Developing Tourism Strategy Through Co-Creation

Creating tourism strategy…brand strategy, digital strategy or marketing strategy…through co-creation can be challenging, but rewarding.

First the process is an ongoing commitment, not a single meeting.

Second, as most of you realized while reading A Call for Co-Creation, the primary reason why most NTOs and DMOs do not co-create strategy, ideas or products is because the management of people, opinions and egos can be a daunting task.

Implemented incorrectly, co-creation can yield more disagreement than insights.

But with a basic structure and a few guidelines, co-creation can be an advantageous solution for the creation of your tourism strategy.

Guidelines for Co-Creating your Tourism Strategy

Here is what we have learned after implementing co-creative strategy sessions for numerous tourism clients.

Have a leader

  • a facilitator, a moderator, someone who is tasked with running the session
  • ideally this person has an independent perspective (not yourself, your boss or a key stakeholder)
  • make sure everyone in the meeting knows who the leader is

Find the right people

  • look for people who are passionate, knowledgeable, confident and collaborative
  • invite different perspectives, even peers who are known to disagree with you
  • find new areas of expertise with your community
  • keep the group size manageable, but diverse…8-12 participants is a good range

Establish clear roles

  • tell participants why they are in the meeting and what is expected of them
  • clarify responsibilities and expectations
  • we like to use a participant role outline (Google Docs) for these sessions, which is distributed to all participants prior to the session

Create a manageable structure

  • create a clear session structure and follow it
  • allow time for conversation, but do not allow random conversations to dominate the session
  • allow for group thinking and individual thinking
  • explain that the process is ongoing and not constrained by a single session

Ask good questions

  • do not assume the group will do the work for you
  • prepare thoughtful questions and exercises to stimulate the conversation
  • don’t waste time or talents on unnecessary topics

Embrace feedback

  • listen, talk, listen again
  • create a feedback loop to explain how feedback will be used and sorted
  • create a process for addressing negative feedback or opposing recommendations
  • ensure there is a takeaway for participants

A co-creation session will not write your tourism strategy for you, but it will provide unfiltered views from stakeholders and consumers, increased participation and strong advocacy for the resulting strategy.

Comment? @travel2dot0 or email.