In marketing terms the Ecotourism Ireland Label makes it easier for visitors
to find high quality experiences and guarantees a high quality of delivery of
the services. It becomes both an image for promoters and is also a reassuring
factor for visitors that their holiday is the genuine article. Finally the label makes it easier for tour operators to promote ecotourism experiences to potential visitors and drives the development of new, innovative and genuine ecotourism travel products.
MARKET ANALYSIS AND MARKETING PLAN
An ecotourism business cannot succeed without effective marketing. Market
research will allow you to establish pricing, distribution and promotional
strategies for your ecotourism product or service. In order to create your marketing plan, you need to:
• Define your Market – Define the total ecotourism market in terms of
size, structure, growth prospects, trends and sales potential. As
already discussed, refer to published statistics available from Fáilte Ireland,
Tourism Ireland or the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. Then define
your target market, which is your chosen segment of the overall market
• Project your Market Share – Estimate the size of the target market
you plan to capture. For example, you may estimate that your business will capture 30% of tourists visiting your region, who are seeking an ecotourism health and wellness experience.
• Analyse the competition – List the strengths and weaknesses of each competitor and compare your product or service to theirs. Define your competitive advantages. They can be as simple as having a small library on responsible travel available for your guests to a gourmet welcome hamper full of locally produced food for their first evening meal.
MARKETING AND SALES STRATEGY
• Once you have projected a reasonable market share you will now need to outline how your ecotourism business will achieve that share, through a marketing and sales strategy. Set out your promotion plan, or a list of points
which show how you will sell your product or service. Take account of
what your competitors are doing, and how they are getting publicity.
Which publications are they in, and which ones would you like to be in? How quickly can you find them on a search engine and what’s different about their websites?
• Show what the price of your product or service will be. The price charged
must be enough to cover costs and make a profit. It must also be competitive, taking into account the quality of your product or service as well as your competitors’ prices.