Hanlan, J, Fuller, D & Wilde, SJ 2006, ‘Segmenting tourism markets: a critical review’, in P Tremblay & A Boyle (eds), Proceedings of To the city and beyond: Council for Australian University Tourism and Hospitality Education (CAUTHE) Conference, Melbourne, Vic., 6-9 February, Victoria University, Melbourne, Vic.
Destination marketing practitioners and academics have viewed the practice of segmenting tourism markets as a vital step in the destination marketing process. The benefits have been seen to include an ability to gain a fuller understanding of a particular market, improved techniques to predict consumer behaviour, and an improved ability to identify and exploit new market opportunities. There has, however, been limited scrutiny of the techniques used to segment tourism markets and the associated difficulties of translating the results into effective marketing strategies. This paper argues that the market segmentation process must be driven by the strategic imperatives of the destination. Further, through adopting a creative combination of post-hoc and apriori approaches to segmenting markets, destinations may identify emerging niche markets not yet targeted by competitor destinations.