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The Prentice - O'Gorman destination appraisal matrix for tourism development and marketing

Prentice, Richard and O'Gorman, Kevin D. (2007) The Prentice - O'Gorman destination appraisal matrix for tourism development and marketing. In: 5th International Conference on Tourism in Islamic Countries, 2007-03-05.

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We ask how tourists are thought to make decisions in choosing a destination to visit. The traditional approach emphasised the sequence by which possible destinations were rejected. Prentice's ideas, instead, emphasise the processes of choosing. His approach offers information about why a destination is chosen and why other destinations are rejected by potential tourists. This is a basis from which tourism developers and marketers can predict the needs of tourists. Central to the approach are USPs (Unique Selling Points) and SSPs (Standardised Selling Points). SSPs have lead to the creation of many look-a-like destinations throughout the Mediterranean, a process described by the French as banalisation. We offer instead an approach to defining USPs designed to capture the authenticity of place and the sincerity of cultures. In doing so, the paper considers what tourists are seeking in products, in terms of utilities, experiences and symbols. It also considers how contemporary tourism products are created to achieve this. The presentation is illustrated using examples from the United Kingdom, to demonstrate how culture and commercialism can be sensitively combined to assist tourists in developing their feelings of authenticity and sincerity. The final section of the paper considers how planners and marketers should capture the sense of place and culture as USPs. A destination appraisal matrix is provided combining an analysis of USPs with a traditional SWOT analysis. The paper is concluded by demonstrating the matrix with a hypothetical example, which some people might assume to be London!