How comprehensive must a tourism strategy be and what information is actually needed? In short: less is more! The world of tourism planning is becoming more and more complex – focusing on core tasks and orientation towards implementation is the key to successful DMOs.
This means: Filling in less paper, no endless explanations of already familiar trends and abandoning the usual empty phrases. Instead: High participation of the actors, concentrated use of resources, concrete work, clear implementation planning and promotion of active networks!
On behalf of the Baltic seaside resort Ahrenshoop, we followed these guiding principles together with Dr. Alexandra Partale from our partner “Benchmark Services” and took a new path in the creation of a tourism concept.
First, we opened our office in the beach hall of Ahrenshoop and were present the whole time. Then we conducted individual interviews, moderated large group formats and held strategy group meetings.
With this approach we wanted to achieve the following goals:
- to sensitize the participants to future market needs,
- to exchange different perspectives and reach consensus on results,
- to identify sustainable markets and determine target groups,
- to find, evaluate and select measures and projects, and – finally –
- to mobilize stakeholders for the implementation of common objectives.
In order to achieve the highest possible level of participation, the Future Workshop consisted of different workshop units including specialist lectures, discussions and work phases, as well as documentation phases in which the workshop results were prepared and followed up. With the constant feedback of participants, we reflected and consolidated the results – thus results were immediately visible. At the same time, we were able to put the results into a concept form.
The content of the Future Workshop was based on the phases of a classic tourism planning process (analysis, goal and strategy development as well as project and action planning) involving actors from different sectors including tourism, culture, administration, politics as well as interest groups.
The result is impressive: a focused tourism strategy was developed, that summarizes the initial situation and current trends, describes the developed strategy and contains concrete measures.
Success factors for the process and content of the Future Workshop were:
- existing data on customer satisfaction from the Comparative Guest Monitor of Benchmark Services
- professional preparation and internal communication within the Baltic seaside resort through the spa management
- professional moderation and innovative methods for participation processes
- short and pointed inputs through impulse lectures
- work on-site and constant exchange with stakeholders during the process
Ten future topics were identified and underpinned with goals and measures. The implementation is not only a burden on the administration sector but has also been spread over several shoulders. The (voluntary) appointment of local caretakers for various topics strengthened the self-responsibility of the entrepreneurs and association representatives and relieved the spa administration.
Within five days the strategic orientation of the Baltic seaside resort for the next 10 years was created.