When designing the value proposition and the business model architecture, the first step in the strategy formulation is to define the mission. This should be done by listening to all the local stakeholders to identify current and future challenges affecting the local community and the specific constituents of these challenges (disadvantaged persons, minorities, elderly people, etc.), mostly those in the base of the pyramid. Further, it is advisable to identify concerns related to the protection of the environment or the cultural heritage. The local communities are the first ones who have to be engaged with the mission, and so their opinion and will should play a decisive role on the mission definition.

The next stage entails searching for solutions that can be powered through the tourism activities, which involves finding ways to transform the tourists’ lives to satisfy social needs and motivations which may also be understood as another mission focused on the socio-cultural transformation. Participation of communities of creative people should be encouraged from this stage. This process starts in the strategy formulation phase, but continues permanently as the main goal of the open innovation system where all stakeholders are empowered to participate.

Then, another key step in the strategy formulation is to identify the key partners and key resources the destination needs to start the virtuous circle that leads to expand the model. They are the ones that make the destination and the business attractive enough to progressively attract and engage new partners and a growing network of customers, some of whom turn into brand ambassadors. The usual core stakeholders to engage in the first phase are to be:

  • Local government, providing infrastructure, long-term shareholding and institutional support
  • Investors, so long as there need to be carried out significant investments in tourism infrastructure
  • Owners & operators of existing key tourism infrastructures
  • Land owners of the areas where the new tourism infrastructures should be built
  • Operators for the new key tourism infrastructures
  • Community leaders, who should influence and engage the local community
  • Channel partners such as Tour-operators and Travel Agents with key market influence
  • Opinion leaders such as journalists and bloggers to spread the first stories to their followers

Furthermore, it is necessary to define the partners’ profile for all resources and activities that are to be outsourced, establishing the prioritization criteria for the selection process and negotiation key points.

Moreover, the development of the destination model needs to define a strategy which sets the priorities on the requirements partners should comply with in relation to the value brought and mission commitment. In this regard, we will probably not always find the necessary service suppliers sharing our mission and values –especially at the beginning-, and so we will need to understand their values and expectations in order to build win-win collaboration. Progressively, as the model scales up, the strategy prioritizes partners who share our mission and vision, eventually replacing those who do not.

Would you suggest different roles for the core stakeholders mentioned above?

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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