Marketing management for theme parks and other leisure activities

What is marketing? The dictionary describes marketing as: ‘The strategic functions involved in identifying and appealing to particular groups of consumers, often including activities such as advertising, branding, pricing, and sales.’ Advertising is at least not the only activity. Imagine a new attraction is being built. How will this be communicated to the public? The marketing department wrote a press release, which will be spread by the media. What if the media negatively portrays the company? The marketing department has designed procedures to handle it in a professional way. Marketing is based on managing the perception of the consumer, building relationships with customers and increasing sales.

Fun fact: the majority of people get confronted with 3,500 marketing messages a day (The Guardian). A quick calculation indicates that this is about 145 an hour. Note that coincidences, such as seeing the label on your t-shirt, are included in the total. Humans are (luckily) selective and will not pay attention to all stimuli. Which encounters would a person still recall at the end of the day? Without reminders, probably less than 5! Strong marketing is therefore very important. Behind every successful brand is a strong marketing department. Would you know about the existence of McDonalds, Coca Cola or Disney without the use of marketing? Probably not. Their success relies on marketing. And this is only an indication of how essential marketing is for a business.

The goal of messages in the first place is to sell products. If it survived the selection of the consumer’s mind, it must be persuasive. No one buys every products he or she sees. And not every product will appeal to every customer, which is why some products are only marketed to certain people. This is called segmentation. A segment is a group of customers or potential customers with similar characteristics, needs and requirements.  Expressions are designed for these groups to stimulate purchases. And marketing does not stop right after the purchase. The moment a purchase is made, there is a difference between expectation and reality. When the this promise is too high, the product falls below expectations. Marketing would have to restore these ‘errors’ as well. It is an integral part of pre-purchase and the post-purchase phase. Very complex indeed!

The project for marketing communication management was supervised by Klaus Hoven, Goof Lukken and Anna Grossenbacher. They guarded the quality and gave advice. In the meantime, we studied the book Marketing for Hospitality and Tourism of Philip Kotler, which discusses, among others, marketing for destinations and the purchasing processes of an organisation. We collaborated with Europa-Park and focused on attracting the Dutch market. This resulted in four very different campaigns. Presentations were on the 11th of April in Hotel Bell Rock. We are now halfway the last week and busy finishing the project, after which we move on with the final project: Change management!

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