At the end of November, while still online, the students involved in the MOTION project had the opportunity to work out for the whole week using the methods of Futures and Design Thinking, solutions and new sustainable tourism services. What distinguishes the MOTION project and intensive, daily meetings is the ability to develop solutions to problems in real organizations that are partners of our project. As part of each international and multicultural team, it was necessary to improve an existing or creating new tourism services, and each group presented the developed results on the last day of SPRINT, during which a representative of the interested tourism organization participated.
In order to be able to equip students with the necessary knowledge that will help to implement the project, practical lectures were conducted during the week-long course, thanks to which the students could more easily implement the next stages of their projects, namely:
– the term customer journey and five different phases: awareness, consideration, acquisition, services and afterwards;
– creating a “persona” who could be targeted by the company as a potential customer;
– gather ideas, using e.g. the brainwriting- / 6-3-5-method
– prototyping, i.e. after selecting the best idea and creating the first project;
– prototype testing;
– final idea.
The first team had to develop services for the tourist organization “Walk in Granada” (Spanish based tourism company that provides both free tours (where the customer pays what he thinks the tour was worth), and private tours in Granada and also in other cities of Spain). The main question for team, was how the company can get some income now while they’re waiting for the recovery of tourism. The “Online Experience” initiative has become the end product. Every week in the Online Experience section, the company will upload funny, educating and interesting videos, each about 10-15 minutes long, tackling a new topic. From wine talks, food, sports, history, hidden secrets and mysteries to urban legends and much more. Tourists can propose the topics on the social media accounts if they want to, so they really have an impact on the content of the videos and feel like their choice matters. They will be able to learn about things they might not even be able to learn about or see while doing a normal tour and they will be given more in-depth information about each topic. Under the video there would be a chat where tourists have a chance to participate in a discussion. There should also be a possibility to choose subtitles in more languages than only English and Spanish. The second product is live broadcasts and the last idea is individual online guided tours.
The second project focused on the Kona Coast Cafe. After analyzing the market, the team noticed that it is worth changing the client’s profile from a “tourist” to an inhabitant of Toruń and the surrounding area. Also, the strengthening of the “Kona Coast Truck” operation, along with the addition of a few of the most popular dishes (in addition to beverages) will expand the profile of the cafe, not to mention increased distribution. During the image-building activities, the team saw that the Instagram activities should be strengthened (but also the Kona Coast Truck should be repainted so that customers would like to photograph the truck themselves and place it in their social media).
As with the first two organizations, ABAQ, which is a Spanish destination management company, has been affected by COVID-19. The challenge of another team was solved by creating “The New-Age Events”. “The New-Age Events” is an online platform for customers to create their own special and customized events. Although online tours are the first association, here the group focused on communicating living and spending time together when it is not really possible. Examples of such activities include organized conferences, meeting or party based online.
Büdl’Farm as an agritourism farm in Germany was an organization that was analyzed by another team of students as part of the MOTION project. In this case, the agritourism farm is characterized by high seasonality, mainly in summer, and the students were to try to expand the organization’s portfolio so that tourists would visit it also in the remaining seasons of the year. Due to the research carried out by the team, there was a reluctance to travel through COVID-19, it was necessary to think of a different path to extend the services offered to customers / tourists. The team developed the concept of “godparents” who can take care of animals online. Also, due to the age structure, it was proposed to send a newsletter with information about the current situation on the farm. Another idea proposed by the group, but on a local scale, is to provide ecological food products.
Another case was that of MB Verdenus who offer boat trips across the Curonian Lagoon with an authentic fishermen´s sailor boat. The company’s problem was that they want to reduce the dependence on the demand generated by tourists from Germany and to attract customers from other countries. Once again, the competences of an international team of students allowed us to look at the problem from a new perspective. Through the analysis, it was pointed out that the priority should be updating the website, adding also the English language version, a photo gallery and information about prices. Also, increased activities in social media will bring the desired effect of opening up to the Millennial generation or Generation Z.
The last project was to improve the products offered by Husky & Yoga Nature, LAPLAND, and in particular how to attract customers from abroad. The group’s idea was based on product development, where at the beginning customers were to try to feel the atmosphere of sled dogs through online tours, but with the possibility of viewing through VR glasses. The second area is (also online) connecting to nature through yoga and high-quality sounds from Lapland.
Looking at the projects implemented during the week, which contained not only ideas for improving products offered by organizations, but also sample projects and visualizations. Thanks to the work of international and intercultural teams, the proposed ideas and solutions, which were presented at the final meeting, aroused interest among the managers of the organizations whose problems were being solved.
It is also worth paying attention to the complementarity of activities during the intense work week – each day began with a lecture, during which step by step was explained what, why and how to use particular methods and tools, as well as project activities in which teachers participated in each time they could give advice.
Partners in project MOTION are: Laurea UAS (Finland), Kiel UAS (Germany), Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń (Poland), University of Granada (Spain), Klaipėda University (Lithuania) and municipality of Monachil (Spain) Associate partners.