The evolution of destinations towards the vision of tourism 3.0 entails a sound and ambitious transformation, which is not likely to be feasible in all cases. Therefore, it is necessary to develop many approaches involving a lesser degree of change to also tackle the cases which are less open and flexible to the full transformation.
Hereby are presented the three main approaches involving different degrees of transformation:
- Destination models 3.0 involves full transformation of local destinations
- Destination intelligence 3.0 fosters progressive transformation in region-wide destinations
- Destination marketing 3.0 involves little transformation of local mission driven destinations
The mission of Envisioning Tourism 3.0 Ltd. is to keep on developing these three approaches, as well as to develop new ones to promote and facilitate transformation throughout destinations towards the Vision of Tourism 3.0. This should be a shared challenge to be accomplished in collaboration with the growing community of innovators dedicated to the tourism industry.
Do you envision how to transform destinations integrating the aforementioned concepts?
One of the key differences that sets tourism destinations 3.0 apart from conventional ones are the life-changing experiences offered either related to skill development, cross-cultural understanding, development of new habits and lifestyles, gain of awareness about environmental issues, and ideally discovery of the fulfillment of contribution to the greater good.
Life-changing experiences are to foster cultural change to develop more sensitive and open mindsets, as well as to unlock human potential by stimulating creativity and transforming tourists into mission driven agents by appealing to their human spirit.
Such experiences are to be developed mainly by the local service suppliers in co-creation with other stakeholders through the open innovation system. The experiences generate stories, and so long as many stakeholders create and tell their story about their experience, more attention is drawn to the destination by people who also want to live their experience. Eventually, many stories may inspire new experiences as well, so long as they stimulate creativity to contribute to cultural transformation.
What kind of life-changing experiences have you lived when traveling?
The new realities of communitization and increasing competitiveness inevitably demand a cultural shift towards more collaboration and innovation, not to say that the most effective innovation is to be carried out through collaboration, as it is the case with open innovation systems.
Fostering a cultural shift towards further collaboration and innovation is not likely to be a minor challenge, depending on the local culture of the destination. However, the great advantage of tourism destinations approaching the “Vision of Tourism 3.0” is that mission driven purposes are those which naturally motivate the most contribution and collaboration among humankind.
As the Whitepaper “Building a culture of collaboration and innovation” is to explain, such change has to be driven primarily by the right kind of leadership and an adequate system of rewards to change attitudes and build trust throughout the community.
What kind of cultures do you think are more likely to succeed in developing destinations based upon the Vision of Tourism 3.0?
As aforementioned, the new marketing turns from vertical to horizontal: consumers no longer trust the advertising messages from companies, but the stories that other consumers tell about their experience with the brand. Storytelling is the new marketing.
Tourism destinations approaching the “Vision of Tourism 3.0” intend to leverage the power of storytelling up to the utmost of its potential. By developing life-changing experiences, training stakeholders -not only tourists- to create and tell stories, and encouraging them to share their stories with the rest of the community, the destination creates the most compelling and effective marketing contents which ultimately draw the attention of an expanding community of mission driven tourists.
The Whitepaper “Marketing destinations through storytelling” explains the main steps for creating stories about the life-changing experiences lived in the destination, to orientate the training on this discipline for the destination stakeholders.
Beyond mission driven motivations, how do you think that stakeholders could be motivated to contribute in crafting stories about the destination?
Following the culture of collaboration, the need for constant improvement to sustain the competitive advantage is to be fulfilled through open innovation. This new approach entails leveraging the network of stakeholders to contribute in the innovation efforts in various fields such as marketing contents, product development, new technologies and business model innovation.
To successfully meet all the destination model needs for innovation, it is necessary to engage a large pool of stakeholders in various fields of expertise. For such purpose, experts outside the local community of stakeholders may have to be searched for depending on the required field of expertise. Furthermore, it is convenient to train stakeholders in some disciplines such as business model innovation, to establish a common framework and language that facilitates discussions.
As explained in upcoming White Papers, open innovation systems are to be quite different depending on their scope of influence, whether they be region wide or only for a local destination, whether they are only focused on marketing ideas or encompass other areas of collaboration. The Whitepaper “Envisioning open innovation in destinations” is to explain all possible approaches.
Do you think that open innovation could help to solve other challenges apart from technology development, business model innovation, product development and content marketing creation?
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?
One of the latest marketing trends affecting many businesses is the increasing will for co-creation on the consumers’ side. The tourism sector is also embracing such trends, leading to customization of experiences, where the tourists may also use their creativity to design the experiences they want to live in the destination.
Following up with the trend of collaborative consumption, this entails co-creation of the experience between the supplier and the tourist, as it is personalized to the will of the client, who usually has plenty of information beforehand on what he wants to experience.
Furthermore, destinations 3.0 empower tourists to participate in co-creation of marketing contents such as photos and mostly stories. Through the social networks, they are entitled to collaborate in creating all sorts of content to share their life-changing stories with their peers.
What challenges do the destinations have to face when developing experiences through co-creation?
The main drivers of the socio-cultural change entailing the aforementioned trends are called the “creative society”, hereby referred to as “Tourists 3.0”. Such tourists 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, which makes them the primary target to take into account in mission driven destinations.
Tourists 3.0 are engaged in communities and are very active in social media networks, where they are opinion leaders and change agents. 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.
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 his life. These are the so called life-changing experiences that set destinations 3.0 apart from others.
Beyond developing life-changing experiences, what challenges do you think that tourists 3.0 pose to the destination’s executives to leverage all their influence power?
As with non-profit organizations, destinations approaching the “Vision of tourism 3.0” intend to address some of the issues that concern the stakeholder community, primarily related to environmental protection, socio-cultural transformation and poverty alleviation.
Such a mission is at the core of the destination model’s value proposition and hence is also the essence of its brand identity, being the main driver of the so called “human spirit marketing”. This new marketing concept approaches not only the clients’ needs and emotions, but also their spirit. Such a mission has to be the primary goal of the destination model, to really engage all kinds of stakeholders. Only by being faithful to the mission will the destination model keep the stakeholders commitment and transform them into an expanding network of brand ambassadors who end up being the drivers of the destination’s marketing system.
Such a mission and its related vision is the guiding force that motivates all stakeholders to contribute to the expansion of the destination model, bringing in all their creativity and effort in benefit to the community.
What types of missions do you envision to commit the local community and appeal to the tourists’ human spirit?
Tourism 3.0 embraces many trends and concepts already existing in the most innovative industries, though not all concepts may always be applied together, as explained in the three proposed approaches and the corresponding case studies.
Understanding these concepts is essential to envision the different approaches presented, as well as to envision new ones. The challenge of envisioning tourism 3.0 is just at the outset, and is to be continually demanding new approaches so long as destinations require their own adaptations to the local culture and stakeholder status quo.
Collaborative destination models are the destination’s business models operating like a platform that facilitates interaction between local service suppliers and tourists. As in many business models in other industries, multi-sided platforms are like scenarios or marketplaces where players with complementary interests interact and exchange goods or services. As explained in the upcoming White Paper “Envisioning destination models 3.0”, these may have multiple kinds of players beyond service suppliers and tourists, entailing volunteers, non-profit organizations, sponsors, investors, etc.
These destination models fully embrace the trend of collaborative consumption, already ingrained in many business sectors, and increasingly present in the tourism industry. The main advantage of this type of model is that it empowers the local community of stakeholders to bring in their value not only benefiting the platform, but also the rest of the community by fostering entrepreneurship at the base of the pyramid and being able to keep ownership of their business. Further, it leverages the community’s creativity through participation in innovation practices.
What kind of collaborative business models would you suggest to develop tourism 3.0 at the local level, apart from the proposed multi-sided models?