'Hold your nose -you're going underwater': An integrated experiential approach to marketing in the heritage sector

Leighton, D 2008, 'Hold your nose -you're going underwater': An integrated experiential approach to marketing in the heritage sector , in: Cultural and Event Tourism: Issues and Debates, 5th-9th November 2008, Alanya, Turkey. (Unpublished)

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This paper investigates experiential marketing from the perspective of cultural heritage sites and attractions operating in a highly competitive leisure and tourism marketplace. The paper explores the rise of the heritage industry and the urgent need for sites and attractions to find a competitive edge in order to ensure their long term survival in a new and increasingly complex environment. As public funding is eroded and whole sectors of the cultural industries are propelled into competing in the open market alongside sophisticated visitor attractions that operate along clearly defined commercial lines, the need for relevant and responsible marketing of our heritage becomes imperative and experiential marketing may provide the means to attract and retain an increasingly discerning visitor. The tourism sector has been surprisingly slow to adopt an experiential approach to marketing, focusing instead on traditional marketing concepts and product based offerings but indications over the past few years are that those heritage sites and attractions that have moved away from a traditional product focus towards an experiential approach have succeeded in maintaining or even increasing visitor numbers in the face of adverse market conditions. The paper explores the notion of heritage as a consumption based experience and cites evidence of the adoption of the experiential paradigm by a number of sites and attractions in the UK. Barriers to the adoption of the experiential paradigm are also identified and explored. These barriers may be significant, in the shape of stakeholders such as funding bodies, conservation groups, civic trusts and local, national and international governments. There are also innate tensions between commercial objectives and curatorial goals, between visitor access and preservation, between scholarship and entertainment. The analytical basis for the evaluation is provided through a case study of a relaunched, award winning visitor attraction in Bristol, UK, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s ss Great Britain. This unique industrial heritage attraction uses innovative design and interpretive techniques to provide a rich visitor experience, and endorses the potential benefits for those sites and attractions adopting an experiential approach to marketing. The paper concludes by proposing a diagnostic model for practitioners taking forward experiential marketing as a timely and effective strategy for cultural tourism management.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media
Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Refereed: No
Depositing User: D Leighton
Date Deposited: 10 Jan 2011 09:56
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2022 10:51
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/12744

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