Category: Strategy planning & execution

Strategy planning and implementation methods

IntelligenceIntelligence methodsStrategyStrategy planning & execution

Destination Intelligence 3.0: Implementation stages

The implementation of a MI system in an organization should be carried out in 4 stages:

Preparation: selecting a responsible for leading the MI unit, availability of the necessary technological tools and presentation to the collaborators and users.

Launch: pilot project to test and demonstrate how the system works to the users and collaborators, ad-hoc queries and informal feedback.

Consolidation: setting a MI product portfolio, application of a consistent MI analytical scheme, well informed and exigent users, and formal evaluation process.

Extension: integration of the strategic and tactic intelligence; MI culture integrated in the organization; MI based on dialogue.

The MI unit may have a specific department or be integrated in the marketing or strategy department. It may count with external consultants but most inputs should come from the local marketing units in the outbound markets.

The MI cycle has 5 phases, for which there is a set of necessary competences:

Obtaining MI queries:

  • Identification of decision makers and their needs of information
  • Interview, communication and presentation skills
  • Understanding of people and the decision maker’s orientation
  • Knowledge of the organizational structure and corporate culture
  • Needs detection and processing through the system

Capturing information:

  • Knowing primary and secondary sources
  • Knowing methods to access the sources
  • Manage the sources
  • Knowing how to guarantee the reliability of the sources
  • Identifying biases in the information
  • Capacity for assessing assumptions
  • Knowing the ethics principles in the information capturing

Analyzing and summarizing information:

  • Recognition of the interaction between the information capture and its analysis
  • Use of inductive and deductive reasoning
  • Knowledge of the basic analytical models
  • Knowledge of the reason why and the adequate moment to use each analytical model
  • Recognition of information gaps

Communicating the intelligence:

  • Presentation skills.
  • Empathy and advising skills.
  • Organization and presentation of the findings according to the receiver characteristics.
  • Graduation of the intelligence delivery.

Intelligence management, feedback and results evaluation:

  • Definition of the intelligence function.
  • Explanation of the role of the MI and the intelligence cycle.
  • Knowledge of the MI unit models, its structure, organization and resources.
  • Knowledge of MI evaluation techniques.
  • Capacity of creating a MI culture within the organization.

Would you consider any other step in the implementation process or another necessary competence?

Business model innovationEnvironmental sustainabilityStrategyStrategy planning & executionSustainability

Destination Models 3.0: Key activities & management (IV)

Monitoring the evolution of the destination’s activities through a system of key performance metrics which are to indicate the need for reorienting efforts or strategy in case the results do not meet the strategic goals. There should be many KPI sections:

  • Indicators tracking the outcomes of the open innovation system, like mission-driven initiatives, business model innovation discussions, as well as marketing ones like written stories, shared contents and other social media metrics.
  • Indicators tracking the expansion of the business model, like number of innovation system members (considering various member categories), partners by category, overall tourism arrivals, overall revenue, revenue per geographical market, revenue per market segment, average revenue per tourist, average length of stay, merchandising sales, occupancy rates, satisfaction rates, etc.
  • Indicators to characterize the evolution of tourist demand, identifying the behavior patterns for every market segment, like average expenditure, average length of stay, type of accommodation, activities carried out, type/size of group, trip organization, marketing channels, etc. These are also to gain a better understanding of tourists’ needs, concerns, motivations and aspirations.
  • Other indicators tracking the evolution of the business model such as the kinds of integration formulas to which most partners adhere (indicating the confidence inspired by the model), profitability of the business units, number of direct and indirect employments created, training courses attended and successfully completed by employees and partners’ employees, etc.
  • Indicators tracking the accomplishment of social and environmental goals, further explained in the section 2.12.

Further, it is necessary to explain the performance standards the model should comply with, the key metrics to monitor them, and the key competences needed to comply with such standards.

This section should explain in detail the operational system of all critical activities nurturing and sustaining the competitive advantages of the destination model, as well as the platform management system, stating the performance standards and the metrics to monitor the model’s evolution.

Do you miss any key activity to ensure its proper functioning? Would you add any other type of KPI?

IntelligenceIntelligence methodsStrategyStrategy planning & execution

Destination Intelligence 3.0: Results and output types

Apart from improving the conventional market reports, the market intelligence allows to obtain the following kinds of outputs:

  • Internal reports to support strategic and operational planning.
  • Segment reports for many markets.
  • Newsletter about the evolution of the outbound markets.
  • Benchmarking and new trends reports.
  • Qualified database with detailed profiles of tour operators and other potential partners
  • Qualified database of media, freelance journalists, internet portals, forums, blogs, social networks, segmented by product.
  • Ad-hoc reports.

The MI will be used by staff at all levels, from the Managing director to the Product Managers. Moreover, considering that the MI system is to benefit all the regional tourism sector, the outputs may also be delivered to the operators and local tourist boards.

One of the key success factors of a MI system is the rapidness in the delivery of the outputs, as an essential part of the MI value stays in having the intelligence data before your competitors. For that purpose, the system should provide outputs of small dimension (news, articles, summaries) and fast production that allow its fast delivery process to the users.

For the exchange of information and its distribution to the users, there should be a technological platform like an intranet from which the users could download the MI reports.

Do you envision any other kind of research output or format?

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsMarketing 3.0Storytelling training & case studiesStrategy planning & execution

Destination Models 3.0: Key activities & management (II)

Apart from the open innovation system, there would be many other key activities to highlight:

  • Destination’s strategic planning and monitoring the results of its implementation is one of the primary roles of the destination’s platform, from the definition of the mission and the design of the business model, to its deployment and continuous revamping so long as the environment requires so. This is the main role of the platform’s executives, with the support of the open innovation system and the information gathered through the monitoring system.
  • The destination marketing is one of the main reasons to justify the development of business models 3.0, leveraging the outcomes of the content marketing system to develop campaigns, destination merchandise, organize events and support special projects such as film broadcasting. Further, especially at the beginning, the platform should develop a marketing plan to start-up the content marketing system and leverage the marketing partners’ influence to attract the first flows of visitors.
  • The storytelling training is just as important as the aforementioned story creation section, as it is to train and coach stakeholders in developing their storytelling skills. Such training has to be carried out by a pool of certified storytelling facilitators who train not only all platform partners, but also tourists, becoming one of the life-changing experiences that set destinations 3.0 apart from others. Needless to say, it will be a key factor in nurturing the content marketing system.
  • The local service suppliers training may also be critical, so long as the destination model 3.0 intends to foster entrepreneurship in the poorer layers of the local communities. This training and coaching should be primarily focused on hospitality business management, customer service and foreign languages, without disregarding other needs to be identified through the service quality control.

Do you envision how this would work? What kind of obstacles or challenges do you foresee?

IntelligenceIntelligence methodsStrategyStrategy planning & execution

Destination Intelligence 3.0: methods and information sources

The main methodology for obtaining all this information is to carry out interviews with tour operators when visiting them, in workshops and during the fam-trips.

The collaboration and complicity we may establish when helping them with business & product development is the key to obtaining all the intelligence. The privileged position as collaborators allows us to obtain more information and more easily than an independent consultant.

The information to research a market segment may be obtained with a few interviews with the key tour operators, complemented with other sources like publications, brochures, surveys and interviews with experts and related associations.

The information for elaborating tour operator company profile programming our destination should be obtained through in-depth interviews and brochure analysis; whereas the information about tour operators not featuring our destination may be obtained through telephone interviews and brochure analysis.

The main sources of information are:

  • Tour-operators and travel agents
  • Publications and newsletters
  • Tourism fairs
  • Congresses, conventions and seminars (papers, thesis, studies, presentations, etc.)
  • Specialized consultants and journalists, special interest associations, etc.
  • Internet and social networks.

For the aforementioned research goals and objectives, would you consider any other methodology or information sources?

Co-creationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureMarketing 3.0Storytelling training & case studies

Destination Marketing 3.0: Communication strategy (I)

As aforementioned, with Marketing 3.0 there is a shift from vertical to horizontal control, being that the communities of creative activists are those who do the marketing by supporting brands concerned about making positive impacts in their communities. Therefore, the new marketing has the social networks as the main scenario where most brand marketing activities take place.

The communication strategy embraces collaborative channels as its main conveyors of the value proposition, as these are the most trusted ones by the communities of potential stakeholders. Furthermore, the new communication channels have to enable connectivity and interactivity to empower community members to participate at any time –especially when they are enjoying the destination- and share content with the rest of the community. The new wave technology is what allows community members to express their ideas and opinions in collaboration with the rest of the community.

The destination should accommodate the will of tourists to connect with other tourists who want to share their experience and story. Only by helping tourists connect with each other and deliver the promised brand values will the destination gain the crucial support of the communities.

The main marketing contents to be shared throughout the communities are stories. Stories are to convey the Mission, vision and values of the destination brand embodied in the life-changing experiences in a compelling manner drawing the attention of potential tourists and stakeholders.

Compelling stories are the new advertising, and their success is measured by the extent to which these stories are the focus of conversations in the social networks. These stories create loyalty among stakeholders who end up regarding the brand as an icon. Then, these enthusiast stakeholders become brand ambassadors by spreading the stories throughout the social networks. This is the power of storytelling.

To generate stories and other marketing contents, there has to be design of a content marketing system with a strategy to leverage the already existing stories and also to leverage the creativity of the stakeholders to make up new ones, as well as to spread the stories throughout the social media. The open innovation system is the one that leverages all the knowledge and creativity to nurture the content marketing system, and the existing local communities are where we should search for the existing stories to start-up the content marketing system.

What main challenges do you foresee in developing this communication strategy?

IntelligenceIntelligence methodsStrategyStrategy planning & execution

Destination Intelligence 3.0: market research goals

When researching on the outbound markets in search for intelligence, there are many key goals to consider:

  • Assess market and segment attractiveness, as well as feasibility of penetrating such markets or segments and developing new products.
  • Improve the quality of the strategic and operational decisions.
  • Stimulate strategic and product innovation, as well as competitiveness improvements.
  • Identify trends, opportunities and threats.
  • Provide the necessary information to the operators for their International Marketing Plan, also orientating and facilitating their commercial missions in the outbound markets.
  • Analyze the dynamics of all the factors that may influence the strategy success.
  • Monitor the image and positioning of the destination in all markets and segments.
  • Evaluate possible cooperation strategies with tour operators and other companies.

Do you think there should be considered other goals?

Collaborative cultureIntelligenceIntelligence methodsStrategyStrategy planning & execution

Destination Intelligence 3.0: Benefits of capturing intelligence in the outbound markets

The growth of the tourism business with emerging outbound markets and new destinations is drawing an increasingly competitive scenario with plenty of opportunities. Moreover, the markets are evolving rapidly with new business models, new communication & sales channels and new market segments.

This major dynamism, innovation and market fragmentation requires a systematic analysis to detect new trends, new key success factors, foresee its threats and take advantage of its opportunities. Furthermore, along the last years there has been a significant decrease on the tourism promotion profitability, which suggests the convenience of innovating in more efficient marketing strategies and tactics.

Market intelligence (MI) is a systematic process of search, selection, analysis and distribution of information about the competitive environment, recognized and accepted by all the organization and its stakeholders.

The market intelligence studies are to identify business opportunities and market trends, analyze competitors, their practices and strategies, and all the variables that affect the evolution of the competitive scenario in order to orientate the strategic planning.

The impact of the MI activities consists mainly of the support given to cost reduction decisions -including risk reduction on the decisions to make- and de discovery of opportunities and innovations that produce an increase to the value provided to the client. The knowledge generated by the MI may be summarized in the following points:

  • Detailed company profile of all potential collaborators.
  • Best practices in marketing, management, innovation and new business models.
  • Markets and segments attractiveness. Opportunities, market trends and evolution of all the key factors influencing business development and profitability.
  • Key information for the design, innovation and product development obtained from deep demand analysis.
  • Key information for the optimization of the company’s commercial missions in the outbound markets, as well as for the Tourist Boards.

At the end, this brings the following benefits:

  • Decrease in the risk of failure.
  • Business diversification with the penetration in new markets and segments.
  • Improvement in the competitiveness and the innovation process.
  • A revenue increase from the opportunities of which we take advantage.
  • A major profitability of the marketing investment.

Can you envision any other outputs or benefits of the market intelligence?

Business model innovationCo-creationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureCulture change

Destination Marketing 3.0: Targeting tourists 3.0

Once the Mission, vision and goals are defined, it’s time to think about the necessary strategies to guide our efforts towards the goals. Prior to the mission statement, there has to be a marketing diagnosis to set the starting point from which we intend to achieve all these goals.

Beyond the conventional segmentation criteria according to geographical origin, sociological and motivational profile, the key target group to engage in order to succeed in the marketing 3.0 transformation are the creative activists, also referred to as creative society or tourists 3.0. The challenge is mainly expanding the network of mission driven activists and other like-minded contributors.

These kinds of tourists are more likely to be found in specific communities or social networks, for the conventional marketing channels are not likely to work. They are concerned about the impact of the tourism activity on the environment and the local communities, and are driven by the aim for contribution to make the world a better place, and for spiritual fulfillment above other motivations.

They are activists in the social media either criticizing the brands creating negative impacts on the society and the environment, or promoting brands concerned about positive impacts. Such networks are becoming the main and most trusted source of information for most consumers who increasingly trust other consumers rather than companies. It is through these social networks that consumers share their knowledge and are to share stories about the life-changing experiences offered in the destinations.

Unlike typical passive consumers, tourists 3.0 are willing to take an active role in their relationships with their favorite brands, through co-creation of products and marketing contents. They want to be active players in the brand’s marketing activities, mostly through the social media networks. They are the ones who hold the community’s trust, and so have the power to decide which brands are to be supported.

They are more motivated by self-actualization, which is what unleashes most of their creativity, and by giving them the opportunity to contribute in social and environmental issues the destination is targeting and appealing to their human spirit, their primary motivator. In the destination, they look for authentic experiences through which to develop new skills, learn about new realities, cultures, and ways of life, which open their mindset and ultimately change or influence their life.

Attracting, convincing and engaging them in the mission purpose turns them into brand ambassadors who spread the stories about the destination’s experiences, ultimately expanding the network of brand enthusiasts at no cost to the destination.

Another strategic target is that of the young generations, who may get engaged through special educational programs and game-playing activities. Furthermore, it is interesting to explore the many niches and segments of special interest travelers, characterized by a high educational level, sensitivity towards cultural and environmental issues, and high expenditure in the destination.

What percentage of the desired marketing impacts do you think we can expect from this type of brand ambassadors, compared to the impacts created through conventional marketing in mission driven destinations?

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsInnovationStrategy planning & execution

Destination Models 3.0: The business model canvas framework

The business model canvas is a strategic management template for depicting the rationale through which a business creates, delivers and captures value. It is a strategy blueprint with elements describing a business’ value proposition, infrastructure, customers, and finances to assist business leaders in aligning their activities by illustrating potential trade-offs.

This business model framework describes the key components that define the business’ DNA:

  • Competitive advantages & value proposition. Core strategic edges that provide advantage over competitors, experiences provided to the tourists and mission based value provided to all stakeholders. This should explain what differentiates the destination’s offer from others, and so the reason why tourists should go and other stakeholders should collaborate with the destination.
  • Customer segments. The target tourist segments that the destination wants to attract, based on criteria such as geographical markets, sociological and motivational profile.
  • Customer relationships. The kind of relationships the business model wants to establish with tourists, how to deliver the experiences and how to engage the tourists with the destination.
  • Marketing channels. The types of channels and marketing partners through which the destination is to deliver the stories and other marketing contents to engage potential tourists and other stakeholders.
  • Key activities & management system. The most important activities to sustain the competitive advantage through continuous improvement and execute the value proposition, as well as the platform’s management system including strategic goals, performance standards and metrics to measure the health of the business model.
  • Key resources and organizational structure. The necessary assets to start operating the platform and attracting stakeholders, which encompasses human, financial, physical and intellectual resources. In the organizational structure, every position is defined by its mission and key competences.
  • Key partners. The network of partners which are necessary to deliver the value proposition, as they bring along know how, resources and other value which are beyond the core capabilities of the business model, but should not be internalized, in order to reduce risk and costs, and to optimize operations.
  • Cost structure. The balance between overheads and variable costs, determining the potential to generate economies of scale or economies of scope.
  • Revenue streams. The way the business model generates income from the delivered services and products to different target clients and partners.
  • Social & environmental costs. The negative impacts that the tourism business development may cause in the natural environment and to the local communities. Hereby we may remark also the negative impacts saved by the tourism 3.0 development approach, in comparison with the usual practices.
  • Social & environmental benefits. The positive impacts that the tourism development is having both on the natural environment and local communities. They are to be measured through a series of metrics to assess the progression on the mission accomplishment.

Would you add or change any business model building block?