Into the Dark: Marketing Strategies for Dark Tourism Management

Open Access
Cohn, Brandy Nicole
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Karen Page Winterich, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jennifer Chang Coupland, Honors Advisor
  • dark tourism
  • hospitality
  • marketing
  • thanatourism
  • message appeal
  • awareness
  • bundling
  • advertising
  • tourism marketing
Most people have never heard the term dark tourism, but they likely have been to a dark tourist site. War museums, prisons, battlefields, and memorials are just a handful of tourism categories that fall within the morbid realm of dark tourism. This shadowy corner of tourism has drawn increasing interest recently among researchers in hospitality and psychology practices, providing various theories and frameworks about the types of dark sites and the motivations of their dark tourists. The types of sites are broad, and the motivations are broader, but this paper reaches past the current understandings in the field in an attempt to apply marketing knowledge to the unique dark tourism industry. Specifically, the roles of the key marketing factors of awareness and message appeal are studied and applied to dark tourism. A study was conducted to gain statistical understandings of these key marketing implications for dark tourism. This thesis contains results and analysis of the survey experiment, looking at the effects and interactions of site awareness, message appeal, and product-mix strategies on visit intent and anticipated satisfaction with dark tourism sites.