Academic journal article Public Administration Quarterly

A Geoeconomic Approach to South Carolina NASCAR Markets

Academic journal article Public Administration Quarterly

A Geoeconomic Approach to South Carolina NASCAR Markets

Article excerpt


Previous research investigating the economic impact of tourist markets (Etzel and Woodside, 1982; Liu, 1986; Keown, 1989; Uysal and McDonald, 1989; Uysal, Pomeroy, and Potts, 1992) has sought to compare the relative economic impact of tourist groups having different purposes of visit or different geographic origins. Other researchers have noted that, without further description of the target segments, trip characteristics such as purpose of visit are of limited usefulness (Spotts and Mahoney, 1991). The current study is unique in that it partitions a single tourist market, a group of visitors based on a common primary purpose of visit into four groups (quartiles) based on the relative number of visitors generated and their relative level of spending.

Then, not only are the data displayed in traditional tabular form but also on geographic maps utilizing ArcView software, a geographic information system (GIS) technology. Kotler in Stonham (1994) suggested that GIS technology can be a powerful tool for subsegmentation of target markets. The purpose of the current study is to explicate one way by which GIS technology can be used to present geoecononmic segmentation data in a useful form for destination marketers.

When asked for their marketing plan, destination marketers often cite the economic impact of their industry (Hawes, Taylor, and Hampe, 1991) on the destination. Perdue and Pitegoff 1990) suggested that destination-marketing organizations should continually monitor tourism receipts, yet data showing the aggregate economic impact of visitors in the destination, while potentially useful in garnering public support for tourism promotion, do not provide the level of detail necessary for the segmentation and strategic targeting of markets based on their Level of economic impact on destinations. A similar form of segmentation is utilized in some private-sector tourism businesses such as hotels in an effort to maximize yield.

For example, rather than simply evaluating the price elasticity of demand for its rooms, one casino hotel is utilizing an accounting model that includes separate income statements for each market, each of which includes all food, gaming, and room revenues and costs, and is being utilized to reallocate marketing budgets and to develop pricing models in order to maximize revenue yield by the property as a whole (Nordling and Wheeler, 1992). Similarly, by understanding the spending patterns of each geographic origin market and the resultant impact on destination, marketers can determine the optimal allocation of marketing dollars to maximize the overall economic impact on the community.

In retail applications, geodemographic models utilizing geographic and demographic information have been used to describe trade areas (O'Malley, Patterson, and Evans (1995). Muller and Inman (1994) offered an example of this type of approach in the restaurant industry. Geodemographics do allow researchers to describe the relative amount of disposable income possessed by a particular census group. However, this analysis should be conducted on a group which has been defined a priori based on known travel patterns, as in the case of the Traverse City Convention and Visitors Bureau. The winter tourist market's (Direct Marketing, 1992) geodemographic description says nothing about the proclivity of the group to spend its disposable income in a particular way.

By adding primary data on the relative amounts and styles of spending by visitors from each specific geographic origin market, the analysis can generate information useful to community planners in their decision about what new types of services and attractions are most needed in the destination area. Therefore, GIS technology may have usefulness in tourism planning as well as marketing. In the present application, however, the focus is on its application to destination marketing.


The destination area of interest in this study is the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina. …

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