Digital destination promotion: understanding and maximizing the use of digital and cultural assets to enhance tourists’ decision making and destination marketing strategies

Mitsche, Nicole (2016) Digital destination promotion: understanding and maximizing the use of digital and cultural assets to enhance tourists’ decision making and destination marketing strategies. Doctoral thesis, University of Sunderland.

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Abstract

With the overarching research question “how Information and
Communication Technologies can be used to support a destination in
improving tourists’ information search and decision making through the use
of its digital and cultural assets” this thesis connects the three themes of
eTourism, destination marketing and heritage tourism through a user-centric
approach and the application of innovative technologies. The eight papers
provided utilise and investigate the application of technology to improve the
effectiveness and promotion of destination marketing and destination
marketing organisations whilst, at the same time, improving user
experiences.
Interdisciplinary research focuses on the opportunities provided by digital and
cultural assets of destinations to enhance destination marketing efforts. This
research recognises and discusses the importance and challenges of the
commodification process of tangible and intangible heritage as part of the
marketing process. Methodologies appropriate to each of the research
purposes were applied and data was triangulated to improve understanding.
Quantitative data was collected through questionnaires, web crawlers and log
files enabling the research to draw on analytical methods such as
correspondence and cluster analysis, as well as data envelopment analysis
(DEA). Qualitative methods such as workshop cycles, observations, and
interviews were used to provide rich narratives analysed through content
analysis.
The results from the eight papers enhance destination marketing efforts by
providing a better understanding of user behaviour and preferences based on
travel personalities, travel and search pattern. They provide a clearer
representation of the technologies, digital assets and e-Services available,
discussing web site content and effectiveness. Strategies and innovative
ideas to improve the current utilisation of digital technologies are provided
based on the outcomes of the studies presented. Furthermore, a reflection on
the use of intangible cultural heritage assets within destination marketing
supported through the use of technologies is explored to enhance
opportunities for destination marketing.
V
The research presents innovative and new ways to a destination to create
new meanings and unique selling points (USPs) through cultural heritage
assets and user-centric technologies. It introduces an interpretative strategy
within destination marketing, and ideas to make the tourists’ holiday choice
process more engaging. It enhances the understanding of on-line destination
presentation, enabling comparisons between providers and improving their
competitiveness.
The main contribution of this work is new and enhanced insights how to
improve on-line destination presentation by understanding its current
representation and users’ search and behaviour patterns online and during
travelling. It provides examples for the usefulness of ICT and cultural heritage
in order to improve destinations’ marketing efforts. It also adds to the debate
of the application of technologies for heritage interpretation and the
commodification of (local) cultural heritage assets for destination marketing
and tourism purposes.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Tourism > Tourism
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Tourism
Depositing User: Barry Hall
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2017 14:19
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2017 14:19
URI: http://sure.sunderland.ac.uk/id/eprint/7105

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