Research Project: Digital Destinations

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The aim of the project is to capture change in the adoption and use of digital technologies and to develop a strong, competitive local tourism economy. Through increased understanding and use of emerging digital technologies, tourism businesses will be in a position to increase their marketing and management effectiveness, and develop new products and services that will provide an enhanced experience for visitors to their destinations.

This proposal will accelerate tourism business growth via an improved understanding and implementation of digital technologies and facilitate the exchange of knowledge between tourism academics and tourism professionals. Knowledge will be exchanged between businesses that have already reached an advanced state of digital adoption (as well as those who have yet to engage), and leading tourism academics, with support provided by experienced digital and destination management professionals.

The 12-month project has a number of deliverables that will present exciting opportunities for the businesses involved:

• Sixty businesses recruited and divided into 6 groups of 10 from across the Dorset & New Forest region;

• Each group participates in a series of knowledge exchange activities including strategic online marketing workshops, webinars on best practice case studies in e-marketing, expert speaker presentations and exclusive access to resources and materials to enable them to stay ahead of the digital economy;

• Participating businesses will work toward creating an online marketing strategy;

• Each individual business will be evaluated and benchmarked against best online marketing practice and then monitored throughout the 12 months of the project. Each participant business receives an analysis of its online marketing performance and the goal is to demonstrate a significant increase in online customer engagement through the lifetime of the project;

• The creation of online marketing business communities allowing exchange of knowledge between practitioners and leading experts and academics and also with other practitioners – the co-creation of knowledge in a practical setting;

• A listing on the Digital Hub website where each participant will also be able to download research articles, best practice papers, video links, etc.;

• A final year online marketing student from the School of Tourism allocated to each business to work on an online marketing project;


Research Institute

eTourism Lab - Bournemouth University

Funding Institution

Economic & Social Research Council

Official project number

Status and date of completion