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Marketing of rural tourism – a study based on rural tourism lodgings in Portugal

Lúcia Pato (Agrarian Scholl of Viseu, Instituto Politecnico de Viseu, Viseu, Portugal)
Elisabeth Kastenholz (Department of Economics, Management, Industrial Engineering and Tourism, Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal)

Journal of Place Management and Development

ISSN: 1753-8335

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the marketing actions developed for rural tourism lodgings and the effect of these actions on lodgings’ performance.


Data were collected with a questionnaire-based survey, addressing promoters of rural tourism supply in Portugal and were analysed using SPSS. Descriptive analysis was undertaken along with a cluster analysis aimed at identifying groups of suppliers according to the types marketing activities they carried out.


Results show that the majority of the suppliers are engaged in other professional activities, aside from running a tourist lodging. These “other activities” provide the bulk of lodging suppliers’ household income. Moreover, they dedicate very little of their time to managing the tourism lodging and develop few marketing activities. Despite this, there is a small group of lodging suppliers who, even though in minority, show a more entrepreneurial and professional attitude regarding marketing actions. They are correspondingly more successful and more satisfied with the performance of their business.

Research limitations/implications

A more qualitative in-depth case study approach with a systematic triangulation of findings from diverse sources and approaches might have permitted an even deeper understanding of some of the results, such as the reasons for the identified passivity of suppliers or their lack of marketing initiatives, as well as possible solutions to overcome these identified barriers.


This study is important, as there is little existing work connecting rural tourism and marketing. Apart from providing knowledge from theory, the empirical results indicate from a practical perspective some of the potential benefits of assuming a marketing perspective in rural tourism.



A word of sincere appreciation to the two referees and the editor for their insightful comments and suggestions.


Pato, L. and Kastenholz, E. (2017), "Marketing of rural tourism – a study based on rural tourism lodgings in Portugal", Journal of Place Management and Development, Vol. 10 No. 2, pp. 121-139.



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