Yearly Archives: 2015

Planning a Startup in Tourism? Who is most important Developers or Touristologists?

As I always say to My Touristologists, all good answers begin with three words… It depends ON…then you have to explain the “ons”!!!!
How is it possible that most of the new startups dealing with tourism and relying on technology are low value orientated?
Low value orientated, Jordi? What do you mean with that? I mean that…
1) They are focused on providing a solution to mass tourism. So, basically, something that allow tourists to find cheaper prices and (apart from, sometimes, offering discounts for customers aggregation) not appear any possibility of groups creation!
2) They provide a partial solution. So, they don’t offer support for the tourists from the beginning to the end of the trip.
Is there anybody providing those kind of solutions? YES! Do you remember Worldmate that we talked about here

So, why this low value orientated addiction?
One of the reasons is because they are products designed for developers NOT Touristologists.
Software is eating the world and the only ones able to create disruptive new, new enterprises are the ones able to code (or able to convince someone else to code for them…. BUT remember you need him/her and not the other way around).
So, Touristologists you need to learn to code! Developers thinking about Tourism… you need to learn Touristology!
Otherwise, your supposed new, new things are…
1) Not new but part of the forgotten set.
2) Are just temporarily new… Because sooner or later they will be eaten or surpassed or destroy by economy of scales suppliers!
As happened with wehotels (Studentuniverse) . As happened with Gydsy (getyourguide). As happened with blink (Groupon)…  Did they earn money in the process?  YES! But you will remember them in the future as you remember Apple (Steve Jobs) Joe de vivre (Chip Conley)… I doubt it!
Can you use your Touristology skills to analyze this new startup? Its name is Experitus and here you have a video…

and here an interview with its founder…
Can you improve it? Do you see the possibility of groups creation? Do you see possible buyers? Can you list its competitors? Can you analyze their mobile app and web sites? Do you think that they are very similar?
But Jordi, in specialized tourism other companies also can buy or destroy us. YES! But you would have learnt to define segments, to build a community, to create chains of value, to define operations and processes inside this chain of value, to create (or buy) the right software and to use the right devices… So, you will become… A TOURISTOLOGISTS!!! … nobody can take those skills away from you!  Once you create one enterprise you can create thousands. You will become master and commander of the Touristology framework!!!
The answer to the question in the title? I try to reply with another question!
Developers? Touristologists? Which is the difference? In 1500 who was more important people able to read and write or any member of any science?
So, this is my message for Christmas…
Touristologists of earth… Learn to code!
Developers of earth… Learn Touristology!!!
Everybody needs two minds!!!

Copy me? Are you sure that you have what it takes?

The other day, some of my fellow Touristologists told me… Jordi, we will have an entrepreneurial session this weekend. We will explain a good idea for a tourism product in front of potential investors, mentors, future employees and the members of the jury that will select the best idea.
This is great, Touristologists! Good luck – I said to them from the bottom of my heart.
But, Jordi we are a little bit worried… What about if somebody copy our idea?
Ideas are easy to copy. – I, calmly replied feeling Touristology’s voice talking through me! BUT…
1) The definition of the segment’s needs. Necessities that will be better satisfied during a trip (international contacts/experiences, a boost of creativity, bonding experiences for professional or family groups…).
2) The aggregation and customization of services in order to fulfill them AND
3) The definition, creation and orchestration of an international chain of value able to work as a single ecosystem…
This is very difficult to copy! For you, it is a natural thing  to do, because this is your
profession! You are Touristologists! The best minds working in the best sector ever!
So, Somebody, wants to copy you… do you really think that they have what it takes?
Go to this session with your heads held high! This tourism product only can be successful if you run it! As sure as Touristology is a science!!!

Leaders in Tourism?

Are we Tourism leaders because we get more tourists than anyone? What kind of crazy, boring, not sustainable, not as profitable as-it-can-be business are we playing at!?!??!
Not sustainable? Number of tourists is increasing every year, right? Carrying capacity is the same, right?
Boring? Sure, If we are only able to mark down the price and copy what others are doing!
Crazy? Not as profitable as it can be? When we talk about minerals, species, commodities… who get most of the profit? The owners of the raw material OR the extractors, which transform the raw material and then communicate and commercialize it? Why do you think is different in Tourism?
In tourism the raw material are the tourism resources. The ones who transform them into tourism products, and then communicate and commercialize them are the winners.
The only difference in Tourism is that we don’t send the products abroad, we seduce tourists to come here!
I could go on for a month but I think I have made my point!

BUT… What about if…?

We are Tourisms leaders because we have the best Touristologists, the best companies, the best startups dealing with Tourism…This is the name of the game!
We are Tourisms leaders because we always play at an international level… the world is definitely our office. This is the name of the game!
We are Tourism leaders because we are changing the way the world enjoys, manages and defines Tourism… This is the name of the game!


SPECIALIZED TOURISM. Why is it so difficult to understand?

When Touristologists talk about specialized tourism, we are talking about the highest level of specialization… the best one!

Specialized TourismIn the first tier, you have generic/mass tourism. No segmentation whatsoever and with price as the main demand driver!

In the second tier, you have specialized offer: Adventures Tourism, Sports Tourism, Family tourism, Sky Tourism, Cultural Tourism… Leisure Tourism, Business Tourism… No clear identification of the segment is provided. Their users/evangelists still believe we live in FORD Model T times!!!! “You can have any color as long as it’s black.“ 1909

Finally, in the last tier, you have specialized Tourism focuses ON PEOPLE!!! ON TOURISTS NOT tourism typologies! We are TOURISTOLOGISTS! We focus on seducing tourists conveying the benefits that travelling brings to human beings!!!  We find segments around the world. Segments with necessities that will be better satisfied during a trip (international contacts/experiences, a boost of creativity, bonding experiences for professional or family groups…). SEGMENTS! NOT Dr. Frankensteins experiments!!!!

1) Going to this tourism destination, Hotel… is like an ego shower (Chip Conley called it Identity refreshment)

2) Community power/Easy group creation: Plenty of things to talk about with people like me or complementary to me OR the ones that can help me…

Nothing wrong with tourism destination or services focused on price. Nothing wrong with tourism destination or services focused on tourism typologies BUT, if you really want to specialize… choose the top tier!

Sharing? Yes! But keeping control of the chain of value!

The other day, I was lucky enough to participate in a debate about my favorite subject… Touristology!
It was an interesting experience! You can listen to it here…
Be aware, the podcast is in Catalan (My beautiful mother tongue!!!).
We talked about sharing economy in tourism. As you know, the sharing economy is the flavor of the month and it’s a very interesting topic BUT… I expressed my doubts about the viability of their business model:
I can summarize my doubts with the following Touristology’s questions:
1) Is your enterprise a good example of Dr. Frankenstein’s segmentation. Do your members feel a part of this community? Do you have the capacity to create groups.
2) Do you have the control of the chain of value or at any time (especially, when the business will become profitable) other members of the chain of value can buy or destroy you?
3) How many sales (experiences) you have to sell in order to get the breakeven point?
Anyway, after the debate I began to think from the point of view of the owners that share their belongings (House, car, you-name-it…) and knowledge through an intermediary.
Some of them offer a very specialized product and I began to feel Touristology’s voice in my head, first whispering then screaming…”Sharing? Yes! But keeping control of the chain of value! “
Let me sum up, we have the owners of the capital (as economists like to say, capital is the things we use in production) and they want to share it with other people for a profit or for the experience, and… Are you willing to put this in the hands of some new intermedary/infomediary that has a high probability of not surviving? Don’t make more sense to create a cooperative? We are talking about sharing economy, right? Let’s use the right sort of enterprise!
What about from the point of view of the tourism destination? It is not clear enough that the most important tourism resources that we have is our people, our culture, our way of living?
You want to keep our culture, right? You want to create richness and employment for your country, right?
Pssst , pssst.. I began to listen to Touristology’s voice again… “I think that we have a good definition for this…
Touristology is the art and science of travel motivation promising improvements in quality of life, international contacts and broader perspectives for the tourist AND a way to take care of culture and create richness and employment for the tourist destination.”
You want tourists talking about you  (in a positive way, of course) and  to return…. In order to achieve that you need to offer support from the beginning to the end of the trip. Help this cooperative to create communicate and commercialize their products. Help them to make partnerships with your tourism enterprises (hotels, incoming travel agencies…) begin to think about how YOU can bring tourists here! We are leaders in Tourism… Time to prove it!!!
As is said here…
Welcome to Bottom-up Touristology!
Tourism destinations of earth! The time has come to change the way you create, communicate and commercialize your tourism products or, at least, to reorganize the way you spend your budget…
Spend less on mass-media ads saying that you are the best, less on tradeshows, less on … and more on Touristology! More on your people, the most important tourism resource in any destination!!!

I Feel Like I’m 20 Years Old!!!

When My Touristologists give Wonderful presentations… I Feel Like I’m 20 Years Old!!! They get the framework, they transform it… it is not my framework anymore (never was!!!) now it’s their framework! Touristology’s one!
They take a real enterprise or they make up a new one then, they follow the specialization path (they are intelligent enough to know that it’s my favorite one!) but, they also know that is not the only one!
At the end of the day, all enterprises want to grow and Touristology provides the tools to allow that. Let’s review those paths. Shall we?
1) Your business can grow getting more customers. Touristology teaches you to keep your customers and get new ones using customization, syndication and pro-am as magnets and community builders!
2) Your business can grow “eating” (I mean acquiring or creating) members of the chain of value. Touristology teaches you to define and manage the chain of value (remember the one create FOR and BY the customer)
3)Finally, your business can also grow creating new chains of value. This is the specialization path. Touristology teaches you how to do the right segmentation process, how to build an international community, how to extract groups from there, how to increase margins and profits…
I love Touristology’s games!!!
I love to see that My Touristologists are the perfect guide for any of those paths that allow enterprises to grow!
They have the vision, the knowledge, the business model, the technological scheme, the contacts, the kind of attitude that push them to do whatever it takes to be successful.
When they finish their presentation, I encourage them to make a call to the enterprise that they talked about (or any of its competitors) in their project. To ask for a meeting and introduce themselves, to show that they know what is important for the company and furthermore how to get it!… That is much better than sending thousands of CV, Touristologists!!!
Then you will get a high quality job (I mean with a good salary, responsibilities, promotion opportunities…) … a consultancy project… or create a new disruptive startup!!!
Making me the proudest men on earth! Becoming yourself in the best minds working in the best sector ever… Making Touristology a science!!!

Fast Data = Big Data + Real-Time Web + Human Interaction!

Jordi, Can you give us a seminar about Fast Data?
Of course! – I reply!
First, because I know that nowadays it is very usual that some people use different words to describe the same /old thing.
Second, because as Richard Branson say “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
I like this kind of attitude! Basically, because it is carved in my mind…
My father every time that we have to deal with a new adventure / difficulty /tough time / you-name-it!, say to me: “Pit, barra i collons” that I, gently, can translate as:
1) Step forward… Yes, I volunteer!
2) Self-confidence…. Yes, I can do it!
3) Perseverance and whatever-it-takes kind of attitude in order to deliver what you promise!
So, here I’m… saying yes to a Fast Data seminar! After the proper research, I confirmed my assumptions… Fast Data is a new name for the holy grail of business intelligence…
We can get a lot of data from different chain of value’s members. This is Big Data in nowadays terms (intelligent systems, when I was writing my doctoral thesis!)
We are getting data NOW and we need to provide customized answers, comments, offers, 3 C’s (Content, commerce and community) in the fastest possible way. You can call it Real-Time web .
But before the organization replies… maybe it is a good idea to use the best software on earth: The human brain!

From my point of view, any seminar related to Fast Data is incomplete if it doesn’t deal with the two breakthroughs in Web-Engineering in this decade that I try to summarize in this slide:

1) Server-Side RESTful web APIs that allows you to get and send the 3 C’s NOT ONLY of your enterprise BUT ALSO of the chain of value (remember the one created FOR and BY your customer!)
2) Client-Side MV* that allows to the customer to work even without internet connection and to provide them a fast service… faster… the fastest!

I find this video enlightening….

Do you think you can apply Fast Data to Touristology?
Fast Data? Fast answer, fast reaction…as fast as the wind! Touristology’s wind!

This is My Advice, Touristologists!!!

Sometimes, Touristologists improving their studies abroad ask me advice about what to do next.
My Advice? Look for a travel agency willing to send tourists to your native country OR for a chain of hotels willing to open/manage a hotel in your native country OR for an airline company willing to open a route to your native country OR a tourism consultancy company OR a rent a car OR a revenue management software company OR… I could go on for a month but I think I have made my point!
Don’t look for a big salary (nothing wrong if they offer it!), look for the opportunity to show your skills, your attitude, your contacts… gain their trust and become the obvious choice to be the manager of their branch in your native country!
We are Touristologists! The world is our office! And… YES! We are, definitely, the best minds working in the best sector ever!
Is it seems difficult? Do you have doubts? Do you think that you don’t have what it takes? Don’t listen to me… Listen to your guts! Listen to the old master!
Yes, there were times, I’m sure you knew
When I bit off more than I could chew.
But through it all, when there was doubt,
I ate it up and spit it out.
I faced it all and I stood tall;
And did it my way.
For what is a man, what has he got?
If not himself, then he has naught.
To say the things he truly feels;
And not the words of one who kneels.
The record shows I took the blows –
And did it my way!

Customization is the name of the game!

In the year 2000 I presented my doctoral thesis about how to apply complex systems in the Tourism sector (it was all about adding value through customized 3 C’s: Content, Commerce and Community). Even though I was (and still am) a Touristologist builder, I have always believed that you have to get experience out of the classroom. For that reason, I love to work as a consultant and entrepreneur!
My mind was full of ideas related to the new internet business model and I had been improving my coding skills focused on web languages (basically, Java) .So, I was ready to work for a big consultancy company. I sent my CV, I asked for personal interviews, I asked for colleagues to recommend me… Not Touristologists I was NOT just waiting for a call… I was PROVOKING a call. In the same way that we have to seduce customers to come to our tourism destination or lodging enterprise, we have to seduce employers in order to get a good job. But you already know that!
One of these job interviews was for applying to “E-business product manager for the Health sector”. In the middle of the interview I got this question…
So, you have experience in hotels but what about in hospitals?
Well – I confidently replied.- At the end of the day, they are quite similar. Beds, Food and Beverage and customized servuction!
Are you joking? -Asked the perplexed Interviewer?
Once more the lack of vision about Servuction doesn’t allow me to get a job.
Lack of vision or destiny, Touristologists? After the Interview I got a phone call that ended up with me becoming an E-business product manager for the Tourism sector!!!
Tourism, Health and Education are very good examples of servuction. In all three, the participation of the customer is the key for a good output. In all three, Internet brings new opportunities for customizing the services and creating groups of customers and, as you know, “GROUPS” is another word carved into my mind.
Was I joking? No my friend! I was dead serious!
A few weeks ago, Josep Baselga was talking about how cancer treatment is changing thanks to new technologies and the ability to deal with big data. Until now, pharmaceutical companies have had to discover a cure, a way to improve health, or how to avoid metastasis ( if you get a tumor. Then they create a pill and sell it through pharmacies that get a 30% of margin.
BUT nowadays, we know (explain Mr. Baselga), that each tumor is different. Tumors are not a contagious disease. It is something that we develop in a different way based on our DNA. So, we need to create customized pills for each customer. We need to change the process. You send your DNA, based on that, we create the pills and then send it to your home (or maybe in the future we will be able to print them using a 3D printer!!!!)

Is this process so different to big tour operators selling products through travel agencies (well, an important difference is the commission that travel agencies get!!!)? Tour Operators buy plenty of rooms getting economy of scales which allow them to offer very competitive prices for a strongly price orientated customer.
But nowadays, people want experiences. Is there an easier way to create that for them than using customized 3 C’s??? People want to travel and also get what tourism can provide to them: A new perspective, international contacts, healing wounds (both physical and psychological); learning new things (especially multidisciplinary ones); giving a bust to their creativity…..
So, we learn what is important to the tourists, we learn the best way to provoke an experience and we sell a customized dynamic packaging to them!
Are you able to see the parallels? Are you able to see that I wasn’t joking?
Is it so different in education? Where different students have different multiple intelligences. Where different students have different backgrounds (both academic and professional). Where different students have different taste and are looking for different opportunities?
Now as 15 years ago…. Tourism, Health and Education are good examples of servuction! So, getting data and transforming it into knowledge in order to customize the experience is the key for any successful Trip, Treatment or Education process! I am not joking! As sure as Touristology is a science!!!

Can you apply Touristology to cruises?

Of course, Touristologists!!! At the end of the day, a cruise is a kind of Hotel/Resort with similar behavior to a transport company. We have to remember that the average length of stay in a cruise is seven days doing 3-4 stops. So, you go to places, but most of the time you are in a kind of resort with plenty of activities. Anyway, lodging or transport… clearly, it is related to Tourism, therefore, Touristology will give you the necessary tools to become AND remain competitive!
Globally, the cruise market is growing in number of passengers (21.3 million passengers in 2013 and expecting 21.7m in 2014). What about in revenues AND profits? -Ask Touristology’s voice!
It is a closed business (Economists like to name it oligopoly) where three players get 80% of passengers and 72% of revenues. Those three players are:
Carnival,     Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line
The cruise industry is a big success in North-America, origin of 55% of all passengers. In Europe the market is also growing (even though the market experienced a backward movement after the, tragically, famous accident)
One of the tools that Touristology provides is the following matrix. Let’s see if we can use it in order to analyze and provide some advice for the cruise sector!
You can learn more about this matrix here
And here… (don’t miss the video!!!)
This matrix reminds us that, in order to be and remain competitive, you can follow the Innovation path or Standarization path….
In the standardization path we have examples of successful companies: Ryanair, McDonald’s, TuneHotels….. The basic strategy is to get economies of scale and then offer the lowest possible price, do promotion based on discounts…. It can provide good results BUT if you want to beat the three dominant players in the cruise sector OR one of them wants to increase their profit… then you will have to explore new segments, new channels of value… Welcome to the Innovation path!
There are different ways to follow the innovation path (some of them are not yet discovered! Are we talking about innovation, right?)
A) Selling using my POSITIONING in the market. Do you want to see some examples?
A-1) Disney. They don’t have any problems selling their cruises… People love to spend time with Disney Characters!!! If you are selling experiences, like Disney does, you are not selling cruises anymore. The cruise is just a place (a commodity as many hotels have become) where you enjoy the important thing… the feeling of being part of Disney’s world!

A-2) Virgin looking for the segment I-wanna-be-Richard-Branson aimed at younger generations.
A-3) National Geographic who, clearly is selling experience over luxury.

A-4) Scientific American. Some people believe that tourism is just searching for happiness… But Tourism can help you to achieve other important things, as well. Learn new things? Gain international contacts with experts in the cutting edge of science? To change your regular perspective?

Those examples are innovation and My own 1,2,3. They identified a segment, customized their product and distributed it through their travel agencies and their own meeting places (Shops of Disney, Disney Channel, Virgin outlets, National geographic channel and magazine!!!)
B) Other option for walking the Innovation path is to rely on Specialization (To me, the best!): What about cruises for heavy metals fans as Royal Caribbean tried through a partnership with TUI? It was a big success. If you are selling the experience of enjoying concerts of your favorite music band, together with other people that feel the same, then they feel part of a community… Then you can add value selling customized ancillary products (tattoos, Karaoke, music lessons, you-name-it…), promote direct bookings, use the long tail in order to promote and commercialize your business.
Of course, when you are selling a cruise, you are selling experiences BUT, as all Touristologists know, if you don’t use specialization power, then the price will become the most important driver to choose a cruise or a substitute product.
If you follow this advice you wouldn’t sell just a cruise anymore, you would sell the benefits of a trip where you can get what Touristology provides…
Community building, New perspectives…creativity, isolation from the usual place….
As I said here “Touristology is a science related to Tourists travelling/moving from one place to another for travel reasons or for necessities that they can better achieve through a trip: Getting and keeping international contacts; healing wounds (both physical and psychological); learning new things (specially multidisciplinary ones); giving a bust to their creativity, as Alain de Botton said “Journeys are the midwives of thought”; improving relationships (organization team building, couple, grandparents-grandson, single parents…)…”
You can read here some ideas about how to use specialization in order to transform your cruise into the place to be.
Do you think that you can improve the profits of a player in the cruise market using those matrixes? Do you think that you can help (OR BE) a new intermediary in this growing sector?

Do you want to become a Touristologist? I will be here waiting for YOU!!!… By the way… Happy New Year!