chapter  14
29 Pages

Destination branding and marketing: The role of marketing organizations

ByChris Ryan, Huimin Gu

The purpose of this chapter is to examine destination marketing and its relationship with branding. From this relationship, it is argued, complex and multi-layered implications arise whereby both image and marketing organizations become embroiled in wider social and environmental issues, while continuing to be funded on what, in effect, is only one of their several functions. The chapter first briefly reviews the academic literature, and then initially contests the concept that destination marketing actually exists – a stance that is adopted to (a) show the complexities of definition and (b) to argue that one primary function of destination marketing organizations is the manufacture of image and not product. However, subsequent discussion begins to modify this initial stance through the argument that tourism is about an experience of people, activities and interactions with the characteristics of place, thereby giving rise to the notion that image of place predicates expectation that in itself is a factor in the evaluation of experience. In short, the image, not the physical structure or nature of the activities, is the product generated by destination marketing organizations (DMOs). The chapter also draws attention to the different markets to which the DMO must direct its promotional efforts – different not only in terms of tourists as final consumers of place, but also in terms of other stakeholders who evaluate the promotional effort of the marketing organization for their own reasons. It also suggests that image creation has to be considered within a wider context of mobilities, and that again there are implications for the nature of the destination. Reference is made to Butler’s destination life cycle, and amendments are suggested that relate the cycle to a process of localization, globalization and glocalization. From this arises the final section of the chapter wherein it is suggested that DMOs are increasingly being placed in a position where a further stakeholder group is important, as both they and tourism in general become subsumed into policies of economic and social development. This finally gives rise to possible future directions for further research.