Category: Tourism trends

Trends shaping the present and future of the tourism industry and case studies

Business trendsInnovationMarketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketing

Digital transformation in Tourism

The tourism industry is facing changes affecting the whole value chain, in both public and private sectors and to the whole system (demand, offer, markets and territory). In the coming ten years, the tourism industry is likely to generate new economic, social and environmental impacts through the digital transformation. More precisely, digitalization is impacting intensively and rapidly, forcing businesses to adapt to this environment of permanent transformation.

Digital transformation trends in tourism. There are four main technologies leading the digital transformation in the tourism industry:

  • Cloud: data collection, management and processing.
  • Mobile: platforms, services and applications for smartphones and tablets.
  • Internet of things: devices and objects connected to the internet.
  • Social: social networks through which the users participate, share and exchange contents and services.

And according to the report from the Orange Foundation about the digital transformation of the tourism sector in Spain, the main trends of the upcoming years are likely to be the following:

  1. New intermediation models. New agents have contributed to redesign the value chain, like the collaborative platforms (airbnb, uber, etc.)
  2. Technological platforms based upon cloud computing. Managing and processing Big data and Data Lake.
  3. The mobile. New tourism products and services to be consumed through the mobile devices.
  4. Internet of things. Wearable devices, Smart straps, beacons and chatbots are the main technology elements.
  5. Smart destinations. Appliance of advanced technologies under the denomination of Smart tourism destinations, Smart cities or Smart islands.
  6. Social networks. Also used as marketing tools.
  7. OTA’S and intermediation, search and comparison platforms, and e-commerce.
  8. Collaborative economy. Activity ecosystems where reputation becomes a fundamental business asset.
  9. Other technologies starting to gain protagonism in the tourism industry are geo-localization, virtual reality and augmented reality.
  10. Big data: The chances offered by many of the new technologies to generate and capture data.

In the digital transformation cross-sector process, tourism businesses have four main challenges to tackle:

  • People: new ways of working with human resources regarding communication and the need for skill development to adapt to the new realities, multiculturality, remote working, virtual teamworking, etc.
  • Infrastructures: incorporation of new digital tools.
  • Processes: new ways of using these new tools and working.
  • Systems: availability of environments which are adaptable in a way that allow businesses to design processes more rapidly.

Nowadays, most tourism organizations adopt the most sophisticated digital technology carrying out large investments in renewing their methods and tools, and there are also new collaborative models. However, the success will stay in being capable of having profiles with digital competences.

This blogpost is from  http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/transformacion-digital-en-turismo/

Business trendsInnovationIntelligenceMarketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Tourism 3.0 – Innovation and digital competences

Along with the mega-trends that set Tourism 3.0 apart from conventional models, it is evident that not only the future but also the present state of the tourism industry is to be developed upon the new technologies along the whole industry value chain. Nowadays very few companies have not yet started their digitalization process. However, the issue is not about implementing new technologies, but about how to use them to increase productivity and add value for the customer.

According to Fernando de Pablo (President of Segitur, the Spanish Government’s Society for Tourism Innovation), we are in a world under continuous change where the tourism industry is the only one affected by all technology trends, and therefore needs new digital competencies. In the document elaborated by Thinktur (Forum focused on Tourism Innovation) “10 technological trends in tourism for 2017”, there are a handful of new advancements affecting the tourism sector:

  • Big data – Open data
  • Digital marketing
  • Smartphones & Apps
  • Virtual and immersive reality
  • Internet of things
  • Trans-commercialization
  • Natural language processing
  • Gamification
  • Personalisation systems
  • 2D and 3D printing

The goal of the digital competencies in the tourism industry is to develop the capacity of Discovery, learning, understanding and anticipating tourists’ motivations and expectations.

We have been taking pictures and videos about our traveling experiences for more than ten years, but being able to share them in real time through the social networks is a relatively new thing, which is possible thanks to the global connectivity available in most developed destinations. This is to satisfy the need for sharing our experiences with our relatives and friends, the main reason why we take all those pictures and videos.

The point is how to use the available technology, and to adequately choose which technology should be used for what purpose. It is therefore necessary to learn how to handle them before deciding.

The Hospitality industry and Digital Marketing. In the event “Tourism 3.0 – Innovation and digital competences” organized by IMF Business School we learnt about the experience of three hotels belonging to large Hotel chains implementing  their tourism digitalization strategy through marketing.

Madrid Marriott Auditorium Hotel. This hotel has initiated a Project to create tailored experiences through Big Data tools.

Hotel Meliá Castilla. This hotel has implemented an Inbound Marketing Strategy searching for customer loyalty, trying to turn clients into fans, so that the motivation for staying in the hotel comes from the tourists themselves.

Novotel Madrid Center. Beyond delivering the expected service, they search for elements that make the experience outperform in the customer’s expectation.

This blogpost is from  http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/turismo-3-0-innovacion-y-competencias-digitales/

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?

StrategyStrategy planning & executionSustainabilityTourism marketingTourism trends

A theoretical approach to cluster development

As introduced in the first point, tourism clusters are created to leverage the unique resources of a location or in some cases to gather artificial resources in the same location. In both cases, they improve the value of the location to end up making the location a key strategic factor.

To make a cluster competitive there are many key success factors that should be considered by the cluster members:

  • Transport infrastructure within, and to access the cluster from the target markets
  • Solidarity and cooperation spirit among players
  • Cooperation between the Government and the private players
  • Creating a welcoming atmosphere to attract international talent
  • Foresee space for attracting new businesses and expanding the cluster

A very specific key success factor is the existence of a governance structure to promote collaboration and joint projects, fostering innovation and promoting the cluster internationally. This governance body should be also responsible for:

  • Attracting new businesses
  • Performance monitoring
  • Intelligence research
  • Identifying needs for improvement and training
  • Representing the cluster players internationally
  • Organizing networking events and conferences
  • Coordinating players to design and implement the cluster development strategy

As mentioned before, there may be many types of players within a cluster, and so the types of cooperation between them may also be different. There are at least two types of cooperation:

  • Value chain cooperation: between players from different sections of the value chain, to gain efficiency or to add new value.
  • Coopetition: competitors sharing resources and costs that are not afordable for each one alone.

Research has shown that tourism development is a venue in which cooperation is often more important than competition (Inman et al. 1998). A cluster based development should try to build the value chain within each cluster in the region. A cluster strategy places all public and private stakeholders in the position of being producers and suppliers to one another, and seeks for constructive ways to define and carry out mutually beneficial action. The value chain is central to the tourism cluster concept, as it demonstrates how tourism can generate benefits to the economy beyond the tourism sector through linked industries (Gollub et al. 2002).

Do you think of other key success factors to make a cluster competitive?

StrategyStrategy planning & executionSustainabilityTourism trends

What is a cluster and why are they created?

One of the key strategies to develop in any Tourism Development Plan consists of structuring the territory in different areas according to the kinds of activities to be carried out in each one. The clustering strategy is essential for the tourism development regardless of the dimension of the territory: clusters exist within countries, regions and even towns.

A cluster may be defined as a concentration of interconnected businesses and institutions in a limited geographical area. In most cases, such businesses and institutions belong to the same sector; but, as we will see in some case studies, sometimes there are new business sectors that flourish in a cluster to take advantage of assets related to other sectors in the cluster.

It may also be defined as an area characterised by a set of distinctive tourism assets which all together create a unique value system capable of attracting tourists and competing with other destinations. Many industry players settle down in the same location to cooperate in the search for synergies that improve their competitiveness:

  • Need for specific infrastructures to be leveraged by many industry players
  • Need for collaboration between industry players to create economies of scale and scope
  • Cooperation in joint marketing

Clusters also arise because they help businesses increase their productivity by sharing many strategic resources, diminishing trading costs between suppliers and clients, and fostering innovation thanks to proximity of a sector’s stakeholders. In the case of tourism destinations, clusters are the result of a concentration of operators exploiting a cultural or natural resource, or a concentration of operators developing artificial and complementary attractions.

Clusters are areas that can be considered as being internally homogeneous with specific traits that differentiate them from others. The goal of the clustering strategy is to structure the location of all tourism activities in accordance with the types of experiences and feelings they offer or the characteristics of the physical environment, and also to define a clear identity for every cluster and communicate it clearly to the visitors.

As Michael Porter says “Clusters are not unique, they are extremely typical –and therein lies the paradox: the enduring competitive advantages in a global economy lie increasingly in local settings which distant rivals cannot compensate. In a cluster, interconnected companies, firms in related industries and associated institutions both compete and cooperate”.

The term cluster may apply to many different destination dimensions: at a national, regional or local level. We may use clusters to distinguish several geographical areas within a country, each of which is specialized in a different type of experience, but also within each of these clusters there may be –and usually there are- sub-clusters according to smaller geographical areas with specific characteristics that are different from the rest, so long as these characteristics are relevant to be leveraged for a distinct tourism experience. At the lower scale, we distinguish clusters within local destinations, so long as these comprehend different areas providing unique or clearly differentiated atmospheres, resources and experiences.

Do you think of other reasons to explain the creation of clusters?

Co-creationMarketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketingTourism trends

Cross-destination competitiveness programs: enhancing marketing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business model innovationCo-creationCollaborative business modelsEnvironmental sustainabilityInnovation

Story innovation concepts: added value & crowd game driven experiences

Beyond the explained details of the four prototypes, there may be many other added value experiences to support the main one in fostering its popularity and conveying new contributions both in virtual and real world platforms. Some of these story related experiences could be video games (in the case of the prototypes 3 and 4 the video game is an essential component), comic based stories, theater plays, board games, movies, spin-off stories, merchandise products, etc. This is actually what film series such as Harry Potter, Star Wars or Lord of the rings have done to some extent, trying to satisfy the desires of their followers for more story related experiences.

With regards to the crowd game driven experiences, the environmental challenges would be driven by volunteers, usually entailing some kind of field work to achieve a certain goal in relation with the environment protection in the form of a game driven experience to make it more fun and stimulating. In the case of the creativity & cooperation challenge, it would be driven by contributors willing to prove their creative skills, in the form of a game driven experience where participants also have to prove teamwork capacity by solving one or more innovation challenges related with the mission purpose, which also serves as an educational experience in collaborative innovation. Finally, the educational fun experience is for tourists willing to entertain while taking away some significant learning outcomes related to skill development or social consciousness, for instance.

In the case of contributors in creativity & cooperation challenges and also in the case of story making contributors, there should be a system that not only facilitates but also rewards contributors based on a reputation and incentive system, in order to stimulate talented followers to bring in their passion and imagination to build the story world. This is not only crowd sourcing but also providing the audience members an opportunity to live a life-changing experience by exploiting their skills. The Whitepaper “Envisioning Open innovation in destinations” is to further develop the idea of the incentive and reputation system for contributors.

Do you envision other story innovation concepts to enhance the aforementioned ideas or to inspire new story based experiences?

Business model innovationCo-creationInnovationMarketing 3.0Open innovation

Story innovation concepts: story platform

A key idea to understanding the aforementioned prototypes is that of the story platform. In this concept there is one principal author who drafts the main guidelines of the story, like the location, the value proposition, a basic plot, and some of the main characters. This could also be called the story backbone or the story constraints.

 Taking this platform story as a starting point, the free contributors –working individually or in groups- may create their version of the story by filling all the gaps that the backbone leaves to develop the contributors’ imagination, adding new characters and sub-stories that shape its uniqueness. As a result, there end up being many different stories with a common purpose related to the mission for which tourism is being developed in the destination. This is the case of prototype 2.

In the case of prototypes 3 and 4, there would also be a platform story with constraints and pre-determined ingredients. But the difference is that they are game driven experiences applicable to many kinds of missions that are created to draw flows of contributors, volunteers or tourists in taking real action in benefit of the mission purpose.

 Further, in these cases the roles of the participants are all pre-determined and every individual decides what type of role he or she wants to play in the story, with freedom to develop the role with his or her skills, ideas and knowledge.

Do you envision other types of story platform to develop story based experiences?

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketingTourism trends

Key tourism industry players

There are 3 groups of players: first level suppliers, service operators and marketing operators:

1st level suppliers. Human resources, land owners, infrastructure operators, utility operators, government as license supplier and the construction sector are the basic suppliers for the tourism industry operators. As we have seen in the five forces model, they play a key role in defining the industry’s profitability when tourism is not so developed in a territory or we are analyzing the attractiveness of a tourism sector that would require the construction of new facilities and services. We may take into account Governments as active players in the industry whenever they are in charge of marketing the destinations.

Service operators. Food & beverage, accommodation, transport and activities providers are the key operators of the industry, as service providers. Whenever we analyze the attractiveness of tourism business that would be based on existing services and facilities, we will consider them as suppliers, except for the activities’ operators, which could be considered as incumbents in this case.

Marketing operators. Here lies the complexity of the tourism industry, where we define several kinds of operators, which may be either competitors or partners.

  • Booking centers & portals: online and/or telephone based commercial platforms managing bookings for one or more kinds of services operators –mostly focused on accommodation and also activities-, usually gathering the tourism services offered within a local or regional territory. They usually get their profits by keeping a percentage of the business they bring to their local service suppliers. In this concept we can also include new business models like Airbnb, whose service suppliers are local householders marketing their spare rooms.
  • Incoming agencies: operators located in the destination in charge of creating packages including accommodation, transportation and activities. These are the most genuine marketing operators, as they are in charge of product development, combining services and experiences available in the destination for the satisfaction of every target. They may sell their packages to tour operators, travel agencies or directly to the final customer. In many cases, they are also the activity providers.
  • Tour operators: operators located in the outbound market in charge of creating packages, usually marketing several destinations and several kinds of products. However they may be tour operators specialized in one destination and more often in one kind of product (golf, ski, sun & beach, cultural touring, incentive trips, etc.). These may deal directly with the service operators or with the incoming agencies, and then sell their packages to the travel agencies or directly to the final customer. They usually buy service capacity long in advance to the service operators or incoming agencies at a lower price ensuring them business, and then have to sell this capacity to the outbound markets.
  • Travel agencies: service retailers usually located near to the customer, selling either incoming agencies’ or tour operator’s packages, or directly booking to the services’ operators. Many travel agencies sell through the internet. Their value is based on the confidence of the customer, offering packages from different operators and sometimes specialization in certain products.
  • Travel social media sites: even if they are not included in the previous scheme as business players, sites like Tripadvisor and many similar models are key influencers in the decision making process of both the chosen destination and mostly the chosen operators within, therefore they deserve a relevant mention as key players in the tourism industry.

In this table are summarized the main features that define each of the marketing operators:

Marketing operators conceptual features
 

Location

Product development

Dealing with final customer

Marketing focus

Booking center

Destination

No

···

One destination. One or many products
Incoming agency

Destination

Yes

·

One destination. One or many products
Tour operator

Outbound market

Yes

·

Many destinations.  One or many products
Travel agency

Outbound market

No

···

Many destinations.  One or many products
Travel social site

Internet

No

···

All destinations.

All services

 

Being that this conceptual outline is representative for most of the industry operators’ models, we should also note that many operators have developed business models integrating several concepts and functions altogether, in most cases as a result of a forward integration process.

Would you consider other key players when analyzing the tourism industry structure?

Business model innovationCo-creationCollaborative business modelsInnovationMarketing 3.0

Destination story based experience prototypes

Needless to say that many more possibilities for each variable may be envisioned, but these are just some examples to help the reader understand the innovation method. Based on these ideas, we have drafted four story driven prototype experiences to illustrate the type of result that the innovation method may produce.

  1. Personal awareness & Spiritual development journey, in line with pilgrimages and similar experiences. This is usually a journey that is carried out alone as of a process of self-reflection and discovery. The role of the protagonist is that of a tourist, so long as he or she is the only beneficiary of the experience, and may encompass both walking routes and static setting stays. In this case, the tourist is to write the story at the end of the experience, ideally with the support of a training workshop, but the protagonist should work on drafting the story from the beginning of the experience. The goals of writing the story are completing the self-awareness and discovery experience, and to inspire others in living their own transformational experience.
  1. Story driven development of a theme route, as in the cases where some novels or films have inspired the development of tourism routes for the fans of the story. This would consist of a story contest launched by the destination management organization (DMO) based on some constraints or even a story backbone. In any case, the story has to be developed based on the destination as the story platform. The contest should be open to both individual creations and group co-creations. At this point, many formulas could be envisioned to encourage the contribution of as many people as possible. The value proposition of the story driven experience should be in line with the tourism 3.0 principles, which means that it should have at least an educational or cultural transformation goal, without disregarding the fun or entertaining value.
  1. Crowd gaming ongoing experience consists of an ongoing story driven experience that takes place in a certain setting without a time limit. This experience takes the form of a mission driven game or challenge, and so the mission accomplishment is what keeps on driving the development of the story game. There is no foreseen end, as long as the mission is not fully accomplished. Such story would work like an MMO game where everybody is entitled to participate both in the virtual and the real world platform in the destination. The location could be any type of destination and the protagonists could either play the role of tourists, volunteers or contributors, depending on the type of challenge: educational fun for tourists, environmental protection challenge for volunteers, and creativity & cooperation challenge for contributors. In this story driven experience, the story plays the role of drawing tourists, volunteers or contributors to the story making and to visit the destination to participate in the real world experience.
  1. Crowd gaming event consists of a crowd sourced game driven story that is played like an MMO game with some real world experience along the story, but especially at the end of it. The events could take place in almost any type of location, including cities, nature settings, cultural destinations or theme parks –for instance- depending on the ultimate purpose and nature of the real-world experience. Such purpose could be for an environment protection challenge, creativity & cooperation challenge, or an educational fun experience. As in the case of the Crowd gaming ongoing event, the role of the protagonist is related to the purpose of the experience, and so could be a volunteer, contributor or tourist. In this type of story-driven experience, the story also plays the role of drawing attention, participation and contribution of individuals in the co-creation of the story, the contribution related to the purpose and in visiting the destination when the event takes place.

Out of the innovation parameters explained in the previous post, do you envision other story based experiences?