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ФИО студента
Название работы
Руководитель
Факультет
Программа
Оценка
Год защиты
Дубовая Валерия Александровна
Awareness and Engagement Improvement for the Lake District Pound Project (LD£) on Chinese Tourist Market
Маркетинг
(Магистратура)
2019
The Lake District Pound (hereinafter LD£) is a local currency issued annually with artful designs related to the Lake District’s local culture and characteristics. It is accepted by over 300 local outlets in the Lake District and there is no exchange fee between the pound sterling. As a non-profit project, the LD£ aims to support local businesses, local communities and protect landscapes. The purpose of this dissertation is to achieve two objectives: (1) to raise awareness of the LD£ project among Chinese tourists; (2) increase participation from Chinese visitors in the project. Accordingly, secondary research was conducted mainly on the Chinese outbound travel market, tourist behaviour, local currency, sustainable tourism, and gift-giving.

A two-stage methodology with qualitative and quantitative methods was designed to achieve our research objectives. In stage one, qualitative methods including subjective personal introspection and ethnography were used to gain candid insights about the LD£ and its marketing initiative of “Passport Trail” from Chinese tourists’ perspective. The research team spent the LD£ and participated in the Passport Trial in the Lake District. Personal behaviours and feelings were recorded as field notes. Meanwhile, the researchers also made a non-participant observation of Chinese visitors and took notes, photos and videos as verbal reports.

Three main themes were summarized from the coding of field notes (qualitative data): Theme 1, information search, which focused on recommendations, word of mouth (WOM) and Chinese-targeted content about the LD£; Theme 2, raising awareness among Chinese tourists by using Mandarin signs; Theme 3, improvement of Chinese visitors’ engagement by highlighting the LD£’s memorable value as souvenir and optimizing Passport Trail to be detailed and focused. Several hypotheses were verified through the quantitative analysis: (1) Chinese tourists show limited interest in the Passport Trail and are interested in the LD£ as a souvenir; (2) current digital communication channels are not effective to raise awareness among Chinese visitors; (3) mandarin sign of the LD£ and WOM would be helpful to raise awareness; (4) Chinese-style packaging can improve the Chinese tourists’ purchase intention.

Based on the insights and data analysis, recommendations for LD£ on product marketing, experiential marketing, branding and marketing communications are created to improve awareness and engagement among Chinese tourists. (1) An integrated marketing communication campaign was suggested with analysis of selected Chinese mediums covering different demographics to achieve more targeted and comprehensive exposure; (2) An offline campaign blended with Chinese culture was developed including Chinese-style window stickers with red colour and mandarin words; (3) A 3-year plan was designed for enhancing awareness and engagement of Chinese tourists, including new gift packs, leaflets (for Passport Trail), and partnerships (with student unions and travel agents). This recommendation aims to develop a new product format targeting Chinese tourists; provide better experiences of the Passport Trail and brand the LD£ by approaching more consumers through online and offline mediums.

This research contributes to the cross-over study of tourist behaviour and gift-giving with a new standpoint on local currency as a tourism gift (souvenir). Several practical recommendations such as a gift-pack (product marketing) have already been launched into practice during the research. However, the focus on the Chinese market complicates replicating the research outcomes to tourists from other East Asian countries like Japan and Korea. Further research will be required for developing the potential market of the LD£ and the local currency industry.

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