Month: March 2017

Co-creationMarketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketingTourism trends

Cross-destination competitiveness programs: enhancing marketing

Route partnering with neighbor destinations. Regardless of whether nearby destinations are within the same country or not, for some tourism sectors such as International touring or Fly & drive, marketing an attractive route encompassing a selection of interesting destinations is likely to be far more efficient and effective than marketing these destinations independently. Further, it makes the product far more competitive.

This partnership may be also attractive for some types of Special Interest travel, especially in the case of the long haul markets, whose tourists are more likely to do long routes once they land at the destination. The sum of Special interest attractions of the same kind within a route makes it an attractive product to justify a trip for many of these long-haul travelers. This is also an opportunity to develop new products for many destinations in the same area, making it a win-win development project.

Therefore it is convenient to explore partnership agreements with neighbor destinations which are suitable for adding value to the final product, so as to share marketing costs while creating a more attractive product. Even if many tour operators create these routes themselves, the marketing activities not only directed to tour operators (fam-trips, workshops, etc.), but also to the final client, are likely to increase the results of the marketing efforts.

New flight connections. A key program to develop is connecting the destination with all target markets, by all possible means, but mostly focusing on flight connections. Accessibility is a key factor for competitiveness, and so enhancing the capacity and the competition among transport operators benefits also the destination competitiveness.

Attracting new flight connections is not at all an easy challenge. First, and most importantly, the destination has to arouse sufficient demand to make the airline operator identify a business opportunity. To do so –whenever the destination is also an outbound market for the other- it is convenient to join efforts with the other destination’s DMO and Government in order to boost demand to clearly creating a profitable opportunity.

The Government and DMO should share with the airline operator the Tourism development plan, to build confidence and make them envision the business growth they can take advantage of, highlighting the marketing activities planned for their market. It is important to highlight that the intervention of the Government executives is very recommended, even in the cases when it is not strictly necessary, so as to build trust from the very beginning.

Destination App. Apart from the tourist information offices and guides, modern tourists like to have all or most of the information in their smartphone. Apps provide excellent information services, being able to provide tailored information on demand, high quality pictures and videos, downloadable maps, and many other features.

In the case of Tourism 3.0, Apps may be also a tool to foster tourist contribution to the content marketing system and product co-creation. Apps can operate like a channel through which the tourist provides service reviews and ratings, creative reviews about products, pictures, videos and text based stories, etc. It is important to point out that the destination should count on many free wifi areas to empower the Apps in providing all the possible services and up to date information.

Finally, Apps may also be a sales channel, providing access to the destination branded souvenirs online store, booking service, and also offering special deals near the location of the tourist through the geolocalization technology. Altogether, it is a very powerful tool, which is actually likely to become the main information supplier and the main channel to connect tourists with the destination operators. Closely related to the App services, the new technologies for augmented reality should also be included to provide a higher experiential value to the tourists through their mobile devices.

Which other programs would you consider to enhance the destination marketing?


Cross-destination competitiveness programs: reducing discomforts and risks

Signage system. There has to be a homogeneous and integral tourism signage system for all the destination resources, attractions and services such as accommodation, restaurants, etc. The signage system should include at least three categories of signage, with a different design for each: pedestrian signs, site maps, and road signs.

Signposting is to orientate tourists on how to get to every tourist attraction –both pedestrians and car drivers-, whereas site maps are to provide the tourists with an overall vision of the site they are visiting. Signposting should be located in all crossings that pose a question on which way to follow, whereas site maps should be at least in the entrance of every site, and ideally also in many points of the site, depending on its extension. They should both indicate the interest points and the tourist routes, stating also the distance to be driven or walked until the destination point, except for those indicating that the tourist has already arrived to the site.

As long as possible, especially for the pedestrian signposting and site maps, these should be designed in accordance with the urban aesthetics style reflecting the character of the destination, to enhance the sensation of harmony in the visitor. Once on the site the signs explaining each location within the site should also be designed in accordance with the style of the signage system.

Congestion, noise & air pollution management. Many tourism areas suffering from congestion also have noise and air pollution issues, spoiling the quality of the experience and hence reducing competitiveness. Depending on the case, there are many possible types of solutions for both congestion and pollution.

Transforming road streets into promenades or pedestrian streets, or restricting transit to neighbors is one of the most effective strategies, as it not only reduces all types of pollution but also creates tourist friendly spaces and boosts the street food & beverage and retail businesses. Some famous tourist towns have prohibited gasoline vehicles, allowing only electric motor taxis to operate, solving both congestion and pollution issues, while providing public transportation services.

Defining the carrying capacity for every area and constraining flows according to this capacity is essential to manage congestion and the resources sustainability. Such restriction may be managed by assigning entrance schedule in advance through online ticket booking or on site.

In line with the aforementioned ideas, it is also possible to close transit to private vehicles and allow non-polluting public transportation only to operate in the tourist areas threatened by congestion and pollution. When there is no advance ticket booking system, but only queuing, it is advisable to inform visitors about the estimated queuing time at every site or attraction, so as to let them plan their experience most efficiently. This is a common practice in Theme Parks, but it may be applied to other cases. Finally, selling priority tickets at a higher price for those willing to skip queues or not having time to wait provides added value service and an extra source of revenue for the destination operator.

Tourist information offices. A necessary facility to provide the tourists with information and support while at the destination is the information office. There should be one in every hot area of the destination, where all the tourists arrive within a cluster or an important site.

There should be also a central information office at the destination main transport hub or one of the hottest points, from where all information services are coordinated. In this point, there should be also a call center for all tourists willing to obtain information by phone. This would extend its service schedules beyond the tourist information offices’, to provide at least 12 hour uninterrupted service every day.

These call centers could also provide a translation service for foreign tourists not mastering the local language. The translation service would help the tourists to establish communication with locals when asking for some information, but also to translate text to be sent through the mobile. This could be very appreciated by tourists, and also an extra source of revenue for the DMO, responsible for the tourist information offices.

Which other programs would you consider to reduce risks and discomforts?

StrategyStrategy planning & execution

Cross-destination competitiveness programs: improving service quality

Human resources training. Many competitiveness gaps in service quality are usually due to HR training deficiencies. Identifying these competencies gaps with precision is therefore necessary to overcome this challenge. This should be a responsibility of those in charge of the monitoring system, to track the evolution of HR training needs, by surveying executives on their employees’ training needs. The support of foreign experts may be also necessary.

Such training needs may correspond either to higher educational programs (University level) or professional training programs (Professional schools). Sometimes it may be needed to improve the existing programs including new competencies and knowledge, but in other cases it may be necessary to create brand new programs. In this regard, the availability of the target users should be carefully assessed, to consider the convenience of programming also distance learning versions of the same program when possible, and to determine the courses schedules to make them compatible with the professionals working ones.

Moreover, it may be convenient to consider subsidizing language courses or creating free and engaging language courses through radio or TV channels for the locals to improve their language skills, in order to communicate and connect better with the tourists. In relation with the aforementioned hospitality, this would help also enhancing the visitor experience.

Accommodation upgrade and development. In accordance with the desired development and expected growth, the new strategic positioning or new segmentation, it may be convenient to attract new investors to develop new hotels, to upgrade the category level of the existing ones, or to convert them into new concept accommodation facilities.

When upgrading accommodation facilities, the strategies to follow are implementing quality certifications and upgrading the international star based rating. These are to ensure certain quality standards related to the provided service and the procedures. Such implementation could be incentivized in many ways: preferential position in the DMO marketing activities and materials, fiscal incentives, soft credits, partial subsidy, etc.

In the cases when the destination reshapes the segmentation strategy –focusing the attention on new specific targets, with special needs-, the implementation of a Brand label system is the most appropriate solution. There could be brand labels for families, singles, GLBT, Chinese (food), people with food constraints (gluten intolerants, diabetics, etc.), vegans & vegetarians, etc.

Which other programs would you consider to improve service quality?

InnovationStrategy planning & execution

Cross-destination competitiveness programs: developing feelings

Enhancing urban aesthetic harmony. As stated in previous sections, urban landscape is an important part of the destination attractiveness and therefore is something to consider in competitiveness plans. Elements such as the construction style, facade colors and materials, urban aesthetics style –dustbins, benches, fountains, etc.- and premises signs determine the aesthetic experience of the visitor by enhancing the character of the destination.

Destinations lacking this kind of style harmony should carry out a Plan stating the colors, materials and designs of all urban aesthetic elements, the intended illumination atmosphere banning premises signs that shine disrupting the atmosphere, the creation of green spaces, the style, range of colors and materials allowed in the buildings facades, the need for cleaning the facades, etc.

Implementing such a kind of program is a serious challenge, so long as it entails sometimes enforcing the house owners to clean or carry out work on their houses facades, which usually goes beyond their obligations stated by law. In these cases, it is advisable to plan an incentive system together with a subsidy or soft credit plan not to charge private owners with the whole cost of the Plan. So long as the result is a much more attractive destination, this is a profitable investment to carry out.

Consciousness and hospitality campaign. It sometimes happens that tourists are regarded as aliens by the local residents, not making them feel welcome during their stay. Connection with locals is indeed very appreciated for many tourists, and making them feel welcome is likely to increase their satisfaction and therefore the destination competitiveness.

The solution to that challenge is to carry out a campaign informing the local inhabitants about the importance of the tourism industry for the local economy: the amount of businesses and jobs that are directly and indirectly created and sustained thanks to the tourists. It is necessary to make them understand the importance of their attitude towards visitors to keep the business developing in favor of the economy.

In this point it is necessary to point out that some tourists do not behave properly while they are visiting their holiday destination, and so contribute to create a feeling of rejection by the local population towards visitors. In these cases, the hospitality campaign should be preceded by a redefinition of the targeting strategy to prevent certain types of tourists coming, and at the same time controlling the tourists’ behaviors by the local police.

Conservation of natural and cultural heritage. The cultural and natural heritage is the bulk of the destination landscape and also the core of many tourism experiences. A proper conservation is therefore essential for the tourism competitiveness and sustainability, and so this type of program should always be among the top priorities.

The conservation of the natural environment entails not only cleaning, but also managing the risks like fire or epidemics in forests, water depuration, installation of the proper systems to manage waste, and prevent people from littering and damaging the environment. In some cases, when there is some heritage of special value, it is convenient to create a protection area to prevent visitors from entering and spoiling the natural life.

With regards to the cultural heritage, there may be many types of assets to consider: historic buildings and monuments, where restoration is necessary; traditions, to be leveraged by creating events marketable to the tourists; local gastronomy, arts and crafts to be leveraged through the creation of outdoor markets; history, to be leveraged through the creation of ethnographic and history museums.

Which other programs would you consider to develop new feelings?

Marketing 3.0Strategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Cross-destination competitiveness programs: developing experiences

Charming transport systems. In line with the aforementioned congestion challenges, a smart solution to both release congestion and boost visits to the least popular sites is to develop charming transport systems connecting all sites and attractions throughout the destination. Both within and between clusters, the charming transport systems make the mobility an iconic experience of the destination, stimulating visitors to discover all hidden spots beyond the most crowded ones.

Such transport systems may be boats whenever there are water canals or lakes, rickshaws in Asia, horse carriages, old fashioned tramways, trains and funiculars with character, seaplane flights, snowmobiles, sledding carriages pulled by horses or reindeer, old fashioned taxis, bicycle rental, animal ride –elephant, camel, horse, etc.- in wilderness areas, etc.

This is not to be confused with some sightseeing products, whose goal is to let the visitor see all the destination spots without necessarily getting off the transport system; it is a sightseeing experience but it’s major goal is to move people from one site to another, releasing crowded areas and enhancing visits to the least accessible ones, spreading the tourist flows throughout the destination while enhancing its character.

DMC incubator. One of the key goals of Tourism 3.0 is to create life-changing experiences while fostering entrepreneurship at the base of the pyramid to alleviate poverty. The best way to do so is to create DMC incubators, where new entrepreneurs are trained and provided with the necessary infrastructure and services to start operating their business at no cost. They are designed to be the perfect environment to start up a business.

Given the nature of the tourism businesses, this idea is only –or mostly- applicable to DMC, businesses offering activities and integrated packages. However it should provide training and advisory services to other types of businesses such as accommodation, food & beverage, etc.

This could be also the place where to organize the co-creation workshops, to inspire these DMC owners in developing their products; and should be closely collaborating with the open innovation system, to benefit from the collective intelligence and imagination in their product development challenges.

Which other programs would you consider to develop new experiences?

Intelligence methodsStrategySustainability

Cross-destination competitiveness assessment method

Once the competitiveness of both products and clusters is analyzed, the final assessment is that of the key factors for competitiveness common to the whole destination. This assessment may also include brief strategy recommendations, both to further leverage the strengths and to overcome the weaknesses, as a starting point for the strategy and action plan that usually follows the Competitive analysis.

The cross-destination competitive assessment analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the destination in the following areas:

Cross-destination resources and attractions: (non-product related)

  • Intangible assets such as history, glamour, traditions, gastronomy, etc.
  • Groups of special clients attracting other clients, providing social networking value
  • Conservation of the natural environment
  • Destination character as a result of the cultural heritage conservation across the destination
  • Cultural life, offering an attractive calendar of events
  • Shopping offer
  • Nightlife and entertainment offer
  • Unexploited resources for tourism
  • Proximity with other destinations with which it is possible to create routes or packages

Infrastructures, facilities and services

  • Signage across the destination
  • Accessibility from the outbound markets (flight connections, railways, roads, harbors, etc.)
  • Public facilities and services (hospitals, public transportation, police, etc.)
  • Experiential value of the transport systems between clusters and attractions
  • Adaptability of facilities for handicapped people

Human resources

  • Locals’ hospitality
  • Adequacy of training for the tourism professionals in skills, know-how, attitudes, etc.
  • Locals’ consciousness about the importance of tourism for the economy
  • Destination knowledge, and language skills of the local population

Destination atmosphere

  • Air and noise pollution
  • Cleanliness
  • Safety
  • Congestion issues
  • Pedestrian streets
  • Urban landscape harmony and attractiveness
  • Destination life bringing opportunity to mingle among the locals social lives

Tourism services and information

  • Character, capacity and quality of the accommodation services
  • Proper segmentation of the accommodation offer
  • Quality and diversity of the restoration offer
  • Restoration and accommodation services adapted to handicapped visitors
  • Availability of food & beverage for groups with special needs
  • Information services available in many languages (at least those of the outbound markets)
  • Information available through different channels: information offices, internet, Apps
  • Precision, clarity and up to date information provided
  • Quality and quantity of the information provided in the Tourism Guides
  • Local Tourist guides services

Organization and management

  • Importance of tourism in the Government Agenda
  • Cooperation culture between public and private agents. Public-private bodies dynamism
  • Professionalism, integrity and proactiveness of the tourism related bodies (Government, DMO)
  • Adequacy of regulations to the tourism development needs
  • Efficiency of the bureaucracy system to attract and develop investments
  • Level of consensus on the destination model to develop


  • Effectiveness of the monitoring system in detecting relevant issues with regards to negative impacts related to the environment and other aspects.
  • Effectiveness of the monitoring system in tracking the evolution of the tourism impacts
  • Participation in the educational programs related to sustainability
  • Effectiveness of new environmental friendly practices in reducing negative impacts
  • Satisfaction of the local community with the tourism development
  • Adequacy of the regulations to the necessary policies to guarantee sustainability
  • Effective enforcement of the regulations related to development constraints & sustainability
  • Conservation of the cultural and natural heritage

Tourism 3.0 approach

  • Defined mission with the support of local stakeholders and community
  • Mission awareness and appeal to the target social networks
  • Participation of the locals and visitors in the product co-creation and storytelling
  • Percentage of tourists attracted by the stories about the life-changing experiences
  • Participation of the micro-entrepreneurs at the base of the pyramid in the tourism business
  • Number of local service suppliers and outside stakeholders partnering with the destination
  • Success in the implementation of the culture change towards collaboration and innovation
  • Satisfaction of the tourists with the life-changing experiences

It is recommendable that the consultant somehow states the priority level or importance of the strengths to be leveraged and the weaknesses to be overcome to orient decision makers in the design of their policies regarding investment priorities. All these cross-destination assessments could also be accompanied with a comprehensive marketing audit, for which you may find the methodology in the Whitepaper “The Marketing Plan 3.0”.

Which other issues should be considered in the cross-destination assessment?

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionSustainability

Cluster competitiveness assessment method

Tourism clusters are areas –often encompassing many tourism sites- that are internally homogeneous or with a distinct character. Defining clusters is structuring the territory in smaller geographical areas which help us identify where the tourism activity is carried out and where it can be developed, among other issues.

To assess competitiveness in a cluster there has to be analyzed both the value created by the tourism activity for the tourists and the local community, and the efforts demanded to the tourists and the local community. These two main assessments are to be structured in the following points:

The value created for the tourists and the local community:

  • Experiences lived, namely those that result from the services provided, which are the main purpose of the trip and account for the greatest importance in the value assessment.
  • Feelings, sensations and emotions experimented on as a result of the destination atmosphere, natural and urban landscape, local hospitality, sounds, smells, illumination, etc.
  • Service Quality provided, in relation to the service standards stated in the accommodation ratings and expectations of all services in accordance with international standards.
  • Positive impact created by the tourism activity in the local community and environment, namely in terms of job creation, wealth distribution, heritage conservation, etc.

The efforts demanded to the tourists and the local community:

  • Discomforts suffered as a result of pollution, noise, lack of cleanliness, poor comfortableness of transport, restoration or accommodation services, long transfers, congestion issues, etc.
  • Risks perceived and insecurities associated to lack of transparency in the deals, criminality, lack of understanding due to language barriers, poor quality of transport means, etc.
  • Price paid including all services, payment facilities commissions (credit card and check allowance), currency exchange rate & commissions, complements’ price, etc.
  • Negative impact created by the tourism activity on the environment, congestion issues affecting the locals lives, business spoiling the local culture, landscape destruction, etc.

The optimum way to carry out this assessment is through surveying the tourists on site when visiting the cluster area, with open questions first and closed questions regarding all relevant items after. Tourists’ assessment and satisfaction is the best indicator to consider, though the budget available to do this assessment is not always sufficient, and then the experts’ assessment on site is the best alternative. Further, to assess the positive and negative impacts, the survey should be carried out by surveying the local population on their satisfaction about the aforementioned issues. Impact such as the environmental should be assessed by specialized experts, as they are not always visible to the eyes of the population.

The Whitepaper “Clustering strategy” deepens in cluster competitiveness analysis, cluster definition and development as a key strategy within the destination development.

Would you consider other methods to assess cluster competitiveness?

StrategyTourism marketing

Product competitiveness assessment method

 Every type of product or business has a series of key success factors that ensure somehow its capacity to attract clients and compete with the best products of its category, at least within a market segment. It is therefore essential to identify these key success factors for every type of product as well as the importance of each factor for the product competitiveness.

The key success factors assessment method is one of the most useful to assess product competitiveness, as it may be used both in the cases when the product is operating in the destination and when it is not operating and we want to assess the destination’s capability to develop the product successfully.

The key success factors are to be identified by a pool of experts, namely tour-operator product managers and benchmark operators. They are also those who have to determine the relative importance of each key success factor, in order to weigh every factor’s compliance in the final assessment.

Then, once the importance of each factor in the overall assessment is determined, there has to be analysis of the level of compliance of the destination for every factor in a scale of 1-10 and then assess the gap matching capability for all the factors where the assessment is lower than 10. The gap matching capability is to explain how likely the destination is to obtain the maximum assessment in the short-middle term at a reasonable cost. It may be assessed as low, medium or high to simplify the procedure.

Out of the key success factors compliance and gap matching capabilities for every factor, we make an overall assessment for each of the two types, which determine the destination capacity to compete in the business.

In the cases where the product or business is already operating in the destination, there may be use of the method of the competitive position & potential. In this case, we have to calculate the Relative market share of the destination for the product (destination revenues in the business / main competitor revenues in the sector) and the relative market share growth of the destination for this business within a rating range from 0 to 1. Weighing the Relative market share at 70% and the Relative market share growth at 30%, the destination Competitive position is obtained for the business object of assessment.

Then, the Competitive potential results from the assessment of the destination’s Service Quality, its Resources and experiences, its discomforts and insecurities, its costs and its marketing, also rating them from 0 to 1. The weighing of each of these variables is up to the consultant criteria; however, every variable is given a weight to orientate the reader.

The Service quality rating is to consider the overall satisfaction of the tourists with the service quality standards of the destination, though it can also be measured through the consultant’s assessment of the destination’s service quality standards in relation to the international standards. The Service quality suggested weight is at 10%.

The Resources and experiences rating is to consider the value of the destination’s resources related to the product, as well as its capacity to provide satisfactory and memorable experiences to the visitor. This is one of the most important factors and therefore its suggested weight is at 30%.

The Discomforts and insecurities rating is to consider all the inconveniences and risks that the visitor is exposed to during the experience. These may refer to pollution, noise, dirtiness, language barriers, lack of price transparency, transfers length, etc. The suggested weight for the discomforts and insecurities is at 15%.

The Costs rating is to consider both the price that the tourist has to pay for the experience and the negative impact that the tourism activity creates on the destination and its inhabitants. In this point it is necessary to carry out a sounder analysis on the congestion issues affecting locals’ lives, environmental issues, etc. The suggested weight is at 15%.

The Marketing rating is to consider the adequacy of the destination branding for the product, the product & brand awareness in its market, the adequacy of the product packaging, and the efficiency and effectiveness of the marketing system for this product in the destination. The suggested weight for marketing is at 30%.

Out of every rating and weighing, a final assessment is obtained for every factor, and the overall assessment is the result of the factors’ sum for the Competitive position and the Competitive potential. The Whitepaper “The 5 Competitive forces & Business Strategy” explains these two methodologies in a more visual way, and also how these Competitiveness assessments are used within the McKinsey matrix method to design the destinations Business portfolio strategy.

Would you consider other factors in assessing product competitiveness?

Collaborative business modelsMarketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & execution

Destination models’ partnership & ownership related variables

Partnership structure: even if most destinations –cultural destinations- are driven by many DMCs and one DMO, there may be many different formulas to structure their relationship in terms of partnership. In most cases the DMO is controlled by the government, but there may be different levels of participation from the private operators (DMCs) in the strategic direction, funding and management of the DMO. In some cases the operators are just listened to during the definition of the destination strategy in order to consider their valuable inputs, whereas some other models are more integrative. More integrative models are those where both the private sector and government provide funding for the DMO activities, both have the power to appoint members of the DMO board, and have to agree on the DMO strategic direction and management. In some cases, the DMO is exclusively run by the private operators.

Ownership structure: even if most destinations are run by many operators of all kinds –accommodation, activities, food & beverage, transportation, etc.-, in some destinations there is one operator dominating the business, and in some cases –ski resorts, theme parks, etc.- the destination has only one operator, or many operators belonging to the same owner or holding. Regarding the composition of the operators’ ownership, there are many models:

  • Integrated resorts: all businesses are controlled by the same owner. This is the case of some theme parks, ski resorts, golf resorts, etc.
  • Resort based destinations: one resort is the main attraction but many other operators can also take advantage of the tourist flows.
  • Cultural destinations: their natural and/or cultural heritage is the main attraction, with many operators of different sizes but without a dominant one.
  • Destinations 3.0: it may correspond to different kinds of attractions, and the ownership may be shared between government, investors and small stakeholders, in partnership with other small businesses and other types of organizations.


Would you consider other variables concerning partnership and ownership?

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & execution

Destination models’ brand values related variables

Character and style harmony: many destinations pay special attention to the architectural style and urban aesthetics to guarantee a harmonic urban landscape. This harmony is very appreciated by most upscale tourists, for it is an important requirement to attract the highest spenders. These destinations take special care of the traditional urban heritage and require new developments to follow the same traditional style in harmony with the most authentic buildings and urban aesthetics. Unfortunately, there are also many destinations that have not taken any care of this issue, allowing new hotels and apartments to be built disregarding the harmony with the traditional style of the destination. This is a missed opportunity to offer an experience with a differentiated value that only destinations with character can provide.

Development & tourist flow constraints: closely correlated to the “character and style harmony”, destinations have to decide the maximum capacity of tourists they are able to sustain, depending on their concern on sustainability and also on the type of tourists they are willing to attract. Upscale tourists are to be more exigent regarding congestion issues that may spoil the experience, and so prefer staying somewhere a bit more exclusive with accommodation capacity constraints. Conversely, destinations with little capacity constraints are more likely to attract middle to low end profile tourists, who are not that much concerned about congestion problems.

Other constraints may be those related to the visitors allowed in the natural or cultural heritage sites, to prevent both congestion issues and to manage tourist flows according to the site’s carrying capacity. This capacity is determined by experts who assess the impact of the tourism activity on the site, and establish a limit of visitors per hour or per day that guarantees the sustainability of the tourism activity in the site.

Accommodation mix: the combination of different types of accommodation services is also a relevant variable to consider. In this point there are two main issues to resolve: first, the mix between hotels and real estate, considering also intermediate formulas. Hotels create jobs and tax revenues, whereas real estate may be an important source of funds to leverage for investments, and also to create loyal tourists. Second, there has to be the decision on the accommodation mix of categories –namely for hotels- according to the types of tourists that the destination intends to attract.

Sustainability management: the control of the tourism activity impact and the protection of the environment and cultural heritage in the development are also a key factor to take into account. Many tourism activities carried out in natural environments require damaging the landscape or threaten its fragility. Therefore the constraints on the tourism development in natural areas and the protection status given to these areas are an essential issue to consider in tourism development planning. In this point, it is necessary to determine the carrying capacity of the natural areas and determine the accommodation capacity accordingly.

Branding: all the aforementioned variables along with the natural and cultural assets of the destination define the destination experiences and determine the attributes and values of the brand. The branding messages contained in all marketing materials and campaigns should go in accordance with them. Branding also refers to the image that the destination conveys as a territory, for it is a political issue of major importance: the destination model is not only to be decided by the local tourism operators, but rather through consensus among all stakeholders.

Would you consider other brand value related variables?