This thesis investigates the place-based adoption of marketing philosophies by small, family owned rural tourism business in South West Mayo. It provides insights into the motivations of the owner/ managers, their understanding and application of accepted marketing conventions and their decision making process. The external business environment is also analysed to determine the level of inter-firm collaboration and the impact this is having on business outcomes. The available organisational supports are also analysed to determine the extent of their activities, the underlying rationale and the level of engagement.
The research draws from the existing tourism literature to present the accepted academic theory, which is presented for scrutiny against the primary information gathered in the in-depth interviews with the businesses and other stakeholders.
The research adopts a qualitative framework, focusing on the tacit knowledge afforded by unstructured, in-depth interviews. The research provides for a comprehensive understanding of the subscription to a market orientated philosophy and the impact of neglecting to develop marketing capabilities.
It is hoped that the research furthers the academic literature on small rural tourism businesses in the West of Ireland, the challenges they face and the areas of weakness that require improvement. The transferability of the key insights are uncertain and this may form the focus of a future study.