Category: Tourism marketing

Trends, ideas and case studies on tourism marketing

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/

Marketing 3.0Storytelling training & case studiesTourism marketing

New Zealand, a story-marketing destination benchmark

New Zealand is widely regarded as a holiday destination of a lifetime, with pristine natural landscapes, an easy-going lifestyle, indigenous cultural heritage and adrenaline-pumping adventure sports creating a unique destination offering.

However, distance presents a significant obstacle in attracting inbound tourism, rendering it all the more necessary for New Zealand or Aotearoa, the Land of the Long White Cloud, to punch above its weight, so to speak, in terms of marketing efforts.

Tourism New Zealand’s long-running single-message marketing campaign “100% Pure New Zealand” has been doing the rounds since 1999, and the success of this campaign has been one of the factors leading to further development of a national brand, such as the launch of the “New Zealand Story” in 2003. Developed in conjunction with Tourism New Zealand, New Zealand Trade & Enterprise and Education New Zealand, the initiative aims to leverage the “New Zealandness” of exporting businesses through a story told in three chapters: Open Spaces, Open Hearts and Open Minds. The development of a national brand that highlights caring for people and place, and integrating “kaitiaki”, a Maori concept of custodianship, with an open and honest approach, speaks volumes for the image projected externally by New Zealand to the rest of the world.

Yet contributing to national branding on the international stage isn’t the sole objective of New Zealand’s tourism industry, and efforts concentrating on regional dispersal and reducing seasonality have been credited with driving growth in several key industry sectors. Better regional dispersal is central to the industry’s growth framework, Tourism 2025, to encourage the better use of New Zealand’s tourism assets and relieve pressure on regions with the highest visitor loads. Promoting shoulder season tourism, by targeting markets with off-peak travel characteristics and hosting business events, is an additional component of the Tourism 2025 framework that has seen results since its introduction.

International sporting competitions, such as the British & Irish Lions Rugby Union Tour and the World Masters Games were major events driving demand in accommodation outside of traditional peak periods in New Zealand in 2017, although hoteliers indicate a mixed response to the Lions Tour. While New Zealand media widely reported the accommodation shortage in Wellington for the fixture between the Lions and All Blacks, with some fans completing a 600km round trip within the day, flying to and from accommodation in Christchurch just to watch the match; it wasn’t the same scenario across the country. Campervan rentals and holiday parks were reported to have seen bustling Lions-related trade; however as “freedom camping”, or camping on public conservation land, is permitted in New Zealand, particularly for vehicles that have been certified as self-contained, a significant proportion of the tour traffic didn’t convert into room nights.

A further hiccup for lodging industry revenues unexpectedly emerged in the form of the hospitality of locals, with the “Adopt a Lions Fan” movement emerging via social media in response to reports of accommodation shortages and price hikes for short-term rentals on game days. Offering free-of-charge billeting to Lions fans without accommodation in the major cities, and coordinated via Facebook, may not have resulted in optimised tourism revenue, but it certainly contributed to a positive and welcoming impression of the country and its people, which will no doubt resonate in terms of PR value in the future.

While New Zealand’s national brand is based on integrity, honesty and the unquestionable beauty of the country’s natural landscapes, there’s also a quirky and creative side to New Zealand that’s capturing attention around the world. In an unexpected viral success story, Air New Zealand’s unconventional flight safety videos, featuring well-known local and international movie and sports stars in humorous or surreal scenarios, have garnered something of an online following, collectively generating more than 108 million views and delivering awareness of the national brand to a wider audience. This ties in effectively with the nation’s film-related tourism, which remains a drawcard to this day, as industry sources reveal that the Hobbit Trilogy is still responsible for attracting one in five visitors to New Zealand. “The Most Epic Safety Video Ever Made”, a Tolkien-inspired piece released in conjunction with the final Hobbit film, remains one of the most watched clips for Air New Zealand, which dubbed itself the “official airline of Middle-earth” for the occasion.

This blogpost is from http://blog.euromonitor.com/2017/09/new-zealand-tourist-traffic.html

Marketing 3.0Storytelling training & case studiesTourism marketing

Storytelling marketing for the Santiago Way’s pilgrimage

One of the worldwide famous life-changing experience destination is the Santiago Way, a pilgrimage route that revived two decades ago from the middle age. It was first developed through the local Government’s investment in hospitality facilities and promotion, and from then on through word of mouth and high-profile storytelling, including many films.

Even if the experience concept is apparently simple –mostly considering that most pilgrims do not have religious motivations-, it turns to be a memorable social experience where you meet people from all walks of life, from all nationalities and ages, but in all cases everybody has an open mind and a noble heart, unlike most of us are used to in our daily lives. Unlike most other holiday concepts, this one is essentially a social experience which is totally flexible in the way that you can start and finish when and where you prefer to, and you can improvise your journey every day.

The intense conviviality along the whole journey when walking and once arrived in the destination hostel sets the stage for multiple kinds of stories about friendship, self-discovery and awareness, transferring wisdom, and love, among many others that you can imagine.

Such a life-changing experience scenario has inspired many celebrities in writing books and making films. Such is the case of Paulo Coelho –Brazilian bestseller author- with his book “El Peregrino de Compostela”, which brought a considerable flow of Brazilian pilgrims; or Hape Kerkeling –German Showman- with his book and film “I’m off then” which also brought large flows of German visitors. Other cases are Shirley Maclaine with her book “The Way” or Charlie Sheen in a film with the same name. This is a benchmark case study to illustrate how life-changing experiences inspire stories up to high-profile storytelling.

Nowadays, the local DMO do not need to invest in promotion anymore. The storytelling machine works itself and The Way has revived many areas which were literally abandoned. Beyond the main route, where all these media stories take place, many other Santiago Ways have been developed taking advantage of The Way’s enthusiasts boom, thus reviving the other historical pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela coming from different points of the Iberian Peninsula.

Do you know of other similar cases?

Business model innovationCo-creationCollaborative business modelsInnovationMarketing 3.0

Case study: Trip4real. Tourism experience collaborative business model

Trip4real is a paradigmatic example of how the collaborative economy flourishes in new business models for the tourism industry. Founded in Barcelona by Gloria Molins, it connects local experience developers with tourists eager to discover the destination through tailored experiences for them. Trip4real is a collaborative platform where any local may market a tourism experience to help the tourist discover the destination from a particular point of view or live special interest experiences.

The platform acts like a marketplace and also as an intermediary, so the payment is controlled by the platform and it gets a commission out of it. After the payment is done, the supplier and the client are connected to meet and live the experience. The motivation behind this business model is the will of the tourists for discovering the destination off the beaten track, where the locals go, and the hidden secrets that cannot be found in the Guides, as well as the authenticity brought by the interactivity with locals, who facilitate a deeper understanding about the local culture.

The first platform was developed for Barcelona, but other platforms have been developed in Madrid, Lisbon, London, Paris, Rome, Dublin, Berlin, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and a handful of Spanish destinations.

As has happened with Uber, do you think that these business models may be treated as unfair competitors to the local “official” tour guides and incoming agencies? Do you think there should be any kind of restrictions to letting it legally compete with standard tourism service suppliers?
You may check further details at www.trip4real.com

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Controlling service quality through customer reviews

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

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

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

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

Co-creationInnovationMarketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Co-creating experiences in cooperation with Airbnb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Clustering benefits for marketing

So long as every type of environment is more or less adequate for certain types of activities, the correct matching between the location and the activities developed is a key factor for competitiveness and also for effective marketing, as it helps to build a cluster’s consistent identity, enhancing the character of the experience and also helping the tourists to envision what kind of feelings they are likely to experience.

Closely related to competitiveness and productivity, business concentration may also accelerate innovation in product development and process efficiency. Having a pool of competitors in the same geographical area facilitates benchmarking and stimulates innovation, so long as proximity leads to constant comparison and competition.

Furthermore, attractions concentration in a cluster makes it possible to design more attractive packages in the travel market, as well as to attract more transport operators –namely flights and bus regular lines-, which eventually open new markets. Competitive clusters attract also internationally branded operators –like reputable hotel chains-, which eventually contribute to the reputation and attractiveness of the cluster.

Other marketing benefits may come from the cooperation in marketing activities by the cluster’s operators. This includes market intelligence collection and management through a local “Tourism Observatory”, but also from sharing efforts and information for the cluster’s marketing planning, and operational marketing activities.

Through cluster based collaboration, all these benefits can be enhanced, due to the multiplier effects of more productivity, innovation and business growth in a cluster influences many other industries within the region.

Do you think of other clustering benefits for marketing?

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 & executionTourism marketing

Product competitiveness programs

Beyond the aforementioned recommendations for specific products or sites, these competitiveness programs should also be taken into account, as they apply to the whole product category:

Product clubs are voluntary associations of stakeholders related to the product category, working like a forum or think tank, and led by the DMO Product Manager responsible for the product category, with the following goals and functions:

  • Carrying out market intelligence research
  • Analyzing competitiveness gaps, marketing KPIs and weaknesses to overcome
  • Planning, funding and coordinating the marketing activities
  • Developing new products and improving product competitiveness
  • Monitoring the result of the marketing activities and product operations
  • Lobbying to solve problems affecting the product business
  • Training the local operators in marketing and management

Product Quality labels facilitate the identification of key attributes by the tourists to help them prioritize their visits. Obtaining a label entails complying with certain quality requirements that eventually encourage operators to improve product competitiveness. For instance, there could be labels such as “Gourmet restaurant”, “Charming village”, “Historical site”, “Boutique hotel”, etc.

The method to develop the Product Quality labels should be the following:

  1. Selecting the special labels to create
  2. Defining the requirements in cooperation with the Product Clubs
  3. Labels graphic designing
  4. Carry out communication campaign targeting local operators to adhere to the label
  5. Assessing interested operators on the requirement compliance
  6. Introducing the Product Quality Labels in the marketing materials

Benchmarking trips are organized by the Product Club for the destination product operators with three main goals oriented to improve product competitiveness:

  • Learn best practices from the best performing destinations and operators
  • Learn about the destination model key success factors and competitive advantages
  • Inspire operators with ideas on developing products, providing more value with less efforts

The benchmarking trip organization should consider the following steps:

  1. Identifying possible benchmarks: destinations and operators
  2. Studying every benchmark to figure out what can be learn from each one
  3. Choosing the benchmarks with the most applicable know-how to the destination

Which other product competitiveness programs would you consider?