All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak

All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak
All abilities trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko - Australia's highest peak - © Jennifer Johnson 2008

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Marketing Accessible Information Provision For Destinations

A number of previous blog entries have focused on the importance of accessible information provision for successful accessible tourism experiences and a great deal of the demand research has identified information provision as an important constraint (Avis, Card, & Cole, 2005; Bi, Card, & Cole, 2007; Daniels, Drogin Rodgers, & Wiggins, 2005; Darcy, 1998, 2002; Pegg & Stumbo, 2010; Smith, 1987; Turco, Stumbo, & Garncarz, 1998; Yau, McKercher, & Packer, 2004). In particular, web accessibility for people who are blind and vision impaired has been an evolving area of research over the last decade (Foggin, Darcy, & Cameron, 2003; Lazar et al., 2010; Mills, Han, & Clay, 2008; Shi, 2006; Williams, Rattray, & Grimes, 2006; Williams, Rattray, & Stork, 2004). More recent research has moved beyond identifying barriers and constraints and have started to examine the requirements for developing specific and detailed approaches to accessible information provision for tourism. These have included the overall importance of e-tourism systems for people with disability (Eichhorn, Miller, Michopoulou, & Buhalis, 2008), the complexities of information for hotel accommodation (Darcy, 2010) and the operationalisation of accessible information provision within the triple bottom line approach to assessing the business case for a ecotourism accommodation provider (Darcy, Cameron, & Pegg, 2010).

A new addition to this literature is Buhalis & Michopoulou (2011), which examines the complexities of information provision for individuals with disability. Using a focus group approach the paper challenges the notions of information provision based on dimensions of access and instead proposes an individualised understanding of access provisions. The arguments are based on the findings of 16 focus groups and a review of market segmentation literature. The paper presents implications for information provision and the marketing of destinations to people with disability.

The reference and abstract for the research is:
Buhalis, D., & Michopoulou, E. (2011). Information-enabled tourism destination marketing: addressing the accessibility market. Current Issues in Tourism, 14(2), 145 - 168.

This paper demonstrates that the accessibility market is not homogenous, but it entails different sub-segments with distinct needs and requirements. Ultimately each person is unique in his/her abilities and preferences and this is more evident in this market. Secondary research revealed the size of the accessibility market in Europe to be 127 million people. Extensive qualitative research through 16 focus groups has demonstrated that the main requirements of these segments focus on three interlinked elements, namely accessible built environment, information regarding accessibility and accessible information online. Traditional segmentation contradicts the central concept of participation, as directed by the social model of disability, and it entails assumptions regarding the requirements of the market segments. Information communication technologies (ICTs) can assist destinations to effectively address the particular requirements of these market segments through the use of profiling and personalisation features, which will allow users themselves to specify their requirements. Through the use of ICTs, users are enabled to declare their needs and requirements. Destinations can then offer suitable products and services according to the particular needs of each traveller, encourage participation, congruent with the social model of disability.

Keywords: destination marketing; market requirements; market segmentation; accessible tourism; disability; information communication technology

Photo 1: To have any cool accessible destination experience like wheelchair bungee jumping (Cairns, Australia) requires good quality accessible information that is marketed and promoted in ways that are appropriate for different disability types and individual preferences (Photo © Ian Chill 2010) 


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