Volume 1 Issue 4 December 2003 Commentary 3

Ideas for niche marketing

by Peter E. Tarlow (Tourism & More Inc., US)

With the conclusion of the period of what we may call the “era of mass tourism”, tourism professionals are increasingly aware of the fact that no matter how good their product may be, it will never satisfy everyone. Instead, tourism officials have sought out different forms of niche marketing in which they try to aim their product toward the part of the public that is most disposed to visit their locale and to speak highly of it. While there are multiple ways to do this, it is clear that no niche marketing program will succeed without basic research. Research is not only the engine that drives good marketing; it is truly the marketer’s eyes and ears. Below are a number of ideas on how to begin a niche marketing research program. Such a program need not be highly statistical or academic. In fact, a good deal of common sense research can be done by almost anyone who works within the tourism industry. In order to determine the type of niche marketing that your tourism entity may desire to do, consider some of the following ideas and concepts.

Think about what theoretical frameworks will guide your thought. For example you may want to consider a psychographic framework in which you look at the relationship between the local tourism community and the type of people it seeks to attract. Are the facilities in your community adequate for someone seeking a great deal of adventure or a more sedentary indoor experience? For example, a small tourism community might attract a very different clientele than a large city using culture as that locale’s primary tourism resource. You will also want to consider how different your community is from its competitors. It is always a good idea for tourism community leaders to ask themselves four basic questions:

1. Why would anyone want to visit my community/locale?
2. What type of person would want to return after having visited my locale or attraction? What does my locale have to offer the return visitor?
3. Why would someone not visit my locale?
4. What type of person would not want to return after having visited my locale or attraction?

Another way to segment visitors is by age grouping. People who are deep into their senior years have very different wants and needs then people who are in their twenties. One of the largest age demographic groupings in North America is the baby boom generation. This generation can be divided into what we may call the “older baby boomers”, ages 55-64, and the “younger baby-boomers”, ages 46-55. Each of these subgroups has differing needs. The key to successful demographic tourism niche marketing is to make sure that your tourism product matches the niches you are marketing. Also, realize that there is no such thing as a single niche.

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