Every now and then a major set of trends sweep through an industry, combining to create conditions that dramatically change the success formula needed to attract customers.

The trends build like a wave and gradually transform conditions and this change often goes unnoticed by those who are not in touch with trends and their customers. Kodak and the Swiss watchmaking industry are examples of wrecks from similar storms.

The current major wave sweeping through the tourism industry is producing a star that will enjoy unrivalled dominance in future traveller-buying decisions. The star is the Tourist Experience. Aspects of the tourist experience are now gradually dominating the two main choice phases of the tourist decision-making process and we need to innovate this area to stay in the game.

In the initial primary need recognition phase of the process, the latest consumer research is definitive on what our customers rate as their criterion for even considering an option. Brunner-Sperdin & Peters recently concluded a major research study by observing ‘that viewed from a tourism lens, it is found that the experience value of tourism products is the overriding factor influencing customers’ motivation to buy a service.’ So, to even get into the game we need to prioritise the innovation of the tourist experience.

The basis of success here is that we need to touch our clients on an emotional level. So our starting point is to identify these emotional interactions and combine them with our current physical assets and services. Clearly we need to innovate our offering to even get past the first base in this new wave of customer considerations that is emerging.

So, back to the phases of the decision-making process. When our potential customers make it to the last phase, evaluation of alternatives phase, the tourist experience will once again dominate the final decision in the vast majority of cases. Most customers will visit TripAdvisor to view the client ratings of their options, as well as considering social media and other trusted third-party rating sites. Top ratings here are once again achieved through the moments of delight and the memorable conversations that are created by an authentic focus on customer experiences during the stay or excursion.

So clearly the tipping point in buyer behavior has moved dramatically from what our destination partners and we say in promoting our products or services, to how we innovate our customer experiences and how these experience moments are rated by our current clients.

The focus point for brand dominance in tourism has moved dramatically and must now prioritise the local tourism playing field where our customer experiences are delivered and where tourism happens.

Many of the products in the country present their products in a very old-fashioned way and are not aware of the innovations needed to satisfy the new customer demands.

And this is why The Tourism Coach was inspired and borne! Look out for future blogs and the Coaching Tour for more on Creating Tourism Experiences.

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