Benchmarking Best Practices of the BRIC Nations: Study of E-Marketing in Tourism

Benchmarking Best Practices of the BRIC Nations: Study of E-Marketing in Tourism

Cynthia H. W. Corrêa (University of São Paulo, Brazil)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0708-6.ch003


Electronic marketing (e-Marketing) is fundamental to ensure an efficient benchmarking and strengthen brands by the online promotion of tourism destinations. In the current scenario, the BRIC nations come to the fore as corporate tourism destinations and also are integrating the ranking of the ten leading holiday destinations in 2014, by some visitors. The objective of this study is to evaluate the e-Marketing strategies of the BRIC members to identify best practices for benchmarking from the use of information and communication technologies to launch them as global destinations. This research was developed through literature review and an analysis of the official tourism websites, mobile applications, profiles on social media and sharing sites. As the primary results, Brazil, India and South Africa have the best benchmarking performances, although all the countries need to invest in e-Marketing, to reinforce the online presence for stimulating the interest of the public.
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Information and communication technologies (ICTs) and the Internet are competitive tools for the global promotion of tourism destinations, being essential to adopt electronic Marketing (e-Marketing) strategies to consolidate the destination’s brand and image. Electronic promotion of tourism destinations or e-Destinations is fundamental to increase visibility in the context of digital tourism or e-Tourism. No wonder destination marketing organisations (DMOs) have invested in their online presence (Buhalis & Wagner, 2013) via mobile or fixed Internet access, understood as central to disseminate information related to the sector.

Particularly with the possibility of the travellers themselves divulge some destinations through social media and other Web 2.0 resources (Bowen, 2015), promotion and focus on best practices for interacting with consumers have become a necessity for destination managers, marketers and other decision-makers and operators. Moreover, when one considers that social media plays a meaningful role in numerous aspects of tourism, mostly in information search and decision-making behaviours, by the proliferation of user-generated content – UGC (Zeng & Gerritsen, 2014).

Therefore, a disclosure of tourism destinations is one of the main goals of websites and official portals by providing content and resources aimed at satisfying the needs of tourists (Díaz-Luque, Guevara-Plaza, & Antón-Clave, 2006).As the Web has become a key factor in the tourism industry, several methodologies and criteria have been developed and applied for evaluating the effectiveness of Destination-marketing efforts, for instance, the benchmarking method to analyse its competitive position (Kozak, 2002; Li & Petrick, 2007).In the Kozak’s view (2002), benchmarking is “the continuous measurement and improvement of an organization’s performance against the best in the industry to obtain information about new working methods or practices” (p. 499).

In the line of best practices benchmarking studies about tourism destinations established on the analysis of the efficient use of technologies, there are investigations such as from Reino, Frew and Mitsche (2014), Mistilis, Buhalis and Gretzel (2014), Buhalis and Wagner (2013), and Mich and Hull (2012). To Buhalis and Wagner (2013), it is necessary to create a permanent framework of e-Destinations worldwide to identify the strengths and weaknesses of destinations regarding benchmarking. Afterward, all DMOs take note of its position in the rankings to remain competitive.

Present-day, in the world tourism scenario, it has observed a growth trend of the BRIC countries, embracing Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, as corporate tourism destinations. According to the annual global forecast and outlook for the business market 2012-2016, produced by The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) in 2011, emerging markets similar to Brazil, Russia, India and China grew 15% in spending on corporate travel. The result exceeded the performance of the United States and Western Europe. Passing these four countries increased 4.6% to $ 1.07 trillion (Galeno, 2012). The upward trend in the tourism sector continues as showed by the recent reports of the World Travel Market Industry. Also the ranking of the ten leading international holiday destinations in 2014, by number of visitors, is formed by China and Russia (Statista Inc., 2015).

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