Category: Sustainability

Issues related to social, economic and environmental sustainability, including the third sector

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsEnvironmental sustainability

Destination Models 3.0: Environmental benefits

When focusing on environmental protection and sustainability, in the case of nature-based tourism destinations, there are many roles that the destination model may take:

  • Collaboration with research programs (either by universities, corporations, government, etc.) or environmental protection programs (private foundations, NGOs, government, etc.) by lending some of the facilities, programming volunteering activities related with the field work, etc. In some cases, the open innovation system could serve also as crowdsourcing resource for innovative ideas. Alternatively, the destination could also serve as a pre-testing field for new eco-friendly products.
  • Creating awareness among stakeholders about the environmental issues and challenges of the destination, by educating them on the threats and the good practices that should guarantee the protection of the destination’s environment, in order to create a network of environmental ambassadors that spread these concerns and good practices.
  • Integrating environmental friendly facilities and practices within the main business activity, thus minimizing the impact on the environment. These facilities and practices could also be leveraged for educating and creating awareness about the environmental challenges, thus accomplishing the aforementioned role at the same time.

The indicators to track the environment related mission should be designed by environmental experts according to the established goals aligned with the mission.

Beyond the aforementioned main benefits, there may be other positive impacts such as those related to cultural protection and promotion, socio-cultural change and human development on both the local communities’ side and the visitors’ side. These benefits may be difficult to measure and are most likely to be assessed through the kinds of stories that are created and their popularity.

A series of Whitepapers are to be released featuring case studies to illustrate how the destination model 3.0 approach may be applied in various tourism destinations.

Would you consider other roles to be played by the destination board?

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsSustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Destination Models 3.0: Social benefits

As already introduced in previous sections, the mission of destination models 3.0 is to address social and environmental challenges that concern the stakeholders. In this section we explain the positive impacts that the tourism development intends to make according to its mission. The two main types of missions are most likely to be poverty alleviation and environmental sustainability, for which we need to define the role of the destination model in addressing these challenges, the goals and the metrics to measure its success.

When focusing on poverty alleviation, this is intended to be attained through fostering entrepreneurship in the base of the pyramid (BOP), favoring local businesses as suppliers, investing in infrastructure, and providing training, coaching and micro-funding to the poorest layers of the community, empowering them to become active players within the destination model. Ultimately, their participation brings along more human capital in the creation of experiences and stories, as well as a surplus of authenticity and variety that will positively impact in the visitor’s experience and the image of the destination.

Moreover, the raise of the bottom of the pyramid in terms of disposable income is likely to create multiple opportunities for the local economy, with all the new services and products that they may afford to buy. There could be many indicators to track the evolution of poverty alleviation:

  • Newly created tourism businesses in the poorer layers of the community
  • Increased disposable income in the poorer layers of the community
  • Newly created “non-tourism” businesses serving the poorer layers of the community
  • Increased turnover of old businesses serving the poorer layers of the community
  • Increased number of households with access to information technology and computer literacy
  • Increased access to primary and secondary education in the poorer layers of the community

Would you consider other relevant indicators?

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsEnvironmental sustainabilitySustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Destination Models 3.0: Social & environmental costs

Even if destination models 3.0 intend to address social and environmental concerns by reducing the negative impacts that the tourism activity usually creates, it may not be possible to eliminate them completely, for it is necessary to foresee and monitor these impacts to obtain a holistic assessment on the mission accomplishment.

Furthermore, this section should also explain to what extent the destination model manages to reduce these kinds of costs in comparison to most conventional models. So long as the mission is not only to create positive impacts, but also to reduce negative impacts, it is necessary to gauge the negative impacts that the model manages to save in the social and environmental spheres.

There should be established a set of goals in relation to this intended impact reduction. For this purpose, a series of performance metrics are to be designed, along with those for measuring the positive social and environmental impacts. Once a year, a social and environmental audit should be carried out to assess the impact reduction in relation to previous years.

Some indicators on environmental negative impacts could be:

  • Air pollution
  • Acoustic pollution
  • Forest land reduction
  • River or sea water cleanliness
  • Survival status of endangered species

Some indicators on economic, social or cultural negative impacts could be:

  • Employment seasonality
  • Employment insecurity
  • Satisfaction of residents in tourist areas on the cohabitation with tourists
  • Rise of the real estate prices due to the tourism activity
  • Termination or offshoring of non-tourism local businesses replaced by tourism businesses

Would you consider other relevant indicators in either category?

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureCulture changeEnvironmental sustainability

Destination Marketing 3.0: Internal marketing strategy

It is necessary to market the vision, mission and values to employees and partners, as they have to become engaged to act as brand ambassadors in the social networks. This starts by executives performing an adequate leadership style according to the stated values. Only by delivering a value-driven leadership experience through everyday behavior will the executives manage to engage employees and partners in the mission and values they preach. The leader’s role here is rather to inspire and empower employees to develop their ideas towards the mission accomplishment.

Furthermore, so long as these values are successfully embedded in the corporate culture, these employees and partners in turn will be brand ambassadors inspiring and engaging other people in a life-changing experience. Such values ultimately deliver several pay-offs, like an increased capacity to attract talented employees, boosting productivity, and eventually improving customer satisfaction and recommendation.

Talented professionals look for employers empowering them to be creative, enabling them to develop their human potential. Furthermore, they are to be far more productive if they sympathize and believe in the mission that the organization is striving for. Outside stakeholders assess the organization’s authenticity according to the experience they have with their employees and closest partners.

Such cultural change may require important sacrifice, as it is necessary to stand by these values even if it hurts the business. Only then, when witnessing the employer’s integrity, will the employees engage in full commitment. Furthermore, such cultural issues are to be regarded when recruiting new employees and selecting partners, to make sure that they are likely to integrate within such culture.

Among the values to be promoted internally, it is important to regard the importance of innovation and collaboration beyond the organization’s boundaries as the main values that make a difference in sustaining the competitiveness and marketing the destination to outperform competitors.

Internal marketing should go beyond employees and service partners, also encompassing other partners such as non-profit organizations with whom the destination may cooperate for the development of mission-driven volunteering programs. These are to become key agents in both the mission accomplishment and the delivery of stories, as they hold reputation among communities of volunteers who may become mission-driven activists and brand ambassadors at the same time. Other partners in this section could be educational institutions, which may nurture the destination with storytellers and content marketing providers, as the mission driven purpose may inspire some educational activities in this direction.

Internal marketing is to be especially critical when the shift towards Marketing 3.0 is promoted by the DMO, as they need the commitment of all the destination’s operators.

In the case of the resorts, a specific internal marketing program has to be prepared for shareholders, to convince them on the new marketing strategy focused on the mission accomplishment and the long term profits rather than short-term. As the new marketing approach entails reformulating the business model to some extent, it is necessary to gain their approval to do so.

What kind of challenges do you envision when deploying Internal Marketing by a DMO in cooperation with the destination’s operators?

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?

Business model innovationMarketing 3.0StrategySustainabilityTourism marketing

Destination Marketing 3.0: Positioning strategy

In practicing Marketing 3.0, profit comes from the appreciation of the business contribution to the community well-being, and so the destination’s intended impact on the stakeholder community has to be at the core of its positioning strategy, being perceived as a positive force in addressing the communities concerns and aspirations. This entails addressing functional, emotional and spiritual needs, for these have to be regarded when proposing the set of brand values.

The positioning strategy consists of defining how the destination wants to be perceived by its stakeholders: its unique value proposition and its core values, as the main institutional standards of behavior. Such standards have to be embedded into the executives’ leadership style to transmit them to the employees and partners to ultimately spread them throughout the whole stakeholder system.

In defining and implementing the positioning strategy, brands have to care about the three key points:

  • Brand identity: defining a unique value proposition in terms of functional needs to position the brand in the minds of the stakeholders.
  • Brand image: defining values that appeal to the emotional needs of the stakeholders.
  • Brand integrity: establishing trust through the consistent delivery of the brand promise in order to fulfill their human spirit.

In marketing 3.0 only originality, authenticity and honesty are effective, because the community members are actually those who do the marketing of the destination through telling stories about the experiences they have lived. The destination has to focus its efforts on being authentic, delivering the brand promise and facilitating the connection between tourists to let them share their experiences.

Beyond cultural transformation, mission accomplishment –brand promise delivery- and adequate communication –through horizontal storytelling-, do you think there is any other necessary mean to convey the integrity of the brand positioning?

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsEnvironmental sustainabilityInnovationMarketing 3.0

Destination Models 3.0: Competitive advantage & Value proposition (II)

In tourism 3.0 it is essential to understand that the new marketing focuses on weaving values and mission within the business culture, which is reflected deeply in the experiences and stories marketing the destination, and ultimately obtains profits through the appreciation of the positive impact that the business has on the society, the environment and the culture. It is through the opportunity given to have this positive impact that destination models 3.0 target the stakeholders’ human spirit. Furthermore, by empowering all stakeholders to participate, they become accountable for the accomplishment of the mission.

Beyond the mission driven value proposition that sets destination models 3.0 apart from other tourism development models, it may be necessary in many cases to target non-mission driven tourists offering non-mission driven experiences to guarantee sufficient revenue streams all year round, or to partially subsidize the mission driven activities. In such cases, the model should prioritize the development of experiences that appeal to the affluent tourists and other segments or niche markets that contribute in balancing the demand seasonality, assessing also whether these tourists generate any additional negative impact either on the natural or social sphere.

In this section, there should be explained not only the competitive advantage(s) that sets it apart from other destinations and the portfolio of experiences it intends to offer to visitors, but also the vision, mission and its related goals, so long as they are the primary reason for which mission driven stakeholders are to get engaged with the destination.

Do you think we should consider anything else when defining the value proposition and the competitive advantage?

Business model innovationEnvironmental sustainabilityMarketing 3.0SustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Destination Models 3.0: Competitive advantage & Value proposition (I)

The core competitive advantage of destination models 3.0 is their unique capacity –built upon the open innovation ecosystem- to create mission driven experiences and stories that engage stakeholders to become brand ambassadors, as well as to adapt its business model to changes in the environment, and to involve all the local communities in providing authentic life-changing experiences, while alleviating poverty and protecting the natural and cultural heritage.

In destination models 3.0, the mission, vision and values are embedded in the core of the value proposition. Destinations 3.0 are known as scenarios where many stories take place about authentic and life-changing experiences with the local population, which ultimately have a positive impact on either the social, cultural or natural environment of the destination. Moreover, visitors are encouraged to write and share their story in order to inspire more people to live their own experience.

Hereby are listed some sample life-changing experiences classified according to the type of mission accomplishment, which may consist on alleviating poverty, protecting the environment, promoting the cultural heritage or fostering socio-cultural transformation both in the community and the tourists.

  • Environmental protection
  • Tourism programs consisting of discovery of the natural heritage while actively participating in an environmental protection program in cooperation with NGO or other entities.
  • Nature sightseeing and observation experiences accompanied by an expert environmentalist educating them on the fragility of the natural heritage and the environment-friendly practices.
  • Heritage protection and promotion
  • Learning about the local arts, language, cooking, dancing, instrument playing, etc. to turn intangible heritage into a skill development experience.
  • Immersive experience with cultural / ethnic minorities for a deeper understanding of their culture, traditions and way of life.
  • Poverty alleviation
  • Accommodation with local families where to enjoy their home hospitality and have a firsthand experience of the local reality.
  • Sharing meals with local families, experiencing their way of cooking, their rituals and the local food along with their hospitality.
  • Enjoying other interactive experiences offered by locals who share their knowledge about the hidden spots of the destination, local games, parties and tell stories.
  • Socio-cultural transformation
  • Accommodation and stay in religious sites such as monasteries and temples sharing the lifestyle of the monks to develop spirituality and peace of mind.
  • Developing communicative skills through storytelling facilitation programs, and further encouraging participants to write their stories and submit them in contests and the social networks.
  • Developing creative activities that challenge and stimulate their imagination through art workshops and contests, including a broad scope of art disciplines.
  • Multi-activity resorts where clients are educated on healthier lifestyles, learning about balanced diet, physical exercise, meditation, etc.

Do you envision other types of life-changing experiences?

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureCulture changeEnvironmental sustainability

Destination Marketing 3.0: Mission, Vision and goals

In Marketing 3.0 the mission is the main purpose of the destination development. This is to be defined by listening to and understanding the needs, concerns and aspirations of all stakeholders, starting with the local community leaders but without disregarding other potential stakeholders such as the communities of creative activists, who are to become the destination’s best brand ambassadors. Creating a mission often starts by thinking about small ideas that can make a big difference, and doing a Marketing Plan 3.0 gives an opportunity for reflection upon the mission definition, to make it more ambitious and attractive to the targeted mission driven stakeholders.

Such concerns and aspirations addressed by the mission are to be closely related to poverty alleviation at the base of the pyramid, protection of the natural environment through sustainable practices, and socio-cultural transformation towards more open and sensitive mindsets, changing the way people do things in their life, unlocking their human potential through skill development, and also fostering discovery of the fulfilling power of contribution to the greater good.

When a good mission is created it introduces a new perspective which ultimately is to transform the stakeholders’ lives, becoming a symbol within the community. Such a mission has to be spread through compelling and real stories that appeal to the targets’ human spirit, also empowering them to contribute in the activities aligned with the mission accomplishment. Their participation is crucial and they should feel responsible for fulfilling the mission.

The vision depicts how the destination and its stakeholders are to be transformed through the accomplishment of the mission, what the destination aspires to become and attain. The vision has to be the guiding force that motivates all stakeholders to contribute to the mission accomplishment and become brand ambassadors for the destination.

Marketing the mission and vision to the stakeholders is to be a critical step in the transformation, in order to engage them in the collaboration and innovation efforts, in view of a better future for the destination’s community. This is to be explained in the section about Internal Marketing.

Once the mission and vision are defined, they have to be turned into goals to better focus the strategies and efforts towards the mission accomplishment. Further, these goals have to be converted into a series of specific, measurable and time-bounded objectives which are to be the reference upon which performance is tracked throughout the implementation of the marketing plan.

Such goals and objectives are to be classified in many different areas of scope:

  • Mission goals and objectives, related to poverty alleviation, environment protection or socio-cultural transformation.
  • Business goals and objectives, related to financial performance and business model development.
  • Marketing goals and objectives, related to brand awareness, storytelling contribution and popularity, content delivery, merchandise sales, etc.

All these goals and objectives are to be used in the definition of the key performance indicators to track the success in the implementation process of the plan.

Which do you think will be the key success factors in defining the adequate Mission, Vision and Goals, beyond stakeholder participation?

Collaborative cultureMarketing 3.0SustainabilityThird sector and social sustainabilityTourism marketing

Key concepts of tourism 3.0: Communitization

In marketing 3.0, consumers gather in communities, which become the main source of information when assessing brands and products. The trust has gone from vertical to horizontal, and consumers trust other consumers rather than companies.

Therefore, communities are the new marketing channels, and so brands should encourage and help consumers join these communities. Eventually, so long as brands deliver the promised value, communities are expected to support them by becoming a network of brand ambassadors.

Brands have to understand that communities are trust networks that exist to support its members, and therefore the strategy to gain the trust of the network members is to support the members by addressing their concerns and aspirations. This is something that has to start in the mission definition phase, and by identifying such concerns and aspirations, the destination model may create a value proposition that addresses them to engage the community members.

What kind of cultural barriers do you think need to be overcome by the destination executives to empower the communities to develop the aforementioned role?