Italy is among the world’s most favourite destinations in the tourism industry with the country receiving up to 50 million visitors a year (Warfler 2006). These tourists are often attracted by the Italian scenic beauty, arts, heritage sites, and cuisine as well as fashion and history. This country’s tourism industry is thus among the fastest growing ones. It is expected to keep up the trend in the future. With the highest number of the World Heritage Sites, Italy attracts a lot of tourists being fascinated with the ancient history. That is why a trip to Italy is often considered incomplete if one does not find the time to stop by monumental sites like St. Peter’s Cathedral, the Colosseum, Florence Cathedral, and the Vatican among other places. It can therefore be appreciated that when Italy is being marketed as an ideal tourism destination, it is its historical wealth more than anything else. It makes people rethink their options. The history is thus one of the greatest tools used to popularize this country as a tourist destination. This paper focuses on the Pantheon, a major tourist destination in Rome, Italy. The study evaluates the effectiveness of marketing strategies that the Pantheon applies to propel the image of this historic site as a significant tourist feature.
A Pantheon is a temple for all the gods of a given nation. In this case, the building in question was indeed a place of worship for all the Roman gods (Warfler 2006). Like many other historical monuments, the Pantheon was built over 1800 years ago. It has been standing as a reminder of the greatness and richness in the Roman history (Warfler 2006). This construction has very thick brick walls and impeccably large columns made of marble. The high dome can also not be ignored. It is one of the most borrowed architectural features of this historic building. It had taken seven years to construct after the second Pantheon in the same location was struck by lightning and thus burned to the ground. Today, the Pantheon in Rome is a catholic church being popular amongst the locals and foreigners alike. It is mostly used to celebrate special masses and weddings.
Italy has over the years come to embrace its wealth in culture and history, using it to their economic advantage especially with regards to tourism (Hofstede, Hofstede & Minkov 2010). The Pantheon, for example, is amongst the country’s most well preserved ancient buildings along with St. Peter’s Church and Florence Cathedral (MacDonald 2002). It may be assumed that the reason is that the country is mostly religious and mainstream catholic. However, there is more to the devotion shown to these ancient religious buildings. The Pantheon for one is the most inspiring building in the architectural history with its design being used in universities and churches as well as law courts in various parts of the world. The idea is to replicate the greatness of the Roman Empire especially in terms of their artistic skills and construction genius. The fact is that the Pantheon, in all its glory, has been standing in almost a perfect condition for almost two thousand years. It is a great sign of skills on the part of those who constructed it.
Today, the Pantheon is one of those must-see sites for tourists in Italy. Along with other churches and ancient buildings, most tourists who choose to visit Italy are curious to see and even celebrate a mass at the Pantheon. Therefore, they could envision the greatness of the Roman Empire. The Italian government, along with the locals, has all noticed how important this site is to their tourists and the rest of the world, in general. As such, they have set out to promote the Pantheon as they have advertised the Colosseum and other things within the nation (MacDonald 2002). The following section will discuss marketing strategies that have so far been used in promoting the Pantheon as a tourist site and encouraging tourists to visit Italy. Thus, they could experience the little bits of the Roman civilization. At this point, it must be noted that the Pantheon is a World Heritage Site. As such, it does not charge visitors. It is maintained by the Roman Catholic Church along with other governmental departments affiliated with the preservation of its rich history (MacDonald 2002). It means that the site is in itself not marketed but rather used to market other tourism products like hotels, villas, travel packages, and guides.
Having established that it is a historical and religious site, it can be expected that there are questions regarding the kind of people targeted in the Pantheon’s marketing strategies. It must be noted that despite the religious ties here, the place is also of a great interest to historians and art enthusiasts as well as architects and even the general population. The latter one consists of people who appreciate historic scenes in foreign lands. It means that the Pantheon as a tourist site has an unlimited range of possible tourists who would enjoy spending their time there. The adore looking at the building, taking pictures or even celebrating the mass with the rest of the believers. The marketing strategies are thus more general in terms of their content and target, often simply informing the potential tourists of the building existence, its history, its location, and how to book a tour among other things. Some of the factors used in the marketing strategies include the construction’s historical prominence and its restoration as well as the prominence. It is has received in architectural circles.
Tourism is a great industry in which potentially every one is a consumer. It means that the tourism product in question must be open for every individual to know about it and possibly visit when they get a chance to be tourists. In the new media, there is a concept of product reviews where customers are expected to give their candid opinions about the ratings of the provided products or services (Sigala 2012). At the Pantheon, tourists are encouraged to rate the building and share their experiences online. The print media in order to enlighten other potential customers about the building’s existence and how impressive it is may depict its beauty. The idea is to get the entire world to read about the building’s positive attributes and energies in order to entice them into visiting the place.
Travel websites provide tourists with the information on where to go, what to see, what to look for, which places to avoid, what to expect in terms of social constructs and norms, and what kind of weather to look forward to among other things. These websites not only offer a guide for a traveller but also a marketing platform for the venue in question (Evans & McKee 2010). The Pantheon is in itself not a business, like a hotel or a resort. However, rather it is a location that can be visited by those in the region. There are so many travel websites, most of which have partnerships with local hotels and travel agencies. These online sites thus promote the hotels and allow their audiences to write about their experiences in the hotel and the places they have got to visit among other things. When they do this, they also promote the Pantheon especially if they get their guests to visit the Pantheon. Later they talk about it in their reviews (Lagrosen 2005).
The review on the travel website could be in a form of a blog or a rating, or even a comment on the events that one has witnessed while visiting a specific site. The Internet especially works in mysterious ways, with all kinds of publicity being construed as positive in the following sense. The more a location is spoken of in the mainstream media, the higher the number of people will learn about the destination. As a result, the higher the number of visits is (Evans & McKee 2010).
Most of the travel websites are marketing this location as an ideal place to visit. Meanwhile in Italy they do so in the hope of gaining something from it. Most travel websites need to be able to provide the credible information to their audiences while also allowing the service providers in the tourism industry a chance to get known. The Pantheon is incapable of selling its agenda despite the following fact. It appreciates the frequent visits from people of all nations. The travel websites that thus allow the reviews of the Pantheon to be posted are those that seek to inform their clients and possibly market the service providers within the region. More often than not, websites to feature reviews stating how close and accessible the Pantheon is from a certain hotel, or how helpful and informative a certain guide has been, or even how spectacular a view of the Pantheon one can get from a certain eatery.
Marketing is all about getting some information out to the market and on the part of the Pantheon. It can be noted that people have been bombarded with so much data from third parties seeking to benefit from the site’s visitors in one way or another (Liu & Picard 2014). As such, the country is able to rely on the efforts of the business community in marketing the sites. Such ones in the end bring to them customers from all over the world.
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The online community is a booming one. In Italy’s tourism industry, this group is the greatest source of industry revenue with most of advertising being done online rather than with the traditional media. The social media is especially awash with those companies that are either dealing in tourism or offering supportive services to companies in the tourism sector (Pitta & Fowler 2005). It means that the industry is especially interested in harnessing the potential of social media marketing to boost their performance as the industry. The Pantheon is a world heritage site with no business interests and thus no direct marketing ventures. This venue, however, has a credible online presence automatically generated from the tourists’ posts about the Pantheon and their experiences during the visit. The Facebook page is, for example, filled with photographs taken by people. They were visiting the Pantheon at one time or another and decided to share these pictures with their social networks (Knochel 2013).
The commercial players of the Italian tourism industry, on the other hand, use the social media to popularize themselves. They are based on their proximity to the Pantheon or their ability to organize a trip to Italy and enable the tourist to visit the Pantheon. In this case, it can be appreciated that these companies realize the following fact. In order to sell Italy as a great tourist destination, they have to inform their target markets about the great things that they are likely to experience when they visit the country. It is how they end up popularizing the Pantheon and amazing venues that in the end entice tourists to join this impressing nation. In the social media, one can expect to find a collection of photographs showing some of the most outstanding views of the Pantheon from a given hotel or eatery (Evans & McKee 2010). Such photographs would then be followed by a detailed description of the Pantheon and its place in the Roman history followed by a brief mention of the location. From there the photographs have been taken. Staying at a hotel that offers a great view of this historical site in this case is considered a privilege and presenting the tourists with such information. It contains a marketing strategy that would be rather too effective when used on the right audience.
Historical communities that are interested in the Roman Empire are also present online. They serve as a marketing strategy for this location based on how detailed their descriptions of the Pantheon can be. Historical enthusiasts generally visit the Pantheon in order to experience a piece of the Roman Civilization at its best. They start discussions of the Roman Empire online and often challenge one another to visit the place for the experience of a lifetime. When they finally visit Italy they get to share their experiences with the others in their communities. In the end, they encourage a good number of people to visit the Pantheon. Thus, the rest of the country will be visited as well. The idea is to open the Pantheon up to the other world and these historical communities have so far been very great for marketing the location. They also sell Italy as a tourist destination based on the number of historical monuments including the Coliseum as well as the ancient cathedrals within the country.
The architectural communities can also be credited as marketing strategies for the Pantheon. They have been able to study and in some cases even borrow the architectural design of the Pantheon for using in other parts of the world including the US and China. On one hand, it may be considered as unoriginal. However, in some way, it is paying a tribute to its designers. The architectural communities in this case not only serve to increase the Pantheon’s popularity by replicating it in far off places but also set out to ignite people’s curiosity in terms of observing the original building rather than settling for its replica (Kapferer 2008). With their online discussions of the monument, architect group members also inspire one another to visit the Pantheon and witness its exquisite design at first hand. They are fed with such glorious descriptions of the fascinating building. It, in the end, serves as a marketing strategy for the building. It increases the number of visits each year by a few thousands (Lamb, Hair & McDaniel 2014).
For example, the Pantheon’s management may not directly engage in social media marketing. However, stakeholders are very active in terms of their actions towards popularizing Italy on the basis of heritage sites like this one. The church is, however, another story. They are very active as any other online church community. They use the social media to inform the congregation about the mass readings, the mass times, and details of other relevant celebrations. These ones are held there on a daily basis.
The concept and process of tourism has come a long way from when people had to organize their own trips and seek help from local citizens to locate sites and hotels. The touristic principle may help to describe interesting events that they can attend. The concept of partnerships means that a business has to partner with another renowned business. Both can gain from each other (Kotler & Keller 2006). Today, a tourist can call their travel agency and have them arrange everything from their departure from home to their arrival back home. The convenience in this arrangement has played a big role in the growth of the tourism sector over the past few years. People can now feel safe and taken care of by their travel agents while on vacation thus eliminating the anxiety. The latter one has kept them from traveling in the past. In order to accomplish a task of such immense complexity, travel agents need to have partnerships with various stakeholders in the tourism industry (Pan, McLauren & Crotts 2007). These ones include transport operators, tour guides or drivers, hotels and restaurants as well as bars and clubs within the locality in question. In Italy, they also need to be well informed about the heritage sites and their opening times as well as any possible rules and recommendations. Such pieces of advice tourists have to be aware of. In case of the Pantheon, there are no partnerships with the travel agents. Most people do not even need a guide to visit this location. Travel agencies, however, often need to organize transport services for their clients. In most cases, they need to seek out drivers who know how to navigate the busy streets of Rome even during rush hours.
Marketing historic sites often involves collaboration with other service provides (Rentschler & Hede 2009). In the case of Pantheon, a number of service businesses including travel agencies use the Pantheon to advertise their services in terms of organizing trips to Italy. They also use their partnerships with other industry sector players to promise their clients of the best time in Italy with the best hotel room views, the best car services and even the best visit itinerary. Such ones will enable them to see as much of Italy as possible. In order to generate interest, they offer very some detailed explanations of the Pantheon as one of the historic monuments. Therefore, a client will be encouraged to visit while on a trip. The idea here is to entice the client by prompting him/her to visualize how magnificent the Pantheon is as well as the rest of Italy (Berthon, Pitt, McCarthy & Kates 2007). With such promises, they are more likely to book a travel arrangement to the country hoping to see the impeccable building among other things. By doing this, the travel agency and their partnerships are able to sell the image of the Pantheon as a great place to visit while in Italy. Thus, it gives tourists more reasons for heading to this beautiful country (Kotabe & Helsen 2010).
Other than food and fashion, religion is also a great motivation for tourists in Italy. While the Pantheon is a historic heritage it is also a church. Today most people who get to visit this building end up attending the mass or witnessing a celebration. Weddings have been known to take place here with couples coming from far away just to tie a knot at a heritage site. Wedding planners and travel agencies have also been partnering to sell the Pantheon as an ideal wedding venue for couples. These ones especially love the very idea of the world heritage site hosting their marriage ceremony. These are wedding planners who in the end convince their clients to hold their ceremonies at the Pantheon, with the invited and uninvited guests gracing an occasion and visiting the location as tourists at the same time. For instance, the location has so many partners who set out to market it and effectively so, despite their well stated financial interest in the activity. These partners play a great role in the organization’s marketing. They as well make efforts to spread a word and increase visits to the site. Weddings held at the Pantheon, for example, are often not limited to the Catholic denomination owing to the following fact. The Pantheon in itself has been originally a temple for all gods. While the Catholic Church is responsible for it at the moment, other Christians are also allowed to worship and conduct ceremonies in the building. They do not interfere with the activities of the Catholic Church.
Italy is a great tourist destination. The reason is due to a wide range of factors to the country’s advantage in terms of attracting tourists. The Roman Empire has been mainly religious. Thus, the country today boasts of a host of ancient buildings and monuments. They remind people of the Roman Empire. These are the reminders that attract people from all corners of the world to visit a nation and its beautiful scenery. The marketing strategies used to highlight what the country has to offer its tourists left mainly at hotels, restaurants, and travel agencies. Such ones are operating within the country. Most of sites that make this country as a dream travel destination are actually free to visit. Thus, they do not gain from investing in marketing. The hotels and travel agents use these sites as magnets to pull tourists and benefit from their presence in Italy and their interest in the fascinating aspects as its history, food, fashion, and religion among other things. It can, for instance, be noted that while St Peter’s Square does not market itself. It is very much advertised by travel agencies and hotels that seek to lure tourists to visit the country in order to see St. Peter’s Square among other famous locations. These ones are often relevant to tourists in one way or another.