Competitiveness of Croatian Destinations Through Online Marketing Indicators

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Jasmina Gržinić
Mirela Sučić Čevra


The purpose of this paper is to determine whether destinations in Croatia follow the trend of the modern market by ensuring first impression quality through an online campaign. The World Tourist Organisation (UNWTO: 2008) takes into consideration categories of web page quality evaluation such as: information level of the destination web site, level of accuracy, level of consistency, type and quality of interaction with visitors, value of visual identity. Web site development requires a user centered design process with permanent evaluation of the evolving design. The aim of this research is to explore web site design quality factors in order to adopt web page quality to a profile of destination visitors. This paper analyses online marketing concepts as new tools and processes that enable customer relation systems and ensure an interactive approach to potential customers. The fundamental empirical research was based on 11 Croatian destinations, both inland and coastal types, in order to analyse and identify levels of standardisation in online marketing quality. The focus was on the official local tourist board sites as destination tourism organisations. Destinations included in the research were: Zagreb, Split, Dubrovnik, Opatija, Osijek, Zadar, Šibenik, Varaždin, Plitvice, Hvar and Rijeka. It is confirmed that the Web structure did not meet the requirements of modern tourists according to the selected categories. For example, the Šibenik official page is written only in the Croatian language. Furthermore, it is found that in addition to a non-existent domain policy, there is no commonly accepted visual identity that would be followed. The platforms of the web sites do not have a common system or tool. The evaluation indicates that only Zagreb's site offers a direct booking engine which proves that the destination is in line with the modern trends of online marketing. There is a strong, positive and statistically significant connection between the quality of internet pages of chosen tourist destinations and the number of tourist arrivals in that destination. From the web designers perspective, this research should help in the future web site development process in order to define the business objectives, context and key scenarios of use.

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