Many tourist destinations are adopting the use of new technological solutions as a means of promoting their products and services. The internet is one of the marketing and advertising strategies that tourism destinations use, as more customers also use this medium to obtain the information they need regarding their tourism destination. The majority of clients use their mobile internet for this purpose, as it is more portable compared to the laptops. These are also used as the Internet has enabled the creation of downloadable tourism applications which people can use. This section seeks to develop a theoretical framework basing on the current situation of the tourism market in advertising, by considering the current use of the Internet as a promotional tool. The focus will be on mobile internet marketing as the new internet strategy for promoting tourism products and services. Its advantages will be explored, its impact on tourism supply and demand will be identified, and also its estimated future development will be determined.
4.1 Mobile Internet as a Promotional Tool
According to Business Wire (2012), there are more than one billion Smartphones that are being used in the market today. As such, the tourism industry should not simply let go of the advantages and opportunities presented by this mobile marketing regarding the placement of information and also regarding sales. From the advertisers perspective, the fact that individuals always have their mobile devices wherever they go is imperative. The different tourism brands that exist on the market can benefit greatly from this availability. This new marketing channel enables a simple and fast mode of communication between consumers and the brands. It does not matter whether it is day or night, or the location of either party. Additionally, with the possession of an effective database featuring permanent guests, advertisers can customize their advertising such that it targets a specific group in relation to demographics and consumer habits. Finally, mobile marketing is a cheaper and easier mode of advertising regarding preparation, implementation and monitoring the level of efficiency.
It is important for tourism agencies to have websites that are also mobile friendly. This ensures that the large customer base which uses the mobile phone to access sites will not miss out on various services offered. This is because the websites will be accessible even through the mobile device. Similarly, tourism agencies are expected to develop mobile applications which customers will download and install on their devices. These are usually easy to use as customers can directly access news and services from specific tourism companies. This is why mobile apps are preferred to the mobile web.
For most people, social networks have become an integral part of life, which many cannot imagine life without. But as they use these networks for communication with friends and families, they tend to forget that the same can be used as a useful component of internet marketing. This is why many tourism industries are now turning towards social networks as a means of communicating their campaigns to customers that they wish to attract. Considering the fact that social networks are used free of charge, they present an excellent medium for mobile internet marketing and advertisement of tourism activities and services (Marketing, 2009). Therefore, companies in the tourism sector can now possess profiles that are created free of charge, which they will use to offer information on their destination and activities to expect, all at no cost.
In the tourism industry, social networks are viewed as mediums that will one day lead to radical changes in the industry image. Despite the fact that these are not the only mediums for obtaining information and booking travels, they are increasingly very important for communication. For instance, in 2011, over 55% of travelers from all over the world used Facebook, the most widespread network (Miscancuk 2012). Although the link between social networks and travel is still at a very early stage, destinations and advertising companies can do a lot by investing in its growth.
4.2 Theoretical Perspectives
Considering the analysis, various theories that will guide this research can be developed. First, mobile internet is a promising approach towards advertising as more people are now using their mobile phones to surf the web. Therefore, tourism companies and destinations can make use of this medium to increase sales by ensuring that their marketing reaches the required target effectively. Second, mobile internet is a good and beneficial promotional tool as it does not rely on time or location. Therefore, advertisers can make use of this benefit to improve their advertising efforts as the consumers will be able to receive the message despite time or location. For instance, an advertising agency in China can convey information of its location to various parts of the world, even the United States. This is because the mobile internet uses universal applications and networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Third, mobile internet advertising is beneficial as it enables advertisers to obtain important customer information that can help shape the marketing campaign. For instance, they can obtain customer demographics and even customer behavior.
4.3 Survey Questions
Considering the theoretical perspectives developed above, various survey questions can be developed to explore further these theories critically.
Question 1: Choose one of the following devices that you use more to surf the web (Mobile Phone, Tablet, Laptop/Desktop)
This question tries to show whether or not the theory that people are becoming more dependent on their mobile phones to surf is true. It is important to identify the medium that majority of people use to access the Internet as the information will help to shape the marketing campaign for tourism industries.
Question 2: How many times have you tried to search for information through the Social Networks such as Facebook and Twitter?
This question is essential to this research as it will show the importance of using social media for advertisements. It will help to analyze whether or not marketing efforts can indeed reach the target through these networks.
Question 3: Would you use the Internet to try and obtain information about a certain region late at night? If yes, why did you not use your laptop?
This question seeks to weigh the preference that consumers have. There is a theory that was developed, which argued that most prefer to use their mobile phones since they are portable and can be used with ease at any time.
Question 4: How many mobile applications relating to tourism do you have installed on your phone?
This question will give insight on whether or not mobile applications can be effective promotional mediums.
Question 5: Would you respond to the online surveys posted on websites of tourism destinations and companies?
This question will give insight on how reliable mobile internet is in retrieving important customer information that will boost the success of advertising.
Business Wire. (2012). Strategy Analytics: Worldwide Smartphone Population Tops 1 Billion in Q3 2012. http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20121017005479/en/StrategyAnalytics-Worldwide-Smartphone-Population-Tops-1
Marketing. (2009). How to promote your business through social networking. http://webdizajn.me/marketing/kako-promovirati-vase-poslovanje-putem-drustvenih-mreza/
Miscancuk, T. (2012). Global Trends and Croatia, Network - magazine for IT professionals. (6) pp. 41-42.
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