A framework for a destination reputation management process: A case study of three destinations
The thesis to be discussed in this paper is at the middle to late stage of development. Since the 2005 Otago PhD Colloquium I have completed the first stage of data collection and am currently analysing the data from this exploratory stage. This paper introduces PhD research into communications management in tourism destinations, where it is proposed that in order to manage the reputation of the destinations as a whole, proactive communication and cooperation between stakeholders is necessary. An application of network (Hakansson and Snehota 1995) theory to destinations provides the basis for the discussion of how effective communication facilitates the strategic interaction between relevant industry players and their stakeholders in order to develop a sustainable competitive advantage for the destination. Theories of corporate communications management (Cornelissen 2004; Goodman 2000) and reputation management (Fombrun and Shanley 1990; Fombrun 1996; Fombrun and Van Riel 2004; Greyser 1999) are used as examples of these processes in large corporate organisations. The key argument is that just like large corporate structures, tourism destinations need to communicate effectively, internally and externally, They are socio-economic organizations and their profit objectives need to be well balanced with the social and environmental concerns of stakeholders in order for tourism to be a legitimate method of economic development in regions that are dependent on it (Flagestad and Hope 2001). Therefore, it is necessary to see beyond the business networks that operate at a destination level and open the analysis to the interaction amongst all stakeholders that form parts of the social context in which economic action is embedded. Three comparative cases, Wanaka in New Zealand, Åre in Sweden and St Moritz in Switzerland are examined in two research stages to construct a model of communication dynamics amongst stakeholders within tourism destinations. The thesis aims to provide both theoretical contributions to strategic network management as well as tourism destination management and practical guidance for practitioners who are managing in the context of destination networks.The paper presented here will briefly introduce the relevant literature and then move on to a more detailed discussion of research propositions and methodological issues, which are presently most relevant to the development of the thesis. No results will be presented in this paper, since the data analysis is still in progress, but first results will be available for presentation at the Colloquium. For this reason, the paper is intended to provide an overview of what has been done so far and how it was done, so that discussants will be able to understand the results when they are presented. These results will provide the basis for a more detailed second round of data collection.
Conference: Otago Business PhD Colloquium, Otago, New Zealand
Keywords: communications management; tourism destinations; network theory; effective communication; corporate communications management,
Research Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)