In general, tenders are too price-oriented and on the size or “importance” of the participating agencies. In many countries, tenders for international services in tourism or MICE are extremely bureaucratic, characterized by a widespread lack of understanding for the subject in question and are always based on what has been customary up to now and has also worked at some point. Maybe.
Guys, how is this supposed to work? I speak for service providers who want to work with destinations on creating better and more sustainable products and the corresponding “marketing”. But the thoughts may also apply for company tenders to creative agencies and many more “affected people”.
I’ll take Spain as an example: This country is abundant with new projects, ideas, developments and innovations with regard to a more sustainable future. Whether private companies, universities and research, municipalities and individual providers in the MICE/tourism sector: ideas are there.
But these ideas need to be part of overall destination strategies and the local travel industry has to accept the need to deal with radically changing situations. Heat waves are getting longer and hotter, water supplies are declining sharply around the world, forests are burning. And we still act like there’s perpetual growth in hotel stays, arrivals, hotels?
Tourism (in a broader sense) is still too often seen as a stand alone, mainstay of the local economy. Judged by growth, rather than its (potentially significant) role in solving strategic challenges – and threats – to the destination from climate change. Tourism and changing attitude towards travel are to be considered in the big picture – new forms are necessary and, yes, painful cuts cannot be avoided. Like in all other areas of life.
More quality to the supply chains instead of mass and numbers. More consideration for nature, people and local conditions. More ideas to involve visitors in useful projects. The future – if there is to be one – is based on re-thinking, new paths, new learning.
How does all this find its way into tenders? It does not. The best solution must be sought, not the cheapest or simplest. Financial risk is shifted from destinations to agencies. Where here is justice, fairness, sustainability and the will to change? Pioneering work must be daring and risks must be borne. Fairly shared. More funds for more staff and less participation in the ever same events will also produce new ideas and employees who are motivated to help shape the new future.
The MICE and tourism industry moves dreamlike and comfortably in long overdue spaces – time to wake up.
You want large agencies that take high financial risks for tenders? They will not dare to leave the “tested” paths. The risk is too high for them – ditto see above.
Dear tourist offices and convention offices around the world: If you don’t change the way you tender, you will continue to spend a lot of money on many activities that have become useless, for the sake of convenience. Stressed employees will burn out and the big investors will ensure that everything really stays the way it was. Growth. Full hotels. exploitation of resources.
Sustainable innovation and mass tourism? Bad combination.
Visitors must be seen as a valuable building block in the development of sustainability and holistic destination strategies. They must (and may!) learn and be involved. And, by appreciating the beauty of the destination shared with them, they must also support it in sustainable development.
Previous nepotism is not made up by super inflexible tenders now. There’s so much in between. Innovation = courage. Risk. Uncertainty.
Bureaucracy has never been known for creating great new approaches.
My demand therefore: deeply think-through new approaches to marketing destinations and discuss them with innovators. Adapt tenders and not just base them on price or the mainstream. Create new intermediate solutions for more flexibility and quality. Collaborate with all stakeholders on site and allow creative projects. Create risk funds for innovation in promoting your destination differently. Big companies do that, why not destinations?
by Johanna Fischer, MD of ecomice by tmf dialogue
Germany, 27.July 2022