Recently I had the pleasure of attending The Business Days of Helsingborg 2012. I was particularly interested in the part titled “The Future of Tourism” where several great speakers appeared. However, one that really made an impression on me was Roger Brooks. Roger spoke of the “Seven Immutable Rules of a Successful Destination”:
1. The Four Times Rule
For every hour that it takes to get to a place, that place should provide four hours of activities.
2. Internet is marketing priority #1
90% of Europeans have access to the Internet and 94% use it to find out where to go.
3. Sell the rapids, not the river
Visitors are interested in the experiences a place offers, not in the place itself.
4. Provide specifics – not generalities
Giving detailed descriptions of activities makes things easier on multiple levels for the visitors, while at the same time providing distinctiveness to the place.
5. Jettison the generic
Do not try to be everything for everyone. Finding a narrow niche and specializing in it makes it easier to achieve success.
6. Stretch your seasons
The older demographic makes up for a considerable amount of travel spending. Yet, their traveling patterns differ in regards to what time of year it is. Learn those patterns and make use of them for your place.
7. The 7-8-7 Rule
- 70% of all retail spending happens after 6 p.m.
- 80% of all spending is accounted for by women
- 70% of first-time sales are accounted for by curb appeal
Adapting your closing times, appealing to the right demographic and creating an interesting atmosphere can attract a lot of income.
My esteemed colleague, Christer Asplund, was also one of the speakers. His presentation had emphasis on differentiation through unique combinations of existing values. This means that a place can create something new through reinvention of something old. In the case example for Helsingborg, it was a combination of Zoega’s Coffee, a brand founded in Helsingborg, and the Viennese café culture. This could result in a clear differentiation and finding of a niche.
Christer also pointed out the importance of switching to Quad Helix instead of Triple Helix, and recognizing the value of the civil society as an important part of place management. His prognosis is that very soon places are going to start competing for talent, which means attracting people with unique and exceptional skills. By including the element of Civil Society into the equation, a place will be able to stimulate nourishment and finding of such talents in its own community. It will also create a stronger place brand, which will also make it easier to attract talent from elsewhere.