Competitive advantage for hotels through the means of co-creation

According to Peelen & Beltman (2013), co-creation is a form of open innovation. “The word itself hints at the creative contribution of more than one person or entity. At a given time in the creative process there are multiple partners contributing to the creation of something through an innovative network platform.  The needs and desires of the end user are the starting point, not the technology, the patent, the factory-made building blocks. They think that co-creation will save costs and reduce the time-to-market, reduced risk failures and no need for expensive last-minute adaptations to customer needs since the potential users have already been brought on board earlier on. 

Co-creation is of importance in the hotel industry as it will create unique experiences which is valued by customers. This is what they are looking for nowadays and creating unique and memorable experiences for customers is of paramount importance for tourism service providers to remain competitive. (Roeffen & Scholl-Grissemann, 2016)

There is an example of incomplete online co-creation, the Starwood’s Marriot Travel brilliantly initiative. This is an online platform that invites guests to submit their ideas and to vote on the other ideas. But this is just a suggestion box online. This is not a continues collaboration with the end-users. This is more a market research on a personalized online channel, hence it’s not resulting in concrete co-created solutions. None the less, ideas generated by an online suggestion box aren’t worthless, it is however just a tool of the complete co-creation process. The tools and their output will only result in the much-needed competitive edge when they link straight back to the strong insights of a customer. Furthermore, it needs to be further developed into implementable solutions through the direct collaboration with the end user. When the guests feel that they are valued for their inputs and are seen as expert of the customer experience part, only then will they feel that they are really co-owners of the created experience (TheCoCreators, 2015).

Co-creation has 4 principles, which are the so called; DART principles. This stands for Dialogue, access, risks and transparency. These principles are used to construct a series of rules and sequencing of steps to guide to co-creation process. Thus, these principles can help the hotel industry to start their co-creation process. It starts with a precise question; real life cases have shown that wide-ranging questions do not provide sufficient guidance to produce a constructive end result. Next is proper phasing, and to involve the right people. Furthermore, choosing the right format and motivating accordingly is of importance. Then deploying the right techniques and providing feedback to the customers is very important. (Peelen & Beltman, 2013)

By implementing the process of co-creation into your hotel the right way, it will transform the hotel’s clients into ambassadors if they think their opinions are valued. Thus, complete co-creation is a key factor for hotels to gain competitive advantage.

References

Peelen, E., & Beltman, R. (2013). Customer knowledge strategy. In E. Peelen, & R. Beltman, Customer Relationship Managment (p. 93-115). UK: Pearson Education Limited.

TheCoCreators. (2015). Co-Creating the Hospitality experience. Retrieved from TheCoCreators: http://new.thecocreators.com/co-creating-the-hospitality-experience/

Roeffen, D., & Scholl-Grissemann, U. (2016). The Importance of Customer Co-creation. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag .

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