Beyond the cluster’s and cross-destination conditions, product competitiveness is no doubt a key factor to consider in the overall assessment and strategy. Product competitiveness strategies entail sometimes developing new products and others just improving the current ones. In this regard, this section explains the key product development strategies and methods, some product development programs that are used in most destinations, and also the product competitiveness strategy and most common programs.

Developing new products is not an easy challenge. Once the product portfolio strategy is defined, the product categories to develop are established. Then, from the product category to the marketable product is where creativity and product development mastery make the difference. The main steps of the product development are the following:

  1. Conceptualization
  2. Business model design & test
  3. Feasibility study and assessment of social and environmental impacts of the product
  4. Business Plan
  5. Launch
  6. Monitoring performance & improvement

Even if the Product Manager is solely responsible for the product development, in Tourism 3.0, the co-creation and the ideas coming from the open innovation bring support in the steps 1, 2 and 6. Steps #1 and #2 are supported by the contribution of the co-creation workshops and the Open Innovation System through various types of contributions: professional and non-professional; whereas the step #6 is supported by the visitor’s creative reviews after their experience with the product.

The case of the life-changing experiences is where co-creation and open innovation play the most decisive role, due to their complex nature, as they have to provoke some kind of personal transformation in the visitor, far beyond the usual tourism experiences. Their development process is therefore more complex as well. The development of life-changing experiences entails the following steps:

  1. Starting from the mission as an inspirational mantra, and listening to related stories to better understand the life-changing idea, define the experience concept based on its life-changing goals (effects or impacts), the constituents of the positive change (those who benefit from the activity), and the activity behind the experience.
  2. Try to include storytelling training as a part of the experience, to generate new stories
  3. Business model design & test
  4. Feasibility study and assessment of social and environmental impacts of the product
  5. Business plan
  6. Launch
  7. Monitoring performance & improvement

In this case, the Product Manager has to supervise the adequacy of the ideas being developed through the open innovation, the product development contests and the co-creation workshops, to help improve & refine them, and to invigorate contribution. The Product Manager is also in charge of selecting and managing channel partners, organizing the aforementioned events, benchmarking and managing customer feedback.

Once the life-changing experience product has been launched, the performance is monitored and creative reviews are encouraged, along with the creation of stories about the experience. These two are the most inspirational sources for product improvement and new products development. The capacity of the product to be customized for every tourist makes it more productive in terms of stories created and creative reviews.

Would you consider other steps in the product development process?

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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