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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|2809||2003||16 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Annals of Tourism Research, Volume 30, Issue 3, July 2003, Pages 644–659
Despite its increasing maturity in the literature, relationship marketing remains an untested concept for destination marketers. This article explores the opportunities and challenges faced by managers of destinations in their attempt to engender loyalty and repeat visitation in a product domain traditionally considered highly complex, fragmented, and difficult to manage. Further, the article analyzes the degree of implantation of relationship marketing in two contrasting destinations: Stockholm and Barbados. The study concludes that the peculiarities of the destination product complicate the building of relationships with the tourist and diminish the suitability and value of such efforts, while promoting the value of greater interorganizational collaboration.
The contemporary literature appears captivated by the notion of relationship marketing to the extent that a considerable body of opinion now exists, with a diversity of views as to its definition, scope, and worth as a new “paradigm”. Relationship marketing is variously considered to be a tactical “currency” promotional activity, often linked to database technology (Bickert 1992), a strategic tool whereby suppliers seek to “tie-in” customers and achieve customer retention (Gummesson 1999), and as a fundamental business philosophy (Peppers and Rogers 1995). In this paper, the focus is on individual, or one-to-one, relationships with customers, which frequently integrate database knowledge with long-term customer retention and growth strategies. With such divergent approaches to its core proposition, it is not surprising that a common definition has proved elusive. But that proposed by Shani and Chalasani (1992)—“an integrated effort to identify, maintain, and build up a network with individual consumers and to continuously strengthen the network for the mutual benefit of both sides, through interactive, individualized, and value added contacts over a long period of time”—encompasses many definitional facets from other authors. For example, it incorporates the long-term orientation proposed by Doyle and Thomas (1992), the shift in emphasis from manipulation to genuine customer involvement argued by McKenna (1991), and the need to work towards common goals put forward by Buttle (1996). It also emphasizes the need to attract, maintain, and enhance customer relationships (Berry 1983, Grönroos 1983 and Gummesson 1987), as well as the need for all marketing activities to be directed towards establishing, developing, and maintaining successful relationships, as suggested by Morgan and Hunt (1994). With its long history of relational exchange, tourism has witnessed the introduction of many relationship marketing practices. Airline frequent flyer programs (Gilbert 1996, Gilbert and Karabeyekian 1995 and Liu et al 2000), hotel frequent guest programs (Danaher and Mattsson 1994 and Palmer et al 2000), and car rental company customer preference schemes (Chadee and Mattsson 1996) have all contributed to tourism being at the forefront of industries adopting relationship marketing (Palmer and Mayer 1996). However, doubt has been cast over the extent to which this practice can permeate the domain of this marketing theme, the destination serving as the crux of tourism, and traditionally considered to be highly complex, fragmented, and difficult to manage (Gunn 1993). With increasing global competition owing to newly-emerging destinations and tourists becoming more exacting in their choice and desire for a variety of options, relationship marketing arguably offers considerable potential to achieve competitive advantage.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Gilbert, Perry-Powell and Widijoso (1999) stated that relationship marketing is most suitable in situations where the customer controls the selection of supplier, there are alternative choices of suppliers, brand switching is common, and word-of-mouth is a powerful vehicle of promotion. The two latter points, in particular, have been seen to hold true for destinations (Baloglu and Ericksson 1998 and Oppermann 2000). It can also be argued that alternative suppliers exist given the vast number of destinations. Generally, tourists can select where to visit based on their interest and available resources. In theory, relationship marketing appears suitable to destinations as confirmed by a number of authors who argue that it is of great importance in businesses with frequent encounters between employees and customers (Grönroos 1995, Long and Schiffman 2000 and Sheth and Parvatiyar 1995) and where tourists can be highly involved in the purchase (Oppermann 1998). Findings from this study suggest otherwise. There can be little doubt that the highly competitive global market for tourists serves as a catalyst for destinations to seek more innovative strategies, and to engender a degree of loyalty and stimulate lucrative repeat business among their tourist base. However, as in the cases of Stockholm and Barbados, where a destination’s lifecycle position suggests that loyalty building ought to be a strategic imperative, the peculiarities of the product complicate the building of relationships with the final tourist. In turn, these complications appear to diminish the suitability and value of the concept for destinations. For relationship marketing to succeed, there is a need to encourage “active” loyalty among tourists, to engender a “domain” culture of coordination and cooperation, to provide and deliver “coordinated” value to tourists, and to build a long-term relationship with tourists. With regard to the above, first, as was the case with Stockholm and the SIS, tourist loyalty is predominantly viewed in the form of attitudinal rather than active loyalty. The problem with this is that the office has no proof of the attractiveness of this loyalty other than the assumption that “it will benefit the destination” (interview with the SIS project leader in 2001). To value the destination can be viewed as the first step towards loyalty. But many authors, including Gummesson 1999 and Bowen and Shoemaker 1998, emphasize the need for the organization to work actively to move the customer from being a satisfied one into a loyal one. There is no evidence in this study to support the notion that tourists who value a destination are likely to engender repeat visits, even with the benefit of positive word-of-mouth. In the case of Stockholm, measures to encourage loyalty among tourists who do not engage in “active” loyalty may be of little value for Stockholm in the longer term. Second, as has become apparent, relationship marketing is not a phenomenon that can be confined to one or two departments of an organization. The entire organization must be coordinated and must cooperate if the goals set are to be achieved. This is of the utmost importance when it comes to implementing the quality principle as well as ensuring that marketing principles are extended to the whole organization. The findings from this article suggest that for Stockholm and Barbados considerable challenges exist for the successful coordination of the destinations’ independent actors. This can be seen as a serious drawback for the successful implementation of a relationship marketing program. The destination is clearly not “just another organization”. The Stockholm Project has made some inroads into coordinating quality. However, as this coordination only covers the partners of the project, there remains no control over the destination as a whole. With its current role and limited resources, relationship building is a highly ambitious and possibly unrealistic target. In the short-to-mid term, more traditional “transactional” activity is likely. This is also true for Barbados, although attempts by the CTO to market the islands of the Caribbean as a composite destination offer potential. A unified pan-Caribbean approach to the development of relationship marketing strategies offers the best and most cost-effective chance to engender loyalty and repeat visitation to individual islands rather than efforts conducted by individual tourism authorities. The implementation of such a strategy does, though, carry with it considerable political implications. Third, the focus on new forms of collaborative marketing by the CTO implies a real need for considerable coordination and cooperation to exist among “island” actors if relationship-building initiatives are to succeed. With considerable difficulty in even getting reliable information on tourists a minimum requirement, it appears to be the case that in the short-to-medium term SIS is highly unlikely to be able to offer coordinated value to tourists. By not even reaching this stage, short-to-medium term benefits likely to derive from relationship marketing are most unlikely. Finally, the long-term vision is the key question for those wishing to successfully pursue relationship strategies. Both SIS and BTA appear to neglect the long-term potential of their tourists. Although the latter has its Barbados Club Program, this arguably represents a token strategy that fails to incorporate fully the strategic essence of relationship marketing. Understandably, tourism is generally guided by novelty-seeking behavior, there being a consistent tendency to switch destination rather than to return to a previously visited one. However, tourists traveling for relaxation do demonstrate a higher propensity for repeat visits, as do older age groups who are more likely to return to previously visited places: both trends are likely to encourage greater interest in relationship marketing for the BTA. To expand these conclusions, for the marketing of places in general, the particularities of the destination product suggest that in the short-to-medium term, transactional marketing strategies are set to continue. In the context of many destinations competing in highly competitive markets, the costs and benefits to be derived from relationship marketing require significant research before destinations are able to accept the concept as a new paradigm or panacea. In view of the inherent imbalance of power, resources, and experience among destination “actors” in the developed and developing world, generating cohesion, mutual trust, and respect within the tourism system serve as significant challenges for those marketing destinations in the future. This said, there is sufficient evidence in this article to suggest that destinations can benefit by adopting a philosophical approach to “relationship” building and development rather than adopting tactical or strategic initiatives. Although initially appearing of limited value, the adoption of a relational philosophy by the destination marketing organization will serve as a valuable catalyst for its industry partners (customers) at the destination level. The existence of a clear vision, mission and relational-organizational culture will provide a sense of trust and direction for industry partners and create the stability and environment necessary for the long-term development and implementation of their own relationship marketing strategies. The destination marketing organization, with its broader political remit and limited budget, is to be encouraged and supported by its industry partners to provide leadership, clarity, and consistency of strategic direction for the longer-term results to be accrued; directly by the destination’s industry partners and indirectly by the destination itself. Relationship marketing is not a short-term solution to heightened competitiveness in the marketplace; it is a long-term ambition to engender loyalty, be it attitudinal or behavioral, and to increase repeat visitation to the destination. The time scale, cost, and nature of strategies to be adopted are likely to vary. In this instance, destinations are no different from any other sector within or outside of tourism. What is deemed essential is recognition of the considerable challenges likely to be confronted and the benefits to be accrued from greater interorganizational collaboration at the destination level. Whether it be the collective organization and collation of data, the collaborative organization of management systems, most probably through the Internet, or joint agreement among industry partners as to identifying those market segments worth pursing in a relational sense, “domain” collaboration is a prerequisite for relationship marketing. According to Buhalis, “failure to ensure and maintain a balance effectively jeopardizes relationships among stakeholders and threatens the achievement of the strategic objectives and the long-term competitiveness and prosperity of destinations” (2000:99). For relationship marketing to succeed, destinations clearly need to “bring all individual partners together to cooperate rather than compete and to pool resources towards developing an integrated marketing mix and delivery system” (Buhalis 2000:104).