business ventures, open market for both the Scottish populations and the foreign prospectors, including but not limited to outdoor activities, sports and ball games and most importantly the state of the art security prevalence in Scotland (Joao & Estevao, 2009).
While international travels to major markets in Scotland are expected to grow exponentially, a significant increase is anticipated in Scottish economic circles between now and 2020. Scotland is relatively growing within the European community, and judging from the recent tour market scores, it is expected that Scotland will continue to expand as a regional hub for mass tourism destination.
According to Joao and Estevao (2009), Scotland has of late become a low-cost operational market, thus making it to appeal to visitors despite the overarching global economic meltdown witnessed in recent years. Therefore, Scotland is a sure destination and an alternative to most tourists from across Europe and other parts of the world. Given its venture to reach out to operational markets, Scotland has impressively doubled its inbound visitor number from year to year with preferential ease, especially after a considerable duration largely seen as have been consummated by the sector in certifying and satisfying visitors’ expectations (Transport tourism and the environment in Scotland report, 2000).
Tourism, no doubt is a vital cash generator for the Scottish economy and a robust factor in social infrastructure both in urban and rural areas. To grow within these market scales, to maintain this hold and to stimulate growth both in value and per capita, there is need to identify amiable solutions to hard-line problems that has denied the Scottish tourism sector to explore its fullest especially in light of the potential challenges and opportunities available of late.
For any organization to grow in stature within its resources, it is expected that consumers’ needs and desires have to be addressed in line with the targeted markets to meet such needs (Sieglinde & Joao, 2005). The tourism sector in Scotland has categorically endeavored to thrive within these scores to attain the optimum market share, a peak in the sector profitability as well as tourists’ satisfaction. In the Scottish tourism setting, academicians and policy makers have become much involved in the study of clusters. Here, particular concern has been centered on the regional atmosphere that shapes policy making in the tourism industry (Sieglinde & Joao, 2005).
As a way of identifying the characteristic of Scottish tourist market competitiveness, its diversity for conceptual models, researchers refer to regional or industrial cluster especially with respect to tourism as a concept of market score largely seen in the mirrors of national economy (Sieglinde & Joao, 2005). One particular factor that augments the huge interest in the cluster theme in Scottish tourism study is the presumed or real impact that it has had on companies’ performance, economic development and the competiveness of sector especially when put against the thread of others regional market scores.
Segmenting the Tourism Market
Tourists all over the world have never been of the same caliber; in most cases, they have shown likeness to various images of their ideal vocation. By nature, tourism has shown to be a heterogeneous market yet a robust business venture for most counties across the globe (Thym, 2005). Market segmentation therefore passes out as a powerful tool that readily accounts for the heterogeneity of this particular market niche. Both researchers and academicians in the tourism study use market segmentation to explore the available opportunities to gain the much desired competitive advantage (Dolnicar, 2008).
The environment under which the Scottish tourism thrives rapidly changing making it necessary for policy makers to in the Scotland’s tourism market to shift to a new ballgame that is expected to guarantee the sector into greater levels of market score in the region. This has further been upped by the fact that the global tourism continues to be competitive in most countries and Scotland is not an exception to these trends (Thym, 2005).
Destinations for tourists around the world continue to be more accessible yet in agreement to the needs of tourists. As Dolnicar (2008) observes, tourism itself is undergoing changes especially with regard to developments in particular areas of technology communication and the growth in the e-commerce. Under these considerations, Thym (2005) opines that tourism in the Scotland has not necessarily relied on the regions natural resources alone, neither has it vested primarily on the quality of the service that the tourism sector has been able to offer both in the past and currently. The Scottish tourism policy makers and market strategists have nonetheless learnt segmenting the nation’s tourism market must involve the duty to educate, invest, and modernize in order to remain competitive. The basics to survive within this particular market according to Dolnicar (2008) is to get the basics right and this is essentially what the Scottish tourism community is doing now.
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All these, according to Dolnicar (2008) have been achieved by the stepping of policies to provide quality services, which both complement and emphasize on the Scottish unique assets. This, as Thym (2005) notes, is the most approachable way to ensure Scotland gets hold of a sustainable and a robust long-term growth in the region and to mitigate the impacts of external elements that offers challenge to the tourism industry such as global economic meltdown. Tourism policy shapers in Scotland hold that the Scottish strategies for future developmental paradigms in the industry can only thrive on clear understanding of the tourism industry’s changes that are taking place in all parts of the world.
Factors that impact on the Scottish tourism sector are very diverse and carried and they include many aspects that do not necessarily share any relationship with nature, and largely seen in the strength of the pound, travel costs and fuel prices. Nonetheless, pressures that have a bearing on the environmental quality that visitors to the Scotland normally expect to see usually impact invariably on the beauty of Scotland as a tourist destination (Porter, 2000).
It is reasonable, however to assume that factors which adversely impact on the Scottish attractiveness include land marks, water ways, water falls cataracts. Wildlife and game reserves equally offer the Scottish economy with an augmented income from foreign earning especially in tourism related activities. In the Scotland, tourism also offers the benefits to individuals that are not necessarily reflected in the domestic economic contribution. These, according to Easto and Warburton (2010), are in the form of cultural benefits that form the fundamental components of the general welfare of Scotland as a nation, and which Porter (2000) opines must not be neglected especially on the basis that they make little economic contribution to Scotland.
Generally, tourism in Scotland is more associated with the rural than the urban areas given that it is in these locales that the natural beauties of the state of the art sceneries are experienced (Easto & Warburton, 2010). Again, research indicates that the rural areas have limited employment scores and visitors to these areas are likely to be attended to by the locals who are always willing to assist especially in exchange for goodies.
It has always been observed that any adverse impact on tourism have the likelihood of impacting disproportionately on employment as well as on the income of the Scottish rural and on those in the society who naturally are flexible to offer seasonal services that are characteristic of rural tourism. Under these parameters, it would be reasonable to suggest that there exist in Scotland sound basis on which to construct a robust tourism competitiveness by way of transforming the basic assets into the very unique experiences that visitors coming to Scotland for various reasons will always want to purchase and get the reward of their cash (Becken, 2010).
This usually calls for higher levels of tourism leadership and managerial skills coupled with sound understanding of the available market opportunities in Scotland. For Scotland, given its robust cultural heritage bedecked with a unique geographical identity all of which offer an authentic backdrop for a great tourism market. Among the notable assets that are for grabs in Scotland, include a range of built state of the art facilities and venues, rich and diverse programs of cultural events and seasonal festivals across Scotland (Easto & Warburton, 2010).
Within the Scottish Tourism Intelligent (STI) records, the tourism sector in Scotland generated 8.9 million pounds with 4.3 million pounds having been received from 15 million daily trips within the first quarter of the 2013 economic calendar (Latest Statistics, 2014). Accordingly, these figures are presumed to be within the Scotland’s tourism sector market niche and the institution holds that 2013 had set the pace for what the industry must expect in the succeeding years (Becken, 2010).
Scottish Tourism Intelligent major statistics however show that in the fast quarter of the year 2013, data for domestic overnight trips as well as spending within that duration signaled that performance was at per with the preceding years (Prentice & Andersen, 2003). This market score, compared to the first quarter of 2014, the volume of overnight inbound trips might be impressive at the fall of the year. As the case maybe, occupancy statistics for serviced as well as self-catering have returned to normalcy as was documented in 2010 before the economic slump down in 2011-2012. According to the STI indices, consumers might be unwilling to cut down on leisure expenditure, and this has been witnessed during the previous holidays where an influx of visitors across the world has trouped to Scotland (Latest Statistics, 2014).
Scotland, naturally has maintained a robust tourist visitor score even in the face of great economic meltdown, perhaps this is so owing to its irresistible attractiveness which observers note has become the arena of expenditure of held unique by various households (Becken, 2010). According to Easto and Warburton (2010), one theory according to STI seems to stand out in making Scotland a global tourist hub and destination; it is observed that following the ongoing issues that regards the Eurozone, many Mediterranean destinations that share a common bond with key Scotland markets. Typically, such destinations like Germany, the United Kingdom, Benelux, and the Scandinavia (Denmark, Norway, and Sweden) will offer substantial value for incentives and money packages (Dolnicar, 2008). The STI Statistics is a pointer that Sterling is likely to remain competitive for outbound Scottish travel as well as other parts of Europe for the better part of 2014 giving visitors a reason to travel to Scotland (Prentice & Andersen, 2003).
On the other hand, this analysis also shows that recent changes that have lately been done to Air Passenger Duty is expected to surge the stable costs of air travel giving way to a situation, akin to 2008 that witnessed the widespread credit crisis in most parts of Europe (Becken, 2010).
STI analysis seem to hold that while it cannot be taken in totality that this trend might indefinitely continue, there is rather a strong indication that quality investment and product development as well as marketing may help the Scottish tourism market to gain a competitive advantage (Easto & Warburton, 2010). The same analysis show that these trends are expected to continue after the fall of 2014 and these have been seen in the popularity of public transport as a means of travel to destinations across Scotland (Prentice & Andersen, 2003). Growth in train travels according to the research by the STI has equally been observed under a declining scale (Dolnicar, 2008).
While car travel remains most popular in the region, choices of transport have been easy to predict. In addition, the introduction of the Stagecoach services between Scotland and England is expected to add yet another dimension to tourist travel options. As Dolnicar (2008) notes, adventure and activity tourism too are expected to become increasingly popular with the foreign visitors as they seek to venture on the available experiences to achieve additional value for their money. Finally, even in the face of the higher levels of youth unemployment, the Scottish tourist market is characterized by a demographic split as seen by the younger population short period participation in cultural events such as music festivals. The older demographics by comparison usually seek out longer breaks preferring to expand their experience during the holidays.
Seen in the lenses of SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat), the SWOT analysis gives the Scottish tourism sector a robust view of itself which in turn assist it in its interaction in the market. To maintain intercontinental market share, Dolnicar (2008) posits that the nation’s overseas tourist’s numbers and values usually increases in line with the anticipated growth rates for international arrivals across Europe (Easto & Warburton, 2010). For Scotland to move within the projected growth rate and arrest stagnation that has characterized the market, the SWOT as provided here after must be used categorically to inform research on future development.
The tourism sector in Scotland identifies major strengths that if used appropriately will increase the significance of Scottish tourism within the next few years. Scottish diversity and the domineering quality of the golf course give the sector a unique presence in the global tourism market consideration (Prentice & Andersen, 2003). In addition to these golfing ventures, the strong media presence that gives various events and sceneries a broader coverage has always added to the advantage of the tourism industry in Scotland. Geographically, Scotland lies to the meridian of the European axis and this means that naturally the region has long daytime hours during summer. Yet other fabulous attractions are commonplace thereby drawing mass visitation to the region (Driving forward together Scottish golf tourism development strategy 2013 – 2020, 2013).
Scotland is also enriched with a reservoir of opportunities that seen largely as a factor in its visitor market scores (Prentice & Andersen, 2003). Scotland has been a hub of high profile sporting activities such as the Ships race – 2011, Ryder Cup -2014, Glasgow Commonwealth Game – 2014, and the Rugby World Cup expected in 2015 among other opportunities. There are however, potentials for progress in key zones of the economy where the Scottish state of the art opportunities are realized, especially in the form of biotechnology and renewable energy, which guarantees both business and conference tourism.
There is also an augmented access to Scotland with travel tariffs having been lowered impressively in recent years. However, there are also areas of weaknesses and threats which if looked upon well have the capacity to deliver the Scottish tourism sector into great market scores (Dolnicar, 2008). Research has documented that weaknesses have been realized, especially with regard to inconsistent customer satisfaction, Scotland’s hospitality industry seem reluctant to adopt to online booking and some firms are unwilling to trade with others in the region leading to fragmentation of the industry. While there is no central authority for booking a golf trip to Scotland, the other weakness is the fact that some firms are financially downtrodden with week resources and unclear governance. In addition, threats that the tourism sector face in Scotland according to research studies are primarily characteristic to the United Kingdom.
According to Joao and Estevao (2009), visitor glitches experienced in the UK have the propensity of being replicated in Scotland owing to their socio-economic and geographical linkage.
Scotland faces the danger of a regional recession characteristic of the nations across Europe, and this is further amplified by the fact that government spending in both Scotland and the UK complements one another. Terrorism threats, whether real or perceived continues to impact negatively on the Scottish tourism sector. These threats have further been worsened by the outbreak of global epidemics such as SARS, foot and mouth disease and avian flu (Driving forward together Scottish golf tourism development strategy 2013 – 2020, 2013).
The Destination’s Sustainability Profile
From the data availed in this research work, it is evident that Scotland is such a marvelous place to visit. Yet customers still feel that they are not receiving the desired attention that is capable of sustaining the Scottish market scores (Driving forward together Scottish golf tourism development strategy 2013 – 2020, 2013). In addition, while the Scottish tourism market looks robust especially in the context of the region, data shows that the reputation of the various stakeholders is still wanting. The major concerns in developing tourism as a sure destination must involve the need to strategize for the tourism industry in Scotland (Prentice & Andersen, 2003).
Competition is extremely fierce, and to retain and nurture the Scottish market share, action is required not only on the part of individual tourism firms, but also specifically at the destinations. From the forgoing analysis, it is can be argued that Scotland is either a stagnating or a mature tourist destination and which have the greater likelihood of slipping into an economic limbo, especially if no corrective measures are taken into consideration. To revitalize the sector and align it within the sustainability proxy, another element must be taken into concern. According to Joao and Estevao (2009), policy makers in this industry must make priority their prime focus to make Scotland a haven for tourist arrivals as well as an alternative destination of choice.
Market failure as evidenced in some spheres of the tourism industry in Scotland where upon the public sector and private firms usually put much of their resources and time. A strategic framework must approach these areas of concern and evidence based homegrown policies that are capable of intervening for the market various failures that have been a challenge to the Scottish tour market share (Prentice & Andersen, 2003). In addition, while there are many players and shakers in the Scottish tourism industry, with both the private and public sectors yearning for a place in the market share, it would serve the good purpose to have all parties gain access to the market and compete based on competence.
The strategy to address these concerns must involve the provision of a framework that takes into consideration, the key target areas and objectives that must be aimed at as well as the type of work that must be done to ensure these are achieved (Joao & Estevao, 2009). A sustainable strategy will often be that which sets out a workable framework, which gives the private sector an opportunity to lead the strategy, the ease to coordinate it while ensuring that it is delivered both at national and at local level. The basis of which is to ensure that the private sector takes the lead and plays a key role in shaping these changes. Future tourism in the Scotland is expected face competitive concerns that must be addressed in both good time and in a manner that involve both the public and private sectors to seek out a common purpose in the domestic tourism in Scotland. Above all, there is an increasing need to generate the efficacies to build upon the sustainability profile as the prospects of the future are expected to witness scarce resource turnout (Dolnicar, 2008).
Defining The Destination’s Key Product Attributes and Identity
Consistent with research, it is worth noting that Scotland offers a robust destination for visitors from many parts of the world. The Scottish tourism market passes out as a distinct and differentiated in a number of ways from other regional and global competitors (Hallier, 2011). Scottish tourist destination distinctiveness is seen in its strength – its heritage and its people. The socio-cultural and geographical landscape according to Hallier (2011) naturally makes Scotland appeal readily for many people in various parts of the world (Prentice & Andersen, 2003).
Perhaps, Scotland’s tourism destination could not b amicably explored without categorically taking into consideration, its main weaknesses which lie in the fact that the economy has consistently failed to offer value for money while customer satisfaction has not always been met even in areas that visitor experience is expected the most. Another robust feature is that Scotland is not a low cost tourist destination and this has factored in that the domestic firms do not necessarily compete on price. However, Scottish strength lies based on differentiation, the Scotland’s tourism market stands out of many, as essentially offering value for customer experience (Prentice & Andersen, 2003).
From these market scores available within the Scottish tourism sector, it suffices that most of its tourism marketing and development agenda is focused solely on its mature markets structures (Hallier, 2011). Specifically, the United Kingdom is a domestic market niche while the overseas markets continue to be established with sectors such as golf, rugby, business, and educational tourism continue to broaden the Scottish tourism market share. For Scotland to maintain its regional lead in Europe, these endeavors must be improved further (Driving forward together Scottish golf tourism development strategy 2013 – 2020, 2013).
However, as the tourism sector continues to be more global; it is expected that the sector will be a great contribution to the Scottish economy (Prentice & Andersen, 2003). As a robust destination to many tourists from across Europe and other parts of the world, the sector needs to adopt clear cut perspectives and well thought out policies to identify its future opportunities. In addition, the sector needs to devote a bigger share of its resources to expand on her future markets (Hallier, 2011). As observed in various research works, the industry hold the view that her strategy must focus much on Brazil, Russia, India and China earlier identified as the BRIC countries, the sector must equally consider the Scandinavian states and reach out to her overseas trading blocs such as Australia, Africa, and the US.
The sector must ungrudgingly invest in the futurist sectors like resort development and security given that security has become a matter of global concern especially with the rise in terrorism. Future scanning as well as networking venture will need to be stepped up to put the best ever practices on the market. These may not be complete without the use of resources of the Scottish public sector support systems to ensure that the sector is enabled to develop a robust focus on upcoming markets that is currently not given their due consideration (Hallier, 2011).
The Destination’s Positioning Statement
Positioning, as Chacko (2008) indicates, is an essential method of communication in the tourism target points used to enhance its desirability. Therefore, position is categorized as one of the fundamental marketing tools, not only in the tourism sector, but also in other key sectors of a country’s economy. In all sectors, positioning as a marketing tool aims at creating a significant in the minds of prospective consumers. An excellent position that can fulfill the requests and desires of potential customers, as Belch and Belch (2004) assert, is one that can induce the details of a destination in the mind of customers to enable them distinguish the destination from that of the competitors.
Therefore, as market dissections rely on the perception that each tourist target location attracts different tourists in diverse manners, the Scotland’s tourism marketers must then identify their target subdivision before they kick off the campaign to lure their prospective clienteles. An efficient positioning strategy, therefore, offer a competitive edge over competitor in the similar market.
Generally, marketing aims to satisfy needs and wants and provide benefits to the esteem customers (Chacko, 2008). Therefore, positioning, as a marketing tool, must adhere to the general marketing rules where it aims to promise the customers the benefits that they are likely to receive, initiate worthwhile expectation, as well as solve the challenges that their customers might face in order to be effective. Moreover, Chacko (2008) notes that the solutions and interventions that an effective positioning offer should be completely different and more superior than one offered by the competitors, more specifically, when their competitors already offer a related way out. Significantly, as tourism industry is noted to compete on a range of issues that include image, benefits offered to customer and differentiation, destination positioning should be the overall concept under which other tourism essentials revolves in.
Thus, properly targeted destination position affects not only the customers’ imagination, but also workers’ perceptions, guidelines and measures, grievance solving techniques, customers’ relationship, and a number of other factors that sums to create the tourism familiarity. An effective destination position, therefore, must ensure that their esteemed customers can believe in the position and the chosen destination can consistently deliver that promise. Scotland as a country that is centrally placed in Europe, and with stable political leadership already enjoys this virtue, thus can capitalize on the advantage of positioning to surmount their competitors.
Positioning process as Chacko (2008) indicates is a combination of various steps necessary to develop a successful positioning strategy. Due to environmental dynamism, which prompts variation in the desires and wants of clienteles, as well as their competitors’ strategies, the positioning need to be an endless process in order to be at par with the alterations in the market. The steps include market positioning, psychological positioning, objective positioning, subjective positioning, and positioning approach.
Since lower prices are always associated to lower quality in the tourism sector, international destinations do not reduce prices of products in order to attract customers (Chacko, 2008). However, for the Scotland to thrive in the competitive tourism industry, they can be offer high quality services to compensate for the costs incurred. Similarly, in positioning with respect to product, the destination is associated to extraordinary events or experience. In addition, in the tourism sector destination can be determined with respect to the user or application. In this, the tourist destination is positioned based on the intentions for the visit. Finally, tourism destinations are positioned in respect to the expected customers, such that if the country intends to get a good number of tourists, it should target the youthful generation since it has a variety of sceneries that can attract the youthful generation (Chacko, 2008).
Destination positioning challenges
Over the years, the intangibility of numerous products in the sector has been a key challenge to tourism marketers globally. The intrigue has impelled an intense argument among the tourism marketers where some argue otherwise that since hotel rooms, oceans, mountains, and beaches are readily available, the industry has vast tangible products. However, those in denials say that the tangible products are what are sold to the customers, but not what is marketed as is supposed to be (Chacko, 2008).
Never the less, they collectively agree that whatever they are marketing are intangible, but are essential needs too and necessary except for the fact that immediately these products reach a certain level, they become secondary needs to the tourists (Chacko, 2008). Marketing of intangible products is vital in the competitive tourism market since they require a high-leveled approach to differentiate. As a result, the Scotland’s tourism industry ought to focus on differentiating and improving abstracts that relates to tangible clues.
Positioning vis-a-vis the competitors
Whenever need be to confront competitors while intending to convey the differences between different destinations, positioning vis-a-vis the competitors’ approach as noted is the most effective approach (Chacko, 2008). This approach, as Chacko (2008) asserts, may involve mentioning other countries or destinations negatively. To outweigh competitors, the Scotland’s tourism industry marketers should develop creative campaigns where endorsements from early tourists can be used to entice the target market segment. However, owing to the fact that the dread feeling is part of human nature, tangible evidence must accompany the position statement.
Nevertheless, as evidence shows, it is appropriately effective in marketing of tourism products and services. In this approach, Scotland’s tourism marketers have to recognize their competitors and the perception of their customers towards both the competitors and their products and services. With this information, the Scotland’s tourism marketers can identify the potential of their positioning as well as information on its weaknesses that can be utilized to better market the positioning. Likewise, in this approach, the marketers can identify whom they should out position to top the market. Moreover, as Chacko (2008) indicates, this approach helps the tourism marketers to identify and evaluate the position that they current own in relation to their competitors.
Generally, tourism marketers across the world acknowledge that in the sets of strategies that influences decision on tourism destination, the brand is a major contributor. However, as Qu, Kim, and Im (2010) note, customers are often given a range of tourist destination options that gives related features such as gorgeous sceneries. From this point of view, one would easily argue that destination-branding thought is significant for tourist marketers in enhancing the target market’s identification and differentiation of a brand from the alternatives. However, as Qu, Kim and Im (2010) argue, destination image, even though, not extensively analyzed in branding context, it should be valued as a concept that exist long before and a necessity with exceptional value as far as destination branding is concerned.
Furthermore, as these authors indicates, destination branding mostly aims to build a positive image, which by itself identify, differentiates and express the destination in relation to the trusty brand elements mix. Basing the knowledge in the assumption, that destination image in totality is the impression of cognitive and an excellent evolution, for the Scotland to excel in the tourism industry, while marketing their brand association. The marketers should include these two components namely cognitive and effective image components as they are generally accepted as factors that greatly influence indicators of destination image.
In support of this, Qu, Kim, and Im (2010) argue that unique images of destination should be considered important brand association, thus greatly influence the image of any destination brand. This has instigated a rising trend where tourism marketers globally believe that forming a differentiated destination image is the best option of surviving the very competitive and intense global tourism market segments.
Therefore, Scotland’s tourism industry should strive never to lag behind in the global trend. According to Qu, Kim and Im (2010), destination brands distinguish themselves from their competitors in relation to their distinctive connotation and exceptional services given to clienteles. In fact, tourism destination scholarly research put emphasis on points of quality connection such as outstanding cafeterias and excellent accommodations. Therefore, for the Scotland’s tourism industry to flourish, the marketers must recognize association of brands that are advantageous over competitors. Since the major reason for branding is for the consumers to note the difference amongst the brand in product category, points of difference then helps the consumers to evaluate a brand destination positively (Qu, Kim, & Im, 2010).
Brand identity and brand image
Brand identity and brand image, as Qu, Kim, and Im (2010) note, are essential for a success of a destination brand. However, differentiating the two concepts as noted usually confuse a number of scholars. Therefore, it is worth noting that a crucial factor in differentiating the two is that they are created from two contrasting factors, namely from the dispatcher and recipient. Whereas, on one hand brand identity reflect the contribution of all the elements in a brand to awareness and image, where it provides a direction, meaning, and purpose for the brand’s strategic vision (Tasci & Kozak, 2006). Scotland as a country with varied unique feature such as highest Munros, greenest forest and sandy coastland unique to the destination can constructive influence their potential customers feeling towards these brands.
Brand associations as empirical research signify sway consumers evaluation towards the brand. Literally, brand associations are allied to attribute, benefits and attitude by the potential customers. However, in the tourism literature, scholars usually recognize that the image of tourism destination is ever influenced by cognitive and affective evolution. Even though it is imperative to analyze both the emotional and mental constituents of a destination’s image in building an inclusive target model, it is unfortunate that most of the tourism studies treated destination image as a cognitive evaluation (Tasci, & Kozak, 2006).
Therefore, the brand association, which is argued to correlate to renowned heroes or leaders of a tourist destination, can affect the attitude of the potential customers. In this regard, when a tourist destination is associated to individuals of great value, most tourists will prefer the destination. Scotland, a nation with renowned heroes such as Robert Burns can utilize this opportunity to influence the attitude of their potential customers, thus can boost their tourism industry. For instance, whenever a destination is associated to recognized heroes, previous visitors will aspire to visit it more and even influence new tourist to visit the destination. In essence, the affective and cognitive domains are significant for the Scotland’s tourism sector, as they positively affect the tourists’ memories of the destinations.
Destination slogan and logo
Since Scotland is a country with variety of sceneries, other than choosing a logo that will only market a destination or a single tourist attraction heritage, it is rather effective to use this logo and its slogan since it portrays the entire Scotland as a tourist destination. This eliminates unhealthy competition amongst the different destinations within Scotland.
- Nature drives away boredom, nature instigate, renew and rejuvenate strength. Nature when explored at the right time and place heighten an individual’s psychological, physical, and mental health. The medicine to all these is destination to Scotland, a country rich in natural geographical landscape, right from the highest Munros, greenest forest and sandy coastland to enjoy. Scotland, a country with political stability, you have the opportunity to enjoy the natural phenomenal without intimidation or panic. Scotland a friendly nation is the place to be.
- Ever imagined or fantasized about dinning with the world most respected heroes, the destination is just right at your doorstep if not fingertips. Scotland a nation of heroes welcomes you to fulfill your dreams at affordable cost. Worry not about spending because your money matches the offer. At the Scot’s year of homecoming, you will not only enjoy the multiplicity of delicious meals, but also dine with heroes. Not to mention much cover to discover a land where art meets culture, with spectacular heritage, the place to be is packed with brilliant moments that are forever memorable.
- Scotland the world class tourism destination has, an untouched natural environment, beautiful and vibrant cities, magnificent scenery, Rich cultural and historical background, highest green mountains and famously known for sporting attraction. Scottish welcomes all tourists irrespective of their background to their country to enjoy all these God given asserts at affordable cost. Scotland is lucky, as it is relatively small and can be easily accessed from all over the world through a divergent means. Likewise, the size can advantageously be utilized to develop adequate transport infrastructure within, thus will allow the tourist the chance to tour all the cities to notice their vitality as well as the thrill of the rural draw back in the shortest time the tourist can spend. Similarly, an excellent transport infrastructure will ease travelling of tourist to hotels and restaurants of the customer’s choice. Hence, the tourist has a choice to enjoy quality services since they have a variety of choice to select. In a case where services of any of the hotels might be below their expectations, the customer can easily shift to another when the transportation infrastructures are of good standards (Travel & Tourism 2011, 2011). For this reason, the tourists are assured of high quality service since the competition is high and none of the hotel management would wish to easily lose their potential customers.
In addition, the Scotland’s tourism industry in comparison to the global tourism industry, as Travel & Tourism 2011 (2011) shows, is slightly above most countries within its region. This is because it offers unique products to their customers. These include rich culture, impressive history, stunning geographical landscape, golf, genealogy, whisky among other. This combination has made the country enjoy a strong and stable recognition globally over their major competitors in the tourism industry. To continue enjoying this opportunity, the country’s marketing strategist should develop an advertisement that informs the world, especially by use of statistical evidence that they have been the most preferred tourist destination for a long time. This advertisement should include the reason that has placed them at the top as this can influence the customers’ destination choice.
Scotland as a country that enjoys political stability has the potential to moderate most of their income generating resources. As Travel & Tourism 2011 (2011) notes, the Scottish tourism industry being one of the government machineries to generate income enjoys a comparatively high access to quality assurance penetration. This is because majority of those providing tourist accommodations are government owned. This has then made the tourist to trust the authenticity of adverts relating to Scotland tourist industry. Therefore, as a country that would wish to prosper in the tourism industry, the Scottish government can utilize this trust to lure potential customer to make Scotland their destination choice. Equally, the stability in Scottish government has bred a friendly culture among the residents. This can as well be used when marketing to entice people from other parts of the world to visit Scotland.
Since in the tourism industry, people who interact with customers can influence their attitudes, the Scottish tourism department should organize training programs that would create awareness to the tour guides on the importance of cautiously handling their clients. In addition, the Scottish government should invest heavily on tourism sector, which is a core income generating activity to the government. This should include good pay to the tour guides, tourist hotel managers, policy maker, and other tourism industry stakeholders. Likewise, even though the country enjoys political stability, the government should ensure a proper security to the beautiful sceneries and the wildlife. This will ensure that that tourist who visits the place has a variety of sceneries to enjoy, hence encourage them to revisit the country.
According to Chacko (2008), promotion is the process intended to inform potential clients about the product and services that a tourist destination offers and the industry sharing of the very valuable, attractive and innovative attributes within their destination. For that reason, a promotion usually incorporated distribution and entail communication activities that involve both the tourist factory and the targeted market including advertisements. However, as Belch and Belch (2004) note that word of mouth is still the most effective promotion method. The method remains to be only with the loyalty of customers.
Therefore, to enjoy the loyalty of the customers, the Scottish tourism sector must invest on quality of products and services offered to their potential customers in order to thrive in this ever-competitive industry. This method, as Belch and Belch (2004) point out, can only be used to retain the already existing customers. Therefore, to attract new customers, the Scottish tourism industry must involve other promotional methods such as advertisements using different mediums.
Advertising, as empirical research indicates, is the excellent method for early publicity of tourist attraction. It is defined as a marketing activity paid for to induce potential clients to buy products or services (Belch & Belch, 2004). For tourist attraction destinations that aim to gain an international market like the Scotland’s tourism industry, they should advertise on broadcasting media. This is because broadcasting marketing tools that include TV and radio can both be effective since they cover an extensively large geographical region, unlike in the print media that covers a small geographical region hence favorable for domestic tourist. Similarly, broadcast method will be effect over online method, which equally covers large area, but owing to the fact that in broadcast method the audience can trust the authenticity of the information, unlike in the online media where the users rarely belief the sources of information (Belch & Belch, 2004).
In the industry, a tourist travelling to a destination will use several different facilities that include air travel, a hotel room, a rental car, and meals from different restaurants. These suggest that the aim of the tourist is to enjoy the travel to its maximum. Therefore, while designing a website for the tourism industry, the Scotland web designer should ensure that the web site facilitates the tourist planning, by ensuring that the tourist makes the right choice that will enable an enjoyable experience. In order to ensure this, website should serve as distribution of all the services that a tourist may need in their travel and the entire stay (Sterne, 2001).
This means that every tourist destination wishing to thrive in this competitive business should have a website portal that acts as the gateway to the destination instead of relying on individuals’ website. This website can then be linked to other organizations who supplement the destination website. The website must then contain information on how to get to the destination, touring the place once at the destination, the rest rooms and the things the tourist can do at the site (Sterne, 2001)
Similarly, as Sterne (2001) indicates, internet use as it entails the cost for the entire vacation enables the potential customers to plan and prepare well enough to avoid any inconveniency that may arise during their stay. In addition, as it is a normal norm to brag about exceptional occurrence in one’s life. Therefore, Scotland should advance in use of internet since in such a circumstance this will promote the destination hence; attract more tourists to the destination. Internet use in such feedback incidences in addition to achieve in a destinations website online store will boost the tourist destination preference.
In the contemporary world, internet has emerged to become part of every human life. As noted human being spends an infinite fraction of their time on a daily basis-using internet, chatting with friends, acquaintances, or virtual communities formed in the internet simply to stay connected to the global world. Since the population involved in internet use grows gradually, number of social site have so far emerged to satisfy the radically growing population. The social sites include Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, blogs, and LinkedIn among other social sites. Hence, for promoting a tourist destination, Scotland marketers can utilize the social media. Owing to the fact that, most of social media users are elite groups, which are the target of the Scotland tourist marketers, social media can be effective tool in marketing the country tourist destination (Sterne, 2001).
Similarly, as social media users have the habit to form virtual groups, tourist marketers can utilize the large no of these communities to boost their brand awareness and visibility of their product and services to large number of audience at low cost (Sterne, 2001). Furthermore, Scotland’s tourism marketers can use the links in the social sites to redirect the users to their online stores where the potential customers can find videos or online advertisement about their tourism destinations. These links can as well direct the customers to the destination tourist websites. Lastly, since social media sites allows for interactions, the potential customers can post both the negative and positive comment. Whereas positive comments will automatically boost the tourist destination, good marketers will use the negative comments to improve their services. Concisely, Scotland’s tourism marketers can capitalize on social sites to promote their destinations effectively (Belch & Belch, 2004).
In developing the Scottish tourism market economy within these scores, the primary concern of the policy makers should be pegged on ensuring that the sector accesses its future market opportunities. More than anything, the sector must further be shaped to meet the expectations and needs of future tourists from other emerging markets in the years to come, and these must be seen in light of the efforts to give the sector a competitive advantage over its regional and overseas challengers. Business and reliable tourism market research hold that customers are not necessarily those that the sector may come about now, and those that have the prospects of visiting in future have meaning to tourism economy. As such there is need to work around the clock to file past the expectations of those customers that are already in the Scottish tourism basket for their stories to extend to those that will be willing find Scotland as their preferred destination.
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