All posts 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.

Business model innovationInnovationMarketing 3.0Tourism trends

Connected Museums and connected learning

The presentation below was originally given as a keynote in Taiwan to the Chinese Association of Museums.

Our belief is that the technology like Conducttr can create “intelligent interpretation” – personalized connected experiences that see the museum as part of a deeper ecosystem that includes informal and formal learning.

In the diagram presented here, a cloud-based intelligence understands the learner’s current interest and tailors physical and digital environments to suit.

Note that a common problem for major museums is traffic flow. That is, most visitors want to see the museum’s top attraction. Using Conducttr connected to traffic sensors, guides and screens can be adapted and tweaks to direct visitors to less busy parts of the museum.

 

This blogpost is from  http://www.tstoryteller.com/blog

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

The power of persuasion: how travel influencers can become a DMO’s new best friend

Energetic, dynamic, imaginative and flexible. Increasing numbers of travel brands are discovering the value of building long-term relationships with travel influencers, and tapping into their problem-solving abilities too.

Getting paid to travel, discover the best of every destination and tell the world about it sounds like the ultimate job, doesn’t it? Until recently it wasn’t considered a job so much as a passion indulged by nomadic creatives with a gift for photography and the ability to run an attractive blog. Today that’s changing rapidly as the best travel influencers take on a professional status in the world of destination marketing and carry out a job that’s worth paying for.

However, as destination marketing organizations are increasingly required, for a variety of reasons, to shift their focus to destination management we believe that there’s a role for travel influencers can help in that process. We also know that the best travel influencers can be instrumental in helpful for them – as travel industry professionals- to get a better understanding of where they fit in the picture. To bring both groups together and chart the way ahead, TOPOSOPHY was recently invited to run the Think Tank at the Social Travel Summit (STS) 2016.

For two days in September the event brought an exclusive gathering of tourism professionals, leading travel bloggers and online influencers from around the world to the picturesque city of Inverness. I’ve got to admit that I’ve always been jealous of what travel influencers do (and you probably are too), but it became very clear during the event that these people really do care about the destinations that they work with, and when it comes to digital content creation and distribution, they really know their stuff. It’s surprising that more DMOs and travel brands of all sizes haven’t yet fully understood their value.

It also struck me how many genuine friendships had built up between the travel influencers and DMOs who attended, and how, when this relationship works well, the destination and its local businesses seem to genuinely benefit. However it has got to be said that with changing politics, shifting priorities and trimmed budgets, DMOs can sometimes take the role of a friend in need of a helping hand. One of the reasons TOPOSOPHY was invited to host the Think Tank at STS Inverness is that we’ve understand the challenges that DMOs face, and we wanted to help both sides work out how they can best support each other in the future.

Firstly, one of the biggest hurdles that DMOs face is allocating resources to working with travel influencers in the first place. Management and political decision makers can be skeptical about both the reach of the influencer’s content and the ethics of being writer, editor, and marketer all-in-one. While analytics software becomes increasingly sophisticated and great steps are being taken to professionalize the world of travel influencers (e.g. through the Code of Standards and Ethics for Professional Travel Bloggers), there is still much work to be done on articulating the value of travel influencers beyond the statistics. This is where those at the Think Tank underlined the importance of building long-term relationships rather than ‘one-night stands’. It’s only after working for a period of time with a particular destination that a travel influencer can really tap into its soul and relay this artfully to their audience. It also keeps readers engaged as they see that the influencer is a real specialist in the destination. Long-term relationships also build up goodwill, which can help a lot when DMOs need a hand with spare photos, videos and content sharing months after a particular campaign or fam trip. Just as you would with your own best friends, it means choosing the right travel influencer to begin with.

Secondly, as DMOs work more with local businesses – involving them in major decisions, providing training courses or working as part of a business cluster, travel influencers have a useful role to play. I noticed how many travel influencers complained about how they produce attractive and highly shareable content (the kind of thing which would cost an individual business a lot of time and money to produce), but local businesses don’t share it or weren’t aware the influencer was in town in the first place. By preparing well, and including time to meet and greet local business owners, the DMO can help this key stakeholder group to understand better what they’re doing, get more involved in the project, and maybe pick up some social media tips along the way!

Finally, as we recently identified, challenges like ‘overtourism’ are really putting the strain on many destinations, especially in Europe. While the causes and solutions to this problem are very complex, we believe that travel influencers can play a very important role in raising awareness of alternative destinations and attractions and giving practical info on how to get there. It’s something we explained in more detail in last month’s blog post. Running fam trips off-season, including attractive daytrips and giving the travel influencer more time to explore freely (rather than make them stick to a rigid itinerary) can all help too.

Working with travel influencers: quick tips

If you’re looking for good advice on how to get the most from working with travel influencers, check out our list of seven top tips from our own Blogger Outreach Expert Kash Bhattacharya. 

Tailor made advice, just for you

As one of our selection of high-quality keynotes and workshops, Kash can provide tailor-made advice to suit your destination and local partners in a full or half-day format. We can also assist you on a longer-term basis with our blogger outreach services to source and select the right travel influencers for your brand, and provide training to help you and your partners to get the most out of the relationship.

Social Travel Summit Think Tank – Full Report

The full Think Tank report will be launched at WTM London in a special session Digital and Influencer Marketing Developments and Trends at 2:45pm on Wednesday 9th November (location: WTM Inspire Theatre EU475). It will be freely available online shortly after.

 This blogpost is from    http://www.toposophy.com/insights/insight/?bid=434

IntelligenceTourism trends

Some millennials will be driving future tourism growth faster

Think back to your geography classes at school and you may remember studying population pyramids, those diagrams used to show the relative size of different gender and age groups in any given country. Take a look at the population pyramid for most countries in Western Europe and you’ll see a ‘Y’ shape, with a relatively large number of older age groups (the baby boomers), and a comparatively reduced population among the younger age groups. Now go and check out the population pyramids for nations in Southeast Asia, such as Indonesia, Vietnam or the Philippines. You’ll find a cone in the shape of a Thai palace: very heavy at the bottom (with a booming youth population) and very thin towards the top.

Last week I was in Manila to give a presentation at the opening session of MICECON, the national tourism conference of the Philippines. During the few days I was in the country, I was able to see first-hand how young the country is, with millions of children, teenagers and young adults streaming around Manila’s busy streets and malls. The Philippines is a collection of over 7,000 islands that lies in the Pacific, south of Taiwan and north of Indonesia. It’s had a rocky history, variously governed in the past three centuries by Spain, the US and occupying Japanese forces. During the late 20th the country was run by a General Marcos (remember his wife Imelda’s famed collection of shoes?) and has long suffered as one of the poorer Asian nations.

Today however, the country is both generating and benefiting from the wider economic boom in Asia. English is widely spoken by Filipinos, who go for coveted jobs at the country’s growing number of outsourced-call centres. The Asian Development Bank forecasts GDP growth of 6.4% in 2015 and international arrivals in 2014 reached nearly 5 million with the government aiming for strong growth in the coming years. Domestic travel is extremely important since Filipinos largely seek to explore their own country before heading for trips abroad, and there is still much more room for growth among a population which totals over 100 million.

A youthful country preparing for strong growth in the future

Aware that the country’s tourism fortunes will increasingly rest on the Millennial generation from Asia and further afield, the Philippines Department of Tourism invited me to speak at the opening of MICECON, the Filipino national tourism conference to share some insights into the Millennials market, in particular those travelling from other Asian countries. As you may know, Toposphy is already working with the Pacific Asia Travel Association to study the way Asian Millennials travel, in an exciting project called ‘Stepping Out of the Crowd’, and we hope to add this to our insights in the months to come.

At MICECON, it turned out that ‘Millennials’ was the word of the day as the audience in every session asked plenty of questions on this subject. The Filipino travel industry is especially interested in younger travelers, and the reason starts at home. Young Filipinos grow up knowing that their country is a diverse and exciting place to explore, and they usually set out to do just that before heading overseas. Whether it’s for upgrading the country’s supply of accommodation or understanding how to make the most of the boom in Korean students coming to study English (estimates show that nearly 70% of Filipinos are fluent in English), delegates from hotel groups, tour operators and airlines expressed a strong desire to learn more about the Millennial mind-set and apply lessons to their own businesses.

The Philippines today has some strong competitors for many of its products and to some extent, its fragmented nature and distance from mature outbound markets such as the US, Canada and Europe are a disadvantage. The government has also recognized that transport infrastructure is lacking too, but is working hard to overcome these challenges. The country certainly has some outstanding assets, including beaches that match the best of the Caribbean, amazing diving opportunities, beautiful rice terraces, and some well-preserved UNESCO recognized heritage from the 300-year long Spanish era.

Still, in my opinion it’s the people who will truly place the Philippines at a competitive advantage in the years to come. Before arriving in the country I was familiar with the country’s slogan ‘It’s More Fun in the Philippines’ though I must admit I thought it was a cheesy slogan just like any other. A visit to 3 cities in five days taught me that this slogan really is the best possible description for what you’ll find there! Fiestas in the street, a love of karaoke, friendly neighborhood barbecues, articulate guides and warm hearted generosity seemed in abundance. Even the conferences are more fun, with MICECON proving that tourism conferences don’t always have to be stuffy, formal affairs for the industry of fun and enjoyment. At this year’s event, delegates happily dressed by the theme ‘Flower Power’ and danced their way through the conference lunch!

Given that competition is so tough from neighboring countries, it’s promising that the Filipino government and the wider industry have recognized that they need to start building up their knowledge about Millennials in order to design the right products and marketing messaging for the near future. MICECON was a great first step to doing this.

Toposophy will be there to support them on this journey as they seek more creative ways to engage with Millennials in the future.

This blogpost is from   http://www.toposophy.com/insights/insight/?bid=412

Collaborative cultureCulture changeMarketing 3.0

Making collaboration efficient when face to face is not possible

Started as a simple experiment in social media, in 2010 composer and conductor Eric Whitacre called out to his online fans to record themselves singing “Sleep” by the British choir Polyphony and upload the result. Impressed by the result, he decided to push the concept to the next level by recording himself conducting ‘Lux Aurumque’, then asking fans to sing along to that. This way, the first Virtual Choir was created. The results of that experiment quickly became viral. Now with more than fifteen million views, the Virtual Choir phenomenon has reached all corners of the world, inspiring more and more singers to join each year.

Beyond its beauty and emotional impact, Virtual Choir also fascinated because its implications regarding the potential new uses for new communication technologies and as one of the first virtual experiences turned into something real. The Virtual Choir can also be considered as an important remainder for how businesses might overcome the challenges of virtuality to benefit from innovative and more efficient business processes, customer relationships or forms of production, from co-innovation and co-production to crowdsourcing, crowdfunding or open source.

Not even leaving the limits of a corporation or a company, working remotely can offer operational flexibility, happier employees and lower costs, but to team up virtually with colleagues and coworkers can also pose important challenges. As we know, truly efficient collaboration presents no few difficulties. Virtual collaboration raises even more added complications that require even more care. But as the concept of the extended enterprise becomes more common and most professionals can do their jobs from anywhere, the more critical becomes to get virtual teams right. But how?

Getting right four pillars for virtual collaboration

The answer is not easy. Different studies carried out during the last decade seem to conclude that most of virtual groups fail to satisfy the expectations of companies and their clients. In another study conducted by Deloitte some years ago most of CEO’s and other managers interviewed still considered face-to-face interaction much more productive that virtual communication, and nearly half of them admitted ignorance and confusion about collaboration technologies and their potential.

But some other experts consider is all about how these teams are managed. An Aon Consulting report found that dispersed teams, when run accordingly to this condition, could outperform those sharing the same office space (recording up to 43% higher efficiency). A study of 80 global software teams conducted by BCG and WHU-Otto Beisheim School of Management concluded that virtual teams can improve employee productivity when they are properly managed.

But, what do they mean by “properly managed” or “run accordingly to its virtual condition”? According to Keith Ferrazzi and based on his research and experience helping all sort of organizations as customers of his consulting firm, there are four critical elements to get right: right teams, right leadership, right technology and right touchpoints.

Size is important (the smaller, the better)

We have recently wrote in this blog about how important is to consider people mindset and attitude for working collaboratively beyond their professional knowledge and other skills. Ferrazzi agrees people should first of all be specially suited to work in virtual teams, backing for instance profiles with good communication skills or high emotional intelligence. But it is also equally important to put them into groups of the right size and implementing and clearly establishing and communicating the right roles for each one.

As we know, smaller groups facilitate collaboration. In the case of virtual teams, size should be even smaller than when face to face interaction is the norm (some studies suggest teams of 5-6 people and no more than 10 in any case).Team members reduce effort when they feel less responsible for output, but this fact can equally be applied to non-virtual teams. Collaboration between people not sharing a physical space should pay special attention to ensure inclusive communication, a quality harder to achieve the bigger the virtual group is.

Good leadership amplified

Managers can maximize the productivity of virtual teams also by developing the right leadership. Again, this is a quality to apply to every teamwork, no matter if virtual or not. But right leadership must be amplified in virtual ones. A study of different engineering groups concluded that the virtual teams that performed best were those with managers with previous experience in leading such work groups.

Encouraging open dialogue, for instance, is particularly important in these cases. Leaders of dispersed groups in particular must push members to be frank with one another as the problems associated with lack of affinity are more common and severe for virtual teams. For similar reasons, virtual collaboration requires an extra effort fostering trust among co-workers. Ferrazzi mentions the case of a fully virtual organization that encourage new hires to offer video tours of their workspaces, allowing colleagues to mentally picturing their surroundings in later communications. Managers also push their team members to share personal news as a way to compensate the lack of the common chat about their lives that usually takes place sooner or later when a physical office is shared.

Special care is also recommended about clarifying goals and guidelines and establishing a common purpose or vision (explaining and repeating often the reason of working together and the benefits that will result of that). Particularly vital in the case of virtual teams are guidelines about interaction between members. For instance, multitasking on conference calls should be banned, as full attention is needed when using communication technologies that are not able to fully replace the subtle signals of personal interaction beyond a voice.

Not leaving it all to virtuality

Fostering touchpoints is also critical. Virtual teams should come together as often as possible. To do so, some specific stages of the working process are more important than others. Kickoff should be one of these for sure, using a first face to face meeting to star working in some of the key points mentioned (clarifying team goals or encouraging trust, for instance). If any proper project management stablishes milestones, when dealing with virtual team leaders can leverage them to get people together for celebrating achievement of short-term goals or cracking problems.

And last but not least, efficient virtual collaboration also depends on using the right technology. According to Ferrazzi, even top-notch virtual teams can fail due to poor technology. In this case, recommendations are not so much about detailed features as about fulfilling general needs especially critical in the case virtual interactions. For instance, facilitating automatic transcriptions or records with a simple click, making easy to search for this content in a database or, while using the right tool for each mission, favor technologies that better help to reproduce face to face interaction (videoconferencing instead of a phone call, for example).

This post is from http://www.co-society.com/making-collaboration-efficient-face-face-possible/

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Are Emotional Benefits Always in Your Destination and Place Branding?

One of the most overlooked, yet most powerful component in the branding of places is the role of emotional benefits. This was recently the subject of considerable discussion at Strengthening Brand America between Glenn Myatt – Brand Truth, Tom Buncle – The Yellow Railroad, and Bill Baker.

Emotional benefits are the positive feelings that people receive from a place. While the tangible benefits may be enticing and important and help validate a logical decision, they can’t create a deep relationship. Emotional benefits have the ability to connect with people and influence the way they feel and bond with their deepest needs and desires. They should fulfill the state of mind that visitors or customers are seeking, such as enrichment, romance, escape or adventure, etc.

Here is a summary of the comments on Strengthening Brand America:

Bill Baker: “From time to time place marketers tend to overlook the valuable role that emotion plays in the decision making of their prospective customers. This makes no sense and is like the buyers of new cars relying on a vehicle’s Specifications Manual to base their purchase decision. If emotion plays no role, almost all brochures, advertising, photo images and videos could be removed from marketing budgets because all that will be needed are lists of specifications. Emotion is front and center in all of our brand strategies irrespective of the size of the community. Among its many roles is to provide filters for the selection of appropriate images that reflect the brand and better connect with prospective customers.”

Glen Myatt: “Bill’s car analogy is spot on. Deciding on a car or a destination are both high involvement decisions. Typically people use extensive information searching to make their decisions. They will claim they make measured, rational choices because of this. But for cars econometric research has shown that advertising has a far greater impact on actual choice than buyers consciously believe. This lines up with some of the more recent findings in consumer psychology which see that in many situations people will develop an emotional attachment to a choice based on a simple, often irrational factor.”

Tom Buncle: “The only thing I’d add is that, like cars where most people have a limited understanding beyond basic functionality, so too do they when choosing a destination, even if they’ve been before. This is because each holiday is different and the visitors’ experience depends on their relationship with the destination. After a highly rational information search has narrowed the candidate destination set, an unknowable set of expectations is generated about a holiday, thereby creating a gap. Emotion and imagination tend to be quicker to fill this gap than rational analysis – hence the larger role that emotion plays in holiday decision-making compared to most physical products.”

 In all of our brand building work we always advocate that the most powerful, meaningful and appropriate benefits – the emotional rewards – should always be at the forefront. Avoid talking about the city, region or downtown as a series or list of locations, attractions, and things to see and do. Instead, bring it to life as an experience and make customers feel as though they are already there sensing and feeling it whenever they read, see, or hear your communications. Make it easy for people to see themselves in the picture.

This blogpost is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/3/

Tourism trends

Special interest tourism experiences

One of the segments with greater growth is no doubt the Special interest travel. Since traveling has become more accessible to most layers of the society, and there is plenty of information available about all types of resources worldwide, passion and mission driven people like to meet other like-minded individuals to share their passion with, to discover new resources related to their hobby or passion, or to expand internationally the impact of the mission they work for. It would be possible to draft an almost endless list of special interest tourism products, but hereby we list just a few to illustrate the concept. These are also usually classified in market niches, like the following:

Wildlife tourism niche. From volunteering to just observation and education, wildlife is a very rich source of memorable experiences and emotions. There are many volunteering programs to help in the protection of endangered species in countries especially rich in biodiversity like Madagascar, Galapagos (Ecuador) or Costa Rica. But you can also volunteer in the Panda Protection Center in Chengdu (China), to help the Panda bears’ carers in the maintenance of the bears’ spaces, prepare their food or collaborate with the veterinaries. Another special case is the Gorilla and Chimpanze protection programs in African countries like Cameroon, Guinea, Kenya, Uganda or Sierra Leone, where there are many centers rescuing these primates to take care of them and foster reproduction. The Jane Goodall Institute is one of the best centers, where they look for professional volunteers to work for long periods of time.

In case you only wish to observe and learn, the options are much varied. From birdwatching in some of the best marshland parks or in times of migration, to a photography safari to learn both about the animals’ life and the art of photography, there is a vast offer available in almost all continents. In this section there could be also included the Diving tourism niche, so long as one of its main attractions is to enjoy the submarine wildlife.

Archeology tourism niche. Films like Indiana Jones have aroused interest and passion for archeology, giving it a sense of fascinating adventure. This has resulted in the development of a considerable offer of tourism products related to it. Visiting historic sites guided by an archeologist and/or a historian making you envision the world in which these buildings and monuments were created is somehow like a trip to the old civilizations. Some of the top destinations in this niche market are Egypt, Mexico –both Maya and Azteca civilizations-, Peru –Inca civilization-, Israel, Greece, Italy, Iran, etc.

Music tourism niche. Beyond traveling to attend a concert or a festival, there are many other possible music motivated holiday programs. There are guided tours visiting the houses of famous musicians, others visiting the backstage of famous venues such as La Scala in Milan, and others visiting museums related to music. Italy, Austria and Germany are the top destinations for this niche market, as they were the nations where most classical musicians were born.

Women issues niche. The agency Focus on women organizes tours to learn about the role of different types of women in all types of societies. This concept encompasses tours to talk with Geishas or Sumo fighters in Japan, meeting with women in the Chii society of Iran who strive to develop themselves despite suffering from serious gender discrimination, talking to women who work to prevent arranged marriages among minor girls in Ethiopia, or talking to women from the Hmong group in Vietnam who open trails in the Sapa valleys in the north of the country.

These four are just a short glimpse of the enormous variety of holiday programs dedicated to special interests related to activity holidays, culture and well-being.

Which are the most original special interest tours you have ever known of?

Tourism trends

Spiritual tourism

Nowadays, destinations need to consider the need for extending their product portfolio with new offers for minor segments and niches, many of which experience interesting growth rates and high loyalty rates. This strategy is also called long tail strategy, so long as it focuses on a long group of small dimensioned market niches. Many destinations have seen how small segments such as wellness, adventure or wine tourism have brought important flows of visitors, including the low seasons.

One of these niche markets with a sustained growth in many outbound markets is the so called Spiritual Tourism. There is not yet an official definition for Spiritual tourism and its market characterization, but it could be defined as activities that lead us to the knowledge of ourselves and our well-being. For instance, the Mexican Tourism Board defines Spiritual Tourism as holidays motivated by issues related to religion, like pilgrimages or journeys with a clear orientation associated to an expression of faith.

This definition would probably not be valid for the European market. I would consider spiritual tourism something between religion and wellness, including even some traces of sport and creative tourism. This concept is defined in Mexico as “Reflection Tourism”, encompassing all types of activities oriented to well-doing while offering inner peace, mysticism and quietness in a relaxed environment.

The lack of consensus on this issue makes it difficult to estimate the niche market dimension, for the only reference continues to be religious tourism, which is estimated to account for more than 300 million of pilgrims who travel annually to holy places or on pilgrimage routes.

This blogpost is from   http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/el-turismo-espiritua/

Collaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainabilitySustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Voluntourism, beyond responsible tourism

Responsible tourism, Voluntourism, Sustainable tourism…are different concepts with a common idea: the tourism activity in which the visitor brings positive impacts to the destination, either to alleviate poverty, to help in the development of the local economy, rebuilding areas affected by natural catastrophe, etc.

With regards to the kind of people interested in these types of tourism activities, they are not all moved by the same motivations and goals. The visitor travels either passively (holiday trip + sightseeing), actively (holiday trip + volunteering) or as a volunteer (volunteering trip).

Nowadays, Latin America and Asia are the continents offering most of these programs. There are both outbound and incoming travel agencies specialized in this type of tourism, and some tour operators have developed business units based on responsible tourism, whereas in Africa volunteering holiday programs are more popular than responsible tourism programs.

Also in Eastern Europe some countries are discovering in this type of tourism a new source of revenue for its poorest regions. Other Western countries such as the USA, Germany, France, Spain or Italy have also included strategies for the development of volunteering tourism products in their tourism development plans.

These type of holiday programs let the visitor truly discover the local culture, staying in local homes or accommodation facilities managed by locals, visiting the destination and cooperating in different social projects. Some examples may be:

  • Helping in building homes for refugees or in the poorest areas of the destination
  • Working as a teacher in primary schools or supporting in sport camps for children
  • Cooperating with an NGO dealing with the victims of a natural catastrophe
  • Participating in an ecotourism program where to work in the preservation of the environment

Some portals like Xmigrations.com work as a search engine for activities and accommodation where you may find nature, sport and spiritual activities in places where you can work in exchange for a free stay.

http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/turismo-solidario-y-volunturismo/

Culture changeInnovative cultureCollaborative cultureOpen innovationCo-creation

Shared decisions feel better

 “The social networks potential to turn every citizen into an agent for the improvement of the community is huge” says Alfons Cornella –Spanish Innovation leader- in his book “The solution starts by CO”.

During the last few years it has become fashionable that destinations outsource part of their promotion activities to visitors and local community members. In what could be called co-creation processes, many destination management and promotion bodies have decided to celebrate public elections to select their logos and slogans. In this election there is first a period to receive proposals, and at the end of this period the public election takes place.

At first it may sound very open and transparent. So long as both the logo and the slogan are to become key elements of the destination image, it is good that everybody can express their opinion about it. However, this system may entail some risks. Those who vote probably choose their vote according to purely esthetic criteria, without considering aspects related with the value promise of the destination, or its desired positioning, the targets, etc. As a result of these processes there have been some bad experiences.

The main issue is that the chosen logo and/or slogan should be in accordance with the destination strategy, which is usually defined in a Strategy Plan according to the destination leaders’ criteria. It is therefore necessary to introduce a filtering phase either before or after the public election, to discard all those logos and slogans that do not match with the destination strategy.

In Spain there has been mainly one experience of this kind, in the Basque Country, driven by the Bilbao City Council and the Bizkaia Province Government. These two institutions had been collaborating for a long time, up to the point that they shared a stand in the FITUR Tourism Fair under the brand BI2. In this way, they wanted to leverage the power of the Bilbao brand to favor also the rest of the Province, so long as the Bizkaia brand is far behind in terms of awareness, despite the worthy resources it has. Bilbao, in turn, has experienced a transformation thanks to the Guggenheim effect and the public-private collaboration, which has led to a sustained visitors’ growth in the city.

Deepening in this collaboration line, they have launched a contest to select their new common logo and slogan. In this case, they opened a public contest for professionals under a detailed briefing. As a result of this idea contest, they received up to 84 proposals from 7 different countries. They were all exposed to the public, though the first selection process was carried out by a commission of experts to present 10 final proposals to be voted for by the public. To facilitate participation, they have installed 6 voting points to let locals vote for their favourite choice.

However, the citizens’ votes will count for only 20% of the final decision. The rest will be responsibility of the experts committee led by Garry White, President of the European Cities Marketing Association.

What do you thing about letting the locals vote for strategic decisions of high symbolic value?

This blogpost is from  http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/las-decisiones-compartidas-saben-mejor/

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureInnovationTourism trends

Dinner at my home? It’s 30 Euros

What is a SMART destination? These may be defined in many ways. They are destinations that think and advance strategically, improving competitiveness and searching positioning through effectiveness. Becoming a SMART is no more than a strategy to enhance the destination value by leveraging both the cultural and natural heritage, developing innovative resources, improving the efficiency in the production processes and the distribution, which finally propels the sustainable development. This transformation generates positive effects in all sub-sectors such as energy, health services, security, culture, etc. thanks to the cross-destination impact of the tourism activity.

The key concepts that set SMART destinations apart from conventional ones are accessibility, innovation, technology and sustainability. Among these concepts, new technologies are the ones which are more likely to be perceived by the tourist, namely mobile applications, augmented reality and everything related to data smart management.

There are 4 key concepts upon which Smart destinations are developed:

  • Technology/Big Data
    • Innovation
    • Sustainability: social, economic, cultural and environmental
    • Accessibility

The development of the SMART concept in destinations consists mainly in working to attain a higher profitability in the daily exploitation of the resources. This is to be achieved by engaging both the local community and the tourists in order to enhance interaction between them. There are already some examples of Smart destinations, such as El Hierro island in the Canary Archipelago. Some of its main achievements are the energetic self-sufficiency and the pollution reduction, which have been achieved through actions such as:

  • Waste converted into energy
  • Environment camouflage of telecom and energy facilities and equipment (solar panels, antenna, etc.) within the landscape.
  • Reduction of the visual impact in the buildings and facilities construction, by using local volcanic stone instead of bricks.
  • It has gained awareness and branding by sharing and marketing its experiences in the social networks.

Other actions carried out in SMART destinations encompass:

  • Mobile Applications
  • Tourism Intelligence System, including data transportation and information Smart management, which altogether turn the destination into a SMART destination.
  • Smart office; a common working place where to unify processes which produces a work synergy and allows sense and common methodology guidelines in the transformation towards an intelligent city.
  • Beaches with free wifi

It is important to mention Singapore Smart City, which is on the way to become the first SMART nation worldwide. The country is working on its Master Plan for the next 10 years, which will be focused on the development of smart communities propelled by integration and innovation.

This blogpost is based on http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/smart-destinations/