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On the 23rd of January 2021, the master class 2019 from the Department of Innovation & Management in Tourism at the FH Salzburg (Salzburg University of Applied Sciences) turned into consulting teams and delivered innovative ideas and prototypes for products, events and services to the destination management organization of Altenmarkt-Zauchensee.

Innovation in a year of standstill

The 3rd semester master’s students had the opportunity to apply their knowledge in a real-life project. To make this possible during a worldwide pandemic, the innovation process was moved online. The partner tourism destination was the innovative Salzburg destination Altenmarkt-Zauchensee, which I have had the pleasure to work and co-create with and consult on tourism experience design. Together, many unique experiences and transforming moments have been developed into new offers since.

The destination management organization decided to use especially this time of standstill as an opportunity to start the new era with new ideas. The major focus was on the innovation and further development of the tourism offerings and increase of overnight stays, especially in the “Firn Zeit” period of March and April. The objectives refer to innovative experiences offers that allow: Sustainable competitive advantage, media exposure, eWOM, and WOM with the core of unique moments and extraordinary experiences. Especially the post-pandemic world is looking for an immersive experience that falls out of the ordinary and offers personal meaning and transformation.

A firework of ideas based on design methods and tools

Field research, internet research and in-depth interviews with local tourism operators and businesses have been conducted, to get to know the destination, to identify the needs and potential collaboration opportunities. Along with the destination’s values and a full review of the existing strategies of the destination, ideas and prototypes have been developed that cover the three main areas: events, packages, online and offline marketing. The recommendations were developed based on service design methods, such as Personas, Ideation, “A Day in the Life” and Prototyping and many more. All ideas are dedicated to embodying the brand value of the destination and taking experiences to the next level.

The importance of Experience Design

With an online presentation on the 23rd of January 2021, the consulting teams presented the developed ideas and strategies to the managing director of Altenmarkt-Zauchensee Tourism Mag. Klaudia Zortea with her team around Lisa Gappmayer and Lisa Klieber as well as the managing director of Zauchensee Holiday Pearls Roland Dolschek .

The final words of Roland Dolschek very well summarised the importance of Experience Design in Tourism:

“What I realized again today is, that Tourism is more than selling our clients 6 overnight stays, a 5-day ski pass and heating up the fireplace. We need to think differently, stop swimming in the same water and start to implement new ideas into our concepts.”

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