ACS Distance Education UK
Marketing for an Adventure Tourism destination or service is a complex task. This reflects the numerous and varied adventure tourism activities on offer. Adventure tourism experiences can last from a few minutes to many weeks, prices vary, adventure tourists have numerous motivations, and many adventure tourism products are highly seasonal. A number of methods exist for promoting an adventure tourism service:
These marketing tools can continually be updated or improved depending on the interests and needs of the targeted audience and the success of previous marketing tools.
There are various objectives within the adventure tourism market. These affect the approach to marketing. For some companies adventure tourism is a business with the primary purpose of making profits. Voluntary or non-profit organizations aim to provide a social environment for those participating. Examples could include holidays for disadvantaged children. There are also adventure enthusiasts who set up ventures that allow them to pursue their hobby as a full-time profession – seeking to balance an enjoyable lifestyle with earning enough income to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. These different objectives reflect the marketing approach taken to promote the product.
Adventure tourists also have a number of motivations for ‘purchasing’ an experience. Motivations can include sensual pleasure, escaping from everyday life, meeting like minded people, spiritual enlightenment, improving fitness, and exploring untouched places of the earth, etc.
Many tourist operators believe that seasonal fluctuations are the largest drawback to tourism development. The economic impact of seasonal fluctuations can be significant to specialised adventure tourism providers. Seasonal tourism resource use also fluctuates, such as transport and accommodation. Many employees will be working full-time during peak seasons, but only on a casual basis during low seasons.
The major reasons for seasonal fluctuations are climate and social calendar events. An example of seasonal influence is seen in the Himalayas. Winter is the peak season for treks in the Himalayas as the weather is clear and fine. However, it is not the best time for mountaineering. An example of social events effecting tourism is that of the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca (hajj) which is taken during the month of Dhu al-Hijjah (the last month of the Islamic year).
Adventure tourism marketing must be many things – localised and global, cross-cultural and/or transnational, and attractive to a range of audiences worldwide.
The Internet plays a large role in adventure tourism marketing than it does in other sectors. There are various reasons for this. It is suitable for small enterprises that do not have a huge budget for advertising. It also allows providers to regularly update their information within a rapidly changing business. Agents can also take bookings from clients anywhere in the world.
The market is becoming more and more segmented into targeting groups that share similar characteristics. For example age, sex, race, lifestyle, etc. For example, the Club 18-30 type vacations providing for a particular age group and a particular motivation for certain types of adventure travel.
There are some interesting trends within the adventure tourism market, some of which are noted below:
Within the adventure tourism industry itself, there are global trends occurring, such as:
These increasing trends above do not necessarily require new providers because the market already exists for the type of experiences they are seeking. However, some changes may need to be made in order to cater for the different clients i.e. considerations for children and older, less agile, adults, or setting grades of difficulty for various tours. A tour, for example, may need to have options for people who choose not to climb Kilimanjaro. Other alternatives may be shopping for the day or walking half way and meeting the party at the end of the day or at another location. These provisions need to be put in place in order to attract the new and increasing markets.
One point worth noting is the role that National and local governments play in marketing tourism. National Governments promote whole countries through a few key images that are the leading attractions or symbolic of the country. Local Governments tend to promote their region, highlighting their own attractions to the region. This is generally done through the Department of Tourism in each region.
Adventure tourism has become a very competitive business. Competition is received from:
Adventure tourism marketing is a complex activity that is complicated by the diversity of the product and the range of clients.