The tourism sector has been, for the past centuries, a vital factor of socio-economic progress, leading to the development of organizations, services and new areas for tourism purposes. Tourists’ are once again confronted with incessant choices about products and services. However, without the proper differentiation tactics, customers will continue to buy based on price, causing margins to reduce due to the always present cost-oriented strategies. The boundaries between success and failure are thinner and the lack of success is more frequent. Moreover, at a time, the market has been extended to the digital world. Tourists have different needs and expectations wanting more than simple offerings or more than the consumption of a simple product/service. In addition, the investment tourists’ make (e.g. time, effort, and money into traveling to unfamiliar environments) turns their decision-making process more complex. The reason lies in their search for engagement and experiences, to stimulate their senses, emotions, and memories. Tourists’ behaviours and perceptions (e.g. destination image) influence where, what, why, who, how, and when they share on the social media their moods and experiences. Such actions can be considered a complement and a reminder of the broad and composite nature of tourism (i.e. besides living the experience, it is also necessary to share it with others).
Tourism managers have to consider, not only their promotion efforts. They need also to evaluate their employee satisfaction since it influences the quality of the service (.e.g hospitality industry) and experience which is provided to tourists. In this context, tourists are more conscious, that due to organizations’ cost-related strategies they may be receiving less value. In opposition, tourism managers must, therefore, offer more with less (e.g. financial and human resources).
In this sense, marketing experts, today like in the past, play a key role connecting the market offer with the tourism demand, engaging customers and creating long-lasting relationships centered around added value and unique selling propositions. However, as noted previously, marketing is continuously challenged by tourists’ expectations, motivations or desired memorable experiences. These driving factors behind tourists’ purchase of holidays are not clear. Consequently, stakeholders, academia and tourism managers, must remember how important it is to understand tourists’ “personal world” embodied of senses, emotions, and meanings.
Guest-Editors: Nelson Matos, Manuela Guerreiro, Júlio Mendes and Bernardete Sequeira