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Title: The consumer journey in the digital age: the challenges faced by destination and place marketing agencies

Authors: Peter Scott; Tamsin Scott; Peter Stokes; Neil Moore; Simon M. Smith; Caroline Rowland; Tony Ward

Addresses: Liverpool John Moores University, IM Marsh Campus, Barkhill Road, Aigburth, Liverpool L17 6BD, UK ' Galigeo France, 87 Avenue d'Italie, Paris 75013, France ' Faculty of Business and Management, University of Chester, Churchill House, Queen's Park Road, Chester CH4 7AD, UK ' Faculty of Business and Management, University of Chester, Churchill House, Queen's Park Road, Chester CH4 7AD, UK ' University of Winchester, Winchester Business School, Sparkford Road, Winchester SO22 4NR, UK ' Faculty of Business and Management, University of Chester, Churchill House, Queen's Park Road, Chester CH4 7AD, UK ' Faculty of Business and Management, University of Chester, Churchill House, Queen's Park Road, Chester CH4 7AD, UK

Abstract: This conceptual paper evolved from an extensive literature review and a consultancy project conducted via a UK University Business School/commercial sector collaboration. The paper explores how the digital age is presenting challenges for destination and place marketing agencies. Key trends in consumer behaviour are identified and their significance is examined. The context is largely the European tourism sector with a particular focus on the UK. The paper argues that many place and destination marketing agencies are not responding to the challenges of the digital era. With this as the backdrop, a novel conceptualisation of the customer journey model is offered which can be tested empirically. A vignette supports the model and this illustrates the complexities in consumer behaviour that are involved in a decision over where to take a city break. The paper concludes with strategic recommendations for destination and place marketing agencies.

Keywords: destination marketing; place marketing; consumer journey model; consumer behaviour; digital era; internet; social media; marketing agencies; Europe; UK; United Kingdom; tourism industry; tourist destinations.

DOI: 10.1504/IJDCET.2017.082512

International Journal of Digital Culture and Electronic Tourism, 2017 Vol.2 No.1, pp.28 - 45

Received: 11 May 2016
Accepted: 14 Aug 2016

Published online: 24 Feb 2017 *

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