The Most Common Problem in Destination Marketing in the World

World’s Most Common Problem in Destination Marketing

What is the difference between successful and non-successful destinations from the destination marketing perspective? In this post, I want to understand the details behind successful destination marketing. What is the one key thing to gain competitive advantage in destination marketing?

When we start to think about the exact reasons for the success, I suppose that most of the people will answer that: “It is all about the strategy”, or “The budget walks hand-in-hand with the success”. Third largely heard opinion is: “There are right people behind it”.

These are all right answers while looking at them from the micro perspective. Anyway, by turning the whole point of view into a larger scale, we can find one rallying point for all of them. That is the collaboration. Collaboration ties all of them together and separates the destinations into a successful and non-successful.

d’Angella & Go (2007) and Fyall, Garrod & Wang (2012) have created an excellent researches about the connection between collaboration and marketing. Main results were that, in tourism destinations collectivism is needed for individual success. In such a win–win situation cooperation brings higher competitiveness for the actors involved. The collaboration allows destinations to expand their reach and tap into wider market opportunities. Collaboration is also natural response to the marketing and management challenges of destinations.

We can pointedly say that to succeed with marketing objectives, it is necessity to re-orientate with organisational level toward the achievement of ‘‘collaborative advantage’’ rather than ‘‘competitive advantage’’. The future norm for successful destination marketing and management will be more collaboration and less isolationism. Good example about the destination marketing with “collaborative advantage” is Iceland.

How DMO can strengthen up the level of collaboration?

There are usually many different aspects affecting for the willingness to do collaboration. In many cases, behind the non-collaborative destination you will find following similarities: trust, fear of change and preposterous expectations toward DMO. These all fits in under the following statement: lack of knowledge. There are tons of small micro companies (SME’s) in tourism industry, which does not have the knowledge about nowadays needs. Many of them do not even know the basics about the current issues in marketing scene.

We have almost reached the 2020’s and the marketing is focusing more and more on different digital channels. To be successful, one must be able to develop itself to answer for nowadays needs. Unfortunately, the fact is that SME’s knowledge toward digital marketing is still limited. These small entrepreneurs are still playing by the rules settled in the 90’s. Posters, brochures, newspapers and letters via postal mail. There are too many whose only digital channel is Facebook without any idea how to use it effectively.

To be successful in destination marketing your every component needs to be at a certain level. In situation where the SME’s do not even know how to be visible in online you don’t meet with this goal. As a DMO, encourage the entrepreneurs to improve their skills in digital marketing. That is the modernity, and it is the necessity. SME’s don’t need to be professionals but if they even know how to be visible in online, how to create content, how to use SEO and how to use social media effectively, you are already one step ahead.

How to learn digital marketing together as a destination?

Content creating is now easier than ever. You do not need to be an engineer to create content anymore. Everyone has a possibility for that in the internet. Social media (SM) and content management system’s (CMS) such as WordPress have unlimited options to share content effectively and more importantly, easily.

Educating people inside the destination is not even time-consuming process for DMO anymore. Most of the programs are available in digital format.  Even better, there are great variety of free courses where to participate in. Encourage the SME’s to attend for these free courses and learn how to use these different online tools. Check out these top free online courses to upgrade your destinations digital marketing skills in to next level:

1. Google Digital Garage:

One of the most versatile courses is offered by Google. These completely free online courses will guide the participator through everything from search engines, to social media and beyond. There is totally 26 different topics and 106 lessons. You will learn to use SEO, create content, to be visible in online, launch different kind of marketing campaigns and use analytic tools more effectively. This is probably the best place to start learning the basics of digital marketing and E-Business.

2. Alison Diploma in E-Business:

Alison is a massive online learning community of more than six million registered users. They offer both, free and paid courses. Now you can take the free digital marketing course, Diploma in E-Business. Taking part for the course you develop your skills in search optimization, Google Analytics and AdWords, campaign tracking and integration, revenue metrics analysis, digital measurement, and much more. Extremely useful and recommend course to upgrade your current knowledge.

3. HubSpot Academy:

HubSpot Academy offers an incredibly comprehensive digital marketing courses. They are also offering free and paid courses. Recommend free course is: Inbound Marketing Course. This course has currently more than 35K participators. This inbound marketing course offers over 4.5 hours of instruction with totally 38 lectures, and all of them are completely free. You will learn how SEO, blogging, landing pages, lead nurturing, conversion analysis and reporting come together to form a modern inbound marketing strategy.

Benefits of collaboration

At the beginning, it is enough if you can encourage even couple of companies to take a part for these courses. As a DMO, think about the benefits of educating the people inside your destination.

1. You will get available working hours and other resources for your destination marketing. That does not involve even money transfers. The more people we have creating content about the destination, the easier all of this provides advantage through synergy. Little by little the visibility and awareness of whole destination will start to increase.

2. Togetherness creates strength. It is always better to have more people doing right things at the same time. Professionals are important, but one or two gurus cannot do everything by themselves.

3. You can start to build a common marketing strategy in more detailed level. Exploit the different digital channels as together and create a controlled content network between the individuals inside the destinations.

Once you have reached that, you are ready to take a step for the next level: collaboration between destinations and organisations.

Management by wellbeing

Mindfulness, victorious corporate culture, growth rates that the board cannot accept, going to the gym with your bosses, hiring a personal business coach, fighting loneliness… does not sound like a traditional Finnish management style, does it? In one company it is.

Managing corporate culture and people at SMT

Our Tourism Marketing and Management Programme had the privilege to have CEO of travel and event agency SMT Kirsi Paakkari as a guest speaker to discuss with us about managing corporate culture and people in a way that enables a tourism business to grow.

tourism business management
Kirsi Paakkari discussing corporate culture in tourism

She has successfully merged two ill-performing businesses into a victorious one in a shrinking market, not an easy feat at all. It requires a lot from a manager to change the direction of a business and reach double-digit growth rates. Sometimes traditional Finnish management by perkele (traditional Finnish curse word) style might just not do it. Managers make many choices that define company performance.

Focus on employees management

Kirsi has clearly chosen to focus on the employees of the company. It was great to see how she monitors and leads the wellbeing of her people. She is also managing her company with metrics and data as much as possible while still listening to people. This might be the only way to reach her goal, which is to make SMT the best service company in Finland. This goal is also dependent on trust. Leadership requires trust in many forms. Employees have to trust their leaders and trust in the future of the company. In addition, the manager has to trust the employees, why hire people you cannot trust?

tourism marketing and management
Management education for students

Our student Lari Turunen appreciated how Kirsi decided to bring new people from outside the industry to create new ideas for the company. Lari also noted that when you are building a new culture for a company you have to invest in it. Mergers should not be only about saving money and making companies more efficient but they should also be seen as an opportunity to start anew.

Management by employee wellbeing is similar to human sigma management and has a sound basis in academic literature. There are many challenges ahead for SMT as they integrate with American Express Global Business and are more and more focusing on a growing event market. It will be interesting to see how the company manages these changes and how management by wellbeing works in the future. Could it be the direction of future leadership in Finland or even globally?


Tourism Marketing and Management programme takes novel approach to business studies

A business degree that specialises in tourism business is now available for the first time in Finland. Running at the University of Eastern Finland Business School, the international Master’s Degree Programme in Tourism Marketing and Management has got off to a good start, as 20 new students started at the Joensuu Campus this September.

Their studies began with an orientation week focusing on the programme’s four main themes: technology, well-being, nature and sustainability. Visits to the Puukarin Pysäkki guest house and the Murtovaara Forest Farm Museum, both located in a small town in eastern Finland, were particularly enlightening experiences. These destinations summarise well the potential and challenges of tourism in places like the eastern part of Finland.

The programme brings together academic studies and real-life links with working life in many different ways.

“It has been nice to notice how interested companies have been in our programme and students right from the start. Already in early September, our students did a Sales Race event in collaboration with the North Karelia Cooperative,” Programme Director Juho Pesonen says.

Co-operation with tourism businesses
Sales Race teaching practical selling skills

The Master’s degree programme has a unique advisory board consisting of representatives of business and industry, and the task of this advisory board is to make sure that the content of the programme and its courses are in line with working life requirements. Students also learn practical marketing skills by participating in the programme’s marketing.

Collaboration is the key to successful tourism marketing

The significance of collaboration is highlighted in the programme in many ways.

“We focus on collaboration rather than competition, and collaborative learning and problem-solving is encouraged in many different ways. We do plenty of group work on our courses and make use of collaborative learning methods that are independent of time and place,” Pesonen says.

The programme’s novel approach also applies to teaching, as the number of traditional lectures has reduced thanks to the introduction of flipped classroom. Students are largely responsible for their own learning process, and this process is supported by different kinds of assignments given during contact sessions as well as by in-depth discussion of the most difficult content.

The programme’s smooth start has also been aided by Professor James Murphy from Australia, who was recently appointed as a docent of the University of Eastern Finland. He brings an international angle to the first course, and visiting scholars and teachers from all over the world will be contributing to the programme.

The goal of the programme is to train experts who are valued by employers and the scientific community alike. The programme places emphasis not only on content learning, but also on important working life skills such as critical thinking, taking initiative, can-do attitude, independent and lifelong learning, and team work.

“A good example of this is a campaign our students designed and implemented at the university on World Tourism Day on 27 September to raise awareness of sustainable tourism.”


Tourism Master's Degree in Business
Study Tourism Marketing and Management at UEF.

Admissions to the international Master’s degree programmes of the University of Eastern Finland will be open between 1 November 2017 and 31 January 2018.


For further information, please contact:

Programme Director Juho Pesonen, tel. +358 40 184 2698, juho.pesonen(at)


For more information on the Master’s Degree Programme in Tourism Marketing and Management, please see

Nature tourism is trending as we start to understand how healthy being in nature is

Nature tourism in Finland is all about “the space to breathe, a time to dream, hiking in summer, cross-country skiing in winter, gathering berries and mushrooms or simply a gentle walk in the woods.” ( Nature is also one of the central themes in Master’s Degree Programme in Tourism Marketing and Management (MDPTMM, Why is nature so important for tourism that we have raised it so high in the programme?

Nature tourism brings us closer to nature
Nature has great health benefits for people

There is an increasing amount of evidence that being in the nature has huge benefits for our health. The latest is a 300-page review report from European Commission (link). The report examines more than 200 academic studies exploring the topic from various perspectives.

As more and more of us are living in the cities the interest to travel back to the nature increases. We are bored with congestion, air pollution, noise and eternal hurry. We want to have a place for relaxation, a place to get away from it all. Nature provides balance and health for our busy life and creates fantastic possibilities for example for digital detox.


Nature does as good and people are starting to realize that. Destinations that have good infrastructure for nature tourism will come up strong. But nature tourism needs to be developed in a sustainable way. In Finland for example Visit Finland is focusing on FinRelax program to increase the level of nature tourism products across the country and developing them to a direction that focuses on creating wellbeing for tourists ( Finland aims to be the best place to relax in the nature, a noteworthy goal. All the elements are in place and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. We have a front seat for this as the MDPTMM will work closely with Visit Finland and especially with FinRelax program to understand destination marketing and management.

Why study hospitality, travel, and tourism?

The main reason to study hospitality, travel and tourism is to work in the field. Hotels, airlines, destination, attractions, transportation, cruises, events, activity providers, shopping centers, tourist services, travel agents, tour operators and many others together form together a huge industry. It is a  practice-oriented field and an interesting one. It is in constant growth and needs more and more skilled workers and innovators every year. There are so many good reasons why you should study hospitality, travel, and tourism:

Tourism is a service industry

Everywhere in the Western world service industries are booming. One of these industries is travel and tourism. By studying tourism you position yourself right in the very center of service. You will learn skills that are transferable to many other industries. Being a service and human-to-human industry, it is also one of those that will need hard-working and creative people in the future.

Tourism is an experience economy

Most jobs in the tourism industry are about creating experiences for the traveler. This is what makes this industry especially interesting. When you are studying tourism you will learn how to create these memorable experiences. When you are working in the industry, you will need to be able to adapt and improvise what you have learned as

Every day is different

No matter where you study or what position you get in the tourism industry, it is guaranteed that almost every day is different. You will meet new people that come all around the world and they will make sure that no day is like another. Every tourist has different expectations, motivations, moods, experiences and opinions that will make your job interesting and also most likely a little bit challenging.

Dubai is witnessing the growth of tourism
Tourism is growing

Tourism is witnessing huge global growth every year and it is forecast to grow far into the future. It is definitely an industry of the future. Growth means that more and more skilled workers are needed all over the world. By studying tourism you give yourself the skills and knowledge to be a part of this growth.

Tourism is global

First and foremost tourism is a global industry. From Antarctica to space there are tourists everywhere. By studying tourism only the sky is the limit (well, actually, not even that!) to where you can work and what you can do.

Tourism is local

Despite being a global industry, it is also very local. Most of the tourism businesses are small- and medium-sized companies that provide income and jobs for local people. When you are working for the tourism industry there are many possibilities for you to contribute to your local community.

You get to travel

There are many positions in the field that enables you to travel a lot. You have to familiarize yourself with tourism destinations, attractions, and services, maybe guide tourists in exotic places or do research in foreign countries. Travel broadens your perspective on everything and tourism industry has plenty of possibilities to travel.

Tourism is fun

Tourism might not be the best option if you want to earn a lot of money. But if you value other things such as having fun, meeting new people,  enjoying life and doing what you like, tourism and hospitality offers plenty of options. People studying and working in the field are typically relaxed, outgoing and international.

Where to study travel, tourism, and hospitality?

There are plenty of fantastic opportunities to study tourism all around the world. One of these opportunities is the International Master’s Degree Programme in Tourism Marketing and Management at University of Eastern Finland. This program provides you the knowledge and skills required to work in various development positions in the tourism industry and take the field forward with your actions.


Apply now for International Master’s Degree Programme in Tourism Marketing and Management

Are you interested in studying tourism? Do you want a career in tourism business? Apply now for Master’s Degree in Tourism Marketing and Management. Application period is open until January 13th 2017.

Picture by Karelia Expert

Application period for the programme at University of Eastern Finland is now open and you can apply for the programme through our website at or directly from StudyInfo website!/korkeakoulu/ (Fill in application button is on the right hand side of the screen).

This is our application process:

1. All available study programmes in Finland can be found on the Studyinfo portal ( where you can search for suitable programmes and start the application. The online application is only open during the application period, so make sure you know when the application period starts. Once you have found a programme you wish to apply to, find out what the admissions requirements are.
2. Collect the required application documents. Information concerning the documents you need for admissions is provided by the university/programme you are applying to and the Studyinfo portal. The list of required documents is also on the online application. Please note that each application must have its own set of requested application documents.
3. Please send all of your documents to the University Admissions Finland’s office by mail. Your application documents have to arrive by the given deadline. E-mail attachments will not be accepted. UAF does not process application documents that have arrived after the deadline.
4. University Admissions Finland processes all documents according to the same processing procedures. Documents are processed in two steps, both of which your application documents must pass:
a. We will verify your language skills and check that they meet the requirements set by the university.
b. We will check that all of your required educational documents have arrived and then we will verify your credentials.

For more information see our university application page at and detailed process at University Admissions website HERE.

We have now been intensively planning the programme and it will be absolutely fantastic. We have a huge number of industry partners lined up for the programme, so many interesting topics to discuss and study, innovative teaching methods, and all the tools you need to build yourself a career in evergrowing tourism business.

Let us know if there is anything we can help you with and good luck with your application!
Juho Pesonen (juho.pesonen[at]
Raija Komppula
Henna Konu

What is online business in tourism?

Online business in tourism, digital tourism business, e-business in tourism, e-tourism; call it what you will, it still has a huge impact on how tourism business is conducted. Most of tourism businesses and large part of marketing are now online. The internet is most often used medium to search for information about a holiday or destination. Skills and knowledge of online tools and channels are critical for the competitiveness of a tourism business or destination.

Director of our master’s degree programme in Tourism Marketing and Management, Juho Pesonen, has made his lectures on the topic freely available for anyone interested in the topic. The course was given for the students of Finnish University Network for Tourism Studies during Fall 2016. You can see the course content and access the lectures on YouTube through the course time table below. YouTube videos have links to SlideShare presentations if you want to take a closer look at them:

Juho Pesonen teaching the course

Thursday 3.11.2016 

9.00-10.30 Introduction to E-business in Tourism: history and context

10.30-10.50 Break

10.50-12.30 Theoretical background: central concepts of E-business

12.30-13.30 Lunch

13.30-14.30 E-business in practice: what to do

– website

– E-commerce

14.30-14.45 Break

14.45- 15.50 E-business in practice: what to do

– social media and content creation

15.50-16.00 Break

16.00-16.45 Practical examples

Friday 4.11.2016

9.00-10.15 E-business in practice: what to do

– analysing and managing online business

10.15-10.30 Break

10.30-11.25 E-business in practice: what to do

– mobile devices


11.35-12.30 E-business in practice: what to do

– Search engine marketing

– Security

– Customer Relationship Management

– Marketing automation, artificial intelligence

12.30-13.30 Lunch

13.30-14.30 Destination management and marketing in the era of online business

14.30-14.45 Break

14.45-15.30 Future of tourism in digitalizing world: where are we going?

15.30-16.00 Final conclusions


These lectures provide an overview of a wide topic of marketing and managing tourism business in digital environment. A more in-depth view of the topic can be achieved for example in our Master’s Degree Programme.

Welcome to Tourism Marketing and Management

Koli, tourism marketing and management
Picture by Karelia Expert

Welcome to the blog of International Master’s Degree Programme in Tourism Marketing and Management by University of Eastern Finland. This blog is an essential part of the programme and will bring forth the ideas and news from the programme. We aim to build a significant international platform for making tourism better with this programme and the blog. 

The programme will start during Autumn 2017. The programme seeks to attract students from Europe and Asia in particular. The programme is also open to Finnish students interested in tourism studies and holding a relevant Bachelor’s degree. The international nature of the programme makes it possible to create new networks and showcase Finland’s strengths in tourism globally, as well as to obtain new information about tourists coming from abroad.

This kind of a programme in tourism marketing and management hasn’t existed in Finland before, and the programme’s strong focus on tourism marketing will bring new life to the Finnish tourism sector. The key themes of the two-year Master’s degree programme are built around the strengths and opportunities of tourism in eastern Finland: nature, well-being, sustainable tourism, and digitalisation. The launch of the new Master’s Degree Programme in Tourism Marketing and Management shows that the University of Eastern Finland is confident in the positive development of the Finnish tourism sector and wants to play a role in supporting that development. Already now, tourism is a major financial factor in North Karelia and elsewhere in Finland. Globally, the tourism sector is growing by several per cent every year.

Konnevesi National Park, Finland
Konnevesi National Park, Finland

The Master’s degree programme will collaborate closely with local, national and international tourism sector companies and other actors. This collaboration is based on close interaction, with the aim of jointly developing business activities and finding solutions for any possible challenges discovered. Graduates of the Master’s degree programme will understand the role of digitalisation, customer care, customer motivation, environmental aspects and nature for the business activities of tourism companies, and they will be able to translate their understanding of these aspects into practical activities. The programme’s graduates will have the skills needed to work in a variety of different roles, for example as entrepreneurs, marketing managers, experts, coordinators, community managers and other positions involving customer relations.

The application period to the Master’s Degree Programme in Tourism Marketing and Management will be open from 1 December 2016 to 13 January 2017. For further information, please see the programme website at

For further information, please contact:

Programme coordinator Juho Pesonen, tel. +358 40 184 2698, juho.pesonen(at)