By Terry Jackson
After raging on for well over a year, the management-marketing debate seems to have finally exhausted itself. Destination managers should focus on maintaining and improving a destination’s infrastructure and infostructure to help enhance the overall visit experience and develop the brand. A destination brand is the sum total of visitors’ experience of a destination, and stories they have heard about a destination from other visitors. The only marketing tool available to destination managers is, therefore, good destination management.
Destination marketing is a different art and different again from traditional destination marketing. All 9 x Ps of tourism marketing still apply but it’s the 3 x Cs of internet marketing with an equal emphasis on all three that reap the rewards. Despite the efforts of Project Ffynnon back in the mid 1990s, Wales has still not fully grasped this new paradigm with Welsh Government and Local Authorities sharing much, if not all, of the blame.
Over fifteen years on we’ve seen the emergence of Flickr, Google and others who grasped the importance of content and GI, leaving Wales trailing after its early pioneering lead. This time round it’s a rich ‘Content’ partnership in Wales with Wicipedia Cymraeg supported with funding from Wikmedia UK and the Wales Settlements Project & WikiWales that’s signposting the way forward. It’s already seen Monmouth as the first Wikipedia town in Wales but will the flat-footed strike again?
No, I don’t think so. This time it’s too big even for them to resist and Wales should seize the initiative with both hands and keep a really firm grip going forward. Wales is well positioned now to take early advantage of the semantic web and we shouldn’t throw away the opportunity like last time.
To keep within the scope of the group discussion this article’s taken from at http://goo.gl/Vkwck/: for ‘Community’ read tourism associations; better still village and town associations. Villages and towns are the new micro-destinations, eminently marketable on the web but it’s the whole idea that makes them shine not tourism businesses alone as we know them.
Every settlement has its USP no matter how obscure and there are niche markets out there for everything you could imagine. Wales future lies down the long marketing tail of niche interests and not at the head of the tail where competition is fierce and low margins are eaten away by commission. The sooner we wake up to this the better and focus on ‘Commerce’ as the final C that changes everything for the better.