Sunday, 9 May 2010

Dissertation Proposal

Title: The Desired Destination - Influential Ways of Destination Marketing

Question: Are methods of influence more effective than "positioning" in destination marketing?

1. To identify which different instruments of influence are effective for destination marketing;
2. To compare the level of effectiveness of different methods of destination marketing;
3. To measure if individuals from this age of information, technology and communication can still be persuaded or influenced through advertising, in a tourism context;
4. To test the participants' level of interest on a specific destination before and after being subject to the methods of influence, assessing their effectiveness;
5. To determine if the use of methods of influence in tourism marketing can give competitive advantage to a destination.

Area of Study
I will be comparing two different methods that can be used in advertisement and promotion. The first one is "Positioning", a well-known concept in tourism marketing, which can be defined as the process of "reinforcing a distinctive place for a destination in the minds of potential visitors within target markets" (Botha, 1999:342). In this concept, a destination should be marketed based on the ideal image that people already carry in their minds, rather than try to create a new destination image for prospective visitors.

The effectiveness of this method will be compared against Cialdini's (2009) instruments of influence, which is a concept that has not yet been tested in a tourism context. According to him people can be influeced by six different principles: reciprocication, commitment, social proof, liking, authority and scarcity. I intend to create an online promotional page for the city of Rio de Janeiro including all such principles to test their effectiveness.

I will use quantitative research, trying to obtain a response from 50 participants. They will first be asked randomly in the streets of London to take part in the experiment. If they agree, they will receive a card with a website address written on it. The website will be constructed especifically for thsi research and will test their level of interest in the city of Rio de Janeiro before and after being exposed to the promotional materials.

The data will be collected through the SurveyMonkey instrument and later be analysed using the SPSS program, for a graphic visualisation of the results.

If the outcome of the research proves that influence instruments are effective for destination marketing, then cities can obtain competitive advantage by trying to change people's minds in a more persuasive manner rather than shape their products and services to better fit what's on their minds.

Botha, C. (1999) ' Developing a Revised Competitive Position for Sun/Lost City, South Africa', Journal of Travel Research, 37, pp.341-352.

Cialdini, R. B. (2009) Influence: Science and Practice. Fifth Edition. Boston, Pearson Education.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Some Helpful Links

Hello everyone.

The research proposal is without a doubt the most difficult piece of assignment that we've had to do so far... and I believe I was not the only one who only started doing it in the last moment. So, just in case this topic is being read by a student in the 2011 course, hear this advice. START AS EARLY AS YOU CAN! Even if just one paragraph a day!

I've been lost under a pile of books about consumer behaviour, destination marketing, the science of influence, and journals related to my topic. All in order to write the Literature Review. This is of extreme importance because we have to have enough knowledge about what has already been written in order to explain why our research is important, identifying a gap in what is already available.

In terms of the Research Approach and Methods the book which I found to be the most useful was Research Methods for Business Students (Saunders et al 2007). I bought Research Design, by Creswell. It gives a good cover of Quantitative, Qualitative and Mixed Methods, but I didn't find all the answers that I needed in it. I also borrowed Research Methods for Leisure and Tourism, by Veal.

In case you have no access to these books, you can find limited versions of them on Google Books. But don't rely on it, as you won't find entire sections for what you need. Just click on the title to be redirected:

Research Methods for Business Students
Research Design
Research Methods for Leisure and Tourism

I also found a little help on YouTube. Click to watch the videos:

Quantitative or Qualitative?
The Ethics of Social Research
Preparing a Research Proposal

Needless to say that no video should substitute books, but they offer a better visualization to understand the methods.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Running Out of Time

Time is passing by so quickly. In about a month's time I will have to submit the dissertation proposal, but I've hardly spent any time thinking about what I should do.

The problem is that there has been some assignments from other subjects in the way and I have another three to finish by the end of April. I like the way that this course is only one year long, but sometimes I feel that there's just not enough time to learn everything in such a short time.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Finally, a Clear Topic!

After months worrying that I'd never find a clear topic for my dissertation, I finally managed! My title shall be "The Desired Destination - Persuasive and Influential Ways of Marketing a Destination" and my intention is to research consumer behaviour patterns that can help develop strategies for destination marketing. It may sound complicated, but at least it is starting to make sense in my own mind.

I was also very pleased because today I had the first meeting with Peter, my supervisor. He approved my topic and gave some ideas of how to work with it. It's not going to be easy and I will have to do a lot of research, but I believe that we appreciate things that are difficult to achieve more than the ones that come easily. Also, I think this is a topic that I'd really like to work with as a career. So I'll put even more effort into it. I'll do my best. I hope I succeed.

Thursday, 21 January 2010


By Aline and Weiky

Following our Research Methods lecture, here is a questionnaire for the city of London based on visitor motivations.

1) Please tell us a little about you:
Male Female
Age Group:
18-24 35-3950-54
25-29 40-44 55-59
30-34 45-49 60-64 65 and over
Are you on holiday with other people? Yes No If yes, how many people are you travelling with? __________

2) Please tick the reason that best matches your visit to London:
Visiting friends and relatives
Entertainment (e.g.: musicals and nightlife)
Culture (e.g.: museums and Royal family)

3) Have you ever visited London before? Yes No
If yes, when and why?________________________________________

4) What influenced your visit to London? Please tick up to two most relevant options:
Travel agency
Family and friends
Websites (NOT related to travel agencies)
TV advertisement
References from movies or literature
Magazines and newspapers
Travel brochures and guides

5) How did you book your holiday?
Through a travel agency
Through the internet
By telephone

6) How long will you stay for?
Up to 3 days
Between 4 and 7 days
Between 8 and 14 days
Between 15 days and 30 days
Over a month
Over 3 months

7) How much are you intending to spend on your visit, including accommodation?
Less than £500
Between £500 and £1,000
Between £1,000 and £5,000
Between £5,000 and £10,000
Over £10,000

8) Please number the following aspects of London in order of importance to you, with 1 being the most important:
Museums and galleries
West End Musicals
Restaurants and pubs
Royal family
Entertainment attractions (E.g.: Madamme Tussauds, London Eye)
Historical Attractions (E.g.: Tower of London, Parliament Houses)
Sport events
Music events

9) Please number in order of importance, with 1 being the most important, what makes London more attractive than other capital cities.
Diversity of culture
Good value for money
Natural attractions
Built attractions
Quality of services (e.g.: transport, accommodation)
Tourism information supply
Feeling of safety

10) Would you visit London again? Yes No
If yes, what do you think would be the main purpose of the visit? ____________________________________

Friday, 18 December 2009

With a Little Help From My... Books!

Apart from being worried about the topic of my dissertation, I am also worried about developing my study and writing skills. I never had to write a dissertation before and now I have to do it in English, which is not my first language.

In order to try to do well I've acquired some books to help me not only go through this course but also to give me skills for life. I first became interested in trying to improve my memory, as I realised that I forgot everything that I read very easily and did not retain enough information. Then I learned that a good way of summarising everything that I read was to make Mind Maps. Of course that since I wanted to read so many books I desperately needed to find a way to read faster, so I bought a book about speed reading. Then I realised I needed to improve my critical thinking, since I never had to do any critical thinking during my study life in Brazil. And Finally, a book about research methods. Here is a list of my reading list together with their link to in case anyone else wants to learn more about them:

Technically, the list above should make my life easier... except that it also means it will take a lot of the time that I should be spending reading about tourism! But the truth is I love books, and any excuse to buy one is good enough for me! Now, if it will bring any real improvement to my dissertation, only time will tell.

Is it a Good Choice?

Problems, problems, problems already! Having chosen the aspect of tourism that I would like to write about, I realised that my topic is very wide. Entire books could be written about influence and I have to narrow it down in order to make it less than 15.000 words for my dissertation.

I also fear that perhaps it is not a very good topic at all and that I should concentrate on another aspect of tourism rather than marketing, especially since it is a course that I have not even started and don't know much about.

My wish to write about influence comes from my background of having studied one year of a Publicity and Advertising course in Brazil. I've always been very interested in how we can create a product that will be irresistible to the eyes of our customers. Also, considering that tourism is an industry that survives on making people's dreams come true, it would be very interesting to study the ways how people can be influenced in their choices.

I really hope I can put both things together as I intend to have a career in tourism marketing, identifying customers needs and developing products to match them. All that I know is that a lot of study and research needs to be done so that I can get a clearer idea of this topic and decide if it's the right one for me.

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