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Special Issue on Smart Destination Branding and Marketing

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Tourism Cities

International Journal of Tourism Cities
Special Issue on Smart Destination Branding and Marketing


The smart concept has long ago migrated from mobile devices to places (e.g. Smart Cities). Smart places have arisen from the impact of new and disruptive technologies on the spaces we live in, including cities, regions and countries (Hedlund, 2012; Zygiaris, 2013; Vanolo, 2014). Tourism destinations form an integral part of this (Buhalis and Amaranggana, 2014).

Destinations are increasingly affected by the new strategic challenges posed by emergent technologies and often related to consumer behaviour trends and environmental pressures. In order to address these challenges, destinations have to first analyse global trends and then respond proactively (Soteriades et al., 2007). From a tourism perspective, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can generate new value-added experiences for tourists and visitors, while supporting processes of automation (Gretzel, 2011) common to Smart Cities and Smart Destinations alike. As technology becomes more embedded within the service matrix of tourism destinations, its influence can go beyond a mere enrichment of visitor experiences and help destinations to achieve a more competitive strategic positioning (Buhalis, 2000).

Consequently, a growing number of destinations are beginning to use the smart concept as a strategic positioning mechanism and, in some cases, as an increasingly important dimension to their competitive branding. Parallel to this, ICT developments are opening new avenues for the innovative branding of destinations. This includes social networks, open data, mobile marketing, the Internet of Things (Vicini et al, 2012), urban sensors and other mechanisms (Haubensak, 2011), which provide fresh approaches to the branding of places across a number of different spheres.

Following this rationale, this special issue of the International Journal of Tourism Cities will focus on two main fields of academic research and frameworks of best practice. Its main objective is to deepen and broaden our understanding of the impact and relevance on place branding strategies of smart values and innovative practices adopted by tourism destinations.


The scope of this special issue involves two main lines, namely:

- Branding of smart destinations
- Innovation-led destination branding

a) Branding of smart destinations

Smart transformation processes address the needs and challenges of destinations to become more attractive, liveable, connected and sustainable spaces. In line with this, a clear and consistent communication of smart approaches to destination management is key to gaining understanding, commitment, engagement and support from a destination's key stakeholders. Place branding can be used as a mechanism to project the core values of these smart transformation, enhancing their socio-economic impacts as well as influencing image and perceptions of a destination both internally and externally using the concepts of cold and warm place marketing (Hospers, 2010).

b) Innovation-led smart destination branding

This special issue will also reflect on and examine smart and innovative approaches developed by destinations to brand themselves. Strategic place branding process involve a multidisciplinary approach aligned with the challenges and idiosyncrasies of destinations and places in general (Coca-Stefaniak, 2014). The use of ICT technologies, social networks, digital platforms and other smart innovative approaches is a growing field of practice among destinations that want to strengthen their image and perceptions among key stakeholders.


For journal author guidelines, see:…
Pre-submission drafts for a desk assessment and feedback by the editors of this special issue are welcome. These should be sent to either Dr. Andres Coca-Stefaniak ([email protected]) or Dr. Gildo Seisdedos ([email protected]).

Important deadlines:
Final submission deadline: 20th October 2016
Target publication date: 5th August, 2017

Guest editors

Dr. Andres Coca-Stefaniak, University of Greenwich, London, UK ([email protected])

Andres is a member of the editorial board of the International Journal of Tourism Cities and former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Town and City Management. He is also a member of the editorial board of a number of other journals, including Event Management, Journal of Place Management and Development, and the Journal or Urban Regeneration and Renewal, as well as a reviewer for a number of international journals, including the Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, and the Journal of Brand Management, among others. Andres' research interests include sustainable events, place management and branding, smart destinations and city centre competitiveness. He has been a member of the UK Government's Future High Streets Forum since 2013 and is a founding Fellow of the Institute of Place Management.

Dr. Gildo Seisdedos, IE Business School, Madrid, Spain ([email protected])

Cities are Gildo Seisdedos's passion. As a professor at IE Business School, he combines teaching, research and consulting activities in the fields of urban planning, local policies and city marketing. He has prepared studies on urban planning and design at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), and Universidad de San Andrés (Buenos Aires). He holds a PhD in Urban Economy from Madrid's Autonoma University, a Bachelor in Business Administration (E3) from ICADE, Madrid, a MBA Degree in Sales and Marketing Management from IE Business School and he is a member of the Madrid Bar Association and a qualified estate agent. He has served as director of IE Business School's marketing programs for eight years, and is passionate about teaching.

Arup (2010), Smart cities: Transforming 21st century city via the creative use of technology, London: ARUP.
Buhalis, D. (2000), "Marketing the competitive destination of the future", Tourism Management, 21(1), pp. 97-116.
Buhalis, D. and Amaranggana, A. (2014), "Smart tourism destinations", in: Z. Xiang and I. Tussyadiah (eds), Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism, pp.553-564.
Caragliu, A., Del Bo, C. and Nijkamp, P. (2009), "Smart cities in Europe", Series Research Memoranda 0048, Amsterdam: VU University Amsterdam.
Coca-Stefaniak, J.A. (2014), "Place branding and city centre management – exploring international parallels in research and practice", Journal of Urban Regeneration and Renewal, 7(4), pp. 367-373
Gretzel, U. (2011), "Intelligent systems in tourism: A social science perspective", Annals of Tourism Research, 38(3), pp. 757–779.
Haubensak, O. (2011), Smart cities and the Internet of things. Zurich: ETH.
Hedlund, J. (2012), Smart city 2020: Technology and society in the modern city, Microsoft Services.
Hospers, G.J. (2010), "Making sense of place: from cold to warm city marketing", Journal of Place Management and Development, 3(3), pp.182-193.
Seisdedos, G. (2015). Smart cities. Digital transformation of cities. Centro de Innovación del sector Público PWC e IE Business School.
Soteriades, M. (2012), "Tourism destination marketing: Approaches improving effectiveness and efficiency", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, 3(2), pp. 107–120.
Vanolo, A. (2014), "Smartmentality: The smart city as disciplinary strategy", Urban Studies, 51(5), pp.883-898.
Vicini, S., Bellini, S. and Sanna, A. (2012), "How to co-create Internet of things-enabled services for smarter cities", First International Conference on Smart Systems, Devices and Technologies, pp. 55-61.
Zygiaris, S. (2013), "Smart city reference model: Assisting planners to conceptualize the building of smart city innovation ecosystems", Journal of the Knowledge Economy, 4(2), pp. 217–231.