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Revising the basic principles of integrated marketing communications during a health-related crisis: the case of Croatian tourism and hospitality industry

Maja Šerić (Department of Marketing and Market Research, University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain)
Maria Vernuccio (Department of Management, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy)
Alberto Pastore (Department of Management, Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy)

Corporate Communications: An International Journal

ISSN: 1356-3289

Article publication date: 26 February 2024

Issue publication date: 20 March 2024

159

Abstract

Purpose

Aligning corporate communications through different information sources is a great challenge for marketers, especially those operating in the tourism sector, which has been harshly affected by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. This paper provides a deep analysis of the implementation of seven basic principles of the integrated marketing communications (IMC) paradigm in a crisis situation.

Design/methodology/approach

In-depth interviews with tourism and hospitality service providers were conducted in the fourth quarter of 2021 in Croatia, a destination that showed remarkable results in terms of the number of international tourist arrivals during the pandemic.

Findings

Most firms successfully transitioned from tactical to strategic IMC implementation. Some problems were reported in the coordination of communication tools and channels. Whereas the use of digital technology was enhanced, database management did not receive sufficient attention. Message clarity represented the greatest challenge, while consumer-centric communication was the most neglected principle. Relationship building was pursued mainly through B2B rather than B2C communication, whereas brand equity development pursued through communication mix mostly focused on increases in awareness, perceived quality and attitudinal loyalty.

Research limitations/implications

This research is qualitative in nature and provides opinions on IMC adoption from the managerial perspective only.

Practical implications

This paper provides guidelines for the successful integration of marketing communications (marcom) in an extremely ambiguous and uncertain environment.

Originality/value

The contribution of this work lies in the proposal of a new refined and expanded theoretical framework of IMC principles and numerous marcom strategies for operating during the COVID-19 pandemic, thus providing relevant implications for academia and industry.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work has been developed under the R+D+I Project GV/2021/176, funded by Conselleria de Innovación, Universidades, Ciencia y Sociedad Digital – Generalitat Valenciana.

Citation

Šerić, M., Vernuccio, M. and Pastore, A. (2024), "Revising the basic principles of integrated marketing communications during a health-related crisis: the case of Croatian tourism and hospitality industry", Corporate Communications: An International Journal, Vol. 29 No. 2, pp. 257-278. https://doi.org/10.1108/CCIJ-05-2023-0081

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2024, Emerald Publishing Limited

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