اثربخشی اتحاد بازاریابی منطقه ای: یک مطالعه موردی از مشارکت گردشگری اقیانوس اطلس کانادا 2000-2006
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|3455||2008||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Tourism Management, Volume 29, Issue 3, June 2008, Pages 581–593
Strategic alliances have become a common strategy in tourism marketing. These alliances take many different forms, and operate with different objectives. Too often, though, alliances are created without realistic expectations, clear operating procedures, or objective criteria by which to evaluate success. This case study reviews a tourism marketing alliance that has been successfully created and operated for a number of years, the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership. The partnership brings together the tourism ministries of four Canadian provinces, four industry associations, and the federal government. The basic role of the partnership is to promote Atlantic Canada in the US and selected overseas markets. This case discusses the strategic approach and results of the partnership and concludes with lessons learned from the case study and identification of areas for further improvements in the partnership
Governments in jurisdictions throughout the world have come to understand the importance of tourism as a source of personal and business wealth, government revenues, and jobs. As a result, many governments now promote public–private sector partnerships to increase destination competitiveness (Ritchie & Ritchie, 2002). As Ritchie and Crouch (2000, p. 1) note, “nations, states, cities, and regional areas now take their role as tourist destinations very seriously, committing considerable effort and funds towards enhancing their tourism image and attractiveness”. And, as just suggested, one particular trend in destination marketing has been the move toward the formation of partnerships or alliances,1 especially strategic alliances. Bécherel and Vellas (1999, p. 17) broadly define alliances as “agreements between two [entities] who may agree to co-operate in a variety of ways”. This can include co-operation among two or more provincial, state, or regional governments in the same market in which they both compete individually but also co-operate against other competitors. This paper explores an example of a strategic alliance among two levels of government and the private sector in Atlantic Canada (the four easternmost Canadian provinces). The objectives of this case study are to: 1. examine a specific alliance, the Atlantic Canada Tourism Partnership (ACTP), in the context of the existing literature on the formation of strategic alliances; 2. describe the motives for its creation as well as its structure; 3. summarize marketing strategies and tactics for the key international markets targeted by ACTP; 4. examine management, governance, and communication practices and issues; and 5. summarize results of ACTP's activities within the context of its objectives as well as that of the larger Canadian tourism market.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The ACTP is a model of a successful multi-partner regional alliance for developing export tourism markets. The federal government, by offering funding through the ACOA, brought four provincial governments and members of the four provincial tourism industry associations to the table. ACOA was able to attract partners not only by providing core funding, but by negotiating a formula and structure to leverage partner funding and to share decision-making. As a result, the partnership created a spirit of co-operation among four competing provinces that did not exist prior to its implementation. Travel agents and tour operators were successfully recruited as tactical partners in each year of the two agreements. The partnership successfully developed positive media relations and raised awareness of Atlantic Canada in its key markets. The fact that such a partnership has been successfully strengthened and continually re-negotiated is remarkable; reflecting this success, an agreement for 2006–2009 has been signed. ACOA's leadership contributed to significant growth in ROI from the US market over the period of the two agreements, which was also a period of a softening in the US outbound market to Canada. The growth was possible, not only because of incremental funding, but because of market research conducted by ACOA for the provinces and industry. This leadership also contributed to significant growth from overseas markets. By the end of the second agreement, both programs—US and Overseas—had surpassed their ROI targets. The ACTP alliance has had a strong positive economic impact in the region and has achieved its most significant objectives. Wang and Fesenmaier (2006) suggest there are three potential broad outcomes from tourism marketing partnerships. The first is strategy-oriented, in which there is more efficient use of scarce resources. The second is learning-oriented, such as learning new ways to conduct marketing. The third is social capital-oriented, such as strengthening the co-operative spirit of the partners in ways that extend beyond the explicit terms of the alliance. ACTP's activities have resulted in all three. Joint marketing efforts extended and leveraged marketing budgets. Ongoing research and the sharing of marketing experiences among ACTP's partners helped each of the partners learn from each other and to develop new marketing tactics and strategies. And ACTP has significantly increased the sense of co-operation and sharing of information resources among the partners. Gray (1989) identifies five characteristics essential to the success of an alliance. The first is a set of interdependent stakeholders who recognize their success depends, to a degree, on each other. The second is the ability to accept legitimate differences of opinion and the willingness to resolve them through creative thinking. The third and fourth are linked: a sense of shared responsibility for decision-making and a sense of ownership of the decisions, and acceptance of responsibility for the future direction of the alliance. Finally, successful alliances depend on the understanding that collaboration evolves as partners develop better understanding and experience. ACTP's experiences demonstrate that the alliance has achieved and sustained all five characteristics. Specific lessons learned from ACTP's partnership activities and their evolution are summarized below: 1. Effective tourism marketing partnerships require that partners negotiate their way through legitimate differences in objectives (Bramwell & Lane, 2000; Wang & Fesenmaier, 2006). In the US Program, each province sought to protect its own brand while working with other provinces to engage in co-operative marketing initiatives. For overseas markets, the partnership was able to develop two different and successful unified brands. 2. Partnerships require a sense of equitable participation and involvement (Marino, 2000; UNWTO, 1996). In ACTP, the federal government (through ACOA), four provincial tourism ministries, and four industry associations were functionally equal partners. Funding levels varied to reflect the differences in budgetary resources of the various partners; these were specified in the MOA through a clear funding formula. 3. The existence of simple quantitative and relevant key performance indicators is something members of a marketing partnership expect (Elliott, 1997; Faulkner, 1997; Mistilis & Daniele, 2004). The MOA provided explicit accountability and reporting guidelines; quantitative performance targets included ROI, market share, awareness, revenues, and arrivals. 4. An efficient management structure is critical for a partnership to be sustainable (UNWTOBC, 2003). ACTP worked continually over the years examined to improve its structure, balancing the expectation of nine partners to be involved in decision-making with minimal bureaucratic process. Internal decision-making procedures could be slow because the need for inter-agency consultation could not be ignored, but ACTP streamlined management operations and decision-making processes. 5. Effective regional marketing activities by partnerships need to be based on an integrated, multi-media strategy. This typically involves a mix of print, television, direct mail, media relations, and Internet. Travel trade marketing typically requires a mix of participation in trade shows, fam tours, and other promotional initiatives. Travel trade marketing should also be complementary to consumer marketing. The results of travel trade initiative need to be measured over time, that is, over the course of 2 or more years, not just in the course of one travel season. 6. The effectiveness of tourism marketing is highly vulnerable to non-tourism events (e.g., the September 11th attacks, SARS). Aggressive tactical marketing changes by ACTP to reflect “the new reality” resulted in a recovery of arrivals for 2003. However, softening in the outbound market of the US and some overseas markets due to economic slowdown, rising fuel costs, tighter border controls, and other factors continue to challenge not only the Atlantic Canada tourism sector, but that of all of Canada. While brand development and maintenance requires stability in core positioning of the destination in the market, specific messages to promote the destination need to adapt to any significant changes in the environment. 7. In line with the so-called corporate model, partnerships require explicit a priori guidelines regarding spending allocations (Mistilis & Daniele, 2004). The use of a media broker by the US Program saved money for the organization and encouraged the provinces to co-operate through joint advertising buys whenever a business case could be made. The restriction of ACTP's budget to incremental activities further ensured that the partnership was effective in achieving its objectives. 8. Marketing budgets should be allocated to, in the vernacular, achieving the biggest bang for the buck. Because most US travel to Atlantic Canada is by independent travellers driving personal automobiles, the bulk of the marketing budget was targeted at the consumer market. This did not preclude investment in the travel trade but meant that these activities were secondary to consumer marketing. This reasoning was also behind the decision to allocate the bulk of ACTP's US marketing budget to the New England market. 9. Every decision must be made in the context of promoting the overall goals of the alliance (Crotts et al., 2000). ACTP partners continuously reminded themselves why the alliance was created, the need to focus on its core business, and for the partners to think regionally. 10. Marketing decisions are most effective when based on research and evaluated using objective, pre-determined criteria. ACTP's limited budget precluded background research for every activity, but major decisions were based on research and subsequently evaluated using quantitative tools. 11. Industry participation in public–private sector partnerships needs to be carefully structured and sensitively managed. Presidents of the tourism industry associations sit ex officio on the Management Committee because they are recognized by government as the “voice” of the private sector. Representatives from individual tourism firms were appointed to Marketing Committees on the basis of their expertise and available time. Marketing plans provided opportunities to any Atlantic Canada firm that wished to participate. Decisions on contributions by individual firms to specific marketing initiatives were made on a case-by-case basis. The requirement for firms to measure the results of their participation with ACTP was a source of frequent complaint. Tour operators felt that ACTP funding was so limited that the effort required to provide information on revenues attributable to ACTP contributions was not worth the effort. Expectations for reporting results of ACTP funding of tour wholesalers thus were negotiated on a case-by-case basis, attempting to balance accountability and sensitivity to the time required to report. 12. Returns from travel trade and media relations are long term and often qualitative rather than quantitative. Results from initiatives such as market places, educational programs, trade seminars, road shows, and sales missions are more related to reputation, relationships, credibility, and goodwill than to statistics. Thus, evaluation of these initiatives needs to be monitored over a longer time period because of the inherent time-lag between these activities and their impact on awareness and sales. A new agreement for 2006–2009 has been negotiated. The renewed partnership will face several issues that will need to be addressed as the partnership begins to implement new marketing plans. First, demand in the US market for Canada continues to soften. While ACTP has been successful in achieving its ROI targets and in raising awareness in New England, the partnership will need to continue monitoring trends in the US and, perhaps, anticipate a shift away from its traditional emphasis on New England. That region is both the primary market for Atlantic Canada but is also the weakest performing regional market in the US.10 Previous MOAs have stressed ROI as the primary measure of success. This indicator continues to be an important one, but other measures should be given more emphasis, especially for developmental activities such as tour wholesaler partnerships and media relations. With reference to New England, measures related to awareness and market share need to also be considered as long-term indicators of the health of that market. The structure of two Marketing Committees, one for the US and one for overseas, is costly in terms of administration as well as members’ time and travel costs. Further, the two committees have evolved different styles of operating: the US Committee focuses on strategic issues while the Overseas Committee tends to be more interested in “micro-managing” marketing decisions. An alternative structure that harmonizes different marketing styles within the partnership will be useful. In sum, ACTP illustrates how a tourism marketing alliance can be negotiated among potential competitors and operated successfully through multiple agreement periods. The Atlantic provinces and ACOA came together to strengthen their mutual competitive position against the rest of Canada. The catalyst for the creation of the alliance was a third party—a federally funded regional economic development agency—as well as the recognition that co-operation would generate greater gains than failing to co-operate. ACTP has been working in a difficult period of international tourism marketing since 2001, especially in terms of declining US demand for international travel. However, the partnership has been successful in achieving its main measurable marketing objectives and, even more significantly, in creating a sustainable alliance among industry, provincial governments, and the federal government.