Adventure Sports Tourism in Dubai: An analytical study of effectiveness of media communication

Written by Adnan Yahya, Master of Global Business (MGB) student. SP Jain School of Global Management – Class of 2015.

Adventure tourism is one of the most rapidly growing segments or niches of the global tourism economy. Although the current state of the international adventure tourism industry is dominated by developed countries, there are opportunities in many parts of the developing world for the promotion of both ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ adventure tourism operations.

Dubai has a strong reputation of being a tourist friendly country and people come with an intention to spend on adventure and experiences, it necessitates that the companies providing adventure sports services understand which form of marketing communication would be most useful in attracting people who are interested. There is a mismatch between the platforms that are widely used by people that might be useful for adventure sports service marketers and the platforms that are presently being used by them.

This research is typically important for adventure sports service providers as it would equip them with the precision of understanding the marketing communication platforms that work the best for adventure tourism industry. The research is also significantly useful for the Dubai Government and various Tourism players as it would enable to enhance the effectiveness of their positioning Dubai as a tourist paradise by being able to communicate with the people on a more interactive and result oriented level.

Friedman’s Test is the main statistical test to analyse the data collected from the survey. It will be used to rank each of the marketing communications techniques. The marketing communications techniques are also ranked in based on the identified four factors, i.e. Trust, Attention, Time spent and engagement, to give alternative strategies to the government, travel agencies, and companies. Wilcoxon’s signed rank test is used as a post hoc test after analysing the mean ranks for the top 3 marketing media for each factor.

Objectives:

1. To rank each type of marketing communication according to its effectiveness in affecting the willingness of customers to avail of adventure sports service.
2. To establish the characteristics of an effective media channel and draw a link between the characteristics and the customers’ willingness to avail.
3. To understand which characteristics prompt customers the most to avail the adventure sports service.

Adventure Tourism and Dubai

UNWTO divided travelers into three categories: The Grazers who are ticking off experiences on their bucket list, the Adventurers who look for a mix of soft and hard adventure, and the Enthusiasts, who travel off the beaten track. To shape the vision of the region and to be positioned as an adventure travel destination, UAE planned to undergo collaborations on visas, marketing, product development, health and safety standards, training and guides which will help them to build capacities, and can change perceptions.

According to Manal Kelig, executive director of the Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA), the adventure travel sector is valued at $263 billion annually, having grown a whopping 195% within two years. In the Middle East, annual visitor arrivals are estimated at 101 million by 2020 and 149 million by 2030. This shows a high potential for the industry and hence asks for a refinement of the understanding of marketing communications with special reference to adventure sports industry.
New forecast from Zenith predicts that, globally, mobile will comprise 71% of internet time this year. The dominant force in media consumption, though? TV, with 38% of global media consumption this year, compared to the internet’s 31%.

This research is typically important for adventure sports services providers as it would equip them with the precision of understanding the marketing communication platforms that work the best for adventure tourism industry.
The influx of tourists and immigrants in Dubai is on the rise and vast number of population have a have high levels of disposable income which includes local as well as international population. Since Dubai has a strong reputation of being a tourist friendly country and people come with an intention to spend on adventure and experiences, it necessitates those companies providing adventure sports services understand which form of marketing communication would be most useful in attracting people who are interested in adventure sports. There is a mismatch between the platforms that are widely used by people that might be useful for adventure sports service marketers and the platforms that are presently being used by them.

The research consisted of both primary and secondary data collection. Secondary research was conducted through literature review from academic journals on different marketing techniques and their application in tourism and adventure tourism. Journals on Dubai tourism was also studied to gain a deeper understanding of the market and to formulate a more effective strategy after the findings of this research. Primary data collection is conducted through a survey questionnaire. 193 sample respondents residing in Dubai is used in this phase of the research.

In the research, attention and trust came out to be the top two factors that are important for customers when it comes to adventure tourism followed by engagement and time spent.

Following is the matrix that we recommend based on which area the company wants to focus on, showing the order of the investments to be done on the type of media
Trust   ·         Google Search·         Travel Websites/Blogs·         Institutions (e.g. Schools, Universities, Company etc)·         Newspaper Articles

·         Travel and lifestyle TV channels

Engagement·         Travel and lifestyle TV channels·         Google Search·         Events (e.g. Trade Shows, Exhibitions, Fairs, Expos, etc.)·         Institutions (e.g. Schools, Universities, Company etc)

·          Social Media Sharing

Time spent ·         Social Media Sharing·         Google Search·         TV Commercials·         E-Mail

·         Travel and lifestyle TV channels

Attention ·         Events (e.g. Trade Shows, Exhibitions, Fairs, Expos, etc.)·         Travel and lifestyle TV channels·         Google Search·         Social Media Sharing

·         Promotional Stalls (e.g. Malls, Metro/Bus Stations, Airports

Also, with no particular factor as a basis, Google search and Travel and lifestyle channels came out to be the most effective media followed by social media sharing, events and institution based marketing.

Google Search and Travel Websites/Blogs take the top positions when it comes to trust followed by Institutions (e.g. Schools, Universities, Company etc), Newspaper Articles and Travel and lifestyle TV channels. Likewise, while measuring attention, events (e.g. Trade Shows, Exhibitions, Fairs, Expos, etc.) and travel and lifestyle TV channels topped the list showing that a strong physical and visual stimuli is important followed by Google Search and Social Media Sharing.

Will Coxon’s Signed rank test shows that only Attention and Time spent should be considered for their top three media as there is a significant difference among the mean’s while as trust and engagement should be rejected as there is no significant differences between the means.

In terms of time as a factor, social media and Google search came out to be the top contenders prompting marketers to keep these two media into consideration while dealing with campaigns that require people to spend a long time on a particular channel in order for it to be effective.

Finally In terms of engagement, Travel and lifestyle TV channels topped the ranking followed by Google Search and social media and hence can be considered while developing campaigns requiring active participation of the users.

About the Author: Adnan Yahya

Adnan is a marketing aficionado who has always been fascinated by the way people behave and Adnanhow people’s minds work. He pursued Marketing from four major economic hubs of the world, namely Singapore, Australia, India and Dubai which he believes has shaped his perspective of marketing as a science that gives diversity a fair consideration. Adnan has a background in multiple industries from Energy publishing to consumer behaviour, marketing research, digital ad consulting and e-commerce. Apart from his varied corporate experience, he has been instrumental in co-founding an e-commerce start-up dealing with traditional Indian products.He is a voracious nonfiction reader with interests in theology, lateral thinking, philosophy and neuromarketing. His favourite movie is Fight Club.

You can get in touch with Adnan at:

Email- adnanyahya.bhat@gmail.com
Linkedin- linkedin.com/in/adnanyahya/
Facebook- facebook.com/adnan.yahya.77

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