Análisis de las posibles estrategias de mercadeo para hacer competitivo el Centro de Convenciones de Puerto Rico
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Within the tourist industry, the groups and conventions segment is one of those of greater diversity and contribution to the growth of the tourism (Kim, Chon, & Chung, 2003b). It has been suggested that the increase in this segment also increases the competitiveness within the convention destinations (Go & Govers, 1999). The construction of the Puerto Rico Convention Center, expected to be completed in 2005, could thus represent an opportunity for this segment on the island. The main objective of this dissertation was to analyze the marketing strategies for the Puerto Rico Convention Center as a competitive tool for the tourism of the country. This study investigates the impact of the Convention Center for both the tourism sector and for the economy of the island. This study also explores the role of the government toward this sector, how the marketing strategies contribute to the competitiveness of the destination, the marketing strategies most used in the segment, and the perceptions of the meeting planners of Puerto Rico as a convention destination. This investigation consisted of three main studies: the case study, the content analysis, and the importance-performance analysis. In the case study, the marketing plans for the Puerto Rico Convention Center and for the Hawaii Convention Center were described, and a comparative analysis between these plans was made. In the content analysis, the perceptions and opinions of people related to the tourism industry about the strengths and weaknesses of this segment were studied. In the importance-performance analysis, important attributes in the selection of convention destinations were studied. In addition, a mathematical equation was used to measure the competitiveness of both destinations. Among the most important findings, this study showed, there are similar marketing strategies between the Puerto Rico Convention Center and the Hawaii Convention Center. The political relationship with the United States of America, the variety of tourist attractions, the strategic location, and the construction of the Convention Center were the strengths for this segment in Puerto Rico. Some weaknesses are: the susceptibility from the segment to the world-wide situations, the cost increases, and the lack of research about tourism investigation on the Island. The meeting planners perceived the “facilities” and the “security” as the most important criteria at the time of selecting a destination; these agree with the attributes in which Puerto Rico must focus its efforts. When mathematically evaluating the competitiveness, Hawaii turned out to be more competitive in comparison to Puerto Rico. In conclusion, the competitiveness of a destination does not depend only on the strategies established in the marketing plan; it also depends on the cooperation of other agencies, organizations, and industries. Although there are several factors that comprise the competitiveness of a convention destination, marketing is a fundamental tool to acquire a competitive advantage that positions Puerto Rico in comparison to other destinations of the world. Therefore, a tourist destination would not be competitive if marketing is the only factor to be considered, it also depends on the interaction of other factors; however, there will be no competitiveness without marketing.