Soccer is a game that is played by two teams that are comprised of eleven players each. The sport has a large following in the whole world compared to the other sporting activities. The soccer world cup is held after every four consecutive years since 1930. The event takes one month to be completed because there are normally 32 teams competing for the same trophy.
The most recent world cup was played in South Africa in 2010, and it involved several theoretical terms in marketing, including repackage, re-imagine, and restructure. Repackaging is the process of changing a product into a more attractive form. Re-imagine involves re-thinking on the marketing strategies previously followed and coming up with new strategies for product improvement, which can be achieved through restructuring. Therefore, this paper discusses how South Africa was marketed for soccer world cup.
Soccer World Cup in South Africa
According to Deutsche Welle (2006), soccer world cup was an important occasion because for the first time in history the event was held in an African state. The government of South Africa took advantage of this occasion to market itself as a tourist destination. The host had to create an African impression in every aspect from architectural designs of the stadiums to the opening ceremony because the event was to be held in Africa.
From the day South Africa was assigned the role of hosting the world cup, the government had to adequately prepare for the event. The preparations entailed conducting a research on the environment to identify its weaknesses and strengths.
This meant that South Africa had to evaluate their facilities and identify whether their current facilities would satisfy the needs of the visitors so that they would want to come back after the event was over. Ignoring the issue of facilities would work against the objectives of marketing South Africa as the preferred tourist destination.
For instance, the country’s infrastructure had to be restructured to meet international standards because by then the transport system could not have accommodated the visitors without creating a traffic crisis. New stadiums had to be constructed before the commencement of the event, but then in as much as South Africa was more concerned about the event, it was also concerned about how it would benefit from the event. This is because for a period of one month their currency would be very active and stable due to its high demand.
In addition, the country would earn a lot of revenue and the common people will benefit from employment opportunities that will arise during the construction of roads and stadiums. The security of the state had to be enhanced so that the visitors do not go through bad experiences while in the streets because if they are mugged or something like that they would certainly not come back. All these and many more upgrading had to be done so that visitors would feel like they are in their mother country.
What Was To Be Done
The government of South Africa could not have achieved the goal of holding soccer world cup alone and thus, it had to partner with key industry players in the tourism sector and other ministries. This was found to be the most relevant option because the tourism board is the most experienced in such matters.
South Africa had to carry out a survey to find out the attitude that those who have been there before had about the destination in general; thus, the officials re-imagined the approaches of holding the event. The findings were to be compared to the success that the destination had achieved in history.
Attitude is considered crucial in destination marketing because if it is positive, it has to be maintained and vice versa. Morgan, Pritchard, and Pride (2004) argue that South Africa looked at other destinations where the same event was held and identified what was available for the visitors.
For South Africa to succeed in its mission of luring more tourists it had to go an extra mile beyond what the other previous hosts. The efforts made here are worth because it takes a lot of time to attract customers and very little time to loose them, and because South Africa is considered to be the most developed state among African nations, it had to re-imagine the advancement in this event.
In addition, being the first African country to host the event, it had to set a good legacy that is to be followed by other African states. This was one of the most appropriate opportunities for Africa to demonstrate its skills and abilities. In this regard, the marketing of a destination is directed to a particular group because it’s not everybody who can afford to travel oversees.
It is also important to note that the marketing of a destination is not only meant for attracting tourists, but investors and other interests. Pike (2008) reckons that this is because this soccer event is attended by people from all walks of life and when they are in the host country they will most probably look for opportunities that can be explored.
However, their decision rests on the impression they will get as they walk around. Tourists are moved by the attractions they find in a country and if they cannot access the said sites such as the national parks, they would not want to come back. Furthermore, potential investors can be discouraged if there is high level of insecurity.
Elements of Destination Marketing
All of the above activities require a lot of money and there is no guarantee that the money will be recovered in the near future, hence when the government was making the adjustments, there are a few things that were be considered. Pike (2008) suggest that the government must analyze the probability of gaining from the event by computing the number of people present and also the number of people who may show up. The government had to calculate the rough amount each person would spend.
When marketing a destination, it is important to consider the products that are in that destination. In the case of South Africa, the main products are transport, investments such as real estate, and other food products. The marketer of a destination must choose an appropriate approach of displaying the products of the destination to the tourists to be.
When the products are being showcased, the cost of the products should be subsidized, just for the sake of attracting customers. Having high price tags may send customers away because most of them may not afford to pay for such products; but the good thing about the commodities that are sold in tourism industry is that they have unlimited shelf life.
Therefore, it is advisable to establish pricing policies to regulate the tourism market. This may sound illogical because in the tourism, businesses operate as independent entities, but then the customers do not categorize them in that manner – they analyze them collectively. Lubbe (2003) states that the prices should be set in such a way that even when there are changes in future, the industry will remain stable without having to hastily hike prices.
The other approach is based on the place where the products are exhibited. In this approach the government together with stakeholders in tourism identifies an entity that is probably an organization that interacts regularly with the potential customers. This is because while a tourist is having his/her meal in a food joint he/she would be excited if there was adequate of products to choose from.
Appropriate approaches should be employed in the marketing of South Africa as a tourist destination. This is necessary because it is the only way of reaching the desired customers.
South Africa used almost all the elements of promotional approaches. For instance, the soccer world cup was used as the basis for advertising the other tourism products in this destination, including entertainment, hotels and beaches among many others. The adverts were done through the media and the Internet. The Internet was the most effective tool because it is accessed by millions of people from all over the world.
The main target was the people who had come to watch the tournament, but there were others who had come for business purposes. In addition to that there are others who had come to visit their friends and relatives. Furthermore, marketers repackaged their products to include the soccer world cup logo. This increased the attractiveness of the products because repackaging created an appealing experience to customers.
Challenges in Destination Marketing
The act of marketing a destination may sound easy to the parties that are not involved, but to the concerned parties it is a very challenging task. Olton (2006) explains that politics are known to affect markets and therefore the government of South Africa had to ensure that politics do not obstruct the soccer event because it would portray a negative image of the state.
In fact, one year prior to the soccer event there were violent riots that were directed towards foreigners of African origin. This was a major blow because those who would have wanted to invest in South Africa had to look for alternative locations. The government had to control the riots so that the event could be completed successfully.
Furthermore, many privately owned enterprises in the tourism sector were not willing to invest in destination promotion because they have a common attitude that their participation would be benefiting their competitors. They had to be informed on how they would benefit from the event as a way of motivate them to actively participate in the initiative. The communities in South Africa had high expectations on the event, such as business opportunities.
Many people were busy selling merchandise in the streets. It is certain that the resources that are found in South Africa are linked to a community and therefore these communities had to be integrated into destination marketing. Some of them had to be trained to work as tour guides and entertainers because they are experienced in their respective terrains. This was meant to make them help in the conservation of natural resources because their livelihoods was and still depends on tourism.
Benefits of Destination Marketing
Baker (2011) argues that there are so many benefits that come along with destination marketing. One is that the destination has higher chances of being awarded the contract to host global events in future. For instance, South Africa is currently looking forward towards hosting the forthcoming Olympics. This is because the soccer world cup provided a window of opportunity for South Africa to gauge its abilities in managing such events.
Additionally, industry players enjoy a larger market share because there are many customers who need their products and hence, they do not have to reduce their prices to attract customers from their competitors. In the final end, the industry players earn more profits due to increase in product sales. Besides, if South Africa encountered any crisis in future, it would be easier to recover because it is a recognized brand in the tourism market.
All parties involved in destination marketing should think positively to avoid being discouraged by possible setbacks. Now that South Africa was able to host the soccer world cup successfully, the focus should now shift to attracting foreign investors and hosting other events without focusing only on sporting events.
South Africa is the most recognized tourist destination in Africa, possibly due to its advanced infrastructure and a stable economy. In essence, South Africa was restructured and soccer products repackaged to meet the expectations of soccer fans. Therefore, once the desired position in the market has been achieved, it has to be maintained because there is stiff competition in the market. This means that the government and industry must continue to upgrade the infrastructure and the other facilities to meet international standards.
Baker, B., 2011. Challenges and Rewards of Destination Marketing. Web.
Deutsche Welle, 2006. South Africans Promise to be Prepared for 2010 Cup. Web.
Lubbe, B., 2003.Tourism Management in Southern Africa. Cape Town: Pearson Education.
Morgan,N., Pritchard, A. and Pride, R., 2004. Destination Branding: Creating the Unique Destination Proposition. Burlington, MA: Butterworth-Heinemann.
Olton, L. V., 2006. How to Develop an Effective Destination Marketing Plan. Web.
Pike, S. (2008). Destination Marketing: An Integrated Marketing Communication Approach, Burlington: MA, Butterworth-Heinemann.