Chapter 7

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7.1    Introduction

Marketing is not a means to an end, it is an ongoing process, an orientation or philosophy, a
relationship activity. To begin with, marketers must find out what consumers want, generally
through marketing research, and develop the right product. They must then inform customers
about the product or facility through promotion. After the product has been sold or the
booking has been made, the aim should be to satisfy the customer so that he/she receives
value, and will return or recommend the service offering. Frequent reviews need to be made
of the strengths and weaknesses relative to competitors.

The objective of this chapter is to pr ovide a brief overview of the role of marketing with
special reference to tourism destinations, attractions and accommodation as applicable to
game lodges.     The core principles of marketing, which include a marketing orientated
approach, market segmentation, the marketing mix and the product life cycle, are described.
The marketing mix refers to different components or instruments that can be used to
influence consumers. The chapter provides an introduction to the traditional marketing mix,
consisting of four ps: product, price, p lace and promotion, which form the key decision

factors in any marketing plan. Three additional ps that are important decision factors in
tourism, namely people, p hysical evidence and processes will also receive attention. The last
important principle that will be discussed is the product life cycle, which suggests that all
products pass through various life stages namely, introduction, growth, maturity and decline.
The aim is to avoid the decline stage. Traditionally marketing has focused on external
customers, but applying the same principles to the company employees (internal marketing),
which is becoming as important, is emphasised.             Marketers increasingly realise the
importance of relationship management activities and are showing greater concern for society
and the environment. This chapter focuses on the supply side of the game lodge market and
will indicate how these principles affect small businesses since game lodges tend to operate
from single delivery sites.

7.2    The role of marketing

Marketing brings the five major sectors of the tourism industry together, namely the market
demand in the area of origin, the product supply at the destination, the transportation or
physical access to destinations, the distribution organisations, and travel organisers, as
indicated in figure 7.1.


                                               Travel organisers
                                               Tour operators,
                                               travel agents, others    Destination organisers
                                                                        National, regional and
                                                                        local tourist offices

            Market demand                              mix)                Product supply
            (in areas of origin)                                           (at destinations)
            Visitors, tourists,                                            Activities,
            excursionists,                                                 attractions,
            international, domestic                                        accommodation

                                                 Physical access
                                                 (to destinations)
                                                 air, road, rail, sea
 Source: Middleton, 1994: 11

Marketing influences visitors’ demands, but not all visitors are influenced by marketing
activities. For example, domestic travellers who travel by private car and who stay with
friends and relatives may not have been influenced by marketing. Marketing comprises the
following elements: the attitudes and decisions of customers (target market) concerning the
perceived utility and value of available goods and services, according to their needs, wants,
interests and ability to pay.         It also comprises the attitudes and decisions of producers
concerning their production of goods and services for sale, in the context of their business
environment and long term objectives.           Lastly it includes the ways in which producers
communicate with customers, before, during and after the point of sale, and distribute or
provide access to their products (Middleton, 1994: 17). There is no automatic harmony
between what customers want and will pay for, and what producers are able or willing to
provide. In practice there is usually continuing tension between a producer’s need for profit

and the efficient use of assets, and the consumer’s search for value and satisfaction.
Marketing managers often have to use judgement in balancing the conflicting needs of the
parties, and do so with imprecise knowledge about their customers, and about the decisions of
other producers marketing competitive products.        Their judgement is expressed in the
communication and distribution upon which the bulk of the marking expenditure is spent.
The better the balance between the interests of the two parties, the smaller the marketing
expenditure will need to be as a proportion of sales revenue. For example, if an operator has
accurately designed, priced and judged the capacity, sales will be achieved at relatively low
promotional cost (Middleton, 1994: 18).

Marketing is about systematically and thoughtfully coming up with plans and taking actions
that get more people to buy more of a supplier’s product, more often and at higher prices, so
that more money is made (Zyman, 1999: 6). Marketing is not about creating an image;
having an image just means that people know who you are, but it does not motivate them to
do anything. It does not really matter how efficiently a product is being manufactured or
distributed, or how good salespeople are, if nobody wants to buy the product. A good
marketer will sell everything that a company has the ability to offer, this means selling every
available bed-night at the game lodge, even if it has to be at a discount (Zyman, 1999: 20).

Although small businesses still account for the largest part of travel and tourism supply in
most countries, the marketing practices of large international organisations will be
increasingly influential.   Hyatt, British Airways, Avis, Wimpy and others will tend to
dominate customer expectations, product design, prices and marketing techniques. The
emergence of these corporations has greatly added to the surplus capacity available that
exceeds the basic propensity to consume. However, competition between large corporations
tends to leave gaps and nich too small to be profitable for big firms (Middleton, 1994: 18).

7.3    Marketing of services

Game lodges are part of the service sector of the economy and the essential difference
between goods and services is that goods are produced and services are performed. Tourism
products therefore cannot be marketed in exactly the same way as manufacturing products,
since the purchasing thereof does not confer ownership of the physical item that may be used
or consumed at the owner’s choice of time and place. The production and consumption takes
place on the premises of the producer, and the consumer needs to be present at the fixed

location to access the capacity. There is no physical distribution of tourism and hospitality
products and distributors bring customers and offerings together, which are generally
independent components of the total tourism product.

The variation in the range, and differences in the types of services offered, is determined by
employees’ attitude and behaviour, which cannot be replicated with the exact same precision
or emotional impact.       The service performance can consequently not be evaluated
beforehand, and no guarantee covers the element of risk associated with the variance in
quality manifesting in a given situation. It is also impossible to generalise whether satisfied
customers will be loyal or not. Marketers overcome these complexities by providing personal
touches and tangible evidence (signals or cues) of what can be expected. Intermediaries may
be invited to familiarising trips to gain experience for recommendation purposes. Employees
need to be enabled to deliver services and keep promises made. Service marketers therefore
use an extended marketing mix, and people, physical layout and atmosphere carry greater
significance than in the case of physical products. Stronger emphasis is placed on personal
selling and word-of-mouth advertising. More emotional promotion appeals are used and
suppliers need to build relationships, not only with internal clients and staff, but also with
other organisations within the industry.

In addition to these characteristics of intangibility, inseparability and variability, service
products are highly perishable because the service delivery is fixed in time and space. No
possibility exists to create or hold stock to satisfy daily fluctuations in demand. Revenue
from capacity not used cannot be recovered. Supply and demand needs to be managed by
adapting opening times, employing part-time staff or through tactical discounting.        The
delivery of a service generally reveals a relatively high fixed cost to operate available
capacity (Middleton, 1994: 32).

7.4    The expanded marketing mix for services

The marketing mix may be defined as the mixture of controllable marketing variables that the
organisation uses to pursue the sought level of sales in the target market. The four basic
controllables are the product formulation according to the changing needs of target
customers; pricing which is used to manage the volume of sales; promotion to make potential
customers aware and favourably disposed towards buying it; and place which includes the
location of the facility and all the points of sale that provide access to the product to

prospective customers. Each of these contains many sub-elements and Middleton (1994: 65)
is of the opinion that people, physical evidence and processes actually are integral elements
of the product. Middleton consequently encourages the usage of the terms product-mix,
promotion-mix and so forth, as opposed to the usage of an extended marketing mix. Cooper
et al. (1998: 410) share this view and believe that the four ps offer an adequate framework
into which the differences between product and services marketing can be incorporated. The
expanded marketing mix for services is depicted in figure 7.2.


 Product                     Place                Promotion              Price

 Physical good features      Channel type         Promotion blend        Flexibility
 Quality level               Exposure             Salespeople            Price level
 Accessories                 Intermediaries         Number               Terms
 Packaging                   Outlet locations       Selection            Differentiation
 Warranties                  Transportation         Training             Discounts
 Product lines               Storage                Incentives           Allowances
 Branding                    Managing channels    Advertising
                                                    Media types
                                                    Types of ads
                                                    Copy thrust
                                                  Sales promotion

 People                      Physical evidence    Process

 Employees                   Facility design      Flow of activities
  Recruiting                 Equipment              Standardised
  Training                   Signage                Customised
  Motivation                 Employee dress       Number of steps
  Rewards                    Other tangibles        Simple
  Teamwork                     Reports              Complex
 Customers                     Business cards     Customer involvement
   Education                   Statements
  Training                     Guarantees

Source: Zeithaml & Bitner, 2000: 19

7.4.1   Product

The inclusive tourism product is a themed experience that provides an immediate context to
its visitors, but is primarily reliant on stimulating the senses of sight and sound. Visitors will
most probably develop a rich and meaningful appreciation for the place and interpret it. The
resource is principally consumed as an affective, worthwhile, enjoyable experience of
tangible and intangible factors. Cognition with adjectives such as educational, informative
and interesting forms the second order of experience. Visitors will be inclined to take more

than a passing interest in the environment and share their knowledge with others, in order to
enrich their own interpretation of the place. Knowledge outcomes from visiting the natural
attraction would seem to be affirmative, rather than cognitive. Cumulative new learning is
not within the operators’ control, but they might encourage the development of empathy with
conservation issues.    The different components of the inclusive tourism product were
discussed in chapters five and six and wildlife tourism in chapter two.

The key to success for a small firm in the tourism industry is to customise its product offering
to meet the needs of a narrowly defined target market that is difficult for competitors to
match or exceed. In other words, to create and penetrate a niche market. However, only in
rare instances does the tourism marketer have the option of shaping the product from the
bottom up, as only small bits of a destination may be modified. Game lodge management
cannot change the natural environment, only the amenities. His/her main field of discretion is
to package the product conceptually through promotion (Seaton & Bennett, 1996: 117).   People

Hospitality is often described as a people industry and people are becoming a way in which
companies differentiate themselves to gain competitive advantage in the marketplace
(Ge orge, 2001: 274). Once visitors enter the tourist establishment they are greeted and served
by operations people and in this interaction they either play a prominent or insignificant role
(Bennett, 2000: 226). Service delivery people provide real-time pr omotion of the service, and
a service culture must be developed through internal marketing. Marketing is a function that
belongs to everyone in the organisation (Zyman, 1999: 198). All of the human actors who
play a part in the service delivery; namely t e firm’s personnel, the customer and other
customers in the service environment, influence the buyer’s perception of the service itself.
Game lodges should attract compatible customers and educate them to perform their role
effectively. For example, vis itors to the Kruger National Park should for their own protection
remain in their cars, stay on the visitor roads, obey speed limits and camp hours and refrain
from feeding or disturbing wild animals (Bennett, 2000: 386).

For the small operator service, customer care and client relationships are perhaps more
important as it might be difficult to compete with the large chains with respect to price and
other competitive elements.       Small operators have the potential to provide special,
personalised services which add quality, variety and authenticity to the products and services

offered to tourists. They may be able to differentiate themselves from others with respect to
customer knowledge, responsiveness, and the development of long-lasting relationships and
repeat business (Lewis, 1994: 289). The owner may be an excellent host just by keeping
close face-to-face contact with guests (Mazanec, 1994: 299).

Often small businesses focus on tactical day-to-day operations to survive and neglect
training/education and consequently lose the ability to see the broader picture and identify
business opportunities (Cooper, 1994a: 144).        Most visitor attractions that are small
businesses have very little marketing knowledge and it is unlikely that they have the
resources to employ their own professional marketing managers (Middlton, 1994: 247). They
should view training as an investment for future competitiveness and network with other
small businesses in tourism to help each other address the difficulties of taking a longer view
of the development of their business. This will also help them to better understand their own
strengths and weaknesses and take a clearer view of steps that might be taken to improve
things. It will afford them the opportunity to share their problems and ideas with other
business people and learn from their experiences. This may also help spread the cost to
access important information and opinions (Brownlie, 1994: 169).   Physical evidence

Tourism and hospitality offerings are intangible and consumers therefore usually look for
tangible evidence to evaluate the offering before purchasing (George, 2001: 280).          As
explained in paragraph 5.9, the servicescape contributes to how customers actually judge the
quality of the service; it is the tangible com ponent that facilitates performance and includes
equipment and the environment in which the service is delivered, including space, layout,
ambience, artefacts, interaction between customers, and between the firm and customers.
Communications of the service, such as the appearance of brochures, letterheads, signage are
also important indicators of quality.   Processes

A service is performed and not handed over as in the case of a manufactured item, and people
form part of the process and delivery by means of friendliness, helpfulness and efficiency.
Seasoned customers want services that are organised, orderly, fast, convenient, and either
uniform or customised (Bennett, 2000: 228). Operating systems and mechanisms, and the
actual steps in the delivery and procedures, or the flow of activities by which the service is

delivered, provides customers with evidence on which to judge the service. Consequently,
the performing process is a crucial part of the offering, and operators should pay attention to
the way in which front -line employees interact with customers during the process of creation
and delivery of the service (George, 2001: 281).

7.4.2   Pricing

The travel industry is particularly preoccupied with price because of product characteristics
like extensive official regulation and long lead times between price decisions and sales.
Operators are obliged to publish prices in brochures or guides months in advance of
production (Horner & Swarbrooke, 1996: 178). However, the importance of price as a
marketing tool is often underestimated (George, 2001: 184). Temporary reductions may be
used for promotional purposes to attract consumers in low season, to cover the high fixed cost
or to promote a trial visit for first time buyers.

Internal and external factors affect pr icing decisions. Internal factors that influence pricing
decisions include the company’s marketing objectives, the other components of the marketing
mix and overall costs of providing and promoting the offering (George, 2001: 281). Pricing
does not only determine profitability, but is also a powerful tool for the marketer to achieve
strategic business objectives and a tactical tool to manipulate last minute demand through
incentives (Middleton, 1994: 97). The price structure reflects strategic marketing decisions
regarding product positioning, corporate objectives, and return on investment requirements.
It must reflect and reinforce the other components of the marketing mix and should
accurately reflect the value of the offering.

The external factors marketers should consider when making pricing decisions include the
nature of the demand for the offering, consumer perceptions, the price elasticity and
competition (George, 2001: 186). The marketer has some degree of control over internal
factors but little if any control over external factors that affect pricing. While costs set the
lower limits of prices, the market and demand set the upper limit (Kotler et al., 1996: 381).
The quality of the offering must meet the expectation the price has generated in the
customer’s mind. Premium priced lodges must be promoted in quality magazines and sold
through reputable tour operators. The employees ought to be knowledgeable and experienced
and the physical environment must be elegant and well kept. Pricing may also be a symbol of
status. Ultimately it is the consumer who decides whether the place is worth the price and it

is critical to set prices according to their ideas of value. If the overall value is considered to
be unacceptable, the consumer can choose a substitute or decide to forego the purchase
(Cooper et al., 1998: 397).

The price elasticity of demand or sensitivity to changes in price need to be considered,
because travel is not essential and many alternatives for leisure time are available. Tourists
react differently to the price of different tourism products, and therefore their price elasticities
differ. When the offering is unique, of high quality, prestigious or exclusive, or if the cost is
shared, or the account settled by someone else, consumers are usually less price-sensitive and
the demand more inelastic. However, the more someone spends on the product the more
price-sensitive they become (Kotler et al., 1996: 388-392).

The reaction of competitors to price changes also needs to be taken i to consideration. A
price advantage that takes market share away from a competitor will often provoke a hostile
re-pricing reaction.    The price advantage will thus be neutralised by the lowering of
competitor prices.     Prices must continually be evaluated and adjusted. There are often
unpredictable fluctuations in demand, which require a tactical pricing response because there
is no possibility of stockholding.

7.4.3   Promotion

Promotion is the descriptive term for the mix of communication activities, both personal and
through the mass media, carried out in order to influence those on whom sales depend. It
generally encapsulates advertising, sales promotion and public relations and is built around a
single theme or idea, designed to reach a predetermined goal (Middleton, 1994: 149).
Consumers have a choice and marketers must give them a reason, other than price, for
deciding to buy their products (Zyman, 1999: 101). The potential of a medium to bring about
a transaction depends on the degree of personalisation, the degree of interactivity and sensory
stimulation (Postma, 1999: 94).       From the consumers’ perspective promotion is a risk-
reduction mechanism (Seaton & Bennett, 1996: 183). There is a need, not only to influence
the target market, but also to influence trade contacts such as retail agents and opinion
makers, for example journalists and travel writers.

There used to be five media vehicles for mass communication, namely magazines,
newspapers, billboards, radio and television, but today there are more selling tools such as

direct mail, telephone marketing, audio and video-tapes, multimedia CD-ROMs, the Internet,
intranet, commercial on-line services, e-mail and fax-mail (Postma, 1999: ix).            These
promotion vehicles are likely to co-exist; no medium can work in isolation. However, the
future increasingly belongs to database marketing. Additional image and promotion tools not
under a marketer’s control can help or hurt the destination such as film, television, shows and
so forth (Kotler et al., 1993: 172-190).   Advertising

Advertising is mass communication through the media, which is paid for . Provided the lodge
owner knows which market segment he wishes to influence, the reach part of the process is
relatively simple. But prospective visitors have barriers and filters in their minds and will be
influenced in ways they have been conditioned to perceive and understand things, and the
promotion vehicle will therefore have limited impact in terms of interest and recall.
Inevitably the promotional material does not capture the attention of the total media audience
and the message or creative execution might not appeal to everyone. Very few prospective
visitors will be sufficiently interested in the particular game lodge to study the key points of
the communication message, and even fewer prospective visitors will remember it for
consideration at some time in the future. The original message works through several stages,
and at every stage there are losses. The majority (67%) of travellers display limited cognitive
activity in the selection of a travel destination and typically do not request travel literature
from a destination marketing organisation (Williams & Crompton, 1997: 135).                (See
paragraphs 4.7 and 4.8 for an explanation of the purchase decision and the buyer behaviour
processes respectively).

If sufficient budget allocations for advertising are not made to accomplish the necessary
tasks, the targeted volume and revenue will not be achieved.            A minimum level of
expenditure is necessary to achieve a measurable impact.           Above-the-line advertising
expenditure is relatively low in the tourism industry, and is becoming less significant
(Postma, 1999: 4). The advertising expenditure through recognised advertising agencies that
receive a commission from media owners when they purchase media space is referred to as
above -the-line expenditure.    A larger portion of the communication budget of tourism
operators is spent below -the-line, which is by definition all other promotional expenditure
(Middleton, 1994: 163, 167).
                                                                                             179   Public relations

Public relations is an important promotional tool for large tourism organisations, because
travel products are intrinsically interesting, but for small organisations public relations may
be their entire promotional effort. Luckily small may often be more beautiful to the tourism
media than big (Seaton, 1994: 139). Small, unusual tourism ventures have inherent media
value as novelties. Media editors may feel responsible to promote local tourism ventures,
which they may not do for bigger commercial ventures. Very few consumer industries are in
quite the same position to obtain unpaid publicity as the hospitality industry (Middleton,
1994: 175). People are interested in stories about the travel habits of glamorous people and
exotic destinations.

However, the converse is also true, for there is extensive media appetite for horror stories
such as transport disasters, violence or crime against tourists, pollution of seaside resorts and
so forth. For example, the killing of a lady by a leopard in the staff camp at Skukuza received
front-page newspaper coverage, and so did the bus accident caused by a negligent driver
which resulted in the death of 27 British citizens near Lydenburg (De Nysschen, 2001a;
2001b: 1). The power of photographic images in the media lies in their ability to seemingly
objectively represent reality, but they are a mixture of emotion and information. The media
construct factual records through photographs within a particular paradigm to legitimate
certain impressions at the expense of others, which may not be innocent in the value they
portray (Morgan & Pritchard, 1998: 173). For example, the pictures of wounded and dead
wildebeest with broken horns at a auction facility, and the video of the gruesome elephant
hunt at Kapama Safari’s impacted negatively on the image of the wildlife industry in South
Africa (Beharie, 1998: 11; Beukman, 1999: 7). Conflicting messages need to be managed by
showcasing positive features and solving problems that give rise to the negative impressions.   Personal selling and sales promotion

Personal selling involves persuading customers in a face-to-face situation to purchase
products. All front-line personnel carry out selling activities as they encourage customers to
buy extra items which they had not otherwise considered to purchase (Horner & Swarbrooke,
1996: 209).     Sales promotions are marketing activities, other than personal selling,
advertising and publicity that stimulate purchasing and dealer effectiveness; for example:
displays, shows and exhibitions, demonstrations and various non-recurrent selling efforts

such as special incentives (Seaton & Bennett, 1996: 199). Special incentives achieve short-
run extra purchases by customers and are also provided to the distribution network and the
sales force to secure and reward their support and recommendations. Examples of incentives
are: price-cuts, bonuses, extra commission, discount vouchers, free gifts, competitions, prize
draws and parties. If these incentives are sustained for too long, they become perceived as
part of the normal product and tend to lose their effectiveness.   Brochures and other printed sales literature

Brochures and other printed sales literature represent a distinctive group of paid-for
marketing communications which excludes commercial publications such as directories,
maps and guidebooks sold through bookstores. Brochures are distributed through tourist
information centres and retail travel outlets where they create awareness in lieu of physical
products, and stimulate demand among their existing and prospective customers. Retailers
are aware that brochures reduce the contact time they spend on answering questions. The
role of the front-cover design of brochures can be compared to the role of packaging of fast
moving consumer goods on a supermarket shelf. Brochures are used especially for relatively
expensive and infrequently bought tourism products since customers may seek information
and consider several options before making choices. Holidays are good examples of what is
described in marketing texts as shopping or specialty products in the purchase of which
buyers are willing to invest time and effort. Once visitors arrive at the attraction a wide range
of printed material may be provided to explain and promote what is available, and to assist
visitors to get the most value out of their purchase and enhance satisfaction. In-house printed
material creates a sense of welcome and provides education.

Middleton (1994: 190) warns against massive wastage of printed material and recommends
that operators endeavour to achieve improvements in the effectiveness of brochures. They
should strive to achieve the full benefit of enjoyment and facilitation of purchases, by for
example the inclusion of a booking form, designed to specify purchase details and to develop
a database of customer profile information. In general it will be impossible to distinguish
with any precision between effectiveness of expenditure on printed communications and
other elements of the marketing campaign. Alternative forms of communication such as
audio and video cassettes, film and computerised images have a complementary role to play,
but are not likely to replace brochures in the foreseeable future as they frequently embody all
aspects of the marketing mix. Brochures represent the product, state the price and other

details that form the basis of a contract, are a medium of promotion and form part of the
distribution process (Middleton, 1994: 198).

7.4.4   Distribution or place

The nature of the distribution systems and processes is one of the principal ways in which the
marketing of tourism services differs from the marketing of goods.               Creating and
manipulating access is a way to manage demand for highly perishable products. Producers
are willing to pay relatively large amounts for the advantage of extending their points of sale
away from the location of their business (Middleton, 1994: 200). For businesses with only
one ‘production unit’ such as proprietor owned restaurants, guest houses or small visitor
attractions, the choice of location is the most important business decision, as it must secure
adequate flow of customers to its area and past its door. The location is both place of
production and the primary point of sale, and the concept of distribution has little relevance
other than a telephone for reservations.

However, supplementary points of sale are required when customers need to travel a long
distance to reach the unit, or when the business grows in size and it is important to draw first
time visitors. It is also important when competition grows, when there is excess capacity in a
location, and when there is a need to reduce dependence on day-to-day sales by selling
capacity ahead of production. The greater the volatility of daily demand, the greater the
imperative to sell forward so as to reduce the risk and achieve high occupancy rates
(Middleton, 1994: 201-204).      In order to generate demand it is necessary to move the
purchase decision to places that prospective customers find more convenient. A balance
needs to be achieved between promotion and distribution to make the output available to
target populations. These places are collectively known as a distribution or access system. In
essence it is a non-personal system that excludes the activities of sales representatives who
negotiate contracts with corporate clients. The following channels are increasingly being
used as a consequence of market segmentation: special links with bodies such as societies,
trade associations, memberships of clubs for frequent customers, subscribers to magazines
and so forth.

Distribution outlets may offer a range of services. A full-service distribution system provides
display opportunities, product information, purchase advice and assistance, convenient
customer access and points of sale. Even though it is of no concern to them which particular

destination travellers visit, they may supplement the principle’s promotion. The full-service
system also arranges travel documentation, receives and transmits sales revenue to principals,
and provides ancillary services such as passport assistance and insurance. A distribution
system may also assist with customer complaints and provide marketing intelligence.

Some distribution systems provide limited services.       Tourist information centres, hotel
porter’s desks and reception areas of tourist attractions, petrol stations and roadside
restaurants in the area may be willing to display sales literature, provide customer advice and
marketing intelligence. They are of great value to many smaller operators with no access to
travel retailers (Middleton, 1994: 207).    It would appear as if 90 percent of the total
accommodation stock are considered small proprietors, defined as having less than 50 rooms,
and realistically not suited for retail distribution channels or Global Distribution Systems
(GDS) (World Tourism Business Council (WTOBC), 1999: 15).

When travel is bought today it is typically no more than information on a computer
reservation system (WTOBC, 1999: 3). Airlines, major hotel and car rental companies have
made major strides in inventory management since the mid-eighties through interactive
computer links. They make use of the top five international computer reservation systems
known as GDSs namely: Amadeus, Apollo, Galileo, Sabre and Worldspan, referred to in
paragraph 5.5.4. GDS systems have created customer convenience and improved operational
productivity through speed and access. They have reduced the number of staff required and
the unit cost of making individual bookings. These systems provide inter alia automatic
airline ticketing and invoicing and comprehensive access to car rental, ferry and
accommodation services (Cooper et al., 1998: 431). However, it has been found that even if
connected via a GDS, travel agents prefer to book or confirm hotel transactions over the
phone, doubling the cost of the reservation. The reason for this is that hotels are very
individualistic and the products they sell are not standard (WTOBC, 1999: 14).

Consumers take instant global communication and access to information for granted, and
over the next ten years the personal computer will become a normal facet of everyday living.
The Internet will be as simple to use as television (WTOBC, 1999: 23). Tourists are using
the World Wide Web as a primary source of information, for example since the launch of
Western Australian Tourism Commission Web site, in April 1999
until mid-June 1999, it had approximately 75 000 unique visitors (WTOBC, 1999: 91). In
1997 online hotel bookings accounted for nine percent of the overall Internet travel industry

revenue, and it is expected to grow to a quarter by 2002 (WTOBC, 1999: 52). However,
most hotel bookings are still made through hotel directories, via promotion in printed media,
pre-selling via tour operators, walk -in business and direct marketing (WTOBC, 1999: 14).

It may seem for many emerging destinations that there is as yet little local interest in the
Internet and interactive digital television, but these new technologies have been embraced in
the countries spearheading tourism expenditure (WTOBC, 1999: 146). The new truth for
destination marketing is that if one is not on-line one is not on-sale. Marketing managers
should, however, ensure that they have systems in place to handle electronic requests from
users in the same way that telephone and postal inquiries are processed, with the additional
requirement that e-mail users expect a fast response (Hanna & Millar, 1997: 470).    Direct response marketing

New technology opened routes to a more cost -effective generation of inquiries, to convert
awareness and interest into bookings, and secure repeat business. Computerised database
technology and the need t o know more about customer profiles and needs, as well as the need
to establish a competitive advantage has shifted the emphasis in marketing toward direct-
response strategies in order to achieve sales volume. Direct response marketing can obtain
customer loyalty through customer care and service, and by building a relationship centred on
the customer rather than the product. It involves direct communication between producer and
consumer and often includes direct mail, telephone selling and travel exhibitions, but is more
than direct selling (Middleton, 1994: 215-216).

7.5       Segmenting, targeting and positioning

It is not feasible for a marketer to appeal to an entire market or to develop an offering for
each buyer. Marketers therefore seek to group buyers who share similar needs as discussed
in paragraphs 4.4 and 4.5. One of the segmenting tools available to game lodge marketers is
the Living Standards Measure described in paragraph 6.6. Another tool available to South
African marketers is the Sociomonitor, which is based on the values and lifestyles of the
South African white and black urban population. The result is the division of the population
into value groups (Du Plessis & Rousseau, 1999: 252). Nel (1997: 329-343) differentiates
between domestic and nternational visitors to game resorts, and segments these markets
further into group sales to major national businesses, and group sales to the travel and tourism
trade for international business. Differences also exist between holiday consumers from

major areas/countries and the distinct lifestyle groups from 13 European countries as referred
to in paragraph 4.5.1.

The advantages of segmentation is that marketers can focus better on the needs and wants of
customers, and develop a more focused position for their products, as well as more effective
marketing instruments. However, they would only be effective if the size and buying power
of the potential segment warrants the investment in a target-marketing programme.
Segmentation is the basis for forecasting maximum achievable revenue flows. In other
words, it needs to be measurable, substantial and sustainable.      The secret to successful
segmentation is that the target market must be accessible through promotional activities.

Having recognised the different segments of wildlife tourists as described in chapter two, the
game lodge marketer has to decide how many and which segments to target, after assessing
the attractiveness of each. The process of analysing existing and prospective visitor groups
may also identify new uses or experiences which the resource base is capable of sustaining,
either as it is, or as it might be if enhanced (Middleton, 1994: 253). The game lodge can
choose to focus on the needs of just one segment, which is called niche or concentrated
marketing. Niche marketing is an effective competitive strategy for small organisations, and
may even be the only viable one (Morgan, 1996: 110). Small businesses lack the resources to
compete across the whole market and should offer a highly differentiated product. The
problem with niches is that they only exist if the demand is large enough to sustain a small
venture but not large enough to interest major companies.        Since the tourism market is
                                                  wner vulnerable should anything affect the
unpredictable and volatile, this leaves the lodge o
chosen segment. Large organisations can fill their capacity with a mix of different segments
at the same time.

Game lodges will satisfy the needs of wildlife tourists who are not homogeneous, but
generally demons trate the following demographic and psychographic characteristics.
Demographically they have higher than average incomes, stay longer and are willing to spend
more than general tourists. They generally hold bachelor degrees, are equally represented by
males and females and tend to travel as couples without children. The majority are from
relatively affluent Western nations and are either between 20-40 years of age or older than 55
(Wearing & Neil, 1999: 120; Fennel, 1999: 57-59). Qualitatively they can be profiled by the
following psychographic characteristics.    Wildlife tourists are bio/ecocentric rather than
anthropocentric in orientation; they value nature as the fabric of all life. They believe in

humanity’s harmony with nature and that humans are b one species among millions and
have no intrinsic right to dominion over all other life forms. They strive for first-hand
experience with the natural environment, will not degrade the resource base and expect
education and appreciation.      In fact they are expecting discovery and enlightenment,
demanding information and instruction on the destinations they visit. They want to see as
much as possible, are daring and adventuresome. Their motivation is intrinsic rater than
extrinsic, and they have high cognitive and affective dimensions. The majority expects
personal growth in emotional, spiritual, as well as intellectual terms. They tend to be outdoor
enthusiasts, enjoy physical activity, like experiencing new and simpler lifestyles and meeting
people wit h similar interests. Wildlife tourists are frequent and experienced travellers. Small
groups and personalised services are preferred.       They are generally more accepting of
conditions different from home than other types of tourists, but regard gambling, amusement
parks, nightlife, big cities, watching sport, indoor sport, doing nothing, shopping and resort
areas as the least enjoyable activities and attractions to visit while on holiday. Their style of
travel is more than a leisure activity, but reflects and promotes a particular orientation and
lifestyle (Wearing & Neil, 1999: 12, 121; Fennel, 1999: 56-64).

Once the market segment has been decided on and targeted, the product offering needs to be
positioned in the eyes of the consumer. Segmenting, targe ting and positioning are a series of
steps that are interrelated. The positioning may be based on the features or benefits of the
offering, the user category, or against existing competitors and so forth (George, 2001: 124).
If an organisation wants to establish a clear image in the minds of its customers, it first needs
a clear image in its own mind of what it wants to portray. The whole marketing mix then has
to be devised to communicate this distinctive strategic position in the marketplace. This
includes a product formulation and augmentation to provide and enhance customer
satisfaction with the best quality of experience that the resource base affords (as discussed in
chapter 5). One underlying theme or idea has to be identified from the product formulation to
encapsulate the resource base and the experiences it sustains. However, it will only succeed
if the image is based on a competitive advantage that will benefit the target market and makes
the game lodge stand out from competitors. The purpose of creating an image, or branding,
is to differentiate products (Zyman, 1999: 31, 79). The game lodge’s positioning decision
will also determine who its competitors will be, since product formulation is directly related
to price (Middleton, 1994: 235). The theme must form the basis for positioning the attraction
and the benefits it offers in all marketing communications aimed at prospective visitors.

The individual game lodge must subsequently search for effective promotional and
distribution linkages with complementary tourism products in the same area, such as other
wildlife attractions or different types of attractions. The objective is to provide extra interest
and motivation to visit the area. In this way the game lodge augments the destination area
place product similar to coach tour operators offering transport, accommodation and
attractions at an all inclusive price, to form a sort of distribution channel for a destination
(Middleton, 1994: 254). Destination images are powerful motivators in tourism and may be
formed through the media and hearsay but will eventually be based on experience or facts.

7.5.1   Product differentiation

Producers are not just concerned with satisfying customers needs, but are doing so in ways
which are recognised as unique or strongly reflect the identity of a particular organisation, and
cannot easily be copied by another producer. It is worthwhile to establish a difference that is
portrayed as important and highly valued to benefit target buyers. It must be superior to othe r
ways that consumers could obtain the same benefit, communicable and visible to customers,
and they must be willing to pay for it.         Most accommodation establishments provide
comparable tangible offerings which are made different by less tangible elements such as a
view from the window, the hospitality of the employees or the owners, and the overall
experience (George, 2001: 65). Product differentiation is particularly appropriate for the
small business as it represents a low risk strategy (Seaton & Bennet , 1996: 409).

7.5.2   Competition and competitive advantage

As a general rule, all places and tourist businesses seek to be competitive in terms of costs, in
minimising risks, and maximising conveniences and amenities (Kotler et al., 1993: 212). A
useful framework for the assessment of competition and to identify a competitive advantage
for positioning purposes, is called a Swot-analysis, which stands for strengths, weaknesses
opportunities and threats (Middleton, 1994: 143). Strengths are identifiable characteristics
that the game lodge and wildlife tourism has more of, or does better than its competitors or
other forms of tourism. Competitive advantage generally lies in doing a thousand things,
each one a tiny bit better. Location, a distinctive or exotic natural environment, architectural
style, customer service, a well-recognised brand name or a favourable consumer image, brand
loyalty and cost advantages may also be a source for a competitive advantage and become
strengths. Some competitive advantages may be quickly ruled out because they are too slight,
too inconsistent with the company’s profile or too costly to develop (Kotler et al., 1996: 261-

264). Strengths are often matters of perception rather than fact, and marketing research may
be necessary for identification. Once identified as a competitive advantage, strengths become
a basis for product differentiation and competitive positioning, and can be promoted to
potential visitors. Internal weaknesses must also be identified so that management can ta ke
steps to remove them or minimise their impact. Opportunities and threats may arise from
shifts in the external environment and calls for a reappraisal, so that the opportunities can be
exploited and the threats eradicated.

7.6    Product life cycle and destination evolution

Products go through a life cycle of five distinct stages, namely: product development,
introduction, growth, maturity and decline (Kotler et al., 1996: 301).       The life cycle is
applicable to sales behaviour of product categories, and is S-shaped. At the introduction
stage, sales grow slowly because of the need to create awareness of product benefits and
overcome buyer inertia. Most purchases are on a trial basis and marketers try to obtain
publicity. Often financial loss is sustained because of product development and marketing
costs. At the growth stage customer recognition and acceptance leads to broadening of the
market with rapid growth of sales and some repeat purchases.            The success inspires
competitors and alternatives are introduc ed. Products then need to be differentiated. Once
penetration of the potential market has reached saturation point, growth subsides, and profits
stabilise or level off. By this stage distribution channels are filled. Eventually consumers
lose interest in the product and new ones emerge or tastes change. Product life cycles vary
dramatically in their life span. Understanding the concept and stages is helpful in determining
the appropriate marketing strategies to extend the life of a particular product or brand within
the category (Cooper, 1994b: 341). Some of the main reasons for failure of small businesses
relate to lack of knowledge of the product life cycle. For example, underestimating the start-
up time, or over-trading because of early growth and over-optimism about the market size
(Hudson & Webster, 1994: 407).

Destinations go through a life cycle evolution similar to the life cycle of a product. The
development of tourism is closely linked to the evolution of destinations and in particular of
resorts (Agarwal, 1997: 66). The cycle starts off with discovery or exploration where a few
adventurous tourists visit sites. Tourist volumes are constrained by lack of access and
infrastructure. It moves on to the involvement stage when local communities have decided to
encourage tourism and begin to provide for visitors and advertise the destination. A definite

market begins to emerge and sufficient income justifies improvements and the provision of
infrastructure (George, 2001: 296). The Northern Province may be at this stage. During the
development stage large numbers of visitors are attracted, at peak periods perhaps equalling
or exceeding the number of local inhabitants. Companies from outside the area move in to
provide products and facilities and visitors become more dependent upon travel arrangements
booked through the trade. The changing nature of tourism can change the nature of the resort,
and regional or national planning may become necessary, in part to ameliorate problems, but
also to market to international tourist-generating areas. The competitive advantage of the
destination will in future not be based simply upon the intrinsic attractions, but as much on
the management of the destination. The Kruger National Park and game lodges in the vicinity
may be at this stage.       The following stages are consolidation (when some of the older
deteriorating facilities are perceived as second-rate), stagnation, decline and rejuvenation
(Cooper et al., 1998: 115-116).

7.6.1   Limits to growth

Growth in the current consumption of the Earth’s scarce resources cannot be continued
without risk to the environment. It is hoped that wildlife tourists do not consume, pollute,
exhaust or destroy the countryside, or contaminate the values of the local, indigenous people.
There are also limits to growth imposed by market maturity, which will lead to fiercer
competition between large suppliers seeking to grow and gain market share. If they cannot
grow within their own markets, they are likely to look for growth through acquisition,
mergers and strategic alliances.      The larger and more efficient operators become, the
narrower the margins and revenue yield on which they operate. Inadequate knowledge of
tourism markets also imposes limits on growth.         According to M iddleton (1994: 360)
forecasters are not always impartial in that they have vested interests in growth. They have to
project growth to satisfy their own stakeholders, and to influence governments to provide the
necessary infrastructure.

7.7     Planning strategy and tactics

At any given time the owner of a game lodge is faced with a wide range of choices and will
have to make decisions with unclear implications. The most important decisions that must be
taken concern the objectives of the business as they determine all other operational decisions.
Objectives are set at two levels. The first level is strategic, covering the whole business over
the long term (three years or more), and the second level is operational or tactical, covering

specific markets and products in the short term. A strategy lays out a target, sets some
guidelines, provides a framework for thinking and has to be at the heart of everything that is
being done (Zyman, 1999: 32). The more volatile a market is in terms of annual fluctuations
in customer demand, the more important it is to work within a framework of agreed
objectives. The basic criteria for objectives are that they should be specific, measurable,
achievable, realistic and set against time limits. While hierarchies of objectives m not
appear relevant to small proprietor-run businesses where senior staff often carry
responsibility for several functions, they need to follow the thought process and principles to
prevent the business from declining and foundering. If they do not follow a formal and
systematic approach the planning becomes inward looking and narrow in focus.               Often
outsiders such as consultants can shed new light on issues and inject enthusiasm (Brownlie,
1994: 169).

7.7.1   Strategic marketing tasks

Marketing strategy reflects corporate mission statements and is influenced by the external
business environment. For marketing purposes, strategic planning is defined as the process
whereby an organisation analyses its strengths and weaknesses in its current and prospective
marke ts, decides the position it seeks to attain, and defines strategies and programmes of
activity to achieve its aims.     Each of these contains an element of risk and requires
expenditure. In tourism planning not only economic and managerial factors that can be
expressed in monetary terms play a role, but also environmental, social and political benefits
requiring subjective judgement. Schafer (1994: 155-158) suggests that the benefits of these
subjective factors be scored by using a paired comparison, and that the cost of each benefit
subsequently be estimated to determine the priority ranking of planning objectives.
Strategies are ultimately conditioned by the organisation’s ability to persuade a sufficient
number of customers to buy enough of its products against aggressive competition in order to
secure surplus revenue over costs in the long run. They generally include the following:

•   Goals and objectives. The organisation’s place in its chosen markets, usually defined in
    broad terms of target segments, sales volume, product range, market shares and
    profitability (see paragraph 5.10 for examples of marketing objectives for a game lodge).
•   Images and positioning. Where the organisation seeks to be in terms of customer and
    retailers/distributor’s perceptions of its products and its corporate image.
•   Strategies and programmes.         Broadly what actions, including product or market
    development, may be required to achieve the objectives.

•   Budget. What recourses are needed to achieve its goals.
•   Review and evaluation. Systematic appraisal of achievement of goals in the context of
    competitors’ actions and the external environment.

Although planning cannot guarantee success, it can make the organisation less vulnerable to
market forces and unpredictable events.

7.7.2   Factors in the marketing environment

The long-term survival of any organisation is dependent on how well the business relates to
its environment and explores the future versus the past (Zyman, 1999: 53). Four levels of the
marketing environment affect the organisation. At the first level, marketing has to integrate
with other organisational functions and must communicate the needs of the market and
interest groups to the organisation. At the next level marketing must identify domestic and
international consumers, or intermediary markets for products/services. Market demand and
customer behaviour span two dimensions, namely: determinants and motivations of demand,
normally based on careful analysis of the external environment and marketing research
(Middleton, 1994: 36). Determinants are the economic, social, and political factors at work
in any society that set limits to the volume of a population’s demand for travel, whatever the
motivations might be.    Motivations are the internal factors at work within individuals.
Economic variables are the most important set of factors influencing the total volume of
demand generated. The relation between any population’s income and expenditure on travel
and tourism is known as the income elasticity of demand. There is generally a greater than
one percent increase in total expenditure on holidays and leisure trips in response to a one
percent increase in disposable income. The holiday market is thus relatively income elastic
(Middleton, 1994: 38). Demographic factors’ influence on travel and tourism activity is
slower than income.     The main characteristics of a population that determines tourism
demand are household size and composition, age structure and higher education.             In
developed economies smaller households with fewer young children, a greater number of
married woman in employment and more people over 55 years of age, have increased the
propensity to travel (Middleton, 1994: 39). Socio -cultural factors include beliefs people are
brought up with, for example that a sunshine holiday or ownership of timeshare
accommodation are important attributes of a satisfactory lifestyle. Government regulations
may influence supply and demand, for example provision of infrastructure, environmental
protection, regulation of competition and so on. Crime and health risks may overshadow the
appeal of an attraction (Horner & Swarbrooke, 1996: 115).         Buyer behaviour has been

discussed in chapter four.            The third level of the environment affecting marketing are
stakeholder groups. Interest groups may have conflicting values affecting the context of
decision making. Lastly there is the wider external environment, namely the interrelationship
between social, technological, economic and political forces (Cooper et al., 1998: 377).

7.7.3   Tactical marketing tasks and the marketing plan

The marketing plan is normally a short-term plan and is more detailed than the strategic plan
that concerns itself more with external environmental influences (Cooper et al., 1998: 378).
Marketing planning is the organised process of studying the market, identifying and
measuring its trends, and developing major marketing objectives and supporting programmes.
The construction of the marketing plan is characterised by a range of headings developed by


                                              Corporate mission

                                                                                  1. What is it we want?

                                               Corporate goals

                         Competitors                                Marketing research        2. Where are
                                                                                                 we now?
                                                Market picture
                Internal/external                                   Market characteristics
             environment assesment
                                                 Analysis of

                   Market penetration                               Market development

                                                                                             3. Where do we
              New product development                                 Diversification          want to go?

                            Promotion             Strategies          Product
                                                                                             4. How do we
                                                                                                get there?
                              Price                                    Place

                                               Evaluate impact
                  If necessary,               Capacity capability
                  review plans                 Time constraints

                                                                                             5. Where did
                                                                                               we get?
Source: Cooper et al., 1998:381                and control

various theorists and can be divided into five stages as illustrated in figure 7.3. It is not
merely a series of procedural steps with a linear progression, but embrace a series of
underlying values and assumptions (Middleton, 1994: 140). As many staff contributions as
possible should be invited in the process, since it secures willing and enthusiastic
participation in implementation. The marketing plan is a dynamic document that needs
continuous revision as relevant environmental and internal factors change, and should be
used as a platform from which a management style emerges (Zallocco, 1994: 416).

Tourism operators who wish to grow their businesses can choose between four basic strategic
objectives, namely: market penetration (selling more of existing products in existing
markets), entering new markets or geographical areas, develop new product offerings for the
existing market, or diversification (selling new offerings in new markets).         The main
consideration when entering a new market is whether there is willingness or a need on the
part of the customers to buy the product. It all boils down to whether one can generate
income and how much by when (Zyman, 1999: 136).

Tactics are marginal alterations to marketing decisions, taken in response to market
circumstances and competitors’ actions, through techniques such as sales promotion,
advertising and so on to gain market share or sales volume. Most marketing decisions in
travel and tourism are made in the tactical context of the short run, and it is possible that
organisations can lose sight of their goals in the time-consuming and urgent tactical decisions
called for in the day-to-day management of demand (Middleton, 1994, 21). The main focus
will be to mould demand around the fixed supply, especially to secure the vital additional
admissions that represent pure revenue gain once the high fixed costs of the operation have
been covered. The most productive promotional tools will normally be forms of targeted
advertising aimed at creating and maintaining awareness and interest in the site, especially
amongst prospective first time visitors, supported by public relations, exploiting whatever
public interest may lie at the resource base.

On the distribution side the prime task in motivating prospective visitors is ensuring that
leaflets are continually available in the identified catchment area, at tourist information
centres and through any other links that may be formed with other attractions. There is little
evidence that last minute price discounting is a relevant tactic for attracting new visitors to
attractions, although this is a common practice for transport and accommodation sectors.
This is partly due to the difficulty of communicating temporary price changes, and because of

the relatively low level of repeat visits. Of all tourism products, the motivation to visit an
attraction is one of the least likely to be based on a price discount (Middleton, 1994: 245).

7.8     Marketing tourism destinations, attractions and game lodges

A game lodge is inextricably linked to its location and forms part of the mental picture
tourists have of the country or area where it is located. However, it may also be considered a
destination or attraction in itself, for a destination is a place, including a physical or perceived
location, consisting of primary and secondary attractions and supporting amenities that entice
people to visit (George, 2001: 290).

7.8.1   Marketing a country such as South Africa as a tourism destination

The brand ‘South Africa’ is but one amongst many holiday destination options. There are
about 500 competitive choices open to the typical long-haul traveller who needs to know in
what category South Africa competes, for example is it an eco or cultural tourism destination,
before he/she can draw comparisons (Wright D, 2001: 29). National Tourism Organisations
(NTOs) such as South African Tourism are responsible for marketing countries a tourist
destinations, mostly on international markets, although some promote domestic tourism
(Jordaan, 2000: 49-54). NTOs are neither operators nor producers and do not sell products
directly to visitors. They have no control over the composite product, the quality of services
delivered or the pricing thereof. Regional and local tourism offices fulfil the same role, but
on a different geographical level (Heath & Wall, 1992: 65).

Kotler et al. (1993: 227) provide a checklist to ascertain how visitor friendly a destination or
place is to the tourism industry. However, destination promotions are not only targeted to
tourists, but to a broader audience including residents, factories, corporate headquarters,
entrepreneurs, investors and foreign purchasers (Kotler et al., 1993: 143-146). Hopefully this
will not lead to inconsistent or unstable images as the world is shrinking, and businesses and
tastes are becoming more international. An NTO has two functions to perform, namely to
choose the single -minded communication position for the country that will differentiate it
from all others, and secondly to provide marketing support for the tourism industry. Support
may be in the form of providing research data and education, organising workshops and trade
shows, arrange familiarisation trips, produce travel trade manuals, participate in joint
marketing ventures, support new products, provide consumer assistance and protection, and
general advisory services (Middleton, 1994: 234-242). Tourism South Africa must create a

national brand image with which to sell South Africa to the world, but has neglected to do so
for several decades (Dicey, 2001: 16). The brand names The Cape and Kruger Park mean a
lot more than South Africa does (Moerdyk, 2001: 6). South Africa cannot be all things to all
people like ‘a world in one destination’ as it has been advertised. The challenge to establish a
clear position for a country as diverse as South Africa is formidable, as it suffers from a lack
of perceived differentiation from many neighbouring countries. However, its brand position
is not so powerful that it owns the brand category, Africa. Africa therefore influences South
Africa’s image and it is seen to show solidarity with the ‘Begging Bowl Nations of Africa’,
and is associated with backsliding neighbours who continue to crook elections and arrest
opposition leaders (Moerdyk, 2001: 6). Africa is also associated with random misfortune and
danger, and tourists think it is to be avoided (Cater, 1998: 355).        South Africa should
endeavour to follow the example of the Seychelles which has been successful in identifying a
position to differentiate itself as an exclusive paradise, against the overcrowded similar sun-
sea Indian Ocean, Caribbean islands with the slogan ‘Seychelles : as pure as it gets’ (D
Wright, 2001: 31).

Governments finance NTOs and there is usually a requirement that marketing objectives
serve government policy, normally in accordance with national economic policy. South
Africa wishes to build a tourist nation and launched the Welcome campaign in December
1999 to jumpstart the process of developing a culture of tourism, whereby it acknowledges
tourism as a driver of the economy (Bannister, 2001b: 13). It also targeted an estimated
400 000 influential expatriate South Africans living in the United Kingdom with the ‘Circle
of Sunshine’ campaign, to form a network of ambassadors who will encourage friends and
colleagues to visit South Africa (Moerdyk, 2001: 7).

There has been growth in public-private sector partnerships in tourism marketing, but the
input of NTOs will be outweighed by the marketing input of commercial interests, and it will
always be marginal in terms of the range of products it influences (Seaton & Bennett, 1996:
368). With respect to the function of marketing support, Middleton (1994: 237) expressed
the opinion that NTOs are notorious for the paucity of their research information base. They
spend millions on advertising campaigns, while expenditure on basic marketing research into
visitor inte rests, behaviour and attitudes necessary to achieve the most effective use of their
money is usually very limited. South Africa is no different. Bannister (2001a: 8) drew
attention to the lack of quality information on tourism, and mentioned that SA Tourism is to

spend plus minus R150 million on international marketing in the 2000/2001 financial year. It
is investing R250 million in the second phase of its international marketing campaign over
the next 18 months (Moerdyk, 2001: 7).

7.8.2   Marketing visitor attractions such as game lodges

Attractions and events entice visitors to a destination (George, 2001: 291). A game lodge is a
managed visitor attraction similar to other wildlife attractions such as zoos, aquaria and
aviaries. However, they may not be primary, but complementary, attractions. It is seldom
the case that a single small business establishment can directly influence the attractiveness of
an area or region, but it can raise the awareness of the area or region and its attractions
(Nyberg, 1994: 28). Visitor attractions are almost exclusively concerned with leisure travel
segments and motivations, and lie at the core of the total tourism product, because it is the
visitor experience that the resource provides (Middleton, 1994: 249). This may range from
simple aesthetic pleasure through to fantasy, thrills and excitement, and from awareness to
serious learning. The experience is a matter of product formulation, which can be influenced
by management decisions. Management influences the quality of the advertising material,
the effectiveness of signage and guides, interpretations, physical appearance of the site,
handling of visitors, efficiency of arrangements, information provided and so on. Product
formulation and augmentation to provide and enhance customer satisfaction are directly
related to price. What a particular experience provides to target segments can usually be
established only through consumer research.

All visitor attractions draw their customers from the same basic range of segments and it is
the motivating power of the attraction, the resource base or the location that is likely to
explain any differences between segments. The following segments will normally apply:
local residents, regional residents from a distance of up to two hours’ driving, foreign
visitors, visitors staying with friends and relatives or on holiday, and group visits. Middleton
(1994: 250) is of the opinion that an attraction should draw on as many segments as possible
because the product visitors enjoy is the essence, and the different segments would only
influence the promotion and distribution, but not the product formulation. Finding new, first-
time visitors is a primary concern since visitors are not likely to make more than one visit to
the attraction within a 12-month period. Sheldon (1994: 402) believes that small operators
are most successful if they are able to carve out special niches for themselves by providing
special interest tours to a well-researched and understood market segment.

Incentive trave l is an emerging segment and its objectives are congruent with the
exclusiveness of game lodge experiences. It recognises and rewards superior performance of
personnel, dealers or distributors, facilitates communications and networking opportunities,
generates enthusiasm for the following business period and fosters loyalty to a company.
Destinations that possess essential incentive-product characteristics and convey a particularly
motivating image, or offer unique creative events, are generally selected since they would
make participants feel that they have won something unique and valuable. Personal selling is
important because of the infrequent purchase and significant social status of incentive travel.
Creative, tasteful and motivating promotional material in the form of print material or videos
also plays a valuable supporting role (Witt & Gammon, 1994: 22).

Most managed visitor attractions, like game ranches/lodges which are normally enclosed or
controlled to prevent public access, are relatively small and based on single locations. It is
increasingly important to employ marketing techniques to develop and sustain their success.
This is because they are product, rather than marketing orientated. Most have very little
marketing knowledge and marketing budgets so small as to limit what they can achieve to
improve their revenue performance. The majority of small visitor attractions have never
undertaken any form of marketing research (Middleton, 1994: 247-248). The establishment
of marketing consortia is strongly recommended if small visitor attractions want to respond
effectively to the forces of change and competition facing them (Horner & Swarbrooke,
1996: 285). Single-site attractions are normally less affected by changes in the external
environment, but should take cognizance of competitor’s actions, growing consumer
sophistication, application of new technology and the effect of other destination
organisations’ decisions.    Similar attractions should find promotional and distribution
linkages to improve their effectiveness, but need to know which market they, or their area,
seek to target for tourism. They may also seek linkages with other tour operators in order to
be included into packages. Staging special events creates interest, achieves media space and
may attract first-time visitors.   Attractions often advertise in the local press, as it is a
comparatively cheap means of advertising. Allocating around ten percent of revenue for
marketing purposes is a realistic guideline for most visitor attractions, but the objective and
task approaches to budgeting are particularly appropriate (Middleton, 1994: 254-255).

7.8.3   Marketing accommodation with special reference to game lodges

While a destination’s attractions are likely to remain the dominant motiv ation for most
visitors, their perceptions and expectations of the accommodation available also influence
their choices. In the case of a game lodge, the image of the accommodation may be an
extension of the experience worthy of recommendation and extende d stay, or return visit.
The image may be strong enough to make it a primary rather than a secondary aspect of the
destination choice (Wight, 1997: 214). The lodge experience is effected by physical elements
such as food and drink, sensual benefits experienced through touch, smell, sound, sight, and
psychological benefits experienced as mental states of well-being, comfort and satisfaction,
or conveyed as status. The benefits of the accommodation may provide a halo effect for the
attractiveness of the ga me ranch (Middleton, 1994: 277). The accommodation at a game
ranch is normally divided into three groups, namely the main buildings, the tourist
huts/chalets and the service buildings. The main buildings provide parking for game-drive
vehicles, administrative offices, a safe and shop, a lounge, dining room and buffet, kitchen, a
lapa/boma and porch, bar and snooker room, conference facilities, toilet facilities for tourists
and staff, storerooms and a service yard.      Staff facilities differ for married and single
employees, permanent and relief staff, and part-time employees or day-workers (Conroy,
2001a: 25, 27).

Ecotourists seem to be interested in a broad range of smaller, more intimate, resource-
situated, rustic and adventure-type accommodation (Wight, 1997: 210). They prefer middle
range levels of luxury. The desire for deluxe accommodation has decreased somewhat in the
last few years, as it is the activity that determines the experience, and accommodation is seen
as an enabler to experience the place. Lavish accommodation reflects a consumptive rather
than a conservation oriented lifestyle and may be inappropriate when located within the
resource. European customers want comfortable accommodation with character, not just
another bed in the wildernes s (Wight, 1997: 211-214).

Where competitors offer similar products to the same group of customers at comparable
prices, operators need to differentiate and brand their products with particular identities that
can be communicated as positions in the minds of prospective customers with respect to a
combination of characteristics.      Accommodation suppliers should also find ways to
encourage and reward regular customers as they represent an important strategic marketing
asset. Loyal supporters provide a cost-effective route through which it is possible to reach

not only them, but also their friends and others like them, using carefully designed and
targeted direct-response promotions.

Location largely determines profitability and the customer mix the business can achieve, and
therefore the direction of marketing strategy and tactics. Most of the marketing tasks for an
accommodation establishment are strategic. Strategic decisions are expected to generate a
profitable mix of bookings and room occupancy through t e production and distribution of
appropriately priced, distinctive products, which match the needs of identified customer
segments. In the case of a game lodge these segments are the different categories of leisure
and business visitors, reflecting what the marketer seeks to achieve, and representing his/her
judgement of marketing potential or what would minimise the effects of seasonality. It
usually requires some form of marketing research, or at least an analysis of guest-registration
records to estimate the volume or revenue potential of current and prospective customers.
The main focus needs to be room-night sales as it influences sales of food and beverages, and
effective sales promotion once the visitors are on the premises. It would appear as if larger
accommodation establishments do better in terms of room occupancy than smaller
establishments and those larger ones have become more competitive (Ball & Johnson, 1994:

Most accommodation establishments are small, both in terms of the number of people
employed and the number of rooms (Ball & Johnson, 1994: 210). Small tourist businesses
are frequently reliant on other public and private bodies to distribute their advertising, via an
area brochure, accommodation list, information office, or tourist information centre (Prentice,
1994: 329). Individual resorts can achieve advantages through integrating marketing across
several establishments and this may be the key to their survival (Go & Hedges, 1994: 186).
Co-operative marketing may include product and price elements of similar products to
harmonise quality assurance schemes, designed to build customer satisfaction. It may also
cover joint advertising of different products with a common target market, access to group
brochures and representation at trade shows. Distribution co-operation by way of referrals
between units or a central reservation system are also possibilities deserving investigation.
Obviously marketing integration is easily secured through ownership, but the advantages of
voluntary co-ordination are spreading (Middleton, 1994: 283).         Strategic alliances build
networks of partners for efficiency and domestic impact, and provide springboards for
building products targeted for global distribution. It enables the network members to spread

fixed cost and unsurpassed benefits from differentiated learning and experience across the

Tactically the main contribution of marketing is to secure additional marginal sales from
targeted buyers at times when occupancy is likely to be less than optimal, or to cope with
sudden unpredictable losses of business as a result of economic or political events. Nearly all
forms of accommodation are vulnerable to highly variable demand patterns. Occupancies
normally vary between 55 and 65 percent and in extremes they may drop to 40 percent
(Middleton, 1994: 283). The high fixed costs and low variable costs of operating give
extensive scope for providing short-term sales promotion incentives to buyers or commission
incentives to the retail distribution system. Tactical techniques are sales-oriented and their
use depends on the detailed knowledge marketing managers have of the profile, needs, and
probable behaviour of target segments in responding to promotional incentives. According to
Middleton (1994: 284-286) conventional wisdom has it that commercial accommodation
establishments spend between two and six percent of total revenue on marketing activities,
but Middleton calculated the real average proportion of sales revenue devoted to marketing
by most successful accommodation businesses at more than 20 percent.

7.9     Conclusion

This chapter provided an overview of the basic concepts and methods within the tourism
marketing process. At the centre of marketing orientation lie questions about consumer
demand and the measures that are necessary to identify, influence, satisfy and manage it
profitably. A framework, or sequence of strategic decision areas and planning functions, was
given within which individual elements of marketing can be used for manager ial action in the
form of developing, pricing, promoting and distributing tourism products or services. While
a destination, attraction and accommodation product share some similarities, differences in
market characteristics and consumer profiles were taken into consideration in suggesting
marketing approaches for each. It was suggested that small, single-site operations target
niche markets, focus on personalised attention and package their attractions together to
achieve greater visibility.

  ACCOMMODATION AS APPLICABLE TO GAME LODGES.............................169
7.1       Introduction...............................................................................................................169
7.2       The role of marketing................................................................................................170
7.3       Marketing of services................................................................................................171
7.4       The expanded marketing mix for services ................................................................172
 7.4.1          Product...............................................................................................................173      People ..............................................................................................................174      Physical evidence............................................................................................175      Processes .........................................................................................................175
 7.4.2          Pricing ................................................................................................................176
 7.4.3          Promotion...........................................................................................................177      Advertising ......................................................................................................178      Public relations................................................................................................179      Personal selling and sales promotion ..............................................................179      Brochures and other printed sales literature....................................................180
 7.4.4          Distribution or place...........................................................................................181      Direct response marketing ..............................................................................183
7.5       Segmenting, targeting and positioning .....................................................................183
 7.5.1          Product differentiation........................................................................................186
 7.5.2          Competition and competitive advantage ............................................................186
7.6       Product life cycle and destination evolution .............................................................187
      7.6.1        Limits to growth..............................................................................................188
7.7       Planning strategy and tactics.....................................................................................188
 7.7.1          Strategic marketing tasks ...................................................................................189
 7.7.2          Factors in the marketing environment................................................................190
 7.7.3          Tactical marketing tasks and the marketing plan...............................................191
7.8       Marketing tourism destinations, attractions and game lodges ..................................193
 7.8.1          Marketing a country such as South Africa as a tourism destination ..................193
 7.8.2          Marketing visitor attractions such as game lodges.............................................195
 7.8.3          Marketing accommodation with special reference to game lodges ...................197
7.9       Conclusion ................................................................................................................199

MARKETING         166