Marketing and branding the contemporary destination
This chapter provides an overview of the marketing and branding of contemporary destinations. The chapter demonstrates that one of the major issues for destination marketers is the destination image, yet this is something that is very difficult to influence and to change. The significance of the destination image shows that destination marketing is as much a strategic process as it is a tactical one. Indeed, destination branding has to be viewed as a strategic activity as it is closely linked to the destination image and demands the close involvement of destination stakeholders in the design and acceptance of the brand. Of course, this process is now facilitated by technology with the Internet providing a cheap and effective marketing medium for destinations, as well as the opportunity to develop destination portals which provide a sense of ownership for stakeholders. Destination marketing organizations (DMOs) spearhead the technological developments for destinations and the marketing process generally. They act as umbrella-marketing agencies and consolidate the role of destination partners. The chapter closes by identifying a range of key issues relating to destination marketing, including the role of the public sector, involvement of destination stakeholders, the very nature of the destination as a product and the question as to whether the theory of marketing can – or should – be extended to places and destinations.