IMC Study for Gold Coast City Tourism in Australia

by Jason Shaw
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Executive Summary

An significant feature of marketing is integrated marketing contact, since it improves the popularity and profits of a specific commodity. This strengthens the commodity that a company produces, thereby changing the actions of the customer. This research relates IMC techniques to the tourism industry in Australia’s Gold Coast Region. The city is one of the country’s main tourism attractions. However, few domestic visitors have taken advantage of the city as a tourist destination, and visibility needs to be increased. This IMC report evaluated the city and established that it has many tourist attractions that could be exploited by the locals. Applying the IMC mix strategies to the tourism industry in the Gold Coast City reveals that the IMC director could increase awareness of the industry to the public through advertising using print the media, broadcast media and the internet. Moreover, a public relations personnel and direct marketing representatives could market tourist attraction in gold cost city to the entire Australian public. Through these strategies, domestic tourism can grow.

Table of Contents

  • 1.0 Introduction
  • 2.0 The Australian Tourism Industry
    • 2.2 Market and Consumer Behavior
    • 2.3 Competitor Analysis
    • 2.4 Product Analysis
    • 2.5 Target Market
  • 3.0 Objectives
    • 3.1 Marketing Objectives
      • 3.1.1 The Decision-Making Process
    • 3.2 IMC Strategies
    • 3.3 Creative Strategies for Communication in Gold Coast City
    • 3.4 Media Strategies
  • 4.0 Conclusion
  • 5.0 References

1.0 Introduction

The tourism industry is one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing industries. The industry is growing fast courtesy of globalization and advanced technology among other factors. The Australian tourism is therefore party of the world’s larger tourism industry that is rapidly growing. The industry contributes a large portion to the Australian economy. For instance, the inbound tourism industry that involves traveling and staying in places outside their usual environment plays a vital role in the Australian economy. The industry contributes to the Australian economy through various ways such as provision of employment and tourism revenues among other ways.

IMC Study for Gold Coast City Tourism in Australia

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Various tourist attractions in Australia are distributed in various states and cities. The Gold Coast City is one of the major cities of Australia that has numerous tourist attractions and hosts many tourists throughout the year. The city is located in Queensland. The population of the city was approximated at 540,000 people in 2010 making the second populous city in State. The city is well known for its tourist attractions such as the subtropical climate that is characterized by sunny conditions that attract tourists. Other tourist attractions include attractive beaches that are used for surfing, canal and waterway system, nightlife and the rainforest that is close to the hinterland. These tourist attractions are important in attracting tourists from both within Australia and outside Australia to the City. The revenue from tourism is important for the State Economy and the larger Australian GDP (Tourism Forecasting Committee, 2006).

In spite of the revenue collected from tourist attractions found in the Gold Coast City, the attractions are not well exploited in order to reap maximum benefits. This report examines the integrated Marketing Communication strategies that could be used to maximize the benefits from tourism in the Gold Coast City of Australia. The report outlines the IMC strategies and marketing strategies that could sell tourism to a new domestic target market, given that it is the highest tourism revenue earner for the city and the country.

2.0 The Australian Tourism Industry

The tourism industry in Australia has been growing over time. According to Instinct and Reason (2006), the number of tourists fell by 1% in 2003. However, the number increased in 2004 to 4.77 and in to 5.45 in 2008. The Australian tourism industry grew in 2009 due to the weaknesses of the Australian Dollar that increased the level of competitiveness of the industry compared to other world tourist destinations such as the UK and New Zealand. Price competitiveness of the industry was affected by strengthening of the Australian Dollar in 2010 leading to reduced performance of the industry. In addition, the global economic recession affected the tourism negatively in the same period because firms operating in the industry reduced their costs. According to Porter (1998), one quarter of the tourists arriving in Australia is businesspersons that travel for business reasons while the rest are leisure travelers.

As the strength of the Australian Dollar begun to wane towards the end of 2010, tourism activities in the country and specifically the Gold Coast City began to improve. The forecast tourist rivals for the country in 2011 were 5.7 million tourists while 2014 forecasts are 6.34 million tourists. The expenditure in tourism fell in 2009 to US$28.87 billion from US$31.46 in 2008. In spite of the decrease, expenditure was to stabilize and keep increasing until 2014.

The tourist visiting Australian tourist sites are comprised of both domestic and international tourists. Majority of international tourists are from the Asia-Pacific region while other is from Europe and North America. Arrivals of tourists from these regions have continuously increased over time. The tourist number estimates by country have increased from 3 million tourists in 2001 to 3.7 million people in 2009. The numbers are expected to keep growing to 4.5 million tourists by 2014. The major sources of international tourists for Australia include New Zealand, Japan and UK. India is also increasingly becoming a vital market for Australian tourism industry given its economic indicators and demographics. This is evident, as the Australian tourism ministry has launched tourism campaign in India using Qantas and Singapore Airlines. In spite of the progress, arrivals from India have reduced following latest attacks on Indian tourists in Australia. On the contrary, New Zealand has been the largest outbound Australian tourism with number of Australians visiting the country increasing immensely over the years beginning from 2001 (Cannon, 2007).

2.2 Market and Consumer Behavior

Consumers of tourism services in the Australian market are rational in their choices. The choices made by the tourists are affected by many factors including the attractiveness of the tourist destinations in Australia, their levels of income, political stability and tastes and preferences among many other factors. As indicated earlier, the number of tourists in Australia’s Gold Coast City is comprised of both local and international tourists. According to Collins et al, (2007), the decisions of domestic consumers, which happen to be the target market in this paper has changed. The report comments that domestic tourists are concerned about the value they receive for their money. Recent reports indicate that domestic tourists in Australia are resentful of the poor value of their money in the Australian tourism industry. The resentment is likely to increase especially if the tourism industry tries to promote Australian tourism industry without improving the tourism attractions (Travel Research Centre, 2006).

The behavior of tourists could be explained using the multi-attribute attitude model that was put forward by Fishbein. Using this model, tourists are usually concerned about the level of accommodation for tourists provided in the country. They form attitudes for the given tourist destination basing on various factors and through the attitudes, they develop beliefs. The strength of the beliefs determine the consumption of the given tourism services. Domestic tourists view the level of accommodation as of low quality and inadequate. Locals feel that tourist activities are much focused on foreign tourism market than the local market. Therefore, the attractiveness of the tourism sector to the domestic market could be further exploited with the improvement of tourism activities and features so that they meet the demands of the domestic tourists. This could be achieved by incorporating more cultural activities that reflect the local culture of domestic Australians.

2.3 Competitor Analysis

According to Crouch et al. (2006), the Australian domestic tourism industry is in strong competition with outside tourist destinations such as New Zealand and UK. This is experienced with a large substitution effect between domestic and international holidays. Australians have become interested in the rest of the world because of globalization. They therefore prefer international tourism to domestic tourism. According to Porter (1998), the number of domestic overnight trips declined at an average of 2% annually between 2001 and 2006 whereas the number of international trips increased by an average of 5% annually between the same period. International tourist destinations provide Australians with difference, diversity, experience and value for their money (Dunning, 2006). In addition, it is perceived that international holidays are more prestigious and exotic than a domestic holiday.

Basin on the preferences for a foreign trip compared to the domestic holiday, it is argued that foreign trips offers different food, cultural experiences, history, language and climatic differences. In addition, it offers diverse experiences, scenery and shopping. These factors are what make Australian tourists derive value for their money while increasing competitiveness of foreign tourist destinations compared to domestic tourism.

2.4 Product Analysis

The tourist attractions found in the Australian tourist attraction in Gold Coast City are many and vary. Gold Coast City is made of beautiful beaches that attract tourists especially when it is coupled with the sunny weather. Based on its geographical features, the city provides an adventure PARC for all tourists (domestic and international). The Outback spectacular show is usually held in April and attracts all tourists regardless of their backgrounds. The balloon hot air coast and the Birch Carroll & Coyle Gold Coast cinemas are amazing to all tourists. Gliding over Byron Bay, Cedar creek glow-worm, cedar creek winery and Couran Point Island Beach resort are but a few attractions that could leave tourists with a lasting experience. These among many other features are what make Gold Coast one of the best tourist attractions in Australia.

2.5 Target Market

The target market for this IMC report is the domestic tourism market in Australia. The domestic tourism market is mainly attracted to the attractive tourism features such as overnight leisure market. The domestic tourism market for Australia is made of up of the entire Australian population. The age of the population includes all ages. However, preference is given to people aged 20 years and above with the segmentation involving demographic, geographic location of the tourists and the psychographic factors. Tourism activities are provided to suit all market segments for the domestic tourists (Kerin, et al. 2003).

3.0 Objectives

3.1 Marketing Objectives

After an effective identification of the target market for tourism on the Gold Coast as the domestic Australian market, it is important that we identify the communication objectives. Consumers are responsive in terms of hierarchy of effects, which is the process through which the prospective tourist goes through from the initial awareness phase to the action phase.

3.1.1 The Decision-Making Process

Awareness: this is the initial stage in the decision making process of the tourist. Domestic tourists have a wrong perception about tourism in Gold Coast City. In spite of the locals having knowledge on the existence of the city as a tourist destination, some perceive the city as having tourism as the only activity. Some locals in the Southern states of Australia are not aware of the need for domestic tourism. It is important that the market increase the awareness of the Gold Coast City tourism destination to over 60% of the Australian population as the first step of succeeding in domestic tourism (Schultz, 2007).

Interest: this is the second phase that comes after the awareness. The domestic potential tourist population begins t develop interest in the city. Pout of the 60% aware population, it is expected that 40% would respond positively to the new tourist attraction in Gold Coast City filled with many cultural attractive features.

Evaluation: this involves the evaluation of the 40% domestic population that is interested in touring Gold Coast City tourism sites. The marketer should make the population compare domestic tourism with other international tourist destinations and make a list of possible choices (Instinct and Reason, 2006).

Trial: after evaluation of the domestic tourist destination in Gold Coast and another international market, the tourists decides to tour Gold Coast City tourist attractions mainly because of highly packed tourist attractions that contain cultural touch for locals. It is expected that out of 20% of the population would tour the city after marketing.

Adoption: under this phase, domestic tourists would be exposed to the tourist attraction in Gold Coast. After liking various activities such as gliding and sunbathing among other beautiful experiences, the tourist would decide to adopt a culture of conducting domestic tours in Australia rather than international destinations. Therefore, a positive experience is vital for adoption of domestic tourism.

3.2 IMC Strategies

The initial step is to develop awareness of the Gold Coast City tourist destination to local/domestic market comprised of the entire Australian population. The objective is to make the domestic tourism market aware of the tourism potential in the city. This include the availability of beautiful beaches, a wonderful climate, sanctuaries, creek glow-worm, gliding bay and adventure PARC among many other attractive features.

The creation of awareness among the Australian population concerning the potential of Gold city as a tourist destination would begin by advertising the tourism potential to the public through the print media such as newspapers, tourism magazines and Australian tourism newsletters. Advertising of gold coast city tourism follows the hierarchy of effects model. The tourism board of Australia should begin by creating awareness of the tourism activities in the city, followed by increasing the knowledge of the target market about the activities. For instance, the tourism management should let the public know the existence of beautiful beaches, the balloon hot air coast and the Birch Carroll & Coyle Gold Coast cinemas that are amazing for tourists. The advertising strategy is followed by creating a liking from the market, preferences of the city’s tourist activities over other competitors, conviction and purchase. This could be established through advertising through the tourism website of Australia among other online websites and blogs. Billboards and bulletin boards are also created and situated in strategic locations throughout Australia. According to Kotler & Armstrong (2004), the audio media should also not be left out as an advertising channel because it is more effective than the print media. The other is the broadcast media that includes television broadcasts. According to Wedel & Kamakura (2000), all adverts must have a given message to the customers. Consequently, all adverts and promotions of the tourism activities in Gold Coast City would have a specific message that is appealing to the public in Australia (Collins, et al, 2007).

After creating awareness, it is necessary to develop interest in the domestic Australian population, which is the target market. Developing interest would involve holding of several concerts of various tourist attractions found in Gold Coast City. This would also include being present in shows, state fairs spring and summer break festivities among other events. Events would garner interest with colorful signs and banners including announcements by various artists.

After creation of interest, the market needs to evaluate whether the goals and objectives of the Gold Coast tourism has been accomplished. Evaluation would be conducted by the ability of the domestic population to access the Gold Coast City tourist activities. The marketing mix would incorporate many concerts that would ensure that some locals participate in some events. At the rate of 30%, the marketer would evaluate the interest of Australians to tour Gold Coast. Evaluation would be facilitated at the various promotion events providing some products to all participants (Mills, 2002).

After evaluation, the IMC director would encourage the locals to try out the activities being offered by the tourism industry in Gold Coast City. The IMC director could achieve this objective by providing locals with rebates such as AUS$100 off the price of tourism activities being offered in Gold Coast City. Price rebates would encourage domestic tourists to believe that they are being given a bargain. Trade discounts in terms of the number of domestic tourists would also encourage locals to tour the city. After the establishment of products that link locals to their culture, the IMC director should have the goal of making the locals adopt domestic tourism of Gold Coast City. This could include provision of coupons for second or further visits to the city. The tourism industry should offer various deals and packages for new and existing domestic tourists.

3.3 Creative Strategies for Communication in Gold Coast City

Tourism activities in Gold Coast City would be promoted too using direct marketing that would be accompanied by action orientation. Direct marketing of tourism activities in Gold Coast City would include a call to immediate action and an easy step to use response devices in order to sell or make a step towards selling of tourism activities in Australia. The IMC director would make specific offers to the public towards touring Gold coast city. This may include telling locals the available offers for domestic tourists and the requirements to obtain the offers such as the prices. The information provides is to the targeted market. The information provided must be measurable, personal, testable and flexible to allow all locals to make their varying offers.

3.4 Media Strategies

IMC tactics cover general ads, selling directly to the locals in Australia, sales campaigns and public relations, according to Kitchen & De Pelsmacker (2004). No approach is preferable to the other, and in an organised marketing relations campaign, both tactics have an equivalent purpose.

Promoting tourism in Gold Coast Region requires the usage of several media outlets to relay the message to visitors in the area regarding attractions. Print media is the first medium of media that is really powerful. Under this model, among other types of print media, the IMC director will advertise the lovely beaches, environment conditions and creeks and other attractions through journals, magazines and brochures. It would convey photographs and videos containing the requisite appealing characteristics. To send the same meaning, the broadcast media may also be used. It was possible to use TVs and radios. Furthermore, the public relations approach may be used to remind public relations authorities regarding the advantages of domestic tourism thus removing the impression that Gold Coast Region is only for foreign visitors (Kotler & Armstrong, 2004).

Other forms of promoting domestic tourism in Gold Coast would be through the use of billboards and posters. Lastly, the IMC director could promote tourism using organization operation in Australia. By having a marketing representative visiting various organization in Australia occasionally to educate the public on the tourist attraction in Gold Coast City and importance of domestic tourism, domestic tourism in the city would grow.

4.0 Conclusion

Tourism in Australia has been growing over time in spite of a few negative growth brought about by factors such as strengthening of the Australian currency. Gold Coast City is one of the tourist attraction sites in the country. It is endowed with many tourist attractions such as beautiful beaches, an attractive climate, cedar creek and an adventure PARC among other attractions. Tourism in the city is made up of both local Australian nationals and international tourists. In spite of the large number of domestic tourists comprising the total number of tourists in the city, many other Australians tour other international tourist destinations that compete with Australia such as UK and New Zealand. It is evident from this report that domestic tourism should be promoted in order to increase the number of revenue from tourism. The important IMC objectives are to increase the level of domestic tourism in Gold Coast City. The objectives could be achieved through various IMC strategies. Media strategies and creative strategies to be used include the promotion, advertising and sale of tourist attractions in the city to the locals in Australia. This could involve the use of direct marketers and public relations personnel.

5.0 References:
  • Cannon, M 2007, Australian Association of Convention Bureaux, Transcript of evidence, vol. 115, 65-66.
  • Collins, D et al, 2007, Changing Consumer Behavior: Impact On The Australian Domestic Tourism Market, Tourism Research Australia, Canberra.
  • Dunning, J 2006, What’s Driving the Declines in WA’s Domestic Market? Paper Presented to WA Industry Forum, Perth, 10 August.
  • Gold Coast City, n.d, Gold Coast City Council’s Tourism Strategy, accessed from http://www.goldcoast.qld.gov.au/attachment/tourism/ts_part3_10.pdf
  • Hingerty, M 2007, Australian Tourism Export Council, Transcript of evidence, 1, 16.
  • Instinct and Reason, 2006, Domestic Communications Development, Presentation of research results by Instinct and Reason to Tourism Australia.
  • Instinct and Reason, 2006, Understanding the Opportunities for the Domestic Market, Presentation of Research Results by Instinct and Reason to Tourism Australia.
  • Johnstone-Donnet, O 2007, Tourism and Transport Forum, Transcript of evidence, 15, 16.
  • Kerin, R et al. 2003, Marketing, 7 Edn. Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2003.
  • Kitchen, P & De Pelsmacker, P 2004, Integrated Marketing Communications: A Primer, Routledge, London.
  • Kotler, P & Armstrong, G 2004, Principles of Marketing, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River.
  • Maurer, A et al. 2006, An Assessment of the Australian Domestic Tourism Market, Tourism Research Australia, Canberra.
  • Mills, G 2002, Retail Pricing Strategies and Market Power, Melbourne University Publishing, Melbourne.
  • Noonan, P 2006, Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, Transcript of Evidence, vol. 40.
  • Porter, M 1998, Competitive Strategy: Techniques for Analyzing Industries and Competitors, Simon and Schuster, New York.
  • Schultz, D et al. 2007, In search of a Theory of Integrated Marketing Communication. Journal of Advertising Education, vol. 11, no. 2, pp. 21-31.
  • Tourism Australia, 2008, ‘Through The Looking Glass: The Future of Domestic Tourism in Australia’, Tourism Research Australia, accessed from: http://www.ret.gov.au/tourism/tra/Documents/Domestic%20Analysis/Through%20the%20looking%20glass.pdf [Accessed 5 Dec. 2011]
  • Tourism Forecasting Committee, 2006, Forecast: The fourth release from the Tourism Forecasting Committee, Tourism Australia, Melbourne, pp. 9-11.
  • Travel Research Centre, 2006, Getting Australians to Travel Again: Domesticate, Report prepared for Tourism Research Australia.
  • Wedel, M & Kamakura, W 2000, Market Segmentation: Conceptual And Methodological Foundations, Springer, New York.

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