Incorporating market research in your marketing planning is absolutely crucial to success for both destinations and businesses. Market research provides a platform to move forward in your decision making allowing you to be armed with the knowledge of variants that will play a vital part in your future.
Decision Making Free From Opinion
We work with lots of government organisations in the areas of Local, State and National Tourism Offices as well as tourism businesses, RTO's and associations. One thing that market research will do for everyone is ensure decision making is free from the opinions and subjectivity that we see in many organisations when people are too close to their region or product. Being able to fall back on consumer needs and wants ensures that everyone is 'on the same page' . Allowing the voice of the consumer to flow through into your decision making is a very powerful (and fruitful) practice.
Market research is an important tool for business or organisations seeking a commercial opportunities or even in some cases survival. Particularly so, in today’s fast paced climate where information about tourism destinations and options are readily available on the Internet to travellers.
Through research, not only will you discover if there is a demand for your amazing destination, product or service (or not) but you may also seek opportunities to find gaps in the market. It also allows you to tweak and adapt to changing tastes and demands. Other benefits include, ensuring customer satisfaction as well as helping you to plan effective marketing or sales campaigns. Research and insight can provide the market intelligence needed to encourage success, enhance competitiveness and maximise profits and visitation.
Our world is changing constantly and the traveller is becoming smarter and more demanding. Changes in location, demand and environment are constants in our world. The Internet has given travellers the ability to become more informed and smarter about their purchase decisions. They have access to an extraordinary amount of information to help them plan their travel, make decisions and reduce the risks associated with those decisions.
At the very least, market research can also be used as a tool to show your customers that you are thinking about them and their needs – you value their input to make your business or destination better for them.
Know The Basics About Your Business & Customers
There are a few market research basics that should be in place for your destination or business to enable clarity in your decision making. No matter what size your region, town or company, all successful marketers must have an understanding of a few of the following:
- Operating markets – This could extend for example to within a 2 hour radius or 4 corners of the globe.
- Competitors – Who are they, how successful are they? Are they other destinations, other products or you may be even competing with other consumer discretionary expenditure items like a new kitchen, a new pool or home entertainment centre.
- Who are your customers and what are their needs? Are they families, stressed executives, professional conference organisers etc...
- Are people even interested in my product or destination?
- What does it take to be competitive in the current market environment?
- Who are my customers and how do they behave? What kind of people are they? Where do they live?
- What are my customers’ core needs and how do they chose products/services?
- How is my product or destination perceived by customers?
- What is the level of satisfaction customers have with my product or destination? What do customers think of us?
- What about those who don’t visit my destination or use my product or service? What are some of the reasons why? What do they do instead?
- How satisfied are my employees and what are their attitudes to my customers like?
Freely Available Research
The majority of businesses and smaller destinations generally cannot afford their own market research departments or even to outsource research to a market research company. But there are ways that you can still gather customer facts and opinions in an objective way that do not need to break the budget and often come at no price at all. Research has a somewhat mixed reputation - boring statistics or for the nerds. But the fact is, research becomes really sexy when you realise just how much it can help you increase your visitation levels and revenue.
I know we are biased, but research is fun. I guarantee you will feel empowered and enlightened as you are gathering information. You will have light bulb moments and wonder why you haven't been doing it all along.
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She also runs a well respected seniors travel blog, http://www.newyoungtravel.com.au.
Bronwyn is also the published author of Seniors Travel Tips, a global travel guide for seniors.