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 innovationBusiness trendsCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureCulture change

Business ecosystems come of age

As it has been explained in many posts and Whitepapers, one of the key success factors of destinations in their evolution towards the Vision of Tourism 3.0 is to develop an innovation ecosystem integrated by different types of contributors. In that regard, Business Trend Series Deloitte’s report Business ecosystems come of age presents a series of articles describing how businesses are moving beyond traditional industry silos and conjoining networked ecosystems, creating new opportunities for innovation.

The report offers a glimpse of how some view the rise of ecosystems as an opportunity for creating powerful new competitive advantage as it becomes increasingly possible for firms to deploy and activate assets they neither own nor control and expand the possible beyond of their expertise and activities.

This brief summary outlines the various subjects and ideas dealt with:

Introduction: A brief history of the concept of ecosystems applied to business and how it all started in the technology sector but now is also taking root far beyond.

Blurring boundaries, uncharted frontiers: Long-standing boundaries and constraints that have traditionally determined the evolution of business are dissolving, allowing new ecosystem possibilities to flourish.

Wicked opportunities: Many kinds of complex, dynamic, and seemingly intractable social challenges are being reframed and attacked with renewed vigor through ecosystems formed by unprecedented networks of NGOs, social entrepreneurs, governments, and even businesses coalescing around them.

Regulating ecosystems: Regulators are challenged to create policies and solutions that protect the public’s interests and are also dynamic enough to keep pace with innovation born through ecosystems.

Supply chains and value webs: A set of powerful developments have worked together to help transform the business environment, changing how supply chains are configured, further heightening their strategic significance for many firms, and creating new leadership imperatives for the years ahead. Now “companies don’t compete—supply chains do.”

The new calculus of corporate portfolios: The rise of business ecosystems is compelling strategists to value assets according to an additional calculus, often generating different conclusions about what should be owned.

The power of platforms: Properly designed business platforms can help create and capture new economic value and scale the potential for learning across entire ecosystems.

Minimum viable transformation: Business model transformations are not unprecedented, they have always happened. It is not even new that business model transformations must consider the evolution of a company’s broader ecosystem. What is new today is that such transformations must be considered and accomplished routinely—not as storm-of-the-century events.

You may download the document at Business ecosystems come of age

This article is from www.co-society.com/official-business-ecosystems-come-age-deloitte-confirmed/

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

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsStrategy

Small local brands: You either collaborate or you’ll be intermediated

In Destinations 3.0, DMOs work as marketing platforms intermediating for the local businesses and joining efforts with those businesses to reach the global market, just in the way that thousands of niche companies are willing to enjoy the benefits of the level of visibility and consistency that only a more “mainstream” brand can offer. This article explains the imperative need for small businesses and brands to develop cooperative marketing platforms to avoid being intermediated by wholesalers with a much higher negotiation power.

Some early Internet evangelists promised anybody with a website and an e-commerce platform can have a global market no matter how small the company or where it is located. A theoretical true, that statement does not take into consideration the laws of Attention Economics that Internet itself is boldly proving right from the very first moment.

It’s also true “Long Tail” niche offers can overcome this barrier by the same differentiation and exclusivity that made them niche in the very first place. Yes, it’s possible to create a global audience or market by offering something nobody else is offering and then establishing a relationship with your customers leveraging all new media and tools available today. Yet, still, this level of differentiation is not always and for everybody possible.

Collaboration with others such niche brands can make this strategy less difficult and more potentially fruitful.  Good news is people seem to be rejecting the notion of large corporations and are looking for companies whose people and story they can connect with. Bad news is Attention Economics apply, making impossible for customers to have a relationship close enough with all niche brands that could be relevant to them in a particular moment.

This is why even living in a flat world we still need intermediaries. A different kind, but still intermediaries. But in the digital paradigm, once eliminated geographical proximity as a factor, we only need one of these intermediaries for each of the limited list of categories our minds can deal with, making monopolies or oligopolies a natural and logical outcome for every market.

Good for those understanding becoming the perfect interface for a particular category of products or services is the fast lane to success (and dollars) in the digital realm. Too bad for the ones who will have (or already have) to deal with a monopolist in order to make their products or services visible and purchasable. Too bad for thousands of musicians or app developers taken a cut of a third of every sale that would have been considered outrageous if taken by a local record or software shop. For every Etsy or Zappos of the world, there is the menace of them taking advantage of a dominant position, the threat of the “Upper Hand” syndrome we wrote about referring the case of Fulfillment by Amazon.

Collaboration will be the only possible answer for the convergence of a growing number of niche offers and the challenge for these companies of having enough scale for their offers to be visible and purchasable. If these companies do not create and own their own intermediation by collaborating with others, somebody else will create a digital intermediation for them.

Co-Society was recently involved in a project for an association of cooperatives looking for new roles in a changing, much different world in which the Co-op concept was born. There is still an opportunity to build many middleware platforms between consumers and niche offers, an opportunity for umbrella organizations representing smaller or local brands and offers with a promise to the consumer of a guaranteed consistency and quality. But for these to be owned by the smalls brands themselves, there will be no other way that to be implemented and managed by a more collaborative, democratic and horizontal organizations we are used to, organizations similar to the structure and mindset with which cooperatives were born more than a century and a half ago.

This article is from www.co-society.com/small-local-brands-either-collaborate-youll-intermediated/

Up to what extend could the local niche brand be differentiated from the destination brand if this niche business has to be marketed through the destination branded platform?

Co-creationCollaborative cultureCulture changeInnovationInnovative culture

Co-ideation with employees, a first step for a much needed mindset and culture change

Destinations 3.0 intend to engage both the DMO employees and local stakeholders in co-creating contents and products in the form of life-changing experiences. This article brings us a case study showing how to create innovation teams and foster internal cooperation to boost innovation.

New collaboration efforts on innovation are usually almost exclusively put on initiatives, partnerships or projects with some other companies or external agents as providers, distributors, developers, academics or even customers. But often there is another area where to try to make the most of collaboration to innovate in a way that is easier, less risky and many times as fruitful: within the companies themselves.

Co-innovation between different departments or with employees not directly linked with innovation functions it’s still unusual. Maybe one of the reasons is because it’s kind of counterintuitive to think that anything else is needed to foster collaboration once you hire talent and put it under the same roof with common goals. But in practice, things do not work this way.

We have already some experience initiating and managing processes within companies of different sorts and from different sectors in order to create innovation teams with employees never before asked to think and implement new ideas. It’s not an easy task. Tools and methodology are needed. It is also very important for companies trying to tap into own talent for innovation to constantly explore what is going on beyond the walls of their sites, areas of expertise, business model and industry  to avoid the syndrome that make internal ideas often biased by a reapplication of knowledge, methods, and solutions which hinders creativity and market sensitivity.

But outputs are positive and important. For start, a first experience that acts as a necessary spark for a culture and mindset change in order to create a needed “company’s second operating system”, the one in charge of the future of the organizations. Co-innovate internally is the best first step and learning & testing way to co-innovate with external agents afterwards.

There are many ways to foster internal collaboration to innovate. Siemens is one of the big global companies that puts lots of efforts into their innovation goals and they have lots of initiatives on open innovation, co-creation and co-ideation within the company itself. This article describes two of the tools the company is using successfully for such a goal: TechnoWeb, an online platform that can be used by all Siemens employees worldwide to share ideas and research trends; and an Open Co-Ideation competition that invites researchers from different departments to share their knowledge.

TechnoWeb and the Open Co-Ideation competition exemplify new approaches for the internal generation of ideas, some of them already turned into successful company products as the article shows. But more importantly, they are causing Siemens’ corporate culture to change. As Christoph Krois, responsible for innovation management at Siemens, explains:  “It’s no longer a case of my knowledge, your knowledge, or my precious secrets, because as we proved with this tools and processes, knowledge is the only thing that increases if you share it”.

You may check the original source at Co-ideation and Knowledge-Sharing culture in Siemens

This post is from www.co-society.com/co-ideation-employees-first-step-much-needed-mindset-culture-change/

What cultural barriers prevent these innovation practices from being developed more often in corporations?

 

Collaborative cultureCulture changeMarketing 3.0

Why is it necessary to create a collaborative culture?

The future of destinations is likely to depend upon a strong force that breaks the traditional rules of competition through stimulating cooperation, hence causing the union of its poles. Therefore, the future of destinations will be based upon the capacity of creating those conditions.

It is necessary to make repelling agents such as businesses and people, work together creating synergies benefiting the whole community. This change entails developing a new culture, which means changing values, beliefs and attitudes in both poles: businesses and consumers, as well as other kinds of stakeholders.

Throughout history, societies that have developed an economic system but not a culture to drive it forward have collapsed. Nowadays, the speech about entrepreneurship in Europe puts its focus on the need for creating spaces for entrepreneurs, when the real need is to develop a culture of entrepreneurship.

Therefore, when we talk about smart cities or smart destinations, are we only talking about urban and system planning? Good systems themselves are useless if there is no active culture of cooperation among agents.

Hardware x Software = System or Economy x culture = Society

The future is a destination where there is cooperation in two ways: a smart destination from the systems perspective and collaborative from the social perspective; a destination where there are thousands of exchanges and connections between business agents and social agents; destinations where products and services are developed in cooperation with social entrepreneurs. A destination where business and social agents are not connected is likely to fail, because the future of the economy is based upon collaborative models.

Therefore, the future of destinations is not based only upon developing infrastructure and technology, but on creating the conditions to facilitate efficient and long-lasting cooperation among all stakeholders.
This post has been inspired by an article in www.infonomia.com , the leading Spanish Forum on innovation.

Collaborative business modelsCollaborative culture

Seven habits for a highly successful Co-initiative

As you may have read in previous post or some of the Envisioning Tourism 3.0 Whitepapers, destinations approaching Tourism 3.0 have to develop a culture of collaboration to enhance the success in the development of collaborative business models and co-creation activities. This article from McKinsey & Company sums up to seven the number of ways to make partnerships successful. Marco Albani, the author, refers specifically to advices to take into consideration when creating and maintaining an alliance to address social and environmental issues, but tips can be likewise applied to any kind of partnerships and all sorts of Co- initiatives.

These seven habits for a highly effective Co- are the result of a research consisting basically in the interview of dozens of business, government, and NGO leaders.

These were the seven essential principles identified for success in a Co- initiative:

01.- Identify clear reasons to collaborate

Any collaboration must make sense for all parties. Commitment can be weak if partners sign up for an alliance simply because they don’t want to say no. A nascent partnership must identify strong incentives.

02.- Find a ‘fairy godmother’

As in any other kinds of projects, first movers take the biggest risks. Behind most successful collaborations are one or a few organizations that are willing to invest more than the rest to make the effort a success. And that’s ok. For any idea of Co-, you can probably find a high-performing, credible institution that can be a fairy godmother for the project because is passionate, credible, and courageous enough about the idea. Take profit of such organizations if you find them.

03.- Set simple, credible goals

One main barrier for collaboration success is partners with different agendas. Is therefore necessary to avoid this by setting. An aspirational goal that everyone agrees on… and everyone involved can achieve.

04.- Get professional help

When organizations come together, they each could have their own incentives, biases, and organizational cultures. Odds of conflict are highest when organizations are from completely different sectors and cultures. The first few months tend to be particularly rough. Collaboration projects increase their chances of success if a “neutral” facilitator is included in the project. A professional facilitator not only has an expertise on how to implement collaboration but, more importantly, represents a common and neutral ground to work with.

05.- Dedicate good people to the cause

Successful collaborations, at least at the start, are led by senior leaders from the founding organizations. A co- project it’s usually difficult enough to need dedicate qualified staff. A co- project it’s usually strategic for organizations involved, so they should resource it like it is strategic. So not trainees or time dedicated besides business as usual. The good news are a co-project effort is like a start-up, so talented individuals will give their all if they believe in the goals and allows them to work differently as usual. Working on a major collaboration should be an exciting career builder, not a dead end.

06.- Be flexible in defining success

A Co-project if successful if it changes somehow the rules of a game in a positive way. But a Co-project (as most of any other kinds of projects) hardly will change the world. So it’s not a good idea to think so and then when it doesn’t, think that it failed. Understanding the nature of the change aimed will help not to dismay when trying to get it.

07.- Prepare to let go

No collaboration should be kept alive beyond its useful lifetime. Once set up a goal, it should be planned a process for the collaboration either wind down or become an independent entity.

This post is from www.co-society.com/seven-habits-highly-successful-co-initiative

The original article includes several real cases for each lesson learned. See the original post at     Creating partnerships for sustainability

Would you consider any other profitable habit to enhance the cooperation success?

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?

Business model innovationCo-creationTourism trends

Innovating in a religious center to create life-changing experiences

Innovation is not a transforming element exclusive to the business world. Promoting innovation in another ambit such as spirituality is not only possible but it can also teach us many useful lessons which are actually applicable to any kind of organization. The changes carried out in Cova St. Ignasi house of spiritual exercises, a Christian Catholic center in the Barcelona Area, prove that innovation is applicable in absolutely all fields. Actually, innovating in the field of spirituality is itself a disruptive innovation.

It took around 7 years for a group of young Jesuits led by Xavier Melloni to introduce a series of new activities among the programs developed in Cova St. Ignasi. Those activities were open to the participation of all kinds of people regardless of their religious confession or practice. These programs offer the chance to experience the inner search introducing both oriental techniques and elements of body expression.

Among the new internalization techniques there are yoga and tai-chi. Self-knowledge practices incorporate also elements from the Sufi tradition and have a base of both spiritual and psychological dimension. To these spiritual experiences some components related to body expression like dance have been added.

As you may guess, the introduction of these activities among the usual programs in this house of spiritual exercises was much more than mere novelty in an institution dedicated for centuries to the prayer and spirituality from the Catholic practice and doctrine. Years after offering these new activities, the novelty has positively surprised both the local population and the institution.

Key takeaways

From the success of an innovation in a rather conservative environment there are many interesting lessons to take away:

WITHOUT RADICAL BREAKING OFF. The introduction of new programs has not led to the disappearance of the traditional activities. This circumstance helped the transition by diminishing the anxiety in front of novelty.

CONVINCED PEOPLE, THE MAIN CHANGE MOTOR. The main characteristic of the group of people who led this innovation was the strong conviction in the ideas they were proposing and wanted to put into practice. Nobody had the obligation of getting involved in an activity which they did not feel comfortable with or did not believe in.

MULTI-CONFESSIONAL TEAMWORK. To develop the Project they decided to mix both catholic and non-catholic members, cooperating at the same level since the first day.

CONFIDENCE IS KEY. The proposal of Xavier Melloni and the rest of the team responsible for the Project generated many kinds of negative reactions at the beginning. For instance, one of the main concerns was fear that people could think that they were abandoning or relaxing the principles of the organization. But any innovation process requires a certain audacity to overcome the fears that arise with any change. For Xavier, this audacity has been as crucial as the necessary confidence not to be questioning the project over and over again. With the confidence shown by Xavier and his team it was easier to assume their own responsibilities and be patient with the development of the project.

THE BEST OF EVERY PRACTICE. Successful innovations in any field are not absolutely original. They do not start from scratch, but rather from combining elements of the best practices in a new way. The spiritual exercises designed by Xavier Melloni claim to integrate the most positive elements from both oriental and western cultures, attracting people who are distant from the Catholic practice, probably due to the Church’s official message. Many people want to work on their spirituality but consider that Christianity is too inflexible and excessively moralized. On the other hand, seriously introducing elements from other religions requires going through an educational process encompassing language, mythology, etc. which may be quite long and demanding. Xavier’s proposal consists in offering the chance to rediscover spirituality through the local language.

INNOVATION AS AN ELEMENT WITHIN A VISION. Changes coming from a concept or a vision that goes beyond that particular change have more chances to be successful than those that are made as a result of a short term challenge. The new proposals from Cova St. Ignasi come from considering the various religions as different vehicles to achieve the same destiny, the philosophy which Xavier Melloni has been working on as an expert in inter-religious dialogue for many years.

POSITIVE CONTAMINATION. Innovation usually comes from the merge of ideas and practices from different fields which are barely ever in touch. Xavier Melloni thinks that it is crucial to distance yourself from the small and closed worlds in which we usually are. Why not create the glocal (global-local) also in the religious ambit?

This post has been inspired by an article in www.infonomia.com , the leading Spanish Forum on innovation.

What life-changing experience do you envision inspired by these case studies?