Determining the market profile of black visitors to a resort in the Vaal region.

Tourism is considered one of the most important industries in the global economy and is still growing, especially in South Africa. Effective marketing is only possible if knowledge is available on tourists’ decisions, wants, needs and so forth. This will allow for effective market segmentation and improve the understanding of the market and what the market requires. This will also lead to more effective marketing campaigns, marketing spend and use of scarce resources. This can be achieved by studying the unique characteristics of the various markets in South Africa. Market segmentation refers to a technique used by tourism organisations to divide a market into smaller, more clearly defined, groups that share similar needs, wants and characteristics. This will allow for tailor-made products and services. Although the tourism industry in South Africa is well developed for the Caucasian market it is not as familiar with the black market and its needs. Therefore products cannot be developed according to the life styles of black South Africans. This requires more research to be conducted. The main purpose of the study was thus to segment the black market visiting Abrahamsrust Resort in the Vaal Region. This has enabled the researcher to identify important factors with regard to market segmentation to be implemented for black tourists in the Vaal Region and enable marketers to target the selected market segments in the region. A total number of 400 questionnaires were distributed among visitors of which 319 were completed and used. All questionnaires were distributed at Abrahamsrust Resort. Data were used and captured in the form of graphs and tables so as to design the profile. The main variables of this study were gender, occupation, language, province of origin, number of visits, number of children, number of days spent as well as average spend. The results found can contribute in the sense of helping marketers to target the selected target market. Suggestions from attendees were that management should improve facilities and services at the events. In order to cluster the segments, hierarchical clustering was done which revealed three significant clusters based on travel motivations, namely Social Relaxers, Quality Seekers and Loyal Relaxers. Cluster one is motivated by social and relaxing needs, cluster two focuses on quality and value for money aspects and cluster three seems to be the loyal visitors to the resort travelling for relaxation purposes. In terms of describing the three clusters it was found that the demographic segmentation variables did not differ significantly between the clusters, with only a small difference in terms of gender. In terms of describing the behavioural segmentation variables it was also found that the clusters did not differ significantly but differences were found on number of days at the resort and recreation activities preferred for the children. Besides the differences in travel motivations it was thus found that the current market is very much homogenous. This holds certain implications for the marketing strategy of the resort.
B. Tech. (Department of Tourism Management, Faculty of Human Sciences) Vaal University of Technology.
Market segmentation, Tourism, visitors, tourists, target market, marketing, black visitors/tourists.