The use of Promotion Factors in Tourism Marketing: An Exploratory studies based on Penang State Tourism Industry

The use of Promotion Factors in Tourism Marketing: An Exploratory studies based on Penang State Tourism Industry








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86 Pages

Chapter I: Introduction to the Study

Introduction

In the world, there are many industries that are growing at a fast rate. Among such industries, tourism is one of them. It has a high growth rate and is becoming one of the largest industries that can bring in huge revenues. To various countries and to the whole world, in general, the contribution of tourism industry is phenomenal. In fact, a number of countries around the globe are dependent on tourism as a source of foreign exchange. World Tourist Organization (WTO), says that nearly four hundred and forty eight million tourists have travelled throughout the world in the year 1991 (as per by Davidson, 1994), and roughly there were 593 million tourist arrivals during the year 1996 ensuring a 4.6 percentage increase when compared to the year nineteen ninety five (As quoted by Bhattacharya, 1997) and around thirty two percentage growth in a span of five years. The WTO has recorded around 763 million international tourists travelled in 2004. This figure is higher than previous year by nearly ten percent and earned around 623.00 billion U.S dollars with a rise of around 18.89 percentage over the year 2003 (WTO, 2005).

It has been observed that tourism is emerging into a major economic force, tendering approximately five to six trillion American dollars to world’s revenue during the year 2004 (as per Wagner, 2005). This figure is that is tourist arrivals and the money earned due to them continues to increase. In the year two thousand five, the world tourists’ number was 808 million. World Tourism says that by 2020 this number will touch around one thousand and six million in the year 2010 and may become thousand five hundred million by the year 2020. This trend is motivating and nations are interested to attract a large number of tourists and have been engaged in trying to promote tourism as a main source of revenue.

Records have showed that just the year 2011 witnessed roughly 984 million tourists as compared to 941 million in 2010; this is almost 4.7% increase (Bellamy & Stacy, 2011). Tourism is extremely crucial and is considered essential for economic revenue of many nations; This industry is vital for nations to sustain since its effects are on cultural, economical, social spheres and intercontinental relations too (Mayor et al). Tourism provides a chance to improve trade and it will reduce unemployment. It is also a tool to develop the other industries in the nation-, such as transportation, hospitality, and entertainment.

Throughout the past, competitiveness in the industry of tourism has increased rapidly thereby making many industries in all countries to plan and undertake promotional activities. Such activities are focussed on exploiting the fiscal prospective of tourism by utilizing advertising and promotional tactics. For such strategies to be successful, countries have given tourism industries into professional people hands who are supposed to ensure that the sector remains on the cutting edge development in comparison with other nations. Nevertheless, promotional activities face certain unique but uniform challenges in spite of professionalism and geographical location. Outstanding challenges are observed and recorded by a researcher Flavio (2008). They can be listed as planned responses and creativity related to rising competition and timely responses to changes in economic and social patterns. By the view of Chalice (2007), constant rise of tourism around the world, must utilize tourist visits; yield and satisfaction of tourists are some of the challenges faced in many nations dependent on tourism. The competition for of relaxation activities are from games to house redecoration; as governments become more aware of tourism sectors value, the inevitable result is more competition in tourism marketing, so each country is looking into every promotional factor possible (O'Connell, 2009).

Marketing promotion means everything; activities from announcing about a product or service by sales campaign or media like television or free gifts and related things (Ivanovic and Collin, 1996). Among various elements of marketing mix, one is promotion. Kotler et al (1999) states that promotion combines all activities utilized to communicate details of products and its positives to customers and find ways to persuade them. Sales promotion is also such a tool, which is described as giving limited incentives to increase product sales through samples, coupons, allowances, contests, exhibits and conventions involving sales. We should observe that sales promotion is not a single factor but it encompasses a number of items that will convey promotional directives or a visible image of products. In-house promotions like pay for one and take two, percentage decreases, free gifts, credit coupons that can be exchanged, or exchange options for returning bottle-tops, or wrappers(Hackley, 2005). It is often said that sales promotion in general dramatizes the offers made in Penang. Advertising, direct marketing, publicity and related activities are usually searched by researcher. When we take up Penang, tourism there has suffered from inadequate and ineffective promotional activities. We should note that promotional enterprises have lot of importance in marketing, it is absolutely necessary to know and analyze how promotion affects the tourism industry in developing countries (Hossain & Hossain, 2002). Also the firm Virginia Tourism Corporation (VTC) has a return-on-investment of four dollars for every one dollar spent in promotion activities. It enjoys being the chief reason for providing such a good revenue to the state of Virginia (Tourism in Virginia, 2002-2003). According to the latest Longwoods International report published by the Colorado Travel issued in the year 2003, tourists’ number has crossed nearly four million who have visited Colorado during the year 2003. This meteoric rise is only because of the state’s promotion enterprising efforts. There is a sixty five million increase in all the taxes including state and regional. If there had been no aggressive promotion of tourism, this extravagant increase in revenue would have been impossible (Tourism and Advertising, undated).

Every nation, globally, have realized that they must look at the tourism industry as a service-oriented sector. Hence they resorted to service-marketing gambits. So eighty two percent among the world that treat tourism significantly have yielded to the tourism promotional mix, that is, a combination of invention elements, procedures, places and timings, culture, efficiency, people, corporeal substantiation, and related costs. Carrick, Winston & Finlay (2010) elucidate that promotional enterprises in the tourism sector have recognized that differentiating marketing of tourism is extremely vital when compared with marketing of other products. This realization has improved efficiency of their attempts.

If the promotional activities should be effective, the tourism industry must focus to reach required market (Garry & Jennifer, 2007). Yet another researcher, Heitinger (2007), explains that each country must consider its location geographically on the world map so that it can identify its target group. Specifically, calculations and analysis of international tourism market show that visitors opted locations between a span of twenty eight to forty three nights, one quarter percent wished to stay in caravans, cabins or tents; nearly twenty percentage rent motor homes or campervans and rest of fifty six percentage preferred accommodative rooms (Harrison, 2005). As per the researcher McCaskey (2002), consideration of these statistics is not avoidable by tourist industries while targeting groups and plan strategies. Also promotional enterprises must observe that sixty seven percentages of tourists form a group comprising of youth say twenty four years to thirty four tears and the rest thirty three percentage are in the middle age sector of thirty six to fifty five (Simon, 2010).

Overview about Penang State Tourism industry

Over the past few years, the economy of Malaysia has experienced enormous growth, most of which is directly attributed to improved feat by its tourism sector. Silvestri (2007) after a research indicates that tourism industry in the country has become the nation’s succeeding greatest income provider having achieved a record of 15.8 million tourists who spend over RM$31 billion. Comparisons made in the industry’s past performance indicated that the number of tourists visiting Malaysia had increased from 994,800 in 2003 to 1,351,656 in 2004; a record growth of 36% (Silvestri, 2007). Various factors influence the decisions of tourists towards going to Malaysia-, proper infrastructure, diversity in the nation’s culture, beautiful landscapes, and sights, and the countries pleasant roots (Mullins, 2010). However, Jerry & Glueck (2008) argue that despite these advantages, the country must be appraised for numerous, and strategic plans laid out in order to gain such command amidst stiff competition in the industry. More importantly, it would be unjust to talk about tourism in Malaysia and not give-deserved attention to Penang; the country’s ‘pearl of the orient’ with many gems (Harrison 2005).

Experienced tourists term Penang as a perfect mixture of old cities and modern ones due to the monuments portraying its history and the skyscrapers depicting rapid development activities that have shaped the state in the last fifteen years (Harrison, 2005). Consequently, Penang attracts more tourists for Malaysia than any other location. Statistics collected in 2005 revealed that tourists figures rose to 517,733 compared to 428,800 in the previous year; a record 20% growth for the state only (Courtney, 2007). Since then, the state always aims higher and expresses the desire to achieve tourism related targets. However, for Penang to achieve such echelons of success amidst ever-increasing competition, its industry must realize the essence of productive collaborations. A good example for this is the partnership made by the Malaysian government and the Tourism Industry Network (TIN). O'Connell (2009) argues that such collaborations will ultimately place Penang in the global map as a preferential destination for tourists and help build a sustainable tourism economy.

Latest statistics coupled with proper consideration of promotional factors essential for tourism marketing provide an extremely hopeful setting for Penang. Chalice (2007) does not dismiss this fact but emphasizes on the importance of establishing a workable rather than theoretical strategy of marketing the island and making it even more marketable and attractive in the future. Penang, concerning tourism has already made a global mark, which is a milestone that many tourist destinations strive day and night to achieve. Nevertheless, this is only the beginning and a platform for the state to utilize by creating sustainability and growth in the industry- an objective perfectly achievable by employing promotion aspects related to tourism (Chalice, 2007). Researched evidence indicates that Penang is achieving this quite comfortably through partnerships. Mostly, the state in order to reinforce and reinstate the authority of its tourism performance relies on partnerships such as the one between the government and tourism operatives. The most impressive of these partnerships is the one involving the entire Penang community-, the government works on improving and expanding the states museum and the municipal council works in partnership with citizens, NGO’s and Agilent technologies to keep the city clean (Wally, 2010). According to Flavio (2008), collaborative management has become a major breakthrough especially in the tourism sector. However, the growth of partnerships over the same issue become inappropriate with time and may cause failure in the simplest of projects. This discrepancy calls for Penang to consider utilizing promotional factors in tourism marketing.

Local tourism thespians in the Penang industry should invest better mutual efforts emphasizing on promotional parcels to secure diverse market sectors via deepened promotional and advertising activities to recall global traffic and reinstate Penang as the force it ought to be in tourism (Carrick, Winston & Finlay, 2010). The essence of such a move derives from some of the challenges faced by the Penang industry. For instance, escalating competition in the global arena, especially from other island tourist destinations like Southern Thailand pose a considerable threat. There also exists intelligibility and uncomplicated evaluations of rival prices and yield owing to internet convenience and the cheaper Thai Baht (Garry & Jennifer, 2007). It is therefore important for Penang to maintain its status as attractive without losing its superiority in terms of competitive advantage.

Problem Statement

There is no doubt that tourism marketing is in limelight at present all over the world. For Third World nations tourism marketing is very common and they enjoy the advantage of having excellent destinations. These countries are becoming the focal points for development and marketing of novel, challenging rare tourist destinations. So only in the Third World countries many fantastic tourist destinations are present. Their growth has been continuous and as a result the promotion of these regions is becoming famous (Echtner and Prasad, 2002). At present, around thirty percent of international arrivals are present in third World nations. This percentage has become thrice over the past twenty years (WTO, 1999). But during recent times, there is a lot of criticism regarding how these destinations are show-cased and how their people are portrayed in promotional materials (Britton, 1979; Mohamed, 1988; Cohen, 1989; Crick, 1989; Selwyn, 1993; Silver 1993; Cooper, 1994; Wilson 1994; Dann, 1996a, b; Morgan and Prichard, 1998; Sturma 1999 as cited in Echtner, 2002). Chief criticism has been on the rare marketing situation involving the promotion of tourism in the Third World.

On tourism marketing happening in such nations there have been no scholarly work and there are few notable articles detailing issues of marketing Third World destinations (Britton, 1979; Silver, 1993). Especially articles dealing third World tourism promotion are absent (Cohen, 1989; Cooper, 1994, Dann, 1996b; Mohamed, 1988; Morgan and Pritchard, 1998; Oppermann and McKinley, 1997; Selwyn, 1993).

Adams (1984) and Reimer (1990) observed a crucial marketing scenario exists in tourism promotion of third world nations. Attractive tourist spots in third world are generally promoted by multinational tour operators, promoters and others present in the First World. In addition to that the main destinations of such marketing efforts also exist in the First World, as these are the main generators of tourists (Echtner & Prasad, 2003). Thus most pictures show-casing the beauty of tourist spots present in third world are chosen by people in developed countries to satisfy their consumers. So the images are actually perceived by developed nations only (Echtner 2002).

In this stiff competition, the ‘intangible’ nature of tourism and requirement of pre-purchase information occupy an important role in the performance of this industry. We have noticed that Penang tourism have suffered due to lack of adequate promotional measures. Hence to study the tactics of promotional approaches followed in Penang and to find solutions to overcome the problems or limitations identified is inevitable.

Purpose of the study

This study aims at analyzing Penang’s tourism industry to firstly recognize its present position and then establish the state’s potential prospects as part of the ever-competitive global tourism industry. The study explores Penang’s tourism industry in relation to the overall global tourism sector highlighting technicalities and possibilities of using promotional activities to enhance the development of the state’s tourism sector. For effectiveness and clarity, the application of promotion related activities by operatives in the Penang industry are examined in the course of the study to discover related issues and limitations. More importantly, the study attempts to establish the most suitable, practical, and applicable promotional activities for the Penang tourism sector. The findings made in the course of the study have been recommended to relevant authorities in Malaysia.

The objectives of this study are as follows.

  • To explore the tourism industry process in context with the Penang tourism sector
  • Analyzing Penang’s tourism industry to firstly recognize its present position and then establish the state’s potential prospects as part of the ever-competitive global tourism industry
  • The study Penang’s tourism industry in relation to the overall global tourism sector highlighting technicalities and possibilities of using promotional activities to enhance the development of the state’s tourism sector
  • For effectiveness and clarity, the application of promotion related activities by operatives in the Penang industry are examined in the course of the study to discover related issues and limitations.
  • More importantly, the study attempts to establish the most suitable, practical, and applicable promotional activities for the Penang tourism sector.

Hypothesis:

H1: A wide range of marketing programs are promoted in Penang tourism industry.

H2: Good promotional strategies are adopted in the Penang tourism industry.

H3: The indicators of tourism performance show a high score in the Penang tourism industry.

H4: Service quality shows a high score in the Penang tourism industry.

H5: Products and services show a high score in the Penang tourism industry.

H6: Accessibility shows a high score in the Penang tourism industry.

H7: People services show a high score in the Penang tourism industry.

H8: Price sensitivity shows a high score in the Penang tourism industry.

H9: Effective physical layout shows a high score in the Penang tourism industry.

Chapter Summary

This chapter has detailed the background of the study, identified the research problem as the For effectiveness and clarity, the application of promotion related activities by operatives in the Penang industry are examined in the course of the study to discover related issues and limitations.

Chapter two reviews literature on the subject, chapter three addresses the research methodology, chapter four discloses the findings of the study while chapter five draws pertinent conclusions on the topic.

Chapter II: Literature Review

Introduction

Tourism marketing must always begin with the recognition of the fact that the global industry has become extremely competitive. Every country that endeavours to make an impact in this arena must therefore keep on marking out and watching the altering designs and requirements for other tourist destinations in the world (Mullins, 2010). To boost the competitive edge for the Penang tourism industry, a lot is required to mobilize effectual promotional measures. This has to be propped up by striking and alluring tourism services. The Malaysian government has to work extra hard towards ensuring Penang’s share in the global market increases despite competiveness in the global tourism industry. The government must also strive to ensure that Penang’s full potential is exploited concerning the states scenic splendour and cultural diversity (Nicolas, 2004). According to Silvestri (2007), Penang must be able to make the most of its unique features as a tourist destination. Although the Penang state has achieved much over the past few years, operatives in the tourism sector need to come up with plans that are inclusive of major details such as development of products, upgrades and enhancements, branding, attractions, events, tourist amenities, advertising and communal relations, enhancement of partnership activities, and efficient managerial responsibilities (Simon, 2010).

According to Silvestri (2007), opines that success in tourism relies greatly on the ability of operatives to keep travellers in a destination longer than they anticipated. Although most tourism industries have not managed to achieve this, is important for Penang to update its strategies and take advantage of this global milestone. A research carried out by Courtney (2007) indicates that despite being a unique destination, Penang has failed to utilize this advantage, which is a factor that can successfully be used to keep its industry on the cutting edge. It is imperative that visitors differentiate services offered by the Penang industry from those offered by other destinations. Most tourist destinations have failed to impress travellers due to poor planning and execution of the tourism process and Penang is no exception.

Tourism in Malaysia

During last part of century, starting at a low base, Malaysia has developed a major travel and tourist industry. In the year 1980 Malaysia attracted only 2.3 million international tourists, but by the year 2005 this figure had grown to 16.4 million, pushing Malaysia to the second most visited position in Asia after China (New Straits Times, December 24, 2005). To the delight of Malaysian Government, Tourism has emerged as Malaysia’s most successful services sector accounting for 43 per cent of total final services in 2005 (EIU, 2005).

In 2006 officials projected that there will be 18.1 million international tourists who visit Malaysia and hospitality and tourism sector will generate US$30.8 billion demand. Also the direct and indirect effects of travel and tourism in Malaysia in 2006 are projected to account for 14.6 per cent of GDP and 1,345,000 jobs (12.6 per cent of total employment). It might generate US$18.1 billion in export revenue, representing 10.1 per cent of exports in 2006. All these figures show that tourism is Malaysia’s second largest foreign exchange earner after the manufacturing sector (WTTC, 2006).

The Malaysian government considers tourism as and the means to diversify its economic structure. To increase the private investment in tourism, government launched two funds in 2001; the Tourism Infrastructure Fund with an initial allocation of RM700 million and a Special Fund for Tourism and Infrastructure with an initial allocation of RM400 million.

During the year 2005 the allocation to both funds was raised to RM1.2 billion (Government Malaysia, 2006). Also, in 2006, as a further plan to face year 2007 which has been popularised as ‘Visit Malaysia Year’ with the theme ‘Malaysia Welcomes the World’, Tourism Malaysia got 30 per cent more funding for advertising and other promotions when compared with 2005 (Ganesan, 2005). Under the Ninth Malaysian Plan (2006-2010), overall the Malaysian government is planning to shell out RM1.8 billion (US$486.5 million) to upgrade various tourist destinations as well as on marketing campaigns (Government Malaysia, 2006). Marketing campaigns were targeted specifically at particular potential markets. Tourism is set as a source of growth. This sector is expected to grow 7.9 per cent in 2006 and 6.3 per cent per annum (WTTC, 2006). In ‘Visit Malaysia Year’ Malaysia is looking forward to receive 20.1 million international tourist arrivals and this might increase to 24.6 million international tourist arrivals by 2010 (Government Malaysia, 2006).

Many books are available on Malaysian tourism, but most of them are descriptive. Literature has discussed the role that tourism has played towards economic growth (Khalifah & Tahir, 1997; Opperman, 1992; Musa, 2000; Teo, 2003); described the potential for ecotourism (Wong, 1990; Smith, 1992; Cartier, 1998; Weiler & Ham, 2001; Sahb, 2005); explainedthe conflict between tourism and traditional cultural and religious values (Din, 1982; Jafari, 1986; Sarkissian, 1998; Henderson, 2003) and critically examined the effects of the Asian financial crisis for tourism in Malaysia (de Sausmarez, 2003).

Tourism destination

DMO is a term that is connected to the marketing and management organization. Sometimes the term may represent either marketing or management configuration for a destination. Among many DMOs, some are with national focus, some others focus on certain regions and yet others focus only on small areas. This thesis is mainly on DMOs whose concentration is on regional level. Nevertheless, theory explaining destination marketing, does not distinguish between various levels of general aspects (Middleton, 2001). However, many aspects of strategic approach might differ based on the level of operation. We should note that management of a business is entirely different from management of a destination. To assess accurately regarding the element of in-charge is almost impossible in management of a destination (Bieger, 1996).

We should define the term ‘tourism destination’, before proceeding into the details of a DMO. This is a tough task, but nevertheless tried by a working committee of the World Tourism Organization (WTO – Destination Management Task Force). Usually in the past, geographers used spatial criteria for this purpose, but some others describe places with either real or with perceived outlines (Kotler et al., 1999). Out of these, a ‘geographical’ description is best since it is uncomplicated and serves as a starting point – and has a common definition – because given boundaries can represent the specifications of the tourism businesses, that offer a number of both main and additional parts of the place confined to specific region (Ahmed, 1991; Blank, 1989; Framke and Sørensen, 2002; Freyer, 1993). There is one more view that define a ‘destination’ is actually a mixture of several tourism products. Destinations usually offer a complete experience to tourists (Buhalis, 2000, p.97), i.e. a heterogeneous combination of elements related to a place visited by non-residents on either holiday or on business. This definition is from two different viewpoints, supply-driven and demands for a destination (Javalgi et al., 1992; Pearce, 1989; Stabler, 1990).

The tourism product as a service

So from the above discussions, we can deduce that tourism has emerged as a main contributor to the gross national product (GNP) of many nations (www41, 2001). Many countries nowadays, compete to attract visitors. They use different marketing strategies and such strategies are becoming a usual practice. There is a need for exposing companies to the marketplace so that they get new business. Thus marketing becomes an essential aspect of every business venture. Even tourism industry is not an exception to this.

Let us see the term ‘Tourism marketing’. It can be defined as the process by which a tourism company first foresees consumer needs and then fulfills those needs to achieve sales (George 2001:19). It can also be explained as a way in which a company recognizes consumers’ wants and takes measures to see those requirements can be met, in a profitable manner. But these profitable ways must also be those which satisfy consumers on a long-term basis.

The first marketing priority for a company is to create customers (Duncan 2002:7). the reward of such creation results in making sales, which in turn give profits. This obviously leads to building customer relationships, which have a series of interactions between individuals and a company over time.

Marketing is a concept that concentrates on meeting customer wants and needs (Duncan 2002:13). To satisfy customer wants and needs, we need to consider the marketing mix of either the product or the service offered by the company. The marketing mix comprises of four marketing Strategy areas (Duncan 2002:14), namely product, price, promotion and place (distribution). These are the “four Ps” which decide how a product is made or how a service is contributed, its price, the area of distribution and representation of it, in all company communications. Current study deals with the marketing communication methods used by tour operators. So its main focus will be the “promotion” (marketing communication) strategy. By considering the fact that the tourism product is very different from traditional products, attention is given to its significance as a service.

Marketers must look into four basic features that make the marketing of Tourism different from the marketing of manufacturing products, that is intangibility, Inseparability, variability and perish ability (George 2001:20).

Intangibility

Services such as tourism are intangible (Pender 1999:31). That is these services cannot be seen, felt, heard, tasted or smelt prior to purchase. It is not possible to test service offerings in advance and these services cannot be brought to the consumer (George 2001:20). So potential tourists cannot get product knowledge prior to purchase, as in the case with tangible products. Hence tourism marketer has the challenge to promote the intangible positives of tourism, for ex, relaxation, entertainment and education. The marketer must somehow make the intangible features seem tangible. This can be done with the help of either brochures or CD-ROMs showing hotel rooms.

Inseparability

In manufacturing industry, products are manufactured (physically made), sold and consumed in number of years. Tourism offerings are sold first and then only they are produced and consumed (George 2001:20). So customers will be involved in the creation of the service (Pender 1999:175), To get better clarity see an example, ‘asking the tourist guide questions about the museum being visited’ or ‘using an electronic ticket kiosk at an airport’. This is actually tough because the way the offering is delivered is vital here. If the tourist enjoyed the museum and if the Staff was very good and the service was up to his expectations, the result will be positive, else negative. The crucial fact is both Staff and consumers will be present when the service is being consumed.

Variability

Another complexity in tourism is tourism offerings will be different each time they are consumed because they are produced by human beings (George 2001:21). Service providers are part of the offering and since human beings cannot behave in exactly the same way they cannot provide the exact levels of service each time. Also every person has some unique style and hence same levels of service from different workers are not possible. We should also note that no two consumers are exactly the same. They are different people with different needs, demands, expectations, moods, perceptions and emotions. These facts cause the tourism offering to vary, according to each situation. Tourism companies can only strive towards by making a standardised and consistent service and offer. The industry involves people, so an exact standard can never be realised.

Perishability

In this industry, any producers cannot “hold stock” of a service. A finite period exists during which the sale and consumption of a service can occur (Pender 1999:32). If that time period is over, the revenue that could have been earned is lost. So providers will try their best to sell their service even by lowering the price, rather than losing the full amount. Hence, reducing prices shortly before a service is due is a method to stimulate demand.

We have seen and understood the tourism product to some extent now. So let us see a discussion of the communication methods used to market the tourism product.

Tourist destination marketing: A theoretical perspective

Tourism destination marketing comes under tourism destination management, which is again a part of tourism destination competitiveness. Crouch and Ritchie (1999) gave a model of tourism destination competitiveness to clearly show the relationships of above three. The model is based on certain determinants of seven groups as described as in Figure 2.1. The Secretary General of the World Tourism Organization Mr. Francesco Frangialli is of the opinion that this model is has depth and insight. It provides a breakthrough paradigm, and is a widely accepted new model of theory and practice from many years (Ritchie & Crouch, 2005, p. xvii).

Based on the figure above, we can say that destination marketing is indeed a part of destination management. In addition to that Ritchie and Crouch (2005) stress that destination marketing is the primary task of destination managers. Previously, the essentiality of the roles played by both marketing and promotion of destination management organization enjoyed high value that the destination management organization label was accepted as to mean destination marketing organization. Only in recent years, destination management organizations have accepted how vital their non-marketing roles are in the aspects of developing, improving, and maintaining destination competitiveness.

Looking at the concept of destination marketing, Kotler (2002) gives a concept of place marketing as “designing a place to satisfy the needs of its target markets” (p. 183). To distinguish between tourism marketing and tourism promotion, he says that many marketers believe that marketing a place is synonymous with promoting the place, but in reality tourism promotion is one of the least important marketing tasks. Also, for a troubled place, tourism promotion can never help; instead makes place buyers more aware of the troubles in that place (Kotler, 2002). But, destination promotion is generally destination marketing organizations’ major activity and budget item (Dore, Crouch, & Geoffrey, 2003).

Ritchie and Crouch (2005) were able to clarify further and gave insights into the elements of tourism marketing as shown in Figure 2.2. The starting point of destination marketing lies in identifying strategic target markets on the basis of experience types and the needs and behaviours of prospective visitors. After this, destination marketers must measure destination awareness and image. The measured images are the base for developing a destination brand, and then establishing destination positioning in key markets. At the end of this, destination marketers should develop logos, advertise themes and promotional efforts to provide assistance to brand and positioning; they also calculate and implement the timing of advertising and promotion.

To build a strong destination brand, image creation and destination differentiation are important. At first, the holistic destination branding definition encompassed all the themes of identification, experience, needs, image, and reinforcement. Later, this concept was enhanced by introducing the important themes of recognition, consistency, brand massages, and emotional response (Blain, Levy, & Ritchie, 2005).

We can see from Figure 2.2 that destination marketing promotes and advertises a destination’s attractions. It also creates new values. Hence destination marketing works with finding the best ways to make destination experiences available to visitors. It defines and develops those kinds of experiences that a destination can offer to possible visitors. It identifies the price sectors where the destination can compete. Based on everything we can say that full participation of destination marketers is important in making a place to satisfy the needs and wants of its target markets as observed by Kotler (2002).

Marketing communication

Actually, Marketing is all about communicating a message. So the communication phase enjoys being an important aspect within marketing. Our thesis also gives same importance to communication. The simple and basic model given by Belch and Belch (2004) has two important elements; the sender and the receiver and major communication tools. These communication tools are otherwise known by the terms message and channel. So inside this specific model, functions like encoding, decoding, feedback and noise are also present.

The message that an organization communicates to the outside world is a form of marketing. Marketing helps and supports the exchange inside a company and endorses the awareness found in the firm. We have seen that the entire marketing process gives a overall picture within the marketing mix, having four P’s – namely product, price, place and promotion (Kotler, Armstrong, Saunders & Wong, 2002). To get a practical marketing program, the P indicating promotion is the most vital for this thesis, especially due to guerrilla marketing in this kind of activities. During the period of 1980’s, the growth and marketing strategies were drawn towards total promotional tools that were used (Belch & Belch, 2004). The idea of integrated marketing communication (IMC) emerged, whereas the promotional tools where used together as an entire campaign. American Association of Advertising Agencies gave the first definition of IMC: “a concept of marketing communications planning that recognizes the added value of a comprehensive plan that evaluates the strategic roles of a variety of communication disciplines – for example, general advertising, direct response, sales promotion, and public relations – and combines these disciplines to provide clarity, consistency, and maximum communications impact” (As given in Schultz, 1993 p.17).

Another researcher Schultz (1993) emphasizes that IMC leads to a “big picture” approach to the promotion programs, and also in the other types of communication functions. Belch and Belch (2004) say that IMC is becoming crucial because organizations have acknowledged the value of planned integration of all communications functions, instead of having them separately. An organization coordinate marketing communications and hence may avoid duplication, form good synergies and lead to efficient marketing program.

We can also stress that the crucial factor in effective communication lies in comprehending the response process. What the receiver experiences when going in a certain direction, in behaviour; this is necessary to know how the promotional marketing by the marketer change the responses made.

Customer perception in tourism marketing and perception

Customer perception is yet another challenge faced by most tourism industries in the world. However, Harrison (2005) argues that operatives who recognize and actualize this requirement give their industries an undeniable platform for prevailing against competition. Records drawn from 2009 indicate that only 9% of the world’s tourism industries have realized and managed to use this promotional factor to their advantage. According to Harrison (2005), customer perception when embraced in a destination accrues delight and makes clients more than willing to pay top prices. If an industry embraces this reality, its resources become an avenue for attracting tourists from all lifestyles (Mullins, 2010). On the other hand, industries can apply demarketing strategies to discourage specific segments of the tourism market from touring destinations at specific periods. However, this only serves as an effective strategy after operatives realize that visitors from certain destinations help in adding value to the industry; otherwise, it can be extremely disastrous (Mullins, 2010). As such, it is the responsibility of the Penang industry to decide whether to merge Customer perception with demarketing strategies or to use just one. It is however vital to note that client perception is superior to demarketing strategies which, when applied wrongly can result to the complete collapse of an industry.

Each tourism industry in the world seeks to have visitors stay a while longer because this implies additional spending. The most successful tourist sectors have museums and interpretive centres that tell stories without just displaying artefacts (Wally, 2010). Stories have a way of keeping visitors in an area a while longer but only if they are captivating enough. A research carried out by Flavio (2008) reveals countries that have their museums equipped with a combination of artefacts and worthwhile stories enjoy extra spending from visitors even if the number of visitors may not measure up to the most valiant and attractive destinations. According to Flavio (2008) only 46% of tourist destinations around the world have realized the importance of storytelling; unfortunately the rest have overlooked this promotional factor and think that tourists are only attracted by natural scenarios. More importantly, tourists capture these stories and tell them to their families, friends, and acquaintances. This creates an additional 38% chance that those who hear of the captivating stories will make plans to visit that particular destination (Mayor et al). The Penang industry can capitalize this area since it is an avenue neglected by over 51% of the world’s tourist destinations. However, tourism marketing has proved complex and hard for many countries.

Tourism marketing is one the most difficult endeavours in the world today. According to Chalice (2007), this owes to the complexities of associations amongst local stakeholders as well as the variety of opinions surrounding the development and production of tourism products because of the existence of conflicts of interest. On the other hand, tourists experience destinations in totality pertaining the essence, resources, and services representing the professionalism and individual interests of the people residing in those destinations. As such, Chalice (2007) argues that promotional activities should ensure tactical positioning of objectives of the destination, its competence, and long-term appeal. Consequently, strategic promotional actions in Penang should take into consideration the desires of tourists as well as those of participants adding value to the tourist experience (O'Connell, 2009). The Penang tourism industry concerning promotional activities must avoid situations where stakeholders focus on short term goals but rather integrate foundational values of sustainable tourism to utilize the states resources towards a more excellent tourism experience. However, 31% of industries that have tried marketing in the light of these assertions have reported extreme difficulties in implementing the same.

Worldwide, tourism industries have had trouble in their endeavours to provide innovative and properly coordinated products under the prevailing competitive and modern-day conditions (O'Connell, 2009). A study conducted by Clark & Sinnet (2008) revealed that 57% tourism industries have been unable to attract intentional demand through product differentiation. According to Hammond, Keeney & Raiffa (2006), differentiation of tourism destination products should be based on extensive research and a realization of specific and exceptional tourist wishes with relation to geographic and socio-cultural dimensions. It is therefore the responsibility of operatives in the Penang tourism sector to generate the ability to satisfy the wishes of the visitors via the interaction of tourists and Penang residents rather than focusing on increasing visitors and enjoying the benefits attached to tourism. Penang must therefore adopt societal strategies in promotional activities and consistently monitor the reactions of visitors by establishing a client friendly way of obtaining feedback. A study by Harrison (2005) indicates that the key to successful and sustainable improvements in the tourism sector is obtaining and reacting to client feedbacks.

Promotional mix

Advertising

The word marketing immediately makes anyone think of the term advertising. Advertising was, is and will be a crucial way of delivering a message. Alexander (1965) has given a definition for the term ‘advertising’, as any paid form of non-personal communication about an organization, product, service, or idea by an identified sponsor. When we break down the sentence, the word ‘paid’ means that buying space somewhere to send out the message is needed. The ‘non-personal’ means advertising as a mass medium, and hence there is no immediate way for feedback. So, when a message is sent to the advertiser consideration must be given to how the audience reacts to the message. Through advertising, huge mass of people can be reached by sending out a message. But again, there is a lot of waste involved since most of them may not be a part of the target market (Belch & Belch, 2004). Another crucial factor is nowadays customers have a love-hate relationship with advertising (since it is similar to entertainment and art (Ries & Ries, 2002).

Additionally, advertising could focus on consumer markets or it can focus on business and professional markets. In the opinion of Belch and Belch (2004) the promotional form of direct marketing is growing on a rapid rate in the US economy. The technique is focussing on a way to influence the target customers and to create a response (Throckmoroton, 1996). Hence, direct marketing is actually sending direct mails, in other words it is campaigning. Or in some cases, it assumes the form of mail order catalogs. Activities like customer database management, telemarketing approaches, direct selling and direct response ads form parts of it. ‘The internet’ is a blessing for direct marketing. Television and their infomercials are also direct marketing (Lehman & Winer, 2005). The direct marketing association defines it like: “direct marketing is an interactive marketing system that uses one or more advertising media to affect a measurable response and/or transaction at any location” (Cited in Lehman & Winer, 2005 p.406). Penang state should increase the frequency of advertisements’ to reinstate its tourism sector and help it gain command in the global arena. According to Chalice (2007), frequency is far much more important in any area of advertising than the mere act of indulgence in promotional activities. Bellamy & Stacy (2011) argue that most industries have been able to attract clients but have failed to sustain a flow of visitors because of the inability to keep on advertising. Records show that 35% of tourism industries have at one point managed to reach the desired heights but only 7% sustained such echelons of business-, Bellamy & Stacy (2011) attribute the inability to continue operating at such heights to inconsistency in advertising. This explains why the Penang tourism industry has not been able to reach the echelons of business witnessed between 2004 and 2006. Penang should therefore ensure frequency in promotional activities to create Top Mind Awareness (TOMA) such that the mention of the word ‘tourism’ becomes synonymous with the Penang tourism industry (Wally, 2010).

Sales promotion

Next step in the promotional mix and concept of promotion are not same. Sales promotion is of either consumer-oriented sales promotion or trade oriented sales promotion. These are activities concentrating on either consumers or other businesses to promote sales and encourage purchase. Sales promotion is offering incentives to the sales force, distributors or the ultimate customers (Belch & Belch, 2004). In current world, several companies have relocated their budgets from advertising to sales promotion; because of increased emphasis on sales promotion, including a declining loyalty for certain brands.

Publicity and public relations

Again let us look at another set of related terms, Publicity and public relations are usually written in the same sentence. Why? Let us see the definitions of these key words, Publicity is any kind of non personal communications about a product, service, an organization, brand or an idea that not is directly paid (Ries & Rise, 2002). It comes from media activity like a news story, editorial or an announcement about an organization and its products. It is almost like advertising since it involves non-personal communication to a larger mass. What is different is that one will not be able to control it since the company does not directly pay for it (Belch & Belch, 2004). We can say that is a cheap form of marketing. Here one can get a lot of media space without shelling out money. However one cannot control what the newspapers or TV-channels say about your reputation. A positive thing about publicity is that customers have a tendency to understand it as more reliable and perceived to be unbiased (Kotler & Mindak, 1978).

Public relation uses publicity through fund-raising, sponsorships of unique events and several other public activities. In the present scenario, PR firms increasingly ascertain that public relations are a communication tool that handles many functions of conventional advertising and marketing (Neff, 2002). The most successful tourism industries in the world have achieved such a status through efficiency in public relations (Cleist & Kempling, 2011). According to a research carried out by O'Connell (2009), 28% of industries around the globe have failed to grow or maintain attractiveness due to poor implementation of proficient public relations. An interview-based research also indicated that 47% of tourists in 2009 would not re-visit 31% of their first time destinations despite having enjoyed the various attractions offered solely because the industries in those countries lacked professional ethics and manners in handling them. O'Connell (2009) also records that 17% of collapsed tourism industries ended up in such a state simply because word went round concerning unprofessionalism in public relations. Penang should take note of such complains and engage more vigorously in establishing professionalism via public relation promotions. This will assist in building a brand for the industry, enhancing the image, and boosting credibility. More importantly, a study conducted in 2010 in the global tourism industry revealed that every $1 invested towards this course yields a $4 return (Chalice, 2007).

Personal selling

The next element in the promotional mix is personal selling. It is actually a person-to-person communication. In this, seller tries to help and persuade prospective buyers to buy his organization’s products. So in a way this is a direct form of marketing. This form of marketing is highly flexible, and the seller can be in touch with the buyer’s reactions and thereby modify his sales methods. This form of marketing requires a fast feedback procedure and it is possible to conclude if the procedure worked or not (Belch & Belch, 2004). Direct marketing in tourism accounts for 7% of return visits (McCaskey, 2002). However, this has to be combined with excellent services for it to have any effects. Quite on the contrary, McCathy & Johns (2006) after a research indicate that return visits correlate directly to tourist loyalty discounts-, actually the most attractive destinations use this strategy and have enjoyed up to 21% return visits. However minimal the effect may be, Penang state has to realize that direct marketing based on discounts for return visitors can play a major role in helping maintain its current standing in the tourism industry. According to McCathy & Johns (2006), tourists have a way of linking and communicating and most of them have friends and relatives whose curiosity about a destination is aroused by their acquaintances second and third visits. Mullins (2010) adds that the tourism industry has become so competitive that the nations on the cutting edge can only maintain their status by taking advantage of promotional strategies ignored by competitors.

Interactive/Internet marketing

The last tool in promotional mix is Interactive/Internet marketing. This type of marketing facilitates information exchange, where users can participate and change the form and content of the received information in real time (Belch & Belch, 2004). Through Internet customers can take part in the purchasing decision very easily and involve in changing the features of a product. An example is when buying a Dell computer; one can change the features and specifications of their computer. Since Internet is interactive, it is a really good and effective way of communication. Potential tourists already have all the information they need as supplied via the internet making return visits of utmost importance for upcoming industries like Penang.

It is also important to note that almost 76% of tourists have access to the internet from the comfort of their homes while 95% of visitors manage arrangements via the internet (Mullins 2010). Competition in the tourism industry has prompted tourism sectors all over the world to keep a keen eye on excellent websites and the trend becomes more competitive by day. Countries have hired experts to ensure that their websites look comparatively better than those of their competitors do. Unfortunately, the Penang tourism industry has neglected to service and invest in creating a website that is competitive and more interactive. Nicolas (2004) opines that the presence of social networking sites has become a very efficient channel for tourists to communicate and that they are more likely to converse regarding industries that have the best interactive features. Statistics collected in 2011 indicate that tourism industries with the best-designed websites supersede those of the competitor’s traffic by over 56% resulting to increased visits to the actual locations (Simon 2010). It is therefore the responsibility of the Penang tourism operatives to ensure interactive websites promoting the state’s main attractions as well.

Conclusion

Through the assessment relevant literature, it is evident that promotional factors if applied well can lead to new echelons of business for the Penang tourism sector. However, it is also clear that operatives have to indulge in extensive research before employing any promotional strategies to avoid plunging the industry into collapse. The review of literature also indicates that other industries in the world have pioneered in the application of promotional marketing strategies thus deeming it necessary for operatives in the Penang tourism sector to exercise uttermost care to avoid making similar mistakes. It is also clear that ignorance has failed an innumerable number of industries in the tourism arena. This calls for key players in the Penang industry to avoid leaving out essential information and statistics provided by scholars through extensive research. Uniform challenges face tourism industries regardless of geographical location. The review has established that necessary information can provide an opportunity for the Penang industry to thrive and gain a competitive edge even amidst the severest of challenges.

Chapter Three: Research Methodology

Introduction

The research methodology is defined as an approach which is followed by the researchers for carrying out a systematic research (Holloway & Wheeler, 2002). While conducting a research, two points have to be considered: 1) the ultimate purpose of the research and 2) justification for the chosen study (Calder, 1998). This chapter explains the methods employed to focus and arrive at the following research objectives.

  • To explore the tourism industry process in Penang
  • To identify the present position of Penang’s tourism industry and to establish the potential prospects of Penang in the global tourism industry .To highlight the technicalities and possibilities of Penang’s tourism industry using promotional activities for developing the state’s tourism sector
  • To examine the issues and limitations associated with the promotional activities of the Penang industry .To establish the most suitable and attractive promotional activities for the Penang tourism sector.

In this chapter, the data collection methods employed along with the concepts influencing reliability and validity are discussed. The onion model of research created by Saunders et al (2007) is adopted in this research.

In this chapter, the data collection methods employed along with the concepts influencing reliability and validity are discussed. The onion model of research created by Saunders et al (2007) is adopted in this research.

Research Philosophy

The process of developing and shaping research background and knowledge is known as research philosophy. To have clarity about the research methods employed, the researcher has to understand the philosophies behind the research process. Positivism, Interpretivism and Realism are the three types of paradigms generally used in the research philosophy. In this study, the researcher has collected data by reviewing the literature and formulating the hypothesis. Hence, positivism or realism can be apt for this study. Both positivists and realists have a common opinion about data collection. They generally focus on human attitudes, ideas which are stable. But, it is concluded that this research follows the realism approach. The researcher analyses the tourism related issues from interested people and individual tourist perspectives. There are evidences available in the literature for understanding the factors those can influence marketing as well as tourism industry.

To understand research philosophy clearly, three more concepts such as Ontology, Epistemology and Axiology should also be studied. Oncology is basically concerned with form and nature of reality in the researcher’s perceptive, Epistemology is concerned with level of knowledge which is applicable whereas Axiology focuses on the importance of values. As the researcher considers the human related issues and cultural variations, he has adopted Axiological view for his study.

Research Approach

The characteristics and techniques of both qualitative and quantitative research approaches are adopted in this research. In the mixed approach, the selection of appropriate research method is the important step (Saunders et al, 2009). The issues related to clients who claimed some additional logistical facilities are addressed by the researcher. Quantitative and qualitative data are employed in this study. The use of previously available data enabled the researcher to formulate the hypothesis for the research question in the critical review. These questions and the hypothesis established are then validated using the quantitative approach. The study involves mixed method approach as the researcher has collected both qualitative and quantitative data. Mixed research according to Blastus (2009) also complements differences in results, expands validity and makes discoveries unlike in cases where only qualitative and quantitative efforts are used.

Research Methods

Basically three research methods are employed in research. They are:

a. Quantitative Method: The quantitative methods are useful for quantifying the data in order to draw the empirical conclusions. The outcomes of the experimental observation and the arithmetic probabilities of these observations in the form of research hypothesis can be implemented using this approach (Myers, 2000).

b. Qualitative Method: A qualitative method is based more on human perceptions. The behaviour of people in a social or professional background can be well understood with the help of this qualitative research method (Punch, 2005).

c. Mixed Method: The characteristics of both qualitative and quantitative are utilized in the mixed method. So, it would have the advantages of both of these research methods (Hayati, Karami, &Slee, 2006). Some researchers suggest the practice of mixed method in exploratory research on the grounds, where there is no necessity to investigate the survey questions earlier (Gable, 1994; Karami, Rowley, &Analoui, 2006; Scandura& Williams, 2000).

The researcher employs a quantitative approach where a questionnaire as well as interview analysis is done for sufficient and suitable data collection. To arrive at a general conclusion and to confirm the reliable aspect of the research method the quantitative approach will be helpful, whereas the qualitative method is useful for the analysis of the numerical data (Creswell, 2007).

As this study dealt with the dependent and independent variables those are associated with the impacts of promotional activities in the tourism industry especially in the Penang tourism industry, the researcher has adopted multivariate data analysis. The relationship between these variables as well as the impact of promotional activities on future activities could be determined with contributory or causal research (McClausten, 2007).

Study Implementation

Study Setting

Penang State is chosen for carrying out the research.

Target Population

The target population of this study includes tourists, tour operations and experts of tourism field. The researcher surveyed about 45 respondents.

Sampling Method

The process of choosing a portion or subset of employees observed or participating in the study is defined as sample section (Sekran, 2003). To certify for the competence and strictness of the study, care should be given in sample selection. Probability and non-probability sampling practices are the types of sampling method.

Sampling Method Adopted In This Research

As the researcher has observed only a portion of the population, the sample size has become reduced. However, it is necessary to check whether the researcher has carried out the study at least with minimum population. In this study, to pay attention to the above said factor, researcher has adapted to probability sampling method. In accordance to Byrne (2002), the members are observed in a structured manner in probability sampling method . The sampling techniques applied by the researcher in the study are given below.

Systematic Sampling

The systemic sampling method was modified in the study to analyse the tour operator perspective. Nth name selection approach is another name of sampling method. In accordance to Saunders et al (2003), Nth record is chosen from the population using the sampling method. The researcher has examined and carried out survey with every third person entering the ___ area in the current study and they are appealed to answer to the study’s questionnaire. Approval forms are offered to the employees. Random method is applied for selecting the first person while methodological ways are utilised for selecting the second person. Prior to the commencement of data collection process, the experience level of each employee is monitored. Interested employees are offered questionnaires to take part in the study (Tashakkori & Teddlie 2010).

Convenience Sampling

Owing to time and cost restrictions, a portion of whole population is considered for sample selection in this method. The sampling process imagines that the population examined in the study possess analogous characteristics behaviour and other factors. The subjects are selected in general for the study as they are easily reachable (Saunders et al ,2003). Convenience sampling method is utilised in this study for choosing tourists.

Judgement Sampling

Judgement sampling method is employed to select experts from tourism sector, hence their experience and wisdom are analysed prior to selection.

Table 1: Sampling adopted in different stages of sampling (Source: Author)

Stage of Research Type of sampling Target population Reasons
Questionnaire Systematic random sampling Tour operations • Every member of the population should have an equal chance of being selected.
Questionnaire Convenience sampling Tourists • Easy to reach and cover wide people

Sample Size

In order to attain the statistical significance, quantitative studies observe only limited samples. The deviations among the groups and time beyond set limit are established by quantitative studies (Saunders et al, 2007). The sample size for travellers was determined to be 102 and questionnaire was circulated to all respondents in the present study with the expectation of a response rate of 70-80%. The chapter 4 specifies the real response rate attained. But, ‘30 ‘was considered suitable for travel operators, as this was the minimum sample size required.

Data Collection Approach

Primary data:

It is suggested for all the researchers to provide more importance for the primary research data and information than secondary data. The motive behind that is the primary data collection method facilitates researcher to gather information from people in more friendly and stress surroundings. The researcher has adopted questionnaire and interview mode to gather primary data for this study.

Instrument Development:

Questionnaire:

To acquire answers from the tourists and tour operations, the researcher had utilised questionnaire approach. Questionnaires are termed as “methods of data collection in which information is gathered through oral or written questioning” (Collis & Hussey, 2003). In the present study, researcher has employed a closed ended questionnaire which was based on a planned framework. Moreover, within a short period, considerable amount of data collection is permitted by questionnaire method (Creswell, 2006).

Questionnaires have several advantages (Sharon, 2011). When compared to individual or telephone interviews, they are cost-effective and need less administrative knowledge and skills. Using questionnaires, the researchers can collect data from a large number of people in a short period. An effective questionnaire should be developed based on the objectives of the study.

There are four sections in questionnaire. Demographic queries are included in the first section whereas the second section deals with the promotional activities. Efficiency of promotional actions is evaluated in Part III whereas the section IV describes the promotional activities carried out by organization. Likewise, as per understanding of tourists, Part I of questionnaire consists of indicator of performance, subsequently, service quality in (part II), Product (Part II), Accessibility (part IV), People (Part V), Price (Part VI), Promotional mix (Part VII), and Physical evidence (Part VIII). While answering, ranking preferences are provided to the interviewee by five point likert scale questionnaire.

Time Horizons

In general, two types of time horizons are practised for all research studies. Cross sectional design and longitudinal design are those types.

Many repetitive observations of the sample population for an extended time period are engaged in longitudinal design. In longitudinal study, the interpretations are usually done together for weeks to months. Explanation of sample population for a specific time period is involved in cross sectional plan and the researcher defends the motive for adopting cross section study as:

  • • Discrete customers with diverse behaviours and qualities of a big population are observed for information and data collection.
  • • The approach gathers information relevant to different variables like consumers’ wants and needs.
  • • Theories for future as well as present research studies are created by utilising this approach
  • • The approach presents interconnected information which is valuable and favourable for upcoming researchers and academicians.

To expand the knowledge and perspective of experts from the tourism Industry of Penang, the researcher has implemented the interview approach during the course of time. Open ended questions are executed by the researcher to expand significant information and data from the participants.

Pilot Study

To solve the issues and troubles faced by participants during questionnaire and interview process, researcher is suggested to perform the pilot study at the end of explanatory phase (Saunders et al. 2009). The researcher would be able to do some adaptations and changes in the questionnaire framed based on the answers and results of pilot study.

Validity

Based on the cause and motive of the results, validity is explained. As stated by Gray (2009) if the research method attempts to measure the accessible information, validity of the data collection method should be evaluated. Many procedures have been executed to address the necessities of validity in the research (Knight, 2002) . Further, pilot study has also been performed to improve the questionnaire. It was distributed to professors and other experts to acquire appropriate feedback and to make certain of reasonable flow. While creating the final questionnaire, all the feedbacks were recorded.

The use of mixed research gives it an undeniable cutting edge into promotional marketing factors in the tourism industry in general and more specifically the Penang tourism sector. The application of mixed research methodology validates the methodology because there is less room for assumptions and biases despite the broadness of the subject (McClausten, 2007). The use of qualitative methods assists in making sense of unquantifiable information while quantitative methods complement the later by overshadowing disadvantages attached to qualitative research. As the researcher has adopted two research methods in a single study, the reliability as well as the accuracy of the study has become high (Sharon, 2011). It is said that qualitative methods often end up with research bias and this bias can be solved with the use of corresponding quantitative methods (Blastus, 2009).

Reliability

As stated by Gray(2009), reliability is defined as the degree to which the data collection techniques can draw reliable outcomes . The following questions may arise with respect to the reliability of the data collection techniques:

  1. Will the measures provide similar results on other instances?
  2. Do other researchers establish similar observation?
  3. Is there openness in how wisdom evolved from unprocessed data?

This study ensures reliability by recognizing the variables to develop the questionnaire which guarantees that the journals are peer reviewed and accepted, members were offered opportunity to select their suitable responding time, and the time taken to respond the questionnaire should not exceed 15 minutes.

Research Planning

Each study should be regulated in such way that the researcher have to give only the substantiated data. Most of the companies have restricted the unauthorized access to their important data. The researcher has followed stipulated regulations while collecting the data.

Reporting Results and Plagiarism

The researcher has tried his level best to avoid fabrication and falsification of data while performing this study as suggested by (Sharon, 2011). Further, he has used addendum and retraction techniques to correct the erroneous data. He has provided original information as well as proper referencing in this study.

Institutional Approval

The researcher has prepared and submitted the proposal to IRB for approval before staring the data collection procedures. IRB has assessed the ability of study in enhancing value in society and in providing knowledge. IRB has also checked whether the researcher got permission from the organization for collecting data. After confirming the confidentiality and reliability of the study IRB has approved this study.

Consent and Cyberspace

The researcher has used consent forms in order to retrieve information from some sources. To achieve this, he has downloaded and submitted some forms. This is important to make sure that relevant organizations have the awareness and updates on the use of information in research activities.

Ethical Considerations

The researchers have to keep some ethical issues in mind while collecting data from the participants (Sharon, 2011). The researcher of this study has considered the following ethical issues while performing the study as suggested by Blastus (2009).

Research Limitations

The researchers have to keep in mind that there will be some research limitations in spite of the heavy research efforts from them (Blastus, 2009). In this study, the researcher has faced the following limitations:

  • • The researcher has not received feedbacks for some requests those have been sent via email.
  • • Access to important data has been denied in some organizations
  • • There is no adequate data in books in terms of the Penang tourism industry
Data Analysis

Data analysis was done with the aid of SPSS Version 18.0. Calculation of expressive analysis methods like Mean and Standard deviation, frequency and percentage was done in a suitable manner. To examine the link between variables, regression analysis was employed whereas Chi-square was utilised for categorical variables. P value <0.05 was considered significant. Correspondingly for an interview data, similar variables were recognized and assembled along with thematic examination.

Chapter Summary

The researcher of this study has chosen mixed methodology and primary data collection by means of survey and interview for this study. The outcomes from questionnaires and the interviews have been discussed in the next chapter. The conclusion of the proposed research hypothesis has also been discussed there.

Chapter Four: Research Findings

Introduction

Process connotes specific ways of carrying out a particular action. According to Quintana and Mcknown (2012), promotional actions in the tourism sector must incorporate procedures, agendas, mechanisms, actions, and habits practiced within the context of client satisfaction. This is because the entire process portrays the industry’s agenda in fulfilling the wishes of clientele. Winston (2007) opines that some of these procedures take statutory forms demanding compliance to rules and regulations. Other processes within the industry exist to aid easy management of the activities involved. For instance, governments usually demand that visitors should specify the reason for their visits and supply identification information before entry into the country is permitted. Mayor, et al (2007) states that these procedures encompass service delivery mechanisms and clients often fail to draw the line between such demands and the product.

Characteristics of the Tourism Process

Processes within this sector are analyzed depending on intricacy and discrepancy. Intricacy connotes the temperament and string of steps laid out by the industry; that is, unpredictability surrounded by a course of action to suit demands and wishes of the visitors (Solomos, 2008). Every tourism sector depicts the following characteristics.

Complexity

The complexities associated with the process of destination tourism were identified based on the views of the tour operators,

Operator 1: A tourism industry that organizes an assortment of tours to dissimilar locations at varying prices to cater for economic needs and clientele demands simultaneously indulges in complex procedures. The services offered in such a case can be viewed from a customized perspective. Specialization occurs when a sector concentrates in providing a constricted array of services. Tourism firms that cater for economic needs of visitors through provision of transportation and housing facilities operate from a less complicated perspective. Complex tourism services according to Kevin and Wilson (2009) have a standardized nature and not subject to change when dealing with a specific group of customers.

Solomos (2008) opines that complexity increases with increase in the variety of services found within an industry. Such services exist to enable the tourism industry meet various needs presented by assorted segments of clientele population. According to Raul (2009), these give industries the ability to penetrate deeper into the tourism market.

The Penang state tourism industry needs to find out whether the complexity approach serves to enhance or destroy its image. It is commendable that Penang offers services that have given it the capability to cater for and attract various clients. However, the industry has to realize that clients visit the state because of interests in specific sites. This could be useful in beginning to realize the role of specialization rather than continuing to operate from the complex perspective and having a hard time controlling its activities. According to Kevin and Wilson (2009), Penang has lost the competitive advantage over the years due to the inability of its operators to maintain control over all tourism related activities. The industry can therefore regain a competitive edge by adopting a less complex approach that will enable it to cater for all groups of tourists. Restructuring in such a way will make any promotional activities more efficient.

Discrepancy

Solomos (2008) defines discrepancy as the inconsistency of steps and progressions in the tourism process. When discrepancy is limited, it means that visitors are restricted in terms of choices. Despite the fact that such an approach deprives the tourism industry of the essential personal touch, it is advantageous because it allows operatives in the industry to maintain a high echelon of control over service provision and quality (Westphal and Zajac, 2009). Narrow divergence is likely to cause lower costs, standardized quality of services, and enhanced service accessibility. Solomos (2008) argues that most industries tend to enhance divergence if approaches emphasize on role positioning and elevated customization. Highly divergent tourism sectors attend to almost all client needs offering to assist in dealing with the foreign exchange and flight booking among other services (Paula, 2011).

Paula (2011) argues that recovering tourism industries should avoid using highly structured divergent approaches. In the case of Penang, it is advisable for the industry to operate from the perspective of limited discrepancy. This along with the use of promotional factors will enable the industry to regain a consistent flow of clients through offering relatively low costs and provision of quality services. An interview based research activity carried out by Ott (2011) indicated that visitors complained the services offered by the industry had become haphazard and unworthy of high prices charged. This is an indicator that operatives in the industry had lost control over activities while concentrating on economic benefits. The industry thus needs to narrow down its services to ensure quality and regain control over personnel activities. Hacker (2010) in support of such a move argues that recuperating industries should give more attention to control and quality of services rather than running engaging to cater for all client needs.

Customer Satisfaction

Processes within the tourism industry must have the ability to assisting operation of services watching carefully not to disadvantage clients. According to Hacker (2010), the Penang tourism sector has lost its grip on the market because potential clients have to fill in too many applications. This has greatly disadvantaged the industry because clients report to subjection to lengthy processes of acquiring Visa. As reports indicate, tourists have desisted from visiting again even though they had the willingness to go through the process the first time. Bourne (2001) states that damages done by such errors give a hard time to marketing staff and are impossible to correct even through affable approach and pleasing attitude. It is therefore necessary for the Penang tourism sector to simplify such processes to the extent that they become friendly to potential clients. According to Bhui (2009), clients rarely remember good services but images triggering dissatisfaction linger on longer. It is therefore important that the Penang industry consider such factors even prior to engaging in additional promotional activities. Failure to consider such information would mean that promotional activities in the tourism sector have little or no effect at all (Bourne, 2001).

Analysis of Survey Questionnaire Results

Section A: Personal Details

Table 2: Frequency for Gender.

Gender Frequency Percent
MALE 27 90.0
FEMALE 3 10.0
Total 30 100.0

From the figure and table it can be declared that most of the respondents observed for the study are male (90%) and at the same time the researcher also observed 10% of female participants.

Table 3: Frequency for Age (years).

Age (years) Frequency Percent
< 30 3 10.0
31-40 13 43.3
41-50 12 40.0
>50 2 6.7
Total 30 100.0

Figure 6: Frequency for Age (years).

It is evident that majority of the respondents observed for the study belong to the age group 31-40 (43.3%), 41-50 (40%), less than 30 (10%) and more than 50 (6.7%).

Table 4: Frequency for Year of Establishment

Year of establishment Frequency Percent
< 1980 3 10.0
1981-1990 3 10.0
1991-2000 8 26.7
2001-2010 13 43.3
>2011 3 10.0
Total 30 100.0

Figure 7: Frequency for Year of Establishment

It is observed that majority of the firms considered in the study were established during 2001-2010 (43.3%), 1991-2000 (26.7%), before 1990 (20%) and after 2011 (10%).

Table 5: Frequency for Tourism Related Category

Tourism Related category Frequency Percent
Transportation 5 16.7
Retail 2 6.7
Lodging 3 10.0
Tours 18 60.0
Organizations 2 6.7
Total 30 100.0

Figure 8: Frequency for Tourism Related Category

It can be concluded from the table and figure that most of the firms are associated with the tours sector of the industry (60%) and also associated with transportation (16.7%), lodging (10%), organizations (6.7%) and retail (6.7%).

Table 6: Frequency for Total Business Income.

Total business income Frequency Percent
0 1 3.3
1-5 8 26.7
6-10 19 63.3
11-20 1 3.3
>21 1 3.3
Total 30 100.0

Figure 9: Frequency for Total Business Income.

It is concluded from the above figure that most of the respondents observed for the study are investing 6-10% of their total business income. It is also observed that there are also other respondents who make corresponding investments on marketing from their total business income 1-5 (26.7%), more than 11% (6.6%) and make investments for marketing (3.3%).

Table 7: Type of Promotional Activities

Cronbach's Alpha Cronbach's Alpha Based on Standardized Items
- -17.154

Table 8: Promotional Activities

Inter-Item Correlation Matrix Television Radio News Paper Online / Web Personal Selling
Television -0.68 -0.22 -0.22 -0.11
Radio -0.68 0.06 -0.01 -0.25
News Paper -0.22 0.06 -0.36 -0.33
Online / Web -0.22 -0.01 -0.36 -0.32
Personal Selling -0.11 -0.25 -0.33 -0.32

It can be declared from the above correlation matrixes that excluding the association between newspaper and radio, all other association are observed to have negative correlation.

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