Designing a Target Market Segmentation Model for Foreign Tourists Case Study: Gilan Province

Document Type : Research Article


1 PhD Student in Business Administration Marketing Management, Islamic Azad University, Rasht Branch, Rasht, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Management, Islamic Azad University, Rasht Branch, Rasht, Iran

3 Assistant Professor, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Management, Islamic Azad University, Rasht Branch, Rasht, Iran.

4 Associate Professor, Department of Business Management, Faculty of Management, Islamic Azad University, Rasht Branch, Rasht, Iran


The tourism market consists of people with different needs and desires, and managers active in the tourism industry must be aware of their needs and desires to succeed in attracting people, by examining the needs and desires of each person in the market A wide tourism market is not possible, people should be examined based on similarities and differences with each other in the form of market segments; Therefore, the current research was carried out to design a target market segmentation model for foreign tourists, based on the steps suggested by Glaser and Strauss. The statistical population includes the senior managers of cultural heritage organizations, municipalities, governorates, and governorates of Gilan province and experts in the fields of business and tourism management, among which 15 people were selected by the snowball method in the form of a statistical sample to be interviewed through a questionnaire. Semi-structured has been used. To analyze the interviews, Max QDA software and three stages of open coding, selective coding, and axial coding were used. The findings of the research have led to the presentation of 7 main categories of historical attractions, cultural attractions, economic attractions, factors related to support and support, environmental conditions of the country, economic development, and cultural development. Also, the results related to the second function of the coding stage, in which 15 categories have emerged, which in the course of the research in the form of categories or layers defined by the database method, are organized around a "core category" or the same as "segmentation of the target market for foreign tourists". . In this regard, psychological segmentation is included in the category of causal conditions, geographical segmentation is included in the category of prevailing background conditions, behavioral segmentation is included in the category of central conditions, and demographic segmentation is included in the category of intervening conditions. The cultural and economic development of Gilan is one of the consequences of marketing the cultural-historical capabilities of Gilan tourism.
Extended Abstract
One of the essential presuppositions and requirements for tourism growth and development is the tourism market segmentation, intending to identify different market segments and plan to provide appropriate services to each of these segments in a way that is appropriate to the needs and wants of each of them. Market segmentation assumes that each market is made up of groups or segments with almost different wants and needs. In tourism research, market segmentation is a very useful tool. Therefore, for those involved in management and planning, awareness of these factors is essential to create a link between the tourism product and tourists. The present study has tried to identify and introduce a suitable market segmentation model in order to determine and select the optimal target market for foreign tourists according to the existing restrictions; in this regard, Gilan province, which is one of the tourist attractions, especially foreign tourists due to its beautiful and lush nature, has been studied.  By designing an optimal model of target market segmentation, it can act as an opportunity to attract foreign tourists in a way that not only increases the number of foreign tourists but also by examining and identifying the views of tourists, the target markets of tourists can be identified. Thus, the main question of this research is as follows:
-Considering the limitations of attracting foreign tourists in Iran, what are the variables affecting the appropriate segmentation to identify the target market for Gilan province?
 In the present study, in the qualitative part, the grounded theory has been used and implemented based on the steps proposed by Glaser and Strauss. The statistical population includes:
All senior managers of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization of Guilan Province,
 Faculty members in the fields of business and tourism management,
 And senior managers of municipality, governorship, and provincial government organizations.
Fifteen of them, considering the conditions of having at least a master's degree and at least 15 years of experience in the tourism industry, based on Snowball method, as a targeted method in sampling qualitative research, was selected as a statistical sample for interview. In order to analyze the findings, MAXQDA software was exerted.
Results and discussion
In this section, to identify variables affecting the foreign tourism market segmentation, the content of 15 types of research in Persian and 14 top articles in English in the period 2012 to 2018 have been studied in-depth, and the main variables in these studies have been extracted. These components include branding geographical segmentation (with sub-categories of religious conditions, climate, market diversity, and market size), psychological segmentation (with sub-categories of lifestyle, personality, values, ​​and beliefs), behavioral segmentation, Gilan economic development, and cultural development of Gilan, and demographic segmentation (age, gender, income, occupation, marital status, social class, household size, and level of education). The results of the second function of the axial coding stage or the axial coding paradigm in which 15 categories emerged during the research in the form of defined or recommended categories or categories of the grounded theory, around a central category or target market segmentation for Foreign tourists get organized.
Findings show that psychological segmentation is one of the causal conditions in target market segmentation for foreign tourists.  It can be said that psychological segmentation with a focus on lifestyle provides many benefits for tourism planners. Demographic segmentation is one of the intervening conditions of target market segmentation for foreign tourists. It can be explained that socio-demographic segmentation is the most useful and the first method of tourist segmentation. In this method, the main markets are analyzed in terms of social characteristics - demographics, gender, age, family life cycle, income, employment status, nationality, and geographical location. The life stage variable describes the different stages of socio-demographic development. Behavioral segmentation is one of the central conditions in target market segmentation for foreign tourists. In its explanation, it can be stated that the behavior of tourists includes the search for leisure experiences, the interaction between the features and characteristics of the places they have chosen and visited. Geographical segmentation is one of the prevailing context conditions in target market segmentation for foreign tourists. It can be explained that according to the climatic conditions and geographical location of Iranian cities, the potentials and attractions of tourists can be identified, and strategies for tourism development in the region can be presented.


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