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Digitalization As Part Of Tourism Brand Development

Petra Merenheimo, Rauno Rusko

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Gradually, digitalization and the Web have become an important part of tourism products. This development has been unnoticeable, but undeniable. Active customers are, via the Web, co-creating and participating in the product development of tourism destinations, especially in the form of brand development. In fact, it is possible to attribute the current development of new tourism destinations to peer production or “crowdsourcing.” This study focuses on the role Web-based platforms play in destination brand development, using the examples of two seemingly nearly similar Christmas tourism destinations as case studies: Santa Claus, Indiana, and Santa Claus Village, Rovaniemi. The study highlights the contribution this kind of customer-oriented digitalization makes to creating a competitive advantage, even a sustainable one, for tourism products with theoretical connections to a resource-based view (RBV). In digitalization, the role of the consumer as a “prosumer,” and potentially as a part of an organization's resources in a sense of RBV, is a fresh and challenging perspective that this study will introduce.