Thursday, August 6, 2009

Tourism Enterprise Opportunities - Section 2 - Enterprise Selection & Product Development

Index Page - Introduction - Getting Started - Section 2 - Section 3 - Section 4 - Section 5 - Appendixes

Section 2: Enterprise Selection & Product Development

Section Objectives

* Understand ways to identify tourism enterprise alternatives
* Identify ways to gather information about tourism enterprise alternatives
* Understand how resources contribute to enterprise selection
* Narrow your focus to enterprises that match your situation.

What Do People Want and What Will They Pay For?

In this section two approaches to identifying tourism enterprises are described. Each approach will influence your selection of alternative tourism enterprises that best fit your situation.

Two basic methods for choosing a feasible type of operation are important to understand. The first is to find out what tourists want and then offer it to them (e.g. allow access, build it, package it, etc.). The second method is to evaluate your resources and determine what you have, and then find out who is interested in it and advertise to them. Both methods are important for developing a quality, successful tourism/recreation enterprise. Combining these two perspectives will help you understand the tourism/recreation marketplace and your situation more clearly, which will help you select an appropriate tourism/recreation enterprise for you.

Perspective 1: What do tourists want?

A market perspective examines what different groups (market segments) of people want in a tourism experience. A market perspective determines what the tourist wants.

Perspective 2: What do I have to offer?

The resource perspective is based on the resources that you have available. This includes natural, historical/cultural, physical, human, and financial resources. Decisions about potential enterprises should be based on a careful assessment of available resources.

Combining both of these perspectives will help you understand the tourism/recreation marketplace and understand your situation more clearly which will aid your selection of an appropriate tourism/recreation enterprise.

In addition to these perspectives, we highly recommend the creation of an "Interpretive Plan".

Essentially this entails that you develop a strategy for gathering
information about your (potential) customers by conducting surveys of your customers. This process will help you select your products and develop your interpretive plan. Knowing and understanding your (potential) customer is, very likely, the single most important information that you need to be successful with your business.

Section 2 - Part 2: Enterprise Selection & Product Development

Market Perspective

What do people want and what they will pay for are two important, but challenging questions to answer. Currently, market information is not available from a single source for ranch/farm based tourism products like it is for traditional farm and ranch enterprises. Therefore, information about what people are looking for, and willing to pay for, requires a discovery process.

The following table identifies four methods of gathering information about the marketplace.


Find operations that are comparable to what you are thinking about and gather information about the requirements of that enterprise.

Web resources*

Many operations, and a wealth of information, can be found on the Internet. Most local libraries have computers for
public use.

Guest perspective

Visit a current operation as a guest and ask a lot of questions.

*Resources for finding comparables and Web resources are available within the Appendices.

Using the Comparables method described above, you will now begin analyzing the viability of a potential tourism/recreation enterprise. Begin by referring to Worksheet 1A, to identify your most promising enterprise. You will use this example throughout the remainder of the guidebook's worksheets. If you would like to examine multiple enterprises, use separate worksheets for each.

You should now complete Worksheet 2A. In this worksheet you will gather as much information as possible about comparable operations so that you can assess the viability of your chosen enterprise. The worksheet has a list of questions and examples to help you.

The following is a list of topics to guide how you gather information about each operation.

* Range of Activities and Services Price
* Costs
* Target Market(s)
* Promotion and Advertising
* Uniqueness
* Seasonality
* Capacity
* Operating Schedule
* Interpretation
* Programming
* Resources

Section 2 - Part 3: Enterprise Selection & Product Development

Resource Perspective

The resource perspective is based on the resources that you have available. This includes natural, historical/cultural, physical, human, and financial resources. Decisions about potential enterprises should be based on a careful assessment of available resources. Most ranchers/farmers are aware of the time, planning, and expense that are involved with developing new facilities related to traditional agricultural. However, many of the decisions that need to be made related to a tourism/recreation enterprise are different.

Resources and facilities planning should be considered carefully and thoroughly, because it can be the most costly of all parts of your business. For a start-up tourism/recreation enterprise we recommend that you be cautious about investing too much in new facilities until you have a clearer idea of who your customers are and what business you will ultimately be in.

This process can take quite a bit of time. However, you do not want to overburden a fledgling business with large capital expenditures. At this point you should be looking for those tourism/recreation opportunities that can utilize your current facilities with little modification.

To begin this process you should make a list of all your assets. What is ordinary to you can be extraordinary to someone else. By reexamining your site you may find that the old junk on the back forty can actually be used in a museum of historical farm operations or as props for interpretive tours on farm and ranch heritage.

Using the a list of your resources, you will create a resource map which will show the locations of the assets on your property. (For example of a resource map, click here.)

You should now complete Worksheet 2B and Worksheet 2C.

Section 2 - Part 4: Enterprise Selection & Product Development

Does the Enterprise Match My Resources and the Market?

Time constraints will determine what type of services and products you can offer in your operation. Create a list of things that currently require your time or make demands of your time or the resources of your place during each of the following time frames.

You should now complete Worksheet 2D.

Section 2 - Part 5: Enterprise Selection & Product Development

Interpretation Plan

Your story or interpretive program, is both a product that can be sold and a marketing tool to help get your message out. An interpretive plan is an important aid to develop this crucial part of your tourism/recreation product.

Definitions of interpretation
Interpretation as a word has several meanings. In tourism/recreation it has been defined in the following ways.

National Park Service: Interpretation facilitates a connection between the interests of the visitor and the meanings of
the resource.

National Association for Interpretation: Interpretation is a communication process that forges emotional and intellectual
connections between the interests of the audience and the inherent meanings in the resource.

Most simply, interpretation tells true and compelling stories of places, people, and events.

Is interpretation educational? Yes!

Is interpretation similar to school? No, the audience is not captive - they do not have to be in your audience, and they will leave if you are boring!

Effective interpretation
Interpretation must be pleasurable, relevant, organized, and thematic (Ham, S., 1992. Environmental Interpretation: A
Practical Guide for People with Big Ideas and Small Budgets. Golden, Colorado: North American Press).

People participate in nature and heritage tourism for pleasure. Certainly, this can involve learning, but it must be enjoyable.

People are interested in things that they care about - themselves, their place, their peoples' history, their concerns, etc. Effective interpretation builds on these interests.

Most visitors do not want to work hard to get benefits from their visits. We must make it easy for them to understand and appreciate what we are trying to convey. This is best done by carefully organizing the interpretative programs so the visitor knows "where they are going."

People respond to stories and concepts better than "just the facts." They remember general ideas and incorporate them into how they think and act. Thus, to effectively engage audiences, interpretation must have a clear story line.

Guidelines for Interpretation:

1. Relate what is being displayed or described to something within the personality or experience of the visitor.

2. Information, as such, is not interpretation. All agree that information is essential to good interpretation but it should not stop there.
3. Interpretation is an art, which combines many arts. Any art is to some degree teachable.
4. The chief aim of interpretation is not instruction, but provocation.
5. Interpretation should aim to present a whole rather than a part, and must address itself to the whole man rather than any phase.
6. Interpretation addressed to children should not be a dilution of the presentation to adults, but should follow a
fundamentally different approach.

Source: Tilden's Principles of Interpretation (Tilden, Freeman. 1957 [1977]. Interpreting our Heritage. 3rd edition.
Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.)

Start to think about the Story for Your Place.

Although you are not ready to complete an interpretive plan for your tourism/recreation enterprise it is important for you to begin thinking about what is special about you and your place.

You should start working on a interpretive plan for your place by completing Worksheet 2E.

Explore further resources for Interpretation.

Index Page - Introduction - Getting Started - Section 2 - Section 3 - Section 4 - Section 5 - Appendixes

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