Edvin Jurin: For tourism and tourist boards surprises - let's not be enslaved by clichés!

Looking at our tourism, especially in the focus of the ratio of family and hotel accommodation, we will easily conclude that it is atypical tourism. As we well know, the family is abundantly superior to the hotel. Therefore...

Looking at our tourism, especially in the focus of the ratio of family and hotel accommodation, we will easily conclude that it is atypical tourism. As we well know, the family is abundantly superior to the hotel. Therefore, it is logical to conclude that the new documents of the Ministry of Tourism and Sports and the Croatian Tourist Board, which determine the future of Croatian tourism should be - atypical.

We will not easily change the pace of acceleration of Croatian family accommodation, at least for the next ten years. And now the question is like a bone in the throat of some - and why should it?

Well in these Covid-19 times family accommodation (apartments and family holiday villas, especially the highest categories), in addition to nautical tourism, has pulled the most, at least in terms of this year's tourist spending.

Yes, of course - without any discussion, more complex types of existing and new accommodation such as hotels, camps and marinas should be developed in a more organized and planned manner, which, given the complexity of their offer, create greater added value. There is no doubt about that.

But my intention was to focus on thinking - what type of tourism do we need.

And in two understandable and popular words. I opted for the term "Surprise tourism".

And I immediately realized that word would fall hard on many industry stakeholders, who adore cold and empathetically uninspiring business terms. Under the thesis: Just so there are no pops.

And in that bush lies this time a rabbit. These are not times for clichés or classics. These are times for brave and daring strides. So are the atypical predicates that mark tourism and thus direct it.

Luiz Moutinho in his epochal work “Strategic Management in Tourism” states, I quote: “Hawkins (Hawkins DE (1993) Prospects and challenges for tourism in millennium, Tourism Management 14 (5), 392 - 396. author’s remark) is probably right when he claims that crisis marketing today is an essential ingredient for marketing in tourism. Drawing up alternative plans, anticipating and creative reactions to sudden changes in the world situation are today essential ingredients for success in tourism. Attention! Hawkins wrote it back in 1993, and Moutinho repeated and emphasized it in 2000.

Or it’s better to wait and see what others will do. If that were the case and if we asked foreigners for their opinion, today's ACI (formerly ACY) would never have been created, in the creation of which I participated together with a constellation of people dear to me.

A historically avant-garde nautical chain of 16 marinas that was literally created over a period of 16 months. And he bravely entered the foreign market, suffering at the same time the resistance of both foreign and domestic media and the public.

Without hesitation, I state: ACI from those times was, literally speaking, a practical economic laboratory in which, among other things, we tried everything that could be tried in management and marketing. Well, we sold, among other things, several hundred berths in time sharing and with an imaginative combination of a joint venture with an Italian investor, we built new marinas in Korčula and Ičići. We have completely set the brand architecture with all the standards of brand delivery down to the smallest detail as part of the then ACY know-how embodied in the ACY manual (manual), which is constantly updated and improved. For that, we conducted regular surveys of the attitudes of sailors who rated the quality of all our services - from nautical, catering, technical services, shops and duty-free shops to technical services and charter fleet. I can confirm that the discussions based on the conducted surveys and analyzes were fierce, and the corrections that followed in the business - and more than effective.

Who does not believe, feel free to contact me directly so as not to further bother readers.

A significant part of what was done was described in 2016 in a monograph entitled "ACI Genesis" by the author and editor Mladen Gerovac, otherwise the holder of the "Nautical Patrol" of Jutarnji list.

Three qualities

The term "surprise" this time I follow the model developed by Klaus Kobjoll, an excellent practitioner and one of the most respected and awarded German hoteliers and employers. By the way, at the end of March 2011, his one-day seminar was successfully organized in Opatija by Adriano Požarić, publisher of the magazine and portal "Tourism Info".

Based on his direct and rich experiences in his bestseller "Heartiness as a Commodity", Klaus is an advocate three qualities - fundamental qualities, qualities of expectations and qualities - surprises.

Basic quality refers to the basic expectations of the guest when consuming a particular tourist product. Translated into everyday language, I come to the hotel and expect accommodation, food and drink or sail into the marina and expect berth, water and electricity.

The quality of expectations is driven by the level of price I pay and the perception or expectation I have created for myself based on everything I have read or heard about a particular tourist product.

Both qualities are a foreplay for the key third - the quality of surprises, ie what the guest got without expecting. Ie. whether we managed to surprise and delight him with some detail, imaginative gesture and attention, that is, with something that was not written in the formal offer.

Klaus, nota bene, through a series of appropriate activities, systematically and permanently encouraged the quality of surprises of his employees at all operational levels.

Eh, you will say - it is easier to write than to realize.

Yes, you need to get up, leave your laptop and excel spreadsheets (some will say - let's not become excel managers), go down to the reception and gym or go out on the marina pontoon, talk, communicate and have an honest relationship and interaction. And at certain intervals to think and deliver the surprises already described.

In a way that we gradually create our fans, our fans. Or his "tribe", as the wiggly marketing guru Seth Godin boldly defined it in 2008 in a book of the same name.

In the Croatian specific case, surprise tourism could be an umbrella term according to the formula:

Surprise tourism = Sustainable tourism + Transformative tourism

Sustainable, because it takes into account the preservation of nature and the destination environment in a broader ecological, economic and cultural-sociological sense and transformative, which ultimately results in new knowledge and changes in personal attitudes of guests as a result of the overall destination effort. Or translated - everything we do at the destination in the inevitable and constantly intertwined interaction of public and private sector.

And for that, among other things, we need to roll up our sleeves, educate and constantly improve the teams that provide specific services and be with them on the first line as much as possible. Do not hide from guests. Older people will gladly remember the Dubrovnik tourism legend Rafa Rodin, who did not work in the Dubrovnik hotel "Excelsior" but - almost literally lived with his guests.

The focus of the new type of tourism - on local tourist boards

The creation of "surprise tourism" based on the "destination culture of surprises" at all levels calls for a radical change in the work of tourist boards which the new Law on Tourist Boards and the Promotion of Croatian Tourism "(I never understand why we use long titles in this area - so what will other tourist boards work than promote Croatian tourism) given for adjustment 10 to 14 months starting from 1.1. 2020. depending on the level of their organizational complexity.

The desired concrete forms of action are achievable under one condition - to really and effectively change the views and actions of members of tourism councils, who make key decisions for each destination. Because, all these and other changes are possible only if the member of the tourist council is directly aware of them and if they are ready to work for the tourist generations that are coming, working now for the present and for the future.

And there, like it or not, are many problems that no development strategy and strategic marketing plan can solve. Except I repeat - direct protagonists in a direct destination.

Therefore, when choosing the composition of tourist councils in terms of generational approach, I would always give the opportunity to mix the more experienced and younger with the following business forensic description:

  1. Eager to create, not just do their membership as a work commitment.
  2. Young enough to learn something new and experienced enough to take the best from the past.
  3. Ready to learn and then apply what they have learned - boldly.
  4. Open without hesitation to the processes of cooperation and synergy with neighbors - other neighboring local and regional communities, but also the private sector and the profession without fear that someone will blame them.
  5. Self-critical enough that, when something does not go according to plan, they are noticed on time without fear that the local environment will blame them.

It won't work?

Try to imagine what changes await us in the boiling upcoming times if we do not move in that direction.

In conclusion - in order for Croatian surprise tourism to come to life, local tourist boards and surprise tourist councils are also needed. In a positive sense, of course!

Cover photo: Snapwire, Pexels.com




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