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Development of communication channels and Internet-supported distribution

According to the ITB World Travel Trends Report, tourist resorts more and more to online and mobile platforms to schedule trips or obtain information and opinions from other travellers about a given destination. (IPK International)

Social networks and apps such as Foursquare, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet are ever more used in communication between individuals and professional groups, both among themselves and in relationships they establish with potential clients. These channels are also one of the main means used to search for information about a tourist destination and a communication instrument of growing importance for companies to communicate directly with the final consumer.

The information share provided by these networks, namely about the quality of infrastructure and experiences lived by other individuals, represents an important element in the decision-making process. Tourist operators respond redesigning their online marketing strategies, introducing new tools, namely geo-referencing and social technologies (sharing photos, videos and opinions), so as to influence the sharing of experiences among tourists.

Geo-referencing helps organise information related with a given place; the system is more and more used by tourists to plan trips, allowing knowing tourist establishments, the surrounding atmosphere and complementary activities existing at the destination.

The very international promotion strategy of Portugal as a destination was changed in 2013 and focused on digital marketing, deemed more effective in promoting a tourist destination than traditional offline campaigns.

Hence, it is fundamental for the marketing of tourist endeavours to involve tourists’ opinions, so that they share their experience at the destination, through interactive web platforms, where the client performs a central and active role.