Tourism experience begins and ends with the Internet!
It starts when consumers turn to their digital devices to search and evaluate providers who meet their needs, through making the decision to travel, fine-tuning the trip details and finally sharing their experiences after the trip via social media and digital channels by which they gathered their initial information for the trip in the first place. This new paradigm of digital travel-decision journey requires tourism organizations and destinations to implement a digital marketing strategy to reach consumers at the right time, in the right place, and with the right content; aiming to influence their decision and to respond more accurately and dynamically to their individual preferences and needs.
In this paper, we present the case of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA) in employing innovative and advanced digital practices to increase the competitiveness of Sharjah as a tourist destination. For over two decades, SCTDA successfully rolled out a number of traditional marketing campaigns yet the ambition to significantly increase visitor numbers pointed towards a more technology lead and measurable digital marketing approach.
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