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Tourism co-creation handbook

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“Hello, my name is Pirkko and I own a complex of luxury cabins. Continuous product development is important but unfortunately I don’t find the time for that. And when I would have time, it feels like I run out of tricks very fast. I’ve seen many different theories and even tried some models, but they haven’t been useful at all – at least not directly.

It’s also difficult when business partners do product development differently and from a different perspective than mine: they talk about product development in terms of creating ideas, sales, communication, space design, logistic and distribution channels. As a matter of fact, we all are continuously engaged in product development in our own companies. The thing is that we don’t seem to realise it.”

 

 

“Hi, my name is Martti and I have a company called “Martti’s experience safaris”. I’ve been doing these experience-based safaris for the last 15 years here in Lapland. For me, it has been important to continue the company that my parents once founded in the 1980s. And I hope that some day one of my kids continues this work after me. The fact that we are still here on the job is the main proof that we’ve found our own way of doing things around here.

We didn’t actually want to grow a lot and get all these foreign customers, but it’s the way it went. Different projects have led us this way by promoting cooperation within the area – among different companies and tourism businesses –, the use of marketing tools and the introduction of new products. We haven’t talked so much about product development; the focus has been more on development. Now, people are talking about how important it is to develop products that address the particular needs of different customer groups – instead of offering a standard product.”

 

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How product development is done in your company? Have you faced similar challenges as safari-owner Martti and hotelier Pirkko? This handbook is intended for small enterprises whose success depends upon their ability to network and define their products and operations within a particular destination. The handbook can help to practice product development in a more sustainable, pro-active way in close collaboration with different stakeholders and to build a strong entrepreneurial identity.

The handbook makes product development easier:

a) by bringing product development closer to the everyday life of tourism practitioners and encouraging them to explore it as a holistic process

b) by contributing to the further differentiation of tourism companies and the creation of new business opportunities

c) by suggesting concrete tourism product development tools that promote the sustainability of both products and entire regions

The point of departure of this handbook is the idea that tourism products and significant meaningful experiences are created at the interplay of tourism service providers, customers, locals and other stakeholders. These encounters, which are shaped by different social, cultural, sensorial, natural and human made elements, occur always in a particular place, whether it is a village, a hotel or a website.

Tourism products are also continuously influenced by a wide range of both international and national business/non-business networks. This particular characteristic of the tourism sector has to be identified and thus considered in product development.