Category: Strategy

Strategy planning, strategy execution and business model design focused on collaborative modelling

StrategyTourism marketing

How to Avoid Being Anytown, USA – Part 1

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

Last summer I was relaxing in a small park in downtown Anchorage AK and watching a musical performance by local kids. I was immediately taken by the peaceful atmosphere, hometown feel and the distinctive precinct that surrounded the park with rows of independent businesses and traditional streetscapes. Crowds of visitors and locals alike were enjoying a sunny afternoon (yes, it was Alaska!) in an area that had not lost its soul to the sameness that shapes so many small cities today.

Many have lost their battle to cookie-cutter architecture and present an over-abundance of national franchises which give way to a blandness and homogeneity that lacks any distinctive character. Then there are the look-alike strip malls, car dealerships, and doppelgänger sub-divisions and suburbs that greet us as we approach many cities. Too many times it’s the result of unimaginative leaders and outside developers imposing their cloned thumbprint on the character of a place.

The downtown precinct in Anchorage was an unexpected contrast to many places I have visited in recent years. While places like Carmel IN, Galena IL and Fairfield IA have retained much of their independent character, local identity and distinctive sense of place, hosts of others have lost theirs.

Some cities are gaining bland Anytown, USA status long before people travel there. An online search quickly reveals many places that are not putting their best foot forward in an effort to stand apart but are relying on attributes that are common to thousands of other cities. If small cities and towns in Southern Michigan look and feel much like cities and towns in Northern Michigan, why would anyone spend the time and money to go there?

It’s Easy to be Anytown, USA

Ed McMahon, who holds the Charles E. Fraser Chair in Sustainable Development at the Urban Land Institute, first coined the term, “Anyplace, USA” in a 1997 article. He captured the city sameness sentiment when he said, “Today, if you were suddenly dropped along a road outside of most American cities, you wouldn’t have the slightest idea where you were because it all looks exactly the same. Over the past 50 years too many of our townscapes have gone from the unique to the uniform and from the stylized to the standardized.”

And as McMahon points out, this sameness can extend to just about every new bridge which is constructed using a Jersey barrier to facilitate the economical and fast movement of traffic, at the expense of everything else.

We can detect the degree to which a city is Anytown, USA through:

– Communications promoting the city, such as brochures, advertising, websites, social, etc.

– Interactions with residents and businesses

– The journey to the place and its setting

– The sense of arrival in the location

– Time spent in the place as a visitor or resident

– Music, movies, stories and books depicting the city

It’s not enough to simply say your town is different and special in some way, or that it’s the perfect choice for a visit. Your reality must match the promise you have made in brochures and advertising whether trying to attract visitors, new residents or investors. If the place isn’t distinctive or doesn’t measure-up they will quickly tell the world via social media – and you will be left floundering with thousands of other clone towns.

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

Environmental sustainabilityStrategySustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Six Models to Link Tourism to Conservation (II)

If developed and managed properly, a sustainable tourism strategy can aid conservation efforts. A destination’s natural environment, often the catalyst for tourism development in the first place, must be preserved to sustain tourism in the long run. Part I of this article discussed the first three of Solimar’s six models that link tourism to conservation:

  • Improve Tourism Operations and Guidelines
  • Increase Tourism Awareness and Constituencies
  • Increase Income Diversification

Here are three additional ways that tourism can assist a destination’s natural conservation efforts:

  1. Increase Monitoring and Research

This model supports conservation by increasing the presence of guides, visitors, and researchers in critical areas where environmental degradation occurs. Two main strategies arise:

      4.1 Increase the Role of Local Residents in Monitoring and Research

Local residents often participate in conservation efforts by forming patrols or gaining employment as research assistants. Coastal residents can conduct nightly beach patrols to prevent the poaching of sea turtle eggs or illegal fishing. Tourism stakeholders can commit funding to these patrols or commission research projects with local residents as assistants. Execution of this strategy often depends on vital support from NGOs. By playing a role in monitoring and research, local residents gain awareness of conservation issues and form a deeper attachment to the local natural environment.

       4.2 Increase the Role of Visitors in Monitoring and Research

‘Voluntourism’ increases in popularity every year. Tourists increasingly seek travel through which they can learn about a cause while making a positive impact on their chosen travel destination. Tourists can sign up for long-term stays at ecolodges or engage in direct conservation efforts through National Parks or private businesses offering such experiences.

  1. Increase Tourism-Generated Conservation Financing

Most conservation professionals agree that increased funding would help their efforts. If tourism can increase the amount of funding available to conservation-related businesses and organizations, reliance upon donations decreases and the whole operation becomes more sustainable. This model involves four strategies:

     5.1 Utilize Sustainable Tourism Profits to Support Conservation Activities

This should be seen as investing in a destination’s long-term future. The natural environment often draws tourism to an area in the first place, so investing in the future of that environment enhances the likelihood of long-term sustainable tourism. Examples of profit reinvestment include increased monitoring and research, hosting ‘volontourists,’ or replacing less efficient equipment with new, more eco-friendly equipment.

     5.2 Develop Travel Philanthropy Programs

Creating programs that provide a reliable way for visitors to donate can greatly aid conservation efforts. This strategy involves several steps: developing visitor appreciation of the site’s resources, increasing visitor understanding of the threats to those resources, fostering visitor understanding of efforts to mitigate those threats, and finally, presenting the visitor a reliable way to donate to those efforts.

    5.3 Develop Conservation-Themed Brands and Merchandise

Many National Parks and conservation organizations sell t-shirts, mugs, hats, and other merchandise. A simple, easily identifiable logo with clear text should be used on merchandise as well as websites, publications, and news releases. The WWF and their panda logo provide a good example. Publicizing details about how merchandise sales lead to conservation can encourage sales.

   5.4 Promote Mandatory or Voluntary Protected Area Entrance/User Fees

Visitors often have to pay a mandatory fee to use a protected area. Parks can sell daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, or yearly passes. Sometimes fees correspond to an activity undertaken in the park so entrance may be one price while an additional fee may apply for fishing or camping. These fees can be used to hire more guides or rangers to protect the park or to increase the availability of interpretation within the park.

  1. Increase Conservation Partnerships:

Increased cooperation between local residents, protected areas, NGOs, and private business can accelerate conservation efforts. When communities can share in the economic benefits of a sustainable tourism strategy, the likelihood of effective long-term partnerships increases. This model involves two main strategies:

     6.1 Developing Partnerships between Protected Areas, NGOs, and Universities

Attracting researchers from NGOs or universities brings revenue to protected areas through the provision of food, lodging, and other services. The research itself builds a more thorough understanding of the natural processes taking place and can inform future conservation efforts. The Tiputini Biodiversity Station in Ecuador often hosts researchers for months at a time while bringing in large student groups for 2-3 day tours and hikes. Many of these efforts develop through a partnership with the Universidad San Francisco de Quito (USFQ).

     6.2 Developing Partnerships between Protected Areas and Communities

Concession agreements, which allow local businesses to operate within protected areas, are becoming more widespread. This creates a financial incentive for local residents to engage in sustainable tourism practices. As business flourishes, commitment to the sustainable management of the protected area arises.

Destinations seeking sustainable solutions to conservation issues should employ the models and strategies listed above.

This blog post is from   www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/item/222-solimar-s-six-models-to-link-tourism-to-conservation-part-ii

Marketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Disney “Commandments” = Great Learning for Cities and Downtowns

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

I once came across the informal guidelines that have inspired and guided generations of Disney Imagineers as they design and manage the Disney theme parks and guest experiences. These guidelines are based on the original insights that Walt Disney used when he built Disneyland in 1955.  But it was Marty Sklar who documented these principles and called them “Mickey’s Ten Commandments: Ten Things You Can’t Forget When You Design a Theme Park”. Sklar was one of the unsung heroes of Disney. He joined Disney one month before Disneyland opened, and until his retirement in 2009 directed the Imagineers using these Commandments.

The Commandments are very simple and the principles can be applied to many situations related to tourism development, branding and marketing, urban planning and visitor experience management.

  1. Know your audience – Don’t bore people, talk down to them, or lose them by assuming that they know what you know.
  2. Wear your guest’s shoes – Insist that designers, staff, and your board members experience your facility as visitors as often as possible.
  3. Organize the flow of people and ideas – Use good storytelling techniques, tell good stories not lectures, lay out your exhibit with a clear logic.
  4. Create a ‘weenie’ – Lead visitors from one area to another by creating visual magnets and giving visitors rewards for making the journey.
  5. Communicate with visual literacy – Make good use of all the non-verbal ways of communication – color, shape, form, texture.
  6. Avoid overload – Resist the temptation to tell too much, to have too many objects, don’t force people to swallow more than they can digest, try to stimulate and provide guidance to those who want more.
  7. Tell one story at a time – If you have a lot of information divide it into distinct, logical, organized stories. People can absorb and retain information more clearly if the path to the next concept is clear and logical.
  8. Avoid contradiction – Clear institutional identity helps give you the competitive edge. The public needs to know who you are and what differentiates you from other institutions they may have seen. (Yes, Walt Disney was advocating the principles of branding long before they were applied to places.)
  9. For every ounce of treatment, provide a ton of fun – How do you woo people from all other temptations? Give people plenty of opportunity to enjoy themselves by emphasizing ways that let them participate in the experience and by making your environment rich and appealing to all of the senses.
  10. Keep it up – Never underestimate the importance of cleanliness and routine maintenance,
    people expect to get a good show every time, people will comment more on a broken and dirty environment.

In suggesting Disney principles and techniques I am not advocating the “Disneyfication” of cities and downtowns. Make no mistake, Disney properties are theme parks. They are not city or community downtowns where residents live, work, study and play. However, Disney locations have raised best practice standards in visitor experience design and consequently provide excellent learning opportunities for ambitious communities.   The genius of Walt Disney never ceases to amaze me, along with lessons from his systems that we can apply to communities everywhere.

This post is from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/2/

Collaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureCulture changeMarketing 3.0Tourism marketing

It Takes a Culture of Collaboration to Deliver a Place Brand

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

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

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

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

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

StrategyStrategy planning & execution

5 Common Mistakes in Business Planning

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

  1. Not understanding the difference between planning and a plan

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

  1. Ignoring market realities

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

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

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

  1. Being everything to everyone

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

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

  1. Thinking that big picture is the key!

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

  1. Treating it as a race or sprint

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

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

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

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

Marketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketingTourism trends

What’s Involved in Destination Leadership Success?

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

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

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

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

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

StrategyStrategy planning & execution

Your Road Map to a Great Tourism Business Plan

Any great tourism business begins with a great “road map.” This road map serves as your business plan with actionable steps for moving forward with developing the enterprise. There are seven key components to your road map.

  1. Clear Concept- Before you can dive into the road map, the essential first step is to clearly articulate your enterprise concept. What is your enterprise? What do you do? What are you trying to achieve? What impact do you expect your enterprise to generate? Before you move further down the road map, be sure that you put some thought into these questions and can clearly define the concept of your tourism enterprise. Try to condense this concept into a simple one to two sentence pitch that clearly articulates your business concept.
  2. Market Analysis- Your market analysis includes the international, regional, and national tourism statistics and travel trends, the profiles of your target market segments, and a value chain/ industry analysis. Begin by getting an idea of the relevant tourism trends and statistics. What percentage of tourists coming to your destination region, country, or city are country nationals versus international visitors. When is the peak season that tourists come to visit? What are the typical demographics of visitors? Has the number of international tourists to your destination been increasing or decreasing? Addressing these questions will help you to better understand your market before moving forward.

From here, you can develop the profiles of your target market segments. Determine the nationality of your market, their wants and needs, their budget, etc. Think about whether your target traveler is seeking adventure and physical challenges, luxury and relaxation, or service and learning opportunities. Additionally, you will need to analyze the existing tourism industry in your destination. Especially if your enterprise will work with intermediaries; investigate the existence, success, and business models of tour operators, travel agents, and hotels; as they relative to your business concept to market or sell tourism products.

  1. Sales and Marketing Strategy- At this stage of your road map, it is important to determine strategic positioning in terms of the pricing, placement, and promotion strategies of your business. There are numerous factors, both short and long-term to consider for pricing including the value provided compared to that of competitors, the price the market is willing to pay, the revenue needed to enable the business to reach its financial goals, and profit maximization. Your placement, or distribution, may be conducted either through direct or indirect sales. Your promotion strategy will describe the sales and marketing techniques used to reach your target market and should include online and social media marketing.
  2. Competitive Analysis-Complete a summary of competing businesses and products, and determine your competitive advantage. Begin by defining your business competition- the people and businesses that offer similar products and services and seek the same markets. Research these competitors and assess their products or services on a number of factors, such as pricing, product quality, and customer service. Porter’s Five Forces Analysis is a useful tool to use for a through investigation of your competition. By assessing your business competition against your proposed enterprise, you will gain a better understanding of where your business stands and how best to leverage your strengths against your competition’s weaknesses. To determine your competitive advantage, simply outline the major advantages that your enterprise holds over the competition.
  3. Operations and Training Plan-Consider your business structure and the key personnel and training needs that will be required to support it, while also keeping in mind any legal considerations. Will your enterprise be a private company, a partnership, a limited liability corporation (LLC), a cooperative, a non-profit organization, or an association? There are pluses and minuses to each, and it is extremely important to think carefully to determine the best structure for your enterprise. Once the structure is determined, consider the number of employees needed and the roles and responsibilities of each. Consider the hierarchy of employees in your business and how profits will be shared.  Finally, the legal environment is key to consider; think about potential requirements like business registration, employee/membership agreements, permits, and insurance coverage.
  4. Community and Conservation Support- Consider sustainable tourism as a cornerstone to your business plan. Sustainable tourism has the potential to not only mitigate potentially harmful impacts of visitation to a site, but it can also support conservation of the resources upon which it depends. At Solimar, we employ a market-based approach that links jobs and revenue generated by sustainable tourism to support conservation of the resources upon which the tourism depends. To develop a sustainability plan, begin by assessing the conservation threats related to your tourism enterprise. Once these threats have been assessed, you can choose tourism conservation strategies that address those threats, such as an environmental education program or a trail monitoring and research program. Lastly, be sure to budget for the implementation of your sustainability plan, including salaries, equipment, materials, and trainings.
  5. Key Milestones and Workplan- Lastly, now that your business plan has been fully considered, you can create a timeline of the major activities related to the establishment of your enterprise and its tour products and services. Create a comprehensive list of the milestones to be completed for the successful establishment of your business and determine the order in which they shall be addressed. With each milestone completed, you are one step closer to being the proud founder of a great tourism business!

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/item/163-your-road-map-to-a-great-tourism-business-plan

 

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/

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/

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsInnovationTourism trends

Guides that are not guides

As has happened with the accommodation business, namely with Airbnb, the collaborative platform business model is also developing in the tourist guides business. I have personally experienced one of these platform’s services in the city of Prague.

Thanks to these platforms it is no longer strange that the tourists are offered free guided tours in great urban destinations, without any trick. In my case, I used the services of Sandeman’s New Europe, which is already present in 18 cities. At the beginning of the tour, the guide explained that his income comes from tips, and so it was not mandatory to pay even 1 Euro.

The tour lasted more than 3 hours and it was really entertaining, with good quality content. The guide was brilliant and received quite a lot of tips. But, attracted by the quality of this Guided tour, the day after I did another one, but paying. This business works actually like a freemium model.  In fact, there are many more businesses offering free guided tours in Prague. And they have their rivalry moves, like guerrilla marketing actions, competing for the best locations, etc.

But this new fashion not only takes place in the large cities. The Greeters movement is emerging also in smaller cities, like Bilbao. The first company operating this business model in Bilbao is actually called Bilbao Greeters, and is part of the international network Global Greeters Network. The Greeters are locals offering guided tours with the authenticity of a local resident’s knowledge and perspective, who knows the traditions, habits and secrets beyond the usual tourist information available. In the Basque Country the Tourist Guides are not regulated, and so there cannot be any conflict in this case. Unlike in the previous case of “New Europe”, the Greeters are not professional guides and do not accept tips.  However, to make a booking you need to be registered as partner, which costs 12€ per year.

Finally, there are many online platforms allowing people to offer their tourist services worldwide. Besides platforms such as Vayable, Viator or Isango, marketing all kind of experiences –from guided tours to cooking lessons-, there are many others offering guided visits by the destination’s residents.

Local Guiding is a platform oriented to “changing the way people travel, experiencing the local life as it is, not like the conventional tourism agencies pretend it to be”. They are already offering guided tours in more than 20 Spanish destinations.

Tours by locals are the veterans in this sector, as they have been operating since 2008 from their headquarters in Vancouver. They nowadays offer guided tours in many countries worldwide.

Like a local is the concept developed through a mobile application. Destination residents contribute to editing the local guide with recommendations, advice, routes, etc. and obtain revenue from the application’s management firm.

Finally, there is the Spanish portal called Ciceroner , promising to offer “unique and personal experiences, the only ones that can be really different and memorable”. It is still in Beta development phase, but it already offers a considerable amount of products in many destinations. It gives the option to gift the guided tours just like Smartbox and many others, but promising a superior experiential value.

As we can see, it is an emergent business model, with many suppliers and intermediaries operating in the market. However, this new fashion business model arouses many questions:

  • Is it just a fashion or a new reality?
  • Are these services for specific segments or for all types of visitors?
  • Is it necessary to further regulate this type of businesses to ensure a fair competition with the traditional models, or should they be given free regin instead?
  • Are these new models going to operate in urban destinations only, or they are likely to operate in beach destinations traditionally dominated by tour-operators?
  • Do these business models affect somehow the destinations’ image? Should the DMOs do something to get some profit from it or to manage it for branding purposes?

I invite you to reflect upon these questions, and encourage you to give your opinion

This blogpost is from http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/guias-que-no-son-guias/