PROfessional Framework for Innovation in Tourism
Priority AxisTechnological and Social Innovation
Framework Conditions for Innovation
Lead partnerWesttoer APB
Project budget2 915 773 €
ERDF amount1 749 464 €
In the EU’s Blue Growth Strategy, the coastal and maritime tourism sector is identified as an area with special potential to foster a smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe. The fragmentation of the sector (tourism industry is an industry dominated by SMEs), the lack of innovation and diversification, the increased worldwide competition and the volatility of demand and seasonality are factors that prevent that this potential is exploited. To fully capture the potential benefits generated by tourism, the framework conditions for innovation, to be delivered by tourism SMEs, need to be improved.
The overall objective is to raise the profitability of the tourism entrepreneurs in the 2 Seas coastal economies by developing a strategy for innovation. By working on cross-border level, we create a critical mass to deliver framework conditions to improve innovation within these businesses.
By identifying the values of our destinations and using them in our business, by knowing our customers’ needs and very important our customers’ behaviour and by following trainings and coaching on innovation, these SMEs will be able to improve their services and products.
- Digital interactive data-analysis platform consultable by SMEs through personalised dashboards
- Sustainable Innovation methodology (service design) for SMEs in the visitor economy
- Approach for training and coaching businesses
- Strategy with action plan to stimulate innovation in SMEs
- Digital Innovation Toolkit with practical advice and inspiration for SMEs
- Cross-border innovation network for SMEs
Cross border approach
The common challenge requires a broader perspective beyond country borders. We will share knowledge and practice to improve the framework conditions for sustainable innovation for tourism SMEs. We will develop one digital interactive data platform that is relevant locally, nationally and transnationally, unlocking data and knowledge from all partner regions.
All partners have expertise in different areas and will lead on the actions according to their competences. Working with SMEs from 4 countries will make critical mass for innovation possible.
The PROFIT project entered an important implementation year in 2018. Following the creation of the digital platform in 2017, the platform has been refined & improved from a content perspective to support the implementation of all PROFIT activities. The platform has been expanded with an upload function to enable SMEs to share their data for data analysis. In addition, based on the data gathered & feedback of SMEs, HZ has developed a template for personal factsheets. In 2017-2018, HZ & Westtoer have carried out quite some experiments on analysing different sources of data & experiments on big data. A report has been written with a description of the experiments, the opportunities of each data source & the learnings for the future to share with as many stakeholders as possible.
The WP2 Service Design gave all partners the opportunity to engage SMEs across their region further, at a much closer level. In the Spring of 2018, we explored the needs of visitors in our areas. Using learnings on businesses’ needs, we came up with a tailored list of topics. We then secured experienced experts to go through these topics with our SMEs in a series of Expert Panels. After bringing together SMEs & visitors in co-creation workshops, we transformed the winning ideas in the 5 regions into a set of Action Plans. Published on the platform alongside a short video explaining the process, these resources are now being used to inspire tourism SMEs onto new products & services. All learnings are gathered in a ‘Sustainable Innovation Methodology’ report.
WP3 saw the partnership embark on an exciting phase of developing & implementing a shared Innovation Program for all partners based on the outcomes, results and themes defined during working on DNA, Big Data & Service Design. Over 400 SMEs & stakeholders already attended Innovation Master Classes. These have served as a useful filter to identify key tourism SMEs who are ready to commit and go further with personal coaching and Innovation Plans.
The planning of 2 ambitious Inspiration trips has been set up and a Think Tank has been created to share experiences, lessons learned, strategies & methodologies used in PROFIT beyond the partnership.
In 2018 the platform has been boosted with a lot of new inspiring content and became a true Innovation Toolkit for SMEs.
Suffice to say, the maturity of the partnership, cross border working and the way in which the common framework approach to WP2 & WP3 is now rolling out is yielding results.