Tag: product development

Co-creationInnovationOpen innovationStrategyStrategy planning & execution

Enhancing competitiveness through open innovation

As explained in many previous blogposts, the Open innovation system is one of the key features that set destinations 3.0 apart from competitors. One of the outcomes of the innovation system is the generation of ideas for improving competitiveness at all levels: product, cluster and cross-destination.


  • Ideation bank for developing new products
  • Product development contests
  • Forum discussions to detect weaknesses and new ideas
  • Professional advisory on improving product competitiveness


  • Forum discussions to detect weaknesses and new ideas
  • Professional advisory on improving cluster competitiveness
  • Mission driven innovation challenges to tackle cluster competitiveness issues


  • Forum discussions to detect weaknesses and new ideas
  • Professional advisory on improving cross-destination competitiveness
  • Mission driven innovation challenges to tackle cross-destination competitiveness issues

Further, it is important to remember that the Monitoring system is to gather information that eventually should help in determining competitiveness improvement priorities and orientating improvement direction. This information is obtained as a result of the following research goals:

  • Tourists’ needs, problems, and concerns in view of identifying insecurities and discomforts to be addressed through improvement or development of new services and facilities.
  • Tourists’ motivations and concerns to sense the convenience of developing new products or mission driven tourism activities.
  • Tourists’ opinions to pre-test ideas on new products or marketing initiatives, to ensure their viability and adequate development.

Beyond these outcomes, both the open innovation and monitoring system are flexible and so permanently open to add new features and activities to tackle new challenges in the most appropriate way, and so the variety of outcomes may increase constantly. The Whitepaper “Envisioning Open Innovation in destinations” is to explain further details on these issues.

How else do you think that the Open Innovation could contribute to enhance competitiveness?

StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Product competitiveness programs

Beyond the aforementioned recommendations for specific products or sites, these competitiveness programs should also be taken into account, as they apply to the whole product category:

Product clubs are voluntary associations of stakeholders related to the product category, working like a forum or think tank, and led by the DMO Product Manager responsible for the product category, with the following goals and functions:

  • Carrying out market intelligence research
  • Analyzing competitiveness gaps, marketing KPIs and weaknesses to overcome
  • Planning, funding and coordinating the marketing activities
  • Developing new products and improving product competitiveness
  • Monitoring the result of the marketing activities and product operations
  • Lobbying to solve problems affecting the product business
  • Training the local operators in marketing and management

Product Quality labels facilitate the identification of key attributes by the tourists to help them prioritize their visits. Obtaining a label entails complying with certain quality requirements that eventually encourage operators to improve product competitiveness. For instance, there could be labels such as “Gourmet restaurant”, “Charming village”, “Historical site”, “Boutique hotel”, etc.

The method to develop the Product Quality labels should be the following:

  1. Selecting the special labels to create
  2. Defining the requirements in cooperation with the Product Clubs
  3. Labels graphic designing
  4. Carry out communication campaign targeting local operators to adhere to the label
  5. Assessing interested operators on the requirement compliance
  6. Introducing the Product Quality Labels in the marketing materials

Benchmarking trips are organized by the Product Club for the destination product operators with three main goals oriented to improve product competitiveness:

  • Learn best practices from the best performing destinations and operators
  • Learn about the destination model key success factors and competitive advantages
  • Inspire operators with ideas on developing products, providing more value with less efforts

The benchmarking trip organization should consider the following steps:

  1. Identifying possible benchmarks: destinations and operators
  2. Studying every benchmark to figure out what can be learn from each one
  3. Choosing the benchmarks with the most applicable know-how to the destination

Which other product competitiveness programs would you consider?

StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Product competitiveness strategy: marketing & management

The product or site improvement program may regard some standard strategies to leverage its potential, increase the tourism flows and generate new revenue streams, such as:

Connection with other sites: arranging public transportation and sightseeing services to connect sites between them helps the visitor to have time to see more attractions.

Venue for events: some sites may be offered to hold special events such as weddings, concerts, cultural performances, exhibitions, etc. bringing in an extra source of revenue.

Accommodation: some sites offer an excellent condition to operate accommodation services, adapting an old building as a boutique hotel, for instance, to obtain a new source of revenue.

Price: depending on the improvements made, the price may be revised accordingly. It is also convenient to make a deal with the aforementioned smart card, discounts for groups, etc.

The priority need for one or another improvement is to be assessed by the consultants, though a survey to the tourists about their satisfaction on many issues and the suggested improvement needs is highly recommended.

What other type of generic marketing strategies would you consider to make it more profitable?

StrategyStrategy planning & execution

Product competitiveness strategy: infrastructures and services

Beyond enhancing the resources available and the correlated experiences, there are other issues more related to the discomforts and insecurities that need to be fixed sometimes, such as:

Signage: not only to arrive to the site but also to move around within it, good signage is essential to help the visitor get the best out of his or her time.

Food & beverage: even if it is not an essential part of the experience, it is necessary to provide visitors with the chance to buy snacks or drinks, offering a good range of products.

Personnel training: ongoing human resources education in the right attitudes and skills development is recommended to guarantee a good service.

Information: offering precise information to get to the site (website, leaflets, guides, etc.) is as much important as information about the site resources, itineraries, stories, etc.

Accessibility: sometimes there are sites isolated within their cluster, with limited accessibility due to poor public transport service. Services such as “taxi calling” can solve this issue.

Urban aesthetics: some elements such as benches, dustbins, public lighting are essential to keep the tourist areas clean and safe, as well as to provide comfort to the visitors.

Congestion: some sites suffer from congestion issues to be solved through regulated group sizes, scheduled visits to control flows, queuing time information, etc.

What other kind of generic infrastructures and services would you consider to reduce efforts in a tourist attraction?

StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Product competitiveness strategy: resources & experiences

Beyond the development programs to create new products, there are also programs to improve the current products’ competitiveness. In this point, however, it is also necessary to talk about product competitiveness strategy, as the programs are in fact a concrete idea as a result of the product improvement strategy.

The product improvement strategy follows the same methodology of the cluster improvement strategy: creating more value and reducing efforts, which ultimately means creating more resources, experiences and feelings to add value, and developing or improving infrastructures and services to reduce discomforts and risks. Furthermore, when assessing every product individually, it is also convenient to make management and marketing recommendations to attract more visitors and/or to increase their expenditure, reduce congestion problems, increase safety, and other practices to reduce risks and discomforts.

The following examples may better illustrate the product improvement strategy concerning resources and experiences:

Restaurants: adapting charming buildings’ spaces, gardens or terraces as a restaurant may be a very profitable way to create new experiences and revenue streams.

Souvenir shops: when the tourist is satisfied with the site experience, he/she often looks for some kind of object to remember that experience, or to have more information about it.

Creative activities: it is well known that many tourists are willing to take an active role in their tourist experience. Creative tourism is a new trend adaptable to many cases.

Animation: improving the atmosphere feelings may be achieved by integrating performing artists such as musicians or painters, adequate music and illumination, shifting from sightseeing to life-seeing.

Guided visits: either through audio-guides or tour guides, providing interesting information and stories about the site always enhances the value of the experience.

Decoration: the details make the difference between an outstanding experience and a normal one. All decoration elements should be carefully regarded to create an excellent atmosphere.

What kind of generic resources and experiences would you consider to improve a tourist attraction?

InnovationStrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Product development programs

There are certain types of products that may be developed in many destinations:

  • Events calendar: there should be an Events committee in charge of designing an attractive calendar of events, both to cover seasonality gaps and to strengthen the value during the high season, when there is the toughest rivalry among destinations.
  • Theme routes: leveraging both material and immaterial natural or cultural heritage may be achieved by creating theme routes. These may consist of visiting places related to a story or a historical character, or just linking related resources.
  • Shopping streets: streets with a sufficient number of attractive stores could be marketed as shopping streets creating a brand, attracting new ones, and enhancing the stores service competitiveness to guarantee a premium shopping experience.
  • Attraction of DMC to the destination offering special interest experiences that are being developed in other destinations to broaden the product portfolio. Some DMCs know-how may be highly appreciated and even have a market prestige that attracts visitors themselves.
  • Souvenir product line: all destination brands may be leveraged through the creation of a merchandise product line, encompassing typical branded products (t-shirts, caps, etc.) and also genuinely local souvenirs related to the unique destination assets.
  • Destination smart card: specially conceived for city destinations, the smart card encompasses public transport allowance, free entrance to many sites and discounts for many other sites, along with some vouchers for restaurants and other services.

Which other product development programs would you consider?


Co-creationCollaborative business modelsInnovationMarketing 3.0Open innovation

Product development through co-creation

Beyond customization right before or during the experience, co-creation may take place in many different ways:

  • Co-creation workshops, organized as a creative and educational activity open to all stakeholders, which in turn may provide valuable ideas to develop products.
  • Product development contests, organized to promote contribution to the open innovation system providing elaborated ideas on how to develop new life-changing experiences.
  • Ideation bank contributions, permanently accessible as a section of the open innovation system, where innovation needs are posted, and solutions are submitted and voted.
  • Product Manager’s creation based on inputs from creative reviews and new stories, permanently inspiring and nurturing the marketers’ creativity.
  • Local service supplier creation based on own creativity, inputs from reviews and stories, and the technical support of the Product Manager.

The Product co-creation workshops play a critical role as both educational and productive events. There, Product Managers explain the product development process and the key success factors for creating life-changing experiences according to the destination’s mission. The workshops educate the attendants in the art of ideation and team working to generate and refine ideas leveraging all group members’ creativity.

Attendance should be mandatory for local DMC like the micro-entrepreneurs from the base of the pyramid, but also the participation of all other community stakeholders should be encouraged. Other interesting targets could be school students as part of their education, members of mission driven organizations such as NGO, etc.

Do you think of other ways to develop products through co-creation?

Business model innovationCo-creationInnovationMarketing 3.0Strategy

How to develop new products

Beyond the cluster’s and cross-destination conditions, product competitiveness is no doubt a key factor to consider in the overall assessment and strategy. Product competitiveness strategies entail sometimes developing new products and others just improving the current ones. In this regard, this section explains the key product development strategies and methods, some product development programs that are used in most destinations, and also the product competitiveness strategy and most common programs.

Developing new products is not an easy challenge. Once the product portfolio strategy is defined, the product categories to develop are established. Then, from the product category to the marketable product is where creativity and product development mastery make the difference. The main steps of the product development are the following:

  1. Conceptualization
  2. Business model design & test
  3. Feasibility study and assessment of social and environmental impacts of the product
  4. Business Plan
  5. Launch
  6. Monitoring performance & improvement

Even if the Product Manager is solely responsible for the product development, in Tourism 3.0, the co-creation and the ideas coming from the open innovation bring support in the steps 1, 2 and 6. Steps #1 and #2 are supported by the contribution of the co-creation workshops and the Open Innovation System through various types of contributions: professional and non-professional; whereas the step #6 is supported by the visitor’s creative reviews after their experience with the product.

The case of the life-changing experiences is where co-creation and open innovation play the most decisive role, due to their complex nature, as they have to provoke some kind of personal transformation in the visitor, far beyond the usual tourism experiences. Their development process is therefore more complex as well. The development of life-changing experiences entails the following steps:

  1. Starting from the mission as an inspirational mantra, and listening to related stories to better understand the life-changing idea, define the experience concept based on its life-changing goals (effects or impacts), the constituents of the positive change (those who benefit from the activity), and the activity behind the experience.
  2. Try to include storytelling training as a part of the experience, to generate new stories
  3. Business model design & test
  4. Feasibility study and assessment of social and environmental impacts of the product
  5. Business plan
  6. Launch
  7. Monitoring performance & improvement

In this case, the Product Manager has to supervise the adequacy of the ideas being developed through the open innovation, the product development contests and the co-creation workshops, to help improve & refine them, and to invigorate contribution. The Product Manager is also in charge of selecting and managing channel partners, organizing the aforementioned events, benchmarking and managing customer feedback.

Once the life-changing experience product has been launched, the performance is monitored and creative reviews are encouraged, along with the creation of stories about the experience. These two are the most inspirational sources for product improvement and new products development. The capacity of the product to be customized for every tourist makes it more productive in terms of stories created and creative reviews.

Would you consider other steps in the product development process?

InnovationMarketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Developing emotional value: experiences

The value created by the experiences and feelings in relation to the discomforts and risks lived by the tourists during their holiday in the destination is referred to as emotional value. In this point, there are many types of experiences, feelings, discomforts and risks to talk about, for each of these four factors is explained through the development of many categories.

When classifying experiences, there are many possible criteria that can be used. According to the relationship established between the tourist and the destination:

  • Edutainment: to learn while entertaining in an active relationship that keeps the tourist mentally absorbed.
  • Entertainment: to see, listen, smell, touch in a rather passive relationship that keeps the tourist mentally absorbed.
  • Escapism: to do some kind of sporting or physical activity that keeps the tourist active and physically immersed in the destination.
  • Esthetic: to be there, rather sightseeing entailing a passive relationship that keeps the tourist physically immersed in the destination.

Furthermore, the life-changing experiences leading the development of tourism 3.0 could also be classified in many categories depending on the type of transformation or change experienced by the tourist:

  • Personal awareness & discovery, and spiritual development
  • Social awareness and cross-cultural understanding
  • Environmental consciousness and education
  • Skill development in arts, communication and leadership
  • Transfer of values and wisdom
  • Personal transformation by discovering the fulfillment of contributing to the greater good

Finally, the experiences may also be classified according to the product or service they are generated by. In this classification, we distinguish many kinds of experiences:

  • Restaurants: food-street markets, panoramic restaurants, underwater restaurant, show cooking, boutique restaurant in a special location like a boat, self-cooking, terrace with view, cave restaurant, restaurant with live music & performance, etc.
  • Sightseeing with original & charming transport systems: gondolas, old fashioned tramway, rickshaw, seaplane, tourist train, dogsledding, snowmobile, camel/horse/elephant ride, hot balloon, helicopter, cable-car, transparent bottom boat, charming old boat, etc.
  • Accommodation: huts in trees, Ice hotel, monastery, boutique hotel, boat hotel, huts in the jungle, transparent ceiling igloo, cave hotel, castle, underwater hotel, etc.
  • Shopping: street markets, theme markets, shopping villages, artisans show-crafting, educational shopping –explaining how the product is done, or/and its benefits-, etc.
  • Culture & entertainment: Imax/3D cinema, charming villages & old towns, botanical garden, zoo, aquarium, wildlife watching, storytelling performance, museum, religious ceremony in a temple, visiting a Palace or a castle, theater, opera, music festivals, music & fireworks & springs, street theater, acrobatics show, etc.
  • Fun: adventure park & zip lines, roller coaster, party boat, water park, amusement park, etc.
  • Iconic experiences: these take place in an iconic building and may consist of many different types of activities such as sightseeing from a privileged position, attending events, museums, accommodation, etc. The iconic buildings may be a telecom tower, big wheel, Congress Center, Opera House, Wellness & Spa center, Sporting events venue, Imax Cinema, bridge, hotel, museum of science, national theater, temple, stadium, etc.
  • Special interest: cycling, hiking, learning to cook, bird watching, climbing, diving, snorkeling, sailing, learning languages, marathon, Sport events, learning about art, Cultural events, pilgrimages, wildlife discovery, skydiving, etc.

Do you think of other types of memorable experiences?

Marketing 3.0Strategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Cross-destination competitiveness programs: developing experiences

Charming transport systems. In line with the aforementioned congestion challenges, a smart solution to both release congestion and boost visits to the least popular sites is to develop charming transport systems connecting all sites and attractions throughout the destination. Both within and between clusters, the charming transport systems make the mobility an iconic experience of the destination, stimulating visitors to discover all hidden spots beyond the most crowded ones.

Such transport systems may be boats whenever there are water canals or lakes, rickshaws in Asia, horse carriages, old fashioned tramways, trains and funiculars with character, seaplane flights, snowmobiles, sledding carriages pulled by horses or reindeer, old fashioned taxis, bicycle rental, animal ride –elephant, camel, horse, etc.- in wilderness areas, etc.

This is not to be confused with some sightseeing products, whose goal is to let the visitor see all the destination spots without necessarily getting off the transport system; it is a sightseeing experience but it’s major goal is to move people from one site to another, releasing crowded areas and enhancing visits to the least accessible ones, spreading the tourist flows throughout the destination while enhancing its character.

DMC incubator. One of the key goals of Tourism 3.0 is to create life-changing experiences while fostering entrepreneurship at the base of the pyramid to alleviate poverty. The best way to do so is to create DMC incubators, where new entrepreneurs are trained and provided with the necessary infrastructure and services to start operating their business at no cost. They are designed to be the perfect environment to start up a business.

Given the nature of the tourism businesses, this idea is only –or mostly- applicable to DMC, businesses offering activities and integrated packages. However it should provide training and advisory services to other types of businesses such as accommodation, food & beverage, etc.

This could be also the place where to organize the co-creation workshops, to inspire these DMC owners in developing their products; and should be closely collaborating with the open innovation system, to benefit from the collective intelligence and imagination in their product development challenges.

Which other programs would you consider to develop new experiences?