The Island Image: A Means of Segmentation
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The success of tourism, at a destination, is often accredited to the strength of its marketing; yet, the marketing environment is changing at a fast pace where developments in digital technology have had a profound effect on marketing strategies. Furthermore, the increased accessibility of long and short haul travel has resulted in greater competition for tourist visits among destinations. Such changes present a challenge for cold water island destinations with a seasonal tourism product and limited resources for destination marketing. The ability of such destinations to adopt target marketing strategies, using meaningful segmentation criterion, is of great importance for their future success. For cold water islands, it is vital that the promotional message resonates with the target audience, as such, an image segmentation is proposed. Although tourist segmentation is well practiced in tourism research, existing studies focus on socio-demographic or behavioural segmentation. Few studies have conducted image based segmentation, thus, this thesis explores the feasibility of image segmentation in cold water island destinations; using the Isles of Scilly as a case study. In this thesis image segmentation is used to develop a typology of visitors to the Isles of Scilly, and the intrinsic relationships between destination image, motivation, behaviour, evaluation and place attachment are also explored. Due to the difficulties in measuring image, a mixed method approach was adopted and a concurrent triangulation design employed. Quantitative data were collected from 500 ii respondents visiting the Isles of Scilly, by means of a face-to-face questionnaire, and a further 15 in-depth interviews formed the qualitative sample. Quantitative data were analysed using Exploratory Factor Analysis and K-means Cluster Analysis, while qualitative data were analysed using Thematic Content Analysis. The findings of this thesis revealed the feasibility of image segmentation, through the creation of a six-fold typology of visitors to the Isles of Scilly. Both theoretical and practical implications were derived from this study. The most significant theoretical contribution of this research is that offered to the understanding of image segmentation, as this is the first study conducted in the context of cold water islands. Theoretical contributions were also made with regard to the intrinsic relationships between destination image and motivation, behaviour, evaluation and place attachment. While findings of this study agreed with those of past research, valuable contributions are also offered. Notably, this study adds to a body of work relating to the relationships between complex image and motivation, on-site behaviour, evaluation and place attachment. Additionally, this study adds to tourism knowledge, where the role of on-site behaviour in the formation of positive image, and the influence of participation in special interest tourism, on the formation of destination image are identified. Furthermore, practical recommendations are provided in relation to marketing of the Isles of Scilly where lucrative image segments are identified. Finally, through the understanding of destination image, this thesis proposes seasonal marketing campaigns and the development of special interest tourism, with a focus on wildlife, in order to successfully promote and develop tourism in the Isles of Scilly.