My Langhe and Roero Experience and EcoTips Travel Lab: two Creators of Transformative Experiences recount some challenges
My Langhe and Roero Experience and EcoTips Travel Lab participated in Apical’s FB Community “Pilot in talks” event. Do you want to know what questions, concerns, and solutions Creators like you have that offer Transformative Experiences? Find out about them by following the double interview!
A few weeks ago, two creators who participated in Pilot 6 met live on Apical’s FB community to exchange views and talk about their projects, touching on some very important topics such as the challenges they are facing as they grow. These challenges are different in some cases, while in other cases they are shared and understood by both sides.
The creators of the Pilots in talk event discussed in this article are: EcoTips Travel Lab and My Langhe and Roero Experience.
Diletta, Giorgia and Maurizio have created EcoTips Travel Lab, a tour operator in the beginning stages, and they deal with outgoing to various world destinations and incoming as far as eastern Sicily is concerned at the moment, while they are slowly expanding to the rest of Sicily and the smaller islands, on which they already have several projects.
Francesca of My Langhe and Roero Experience is a destination manager, started her own incoming tour operator project and works in the Langhe, Roero and Monferrato area. Francesca is involved in stays related to the field of wine, food and outdoors.
During the interview, Francesca tells that this year she decided to focus more on the delivery of individual experiences. It has, in fact, a list of experiences that can sustainably and transformatively engage and hopefully leave something behind for the traveler.
A common vision
As they tell their stories, the Creators find a common understanding of how nowadays it is extremely easy to find mainstream travel with standard, unengaging experiences. They agree that
sometimes it can seem comfortable to stand firm on the classic experience
, able perhaps to excite the traveler and leave him or her satisfied with the destination. At the same time. However, these scenarios lack that extra something, given by authentic and engaging experiences that connect the traveler with the local community, which carries on ancient traditions and can showcase and bring to life more of the identity of the area rather than simply hosting the visit. The presence of a local community that offers experiences and opportunities to tourists can make a stay truly special.
Both creators go in search of small details for experiences that are not mainstream and advocate going for truly authentic activities that can differentiate the product from outdated, mass tourism offerings.
What superpowers do you need to have to find those small realities in your local area that make for an authentic and sustainable experience?
At this point, Francesca asks what superpowers are needed to find these kinds of realities that can be translated into innovative, authentic, and sustainable experiences. This question arises for her since,
within the small area in which she works, she struggles to unearth this kind of reality
Bonnie replies that it is not easy for them either. In EcoTips they started in their area, the Ionian-Etnean area, a strategic area where there is so much to do and see. A tourist tends to spend only two days in this area, but there is much more. The most important thing, Bonnie explains, Is to have a network, to know people who have the same vision. For example, participate in trade fairs is a great way to meet people and, for his team, many insights came simply by talking about the project to people who may not even be in the industry such as artisans, farmers, etc.
In some cases this has been a cue to start collaborations through which to offer experiences that do not necessarily arise from the tourism industry.
Why is it sometimes difficult to form partnerships?
Francesca, on the other hand, tells that on some occasions, collaboration has not begun because small entities do not trust entering into partnerships: in some cases he knows how a certain activity works and would like to develop it in a certain way to make it as authentic and unique as possible, but there are often brakes on the other side. This is precisely why he prefers ideas to come directly from producers. In addition, many agencies stay on the mainstream because they are afraid that small entities do not have the skills or quality to deal with hosting. This is also because they struggle to have enough local knowledge to really trust the realities. It is a challenge shared by all those smaller and/or nascent projects. In conclusion, the solution would be to start small slowly, getting to know and trust each other-the strength lies in moving forward slowly but well.
What is one of the key elements for the growth of travel projects?
Bonnie agrees and says that sometimes people get stuck on an idea because it has worked in all the previous years, and rather than risk a little, change and rely on someone’s advice, they prefer to continue down that path.
He goes on to explain that in reality, as they too could see during the Pilot,
the transformation continues indefinitely
. Indeed, transformation is a key element in the growth of a project but also, for example, in laying the groundwork and questioning oneself and the initial idea. Sometimes this is lacking in potential partners but, fortunately, at the same time there are a lot of people who are open to the changes and sustainable footprint you want to put on products and experiences.
Diletta concludes, and sets the stage for another topic, with a rhetorical question (but not too much either!): What can make a tour and stay sustainable? First, the choice of stay and the choice of experiences.
Sustainability of Experiences and Repeaters
In the course of the double interview we thus come to a closely related topic. And Bonnie makes an example of this:
, that is, those visitors to a destination who choose to return after a certain amount of time, may find completely different opportunities than the first time they visited the place. We must, therefore, dispel the myth of repeaters’ tourism by reevaluating the idea of returning to places where you have been. The traveler who returns to where he has already been and perhaps made a classic visit, all the more reason he needs to go and find that special thing for which a place is worth visiting again .
Francesca, connects to a not insignificant problem, that of overbooking. In fact, he explains that in August/October he receives more reservations than he can sustain and she would like to be able to create a relationship with repeaters in which they can be trusted and advised in such a way that they return at other times, deseasonalizing the offer and thus offering experiences of local culture and tradition that are typical of other times of the year. In this way, it is possible to involve local communities even more and create impact and transformation.
In our opinion, the interview is very interesting and offers excellent food for thought .
You can follow it entirely by watching the live recording in Community!