Jan 12, 2018 in Research

Opportunities and Challenges for Tourism in Beacon

The city of Beacon, NY is a former industrial city located on the eastern shoreline of the Hudson River. Beacon city is 60 miles north of Manhattan and spans 5 square miles. With close proximity to New York City and the states capital, Albany, Beacon is developing into a new urban destination with increasing numbers of visitors. However great Beacon’s opportunities as a tourist destination are, there are inevitably great challenges associated with raising the visitor numbers to a more substantial level to increase inward investment from the private sector. In addressing these , it will be necessary for the city to take strong control of its image; clarifying it to further draw its key market and marketing it appropriately to increase awareness.

In the middle of the twentieth century Beacon, like many other former industrial cities, entered a period of decline (Site something). However in recent years an effort has been made to revitalize the city and develop it as a tourist destination.  The most notable contribution to this effort has been the opening of the DIA Beacon museum in 2003. DIA Beacon is a museum that was opened in 2003. It has collection of the DIA Art Foundation; the museum is situated on the banks of the Hudson River. DIA Beacon museum focuses on modern art; the museum was opened in the old (Nabisco) National Biscuit Company plant. A large influx of visitors to the area has been seen since the opening of the museum and consequently the city has become largely associated with the arts. Beacon train station is now one of Metro North’s (the railroad system which connects Manhattan to its northern counties) most heavily used stations.  After  its opening, the DIA Beacon received 110,000 visitors. The has a total of 126,082 visitors in 2004. However, in 2005, the number of visitors reduced to 77,803. (Currently, visitor numbers are estimated to be … per year.- put somewhere in paragraph)

A key aspect in this revitalization is the cities harbor. The harbor has remained in-use  for a number of land uses which include: Denning’s Point; The Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries (also referred to in this document as The Beacon Institute); it has facilities at Denning’s Point State Park and a proposed docking facility in Beacon harbor. Other users of the harbor are; Newburgh-Beacon Ferry, Beacon Sloop Club, Riverfront Park, and Metro-North Railroad Station. Recently projects designed to revive the harbor as a social space have begun. These will help a lot in portraying the true image of the city. When these projects are complete, the customers who are usually interested in the art and culture of the city will have even more reasons to visit the city. 

The city has put forward a harbor management plan to set guidance for their monitoring of the progress. The harbor offers a key opportunity in turning Beacon into a well-rounded tourist destination.  Current plans for the harbor include the construction of a hotel and conference centers. Through continual development as a tourism destination, there are environmental concerns regarding the harbor and the hiking trails, economic concerns regarding inflation and the local population, and concerns of standardization.

It is evident that Beacon faces great opportunities but not without challenges.  Beacon was once a declined industrial harbor city but has been growing as a tourism destination gradually over the past several years. As a popular day-trip destination for NYC residents, Beacon is working to capitalize on its potential to grow as a tourist destination through the building of a conference hall and new hotel. Some of the opportunities Beacon faces include; A rich in culture, history, and natural beauty. It is part of
the Hudson Valley which is the third largest tourism destination in NY after NYC and Long Island. Some of the major challenges faced by Beacon include the lack of a remedial strategy for stopping the storm water pollution. Limited availability of idle land makes it hard to use natural systems to treat storm water. There is also a need for additional superstructure in order for Beacon’s tourism to grow; particularly in the accommodation sector.

Image Management

What is a city’s image? And why care?

Q: “a countries brand image can profoundly shape its economic, cultural and political destiny.” (pg 28)

Brands have been conceptualized in four key ways. First, brands are conceptualized as communication devices. Brands are used to identify goods and services. Brands must be able to communicate to the client about the features of that product that differentiate it from competitor products. Second, Brands may be used enhance the value of the product. Beacon has achieved good communication to its customers through its website (de Chernatony and Riley, 1998).  If the branding is done properly, the products offered will be appealing to the client. Therefore, it is essential for Beacon city brand image to communicate the true value of the city. This is because; the brand image of the Beacon will determine the city’s economic destiny. Beacon brand image should portray the city’s rich culture. Professional branding will attract both local and international investors. The city brand will also act as a tourist attraction (Wood, 2000) (pg 61)

Q: “A positive place brand encourages inward investment, and tourism is a magnet for talent” (pg28)

How is it formed?

A city’s image is formed through a variety of tactics that include; marketing strategies. Such strategies include advertising and public relations initiates such as the destination marketing organizations(DMOs) working with journalists, event organizers and even film makers. Other strategies to improve the image of the city include tourism attraction and hospitality strategies, branding strategies, (Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann 2004). The message presented by the destination’s website will inevitably impact perceptions, as well print materials such as brochures and travel guides.  While branding a destination was traditionally considered a rather costly endeavor, with the recent advances in internet technology it is now a relatively feasible objective of all destinations (Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann 2004). However, it is vital to keep in mind that, as Heinemann puts it, “branding a country is not the same thing as promoting tourism” (p 37). This distinction emphasizes the … nature of a city’s image; and tourism promotion is “merely a part of the whole,” as Heinemann adds (p 37).

Beacons current image:

The cities current image is associated with the art.

Q “A place brand is like the proverbial supertanker, which takes five miles to slow down and ten miles to change course.” Fortunately for Beacon, its image does not have to change course; it only requires focus an increased strength in its distribution. Beacon’s image as a city can be described as very successful. Its main venue for communication with potential visitors is its website. The message presented by the site is clear. There is no unnecessary text on the website and colors are used sparingly. This makes the website to be very professional. To determine how to best tailor this image, key markets must be examined. By targeting the right markets directly, the image will have optimal impact.

Key markets:

The key markets for Beacon city is tourists from Manhattan, Brooklyn, NY and other cities. The consumers and market place for Beacon city are found in these cities. Therefore, it is necessary to consider this when these cities and the lifestyle of the people living in these cities while designing the brand.

 -not just the region but the consumer and the marketplace must be considered when designing the brand (pg 36). Since the brand is supposed to communicate the customer, it is very important to have the consumer in mind while designing the brand. This enables the consumer to relate with the product. The Beacon website has been very successful in communicating to the consumer in its target market. The photos displayed on the website showcases tourist on vacation trips in the Beacon city. This notifies potential customer that the city is a favorite for other tourists too.

Q: “The World Tourism Organization endorses this view, suggesting that the twenty-first century will see the emergence of tourism destinations as fashion accessories.”

Q: “vacation trips are expressive devices communicating messages about identity, lifestyle and status.” (pg 4)

Branding powerful marketing tool for “tourists who are increasingly seeking lifestyle fulfillment and experience” rather than accommodation and attractions… (pg 60)

Vacation trips make customers feel like they belong in a class of their own.

My suggestions:

It is very important that the brand designers understand their objective while coming up with the brand. The main objective is to reach as a wide range of customers as possible. Designing a brand without a clear understanding of the objective will most likely lead to failure. The brand will not be able to communicate image of the city to its clients.

-lack of objectivity can be fatal (pg35)

Due to completion in the market it is usually very important to make the city’s brand unique. Since the Beacon city aims at creating an image of art and culture destination, they it is very important for the designers to create a brand that is unique and portrays this to the customers. This will help the brand manage to have a competitive advantage in the market.

-Unique identity is needed (pg 60)

Brand managers look to occupy a niche in the marketplace that no one else is occupying (pg 61)

Events:

Moreover, place promotion not only involves advertising and publicity, but also encompasses ‘flagship’ developments and ‘spotlight’ events in the arts, media, leisure, heritage, retailing or sports industries (Ward, 1998)” (pg 59 introduction)

Destination branding creating the unique destination proposition

It is evidence that tourism destination will soon become as fashion accessories. This is because it gives individual status. People will hence need to visit places they will be able to relate with. When visiting places such as the Beacon city, the client should be able to relate to the image of the city. Therefore, the brand managers must understand the status and the class of their customers in order to represent it fully in the in the brand.

Q: “The World Tourism Organization endorses this view, suggesting that the twenty-first century will see the emergence of tourism destinations as fashion accessories.” (pg 4)

Q: “vacation trips are expressive devices communicating messages about identity, lifestyle and status.” (pg 4)

Q: “a countries brand image can profoundly shape its economic, cultural and political destiny.” (pg 28) (take out political)

Q: “A positive place brand encourages inward investment, and tourism is a magnet for talent” (pg28)

-requires gov support

-traditionally very expensive to bran d a place but now with the internet it is more affordable (and with beacon being a more local destination…)

Q “A place brand is like the proverbial supertanker, which takes five miles to slow down and ten miles to change course.” (luckily, beacon doesn’t have to change course; only focus, clarify and be louder)

-lack of objectivity can be fatal (pg35)

-not just the region but the consumer and the marketplace must be considered when designing the brand (pg 36)

Q “It is also important to remember that branding a country is not the same thing as promoting tourism.” (pg37) – “it is merely a part of the whole.”

Q “…and it is often the case that the image presented by the tourist industry is irrelevant, unhelpful or even damaging to the country’s other initiatives. A fairly typical example of this dissonance between tourist branding and national branding was faced by both Scotland and Ireland: both countries enjoyed an extremely valuable tourist image bases around wild, empty countryside, quaint old-world charm, and a populace widely perceived as warm-hearted, uncomplicated, old-fashioned, rustic and utterly unsophisticated- hardly a useful image to have lodged in the minds of American or Japanese corporations deciding where to build their newest semiconductor plant. And yet such contrasts and contradictions ..” can be resolved/harmonized with creativity and objectivity…  (pg 37)

Q “A destination brand can be developed in a variety of ways, most obviously in advertising, through direct marketing, personal selling, on websites and in brochures, but also though public and media relations, and through the co-operation of destination marketing organizations(DMOs) with journalists, event organizers, and film makers. Moreover, place promotion, defined as ‘the conscious use of publicity and marketing to communicate selective images of specific geographical localities or area to target an audience’ (Gold and Ward, 1994 p.2) not only involves advertising and publicity, but also encompasses ‘flagship’ developments and ‘spotlight’ events in the arts, media, leisure, heritage, retailing or sports industries (Ward, 1998)” (pg 59 introduction)

Branding powerful marketing tool for “tourists who are increasingly seeking lifestyle fulfillment and experience” rather than accommodation and attractions… (pg 60)

Unique identity is needed (pg 60)

Brands have been conceptualized in four key ways (two of these are good for me) 1: as communication devices (e.g. de Chernatony and Riley, 1998), and 2: as value enhancers (e.g. Wood, 2000) (pg 61)

Brand managers look to occupy a niche in the marketplace that no one else is occupying (pg 61)

Conclusion

The findings of this research support a more holistic approach to destination branding which is reflective of the multiplicity of local values, cultures, and identities that are constitutive of destination places, as part of a broader sustainable destination management philosophy. This requires engagement with the wider suite of values and meanings that underpin a destination community—social, cultural, historic, geographic, environmental, economic, spiritual, and symbolic—as the building blocks of the tourist experience. Only then can a brand be considered experiential for the visitor and is realistically capable of being delivered by those who live and work in the destination region.

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