Oct 22, 2013

Scalable Touristology and swimming pool level

The word scalable is an important one in Touristology. You need to have a scalable technology infrastructure able to deal with the possible (and desirable!!!) success of your internet adventures.
Even though, we as a Touristologists, try to get a continuous influx of tourists equally distributed into the Tourism destination in order to avoid “all at the same time, all at the same place”, in Tourism is normal to see an increase in the number of customers due to seasonal reasons.
So, your Internet system has to be scalable. This is one of the advantages of cloud computing. You can get as much power as you need at the specific time you need it. You can experiment by free with GAE if you want or with AWS for a small quote, at least the first year.
But… Always two minds, remember?. Which is the relationship of this word with the other Touristology’s mind, the one related to the Business Model? You remember the web 2.0 business model, don’t you? 

In this post, we deal with a very important idea in Touristology. We can go and try to seduce customers in the big segments (basically, leisure and business) where price usually is the main driver and as a consequence, big intermediaries (Touroperators, the biggest Search Engine, the biggest Social Networking Site, the best Metasearch Engine, the last flash-sales….) usually gain control over the chain of value and try (unlucky for you and great to them), to transform your Business into a commodity. On the other hand, the big advantage of this approach is that you don’t have to worry about communication and commercialization. Well, at least, this is the opinion of some experts. In my opinion, leaving my chain of value in the hands of others is a mortal sin with a big penitence. But you know, I am only a humble Touristologist!!!
The other option that we have is specialized tourism (you can read about the advantages that it provides here).
Scalability in generic tourism is easy to achieve, at the end of the day, you rely on others to do that. So, it is in their interest to provide this feature.
Scalability, in specialized tourism can seem difficult to obtain for untrained eyes. You have to focus on small segments and then rely on long tail ideas in order to communicate and commercialized your services in small Social Networking Sites, virtual communities, blogs…  It seems difficult to manage 10, 20, 1000 segments BUT only if you don’t use the pro-am ideas. That means, inside any segment, finding the people able to help you to create, communicate and commercialize your services. Then you have to integrate them into your chain of value and, in this way, you will transform your business model into a scalable one!
As you know, one of my favorite books is “The tipping point” by Malcom Gladwell. This author claims that, when we talk about spreading the word, not all the people are equally important. Gladwell classifies them into:
1) Connectors: The kind of person that is able to have and maintain a thin connection with almost everybody. The one that walking with you in YOUR neighborhood gets greeted instead of you! They are also the kind of people who connect two or more worlds, these can be hobbies, sports, or sciences. I love the last ones. They are consilient thinkers! they are able to link together sciences like Touristology and Web- Engineering. I don’t know why, but this character sounds familiar to me!!!
2) Mavens: The person that people search out for advice, they respect them and specially they respect his/her expert opinion. As Malcolm Gladwell states, "Mavens are really information brokers, sharing and trading what they know"
3) Salesman: The ones able to sell almost anything to anyone!
So, you have to choose carefully, the pro-ams you will need in each one of the segments, in order to make the idea scalable!!!
How can I know who they are? I’m glad you ask! Using the skills you learn about Social Networking Sites here and sharpening up your skills related to webscraping  and Syndication maybe this video can help you to get a vision: ….SalesForce Marketing Cloud….!!!

But… Jordi! Why is it so important to deal with specialized Tourism? I will never fill up my Hotel with these smalls segments!  Well, What if you do, Touristologist? What if then you can use community power to become a Super3, to add layers of profits over this community as we saw here?
Anyway, even if you only get a small number of specialized tourists you will improve your swimming pool level. The what?!?
The swimming pool level concept. It is an interesting one for any lodging facility. It makes reference to the percentage of occupancy that you already have for sure. Maybe, because you have an agreement with some companies, or with the public sector or with a hospital near to your hotel… OR because you define and work with some segments of specialized tourism!
Your negotiation capacity with a low level swimming pool is low, as well. Especially, if the others you are dealing with (tour operators, intermediaries…) know it! And believe me, nowadays, they know it!
They can get information from the market, from your face, from your attitude… I don’t know you but I prefer to keep some aces up my sleeve. Specialized tourism, long tail theory and pro-am ideas can be of great help here!
Don’t get me wrong…Generic Tourism is perfect… BUT so it is, Specialized Tourism.  The last one needs a new framework and a lot of practice in order to develop the skills, the contacts, the knowledge and the attitude to be sure that you have it in your Touristology’s  toolbox  AND  to know how and when to apply it!
Be sure you get it Touristologists! It will increase your swimming pool level, your opportunities to find a high paid job AND my pride to have you as a battlefield companion!!!

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