Eager medical tourism suppliers try to sell services before taking the necessary time and effort to develop a well-defined medical tourism marketing & targeting strategy.
They often skip the step to identify the specific target referral sources, consumer personas, and needs for their product(s) assuming that they are selling services to "the world".
It's tantamount to showing up for an ambassadorial dinner or cotillion in dirty safari clothes and dusty hiking boots and then wondering why everybody stares out of curiosity, but nobody will dance with you!
Maria K Todd, MHA PhD
"How to Develop Your Medical Tourism Marketing Strategy"
Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey - Guest Lecture (2010)
So often, medical tourism hospitals, clinics, and physicians decide to form some form of collaboration, inventory what they can sell, make a website that lists the features of their products and services, and set out to find sales partners (medical tourism facilitators) and websites that list medical tourism suppliers to send them referrals in exchange for the payment of referral commissions. Services comprise of various packages to address different medical conditions, different treatment approaches, myriad destinations, and the packages they provide are comprised identical to those one would find at other competing destinations: medical care, travel, food and accommodation. This basic approach hasn't really produced exceptional turnover anywhere, but the model continues to be copied just the same. To do the same thing over and over and expect a different outcome is either borne of ignorance, stubbornness, or insanity.
Some early medical tourism market strategies included the leasing or licensing of a branded healthcare institution's name recognition, such as M.D. Anderson, Harvard, Cleveland Clinic, and others. The consumer quickly learns upon arrival that the name on the door does not match what's inside. As a result the consumer feels "duped" and loses respect for both the brand owner and the medical tourism provider.