SMARTOURISM @ BOCCONI UNIVERSITY
What are the current opportunities and challenges in destination management? What does innovation mean in the tourism sector? How to measure the effectiveness of a destination marketing campaign?
These are some of the topics discussed by Smartourism at Bocconi University during a seminar delivered for the course “Innovation in Services”. The seminar was an opportunity to share Smartourism’s best practice in destination management and marked a 8-year collaboration between the professional network and one of the most prestigious Italian universities.
Traditional “community” destinations are losing market shares due to the emerging of new destinations and the increasing global competition. This is a common trend for the main Mediterranean destinations; however Italy is losing more shares than its traditional competitors such as France, Spain and Greece.
Italian local authorities, regional and central bodies dealing with tourism promotion have a common and redundant answer to this challenge: promoting the powerful Italian brand and its local destinations with a systemic and coordinated approach. However theory and practice do not always match.
Smartourism was founded with the mission of filling the gap between the theory of destination management and its successful implementation. The innovative approach proposed is based on the A.S.R model, that has been conceived for and implemented on several destinations across Italy over the last 8 years. The model is based on the following key pillars: an integrated use of cutting-edge technology, original marketing contents based on tourists’ needs and preferences, the coordination of local service providers, the management of consistent information and messages distributed via online and offline channels and the evaluation of the marketing activity. These are the key ingredients that made the destination management project for the Province of Mantova a widely recognised success. The best practice in Mantova, implemented in 2005, was rolled-out to other Italian destinations: the cities on the river Po di Lombardia (2008), the Province of Cremona (2009) and to the Trame di Lunigiana project (2014), winner of ARS – a competition sponsored by the Italian ACCENTURE Foundation with the aim of promoting arts and culture to generate local jobs – and awarded 1 million euros.
The message shared at Bocconi University is simple and effective: innovation in tourism means managing and marketing the uniqueness of each destination across all target markets; it means combining existing technology solutions (web, mobile apps, local digital info points, intranets, etc.) with a smart and integrated approach to market a systemic offer and to measure the commercial and economic impacts.
Nicoletta Corrocher, professor of Innovation in Services, stated “The experience shared by professionals adds value to the course. Students benefit from interacting with experts in implementing innovative solutions to the tourism sector and can understand the applications of the theory covered during their studies. The lessons proposed by Smartourism are engaging and able to contribute to the personal and professional development of our students.”