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Selling Tourism: Creation Or Imitation In Value Chain

Let’s speedily recognise, facilitate, get involved in the creation of tourism experiences and believe that the customers have changed and it’s REDO attitude all the way to survive anything involved in the tourism related businesses.

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Be original else remix in these challenging times. ‘Resonating Experience Delivery Outcome (REDO)™’ is the only moment of truth for a business or an individual to thrive in a new normal scenario when selling tourism. Building resilience through a range of initiatives will not be easy and  in the age of access and market of emotions there are many e-tourism intermediaries to detract the revenue generation model.

Selling Tourism in an volatile economy is not an easy proposition. In tourism, a business the seller has  to be original and offer full indulgence with authentic travel elements curated deeply with a green component i.e. planet and money alongside culture and delicious cuisine.

The deals have to mutually beneficial, in new normal strategic alliances are required to take incredible care of the customer. The memorable moments are now easy to create digitally, which easily highlight the intellectual capital of the curator. The core in tourism is experiential delivery, which when copied doesn’t leave the stamp of authenticity. Sometimes, it is sensed that words like experience, luxury and slow movements are misused or are misfits when it comes to curation.  In a new world with new normal, it will take time to adjust the travel business.

The future issues will not rise from travel destination but from the activities that would be done at the destination. Activities which keep exploration and discovery interests secured, safe and unequivocally meaningful will make the difference. In other words, with the world turning virtual, there is no dearth of information. The digital formats for travel are available with a click, in absence of an activity-based travel. This situation will certainly boost the network amongst on-ground activity and experience creators as opposed to aggregators and intermediaries. The roles in tourism will be much more defined and will surely create a dignity of labour.

The journey of a business is to create, promote, sell and deliver aligning with new world. Selling tourism services is all about happiness and there is minimum possibility of a mistake. Aggregation spoils the experience. Innovation is imperative for survival that brings competitive performance. In tourism packaging and bestowing upgrades is a way to acquire client. The first mover advantage will be interpretation of the itinerary in the dynamic environment leading to new ways to think travel.

The strategic change to sell any kind of travel will require humane touchpoints through screen presence, converting discussion into sales. The success will be dynamic as product authenticity will be questioned and safety scenarios need to be guaranteed.

The times have changed and the famous quote by Kahlil Gibran can be related in present times “Travel and tell no one, live a true love story and tell no one, live happily and tell no one, people ruin beautiful things.” Original will evince from self-discovery. “We wanderers, ever seeking the lonelier way, begin no day where we have ended another day; and no sunrise finds us where sunset left us. Even while the earth sleeps we travel. We are the seeds of the tenacious plant, and it is in our ripeness and our fullness of heart that we are given to the wind and are scattered”, is apt for the moment.

Both these quotes if imbibed can build a characteristic of tourism business and help them embrace competitiveness experientially in transmodern situations. The tourism business have to be strategic,  identify what’s novel  and should aim for major outcome that involves the creation of new products with quality consciousness.

The benchmarked travel firms steer innovation velocity through consolidation and combine social & tech combinations that offer customers finesse over competition. Their pitch decks focus inspired content and visuals which create innate desire to travel. The industry follows the trend but still cannot garner the interest from clients because of competitive performance, which leads into imitation and hence, copying the pitch deck becomes survival instinct. The new age business owners are increasingly bringing together inclusive and innovative ways to be ahead to others, be it in a radical change or re-inventing something tried and tested, or green washed with decorative appreciations to challenge competitive existence.

The tourism on land, water, air and now on space and beside virtual will continue to be intertwined together for betterment and sustain with varied dependencies in the different environments. There are environmental effects on lifespan  of tourists and the tourism business has to deliver safe scenarios in established and emerging destinations of all kinds.  

The business profitability will be questioned in a considerable manner over value and volume as selling tourism will be more complex business. The alienated residents affected due to COVID-19 will demand their city spaces that limit access and activities of travellers. The model of place sense™ has to be built further in the product with a stable green component of any kind.

The unforeseen challenges in the environment and tech advancements is now only major factor to be innovative. The imitation or copying will not suit the business process and clear distinctions would become the directive from the customer for brand new offerings, methods, practices and services. The tourism businesses have to pursue their customers/guests in a fashion that would always reek the essence of freshness, innovation as there are going to be times where the buyer behaviour will become more discretionary and less visible to make a sale. Tourism in places, which offer social distance by default, pertaining to either niche or local, land or island, will become increasingly sought after. After the setback as the world heals, so would the individual traveller mind. Serenity, scenic and soothing will attract travellers, places surrounded by water bodies, shall become yet another prime offering. Encouraging immersive activities in and around these destination will have to be created apart from water sports. The more the activities, the more attraction to the destination.

One prominent example that has been referred and is being quoted because the concept of copy was also mentioned in the 10th book of the “Republic”. Socrates shows the portrayal of a “bed” by the artist as a third- degree copy and states that, in fact, everything has three copies: what God created, what is materially created on Earth, like a bed produced by a carpenter, and a third copy portrayed by the artist. Based on this approach, everything presented by the artist is actually an image and a copy of what actually exists. The artist does not create something knowingly, they are copyists who are ‘inspired’, sold their soul to an ‘inspiration’, lost themselves.  Similarly, the tourism and hospitality businesses have to awaken to the fact to not publishing anything that this not owned, as originality and ownership related to newer products, processes and services will be core selling propositions. The artists will keep painting, the design team will keep creating but to curate a travel experience uniqueness will play a key role alongside delivery based outcomes. The intellectual property and knowledge will bring creativity, inspiration and interpretation to acquire new customer in newer markets in new normal times will help come out in a better strategies than the competition.

If the understanding of refence of Kahlil Gibran and Socrates is implemented then the crafted vision will be to develop an innovative proposition for tourism services either by co-creation, licencing of intellectual property, self-creation for various tourism experience environments specially when distance is back will work as a competitive advantage.

The tourism originality will define human explorations’ and added information and technology integration from year 2020 with an emphasis on the contact-free economy and delivery of experiences aligned with hospitality services in sync with global public-health ecosystem. In new normal the role of food, wine and tourism will further get onboarded with industrial heritage explorations as new generation will move on virtual reality.

The destination authorities at some level have to control the content to manage authenticity. The tour operators have to let go of image portrayal and work towards creating impact by selling with greater awareness of what is real and true. In the new normal customer feedback management will require a comprehensive fact base knowledge managers. The plans to establish sustainable, responsible and inclusive revival and growth strategy will put the visionaries through both short and long-term planning as the world has undergone uncertainty and complexity. The changing industry supply chain, consumer consumption to explore the cultural identities, market positions, social processes and power relations within tourism & hospitality sector attractiveness will drive customer acquisition.

My journey in travel and tourism sector started with experiencing the destinations, purchasing and consuming from interdependent sub-sectors and understanding reasons people travel. I came to conclusion that perception of price, quality and value drives the sales.  The product creation today will be more beneficial and meaningful for identity construction of a tourism business for future geographies.

Let’s speedily recognise, facilitate, get involved in the creation of tourism experiences and believe that the customers have changed and it’s REDO attitude all the way to survive anything involved in the tourism related businesses.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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Dr Sachin Bansal

The author is the Founder and Chief Explorer® of ‘City Explorers Private Limited, India’ and with two decades of experience, he has multiple flagships functional in the arena of community impact and destination product creation within tourism industry. As a destination branding specialist, he has coined the conceptual acronyms and led the co-creation through ‘Experiential Delivery in Tourism (EDiT)™’ and ‘Resonating Experiential Delivery Outcome (REDO)™’. For IP related enquiry or for more information can reach Dr. Sachin Bansal on [email protected].

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