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IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL MEDIA IN DESTINATION MARKETING: THEORY AND PRACTICE

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Abstract- Changing economic conditions, new ways of tourist behaviour and especially Internet technologies are likely to cause the emergence of new or growth of existing tourism market. Social media plays a significant role in many aspects of tourism, especially in information search and decision-making process, destination promotion and in focusing on best practices for interacting with tourists. It can be defined as a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content in destination marketing. In a time of economic recession, social media are having more important role as an element of destination organisation (DMO) marketing strategy when public sector decreases in their funding. According to the literature review, authors developed detailed typology of social media for the purpose of this study (social networks, social commerce, blogging, video and photo sharing, mobile apps, etc.). Empirical research will present qualitative and quantitative understanding of current use of social media on a sample of Croatian tourism destinations and tourists. The study will also show thedifferencein the number ofsocial media techniques used by DMO, as well as thegreat diversityin the useaccording to the geographicarea. Also, the paper will present future directions and suggestions which could develop e-promotion strategies in destination marketing.
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International Journal of Management and Applied Science, ISSN: 2394-7926 Volume-2, Issue-4, Apr.-2016
Social Media In Destination Marketing
121
SOCIAL MEDIA IN DESTINATION MARKETING
1BERISLAV ANDRLIC, 2A.CHAMARU DE ALWIS
1,2Polytechnic in Pozega, Croatia, University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka
E-mail: 1bandrlic@gmail.com, 2dealwisac@gmail.com
Abstract- Changing economic conditions, new ways of tourist behaviour and especially Internet technologies are likely to
cause the emergence of new or growth of existing tourism market. Social media plays a significant role in many aspects of
tourism, especially in information search and decision-making process, destination promotion and in focusing on best
practices for interacting with tourists. It can be defined as a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological
and technological foundations of Web 2.0 and that allow the creation and exchange of user-generated content in destination
marketing. In a time of economic recession, social media are having more important role as an element of destination
organisation (DMO) marketing strategy when public sector decreases in their funding. According to the literature review,
authors developed detailed typology of social media for the purpose of this study (social networks, social commerce,
blogging, video and photo sharing, mobile apps, etc.). Empirical research will present qualitative and quantitative
understanding of current use of social media on a sample of Croatian tourism destinations and tourists. The study will also
show thedifferencein the number ofsocial media techniques used by DMO, as well as thegreat diversityin the useaccording to
the geographicarea. Also, the paper will present future directions and suggestions which could develop e-promotion
strategies in destination marketing.
Keywords- destination marketing, tourism, technology, social media, network
I. INTRODUCTION
Tourism is not a single phenomenon. It is the
combination of social and economic relations. There
are a number of factors that influence the formation,
behaviour and consumption of tourist demand, which
presence in the area in a certain period of time, causes
many interdependent relationships. Precisely because
of the above thesis, the need for applying marketing
techniques and methods in tourism activity is
recognized. Tourism is one of the activities based on
free time. In this sense, marketing of tourism is part
of broader activities, which we call „free time
marketing“ (marketing of leisure).
Variable economic conditions, new forms of
consumer behaviour, and especially new media and
Internet technologies is likely to cause the emergence
of new or growth of existing tourist market. In
developed economies all the more attention is
attached to the study of the role of new technologies
in the field of hospitality and tourism. It is necessary
to point out that technological progress is a key factor
of modern world of tourism. Development of modern
telecommunication and digital technologies, and
ultimately the Internet and social media, provide
many new marketing opportunities.
The simplest show, traditional marketing activities
will receive e-features, but we can also talk about a
new, special kind of - e-marketing in tourism. There
are several definitions of electronic marketing. One of
possible definitions is suggested: "Electronic
marketing (e-marketing, telemarketing) is a means of
realizing company's marketing activities through
intensive application of information and
telecommunication (internet) technology. [1] Social
media plays a significant role in e-marketing in many
aspects of tourism, especially in information search
and decision-making process, destination promotion
and in focusing on best practices for interacting with
tourists. Social media can be defined as a group of
Internet-based applications that build on the
ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0
and that allow the creation and exchange of user-
generated content in destination marketing. In a time
of economic recession, social media are having more
important role as an element of destination
organisation (DMO) marketing strategy when public
sector decreases in their funding. Because of these
trends and reasons, empirical research will present
qualitative and quantitative understanding of current
use of social media among town tourism
organizations on a sample of Croatian tourism
destinations.
II. THEORETICAL OVERVIEW OF E-
MARKETING IN TOURISM
Tourism bidding, its development and quality is
characterized with external factors in the
macroenvironment of tourism company. These
factors represent “noncontrollables” that the tourism
company must monitor and respond to it. They can be
classified into several groups [2]:
- characteristics of social and economic
country system
- accumulated economy ability of the country
- foreign-exchange policy
- investition policy
- credit policy and terms for foreign capital
investment in tourism sector
- government standpoint against tourism as a
part of national economy
- intensity of tourism services demand
International Journal of Management and Applied Science, ISSN: 2394-7926 Volume-2, Issue-4, Apr.-2016
Social Media In Destination Marketing
122
- structure of tourism country services
according to social and economical characteristics of
tourism services demand carriers
- educational structure of employees in
tourism sector
- input prices in tourism
- developement and implementation of new
technologies.
Every mentioned group of factors, directly or
undirectly, has influence on creating tourism bidding
on specific market segment. In extension, the focus
will be on informatic technology factor, and its
influence on marketing implementation in tourism.
Special attention is dedicated to Internet, which is in
the tourism sector, as in other business sectors
changed classic business activities, and is used as
communication, transaction and distribution channel.
For every tourism destination and supplier,large and
small, electronic business on the platform of the
Internet offers the opportunity to undertake their
business in new and more cost effective ways.For
consumers, when they are planning a trip to a new
destination, they face the problem of making a costly
purchase without being able to see the product. The
Internet provides them with the means to gain
immediate access to relevant information of greater
variety and depth than has been available previously,
about destinations throughout the world; and to book
quickly and easily.
For tourism destinations, it offers the potential to
make information and booking facilities available to
large numbers of consumers at relatively low cost; it
enables them to make large-scale savings on the
production and distribution of print and on other
traditional activities (e.g. call centres and information
centres); and it provide a tool for communication and
relationship development with tourism suppliers and
market intermediaries, as well as end-consumers. [3]
III. SOCIAL MEDIA CLASSIFICATION IN
TOURISM
A social network is a website where people connect
with friends, both those they know offline and those
who are online-only buddies. Social networking sites
are a hot topic for marketers, as they present a
number of opportunities for interacting with
customers, including via plug-in applications, groups,
and fan pages. Each social network presents its own
possibilities and challenges. Users of individual sites
have different expectations of commercial behavior.
[4]
Social networksgeneratesocial capital(produce useful
information, personal connections, giventhe
possibility of formingand
organizinggroups,allowingeasy access torequired
information, etc.). Attitudeis
aconstantpositiveornegativepredispositiontowards a
person, object, or situation. Create a
groupthatconnects userswith the sameorsimilar
interestscreates acommunication, the relationship
between the userand the objector situationthat leads
todata and information exchangeon the basisthat users
willmake their assessment. Facilitiesand
individualswithin thegroupto express
theirfundamentalvalues aredirectedtowardseach
otherpleasurableproducts andbehaviors. In this
waycreatesnew knowledgethatleads tomodificationof
existing, orcreating a wholenewattitude. Based on
thesocialization oftheonlinesocial network, based on
the actualmotives, users createsuch aknowledge ofthe
facility, individuals, or situationsthat enable them
tomaintainexisting orcreateentirely
newpredisposition.
Fig 1. Social media services (Scorpfromhell.blogspot, 2015)
Thesestrategiesshould becombinedwith othere-
marketing strategiestosuccess wascomplete.Precisely
because ofthesecharacteristics andother
socialnetworks havegainedwide popularityin
allspheresof human society, includingin the
hospitality industrywhichmakes it idealfor the
adoption ofweb2.0 technologies. The followingis
analyzed in research ofWeb2.0social-networks in
hospitality, as shownin Picture 1.
IV. E-MARKETING FOR DESTINATION
MANAGEMENT ORGANISATIONS
For tourism destinations and businesses, Internet
offers the potential to make information and booking
facilities available to large numbers of consumers at
relatively low cost; itenables them to make large-
scale savings on the production and distribution of
print and on other traditional activities (e.g. call
centres and information centres); and it provide a tool
for communication and relationship development
with tourism suppliers and market intermediaries, as
well as end-consumers.
Since the introduction of the participative web
(collectively known as Web 2.0) in theearly 2000s,
social media has become the new normal for
consumers to search for andshare information,
International Journal of Management and Applied Science, ISSN: 2394-7926 Volume-2, Issue-4, Apr.-2016
Social Media In Destination Marketing
123
opinion and experience with others. Today consumers
planning atrip have ample opinion-rich resources
such as virtual tourist communities andpersonal blogs
to refer to in addition to information provided by
destination marketingorganizations (DMOs) or other
tourism providers. After the trip, the
participatoryarchitecture of social media also allows
tourists to post their experience andevaluation of
specific destinations and brands to influence others,
making socialmedia a perfect ground to foster the
spread of electronic word-of-mouth (eWOM) [5]
A destination marketing organization (DMO) or
convention and visitors bureau (CVB) is an
organization that promotes a town, city, region, or
country in order to increase the number of visitors. It
promotes the development and marketing of a
destination, focusing on convention sales, tourism
marketing, and services.Such organizations promote
economic development of a destination by increasing
visits from tourists and business travelers, which
generates overnight lodging for a destination, visits to
restaurants, and shopping revenues and are typically
funded by taxes. [6]
DMOs are the most important tourism marketing
organizations in their attractivetourist destinations, as
they are directly responsible for marketing the
destination brand through travel and tourism "product
awareness" to visitors. DMOs produce billions of
Euros in direct and indirect revenue and taxes for
their destinations' economies with their marketing
and sales management. At this time, they usually use
social media to achieve marketing goals and
destination branding via web 2.0 tools.
A destination brand can be defined as the sum of all
stories and experiences. Destination brand building
has experienced a shift from using impressions to
using real stories that are told and shared on social
media channels. This is a scaling system that is used
in practice to measure how much social media has
become a part of the day-to-day work within
DMOs.The five stages, outlined in more detailed
classification, cover everything from not using social
media at all to full embracing a social media strategy
and incorporating it into every aspect of the
organisational and communications mix[7]:
- Level 1 -Ignoring social media
This level represents DMOs who are not active at all
in social media. Social media is seen more as a threat
than an opportunity.
- Level 2 -Experimenting with social media
DMOs experiment with social media without a
specific strategy through random tactics.
-Level 3 -Social media supporting marketing
campaigns
Due to a lack of strategic knowledge, DMOs
incorporate social media in paid, outbound marketing
campaigns. Often this is an add-on to traditional
marketing campaigns, such as a YouTube channel
showing videos originally made for TV or using
Facebook and Twitter to broadcast campaign
messaging.
- Level 4 -Following a social media strategy
This level is typified by a DMO having a social
media strategy in place or having social media
integrated into its marketing strategy. The DMO still
believes that it is in full control of the destination
brand.
- Level 5 -Embracing the social media
strategy
The level five DMO starts with the core of the
passions that make a destination relevant and leads all
partners that have an impact on those experiences.
The sole focus is on delivering outstanding visitor
experiences that are unique to the destination, and
then making it easy for visitors to share these
experiences in their own voices.
V. SOCIAL MEDIA ADVERTISING
STATISTICS IN EUROPEAN UNION
This recent secondary research statistic shows the
travel information sources that residents of Croatia
consider to be the most important when making
holiday plans in 2014. Based on figures from the
European Commission, recommendations of friends,
colleagues or relatives were the most considered
sources for 62 percent of respondents, while 12
percent contacted travel agencies or tourism offices.
[8]Internet and social media sites are used in lower
amount, so there is a lot of space for development.
Fig 2. Sources of travel information in Croatia (Statista portal,
2015)
International Journal of Management and Applied Science, ISSN: 2394-7926 Volume-2, Issue-4, Apr.-2016
Social Media In Destination Marketing
124
Fig 3. Sources of travel information in European Union
(Statista portal, 2015)
Another study on Figure 3. analyzes which of the
following sources of information tourist use to gather
ideas and inspiration for your vacations. This statistic
shows the resources travelers used for inspiration
worldwide as of February 2014. During the survey,
55 percent of the respondents stated that they used
word-of -mouth as inspiration for their vacations.
Fig 4. Most important travel information sources for residents
of the European Union (EU) in 2014, by age(Statista portal,
2015)
This statistic shows the travel information sources
that the residents of the European Union (EU)
consider to be the most important when making
holiday plans in 2014, by age group.
Recommendations of friends, colleagues or relatives
were considered important when making holiday
plans across all age groups, the most among 15- to
24-year-olds (67 percent).
If we see this research in global, we can conclude that
leading media for travel information and
communication is Internet, especially web site slike
Tripadvisor, e-broschures, travel guide web sites,
travel agent web sites, social networks, mobile
applications.
VI. EMPIRICAL PILOT RESEARCH
Comparatively with changing tourism behavior in
travel planning it is very important to research level
of usage of social media by DMOs in Croatia.
However, consumer behavior in
theonlineenvironmentis differentfrom the behavior
ofthephysicalenvironmentoffline. Because of this, a
DMOmustidentify theneeds and wishesof
consumersand strive tosatisfy themin this newe-
market space. [9]
The pilot study willshow thedifferencein the number
ofsocial media techniques used by DMO, as well as
thegreat diversityin the useaccording to the
geographicarea. Also, the research will present future
directions and suggestions which could develop e-
promotion strategies in destination marketing.Inthis
empiricalstudyas aframework fordetermining
thesampleis used list of DMOs on
thewebsiteofCroatian Ministry of Tourism. As a
survey sampleis used 20 DMOs from continental part
of Croatia and 20 DMOs from Adriatic coast. (n=40)
In accordance withpreviousprimary research, authors
madeacomparison ofthe usage by type of social
media. Summary of resultsfollowsbelow.
Table 1. Usage of social media by DMOs in Croatia (author
research)
International Journal of Management and Applied Science, ISSN: 2394-7926 Volume-2, Issue-4, Apr.-2016
Social Media In Destination Marketing
125
The authors claimed that Web 2.0 is in its early stage
of adoption by DMOs. The aim of the present
research was to update those figures in order to show
the evolution of this adoption over the last one year.
The Web 2.0 techniques included in the analysis have
also been updated and recategorized in light of the
last of technological progress. Finally, the present
study shows that, for some techniques, the take-off
phase is finished (Facebook, You Tube); whereas
some new techniques such as Vine or Tagged are still
at the very beginning of the adoption process.
CONCLUSIONS
Since thebehavior of consumerson the Internetin the
tourism industrydepends on the levelof social media
usage, it was necessary toevaluatethe presence of
DMO social profiles on Internet. In conclusion, it is
necessary tosummarizethetechnological progressis a
keyfactor inthe modernhospitality. Internet,
particularly Web2.0 technologies and social media,
the most importanttechnological phenomenonof our
time, provide DMO subjectscompletely
newcompetitiveopportunities andnew virtualmarket
spacethat needs to beintensivelyusedin practice,
theabovestatementmakesthe basicidea andrealizedthe
goalof work, but alsothe subjectof futureresearch and
professionalof research.Resultsof research showthat
there isan inadequatenumber of DMO social sitesin
thehospitality industry in Croatia. Therefore,further
researchis necessary tofocus onthe macro level on
other countries and continents, with the aimof
comparing this with sample of DMO in Sri Lanka
tourism market made by co-author.
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[4]. Zarella, D. (2010) The Social Media Marketing Book,
Sebastopoil, O Reily Media
[5]. Tussyadiah, I., & Zach, F. (2013). Social media strategy and
capacity for consumer co-creation among destination
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[6]. http://www.destinationmarketing.org/topics/about-industry
Accessed 12-11-2015.
[7]. http://thinkdigital.travel/best-practice/five-levels-of-social-
media/Accessed 12-11-2015.
[8]. http://www.statista.com/search/?statistics=1&forecasts=1&st
udies=1&industryReports=1&dossiers=1&infos=1&interval=
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
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Applying the concept of absorptive capacity in the context of consumer integration for new product development in tourism, this study provided empirical support for the multidimensionality of capacity for consumer co-creation. Co-creation capacity consists of lower level capabilities, including explorative, transformative and exploitative capacity to turn consumer knowledge into consumer-centric products/services. It was identified that social media, in which consumers are increasingly participating in the knowledge exchange processes, is an important avenue for tourism organizations to nurture relationships with consumers that drive participation and integration. Social media strategy is shown to have a positive effect on capacity for co-creation, specifically the capability to process consumer knowledge into valuable assets. Finally, it was also identified that capacity for co-creation among tourism organizations has a positive impact on their performance.
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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to develop a set of criteria and an instrument for evaluating upscale hotel web sites and test these in a comparative study of South Korean and the US upscale hotel web sites. Design/methodology/approach – The hotel web sites are assessed by a team of 25 trained evaluators. The study measures and compares the overall effectiveness of upscale hotel web sites and checks the correlation between overall web site effectiveness and size of upscale hotels in South Korea and the US by using balanced scorecard (BSC) approach. To evaluate and analyze upscale hotel web site performance or effectiveness, 14 upscale hotels in both South Korea and the USA are selected. These hotels are selected through Expedia.com or Hotels.com and are rated as either four‐ to five‐star. Findings – The results show that there is no significant difference in the overall effectiveness of the upscale hotel web sites in South Korea and the USA. However, the web sites of the Korean upscale hotels perform slightly better than their US counterparts. The main conclusion drawn is that most upscale hotels in both countries are not effectively using web sites from the marketing and upscale hotel perspectives. Originality/value – The first objective of this research study is to develop a web site evaluation tool for upscale hotels. The modified BSC approach for performance measurement is adopted as the overall framework for the evaluation process. Therefore, BSC performance measurements are adapted and developed to reflect the specific context of upscale hotel online marketing, with an upscale hotel perspective being added to the critical success factors. Also, this study compares actual upscale hotels web page in two different countries and that approach is unique.
The Social Media Marketing Book, Sebastopoil, O Reily Media [5]. Tussyadiah, I Social media strategy and capacity for consumer co-creation among destination marketing organizations
  • D Zarella
  • F Zach
Zarella, D. (2010) The Social Media Marketing Book, Sebastopoil, O Reily Media [5]. Tussyadiah, I., & Zach, F. (2013). Social media strategy and capacity for consumer co-creation among destination marketing organizations (pp. 242-253). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.
Internet and Small Businesses, Informator
  • Z Panian
Panian, Z. (2000). Internet and Small Businesses, Informator, ISBN 953-170-087-7, Zagreb
Marketing management in tourism, Informator
  • J Senecic
  • J Grgona
Senecic, J., Grgona J. (2006). Marketing management in tourism, Informator, ISBN 953-6286-74-2, Zagreb
E-business for tourismpractical guidelines for tourism destinations and business
  • Wto Business
  • Council
WTO Business council (2001). E-business for tourismpractical guidelines for tourism destinations and business, Available from: http://www.world-tourism.orgAccessed: 2015-12-12