The Role of Destination BC
Destination BC is responsible for marketing the Super Natural British Columbia brand to the world (British Columbia Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, 2020). As we learned in the last chapter, this provincial destination marketing organization has been mandated to fulfill several key marketing and leadership responsibilities critical to the long-term sustainable growth of the provincial tourism industry. This includes marketing British Columbia domestically, nationally, and internationally as a tourist destination (Destination BC, 2020a). Destination BC’s 2020–2023 corporate strategy articulates its aspiration to share the transformative power of BC experiences with the world by focusing on key markets, paths to purchase, visitor dispersion, and key partnerships (Destination BC, 2020b).
Take a Closer Look: Online Reputation Management
This guide from Destination BC’s Tourism Business Essentials series helps businesses understand how to manage their online reputation and includes tips for responding to reviews and other best practice. To get a copy of the guide, visit the Online Reputation Management Guide [PDF].
Tourism marketers, including the team at Destination BC, choose target markets for their efforts through market segmentation techniques, where potential visitors are separated by:
- Countries of origin
- Trip purposes
- Trip planning and arrangements
- Psychographics and lifestyles
- Special interests
- Technology uses
Destination Canada’s award-winning Explorer Quotient program provides tourism marketers with detailed psychographic and travel motivations information (Destination Canada, 2013). It allows destinations and experiences to market themselves to target audiences based on psychographic profiles (their psychological tendencies) rather than geographic segments.
Take a Closer Look: EQ (Explorer Quotient)
Destination Canada’s EQ tool allows businesses to segment their customers in a new and innovative way. EQ offers a range of online resources from an EQ Quiz (so you can identify what type of traveller you are) to business toolkits and more. Explore this new tourism marketing tool by visiting the Explorer Quotient toolkit [PDF].
BC’s Tourism and Hospitality Key Markets
BC’s key target tourism markets can be broken down into three main categories: nearby markets, top priority markets, and emerging markets (BC Ministry of Tourism, Arts and culture, 2020).
Nearby markets are BC, Alberta, and Washington State, which are characterized by high volume and strong repeat visitation. Marketing activities to these areas are led by the regions, communities, and/or sectors such as ski. Top priority markets of Ontario, California, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, South Korea, and Australia are characterized by high revenue and high spending per visitor. Marketing efforts here are led by Destination BC. Emerging markets, which include China, India, and Mexico, are monitored and explored by Destination BC.
Performance Measurement and Evaluation
In order to measure its success in the realm of destination marketing, Destination BC has introduced a tool called the net promoter score (NPS), a metric designed to monitor customer engagement. The NPS indicates the likelihood of travellers recommending a destination to friends, family, or colleagues. NPS is based on responses to the question, How likely are you to recommend [British Columbia] as a travel destination to a friend, family member, or colleague? Responses are scored from 0 = “not at all likely” to 10 = “extremely likely.” Respondents are divided into three categories:
- Detractors (scores of 0 to 6): Unhappy visitors, unlikely to tell others to visit and might even damage the reputation of a destination through negative word of mouth
- Passives (scores of 7 or 8): Marginally satisfied visitors not excited enough to tell others about their travel experience
- Promoters (scores of 9 or 10): Loyal enthusiasts likely to return and rave about their travel experience
NPS is calculated by subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters: NPS = % of detractors — % of supporters. The intention to recommend a travel destination, reported by the NPS, is a proxy measure of overall satisfaction with the travel experience. Satisfaction with the travel experience and the intention to recommend greatly increase the likelihood of a return visit to British Columbia. And word-of-mouth advocacy, either face-to-face or through social media, is critical for attracting first-time visitors to British Columbia.
Destination BC uses NPS as a performance measurement tool (among others) to help determine the overall effectiveness of online and integrated marketing communications strategies (Destination BC, 2020c). Furthermore, Destination BC has developed the Remarkable Experiences program to “shift thinking beyond a tourism product to consider how a business can deliver local, authentic experiences that are designed with the BC traveller in mind” (Destination BC, 2020d).
Spotlight On: Indigenous Tourism BC
As cited on their website: Indigenous Tourism BC (ITBC) honours the value of Indigenous knowledge in tourism. More than 200 distinct Indigenous communities, with more than 30 living languages, offer unique perspectives and thriving Indigenous businesses ready to host visitors in major urban centres, down fast rivers, before hereditary totem poles, in award-winning cafes and restaurants, and on pristine beaches under the stars. Indigenous tourism hosts in British Columbia invite visitors to come and share their love for this land. Recognizing that indigenous tourism experiences are a primary draw for many visitors, ITBC aims to grow this industry in a “sustainable, authentic, and culturally rich” way. For more information, visit the Indigenous Tourism BC website.
Effective planning, research, customer understanding, integrated marketing communications, and using online customer service strategies to support effective marketing are fundamental requirements for successful services marketing. However, it is critical that marketers understand the key trends and issues that will help to identify tomorrow’s marketing strategies (Government of Canada, 2012).