The design of the integration strategy requires making the local service suppliers envision the future of the destination through the development of this model, and listening to understand the different levels of risk attitude and enthusiasm that the project inspires, identifying their fears and concerns about the integration process. This should be done through the Partner Discovery process, encompassing three main steps:
- Mobilizing community leaders. The first step is to create awareness about the need for a new destination model, presenting a consistent proposal as a starting point, and establishing a common language to discuss about the new model. Community leaders are the first to participate in the discussion, though in the following phases other community members should also be consulted.
- Upon presentation of the first proposal, the second step consists on getting feedback and understanding of the locals’ concerns, problems, needs, fears, and aspirations that the model has to address. Hereby we may identify different partner profiles, with different concerns and aspirations, which set the direction to refine the integration formulas to accommodate all profiles.
- Designing. Based upon the feedback and insights obtained from community leaders, the initial prototype(s) should be rethought to adapt to the previously unknown requirements. Both “design” and “understand” are parallel processes interacting constantly along many rounds to revamp and pre-test the model, its formulas and the valuation criteria to integrate businesses into the platform.
Regarding the development strategy for integrating partners should consider several development phases stating the milestones when priorities change. For instance, the second phase should not start until the platform is able to operate providing all services for a minimum flow of visitors. This may entail also a spatial development strategy in which the model scales up when a determined area is fully or almost fully integrated into the destination model.
Would you consider any other step or issue in the partner discovery process?