Month: July 2017

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsStrategy

Small local brands: You either collaborate or you’ll be intermediated

In Destinations 3.0, DMOs work as marketing platforms intermediating for the local businesses and joining efforts with those businesses to reach the global market, just in the way that thousands of niche companies are willing to enjoy the benefits of the level of visibility and consistency that only a more “mainstream” brand can offer. This article explains the imperative need for small businesses and brands to develop cooperative marketing platforms to avoid being intermediated by wholesalers with a much higher negotiation power.

Some early Internet evangelists promised anybody with a website and an e-commerce platform can have a global market no matter how small the company or where it is located. A theoretical true, that statement does not take into consideration the laws of Attention Economics that Internet itself is boldly proving right from the very first moment.

It’s also true “Long Tail” niche offers can overcome this barrier by the same differentiation and exclusivity that made them niche in the very first place. Yes, it’s possible to create a global audience or market by offering something nobody else is offering and then establishing a relationship with your customers leveraging all new media and tools available today. Yet, still, this level of differentiation is not always and for everybody possible.

Collaboration with others such niche brands can make this strategy less difficult and more potentially fruitful.  Good news is people seem to be rejecting the notion of large corporations and are looking for companies whose people and story they can connect with. Bad news is Attention Economics apply, making impossible for customers to have a relationship close enough with all niche brands that could be relevant to them in a particular moment.

This is why even living in a flat world we still need intermediaries. A different kind, but still intermediaries. But in the digital paradigm, once eliminated geographical proximity as a factor, we only need one of these intermediaries for each of the limited list of categories our minds can deal with, making monopolies or oligopolies a natural and logical outcome for every market.

Good for those understanding becoming the perfect interface for a particular category of products or services is the fast lane to success (and dollars) in the digital realm. Too bad for the ones who will have (or already have) to deal with a monopolist in order to make their products or services visible and purchasable. Too bad for thousands of musicians or app developers taken a cut of a third of every sale that would have been considered outrageous if taken by a local record or software shop. For every Etsy or Zappos of the world, there is the menace of them taking advantage of a dominant position, the threat of the “Upper Hand” syndrome we wrote about referring the case of Fulfillment by Amazon.

Collaboration will be the only possible answer for the convergence of a growing number of niche offers and the challenge for these companies of having enough scale for their offers to be visible and purchasable. If these companies do not create and own their own intermediation by collaborating with others, somebody else will create a digital intermediation for them.

Co-Society was recently involved in a project for an association of cooperatives looking for new roles in a changing, much different world in which the Co-op concept was born. There is still an opportunity to build many middleware platforms between consumers and niche offers, an opportunity for umbrella organizations representing smaller or local brands and offers with a promise to the consumer of a guaranteed consistency and quality. But for these to be owned by the smalls brands themselves, there will be no other way that to be implemented and managed by a more collaborative, democratic and horizontal organizations we are used to, organizations similar to the structure and mindset with which cooperatives were born more than a century and a half ago.

This article is from www.co-society.com/small-local-brands-either-collaborate-youll-intermediated/

Up to what extend could the local niche brand be differentiated from the destination brand if this niche business has to be marketed through the destination branded platform?

Co-creationCollaborative cultureCulture changeInnovationInnovative culture

Co-ideation with employees, a first step for a much needed mindset and culture change

Destinations 3.0 intend to engage both the DMO employees and local stakeholders in co-creating contents and products in the form of life-changing experiences. This article brings us a case study showing how to create innovation teams and foster internal cooperation to boost innovation.

New collaboration efforts on innovation are usually almost exclusively put on initiatives, partnerships or projects with some other companies or external agents as providers, distributors, developers, academics or even customers. But often there is another area where to try to make the most of collaboration to innovate in a way that is easier, less risky and many times as fruitful: within the companies themselves.

Co-innovation between different departments or with employees not directly linked with innovation functions it’s still unusual. Maybe one of the reasons is because it’s kind of counterintuitive to think that anything else is needed to foster collaboration once you hire talent and put it under the same roof with common goals. But in practice, things do not work this way.

We have already some experience initiating and managing processes within companies of different sorts and from different sectors in order to create innovation teams with employees never before asked to think and implement new ideas. It’s not an easy task. Tools and methodology are needed. It is also very important for companies trying to tap into own talent for innovation to constantly explore what is going on beyond the walls of their sites, areas of expertise, business model and industry  to avoid the syndrome that make internal ideas often biased by a reapplication of knowledge, methods, and solutions which hinders creativity and market sensitivity.

But outputs are positive and important. For start, a first experience that acts as a necessary spark for a culture and mindset change in order to create a needed “company’s second operating system”, the one in charge of the future of the organizations. Co-innovate internally is the best first step and learning & testing way to co-innovate with external agents afterwards.

There are many ways to foster internal collaboration to innovate. Siemens is one of the big global companies that puts lots of efforts into their innovation goals and they have lots of initiatives on open innovation, co-creation and co-ideation within the company itself. This article describes two of the tools the company is using successfully for such a goal: TechnoWeb, an online platform that can be used by all Siemens employees worldwide to share ideas and research trends; and an Open Co-Ideation competition that invites researchers from different departments to share their knowledge.

TechnoWeb and the Open Co-Ideation competition exemplify new approaches for the internal generation of ideas, some of them already turned into successful company products as the article shows. But more importantly, they are causing Siemens’ corporate culture to change. As Christoph Krois, responsible for innovation management at Siemens, explains:  “It’s no longer a case of my knowledge, your knowledge, or my precious secrets, because as we proved with this tools and processes, knowledge is the only thing that increases if you share it”.

You may check the original source at Co-ideation and Knowledge-Sharing culture in Siemens

This post is from www.co-society.com/co-ideation-employees-first-step-much-needed-mindset-culture-change/

What cultural barriers prevent these innovation practices from being developed more often in corporations?

 

Collaborative cultureCulture changeMarketing 3.0

Why is it necessary to create a collaborative culture?

The future of destinations is likely to depend upon a strong force that breaks the traditional rules of competition through stimulating cooperation, hence causing the union of its poles. Therefore, the future of destinations will be based upon the capacity of creating those conditions.

It is necessary to make repelling agents such as businesses and people, work together creating synergies benefiting the whole community. This change entails developing a new culture, which means changing values, beliefs and attitudes in both poles: businesses and consumers, as well as other kinds of stakeholders.

Throughout history, societies that have developed an economic system but not a culture to drive it forward have collapsed. Nowadays, the speech about entrepreneurship in Europe puts its focus on the need for creating spaces for entrepreneurs, when the real need is to develop a culture of entrepreneurship.

Therefore, when we talk about smart cities or smart destinations, are we only talking about urban and system planning? Good systems themselves are useless if there is no active culture of cooperation among agents.

Hardware x Software = System or Economy x culture = Society

The future is a destination where there is cooperation in two ways: a smart destination from the systems perspective and collaborative from the social perspective; a destination where there are thousands of exchanges and connections between business agents and social agents; destinations where products and services are developed in cooperation with social entrepreneurs. A destination where business and social agents are not connected is likely to fail, because the future of the economy is based upon collaborative models.

Therefore, the future of destinations is not based only upon developing infrastructure and technology, but on creating the conditions to facilitate efficient and long-lasting cooperation among all stakeholders.
This post has been inspired by an article in www.infonomia.com , the leading Spanish Forum on innovation.

Collaborative business modelsCollaborative culture

Seven habits for a highly successful Co-initiative

As you may have read in previous post or some of the Envisioning Tourism 3.0 Whitepapers, destinations approaching Tourism 3.0 have to develop a culture of collaboration to enhance the success in the development of collaborative business models and co-creation activities. This article from McKinsey & Company sums up to seven the number of ways to make partnerships successful. Marco Albani, the author, refers specifically to advices to take into consideration when creating and maintaining an alliance to address social and environmental issues, but tips can be likewise applied to any kind of partnerships and all sorts of Co- initiatives.

These seven habits for a highly effective Co- are the result of a research consisting basically in the interview of dozens of business, government, and NGO leaders.

These were the seven essential principles identified for success in a Co- initiative:

01.- Identify clear reasons to collaborate

Any collaboration must make sense for all parties. Commitment can be weak if partners sign up for an alliance simply because they don’t want to say no. A nascent partnership must identify strong incentives.

02.- Find a ‘fairy godmother’

As in any other kinds of projects, first movers take the biggest risks. Behind most successful collaborations are one or a few organizations that are willing to invest more than the rest to make the effort a success. And that’s ok. For any idea of Co-, you can probably find a high-performing, credible institution that can be a fairy godmother for the project because is passionate, credible, and courageous enough about the idea. Take profit of such organizations if you find them.

03.- Set simple, credible goals

One main barrier for collaboration success is partners with different agendas. Is therefore necessary to avoid this by setting. An aspirational goal that everyone agrees on… and everyone involved can achieve.

04.- Get professional help

When organizations come together, they each could have their own incentives, biases, and organizational cultures. Odds of conflict are highest when organizations are from completely different sectors and cultures. The first few months tend to be particularly rough. Collaboration projects increase their chances of success if a “neutral” facilitator is included in the project. A professional facilitator not only has an expertise on how to implement collaboration but, more importantly, represents a common and neutral ground to work with.

05.- Dedicate good people to the cause

Successful collaborations, at least at the start, are led by senior leaders from the founding organizations. A co- project it’s usually difficult enough to need dedicate qualified staff. A co- project it’s usually strategic for organizations involved, so they should resource it like it is strategic. So not trainees or time dedicated besides business as usual. The good news are a co-project effort is like a start-up, so talented individuals will give their all if they believe in the goals and allows them to work differently as usual. Working on a major collaboration should be an exciting career builder, not a dead end.

06.- Be flexible in defining success

A Co-project if successful if it changes somehow the rules of a game in a positive way. But a Co-project (as most of any other kinds of projects) hardly will change the world. So it’s not a good idea to think so and then when it doesn’t, think that it failed. Understanding the nature of the change aimed will help not to dismay when trying to get it.

07.- Prepare to let go

No collaboration should be kept alive beyond its useful lifetime. Once set up a goal, it should be planned a process for the collaboration either wind down or become an independent entity.

This post is from www.co-society.com/seven-habits-highly-successful-co-initiative

The original article includes several real cases for each lesson learned. See the original post at     Creating partnerships for sustainability

Would you consider any other profitable habit to enhance the cooperation success?

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Controlling service quality through customer reviews

The Spanish Online Travel & Entertainment Broker “ATRAPALO” has opened a blog to let their customers express their opinions on their lived experiences with Atrapalo’s products. According to Atrapalo’s executives, one of the main key success factors of the company is the great deal of feedback they have from their customers, who always have the chance to comment on their experiences with hotels, flights, restaurants or shows. They do not have a Quality control department, but their clients give them feedback on what products and suppliers are worth dealing with.

In the case of the most purchased products which also have a high percentage of reviews, this is for sure a reliable source of information to assess the product’s quality. However, so long as the review is free and not mandatory, the average result of the reviews may not be the same as that of survey carried out on a representative sample chosen at random. Here it is important to assess if there is a typical bias from the result obtained through the free reviews to the one obtained following the quantitative research techniques, so as to assess appropriately the value of these results.

This technique leaves however many questions unanswered: how many reviews do you consider necessary to have a valid assessment on a product, in relation to the product sales? How do you assess the least sold –least tried- products’ quality which have very few or no reviews? Do you consider the case of corrupted practices in which some “product dealer friends” would write exaggerated reviews on the experience, pretending it was much better than it really was?

Furthermore, beyond reviews on product quality, why do you think that operators do not encourage clients to bring in ideas on how to make their products better or ideas about new products?

Co-creationInnovationMarketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Co-creating experiences in cooperation with Airbnb

Airbnb is partnering with iconic brands all over the world to promote its services. The news is that they partner with all sorts of brands, regardless of their relationship with the tourism and hospitality business. For instance, in Australia they partnered with Ikea to allow a group of customers to sleep in its Sidney store. This has not been the only case of such partnerships. During last year, some Airbnb guests have been able to rest on a KLM plane or at the Galeries Lafayette in Paris. There’s a future chance to spend the night at the Holmenkollen ski jump skiing in Oslo (Norway).

More recently, Chicago Bulls and Airbnb partnered on a promotion to allow one fan and a guest to sleep in the United Center following a game. The Bulls redesigned the owner’s suite equipped with a bed, dining room table, and TV (although guests could chose a movie to be shown on the team’s giant video screen). The Bulls even hired a cook to make a very special breakfast in the morning.

For a hospitality brand as Airbnb with not a single room among owned assets, it’s being a very clever and successful promotion to show how they can offer what no hotel chain can offer: unique experiences in accommodations all around the world. A promotion hard to imagine if not thanks to a collaboration between two brands with a win/win outcome, a co-creation process concerning a global brand wanting to be known in every possible local market and another local brand interested in being exposed to the world.

So we were really glad when we knew Casa Batlló in Barcelona and Airbnb agreed to a similar partnership giving two guests the chance to spend the night in one of the most mythical and iconic landmarks in the city. First of all, because this modernist architect Gaudi masterpiece building is owned by a Co-Society fellow (consider this a disclaimer). But also, because in this case, besides the partnership between two companies, the initiative also included some other elements of co-creation and co-innovation.

The contest to win this unique experience was not a mere lottery. It was created to tie in with Mobile World Congress, which took place in Barcelona during those same days, and linked to the “Entrepreneur hosts Entrepreneur” program in which entrepreneurs who travel to Barcelona to attend the event could sleep in the homes of other local entrepreneurs. Casa Batlló wanted Gaudí to be one of these local entrepreneurs and invite home not any tourist but somebody who could show the same out of the box thinking that made the host unique. To qualify for the award, the applicants must “Write to host” and propose an original idea of how to leverage mobile technology in the building, built between 1904 and 1906.

See the original post at www.co-society.com/airbnb-casa-batllo-mi-casa-es-su-casa-gaudi-said/

What kind of partnerships do you envision for collaborative platforms like Airbnb?

Business model innovationCo-creationTourism trends

Innovating in a religious center to create life-changing experiences

Innovation is not a transforming element exclusive to the business world. Promoting innovation in another ambit such as spirituality is not only possible but it can also teach us many useful lessons which are actually applicable to any kind of organization. The changes carried out in Cova St. Ignasi house of spiritual exercises, a Christian Catholic center in the Barcelona Area, prove that innovation is applicable in absolutely all fields. Actually, innovating in the field of spirituality is itself a disruptive innovation.

It took around 7 years for a group of young Jesuits led by Xavier Melloni to introduce a series of new activities among the programs developed in Cova St. Ignasi. Those activities were open to the participation of all kinds of people regardless of their religious confession or practice. These programs offer the chance to experience the inner search introducing both oriental techniques and elements of body expression.

Among the new internalization techniques there are yoga and tai-chi. Self-knowledge practices incorporate also elements from the Sufi tradition and have a base of both spiritual and psychological dimension. To these spiritual experiences some components related to body expression like dance have been added.

As you may guess, the introduction of these activities among the usual programs in this house of spiritual exercises was much more than mere novelty in an institution dedicated for centuries to the prayer and spirituality from the Catholic practice and doctrine. Years after offering these new activities, the novelty has positively surprised both the local population and the institution.

Key takeaways

From the success of an innovation in a rather conservative environment there are many interesting lessons to take away:

WITHOUT RADICAL BREAKING OFF. The introduction of new programs has not led to the disappearance of the traditional activities. This circumstance helped the transition by diminishing the anxiety in front of novelty.

CONVINCED PEOPLE, THE MAIN CHANGE MOTOR. The main characteristic of the group of people who led this innovation was the strong conviction in the ideas they were proposing and wanted to put into practice. Nobody had the obligation of getting involved in an activity which they did not feel comfortable with or did not believe in.

MULTI-CONFESSIONAL TEAMWORK. To develop the Project they decided to mix both catholic and non-catholic members, cooperating at the same level since the first day.

CONFIDENCE IS KEY. The proposal of Xavier Melloni and the rest of the team responsible for the Project generated many kinds of negative reactions at the beginning. For instance, one of the main concerns was fear that people could think that they were abandoning or relaxing the principles of the organization. But any innovation process requires a certain audacity to overcome the fears that arise with any change. For Xavier, this audacity has been as crucial as the necessary confidence not to be questioning the project over and over again. With the confidence shown by Xavier and his team it was easier to assume their own responsibilities and be patient with the development of the project.

THE BEST OF EVERY PRACTICE. Successful innovations in any field are not absolutely original. They do not start from scratch, but rather from combining elements of the best practices in a new way. The spiritual exercises designed by Xavier Melloni claim to integrate the most positive elements from both oriental and western cultures, attracting people who are distant from the Catholic practice, probably due to the Church’s official message. Many people want to work on their spirituality but consider that Christianity is too inflexible and excessively moralized. On the other hand, seriously introducing elements from other religions requires going through an educational process encompassing language, mythology, etc. which may be quite long and demanding. Xavier’s proposal consists in offering the chance to rediscover spirituality through the local language.

INNOVATION AS AN ELEMENT WITHIN A VISION. Changes coming from a concept or a vision that goes beyond that particular change have more chances to be successful than those that are made as a result of a short term challenge. The new proposals from Cova St. Ignasi come from considering the various religions as different vehicles to achieve the same destiny, the philosophy which Xavier Melloni has been working on as an expert in inter-religious dialogue for many years.

POSITIVE CONTAMINATION. Innovation usually comes from the merge of ideas and practices from different fields which are barely ever in touch. Xavier Melloni thinks that it is crucial to distance yourself from the small and closed worlds in which we usually are. Why not create the glocal (global-local) also in the religious ambit?

This post has been inspired by an article in www.infonomia.com , the leading Spanish Forum on innovation.

What life-changing experience do you envision inspired by these case studies?

Environmental sustainabilityStrategySustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Key strategies to address Barcelona’s tourism challenges

Historic overview. Barcelona is a case study where many of the mentioned strategies have been used. Till 1992, when the Olympic Games were celebrated, the city was a second tier destination within the European circuits. Despite having held two International Exhibitions, it had lost most of its appeal as a destination. However, the city carried out an extensive renovation to be prepared for the Olympics, and this resulted in relaunching many depressed clusters by leveraging their potential, as well as creating some brand new clusters.

Till then Barcelona had lived with its back facing the sea, and many parts of the old town were depressed and abandoned to the lowest class social sectors, also suffering from safety issues. So the greatest renovation was both in the waterfront and the depressed areas of the Old town. Further, directly related with the Olympics, a new district was built to host the Olympic Villa, where there was also the Olympic Port; and in the Montjuic area there was rebuilt the old Olympic Stadium keeping the original facade, and many other sport facilities were created.

The city regained its waterfront as one of the most attractive areas, creating two clusters for entertainment and many kilometers of beaches with a maritime promenade between the two clusters. Further, the Old town was equipped with culture entertainment facilities and many open spaces were created to attract both locals and visitors. The renovation consisted also of fostering the refurbishment of the old buildings with subsidies and building new residential buildings. This renovation drew the interest of the locals as an attractive location for housing.

As a result, these once-depressed areas started attracting new businesses such as shops, cafes, restaurants and accommodation facilities. Within a few years, they cleaned their image to a shining one like the most attractive areas of the town. All in all, the city leveraged all its potential charm and attractiveness namely based upon resources that were abandoned and through the vision of the city planning developers. From then on, the city started marketing itself as a new venue for international events, thanks to the regained reputation for the good organization of the Olympic Games, and as a tourism destination for city breaks among others.

Further on, Barcelona kept on targeting new market segments, leveraging and marketing under exploited heritage and also developing new clusters. In that sense, it took the leading position as a Cruise destination in the Mediterranean, which used to be Genoa. A few years after, the city’s tourism board started promoting the architectural heritage from Antoni Gaudi, as an attraction unique to Barcelona. At the same time, a new cluster was being created, also in the waterfront, to hold the International Forum of Cultures –a new kind of International Exhibition-, where a new residential area was built, along with Congress & Convention facilities and an iconic building which was later on to the Museum of Natural Sciences.

Over the last years two more clusters have been developed. First, the extension of the International Exhibition facilities in L’Hospitalet –Barcelona’s neighbor town- to host large international exhibitions and congresses such as the Mobile World Congress; and second, the last cluster to be developed –in this case, extended- was that of Sagrada Família Temple –the city’s top attraction- with the opening of St. Pau Hospital as a cultural center boasting the largest modernist enclosure in the city, within a five minute walk from the Temple.

New challenges. Despite being one of the top European urban destinations in terms of tourism revenue, the tourism development has raised the residents’ protests on the tourists’ behavior, the proliferation of tourist apartments which overload certain areas with too many visitors, the effect of these tourist apartments on the real estate prices, and the dominance of tourists in many public spaces. Further, there has been a growth of low budget travelers, whose expenditure is barely profitable for the city. At the same time, the raise of the Airbnb model has spread the tourism use of the residential areas. All these issues have invited the residents and the City Council to a reflection on what is the adequate Tourism model.

While the debate is still in process, this is a very good case to exemplify how the aforementioned strategies may solve some of the challenges typical of mature destinations. First are explained the clusters diagnosis and the corresponding cluster based solutions for each one, and finally the cross-destination programs to tackle the aforementioned challenges. In this case, only four clusters concentrate the suggested renovation.

Montjuic Mountain: “The Garden of Barcelona”. This is where the main Olympic facilities where built, nowadays used for sporting and cultural events. Despite the Montjuic Castle and two art museums, the area is quite underexploited, and is clearly a second tier cluster, with no must see attractions. However there is a large space where attractive attractions could be developed to make most of the tourists spend at least half a day of their stay in this area:

  • Using the Montjuic Castle as a venue for cultural events, combined with a street food market area with small outdoor restaurants, open on high season weekends and summer weeks.
  • Creating a first-class “botanical themed garden” with plants and urban aesthetics representing different world areas (Mediterranean, Japan, etc.), colorful vegetation, etc.

Forum Port: “Innovative entertainment”.  This is one of the most underexploited areas of Barcelona, where the International Forum of Cultures was celebrated in 2004. At present there is one Convention center and the Natural Science Museum in the Forum’s iconic building. This could be a cluster characterized by imaginative entertainment experiences, combined with iconic buildings with futuristic architectural style. These could be:

  • Imax & 3D Cinema in a ball shaped building with mirroring facade in a central location within the Forum area, as one of the most iconic buildings.
  • Large Aquarium in iconic building boasting species from different world regions, and including restaurants inside or beside the tank and a hotel with room views to the tank and the sea.
  • Seaplane terminal in the Port, offering sightseeing flights all over Catalonia, and possibly to some seaside destinations within Catalonia or the Balearic Islands.
  • “Dancing Springs Show” in the central area of the Port, installing a stable platform underwater with programmable springs to perform a light & music & water show.
  • Celebrity chef restaurants along the waterfront terraces of the Port, with exclusive views to the “Dancing Springs Show” and other selected performances.

Old Harbor: “Mediterranean history & tradition”. This is one of the clusters with the highest potential, given its privileged location nearby the Old town, and the most touristy waterfront area. Although it is already a very exploited cluster, the mix of attractions is far from optimum, as it is offering only a standardized experience, without any character related to the destination identity, nor with distinct value proposition. The proposal is to create:

  • Mediterranean Village with stores, restaurants, hotels and night entertainment. It would reproduce the local fishermen villages’ style, providing a truly Mediterranean experience.
  • 3 caravel reproductions in real size representing the ones with which Columbus discovered America. One would be a boutique hotel, another one a restaurant and the other a museum.

Poblenou district: “The art district”. This is a district with many faces at present: the Olympic Villa near the waterfront, the old Poblenou town with its village’s charm, and the old industrial Poblenou, full of warehouses and old factories with an abandoned atmosphere. The idea is to transform all this semi-abandoned area into an art district, filling both the open and the indoor spaces with sculptures and various types of art pieces. This would entail creating a new cluster from scratch, although leveraging most of the existing infrastructure, but filling it with an innovative experience system.

The Art district concept is both an incubator for new artists and an art marketplace. It is a destination model 3.0 in its full extent: a platform where many service suppliers (artists) can participate under a series of stated rules to contribute in creating a memorable experience characterized by both harmony and variety. The artist portfolio would encompass many types of art: scenic arts, sculpture, painting, handcrafting with glass, ceramic, etc.

An approach on the strategic and operational functioning may be found in the Whitepaper “Envisioning destination models 3.0”, but the upcoming Whitepaper “Envisioning Art Villages 3.0” will explain in more detail how this has to work.

These cluster developments are to create a sum of tourism attractions that correspond to and strengthen the aforementioned cluster identity, such as that of a Theme Park, but with original and authentic experiences targeting all segments, that you would never find in any Theme Park.

Beyond these key cluster developments, it is necessary to encourage tourists to visit these new areas, which should not only be achieved through good marketing but also by creating a network of charming transport systems. In the case of Barcelona, it could be a network of Old tramways, like the ones that used to circulate in the city many decades ago. The network would be the minimum necessary to reach all of these clusters through the nicest streets and avenues of the city.

Furthermore, as stated in the theoretical introduction, these new clusters should host many of the new accommodation developments to contribute in spreading the tourism flows.

Further, the development of these clusters would solve some of the mentioned issues:

  • Increasing the tourism expenditure: through the creation of the new clusters both the average stay and the visit repetition would likely increase, and many of the clusters would be to attract high expenditure tourists, namely that of the Forum Port. Concentrating the development of new accommodation in top end hotels or boutique hotels would strongly contribute to attract such kinds of tourists.
  • Demand for new accommodation development: many of the new clusters –if not all- could contribute in hosting some of the new accommodation facilities, also offering innovative concepts like art boutique hotel in the art district, garden boutique hotel in Montjuic, Mediterranean village boutique hotel in the Old harbor, the aforementioned hotel in the Aquarium tank, and many others, namely near the Forum Port cluster.
  • Conviviality with residents in the night-time: some of these clusters –namely the Forum Port and the Old harbor- could concentrate the nightlife of the city from a certain time on, prohibiting the operation of discotheques and night clubs in residential areas, so as to deviate all the noisy tourists in the non-residential clusters during the night-time. To make that work, there should be good public transport availability until the closing of these clubs.

Other issues regarding the proliferation of tourist apartments, the need to share the benefits of tourism with the poorer layers of society, and the rise in Airbnb based offers and its effect on the increase of the real estate prices could be addressed through policies such as:

  • Limiting the offer of Airbnb rooms to 1 room per apartment, 1 apartment per owner and also depending on the offer of every district, being more constrained in the areas suffering from congestion issues and with more accommodation offer.
  • Creating a body to control the non-regulated accommodation offer, enforcing the previous regulations to prevent the issues that residents complain about.
  • Offering the current night clubs in the areas suffering from conviviality issues a priority treatment to settle in the new clusters where nightlife is to be relocated, before they have to close or reconvert their current business.
  • Implement a limited capacity system and advance online booking in the cultural facilities such as monuments or museums, to avoid congestion and queues, and to enforce visitors to plan their visits in advance.
  • Create a tourism tax to make the tourists and tourism business contribute to the public expenses related to tourism spaces and subsidized public services they take advantage of. This could also help, by diminishing the business profitability, to lower the upward pressure of the real estate prices.

Do you think of other strategies to address Barcelona’s tourism challenges?

Environmental sustainabilityStrategySustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Typical challenges in mature destinations (II)

Lack of infrastructure renovation. Old destinations usually suffer from some kind of obsolescence at some point, not only regarding the transport or accommodation infrastructures, but also others such the buildings facades, the urban aesthetics, etc. All together, these elements may eventually give an image of decadence. However, this need for renovation may be regarded as an opportunity to develop each cluster’s identity, leveraging their uniqueness and their heritage to make them shine to the utmost.

Beyond usual competitiveness programs regarding accommodation facilities upgrade or quality labels certification, in line with the Re-clustering strategy suggested before in this section, some programs regarding the facades refurbishment and the development of unique urban aesthetics style for each cluster, using typical designs or elements that represent their identity.

Furthermore, beyond urban aesthetics renovation, an excellent way to change the atmosphere from decadence to lively and vibrant is to introduce elements of animation such as artists performing in the public spaces (painters, musicians, etc.) and imaginative illumination at night, in accordance with the type of atmosphere that is to be created.

Lack of new tourism businesses. A very different problem occurs when there is lack of private initiative to start up new businesses related to tourism. This may mean that the destination has no demand growth, but also that it is not capable of attracting new market segments or inspiring new experiences based on the current resources.

This challenge may be solved through either new cluster development or cluster reconversion, opening a new area with new resources to be exploited for tourism, which necessarily needs new business to operate, may inspire new experiences and attract new market segments. Complementing this move, there are two other possible programs to foster entrepreneurship. First, using one of the key concepts of Tourism 3.0, the development of an open innovation system is likely to bring in new business ideas and identify unsatisfied demands.

The second possible program is to create a tourism business incubator, facilitating entrepreneurs to start-up their business with a co-working space and business training at a subsidized cost for a certain period of time. Business incubators are to diminish the risk of business failure throughout the first months of the new business life. It is therefore a platform to encourage creative entrepreneurs to develop their ideas into the market.

Tourism expenditure & seasonality stagnation. Expenditure depends on many factors, such as the targeted segments, the geographical markets, the infrastructure and experiences attractiveness. Generating higher expenditure requires namely developing segments that target the wealthiest tourists: Luxury, MICE, Golf, Gambling, Special Interest, etc. with the adequate infrastructure and offering a charming and harmonic atmosphere leveraging the character of the destination, to attract investors, operators and, of course, the tourists.

Demand seasonality is another issue. It depends also on market segments and geographical markets, as some types of holidays or tourism related activities take place during the mid and low season. Also not all countries have their holiday at the same time, so there are many opportunities in this regard for marketing in new countries.

In both cases the idea of developing new or reconverted clusters to attract new market segments is more than appropriate, as it is also convenient to upgrade accommodation facilities and enhance the charm of the clusters to attract new businesses such as hotels, branded stores, prestigious restaurants and other entertainment infrastructures.

Poor branding, lost reputation, low brand awareness, etc. Marketing is always part of the problem and part of the solution. The cluster related solutions to brand challenges may be either the creation of new clusters, cluster reconversion or re-clustering the destination by developing each cluster identity and character. In this regard, providing a sense of variety to the visitor is strengthening the brand with more value.

Based upon these new developments, reconversions and re-clustering, it is important to define an identity for each cluster, where the experiences and the atmosphere feelings are reflecting this identity and character. So long as the most powerful marketing comes from the visitors’ opinions and recommendations, their experiences on site are the key brand developers.

Then, beyond the destination cluster development, a very effective marketing is –especially when there is a new cluster development- to organize a noteworthy international event that puts the destination in the spotlight of the outbound markets’ media and thus puts the destination brand at the target visitors’ top of mind.

What other challenges are usual in mature destinations?