Month: January 2018

Collaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureCulture changeMarketing 3.0Tourism marketing

It Takes a Culture of Collaboration to Deliver a Place Brand

We recently conducted a Tourism Assessment Review for a small city that discovered that its tourism performance was declining. This was an attractive small city with an historic downtown that had successfully established a state-wide reputation as a destination for antique shoppers. However, our research soon revealed that in addition to facing increased competition from online antique stores, the city’s antique stores were falling short of the “antiques capital” reputation.

It didn’t take long to realize that antique store owners were disconnected and totally focused on their own businesses, making little or no effort for cooperation and collaboration with other businesses or civic organizations. In fact, most store owners did not speak to each other and simply regarded the others as competitors. It seems that over time stores were sold and new owners came in and rested on their laurels in the belief that the city’s reputation as a favored antiques destination would sustain itself without any effort on their behalf. They didn’t realize that the reputation was created by the totality of antiques-related experiences in downtown.

This assignment carried several lessons for the city’s tourism performance. Firstly, the Internet can be a positive and a negative force for some destinations.  Secondly, sustaining a city’s brand identity, whether it has been formalized in a documented strategy or not, requires a concerted effort to collaborate, innovate and manage the promised visitor experience by everyone associated with the downtown.

Even though a downtown may have attractive architecture and well stocked stores, it’s the attitudes of residents and business owners that determine whether a place has a special sense of place and can elicit a sense of loyalty from visitors.  And once the culture of collaboration is successfully established, there must be a conscious effort to “pass the baton” to the next generation of merchants. As for being competitors, the merchants need look no further than a food court or freeway interchange to see fierce competitors working together to create a bigger “pie” so that they can all get larger slices.

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/

Environmental sustainabilityMarketing 3.0SustainabilityTourism trends

Tourism and Conservation: Connecting the Dots

It’s no secret that ecotourism, which in turn evolved into sustainable tourism, was born out of the conservation movement. From international NGOs like Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy to their local counterparts, conservation organizations poured considerable resources into the ecotourism boom of the 80s and 90s. But that interest and investment began to ebb about a decade ago – most likely due in part to the lack of success stories or replicable models illustrating how tourism could reduce biodiversity threats, not just contribute to them.

 As more than one billion travelers traverse the globe each year, efforts to reduce their impact must increase, especially in fragile ecosystems. WWF’s Global Marine Program decided to address the ongoing coastal development, so long as it is second only to unsustainable fishing as the primary threat to the world’s coastal and marine ecosystems. WWF realized the importance of developing a strategy to address the impacts of tourism in coastal areas head on, including efforts to create industry standards and to encourage alternative livelihoods for fishing communities.

Another potential reason for the renewed interest of the conservation community in tourism is because travel market trends increasingly favor destinations and businesses that embrace sustainability and offer opportunities for visitors to personally experience that wonderful space where tourism and conservation overlap.

For the past two years, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has worked in the Nicaragua Caribbean to help establish Kabu Tours, a tour company owned and operated by ex-sea turtle fishermen who are attempting to transition from resource extraction to sustainable tourism.  These ex-poachers have been trained by WCS to lead overnight trips to the Pearl Cays Wildlife Refuge where visitors learn about the organization’s sea turtle monitoring program and, if they’re lucky, watch a sea turtle lay her eggs.

Turning a sea turtle poacher into an interpretive guide and environmental ambassador has an obvious upside for conservation, but so does giving an accountant from Sacramento a chance to be a marine biologist for the day. Doing so provides not only a world-class tourism experience, but it also increases visitors’ understanding, appreciation, and support of the destination and efforts to protect it.

What is needed to preserve the heritage through tourism development?

For tourism to contribute to environmental outcomes, whether it’s through job creation for resource extractors or increased funding for conservation activities, a destination must first be successful in tourism. That requires demand-driven products, innovative marketing, and great delivery.

Second, tourism is one of the world’s most complex, dynamic, and historically fragmented industries. You need to know which partnerships are important, and how to build them.  Whether it’s connecting a community-tourism cooperative to a German outbound tour operator or convincing a global hotel chain to adopt sustainability criteria, identifying and realizing mutually beneficial interests is vital.

Finally, you need a blueprint. A comprehensive understanding of the direct and indirect threats to biodiversity at a site, as well as a clear vision of how tourism can positively affect the socio-economic conditions that result in environmental degradation such as lack of economic alternatives, awareness, and industry standards.

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/A%20Business%20Approach%20to%20Conservation

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

What’s the Difference Between Branding and Marketing?

This article is written by Bill Baker, Chief Strategist at Total Destination Marketing, author, speaker, and blogger at “Small City Branding around the world”.

We receive many emails from city leaders, practitioners and students around the world. From time to time we share some of the responses with readers.

I had an email from Sharon at a chamber of commerce on the East Coast of the USA, “Some members of our Board are confused about the difference between branding and marketing a city. I am finding it hard to explain. Can you help me?”

Sharon, your Board members are not alone in their confusion because I often hear discussions where the terms “branding” and “marketing” are mistakenly used interchangeably. They shouldn’t be. There are distinct differences.

City branding provides a framework for organizing, differentiating and focusing around your city’s competitive and distinctive identity to ensure that its messages and experiences are as distinct, compelling, and rewarding as possible. Most importantly, it’s a promise that must be grounded in truth and reality.

Marketing, on the other hand, comprises the processes and actions for communications, product development, pricing, and promotions directed toward facilitating transactions with end customers. It involves deploying and following elements of the brand strategy such as positioning, personality, core experiences and tone of voice.

We can consider branding as long-term and strategic, while marketing is supposed to be strategic (or at least should be), it is usually short-term and mainly tactical.  Brands are distinctive, where marketing isn’t.

You can consider marketing as being a part of branding. Not the other way around. And marketing alone can’t build your city’s brand. In essence, marketing is what enables you to communicate your brand messages or promise to customers, while branding relates to your competitive identity and how you keep the promise.

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/

Environmental sustainabilitySustainabilityTourism trends

Tourism: The Business of Protected Areas

Some might think that “business” and “protected areas” should not be used in the same sentence, but the reality is that the majority of protected areas around the world rely on tourism for a good portion, if not the majority, of their revenue, which in turn helps manage and conserve important landscapes and precious resources.

Tourism is often the financial backbone behind protected areas and we have worked around the world helping protected areas enhance the benefits they can derive from tourism. Although each destination is different and needs its own specific strategy, we tend to take four approaches that support protected areas through tourism:

  1. Creating partnership programs to support protected areas
  2. Tourism product development in protected areas
  3. Community linkages with, and benefits from, protected areas
  4. Linking markets to protected areas

Each of these approaches, whether integrated or implemented on their own, help increase revenue for protected areas and enhance protected area conservation and law enforcement activities. The following paragraphs give a brief overview of each of the four approaches and how they enhance the business of protected areas. For more detailed information, check out our Destination Development and Marketing Case Study.

Protected areas are utilized by a broad array of people and organizations, many of which rely on the protected areas for their income. However, these stakeholders are often underutilized as a resource for the benefit of the protected area. A protected area partnership program protected area partnership program establishes a network of public and private sector stakeholders with common interests to support the protected area both financially and through in-kind contributions. The approach we take is to stimulate collaboration and communication among stakeholders through quick catalytic activities (such as cooperative destination marketing). These help build momentum behind the group and establish long-term collaborative partnerships.

Many protected areas also require improvements to their tourism infrastructure, products and services so that they can attract more visitors, attract a specific segment of visitors, keep visitors in the region longer, or drive visitation to new areas of the protected area. To improve the tourism assets of the region, we take an approach that works with protected area authorities to evaluate the conservation, management and resource needs of the destination. Based on this tourism assessment, we identify which opportunities can address the goals of the protected area. Throughout this process we also work with the tourism market to help identify, refine and validate opportunities that fit with market needs and then develop new products or enhance services through the protected area managers themselves. The goal is not tourism for tourism’s sake, but strategic tourism assets that help achieve the long-term conservation goals of the protected area.

Communities are a part of the broader ecological landscape around protected areas and are therefore an important part of the overall business approach for protected areas. If neighboring communities benefit from visitors to the protected area then their relationship with the protected area improves. We have a comprehensive tourism enterprise development program that is explained in detail on our website, but the essence of the goal is to work with communities in or around protected areas that have an interest in tourism, a willingness and capacity to host visitors, and viability in the tourism market to create a business that is owned by the people of the community. Depending on the situation, the tourism facility can be run by the community or as a concession to a private sector operator. Either way, the objective is to go beyond just employment to tangible ownership of business assets that link the community to sustainable benefits from the park.

To successfully utilize tourism as a tool for protected area management, marketing and market linkages are vital. However, this is often an activity that is marginalized within protected area management practices. To drive people to protected areas and to keep them there for longer, they need to know about the destination and what to do within it, but this is not a task that one person or organization can achieve. Cooperative marketing, leveraging partners that also have a business interest in the protected area, helps to expand the market reach of the destination and build collaboration among regional partners.

For protected areas, a mix of traditional push marketing (sales manuals, print collateral, etc.) and inbound (pull) marketing (web-campaigns, social media, news stories, etc.) helps to build awareness about the destination with travelers and the tourism trade, and then drives travelers interested in the protected area to the travel trade to make the sale. Media, past travelers, travel trade partners and others are all utilized to increase the visibility of the protected area and track that back to actual visitors to the region.

When combined, these four approaches help to improve the business of protected areas, using tourism as a tool to increase revenues that in turn help to manage and protect these valuable natural assets.

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/A%20Business%20Approach%20to%20Conservation

StrategyStrategy planning & execution

5 Common Mistakes in Business Planning

“The business of a business is business” goes the famous saying. Simply put, it means that a business needs to be practical (has a sound model, makes money) and realistic (whatever you set out to achieve, you should be able to achieve it) to operate successfully. However, growing a business that is both practical and realistic is much easier said than accomplished. Businesses are complicated and they contain a lot of moving parts. Here are 5 common mistakes you should be wary of so that your business remains practical and realistic during the planning stage:

  1. Not understanding the difference between planning and a plan

Tim Berry, the founder of Palo Alto Software stresses that the value is never in the original plan. Rather, it is in the implementation. He stresses that a plan can serve as the foundation providing a strategic direction but it is never valuable unless it is put into action. Planning is a continuous cycle, which takes a plan, puts it into action, compares the outcome with the projected results, and uses this new data to adjust the plan and set goals accordingly. It is the planning that creates value and allows a business to learn its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as the time goes by – not the original plan. Therefore, a planning cycle should be put into place and the plan needs to be reviewed & appropriately changed on an annual basis to guide the business towards the desired end. This in turn, makes your business practical and realistic in response to the market.

  1. Ignoring market realities

The market is of a crucial importance to every company operating around the world. Susan Ward, co-owner of Cypress Technologies and an IT Consulting business, illustrates that a company can have an amazing product or a service that they would like to sell, but if the consumer is non-responsive to the product and does not want to purchase it, then the company will never be successful.

For example, if a company sells umbrellas in a place where it only rains 5 days a year, people would not purchase the umbrella. If the same company sells an umbrella in a market where it rains 200 out of 365 days a year, the demand is higher and umbrellas will likely sell. Even then, there are several other factors that need to be taken into consideration. Take a look at a business’ environments and corresponding factors in diagram below:

Adequate research into market dynamics needs to be conducted annually to understand the business climate, set realistic goals and assumptions, understand the competition, and price the products/services appropriately.

  1. Being everything to everyone

Bill Cosby has famously said, “I don’t know the secret to success; but the secret to failure is trying to please everybody.”

Pick a focus. Pick a problem to solve in the market. Solve it. It is crucial to pick a focus for your business and it is crucial to keep sight of it. It keeps things practical and realistic. Spreading yourself too thin trying to go in numerous different directions will most likely result in nothing working out too well. Ensure you have clear objectives when business planning and ensure that you tailor your plans to suit your business purpose. Whatever you pursue, make it your singular focus. Tim Berry defines strategy as “… focus. It’s as much what you aren’t doing as it is what you’re doing.” Therefore, be clear in what you do so that you can save time, money, and set goals that correspond with the purpose of the business. You don’t need to please everyone.

  1. Thinking that big picture is the key!

Tim Berry states that a “good business planning is nine parts implementation for every one-part strategy”. Therefore, while it is commendable to have a vision and a strategy, as they act as the guiding forces, a detailed action plan is very necessary to achieve the desired end. You should have a goal and underneath list all of the steps that need to be taken to accomplish that goal. More so, you should detail who is responsible, the dates and deadlines for the tasks, forecast the outcomes, design suitable key performance indicators to measure success, measure success against projections, and review the efforts to make decisions for the future of the company. The point is to put planning into action in such a way that there is accountability for each task and action, and you can measure each component. That will provide a much-detailed outlook onto what is working for the company and what areas require improvement. The big picture paints a pretty sight, but the details and implementation make that sight a reality.

  1. Treating it as a race or sprint

Being an entrepreneur is not a race. It’s a disciplined lifestyle, which demands time, persistence, and commitment. Therefore, to minimize risk, continuous business planning is essential and should become a natural rhythm rather than an activity you pursue irregularly. A plan should be carefully put into action. The actions then need to be measured. The new insight you gain should influence your plan. One also continuously needs to be wary of their market, consumer demands, their product/service offering, and pivot in response to the change to business’ environments.

A plan is not a final product, only a beginning. It’s the implementation, continuous planning, and the ability to adapt to the changes that will prove your efforts fruitful and help you retain an edge in the market.

In the end, business planning can indeed be a daunting task. As long as you ensure things are practical, realistic, and the plan is being implemented and reviewed regularly taking into account the change in business’ environments – your business should thrive.

This blog post is from: http://www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/item/164-5-common-mistakes-in-business-planning

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketingTourism trends

What’s Involved in Destination Leadership Success?

I was delighted to recently receive a copy of Bill Geist’s new book, ‘Destination Leadership’. I found his last book of the same name to hold so many epiphanies in regard to understanding and responding to the challenges that face DMOs.

I’m delighted to say that this edition again hits the mark time and again. It makes sense of much of the landscape that DMOs are dealing with. It helps that Bill has several decades experience working with over 200 DMOs to provide him with real world insights.

Destination Leadershipshows how to build the most effective DMO, structure and Board for today’s destinations. He explores the nexus between economic development and tourism, and how places can orchestrate the greatest synergy from them. I found his advice on creating and managing the DMO Board to be particularly important for successful destination leadership. He also points the way for recruiting the best and brightest to the Board.

This is the ideal book for DMO staff, executives, board members and key stakeholders, as well students, academics and government officials wanting to better understand how to introduce and sustain successful tourism organizations of all sizes.

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/

Marketing 3.0Storytelling training & case studiesTourism marketing

Using Twitter for Storytelling

There’s an excellent post on the problems and experiences of Twitter storytelling at Sliverstring Media but while I’m waiting for my comment to be moderated I thought I’d re-blog it here:

The key to success with storytelling in any media is to work with the strengths of the platform. Twitter is a real-time, social, conversational stream that is best used to invite and build participation. Thinking of Twitter as thousands of 140-character “book pages” is the wrong mindset. It’s like thinking that a short story is just a long story with fewer pages or a short film is a 15 min feature film.

The key to Twitter storytelling is:

(a) use it to invite participation. Create scenarios and “exercises” that open the door to followers to contribute. Make it conversational. Allow followers to become advocates by facilitating the spread of the participation, not only the spread of the tweet. That is, it’s not simply a RT of the story tweet but an invitation from one follower to a non-follower to get involved – perhaps using some game mechanics with the storytelling to provoke and reward that.

(b) recognize that Twitter is both a Discovery and an Exploration platform. That is, current & recent story tweets and the participatory tweets are Discovery content – they’re luring audience into the world. At the same time the historical Tweets offer backstory and context – Exploration content – for those in the  audience that want to dig deeper. Hence you’re right that audience should be able to dip in at any time in the life of the story and become immediately engaged without having to read the premise/synopsis etc. The way to achieve this is to finely craft each Tweet so that it works like a Zen koan – it’s a 140 character meditation on the story that is revealing, intriguing and surprising. This is particularly important if the tweet is from the voice of a narrator rather than a character. I have always measured the strength of a short story by whether it leaves me thinking about the premise of the story for longer that it took to read. The same should be true for every Tweet. Remember that twitter is a real-time news stream which means you’re only as good as your last tweet

(c) use it to build & populate the world. As I hinted above, a story might have several Twitter streams from the perspective of different characters or entities. This means that while a “narrator” stream might tell *the* story, other streams might shed new light and different perspectives on the narrator’s voice. As with any transmedia experiences, these new streams should all add value to the core narrative yet at the same time be optionally consumed. One example I’ve been exploring with a storyteller is to have a twitter stream for a fictional Government bureau in much the same way as George Orwell has in 1984 – the  stream sends continual optimistic official news  “production up by 120%”, “inflation static at 1%”, “crop yield the best since records began” – which is directly contradictory to the experience of the narrator! Such a stream builds out the world with a new richness but is timed to impact the through-narrative should someone choose to read both. I appreciate that this may contradict the “Zen koan rule” but then it’s not being used for Discovery, it’s Exploration so I’ll allow myself some latitude

In terms of commercializing the Twitter platform, it’s value is in the social spread of the story and the building of audiences. Revenue should be taken from other platforms.

Calls to participate “case (a)” are much easier to provide examples for than the koan “case (b)” although you’ve listed some good places to research.

Jay Bushman’s Twitter stories are always provoking and inspiring followers to create their own stories. He brings the fictional setup, let’s say the context or the world, but then it’s up to everyone else to bring their imaginations and participation.

For #sxsw we’re running a rather trivial story of the Three Pigs by way of illustrating the mechanism of participation and interactive narrative. Firstly we stage the story as a competitive game between the pigs and the wolf – the battle outcome determining the course of the story – and secondly we’re using tweets from the pigs and wolf to provoke reaction and participation from friends and followers. Using our Conducttr platform we can facilitate some of the invitation to participate using our “3rd party reply” feature which takes a follower’s friend’s Twitter ID and sends it a message from the fictional character. What we’re doing is not meant to be a gold-standard example of this thinking/storytelling in action but a simple eye-opener.

This blog post is from http://www.tstoryteller.com/blog/page/15