Destination management organizations have a different approach in engaging with customers compared to the airline, hotel and tour operator industry. DMOs have the responsibility to market the destination by promoting and selling its must see places and attractions. According to Pike (2004), market orientation is about outward-inward thinking. In other words, DMOs should firstly anticipate the travelers’ needs, and then start developing products and services to meet these needs. A DMO must promote the destination image in a way that offers the benefits that travelers are seeking. The tourism industry is becoming more and more competitive every year, and a country’s positioning in the sector has an important role in enhancing the attractiveness of a destination. Using the right marketing strategies and techniques is essential in order to evoke images of the destination in the traveler’s mind, and provoke his/her senses in order to create a desire to visit the country.
The goal of an effective marketing strategy is to enable the DMOs to differentiate the destination from its competitors. Implementing customer journey mapping is an innovative marketing technique that if used correctly will result in gaining competitive advantage within the tourism industry. Its aim is to enable the organizations to achieve greater customer insight and improve the customer’s experience during the different stages of their interaction with the destination (Awuor, 2015).
Customer journey maps are used to outline experiences from the customer’s perspective by offering a framework of reactions to multiple situations and interactions to the organization. The tool helps ensuring that every interaction or touchpoint between the organization and its customers is relevant, meaningful, appropriate, and enduring (“Mapping customer experiences: An examination of touch points and opportunities for enhancement,” n.d.). The benefits from using this approach within DMOs are having an insight of the visitor’s needs at the different stages of the decision process. This can show the gaps between the traveler’s desired experience and the actual one, allowing DMOs to concentrate its efforts on maximizing the aspects that matter most to the visitors (“What is Customer Journey Mapping & Why is it Important? – Salesforce UK Blog,” n.d.).
The process of implementing the customer journey mapping within DMOs marks the process of managing visitors’ experiences in the destination. The DMOs should focus on exploring the touchpoints between the organization and the travelers and how these touchpoints influence the traveler’s thoughts, feelings and behavior. Analyzing these interactions will give the organization an insight framework of the experiences’ meaning to the visitors. This way they will be able to construct and deliver the ultimate experience that responds to the traveler’s expectations and connect them with the destination in a more personal and memorable way (“Mapping customer experiences: An examination of touch points and opportunities for enhancement,” n.d.).
Awuor, I. (2015). The influence of strategies adopted by destination marketing organizations on international tourists arrivals in Kenya.
Dent, J. (n.d.). Customer Journey Mapping: A walk in customers’ shoes. Ascend.
Mapping customer experiences: An examination of touch points and opportunities for enhancement. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www98.griffith.edu.au/dspace/bitstream/handle/10072/64296/94664_1.pdf?sequence=1
Pike, S. (2004). Destination Marketing Organizations, Advances in Tourism Research, Elsevier.
What is Customer Journey Mapping & Why is it Important? – Salesforce UK Blog. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.salesforce.com/uk/blog/2016/03/customer-journey-mapping-explained.html