In the new economy, services related industry is becoming more important as the economy transform itself from the industrial era to the information era. Consistent with such a trend, coupled with the rise of globalization, people are increasingly used to the idea to travel abroad to expose themselves to the cultural differences and lifestyle differences between people around the globe. Such a trend can be seen from the rise of tourism activities in the past decades. It can be witnessed that the rising living of standards as well as the popularity of the low cost no frills airline services are encouraging more people to travel to other places for leisure or exposure purposes (Park, 2007). One of the famous tourism destinations in the new century is Macao (Wan, 2011). This report will present a marketing campaign to promote Macao to the many potential travelers around the globe.
In this report, many viable strategies and techniques to raise the profile of Macao amongst the main target markets will be presented. The strategies formulated will be focus on communication mix, particularly on the promotional activities or strategies to be implemented. All of these strategies are specially formulated to entice the customers to visit Macau more frequently, as well as to enlarge the product ranges and packages of visiting to Macau. The article is arranged as follow. Firstly, the main products features of Macao as the tourism destination will be discussed. Then, the key target markets for Macao will also be illustrated. Then, marketing initiatives for each of the target group, which will be discussed under the Marketing 4Ps frameworks, will be presented. Recommendations will also be presented in the last section to summarize how the marketing campaign should be generally arranged to make Macao a more attractive place to visit as well as to ensure the success of the marketing campaigns.
In this section, the many main product features of Macao will be described. Macao is one of the famous historic centers in China. It is also one of the popular tourist destinations today. A few of the historical monuments at the Historic Center of Macao is popularly recognized as the tourism destination. It is a place with rich cultural heritage. According to Io (2011), the Historic Center of Macao is consisted of a total of twenty historical monuments and eight squares. Two of the mostly popular and widely promoted historical sites are the Ruins of St. Paul’s and A-ma Temple. The two sites are often overcrowded, while the other historical sites are underused due to traffic flow, a lack of parking spaces as well as harder to access from geographical perspectives. The other historical or cultural heritage include: Virginia Historic Triangle, Company of Jesus Square, Leal Senado Square, Barra Square, Camoes Squares, Cathedral Squares, St. Dominic’s Square, St. Augustine’s Square, Lilau Squares, Moorish Barracks, the Cult of Our Lady of Fatima as well as other historical sites not known to the mass public. Besides, Macao is also very famous as the gaming industry (Io, 2001). The prosperity of the gambling industry has been attracting many visitors to the place from both the east and the west (Io, 2001). Consistent with the gambling industry, the other attractions include modern hotels, shopping centers, restaurants, exhibition rooms, exhibitions, Macao traditional events, as well as other modern entertainment related events organized by those gambling corporations.
From the description above, it can be seen that there are a few tourism products can be derived from the existing two key tourism attractions in Macao. There are opportunities to further develop the product portfolio of cultural heritage and other entertainments to include other attractions, such as ethno-tourism or sport tourism (Bakic et. al., 2010) in Macao. For example, as some of the places have no parking places, it is possible to bring the tourists to these underutilized tourism sites via bicycle. By allowing and leading the tourists to cycle between small cities or town in Macao, will enable them to see the often under-utilized historical sites, while bringing new experiences to them. They can relax and yet exercise at the same time; something that will definitely appeal to modern people with busy lifestyle. This will also solve the parking space issues. Not only is that, the travelers can also experience the local lifestyles in greater depth. To certain people, such travelling methods can be more enjoyable and adventurous.
For another example, it is also possible to organize seminars as well as other events in Macao, as the popularity of the place makes it s great place to hold world events. Conferences or even the team building events of the big corporations can also be organized in Macao. Combining the historical sites, casinos, and the many entertainments, coupled with the modern facilities in the areas, it is an ideal place for corporations to hold their team building events. Overall, there are many opportunities to develop more products in Macao. Some other options may require more investment. For example, to build water sports cities in the center, to build big theme park to cater for the children, as well as to start new ethno tourism or environmental tourism in Macao are also viable choices.
From the wide array of product portfolio, it can be logically separate that the many visitors or tourist to Macao into several categories. Some of the categories include: the gamblers, the visitors to experience or learn about the cultural and art heritage in Macao, the modern visitors to the hotels and shopping center (whereby they may just want to visit few cultural heritage sites and the casinos for fun purposes), or other tourists visiting to Macao to participate in certain events. All of the different target market or the different categories of tourists have different series, expectations and characteristics. They want different experiences of to fulfill different needs in their visits to Macao. The following paragraphs will discuss more about the different characteristics of the target market.
First Target Market: Gamblers. Firstly, it is about the gamblers. The gamblers want to enjoy the excitement from the gambling process in the casinos. They may be well driven by greed or to try out their luck in the casinos. To visit to cultural heritage sites are not something relevant for them. Such a group of tourist will be well taken care of by the casinos.
Second Target Market: Cultural Tourists. The second group of tourists can be more driven by their desires to explore the cultural heritage or lifestyle differences of people in Macao. The tourists may have different cultural background, from other region of the world. They may wish to understand the culture of people in Macao, and to visit to historical sites.
Third Target Market: Modern Travelers. The third group of people can be considered as the more modern type of travelers. They simply want to visit to new places around the world, and yet they enjoy having the nice and modern facilities and convenience served by the hotels as well as travelers oriented corporations in Macao. They may not willing to walk long hours under hot sun to experience the differences of culture and art in Macao, but prefer to stay in air conditioned room for shopping purposes. Lastly, there are also travelers to attend certain festival or events in Macao. Such group of travelers may not stay long period in Macao, but instead will take short time period to walk around the historical sites, shopping center or the casinos purely for entertainment purposes.
By having more understanding on the target market, more tourism products can be formulated, to cater for the needs of the different categories of tourists (Daneshkhu, 1997) to Macao. For example, the specific attractions of Macao can be highlighted to the different categories of tourists. Then, the different marketing communication messages, promotional activities as well as the respective marketing channels to reach the prospects or the end users can be formulated to entice the different categories of tourists with different needs and expectations to visit to Macao. Overall, a different set of marketing initiatives or marketing campaigns should be organized to cater for the different group of visitors.
Different tourism products should be designed to cater for the different groups of visitors, as the different categories of visitors have different needs and expectations. To cater for the gamblers that seek excitement and to test out their luck in the casinos, the main product is the advance and excitement offered by the gambling industry.
To cater for the visitors seeking to experience cultural differences and historical heritage of Macao, the products include the many historical sites mentioned above, as well as the tourism packages such as cycling to visit to the not frequently explore sites, as well to meet the local people and to live in the lifestyle of the local people. Tourism packages to allow them to walk around the historical sites, providing information of Macao to this group of people can be important.
For those visitors just wanting to travel around the places, it is crucial to develop more specialty restaurant, shopping malls, museum, as different artifacts any other sort of things that can show a culture of Macao and the unique culture of Macao to attract the tourists. Then, for the travelers attending events (such as team building), or conferences in Macao, proper halls or convention centers can be developed. High-speed internet connectivity can be provided. Anyway, no matter what the tourists can be categorized, it is beneficial to develop more facilities and infrastructure to cater for their needs. For example, development of new theme park, Water Park, internet connectivity, WIFI connection for their iPhones or relevant basic infrastructures can help a lot to enhance the tourist satisfactions. The products features as well as the associated benefits for the different groups of tourists shall be marketed differently.
Marketing promotional activities is the key issue to be discussed here. Under such a context, the marketing promotional issues to be investigated include the marketing communication mixes to reach the potential tourists or repeat visitors to Macao. The marketing promotional as well as communication activities can be formulated to target the international market. Two key categories of such marketing promotional activities can be found. Firstly, it is about B2B marketing, whereby the Marketing Organization can directly market the tourism products to businesses or corporations. Secondly, it is about marketing in the B2C context. In such context, the marketing organization can market directly to the end users, which comprises of the tourists, visitors, travelers, or even gamblers from all over the world to Macao.
The marketing promotional or communication mixes to be utilized can include the following: advertising, pricing discount, promotions and others (McCartney et. al., 2008). Under the B2B context, strategic partnerships with the many travelling agencies are necessary. The partners to promote Macao to people in the different countries should be selected, in order to leverage on the local network to reach the local tourist that wish to travel abroad for holidays or to experience new environment or culture. Then, partnerships with the airline industry are also crucial. It is possible to give out free brochures, information, and even discounted hotel ticket to the airline partners, so that the marketing campaigns of ‘Visiting to Macao’ can be promoted by the respective airline companies to the mass public using the airline services (Kosic et. al., 2010). No matter how, strategic partnerships are powerful and beneficial to Macao as well as other tourism related operators. For example, certain sweet deals can be given to the tour operators to entice them to include Macao as one of the destination their included in their marketing campaign or tourism packages provided to tourist wanting to visit to the East or China. Apart from having strong partnerships with the industry players in the tourism industry, it is possible for the Marketing Organization to partner with large organization such as IBM, Google, Intel, the many big investment banks, so that they can be induced to organize team building or corporate agendas in Macau. This will have great impacts and the highly impactful ways to increase the traffics to Macao. Besides, as more people travel to Macao for business or corporate agenda, it is possible that when Macao is well kept and fun, people will fast to spread the news around.
In the B2B context as well, trying to persuade corporations to hold conferences in Macao is also viable choices. Business tourism partnership can be essential to the success of promoting Macao to other people around the world. MacLaurin & Leong (2000) offer great example on attracting tourists to Singapore by having partnership with the convention and trade show industry. The suggestions can be equally applied to the context of Macao as well. In this context, pricing discount can be given to business entities. The prices for trade shows, business meeting and rental of convention centers of holding of events in Macao, can be set slightly below or equal to those of Singapore to establish Macao as a MICE destination. The MICE destinations are becoming more popular used by the many corporations as the off-site workdays to motivate employees and improve the workforces’ productivity. By promoting how having Macao to hold the corporate events and how the corporations can benefit their businesses when conferences, incentive trips and focused business meetings are held in Macao, that have a lot of nice sightseeing, recreation and shopping locations.
From another view, the marketing promotional and communication in the B2C arenas will be to utilize the other types of consumer promotional strategies and techniques. For example, advertising in television, internet, radio and newspaper cam be done. For example, to advertise or promote Macao as the wonderful places to people around the world in the travelling magazine, or even popular and widely read magazine such as Reader Digest or National Geographic is fantastic strategy. Under the B2C marketing promotional and communication strategies, it is important to draft different marketing messages to the different segment of travelers. For example, to those gamblers, it is important to highlight the free stuff provided in the casinos, as well as the high class environment and cozy hotel for them to stay near the casino (Gu, 2007). The various exciting gambling games should be highlighted as well. The previous success stories of people hitting the jackpot should be highlighted. For those people seeking to experience cultural experiences and Macao lifestyle, or to enjoy travelling and studying the historical sites, the various agendas for them to travel in public transport, bicycle, or even staying in Macao local people houses can be highlighted. Such experiences are what they want, and will be powerful to persuade them to visit to Macao. Besides, for those people want to enjoy modern shopping centers, restaurants and to visit to famous tourism destination, such attractions should be promoted to meet their expectations and convince them how they too can obtain such services in Macao.
The branding of a certain location is crucial to promote the place to others (Hankinson, 2001). Thus, suitable image should be selected, to appeal to the tourists on the uniqueness of Macao. Such promotional or marketing communication techniques are not uncommon, and are discussed in Brown et. al. (2002), Crockett et. al. (2004), and Hem et. al. (2004). As discussed above, Macao can be best branded as the premium places for gaming and cultural heritage. It can be promoted as one of the important places with rich cultural heritage in China. The branding of Macao on such a path will definitely appeal to the target markets. With such a branding objective in mind, the other marketing communication initiatives must be designed to be consistent and supportive of such image of Macao. This is an important concept to be followed in destination positioning, as argued by Day et. al. (2002).
In the marketing communication mix, the distribution channels to reach the potential customers are important as well. Here, the marketing distribution channels will be discussed. In the current business environment, the different marketing distribution channel can be either offline or online in nature (Jung et. al., 2009). The offline distribution channels can be referred to the appointment of traveler agencies as well as the retail shops used to market tourism products to the consumers. Under such methods, it is very common those salespersons are employed to seek out new customers aggressively as well. Not only that, from time to time, traveling fairs can be organized, and people will attracted to attend the travel fairs for promotional benefits and discounts. In the travelling fairs, people can obtain a lot of information on their desires tourism destination. There are pictures to be shown to the consumers to entice them to travel to the attractive destination. Such methods can be used to attract customers to visit to Macao. Information about Macao can be distributed to customers or prospects. The brochures can be designed to include beautiful pictures and the rich cultural heritage in Macao. Traveling guides to Macau can be sold to customers as well. When the potential travelers read and understand more about Macao, their interests on Macao can increases, thus more likely to induce them to visit Macao to understand more on the place. Besides, Macao can be promoted as an agenda for tourists to visit to China. As discussed by Kotler & Gertner (2004), country can be used as a brand as well. China nowadays is a hot destination for tourists, and Macao can benefit from such a country brand effects by close association to China in the marketing promotional activities. Apart from that, conscious efforts should be carried out to add Macao to the ‘world travel market’ trade directory as well. It is crucial to ensure Macao as a easily seen tourism destination in tourism related magazine, trade shows, packages offered by travel agencies, or any other sources of media related to tourism.
From another perspective, online marketing is an increasingly viable choice as well (Law, 2005). Internet marketing or digital marketing techniques (Chaiprasit et. al., 2011) can be used to promote Macao as interesting and wonderful places to people around the world. For example, email marketing can be used. As long as beautiful places and unique historical sites are capture into photos and being distributed to people around the world in email, it is likely to get the email being circulated. A website about ‘visit to Macao’ is a must. Under the website, a lot of information on Macao must be provided. Beautiful photos should be included (Morrison et. al., 2004). Indeed, interactive video is necessary as well. People will love to see videos and how other travelers experience the wonderful places in Macao. The many activities and agendas that previous happy customers have undergone can be displayed. In fact, testimonials and praises of the many people around the world, in different languages can be displayed (Li, 2010). When the testimonials are displayed in video format, people tend to share it out in social media such as Facebook (Cronin, 2010). Besides, free newsletter can be provided to people who signed up on the websites (Jacob et. al., 2010). The email of these people who sign up can be recorded, and a customer relationship management program can be implemented (Saperstein et. al., 2010). The newsletter given for free to customers should be specially written to encourage people to visit to Macao. The details of having wonderful times in Macao can be written, and in different issues of the newsletters, the different places or historical sites, or even the casinos can be introduced. The accommodations and hotels, or food and beverages available in Macao should also be included. The readers should be encouraged to share the newsletter with their friends. This is to utilize the great power of word of mouth marketing (Mircheska et. al., 2010). Not only is that, as the social media is increasingly become very popular in the recent years (Lefebvre, 2011), to set up Facebook account to the people using Facebook should be done. Facebook will enable the marketing campaign of “Visiting Macao” can be created. Lastly, as outlined by Magnini et. al. (2008), celebrity endorsement will also be a wise choice to promote Macao to other people. Thus, the marketing campaign should partner with some heavy weight celebrities to promote Macao. In fact, having a popular shows filmed in Macao will also be highly viable choice to promote the beauty of Macao to people around the world.
Overall, a comprehensive marketing campaign to target for the different categories of customers visiting to Macao is presented in this article. The various strategies or ideas to encourage people from all over of the world to visit to Macao are presented. Several key target markets are identified. Then, based on the different expectations and demands of these different customers, the different sets of marketing initiatives are formulated. Several suggestions on how to further improve or enlarge the products portfolio in Macao is also presented. It can be seen that Macao is a fantastic place, and has bright future. There are many opportunities to further develop the place, to become one of the best tourism destinations in the world, despite several physical limitations faced by tours operators. The many issues can be solved, by changing the product offering to the different set of target market. More infrastructures can be developed, and with proper planning, Macao can be designed to appeal to more people, with different expectations and travelling needs.
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