Date of Graduation

12-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Environmental Science (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

General Human Environmental Sciences

Advisor

Godwin C. Ogbeide

Committee Member

Marta D. Collier

Second Committee Member

Robert Harrington

Abstract

Travel and tourism has been recognized as being an important driver of jobs, growth and economic recovery in the United States. Meetings, events and incentive travel contribute $98.7 billion of the direct spending, $15.0 billion in taxes and 859,000 jobs. As a result, destination marketing organizations (DMOs) in the United States are taking advantage of this impact for growth in their destinations. As a destination marketing organization's main job responsibility is to promote their destination to attract visitors, which requires superior marketing strategies to achieve these goals.

This research investigates the marketing strategies of DMOs in the United States. The specific purposes of the paper are: (1) to explore the incentives and marketing strategies used by DMOs to attract clients to a destination (2) to explore the importance of the strategic marketing features on a destination's desirability and (3) to provide the most effective destination marketing strategies for promoting a destination.

The data for this study were obtained by way of a survey and documentation. The target population for this study was DMOs in the United States of America and the unit of analysis was each individual DMO. The sample limitation for this study was destinations with populations less than 300,000. The sample selection acquired from the DMAI membership list for this study was a convenience sample consisting of 142 DMOs. Out of 142 surveys, 19 were collected and 13 were usable. Therefore, the data from 13 respondents were analyzed in this study. Descriptive statistics (Mean, Percentage, and Frequencies) were used to analyze the data collected for this study.

The results of the research reveal the importance of when DMOs are developing the marketing strategies for promoting their destination, there are some key elements that should be involved in their planning for success in attracting groups, (1) incorporating valued incentives, (2) using the most effective marketing strategies such as word-of-mouth and (3) enhancing and promoting the features of their destination, such as accessibility, cost of living, attractions, facilities and services, and image, brand and perception .

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