Offline and online co-creation within hostels

Co-creation is involving customers in the innovation process and can be described as a creative, social and active process which is based on cooperation between users and producers with the goal of generating value for customers (Stanke, 2016). Co-creation can be done online and offline. Online co-creation could be for instance through social media. Offline co-creation within a hostel could be for example to involve customers in painting a wall in the hostel. What would be the best way for a hostel to co-create with its customers? And how can hostels engage in this way with its customers?

First of all, there are different advantages of co-creation and why it would be useful for hostels. For example, it can make a hostel more customer-oriented, it can improve the relationship with its customers and innovations can become more successful (de Koning, 2010).

To give an example of co-creation within hostels, Daniel Beaumont was working in 6 different hostels across the world and interviewed hundreds of tourists to find out what are they looking for when visiting a hostel. From his findings, it was clear the ‘’modern day traveler’’ is looking for a memorable experience. In order to create this memorable experience, co-creation could be implemented. He has seen co-creation within hostels for instance by travelers who were decorating the hostel and got a free meal or accommodation. Another form of co-creation were travelers who were doing volunteering activities such as reception work, gardening, guide guests around etc. In addition, travelers were writing cookbooks and creating a wall with messages and pictures from travelers. These are all forms of offline co-creation (Beaumont, 2016).

Before defining online co-creation, it is important to understand what online communities are, or so to say ‘’virtual customer communities’’. In online community’s users generally have a common interest and they are engaged in conversations online where they share their experiences with people who have similar interests. One form of online co-creation could be of a community which is hosted by a third party like Facebook or Instagram. Another form of online co-creation is a community created by a company, in this case a hostel. As a hostel owner, reading the experiences of former travelers is important as these opinions can improve further services or products offered at the hostel (Stanke, 2016).

What can be concluded is that neither offline would work better than online co-creation for hostels. I believe that a combination of offline and online co-creation would work best for hostels as with offline co-creation travelers are directly involved in the creation of value for the hostel by doing actual activities whereas online co-creation gives feedback or recommendations for improving the hostel. By involving travelers in the creation of a new product or service, travelers will feel taken seriously and this can lead to a greater relationship and in this way travelers will feel more engaged with the hostel. By implementing co-creation, the memorable experience can be created.

Sources:
Beaumont, D. (2016). How to create the ultimate hostel experience. Retrieved September 20, 2017, from http://www.hostelskills.com/skills/create-ultimate-hostel-experience/

de Koning, S. (2010). Five types of co-creation. Retrieved from https://www.slideshare.net/sannedekoning/five-types-of-cocreation-3881999

Stanke, T. (2016). Co-creation With Online Communities: What Are The Benefits And Risks For Companies? Part 1: Co-creation and Online Co-creation Communities. Retrieved September 20, 2017, from http://www.brandba.se/blog/2016/1/27/co-creation-with-online-communities-what-are-the-benefits-and-risks-for-companies-part-1

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