Tag: ecotourism

Environmental sustainabilityMarketing 3.0SustainabilityTourism trends

Tourism and Conservation: Connecting the Dots

It’s no secret that ecotourism, which in turn evolved into sustainable tourism, was born out of the conservation movement. From international NGOs like Conservation International and The Nature Conservancy to their local counterparts, conservation organizations poured considerable resources into the ecotourism boom of the 80s and 90s. But that interest and investment began to ebb about a decade ago – most likely due in part to the lack of success stories or replicable models illustrating how tourism could reduce biodiversity threats, not just contribute to them.

 As more than one billion travelers traverse the globe each year, efforts to reduce their impact must increase, especially in fragile ecosystems. WWF’s Global Marine Program decided to address the ongoing coastal development, so long as it is second only to unsustainable fishing as the primary threat to the world’s coastal and marine ecosystems. WWF realized the importance of developing a strategy to address the impacts of tourism in coastal areas head on, including efforts to create industry standards and to encourage alternative livelihoods for fishing communities.

Another potential reason for the renewed interest of the conservation community in tourism is because travel market trends increasingly favor destinations and businesses that embrace sustainability and offer opportunities for visitors to personally experience that wonderful space where tourism and conservation overlap.

For the past two years, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has worked in the Nicaragua Caribbean to help establish Kabu Tours, a tour company owned and operated by ex-sea turtle fishermen who are attempting to transition from resource extraction to sustainable tourism.  These ex-poachers have been trained by WCS to lead overnight trips to the Pearl Cays Wildlife Refuge where visitors learn about the organization’s sea turtle monitoring program and, if they’re lucky, watch a sea turtle lay her eggs.

Turning a sea turtle poacher into an interpretive guide and environmental ambassador has an obvious upside for conservation, but so does giving an accountant from Sacramento a chance to be a marine biologist for the day. Doing so provides not only a world-class tourism experience, but it also increases visitors’ understanding, appreciation, and support of the destination and efforts to protect it.

What is needed to preserve the heritage through tourism development?

For tourism to contribute to environmental outcomes, whether it’s through job creation for resource extractors or increased funding for conservation activities, a destination must first be successful in tourism. That requires demand-driven products, innovative marketing, and great delivery.

Second, tourism is one of the world’s most complex, dynamic, and historically fragmented industries. You need to know which partnerships are important, and how to build them.  Whether it’s connecting a community-tourism cooperative to a German outbound tour operator or convincing a global hotel chain to adopt sustainability criteria, identifying and realizing mutually beneficial interests is vital.

Finally, you need a blueprint. A comprehensive understanding of the direct and indirect threats to biodiversity at a site, as well as a clear vision of how tourism can positively affect the socio-economic conditions that result in environmental degradation such as lack of economic alternatives, awareness, and industry standards.

This blog post is from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/A%20Business%20Approach%20to%20Conservation

Business model innovationCo-creationCollaborative business modelsEnvironmental sustainabilityInnovation

Story innovation concepts: added value & crowd game driven experiences

Beyond the explained details of the four prototypes, there may be many other added value experiences to support the main one in fostering its popularity and conveying new contributions both in virtual and real world platforms. Some of these story related experiences could be video games (in the case of the prototypes 3 and 4 the video game is an essential component), comic based stories, theater plays, board games, movies, spin-off stories, merchandise products, etc. This is actually what film series such as Harry Potter, Star Wars or Lord of the rings have done to some extent, trying to satisfy the desires of their followers for more story related experiences.

With regards to the crowd game driven experiences, the environmental challenges would be driven by volunteers, usually entailing some kind of field work to achieve a certain goal in relation with the environment protection in the form of a game driven experience to make it more fun and stimulating. In the case of the creativity & cooperation challenge, it would be driven by contributors willing to prove their creative skills, in the form of a game driven experience where participants also have to prove teamwork capacity by solving one or more innovation challenges related with the mission purpose, which also serves as an educational experience in collaborative innovation. Finally, the educational fun experience is for tourists willing to entertain while taking away some significant learning outcomes related to skill development or social consciousness, for instance.

In the case of contributors in creativity & cooperation challenges and also in the case of story making contributors, there should be a system that not only facilitates but also rewards contributors based on a reputation and incentive system, in order to stimulate talented followers to bring in their passion and imagination to build the story world. This is not only crowd sourcing but also providing the audience members an opportunity to live a life-changing experience by exploiting their skills. The Whitepaper “Envisioning Open innovation in destinations” is to further develop the idea of the incentive and reputation system for contributors.

Do you envision other story innovation concepts to enhance the aforementioned ideas or to inspire new story based experiences?

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 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?

Co-creationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureCulture changeInnovative culture

Destination Marketing 3.0: Product development through co-creation

Co-creation is the new approach to product development. Tourists want to personalize the experience according to their own unique needs and desires. Destinations provide a platform experience as of a generic product, which is somehow customizable by tourists, and by observing how they customize their experiences, the platform eventually develops a portfolio of experiences customized to the needs and motivations of various types of tourists, though still flexible.

Product co-creation is developed mainly through the open innovation system, where stakeholders participate motivated by the will to contribute to the mission accomplishment, and also by the will to showcase their creative skills and gain reputation among the community. Marketing 3.0 intends to leverage these motivators to foster co-creation of experiences and continuous improvement in collaboration with the local service suppliers to keep on enhancing the destination’s offered value.

The co-creation takes place in a collaborative platform as part of the open innovation system where locals may offer their experiences and they receive reviews, ratings and advice from destination product managers on how to make it better. To train stakeholders in the co-creation process, special workshops could be organized, where the key factors to successful product development are explained.

To create life-changing experiences, contributors should start by gaining a deep understanding of the mission statement as a basis for discerning what kind of experiences could be suitable. Further, by listening to stories they can understand what kind of experiences create a life-changing impact on the receivers and thus inspire new experiences by leveraging the contributors’ imagination from the open innovation system. The fact that brand enthusiasts are empowered to participate in the co-creation process spurs their commitment and their will for spreading the stories, as they are also willing to let everybody know about their contributions.

What main challenges do you foresee in the co-creation of tourism 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?

Business model innovationInnovationIntelligenceMarketing 3.0Strategy

Envisioning different approaches to tourism 3.0

 

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?

Business model innovationMarketing 3.0Tourism trends

The Vision of Tourism 3.0

As the world is evolving at a faster pace than ever before, so are the needs, motivations, and concerns that drive the evolution of modern societies, and hence the kind of relationship that customers wish to develop with brands, as well as what they expect from them, which ultimately challenges business models to reinvent themselves towards the so called Marketing 3.0 approach.

As explained by Philip Kotler in his book “Marketing 3.0”, this new approach considers customers as values-driven people and potential collaborators. They are increasingly concerned about issues such as poverty alleviation, sociocultural change and environmental sustainability, and expect brands to address its related challenges. Companies should embed these issues deeply within their mission, leading to a new perspective that ultimately transforms the lives of the stakeholders.

Such a mission needs to be spread to all potential stakeholders with compelling stories that engage them to become part of the solution. Such stories raise the concept of marketing to the field of values, intending to leap forward from functional and emotional marketing to human spirit marketing.

Marketing 3.0 also embraces the new social wave, where customers are more aware and active, empowering them not only to participate by giving their opinions about products and marketing campaigns but also to co-create them, thus becoming key players within the marketing strategies. This new approach demands marketers to understand human anxieties and desires, which nowadays are increasingly rooted in creativity, culture, and the environment.

The tourism industry has embraced many of these trends and concerns with the raise of phenomena such as ecotourism or responsible tourism. However, these businesses usually remain at small scale and niche focused, at a disadvantage to most conventional ones, mostly in terms of marketing power.

The next destination generation intends to address these drawbacks by fostering collaboration among all destination stakeholders (employees, customers, shareholders, suppliers, government, partners, travel agents, local community, etc.) to create authentic and life-transforming experiences that appeal not only to the tourists’ functional and emotional needs, but also to their human spirit.

Furthermore, this collaboration and community involvement is leveraged to create stories about the experiences happening in the destination, which ultimately become the main marketing content drawing attention and engaging tourists and other potential stakeholders.

Therefore, the vision of Tourism 3.0 consists of a tourism development based upon collaborative business models operating as open innovation ecosystems, where all stakeholders are empowered to participate in the generation of experiences and stories that address their concerns and focus on their functional, emotional, and spiritual fulfillment.

The mission of this blog is to share and discuss ideas on how to design and develop strategies to transform destinations towards the principles of the tourism 3.0.