Managing tourism destination reputation in the era of online marketing: a case study of Egypt

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

Tourism destination marketing has been significantly influenced by the developments in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). Online marketing has been a focus of most destinations since the Internet became the primary information source for travel marketing and purchasing. Tourism is a reputation-dependent sector. An accurate perception of the destination’s reputation helps minimize the risk of unsatisfactory experiences of travellers. A favourable tourist destination reputation also enhances the destination’s competitive advantage. Despite the importance of tourism destination reputation, attempts at developing a better understanding through defining and assessing it have been limited due to an over-reliance on theories of corporate reputation. To address this research gap, this study aims to understand the concept of tourism destination reputation, and explore how to manage destination reputation using online marketing channels through achieving a number of specific objectives: 1. To improve the current understanding of the tourism destination reputation by developing a comprehensive definition of tourism destination reputation, 2. To develop a framework to assess the tourism destination reputation, 3. To assess the effectiveness of tourism destination approaches towards online marketing channels, 4. To understand the mechanisms of the online marketing channels, and to assess the potential for using online marketing channels to manage the destination’s online reputation, 5. To develop a conceptual framework that enables the destination marketers to better understand the tourism destination reputation concept, effective online marketing strategies, channels and online reputation management. To achieve the research objectives, a qualitative research methodology is employed. The methodology includes three main data collection methods: the Delphi technique, focus groups, and interviews. Two rounds of Delphi were used among reputation and tourism experts to define the destination reputation and identify the main drivers which contribute to forming the tourism destination reputation. Four focus groups were used to identify the respondents’ points of view about the main drivers that contribute to forming destination reputation. The results of Delphi technique and the focus groups were integrated to develop the Tourism Destination Reputation Framework (TDRF). While two sets of interviews were applied among two different groups; the first in-depth interviews were carried out in Egypt, with the online marketers at the Egyptian Tourism Authority (ETA) who are responsible for the marketing of the Egyptian destination. The second in-depth interviews set were applied with a sample of marketers from different digital marketing agencies to provide an understanding of the mechanisms of online marketing channels; their impact on the reputation and the possibility of using these channels to manage the online reputation. The main outcomes, and the original contribution of this research include 1. A new empirically based definition for the tourism destination reputation concept. 2. A framework to assess the tourism destination reputation. The framework includes ten themes: products and services, culture, people, destination management, environment, safety and security, competitiveness, country stability, place identity, media, marketing and communication. 3. Insights into the ETA online performance and the Egyptian tourism destination reputation. 4. A strategy to manage the destination online reputation. The research proposes a strategy to manage the online tourism destination reputation. This strategy includes two different pathways: handling normal situations, and detecting reputation crises. Finally, the research suggests a comprehensive framework to have a favourable tourist destination reputation. This framework consists of three main stages: building reputation, marketing reputation, and finally, managing reputation.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bedfordshire
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Burns, Peter, Supervisor, External person
  • Duan, Yanqing, Supervisor, External person
Award date17 Mar 2021
Place of PublicationLuton
Publisher
Publication statusUnpublished - 17 Mar 2021

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