Nowadays people trust other customers and their experiences more than the ones of a Marketing Organization. Fear of manipulation makes people leery; therefore it is in this technological century more than ever important to gain the customers trust. One theory which could support trust empowerment is the concept of “Co-creation”. This concept is used because “Many organisations find it advantageous to engage the customer in the development process.” (Peelen & Beltman, 2013)
In a Destination Marketing Company it could be important that the customers, who have already been at the destination, write reviews or blogs or share pictures of their experiences with the organization. The DMO can then use this material on their website, also personalized, to become more trustworthy. In addition, it emphasizes that what they promise is true. Also the customers are engaged more effectively because they are creating content for the website of the DMO. This gives the DMO the opportunity to react upon positive or negative reactions by customers and therefore make them feel involved and heard. Following this process, the customers are emotional engaged due to the fact that their experiences are shown in public and therefore their published contents can also seen as a reward.
In the end, all that really matters is to become more profitable as a DMO. To reach this goal it is also vital to gain the consumers trust and loyalty. Customers who trust a company and moreover feel understood and engaged in a company, are willing to book their vacation again at this specific company. To maintain profitable it is essential for all companies to enhance customer loyalty. Encouraging people to be directly involved in the services of the DMO supports additionally the chance to move customers up in the Pyramid of Relationships (Peelen & Beltman, 2013) and also to keep them as a loyal customer in the future.
To underline the circle of the co-creation theory with another theory, the Moment of Truth (MOT) can be used (Moran & al, 2014). This theory explains that there are four Moments of Truth: The Zero MOT is when the customer is looking online for information about the interested service of product and is therefore checking reviews of other customers, who the influence the purchase decision. The First MOT is when the customer is purchasing the product or service and the Second MOT is when the customer is experiencing the service or product. The Third MOT is the last stage in the circle because it is when the customer shares the experience with others e.g. as reviews in the internet. This information can then be used for other customers who research a destination before purchase in the Zero MOT. (Moran & al, 2014) Thus one can say that the Zero MOT and the Third MOT are substantial for the co-creation theory.
The Lanzarote DMO works with co-creation on their website as well. They created a Google map and the customers can send the organization pictures and blog entries about experiences on specific places on Lanzarote. The visitor can click on the different pictures of tourists and can read the different real life experiences. (Turismo Lanzarote, 2015) This persuades the customer more than if the pictures and descriptions come from the organization itself because the fear of manipulation and untruthfulness is bigger.
Another way of using Co-creation is the use of testimonials of “experts” or “prominent people”. This can underline credibility and trust towards the organization even more. Hamburg Tourismus is the DMO of the German city Hamburg and they make use of so called “Hamburg experts” which are listed on their website. These experts are chefs, designers, photographers, owners and Burlesque dancers and everyone is described with a brief profile and a quote about the city. In addition one can see some favorite places, tips and other attention catching ideas about Hamburg. (Hamburg Tourismus GmbH, 2015)
Therefore, co-creation can be used to engage customers directly or enhancing credibility through experts quoted on the website of a DMO, both helping to create trust, loyalty and profitability.
Hamburg Tourismus GmbH. (2015). Unsere Hamburg Experten. Retrieved October 2015, from http://www.hamburg-tourism.de/erleben/unsere-experten/im-ueberblick/
Moran, & al, e. (2014). Consumer Moments of Truth.
Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer Relationship Management. Pearson.
Turismo Lanzarote. (2015). The images of visitors. Retrieved from http://www.turismolanzarote.com/en/panoramio.jsp