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Attracting more tourists by taking account of their cultural background Marinel Gerritsen Professor of Intercultural Business Communication Department.

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Presentation on theme: "Attracting more tourists by taking account of their cultural background Marinel Gerritsen Professor of Intercultural Business Communication Department."— Presentation transcript:

1 Attracting more tourists by taking account of their cultural background Marinel Gerritsen Professor of Intercultural Business Communication Department of Business Communication Studies Radboud University Nijmegen The Netherlands

2 Three aspects of marketing communication of a tourist area that will be dealt with a) Content of the information about the area (text and pictures) b) Communication media used to convey information about the tourist area c) Form of the communication

3 Outline of the paper 1.A model and a hypothesis that indicate that responding to the communicative conventions of the culture of a target group might be an important device in attracting tourists  A communication model  The similarity attraction hypothesis 2.Which elements of culture: visible and/or invisible elements? 3.Applying knowledge of the values of the target group in the marketing communication of a tourist area 4.Adapting to the communication style of the target group 5.Implications for tourist marketers

4 In communication at least two persons are involved Sender A person who sends a message in the form of symbols for example words, pictures Receiver A person who interpretes these symbols and deduces a message from these symbols

5 Effective communication Communication between sender and receiver is most effective if the interpretation of the message by the receiver is similar to what the sender intended to communicate with the message

6

7 SENDER Message Targowski/Bowman Layer-based pragmatic communication model RECEIVER Message Session Link Storage Retrieval Physical Link Audience Link Systems Link Environ- ment Link Functions & Role Symbols Link Behavior Link Value Link L10L9 L7 L6 L5 L4 L3 L2 L8 L1 L6 L5 L4 L3 L2 L1 L7 L8L9L10

8 Twitter in Europe, the more colour the more twitter is used

9 SENDER Message Targowski/Bowman Layer-based pragmatic communication model RECEIVER Message Session Link Storage Retrieval Physical Link Audience Link Systems Link Environ- ment Link Functions & Role Symbols Link Behavior Link Value Link L10L9 L7 L6 L5 L4 L3 L2 L8 L1 L6 L5 L4 L3 L2 L1 L7 L8L9L10

10 10 The marketer of the tourist area has to adapt to the communicative conventions of the target group and has to realize In intercultural marketing communication, what matters is not what you show, but how it is seen, and not what you say but how you are heard

11 Similarity attraction hypothesis The more similar two individuals are, the higher the attraction between them …… and that is precisely what a tourist area wants: attract tourists. Ng et al (2007): Tourist marketers should taken into account cultural similarities between their tourist area and the target group in their image building of a tourist area.

12 Similarity between which elements of a culture play the major role in attracting tourist?

13 13 values rituals heroes symbols practices Model of culture: Hofstede's onion-diagram

14 Symbols

15

16 16 Tea rituals in Japan

17 17 values rituals heroes symbols practices Model of culture: Hofstede's onion-diagram

18 18 Model of culture: The floating ice berg of Edward T. Hall Behavior, customs, language, history 1/9 visible elements Values, perception of the world, way of thinking,presuppositions 8/9 invisible elements

19 Similarity between which elements of the models of culture should be taken account by tourist marketers: the visible or invisible elements? Invisible elements, values

20 Why taking account of the invisible elements?-1 Because tourists travel to see and experience new things, and they can especially observe the visible elements of a culture Two questions that call for further research: 1. Do touristst from high uncertainty avoidance cultures (“what is different is dangerous”) and tourists from low uncertainty avoidance cultures (“what is different is interesting”) differ in the extent to which visible elements of a culture attract them? 2. Do difference between tourist area and target group in all visible aspects of a culture play the same role in attraction?

21 Why taking account of the invisible elements? -2 Values are learned at one’s mother knee By the age of twelve a child has acquired values and because this learning process has taken place so early and unconsciouslousy, a person believes that persons all over the world have the same values

22 22 Six basic values (Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck 1961) 1. Human nature 2. Underlying motives for acting 3. Human Relations 4. Time 5. Space 6. Person-Nature

23 23 16 values anno 2012 and the six basic values of (Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck 1961) 1. Human nature 2. Underlying motives for acting Indulgence-Restraint (Hofstede) Uncertainty Avoidance (Hofstede) Masculinity-Feminity (Hofstede) 3. Human Relations Collectivism-Individualism (Hofstede) Power distance (Hofstede) Particularism-Universalism (Trompenaars) Achieved-scribed status (Trompenaars) Neutral-Affective (Trompenaars) 4. Time Past, present, future (Trompenaars) Polychrony-monochrony (Hall) Confucian Dynamism (Hofstede) 5. Space Personal space (Hall) Private-Public (Hall) Specific-Diffuse (Trompenaars 6. Person-Nature

24 24 16 values anno 2012 and the six basic values of (Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck 1961) 1. Human nature 2. Underlying motives for acting Indulgence-Restraint (Hofstede) Uncertainty Avoidance (Hofstede) Masculinity-Feminity (Hofstede) 3. Human Relations Collectivism-Individualism (Hofstede) Power distance (Hofstede) Particularism-Universalism (Trompenaars) Achieved-scribed status (Trompenaars) Neutral-Affective (Trompenaars) 4. Time Past, present, future (Trompenaars) Polychrony-monochrony (Hall) Confucian Dynamism (Hofstede) 5. Space Personal space (Hall) Private-Public (Hall) Specific-Diffuse (Trompenaars 6. Person-Nature

25 Indulgence versus restraint ( the 6th value of Hofstede (Hofstede, Hofstede, Minkov 2010, p. 281)) Indulgence A tendency to allow relatively free gratification of basic and natural human desires related to enjoying life and having fun Restraint A conviction that such gratification needs to be curbed and regulated by strict social norms

26 Indulgence versus restraint and attracting tourists Content Indulgence: aspects of a tourist area that show that one can have fun, enjoy life and pamper oneself Restraint: aspects of a tourist area that are related to learn something (history, geography, art) Communication media Indulgence: glossy, glamorous Restraint: serious books, flyers

27 Uncertainty avoidance The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations High uncertainty avoidance : “What is different is dangerous” Low uncertainty avoidance: “What is different is interesting”

28 Uncertainty avoidance and attracting tourists Content High uncertainty avoidance: package tours, all inclusive, travelling in groups, well known hotel chains, well known destinations, booking long before the journey, risk free activities, transparency of information (facts and figures), strengthen de confidence of travelers by assuring stability, free insurance, guarantee of personal safety and security Low uncertainty avoidance: new things, adventures, last minutes, bed and breakfast Communication media High uncertainty avoidance: travel agency Low uncertainty avoidance: internet, word of mouth Form of the communication High uncertainty avoidance: precise, facts and figures, information long before the journey will take place Low uncertainty avoidance: last minute information

29 Masculinity versus Femininity Masculine Emotional gender roles are clearly distinct: men are supposed to be assertive, tough and focussed on material success, whereas women are supposed to be more modest, tender and concerned with the quality of life Feminine Emotional gender roles overlap: both men and women are supposed to be modest, tender, and concerned with the quality of life

30 Masculinity versus femininity and attracting tourists Content Masculine: division of gender roles, one can show achievement in personal life and in for example sport and financial soundness during the holiday Feminine: no division of gender roles, environment friendly, sustainability, one helps the population by visiting the area as a tourist, social responsibility, development assistance Communication media Masculine: media that show achievement (glossy magazines) Feminine: simple environment friendly media

31 Collectivism versus Individualism Individualism Ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after him- or herself and his or her immediate family Collectivism People are from birth onward integrated into strong, cohesive in- groups, which throughout people’s lifetime, continue to protect then in exchange for unquestioning loyalty

32 Collectivism versus individualism and attracting tourists Content Collectivistic: to have a holiday with the whole (extended) family and the possibility to travel in groups Individualistic: individual activities that are tailor made to the individual desires Communication media Collectivistic: more reliance on family/ friends or company colleagues for travel information Individualistic: more reliance on the internet Form of the communication Collectivistic: high context, indirect, flowery style, metaphors, narratives Individualistic: low context, direct, facts and figures

33 Power distance The extent to which the less powerful members of institutions and organizations within a country expect and accept that power is distributed unequally

34 Power distance and attracting tourists Content High power distance: highest quality and service, you will be treated as a queen, well known destinations (Montreux!), the most important, powerful and famous people of the world were here too. Low power distance: population of the area is easily approachable Communication media High power distance: glossy, luxurious brochures Low power distance: internet Form of the communication High power distance: show respect to elderly and people with power Low power distance: you will be one of us

35 Past, present, future orientation People differ in the way they think about the past, present and future, w hich of the three is most important and how they are related

36 Past, present, future orientation in a number of countries

37 Past, present, future orientation and attracting tourists Content Past: history, historical monuments, archeology, glorious past Present: modern buildings, modern life, hic et nunc mentality, innovations

38 Polychrony and monochrony In monochronic cultures time is sequentially ordered, one prefers to do one thing at the same time and one does not like to change schedules that are settled In polychronic cultures one likes to do several things simultaneously and schedules are not important and can be changed easily

39 Polychrony and monochrony and attracting tourists Content Polychronic: appointments can be changed easily and time is flexible Monochronic: everything will be organized in the way that is announced before, in time, there will be no changes in schedules Communication media Polychronic: many different media and information about an area has not to be univocal Monochronic: univocal, same information everywhere Form of the communication Polychronic: communication way be woolly Monochronic: facts and figures, direct, logically structured, sound communication

40 40 16 values anno 2012 and the six basic values of (Kluckhohn & Strodtbeck 1961) 1. Human nature 2. Underlying motives for acting Indulgence-Restraint (Hofstede) Uncertainty Avoidance (Hofstede) Masculinity-Feminity (Hofstede) 3. Human Relations Collectivism-Individualism (Hofstede) Power distance (Hofstede) Particularism-Universalism (Trompenaars) Achieved-scribed status (Trompenaars) Neutral-Affective (Trompenaars) 4. Time Past, present, future (Trompenaars) Polychrony-monochrony (Hall) Confucian Dynamism (Hofstede) 5. Space Personal space (Hall) Private-Public (Hall) Specific-Diffuse (Trompenaars 6. Person-Nature

41 Communication style

42 The Context theory of Edward T. Hall Cultures differ in the extent to which they use context and situation for the interpretation of a message In high-context cultures, most of the meaning of a message is deduced from the context in which the words occur, for example non- verbal communication, and the setting of the communication In low-context cultures, the meaning of a message is primarily deduced from the words

43 Context and attracting tourists Form of the communication High context: implicit, indirect, flowery, narrative, poetry-like, non-verbal Low context: explicit, direct, to the point, no waste of words Communication media High context: media with a high information richness ( face-to-face communication, travel agencies) Low context: media with a low information richness (travel guides, e- mail, letter, text message, twitter )

44 Implications for tourist marketers Determine target markets Adapt the communication about a tourist destination to the communicative conventions of the culture of the target group regarding: -content (text ánd pictures), -communicaiton media used to convey the message -form of the message This implies market segmentation and different marketing approaches for different target groups (Reisinger and Turner 2002, Frias et al 2011) Suggestion: web sites tailor made for each target group. Just as tourist areas have web sites in different language they could have web sites for different cultures (reduction of costs by asking students from the target group cultures to help with content and design)

45 Consequences for education of tourist marketers Future tourist managers should have knowledge about the cultural background of their customers (Tsang and al 2007).

46 More information:


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