Examination of the image projected through photographs used in marketing materials can enable managers to identify opportunities for creating differentiated positioning in the marketplace. However, the impact of image projected through photographs has not received much attention in academic literature. This paper aims to establish a methodology using dynamic indices that allow a systematic comparative evaluation of the image projected through photographs used in marketing materials of lodging properties located in competing destinations. It also provides an empirical examination of the type of image projected through photographs of lodging properties in those destinations.
Analysis was conducted using a content analysis methodology. A total of 17,187 photographs of 5,820 lodging properties located in 15 different tourism destinations over a period of eight years were examined.
Results revealed that the proposed methodology based on dynamic comparative indices is appropriate for determining the projected image of lodging properties. The dynamic indices, which categorise photographs in three main categories: subject (people), activities (actions carried out) and contextualisation (location), allowed a systematic evaluation of the image projected of lodging properties in competing destinations. Results of the empirical analysis indicated important differences in the image projected through photographs among lodging properties located in 15 destinations.
This study provides the industry and destination marketing organisations (DMOs) with a useful and simple tool for comparatively evaluating the image projected by tourism accommodations. The methodology proposed enables managers to identify the current image and the changes in the image of their lodging properties, their destinations and those of their main competitors over the years, thus providing opportunities for development of more effective differentiation and positioning strategies in their respective target markets.
The proposed tool provides a methodology that can be used to categorise and evaluate the image represented on the photographs used in marketing materials to ensure the projection of the intended image. Furthermore, the proposed methodological tool enables managers to monitor the image projected through photographs used in competitors’ marketing materials and identify changes in their image projected over time.
This work was supported by the Canarian Agency for Research, Innovation and Information Society (ACIISI) co-financed by the European FEDER Fund, under the project 2017010116. The authors fully acknowledge financial support for this work by the European FEDER Fund through Project ECO2017-82842-R from the Ministerio de Ciencia y Competitividad de España (MINECO/AEI/FEDER, UE).
Picazo, P., Moreno-Gil, S. and Gursoy, D. (2019), "Analysis of the projected image of tourism accommodations: a methodological proposal", International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 31 No. 8, pp. 3325-3351. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJCHM-05-2017-0276
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