Collaborative marketing for the business sustainability of community-based tourism enterprises: a knowledge co-production approach

Thumbnail Image
File version
Primary Supervisor
Lohmann, Guilherme
Other Supervisors
Hales, Robert
File type(s)

Community-based tourism enterprises (CBTEs) have been extensively promoted in less developed countries as an entrepreneurship-based approach to community- based tourism (CBT) initiatives. CBTEs are designed to deliver benefits to wider communities at the grassroots level at a destination. However, these enterprises are not always successful. Marketing issues are a key reason for business failure. Local entrepreneurs of CBTEs quite often have difficulty in independently promoting their business, particularly at the infant stages of the business life cycle, and this highlights the need for stakeholder collaborations. This study investigates a collaborative marketing approach that assists stakeholder collaborations in marketing CBTEs and guides marketing activities towards the business sustainability of CBTEs.

This study employed a constructivist paradigm to regulate the research process, the knowledge co-production approach to facilitate knowledge generation processes, and a participatory approach to frame the research design. Accordingly, the study was designed consisting of two stages. At the first stage, thirty CBTE stakeholders of three CBTEs in Vietnam (namely Triem Tay Floating Restaurant, Thanh Toan Gardening and Cookery, and Minh Tho Homestay) were interviewed from November of 2015 to January of 2016. The interviews aimed to interrogate stakeholder perspectives on collaborative marketing alternatives for CBTE business sustainability and their viewpoints regarding the components of a marketing strategy for the long-term success of CBTEs. The outcomes of this stage indicated divergent perspectives regarding CBTE collaborative marketing for business sustainability. Following these divergent perspectives, an interactive workshop was conducted one year later, in March of 2017, at the village of Triem Tay (Vietnam). The workshop, which was facilitated by myself, attracted fifteen CBTE stakeholders, comprising eight of the original interviewees. The workshop provided a platform for CBTE stakeholders to interact and achieve a consensus on a pathway connecting CBTE marketing and business sustainability. Content analysis, narrative analysis and document analysis were used to assist the data analysis.

The findings of this study included a CBTE marketing collaboration of multiple stakeholders, a framework of collaboration that assists stakeholder interventions in marketing CBTEs, and proposed marketing strategies for CBTE business sustainability in Vietnam. The CBTE marketing collaboration of multiple stakeholders stressed the involvement of multiple stakeholders rather than dyadic relationships in marketing CBTEs for business sustainability. In this type of CBTE marketing collaboration, the linkages of a CBTE, a CBTE co-operative, and a social enterprise were centralised. The social enterprise transforming from commercially successful tour operators was involved in the CBTE marketing collaboration as a collaboration facilitator, and the government was involved as an arbitrator and controller. The CBTE collaborative marketing framework highlighted an appreciation to other viewpoints among involved stakeholders. Under the framework, a set of rules co-created by involved stakeholders, aligned with the objectives of CBTE business sustainability and aimed to regulate stakeholder interventions was advocated. Also included in the framework was the transparency of benefits delivered between local and external stakeholders and the self-control of community leaders towards collective benefits. The proposed CBTE marketing strategies exemplified the integration of third way approach in CBT development and third space approach in CBT marketing to better promote the business sustainability of CBTEs. In these strategies, selective marketing segmentation techniques were preferred; community values and market-oriented attributes were incorporated in product design; service quality control was centralised in product development; an inclusion of a community fund and the alignment to an agreed pricing framework were accounted for; a gird of marketing intermediaries was suggested; young members of a community were involved in promoting CBTEs via social media. Accordingly, the proposed strategies were able to balance the dual objectives of commercial viability and community development for CBTE business sustainability. These findings were compiled to develop a collaborative marketing approach for the long-term success of CBTEs in less-developed countries.

The results also revealed the relevance and significance of the knowledge co- production approach. This approach could help to reconcile diverse perspectives among CBTE stakeholders in a CBTE marketing network. Additionally, it could reduce the research-practice gap in the study of CBTE collaborative marketing and leverage the societal contributions of the study.

The contributions of this study lie in five aspects. First, the study advances the CBT literature through arguing the resonance of alternative approaches to address the complex domain of CBTE collaborative marketing for business sustainability. Second, the study advances discussions about the linkages between marketing and sustainable tourism by applying the concept of sustainable tourism marketing in the context of CBTEs. Third, the study enriches the insights of multi-stakeholder collaborations at the organisational level through the collaborative marketing approach developed for the long-term success of CBTEs in less-developed countries. Fourth, the study contributes to debates on tourism knowledge making by advocating for the knowledge co-production approach in collaborative work with people. Finally, the study highlights the attributes of a collaborative marketing approach to overcome the marketing challenges of CBTEs in less-developed countries and bolster their long-term success.

Journal Title
Conference Title
Book Title
Thesis Type
Thesis (PhD Doctorate)
Degree Program
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
School of Environment and Sc
Publisher link
Patent number
Grant identifier(s)
Rights Statement
Rights Statement
The author owns the copyright in this thesis, unless stated otherwise.
Item Access Status
Access the data
Related item(s)
Collaborative marketing
Business sustainability
Community-based tourism enterprises
Knowledge co-production approach
Multiple stakeholders
Persistent link to this record