Destination branding: a qualitative analysis of Bournemouth's projected image as a UK seaside resort

Panousi, Sofia (2009) Destination branding: a qualitative analysis of Bournemouth's projected image as a UK seaside resort. Masters thesis, London Metropolitan University.


The projected tourism image is critical to the success of any destination. As tourism destinations become more substitutable due to increasing competition in global tourism markets, destination image is seen as a viable metaphor for building destinations brands and crafting a unique identity for tourism places. Increased competition among international tourism destinations has turned many countries to seek growth from destination branding and positioning strategies. The most popular type of destination of interest for branding and positioning studies has been countries followed by states and cities and very few studies have focused on seaside resorts.
Despite several research enquiries concerning the branding of tourist destinations, little research attention has been given to the branding tourism image of seaside resorts and specifically to the projected tourism images of seaside resorts such as in the case of this study Bournemouth.
The objectives of this study are to critically assess the range of promotional techniques which tourism marketers undertake in order to market Bournemouth effectively; to identify the effective promotional factors that tourism marketers use to advance the projected image; to determine the past and present projected tourism image of the resort; to examine its brand personality from the perspective of tourism marketers and finally to identify the projected tourism image of Bournemouth that tourism marketers promote through marketing communications such as promotional tourism brochures and online information sources.
This study adopted a qualitative method and particularly grounded theory approach combined with a case study method. The use of grounded theory in destination branding research provides a significant addition to the current literature and enables a depth of insight not yet achieved in previous research. Semi-structured interviews were used with 25 tourism marketers from various tourism organisations of Bournemouth as the primary data source supplemented by the textual and visual content analysis of the tourism brochures and the tourism promotional website of Bournemouth to provide a fuller picture of this rather complex destination image phenomenon.
The findings reveal that the effective promotional factors that tourism marketers use in order to advance the resort’s projected tourism image are the promotion of multiple images, the positive diverse slogans, the resort’s tourism promotional website and its complex brand identity. This study suggested that the present projected tourism image of the resort has a multidimensional image and its brand composes of thirteen personality characteristics such as vibrant, cosmopolitan, youthful, ambitious, active, creative, confident, friendly, enjoyable, talkative, amusing, fashionable and changeable. This thesis makes substantial contributions to the study of destination branding and especially to the projected images of seaside resorts. Previous research examining the projected images of tourism destinations is sparse, with even fewer studies examining the projected images of UK seaside resorts.

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