Strategic tourism management issues in customer driven innovation
Tourism activities are growing at a very fast in the world today. This in effect causes the expectations of tourists to also be on the rise. Tourists expect to be given good and quality service within the perfect environment of their choice. Customer driven innovation in tourism management is a strategic way of understanding the needs of the customers. it is not a onetime activity but a philosophical mindset that needs to be adopted into a habit. If tourism firms expect to develop an innovative customer value, gain the value evaluation and develop good product designs that are attractive to the customers, then they have to incorporate principles of customer driven innovation into their strategic management plan.
Customer driven innovation involves making observation of the customers in order to understand what exactly they need. In real sense, when customers buy technology, they do so because it creates a solution to their problems. In many cases, products can be made for a specific purpose, however the customers may fail to appreciate the original purpose of the product and instead use it to achieve a different goal. It is for this reason that management in the tourism industry need to take time to observe the customers while making use of their products and services.
In order to effectively achieve this habit, all the employees who regularly come into contact with the customers need to be involved. The employees have to play a frontline job in observing the needs of the customers. Customer feedback is also very essential as a means of customer driven innovation. The most businesses in the tourism industry provide opportunities for their customers to give feedback after receiving services. Tourists would spend summer holidays at a destination. After the experience, they hotel management would involve the clients in evaluation of their services. The feedback does not only include the evaluation but also the suggestions to improve the services based on the perceptions of the clients.
Customers usually have a wide range of preferences whenever they go to a particular tourism destination. The competition is usually very tight and destinations have a challenge to create a perfect physical environment that will meet the needs of the tourists. They also have a challenge to create a service culture and products that will not only attract tourists for the first time but also ensure they revisit the destination.
Strategic tourism management requires that various stakeholders in the tourism industry collaborate together and be committed towards achieving the goals of the industry. Tourism may not only include the international tourists since within the destinations there are locals who also intend to have the same experience. Destinations therefore are expected to have the local community in mind as they engage in customer driven innovation. There is the need to create opportunities for the locals to develop themselves and increase economically. This need is also in line with creation of a perfect physical environment that supports the needs of the international tourists. When the strategic planning is done effectively, the local community can see their lives changed and not pose a threat to the tourists who come from various regions.
There is need to develop a good understanding of the economic potential of both the local market and the international market in order to assist the growth of the regional, and national economies. Customer driven innovation also involves working together with both members of the public and private sector to so as to provide high level of attention and care for the tourists. The product provided in a hotel or any other tourism firm, need constant and regular updating. This is because of the preferences of the customers are continuously shifting or changing. By understanding the trends of the customers’ preferences, the stakeholders in the tourism industry can be able to develop effective ways of providing quality services to their customers. Knowledge of consumer preferences is mandatory for any firms in the tourism industry.
The hotel business is one the main sectors within the tourism industry. The others include, licensed housing, catering, airline, and transport. Customer driven innovation is primarily strategic in the hotel industry. There is need for extensive research in the market to understand the trends and needs of the clients. There is also need to make strategic investments in improving the quality of the products and services provided by the hotels. As mentioned earlier, the hotel industry faces a intense competition. This makes it inevitable for the stakeholders to emphasize on quality of their products and services.
Over the last decade, the global and national economies have been on the rise and as a result this has caused individuals to have extra money to spend for holidays. They travel to various destinations in the world to enjoy the experience. Increase in other sectors including IT, real estate, retail, and telecom resulted in the growth of the economies. In effect these sectors influenced the hotel industry and the tourism industry to develop and experience a boom right before the recession.
The tourism sector has therefore become one the industries in the global economy that grows at a very fast rate. Currently it is only Europe and North America that are leading within the industry in terms of the number of tourists making visits to the region. However there is an emerging trend that sets the Asian Pacific region to increase in size as a tourist generating region. In addition the size of business established in the region will be the same as those established in North America.
Customer driven innovation in such a case would imply hotels industries and tourism firms making strategic investments in the region so as to exploit the opportunity available within the region. The hotels and companies can begin initiating development projects that support inhabitants of the Asian Pacific region. With all the major developments taking place within the tourism industry, the international hotel industry offers over ten million rooms for tourists who make reservations every single day. This figure is a global figure within the industry.
It is expected to be on the increase as time goes by. It is therefore expected that the competition between the various stakeholders in the market to be on the rise as many tourists make destination to the different regions. To remain competitive, the industry players have to engage in strategic planning that incorporates issues of customer driven innovation. Some of the changes that are expected to occur in the industry include demand on technology and innovation and changes in the nature of the products being offered by the hoteliers.
Some of the high growth areas of the hotel industry include full service hotels, food and beverages; these are the main areas that will continue to experience changes in nature of the products. For instance, some customers may feel eating certain foods is an indication of lack of environmental awareness on the side of the hotels. Therefore hotels that serve these foods may not be able to fully get the support of their customers and eventual fail to retain them. Sea foods are the one seriously campaigned against by environmentalists. This is because of the fact that it is exhausted at a non sustainable rate where reproduction is slower than consumption.
The tourism industry is also facing fierce competition when it comes to pricing of their packages. Prices are openly manipulated to make various players to extend their share of the market. The recession has also intensified the nature of competition happening within the industry. This is because of the reduction in business volume. Other factors that contribute to the decline of business in the industry include health issues and terrorism. Sometimes tourists would go through traumatizing experiences when terrorist decide to capture them and release them on ransom from their countries of origin. This has been a huge concern for tourists.
The industry has to assure them of their security as they stay in the various destinations. The industry also has to assure them that there shall be no health risk pertaining to climatic condition of a destination. In Africa and Latin America for example are mainly tropical regions that provide perfect breeding environment for many disease-causing parasites. The stakeholders have to take into consideration such issues as they constitute part of the needs that clients expect to be addressed before travelling to their various destinations.
As part of the strategic management planning, the players in the industry who compete at a global level find themselves in situations where they have to come up with new ideas and ways of remaining competitive and sustaining their market share. Some of the ways adopted include joint international venture where a hotel or a foreign tourism firm partners with other local firms in order to have its presence within the local market. The other method is franchising and opening up of new branches in different location across the globe.
There are various strategies for managing a given risk. These include accepting it; transferring it partially or fully to another party (such as through insurance or a joint venture); eliminating it by adopting an exit strategy; controlling it through building safeguards into the operational process; or ensuring that staff manage it. Both the Turnbull report and documentation issued for the Federal Reserve stresses that control should be embedded in the culture and processes of the business. It is better, therefore, to build an appropriate mechanism into existing management information systems than to develop entirely separate risk reporting models. Cumbersome risk databases can be a distraction from the primary goal of getting each person in the organization to be aware of, and manage, crucial risks related to the tasks that person performs. All employees have some responsibility for internal control systems. Communication between different levels of the organization and across departments plays a pivotal role in a successful risk management system.
This paper has discussed the issues of strategic tourism management in customer driven innovation. From the paper it clear that tourism activities are growing at a very fast in the world today. This in effect causes the expectations of tourists to also be on the rise. Tourists expect to be given good and quality service within the perfect environment of their choice. Customer driven innovation in tourism management is a strategic way of understanding the needs of the customers. It is not a onetime activity but a philosophical mindset that needs to be adopted into a habit. If tourism firms expect to develop an innovative customer value, gain the value evaluation and develop good product designs that are attractive to the customers, then they have to incorporate principles of customer driven innovation into their strategic management plan. When customers buy technology, they do so because it creates a solution to their problems. In many cases, products can be made for a specific purpose, however the customers may fail to appreciate the original purpose of the product and instead use it to achieve a different goal.
In order for the stakeholders in the tourism industry to remain competitive, they have to focus on certain critical issues in the development of strategic planning. it has to look at influences that intensify the competition. They have to look at the trends of customer purchase behavior and do a SWOT analysis. The trends do change especially now that the global economy is at a low pace. There is need to develop a good understanding of the economic potential of both the local market and the international market in order to assist the growth of the regional, and national economies. Customer driven innovation also involves working together with both members of the public and private sector to so as to provide high level of attention and care for the tourists.