When searching for information online for selecting a destination, the perceived image of the companies and attractions in question is essential.
Proper digital marketing activities attract more clients, increase sales of an organization and provide a strong brand image of the company to the customer (Smolkova 2018).
One of the visited companies of the study trip was Pite Havsbad. According to online research, it is also one of the biggest tourism companies in the region; actually one of the biggest tourism and conference centres in Nothern Europe. Sounds pretty convincing, doesn´t it? The website of the company gives an impression of professional, multidimensional and welcoming atmosphere with comprehensive set of services. The website is full of professional pictures and information packages of the facilities, services, events, activities and tips. Not everything is translated into English, but enough to get the information needed in order to make the decision whether to get there or not.
In the perfect scenario the expectations of the customer meets the satisfaction of the experience. Therefore, the possibilities of having returning customers increases. In case the expectations created by perceived image of the pre-experience are not fulfilled, the customer most likely won´t visit again. Creating contradiction, intentionally of unintentionally, between the expectations and the reality is just simply bad business.
As I interviewed few of the participants of the trip to Pite Havsbad, I learned that there were some differing experiences compared to the expectations of the place. It seemed that it was as big of a complex as the website promised. According to my interviews the place was huge and there were different departments and facilities for different purposes. Some even said it was overwhelmingly surprising how such a big place was so empty and a bit deserted, since it was a low season in the destination. It was reportedly also surprising, not in a good way, how some parts of the facilities were under repair and renovation, which created an image of unfinished and partly messy overall view.
Despite the quietness and unfinished details of the place, my interviewees considered the trip as a positive experience and might even visit Pite Havsbad again some day. Especially the pleasant atmosphere, family-friendly services and some special pampering packages for couples were attractive features for the interviewees. As a conclusion it can be said, that the perceived image of the place was partly in sync with the on set experience, and the expectations did meet with the experienced satisfaction at least for some parts, but enough still to lead to possible customer loyalty and return of the customer.
Pite Havsbad AB 2018. Accessed 12 October 2018 http://www.pitehavsbad.se/en/
Smolkova, E. 2018. Influence of Digital Marketing on Brand Image Perception of the Company. Kajaani University Of Applied Sciences. Business Administration. Bachelor´s Thesis