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A strategic use of the communication mix in the destination image-formation process

McCartney, Glenn and Butler, R. and Bennett, Marion (2008) A strategic use of the communication mix in the destination image-formation process. Journal of Travel Research, 47 (2). pp. 183-196. ISSN 0047-2875

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Abstract

National tourist offices and tourism stakeholders are challenged to maintain and secure travel markets. Travelers are constantly bombarded with travel marketing messages. Compounding the challenge is a lack of research on effective, efficient, and optimal methods in convincing tourists to travel to a particular destination. To address this literature gap, a questionnaire survey on destination brand image research was conducted on outbound travelers from four major cities, examining their image perceptions of Macao and the degree of influence that various information sources had on destination selection. Results show that a communication mix strategy could be designed to more effectively manage tourist destination image perceptions. A cross-tabulation of the data revealed that the information sources affecting travel destination choice had varying levels of influence. A "Communication Effectiveness Grid" (CEG) was conceptualized from the research with quadrants indicating marketing resource effectiveness. The CEG has significant implications for destinations with limited budgets wishing to influence travelers.