Customisation within a Destination Marketing Organisation

By providing customized products, a company is able to create better relationships with their customer. In a Destination Marketing Organization it is important to understand a customer’s needs and tailor to those wishes. Thus it is vital that Mass Customization is implemented by the management of a DMO.

Mass Customization is defined as an approach to make adjustments in either the product or the products representation to be tailored to a customer’s specific needs. There are four different approaches based on the customer’s needs. The four approaches are Cosmetic customisation, transparent customisation, Collaborative customisation and Adaptive customisation.

In the book Customer Relationship Management by Ed Peelen and Rob Beltman, they state that “the first way to implement mass customisation is to make a simple adjustment in the product’s exterior (representation). This is also referred to as cosmetic customisation” (Peelen, 2013). It is important that a DMO implements cosmetic customisation as it is an easy adjustment but still helps make the customer feel special. This approach can be implemented by sending all customers who have an account with the DMO, an offer for the destination addressed personally to the individual.

When a company adapts the product but not the representation it is defined as transparent customization. Transparent customization is when the “product’s adaptation is made invisible by giving all the different customised products the same appearance” (Peelen, 2013). By tracking the behaviour of customers over time, a DMO could have an advert of the destination the customer was looking at pop up, the next time the customer comes online. This is how transparent customization could be implemented by a destination marketing organization.

Collaborative customization is adapting not only the product but also the representation. Thus, each adapted product can be recognized by its different representation. A DMO should implement this approach by offering a system which allows customers to plan their own trip. For example, on the official page for tourism in Lanzarote, individuals are able to plan their own trip. Below in the screenshot from the Turismo Lanzarote website, it shows that you are able to organize your trip, create your personal site, choose dates, places, excursion and which hotels to stay at. This allows each customer to create a personalized product completely tailored to their own needs (Plan Your Trip, 2015).

Turismo Lanzarote

Finally the fourth approach of Mass Customisation is Adaptive customisation. Opposed to Collaborative customisation, adaptive customisation is an approach “in which neither the product nor the representation is adapted” (Peelen, 2013). A company offers a standard product which is designed in a way that consumers can adjust it to suit their own needs. A DMO could offer a package including all excursions, however, the consumer is then able to choose out of a variety of excursions each day. These excursions are all very standard and are offered to each consumer, however they can choose the excursions they want which makes it suitable to their own needs.

By using Mass Customisation a DMO is able to reach more people and have a broader audience. There are many types of customers and they all have a different way of planning/buying their trip. Customising the products to fit each individuals need could result in better customer engagement.


Peelen, E. & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management (Second Edition). Amsterdam: Pearson Education Benelux BV.

Plan your trip. (2015). Retrieved September 26, 2015, from

4 thoughts on “Customisation within a Destination Marketing Organisation”

  1. Dear Raisa,
    Interesting blog,
    If you where in the position of a dmo which strategy would you prefer, and why? And would there be a difference if you where responsible for the marketing of Amsterdam rather for example a ski-resort, where the travel motives and expectations are less scattered.
    Kind regards karoline wiegerink


    1. Dear Karoline,
      Thank you for taking time to reply to my blog. I think that if I was in a position of a DMO I would prefer cosmetic customisation. I would prefer this approach as it is a easy fix but it is a lot easier to target a bigger group of individuals and still make the relationship more personal. I think there is definitely a difference between the marketing of Amsterdam and a ski-resort. Within the marketing of Amsterdam there is a very big target group, it is nearly impossible to adapt every product to an individuals needs and wants. However, within a ski-resort the audience is smaller and thus easier to offer adapted products per individual.
      Best regards,
      Raisa Jachmann


  2. Dear Raisa, you have written an interesting blogpost about mass customization. Based on your blogpost I get the impression that all four approaches are equally important. Is this really the case or does this maybe depend on the needs and wants of the customers? Is it possible for a DMO to apply all four approaches? I am looking forward for your suggestions. Best regards, Wesley Put


    1. Dear Wesley,
      Thank you for your reply and views on the topic. It does indeed depend on the needs and wants of the customer. For example, if a customer has been visiting the website more often or has booked with the DMO, they would want a more personal relationship than for example a person who has just visited the website once. Moreover, there will probably be customers who just visit the website to find different beaches at the destination, and there will be customers who visit the DMO to plan their entire trip. These two different types of individuals require different approaches. I do believe that it is possible for a DMO to apply all four approaches, the first two approaches (cosmetic and transparent) are quite similar and can be quite small efforts. Do you think DMO’s could apply all four?
      Best regards,
      Raisa Jachmann


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