Tourism is an important component of the big business of leisure that sells a destination or a place product. The characteristics of a place product are:
· Spatial scale: a place is inevitably one component in the hierarchy of spatial scale, a characteristic unique to the place product. The potential holidaymaker buying Goa may be simultaneously purchasing other levels of hierarchy – the hotel, India, east etc. A different structured hierarchy may create a different product.
· Multi sold: The same destination, the same facilities etc. can be sold to different groups of consumers for different purposes.
· The place may be viewed differently in tourist origin area and tourist destinations inclusive of travel in the former and exclusive in the latter.
A place product is distinguished by variety of businesses and experiences obtainable at that place. Each individual consumes a unique selection of these products. As a consequence, place product is marketed by destination agencies without a clear idea of nature of product being consumed.
A Tourism Product = Place Product + Travel
Segmentation On The Basis Of the Place Product
The segmentation can be product focused and can therefore be done on the basis of types of destinations. Destinations can be segmented in broadly three segments:
b) man made( cities , theme parks )
2. Travel as the destination – cruise liners, trains (toy trains).
3. The stay as the destination – resorts, hotel cum palace etc.
The real locations will always continue to lure people. It will be difficult to replicate the experience of visiting the real thing. However, the most inventive solution is to shed history and natural environment and create destinations from a scratch. These artificial locations can be purpose built and can be altered to suit the requirements of changing times.
One of the important examples of an artificial location is the city of Las Vegas. It started from a single industry-gambling-destination. The secret of success of Las Vegas did not lie in gambling but its ability to help people escape to a different world. However, the secret of continued success of Las Vegas lies in its continuous innovation. Today, it has become one of the top convention cities in America.
Another important area in this field has been the concept of theme park pioneered by Disneyland. They have started the process of creating look-alike of the existing destinations, or new attractions. The advantage of creating such destinations is that they can be bigger, more reliable than the existing destinations. Besides, they can be renovated, scrapped and modified.
Disneyland theme parks are the biggest tourist draws. Disney researches the audience’s needs and then creates it. The company’s biggest works are simulation of real things, not inventions. At Disneyland in Anaheim, for example, the company is building California Adventure, a microcosm of the state, which will allow the tourist to visit the state in one day.
America has 600 theme parks and half of the Americans have visited at least one of them.
2. Travel as a destination
Increasingly the ship, the railway etc. are not just a means of travel: they are the destination. With increasing popularity of cruise liners, cross-country trains, travel has emerged as an exciting destination. Besides comfortable stay and reasonable prices, these options provide a unique environment. They provide the opportunity of seeing popular locations, often without passport or visa hassles.
For the operators it is very profitable deal .The occupancy of cruise liners is higher as compared to hotels. In addition, cruise passengers, unlike hotel guests have to take meals in the ship itself, generating additional revenue.
Modern cruise ships are floating artificial destinations offering a full resort worth of entertainment. Like the tourism business, at large, these cruise liners are divided into two categories: big liners for a wholesome entertainment and small cruise liners for niche segments – nature watch, historical sites etc.
In India, the Palace on Wheels has become an ideal example in which the tourists travel in a train in a style reminiscent of the maharajas; where travel is the destination.
3. The stay as the destination:
With the increasing numbers of palaces converted into hotels, hotels trying to recreate natural environments and resorts the stay has become a destination. The success of Sun City, with massive promotion through beauty pageants has made people look as hotels not merely as a place to stay but a destination. This concept is also represented in the palace cum hotels and heritage hotels in India. The hotels themselves have become ‘the show’.