“Know your target group” is one of the maxims of tourism marketing. In the module “Introduction to Tourism & Tourism Geography” of the International Tourism Management course, CBS students and Texas A&M students have occupied themselves with this topic. Prof Angela Durko, Instructional Assistant Professor at Texas A&M, had initiated a project, which she implemented in cooperation with Hanno Martens, Lecturer in Tourism Management at Cologne Business School. As part of a two-hour video conference, the 25 German and 90 Texan students asked themselves about the perception of their own country by others. They critically examined the topics of politics, history, everyday life, equal rights, sport and attitudes towards weapons. With their questions, the students also wanted to reveal prejudices and obstacles to travelling to Germany.
The aim of this joint project was to acquire background knowledge about the ideas of their target group in order to develop target-group-specific tourism marketing strategies for themed trips in their term papers. “We were very pleased with Prof Angela Durko’s cooperation request, as it represented a unique opportunity for our students to practically experience the importance of target group analysis within tourism marketing,” concluded Hanno Martens.
Dialogue as a means of target group analysis
Elisa Konder, student of the bachelor programmeInternational Tourism Management, also drew a positive balance for the interactive project: “In the video conference we could get to know each other. It was so nice to see how interested the students from Texas were in Germany. I haven’t got a picture of Texas myself before because I have never dealt with the state. I was positively surprised by the conversation and would like to visit Texas sometime.” She also used her Facebook group for her term paper, which focused on sports travel, to ask further questions afterwards. The information from this dialogue was the most important basis for doing the paper.
Alexander Nordmann, a student of the International Tourism Management bachelor’s programme, dealt with the question “To what extent is the Texan target group interested in travelling to Germany with a political focus?” in his paper. He was positively surprised by the answers of the Texans: “They were very open to such trips. Neither the German past nor current political conflicts such as the refugee crisis have tarnished their image of Germany. Through the personal contact I have received many useful answers and have been able to identify similarities between our cultures.” At the end of the project, the CBS students will present their results to the course in a ten-minute lecture.