“Each attraction can be perceived to have distinct levels of

fl agshipness and iconicity, which can affect the destination’s word of mouth either directly or indirectly,” the team stated. “This fi nding suggests an innovative means of destination marketing.”

Marketing tools

The researchers said tourism destination marketers could make use of perceived fl agshipness and iconicity to help promote a destination. Attractions with greater perceived fl agshipness could be used in a way to generate additional word of mouth about such attractions that, in turn, could be translated into destination recommendations. “Tourists’ visits to destinations can originate from their

preference for these fl agship attractions,” the researchers wrote. “The service quality of, and tourist satisfaction with, these fl agship attractions are therefore important in driving attraction loyalty and the destination loyalty further.” On the other hand, the study said attractions with a greater

level of perceived iconicity could be promoted in close relationship with their respective destination for effective destination marketing. That is because the perception of iconicity was found to directly impact the word of mouth recommendations for a destination. “The marketing efforts and identifi cation process can take effect simultaneously for both the attraction brands and destination brands involved,” the research paper suggested. “The tourists may plausibly attach the attraction closely to the destination as they feel culturally authentic.” The researchers stated that iconic attractions and the

destination where these were located could “be interwoven more strategically to attract tourist attention and promote word-of-mouth recommendation about the destination”. The study included recommendations for Macau as a

tourism destination. “The Macau government can consider injecting more iconic components and storytelling about relevant attractions in destination marketing campaigns so as to diversify tourists’ travel motives,” the paper said. “The Ruins

18 DECEMBER 2020

of St. Paul’s, Senado Square and Rua do Cunha can be highlighted for their symbolic representativeness of Macau. Their evolution, development and interesting histories can be shared as part of a destination marketing campaign.”

More info The researchers

Dr Bill Xu Jing is a senior lecturer at the Division of Business and Hospitality Management – College of Professional and Continuing Education in The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He holds a PhD from the same university. His teaching and scholarly interests include customer experience, quality service management in hospitality and tourism, research methods, and theme park and cruise line management. Dr Connie Loi Kim Ieng was appointed earlier this year

Vice-President of the Macao Institute for Tourism Studies (IFTM). She graduated from the Institute in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Tourism Business Management and a high diploma in Hotel Management. She subsequently earned a PhD in Tourism from James Cook University in Australia. Her research interests include tourist behaviour, destination marketing, tourism and hospitality service quality, and tourism product management. IFTM assistant professor Dr. Frances Kong Weng Hang has a PhD from Nottingham Trent University, in the United Kingdom. Her research interests include tourism planning and development, and disabled travellers. At IFTM, she teaches topics related to tourism.

The paper Jing (Bill) Xu, Kim Ieng Loi and Weng Hang Kong: “The effects of perceptions of fl agshipness and iconicity on word of mouth for attractions and destinations”, Journal of Vacation Marketing, Volume 26, Issue 1, pages 96-107, 2020.

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