Destination marketing is crucial to the “big picture” of tourism management and development. For visitor and tourism industry professional alike, the “destination” is the raison d’etre for traveling anywhere.

As noted by John R. Hendrie of Hospitality Performance, Destination Development needs to be regarded first by the Visitor’s initial encounter with the Destination: usually on-line. “People’s impressions of a hotel or area start before they even get there. The first impression now is often during ‘booking’ on the Internet and then looking at the facility or the characteristics of the area”.

Hendrie continues: “That web site is crucial. To me, if visitors or travel agents have access and are enthused, they’re going to call and get involved in the decision-making process.” Some venues do not understand how critical the Internet displays are. For Hendrie, many “horrible” displays are often produced without significant regard for the venue’s competitive advantage, unique assets: “They are stale . . .Give me some flavor, some life, get me excited,” Hendrie says. “Most web sites don’t do this particularly well.” Hendrie continues: However, the Visitor still has images and expectations, and, now, you must deliver.”

What happens between the booking and the arrival? The Experience will be altered by the web-based proposition: driving/flying, arriving and physically encountering the Destination. “By the time they arrive at the front door or other portals to the Destination, you should prepare to turn the trip into a memorable Experience by building Relationships,” Hendrie advises. He continues: “Today hospitality retail is focusing on the destination market and the visitor to that destination. Hotels, restaurants, attractions, shops…infrastructure of services, taxis, parking lot…all these community components influence that experience.”

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