Nov 29, 2011

Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Touristology

Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk with a bunch of future Touristologists about one of to me most interesting topics “Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Touristology” I see gloaming eyes, desire to compete, hunger for success … I Also see eternal moaning heat-sitters, I-already- know- that-even- though- I- don’t- have- a- clue- about- what- you- are- talking- about   BUT I have trained my mind to focus on the first and make invisible the others and it works! It’s very easy the only thing that you have to do is pretending that ALL CAN BECOME WINNERS and your conviction, you inability to get demoralized become an emotional epidemic unable to resist!
As you know human beings are logical emotional and gregarious. If enough people are motivated ALL are motivated. More about that  here .
I love entrepreneurship. To be your own boss, to take your own decisions, to get the rewards and to train your mind to resist the punishment, because at the end of the day as Kipling said
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same:
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Touristologist!
Well, maybe it wasn’t exactly in this way but you know that I have my own bias!!!
One of the most interesting ideas that I conveyed to them was that to become an entrepreneur is not an easy task. It’s the kind of activity that you have to do only if you are sure about its potential success. How do you know that? I’m glad you ask it!
Let’s see if I can provide a little framework (I love frameworks but you already know that!!!) in order to be sure that our baby enterprise is in the good track… An easy test to know if your business plan will be a success or… something that will provide the opportunity to began again more intelligently (Do you see as elegantly I skip the word failure!?!?!).
1) Internationalization:  You’re a Touristologist right? So, clearly your market is the whole world. In the same way that you can send your tourists to any place in the world and soon even further. Read  here for more information By the way don’t miss the opinion of Rick Tumlinson of the Space Frontier Foundation, “I hate the word tourist, and I always will .... 'Tourist' is somebody in a flowered shirt with three cameras around his neck.” Rick as entrepreneur you must be a start-rocket but as a Touristologist you are just a stone-rock!
I don’t say that to have as a customer Inhabitants or tourist already there is a bad decision. I just say that in order to be sure that you are competitive enough you have to play in the big league of international tourism.
2) Do you control your chain of value? Or at least other doesn’t control it? In order to remain competitive you have to control the chain value not only your business or tourist destination. That is, control over meeting places for international tourists (social networks, universities, mass media ...) outgoing travel agencies, transport companies, incoming  travel agencies,  providers of tourism services, or not related to tourism but clearly related to the their motivation for travel.. As a Touristologist you don’t have an enterprise or a tourism destination, you have several chain of values linking you to different segments.
3)  Finally, last but definitely not least, to create and use the Internet and associated technologies (Mobility, Data-mining, Geo-positioning, Web services ...) to manage the value chain as a system (point 2) in an international level (point 1).
I don’t want to create a tourism enterprise depending on subventions or always afraid of and international competitor creating something similar for a lower price.
I want to create a company endurable or at least something that provide the knowledge, the ability and contacts to create the next one. As Albert Einstein said “Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving

Nov 22, 2011

The Da vinci code: Just a book or a Touristologist doing his job!

Normal people just see a book… I see a good Touristologist! But this is just me… or not!?!?
Surely, most of you are familiar with this book (or at least you have watched the movie!!!). Anyway I’m almost sure that after reading this post you will enjoy watching it again, but this time with Touristology glasses on!
1) A little bit of history:
 Let’s summarize the gist of the book. It stands that Jesus and Maria Magdalena get into intimacy and as a result we get a royal dynasty (the Merovigian). It’s supposed the catholic church wasn’t happy with that and for that reason it was necessary to create a brotherhood to protect this dynasty. This brotherhood called “The Prior of Sion” has as members very famous people: Isaac Newton, Victor Hugo, Leonardo Da Vinci… just to name a few. The last one was Pierre Plantard.
Let’s go back to modern time… In 1891 a priest (Bérenger Saunière ) claimed to have found a treasure in his church belonging to the last Merovigian. Based upon this discovery Gerard de Sede wrote a seminal book “The accursed treasure of Rennes-Le Cháteau” which was followed by other books and finally “The Da vinci Code” by Dan Brown.
Let’s see a visual representation:

2) The scenario: 

For a Touristologist is always important to have a geographical vision. Where is Rennes-le Cháteau? It is in the south of France near Carcassonne.

What does it look like? See the picture below where I circled the Magdalena’s tower.. Does it ring a bell to you? As you can see it’s quite isolate.

 3) Does the book affect the tourism sector? Sure, Tourist guide has appeared following the book, mass travel agencies and specialized ones created routes related to the book and so on.

4) Just a book or a Touristologist doing his job!?!

It was the book the origin of all this OR a Touristologist acting as a magnet to bring tourists? Now it becomes interesting!!! In 1946 Noel Corbu purchased the former estate of the Abbey Berenger Sauniere, the former priest of Rennes-le-Chateau between 1885-1909, and during Easter 1955 he opened a restaurant in the Villa Bethania, later also turned into a Hotel. The hotel itself faced some difficulties due to its fairly isolated location.

He began to explain to newspapers some ghost stories and the occupancy went up… I’m sure, in that moment, He smelt blood and saw the opportunity to do something bigger. To do so, He needed a team…

In 1960 Pierre Plantard went to the hotel. He was always creating secret societies. In 1956 he creates a secret society with a bizarre name “Priory of Sion”. Does it ring a bell to you?

At the same time, the writer Gérard de Sède (uhmm… I’m almost sure this is not the first time this name appears in this post!!!) was also in the hotel… Does it ring a bell to you?

In the hotel also was Philippe de Chérisey a surrealist artist. As a matter of fact he was a follower of Alfred Jarry, the founder of the Surrealist College de Pataphysique which believes that it’s possible to create a parallel reality stronger than real reality! Philippe created a drawing representing the genealogy of Jesus up to present time. They hid this drawing in a public library inside a folder with the name “secret code” An excellent option if you want to keep people away!!!!

So, to me it’s crystal clear!!! A Touristologist, a team, a promotion tool (the book) and a final result: No vacancy and plenty of hotels and restaurants in the area!

I know the usual question from the brightest mind on the class/seminar/training/conference… Must we write a book about Jesus in order to have customers?

When it happens, I start to pray silently “Schumpeter, Carnegie (Dale) and Maslow give me strength, wisdom and PATIENT!!!!!” I repeat this three times and then, calmly, I always reply:

 “It’s an option, but the important thing is to see the forest not the trees. You have to do something in order to transform your business from a commodity to something special, something unique”

What do you think? Are you with me that the most important sector in a country (OUR SECTOR) needs the best minds? Are you with me that Touristology is at least as complicated as any other grade? Are you with me that people only able to mark down the price, unable to look for international markets; unable to search, find and bring tourist from around the world are not Touristologists? 
Back to the Da Vinci Code!  Are we talking about a Super 2, a Super 3 or My own 1,2,3  (more about that here )
Are you willing to practice some growing strategies using the other options (Super 2, Super 3 or my own 1,2,3? It’s up to YOU!!!!

Nov 15, 2011

Few advices for entrepreneurs. Do you want to play?

I love to teach, to build frameworks for my students and for myself, but overall I love when my students become Touristologists and began to earn a living in tourism either as employee or as an entrepreneur.  For the last one, I want to write down few advices from the trenches!!!
1) Delegate? YES, but you have to take care of your business model (1,2,3 theory, remember?) and be sure that everybody else is following it. You can’t underestimate people tendency to do things in the way they are used to.
2) Be patient and persistent. Things worth to do always take more time and money than you think.
3) Never is too late to light the entrepreneurial flame!
I think the following is an excellent case in point…  .  Enrique Sacristán the founder father of turismusica is now 73 years old (“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter.” Mark Twain). He saw the opportunity to create a travel agency that nowadays shows a revenues of 2,3 million Euros, not bad for a specialized travel agency.
He is very fond of opera and he likes going to opera houses around the world to enjoy a good performance. As he has this passion he understands people with the same feeling. Furthermore he has contacts with the most famous opera houses. So, he saw the opportunity to create a link between this segment and this offer.
A clear business model?  YES,  following 1,2,3 theory. What else? The number one is a segment with specific needs. Number 2 the offer that you have to customize in order to satisfy this needs and the number 3 the chain of value in order to add value and get the trust of the customer.
It seems easy, but believe me it’s complicated you have to wait, to prepare yourself and then had the courage to act! It’s like this Puccini’s aria from Madame Butterfly. It seems easy but it’s extremely difficult and it’s also an homage to HOPE…
Tutto questo avverrà, / All this will happen,
te lo prometto / I promise
Tienti la tua paura  /  Forget your fear
Io con sicura fede lo aspetto. / With secure faith I hope and wait!"

Sometimes the ship (Couple, Friends, Enterprise, Project…) comes and others not BUT ...I'll just fight! To win or lose is God’s decision!!

By the way... Do you think it is possible to use segmentation, international route and viral marketing  in Layers in this case in point?
Do you want to try? It’s up to you!!!

Nov 8, 2011

Segmentation, International Routes and Viral Marketing in Layers

One day somebody will realize that specialized tourism is the bright future of the tourism sector, chiefly, because…
1) Over it you can build mass tourism as we discover in other post
2) Allows you to get more control over your chain of value.
3) Brings tourist out of season and to different places….
That day people will use and understand the power of “Segmentation, International Routes and Viral Marketing in Layers”, a Recipe for Success.
First, let’s begin with a good segmentation. As you know the most important variable of segmentation in tourism is travel’s motivation. Usually, you can summarize it using generic and specialized motivations. You can go deeper in the process with a new classification:
I like this activity/service (martial arts, climbing, wine, write, to have international contacts, learn English…).
I wannabe or PRO-AM. I’m thinking in the possibility of become a professional or this is my hobby.
I’m a professional. I’m already earning a leaving with this activity/service.
All this segments are related with the same activity/service BUT the necessities that they have couldn’t be more different, however you can put all together in a trip and get interesting synergies. For instance a great master in Kung Jung Mu Sul (and ancient martial art from Korea) needs students but also people who wish to become a master. Students need a master but also a role model to get inspiration…
Then you can add others variables of segmentation related with the travel or the things that they can get through a travel. Let me clarify a little bit this point.
As you know, we strongly believe that Touristology is a science. In the same way that Nutritionist can create specific diets for sports, for intellectual effort, for special illness… In the same way that a Doctor in medicine can teach you how to breathe in order to take care of you voice, or a Yogi do the same in order to get energy (Pranayama)… A Touristologist can use a travel as an excuse to get what is really important to you. We can get a visual representation with a matrix similar to this:
For instance, let’s take grandparents which nowadays expend more and more hours with their grandchildren. Do they need something special when they travel? Of course, special care, activities, etc. Can they get what is important to them through a travel? Definitely! Maybe they don’t want to travel BUT they are worried for the education of their grandchildren and through a travel are easier to learn about history, geography… languages!!! Maybe they don’t want to travel BUT they want to improve the relationships with their grandchildren OR they are interested in getting international contacts and share motivations, problems, solutions… all these kinds of things are easier to get through a travel thanks to:
1) Perspective change in travel. You get and international vision, different ways to feel/live the same situation. You also get and external vision, because you are far away from your usual environment.
2) Natural tendency to crowd together during a travel. Which it is perfect to improve relationships, to create or enforce a team, to start up the foundations of a community…
3)Community’s power. When you’re surrounded with people and a Touristologist is available to lead and to create positive mental states useful for the entire community you can benefit from our gregarious nature. Is it easier to keep your weight at bay when your friends do the same, isn't it?
Second, let’s add and international route. To make more attractive the travel, to add more contacts, perspectives…you can learn about international routes advantages here.
Third, you have the segment properly segmented, you get them in an international route now it’s the moment to create layers and use viral marketing. If you properly apply 1,2, 3 theory (1= segment with specific needs; 2 customized offer; 3 chain of value to add value and get the trust) you will create a powerful nucleus able to expand in several layers of profit.
Few ideas: A new layer for people willing to…
1) Investigate (Marketing Research): A chain of hotels (or any other kind of enterprise) specialized in this segment.
2) Promote something inside a focus group: Specialize writer, magazines, materials, universities…
3) Learn the secrets of our success: To make a study case for a University or other destination/enterprise willing to create something similar.
Once built the layers over the nucleus you can apply viral marketing: During a specialized travel is easier to bring out the power of viral marketing in a social network. As you already know in order to make an idea viral you need the right people (with more contacts, with more influence) and to have them surrounded by like-minded people. In the close environment of a specialized travel you already have this group of like-minded people and it is very easy to find the influencers. But only if you are a good… TOURISTOLOGIST!!!

Nov 1, 2011

Great vision Mr. Magoo!!!

Sometimes appear in the news realities that really puzzle me. This is the fiction story of an airport who nobody wants, reconverted in tour operator shuttle base camp and finally sold to some private investors.
The other day I was listening to the news. They were talking about an airport. When they finished I took out all the superficial and this was the final result:
First - Building an airport nobody asked for it. When the airport is in the red they suddenly are looking for a business plan.
Second - The business plan? The usual thought... tourism at rescue!!! Mass or specialised? Are you kidding? Mass of course! Let’s top up our mountains with a lot of tourist!
Make a deal with big tour operators! For instance, from England and Russia. Let them keep 70% of margin and, under no circumstances, try to focus on create travel agencies run by local Touristologists in order to create employee for young people and services which add value!
Third - When the airport gives profits sell it to a private investor. This is the last twist! It seems that they are doing us a favour!!!
Let’s reckoning...
1) Bad tourism model.
2) Most of the revenues for foreign enterprises
3) Socialise losses and privatised profits
Who creates this kind of game?  What I don’t understand is the reason these kinds of things are financed with public money.
You know we are lucky to live in one of the countries leader in tourism knowledge where these kinds of stories are not possible. Otherwise we could end up as a sort of Marx’s Crowded Cabin!!!!