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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development Rural experiential tourism focused on wellness and wellbeing activities linked to the Routes of Olive Tree Henna Konu, Anselmo Caporossi, Anja Tuohino & Juho Pesonen University of Eastern Finland


Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

Contents 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................................................... 3 1.1 Background........................................................................................................................................ 3 1.2 What is a tourism product? ............................................................................................................... 4 2 Identifying unique resources ................................................................................................................ 7 3 Understanding customers and markets as starting point for product development ........................... 6 3.1 Identifying customers ........................................................................................................................ 6 3.2 Linking destinations and tourists – creating targeted offerings ........................................................ 8 4 How to develop a good rural wellbeing tourism service? .................................................................. 12 4.1 Content for the products and services ............................................................................................ 12 4.2 Stakeholder collaboration ............................................................................................................... 16 5 Promoting and marketing developed offerings .................................................................................. 20 5.1 Marketing tourism products and services ....................................................................................... 20 5.2 Plan the marketing strategy ............................................................................................................ 20 5.2.1 Offering oriented approach .......................................................................................................... 20 5.2.2 Customer oriented approach ....................................................................................................... 20 5.3 Reaching customers – introducing new offerings to the markets ................................................... 23 6 Central aspects in developing transnational tourism products .......................................................... 26 REFERENCES .......................................................................................................................................... 28 Appendix 1. Identifying a customer ....................................................................................................... 30 Appendix 2. Product card ...................................................................................................................... 31 Appendix 3. TOOLS FOR MARKETING STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT ......................................................... 33 Offering oriented approach................................................................................................................... 33 Customer oriented approach ................................................................................................................ 33 Appendix 4. WellOlive Experiencial Tourist Packages .............................................................................34

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

1 INTRODUCTION 1.1 Background Wellbeing is one of the fastest growing international tourism trends. Despite this, there is still room for nature based well-being supply on the international market. Based on the customer research in rural wellbeing tourism context (Pesonen, 2015), it can be argued that transnational wellbeing tourism products in rural areas are regarded interesting and appealing. This is supported by the facts that people still prefer short holidays (up to four nights), travel with family and to near-by countries (Pesonen, 2015). Wellbeing in rural areas is connected to natural resources and quietness. This includes moving around in the nature and eating local food. Customers also appreciate the tourism businesses are environmental friendly and show this in their communication and other activities (Pesonen, 2015). There are several aspects that need to be considered when thematic transnational tourism products are developed. Here transnationality is understood as a principle of carrying out an action across national borders. Collaborating locally and globally. In any attempt to develop and promote wellbeing tourism in rural areas there is a need to be aware of and build relationships beyond the local borders. This can be done by various ways (emphasized later in this report). Tourism enterprises are central stakeholders in rural wellbeing products. Without a supply, there would hardly exist a demand and an inflow of any importance of tourists to destinations. Service providers might consist of a variety businesses in diverse fields such as accommodation facilities (hotels, B&Bs, camping sites, cottages, etc.), catering (restaurants, food stalls, farm shops, retail outlets etc.), transportation (public transport, car, bicycle, boat hiring, lifts etc.), information and guiding services (visitor centre, museums, outdoor guides, etc.), and attractions (events, museums, sites in nature, water-based entertainments etc.) (Hjalager et al., 2015). In addition, a very large variety of services relate to health and wellness, and spa, fitness, and health related and medical packages, often intermingled with social elements and traditional tourism activities at the premises and outside(Smith & Puczkรณ, 2014). This multiple variety of services provide a starting point when a tourism package is developed. Diverse products may compose different service modules and be targeted to diverse target markets. Hence it is difficult to recommend very precise and categorical measures and certifications programs, which specify the way to establish, increase, maintain, and promote quality in the wellbeing tourism products in rural areas. Nevertheless, certain approaches and activities, such as common criteria, shared perspectives with diverse stakeholders, collaboration and networking, support these issues. At organization level, following guidelines and recommendations can be followed in order to support the rural unique selling points, quality and innovation (Hjalager et al. 2015):

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

Defining and imaging the rural wellbeing product ingredient

Ensuring a visual and physical interconnection with the rural environment

Linking into add-on activities in the rural community

Specifying quality at the sub-industry level

Professionalizing staff and services

Improving and innovation on a continual base

Collaborating locally and globally.

Main aim of this handbook is to give perspectives to experiential rural tourism design, management and promotion. This handbook aims to provide guidelines on how to design, manage and enhance rural experiential tourism focused on wellness and wellbeing activities, identifying related challenges, risks, and opportunities (Well-O-Live SWOT Analysis). This handbook also provide an overview of the shared methodology of design, management and promotion of experiential rural tourism focused on wellness and well-being activities in the Well-O-Live project.

1.2 What is a tourism product? Tourism product can be defined in two distinct ways: 1. A total tourism product – includes a combination of diverse elements or components a tourist consumes during a trip. 2. Tourism product as specific components (e.g. accommodation, attractions and transportation) that are offerings of individual tourism businesses. (Koutoulas, 2004; Middleton, 1989.) Later on in this report, tourism product refers to the total tourism product that comprises from a set of tangible and intangible elements (Carmichael, 2005). Tourists are seeking to experience certain activities or attractions at a destination, and consuming a tourism product, including bundle of services provided by diverse service providers, offers tourists opportunities to access experiences sought (Koutoulas, 2004; Volo, 2009). Hence, tourism service/product is also referred as a tourist experience. Therefore, a tourism product can be defined both from a consumer perspective and from a service provider perspective. From a provider perspective, the tourism product composes from diverse service modules (e.g. accommodation and activities) that are specific service products provided by a single company or several companies at the tourism destination. From a consumer perspective, tourism product refers to the total tourist product as a tourist will have an experience from the whole trip regardless of whether the tourism services are bought separately or as a package (Medlik and Middleton, 1973). Both the customer and business perspectives need to be considered when tourism products are developed.

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

The figure 2 presents the prerequisites for customer-oriented tourism product. The development of a customer-oriented tourism product should pay attention to all the three components of the product. The essence and core of a tourism product is the service concept. The service concept response to customers’ needs, interests and motivations and communicates what value the product aims to bring to the customers. Hence, this includes the value proposition for a customer: what is the experience and value customers will have if they bought the product. The service process includes all the services that enables the experience. The service process composes from all the service modules such as accommodation, food, diverse activities, that makes it possible for a customer to gain the experience defined in the service concept. This includes also the interaction between customers and service providers. The service system is the environment and settings where the product is provided for a customer. This includes the natural environment and other destination resources as well as other internal and external resources. As transnational context, this includes the resources of all regions and stakeholders that are involved with the tourism product. Service system Internal resources (Staff, Leadership), External resources (Physical plant, cooperative partners, Equipment, Destination resources), Image, Hospitality, Business mission

Service process For the customer: Visible components of the service For the company: Modules, blueprints

Service concept The idea of the customer value, based on customer needs → Experience

Figure 2. Prerequisites of Customer-Oriented Tourism Product and Service (Source: Komppula & Boxberg, 2002; Konu, Tuohino & Komppula, 2010; modified by the authors).

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

1.3 Structure of the report The content of this report constitutes from the central themes that are important in transnational service development. These are the local resources that formulates the service system and also the service process with existing tourism services. In addition, it is central to have customer insight when products and services are developed in order to find out what are the experiences customers are looking for. To develop these kinds of services, emphasis should be put on collaborative activities, especially when transnational products are developed. The tourism products and services should be marketed in an experiential way and hence the marketing perspective is discussed in the end.

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

2 Identifying unique resources The starting point for thematic transnational product development is identifying the unique features and resources for that particular theme of product offering. A (rural) wellbeing destination composes from the local resources, service structure and from supporting activities such as destination policy and planning, and development and management (see figure 3). When a destination plans to develop its profile and activities it should examine and evaluate all these three levels. This should be done in order to find out how the existing structures and resources support the development activities but also what are the issues/attributes/things that need to be developed.

Supporting wellbeing resources and factors:

Wellbeing tourism destination

infrastructure, superstructure, hospitality, destination atmosphere

Core wellbeing resources and attractions: unique wellbeing destination features, such as natural and cultural resources, traditional healing/therapeutic/wellness/wellbeing resources

Wellbeing destination policy and planning: strategic palnning, vision, goals, policies network collaborations, monitoring and evaluation

Wellbeing destination development and management: human resources, training, eduaction, stakeholder networks, quality programmes

Figure 3. Wellbeing tourism destination (modified based on Bjรถrk et al. 2011, Sheldon & Park, 2009). The starting point is to identify what are the core resources that are central for developing a theme related product or service. On other words:

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

What are the unique features that can be used as core resource of the thematic product? The starting point for the examination should be the resources and attributes that are considered special for rural wellbeing purposes. These may be connected to existing tourism activities, but include mainly natural resources, cultures and traditions. The service providers need to pay attention to their local environment and base their supply to these authentic features (Hjalager et al., 2015). The central resources for rural wellbeing tourism product, things that will bring the unique selling points, may be identified by examining and evaluating the resources and capabilities by the following criteria (Hjalager et al. 2015): 1. Valuability. What kind of value the resource will bring to the product? What is the value customer experience when the resource is utilized? 2. Rarity. The resource may be rare, which means that other enterprises and destinations do not necessarily have the same opportunities, and they cannot immediately create such resources. These are, for example, resources embedded closely into natural environments. Being in possession of these resources will give the area a special advantage and potentially higher returns. 3. In-imitability. In case that a region or an enterprise has a control over the resources and the resource combinations that do not exist other places, it is hardly possible for anyone else to install competition. This is a consequence of natural environments, but also of intellectual property and add-ons. 4. Non-substitutable. Meaning that only these resources are considered the “right” one for the purpose and for the customer, and that it is hard to come up with for example technological “fixes”, that can substitute fully or partly. For example, particular kind of olives specific just for a certain area or to certain purpose. The core resources of rural wellbeing tourism may be based on (Hjalager et al. 2015): 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Climate and weather particularities Rural flora Rural fauna Geologies Distance and remoteness

6. Urge of mobility 7. Connectivity between earth and water 8. Cultural landscapes and rural traditions

Local resources may be used as a part of many products and services. Utilizing natural resources used in diverse regions may bring authentic experiences to the customer and provide connection to the rural environment (Hjalager et al., 2015). These may be e.g. local natural resources that are connected to cosmetic products (Hjalager & Konu, 2011) or local customs and traditions that are connected e.g. usage of certain resources. For example, using olive oil traditional way for beauty purposes. The intangible heritage can be connected to products and services by embedding stories that are connected to the resources or to special places or dishes (Hjalager et al., 2015).

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

Consider also accessibility issues in resource mapping. When resources are identified, the service providers need to provide solutions how the customers can experience these resources. From product development perspective, this means that the services need to be translated to products and services that can be sold and bought; the developed products need to be available in diverse distribution channels and detailed information about the availability and suitability of the product are provided. Accessibility also means accessibility of the destination (and resources that enable the accessibility, such as transportation and roads) and accessibility to the attractions at the destination, e.g. trails and tracks. If the main attraction is e.g. an olive grove, there should also be agreements with landowners that enable usage of the area. For instance, the olive groves may act as a resource that provide olives and activities related to olives, such as olive picking, or the groves may act as a beautiful landscape that is admired or it may be a setting for diverse activities such as hiking or yoga. Hence, in addition of identifying a resource it is important to express the diverse ways how it may contribute to the tourist experience. Accessibility also means the availability of information about activities, trails, maps or other services at the destination. Customers are expecting experiences that are stimulating all the senses. It is important also to recognize and identify resources that can provide these kind of multi-sensorial experiences. This may be e.g. actively involving customers to olive oil making process in which they can get hands-on experiences that stimulates also other senses than sight. As the figure 3 suggests the resource mapping should not just focus on the core resources but also the supporting resources and structures should be identified and mapped. For instance, the tourist can get add-on experiences in the local communities when they get possibilities to participate in courses or events organized in rural areas or villages (Hjalager et al., 2015). It needs to be recognized that not only tourism enterprises provide services for tourist but also e.g. other micro-businesses and lifestyle entrepreneurs operating in rural areas can be valuable resources for wellbeing tourism and provide e.g. services connected to the local traditions and culture (including local food or guiding services). The wellbeing destination development and management (in Figure3) includes also human resources. In tourism, and especially wellbeing tourism services, is central to have professional and skilled staff. In tourism, sector safety issues are important especially in activity services and wellbeing and wellness products (Hjalager et al. 2015). Skilled staff is connected e.g. to the educational structure of the region. For tourism professionals it is important to be able to serve customers with different languages. In addition, diverse written information should be available in diverse languages. The identification of the central and supporting resources will guide the product development process and eventually helps to create profile for the offering sold under the certain theme. Naturally, all regions and countries have their unifying features that other areas do not have. The main goal for a transnational product offering is to identify what are the common features and resources related to that theme and how they can be translated to transnational product criteria or guidelines. This does not mean that the individual regions cannot have the unique features; nevertheless, it means that the smaller regions can differentiate themselves as unique destinations under the main theme or “umbrella�, as in this case under the Well-O-Live theme.

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

Starting point for transnational product development - Identify main criteria for the products sold under the theme (collaborative process) - Develop the transnational criteria for the offering - Develop national/regional criteria for the offering if needed - Base the development activities and promotion material on these criteria

Identifying resources for Well-O-Live The Well-O-Live offering is based on the principle of valorization of local endogenous resources, thus creating the basis for overall sustainability not only of the tourism product but also of all its components. This approach allows the direct involvement of all the various local stakeholders that will contribute to its development, maintenance and dissemination while also guaranteeing its quality level. In Well-O-Live project mapping of central resources were made in Spain, France, Croatia, Italy and Greece. The mapping specified to particular regions that have traditions on tourism activities build around olive resource, are connected to the Routes of the Olive Tree or are planning to develop tourism based on the olive resource. The mapping was done based on extensive criteria the wide set of criteria are connected to e.g. landscape, gastronomy, heritage, olive mills, accommodation, restaurants, museums and diverse activities. For collecting the resources from each of the areas, a common database was developed. The database included diverse criteria that were used to describe the resources in detail. All the regions and destinations of Well-O-Live are located in rural areas where the cultivation of the olives is very strong and the production of the olive oil is one of the main driven economic and business factors of the area. Respecting this approach and methodology, e.g. the choice of the accommodations in each selected region, corresponds to particular and specific architectural styles, consistent with traditional and typical local architecture. All the partners, together with the regional stakeholders, filled the central information to the database. The collected information was then systematized and analysed to be used in further activities.

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

3 Understanding customers and markets as starting point for product development 3.1 Identifying customers Developing a product or a service should always start from the customer. Identifying the right target markets is not an easy task – especially when the goal is to attract potential customers. Individual businesses may have a clear picture about their target markets’ needs and preferences. However, in transnational level it is challenging to identify the suitable markets. So how to identify:

What are the customers’ needs and interests? How these needs can be fulfilled? In transnational level, the first step is to look for information already available on markets and customer segments that are interested in things the region and service providers are able to provide based on their resources. In the context of rural wellbeing tourism, there are studies that have focused on examining especially the needs of the particular target group. There are several ways to categorize potential customers for the services. Customers can be segmented based on several ways including e.g. demographic factors (e.g. age and gender), geographical location, activities, interests and opinions, and benefits sought. There are several studies available about different target groups and their preferences.

You may check diverse sources to find customer information, see e.g.: - Academic research papers - National reports/studies about target groups (e.g. provided by national travel organizations) - Regional/local studies and customer surveys - Trend reports - Tourism statistics - Social media channels, e.g. diverse activity groups In rural wellbeing tourism, the interests and motivations are the main feature that should be looked in the customer identification process. Information is available related to rural and wellbeing/wellness tourists. However, there is less information about rural wellbeing tourists. Some recently made studies have nevertheless examined especially rural wellbeing tourists and their motivations and interests. For instance, Pesonen and Tuohino (2017) identified several product/service categories in which rural wellbeing tourists were interested. These categorizations were based on customer evaluations on the local resources and offerings available at the destination.

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

The identified product/service categories were: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

Treatments and spa Slow living Exercises Alternative medicine Local Life Wilderness Outdoor adventure

8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

Meditation Eco-village Outdoor activities Learning nature Walking in nature Museums Sleeping

Based on the interests towards certain activities and services, service providers may start to build the activities based on the resources that they have. The resources and services are selected and the offering is developed in a way that correspond to the needs and interests of the customers.

There may be lack of information especially about small niche customer segments. The service providers may also use diverse tools that help to identify the potential target in order to find out their preferences additional studies should be made. The studies may utilize diverse methods and include customers into the development process as such. At transnational level, the stakeholders involved in the product development and service provision should have a shared goal in terms of what kind of customer groups they want to attract. These issues should be discussed in transnational level. The agreed target group can be rather wide at transnational level, e.g. wellbeing tourists. However, certain countries, regions or product packages can have more specified niche target groups, such as yoga tourists or tourist interested in slow life. Identifying the more specific target groups is also important in order to better reach the target markets. For instance, according to Pesonen (2015) noted that traditional media is good way to reach people interested in slow living, alternative medicine and museum products, experts should be used in marketing of treatments and spas as well as exercise activities, and getting personal information is important for those enjoying wilderness services and outdoor sports. In identifying the potential customers, the customer profile card presented in Appendix 1 can be used.

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

3.2 Linking destinations and tourists – creating targeted offerings After the potential target groups are identified, it is important to match the demand and the offerings. To do this it is important to use time for thinking what are the existing resources or services that would correspond to the customers’ needs.

Offerings for specific target groups – identify following issues for each target group - Characteristics of the segment (activities, interests, motivations, socio-demographic features etc.) - Analyzing the main selling features of existing offerings and resources related to the specific segment - Products and services that can meet the needs and interests (including where these are available, product descriptions etc. in detailed level)  Plan development activities accordingly - Identifying distribution channels through which the potential customers may be reached The development of transnational products may be done different ways. It can mean that existing products or services are packaged different ways to match better to customers’ needs, new products are developed together with customers, and unified product criteria are made to emphasize the commonalities of offerings sold under a transnational product theme. Ideally, the transnational products include all these things. But how to actually do this? Several different methods can be utilized. One possibility is to use mass customization. The goal of mass customization is to transform services to experiences. The experiences will occur when customers can get what they want. In need to be noted that the beautiful settings or events do not necessarily guarantee that the experience will be memorable. Cost-effective customization means that the company's products should be designed as the smallest, mutually compatible but separately available modules; at best these modules also consist of intangible things such as stories or information. The product range should be designed to meet the needs and interests of the desired customer group (customer segment). These modules should be pre-purchased and bookable (online!) so that each customer can assemble the product

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

range exactly for his or her needs and interests. Pre-booked entities can be implemented costeffectively. For example, lunch included in a tour can be selected in advance from two or three available options, instead of offering the same to everyone. Manuscripts of guides and other staff as well encounters with customers can be planned in advance. In a case that one of the modules is not available for sale, it can be removed from the range. As here the focus is on thematic tourism product development, the development should be built around a specific and clear theme. The theme can basically be anything from a specific event to cultural element, but the central point is that the theme represents the values and the specialties of the destination or a firm. This makes the product more interesting and credible. The theme will also help to make concrete solutions during the development process. In thematic product development, all the details of the product should be designed in a way that they support the theme. This includes e.g. all service modules and service processes form the service providers perspective, and from customer perspective enables the customer to experience the theme with all senses. At transnational level, it is essentially important that the whole service chain pays attention to the theme and to issues it is related to.

Customers for Well-O-Live The specific touristic target group for Well-O-Live offerings is people who seek a wellness travel experience. People belonging into this target group are generally healthy to start with, and they seek for therapies to maintain their well-being and want to include cultural, natural and gastronomy experiences into their holidays. The members of this target group belong to the upper-middle income classes with a spending capacity normally higher than that of other tourists. These travelers prefer specialized holidays over general mass holidays, especially in the more mature tourism markets. For Well-O-Live, offering three main sub-segments of this group were identified based on previous studies: 1. The target group of 28 to 33-year-olds and between 33 and 40, with period of personal stability. Tourists of this age generally tend to choose more committed holiday forms, such as those aimed at encouraging cultural experiences, to practice natural excursions and different sports activities or aimed at acquiring new abilities. 2. The target group of 40 to 45 and between 45 and 50 with greater economic possibilities. This group more often associate with specific healthy gastronomy, cultural interests, recreation and experiencing nature, to discover and to live new interesting local attractions, to enjoy local traditional folklore with particular reference to dance and music, the opportunity to enjoy a different and full experience which goes beyond the simple contact with cultures, people, places or landscapes. 3. Those over 50 to 65 with goals of health and psycho-physical well-being, seek new, authentic experiences or treatments and they have an interest in special wellness, health and food offers. In addition, this segment has an interest in services with mind-body retreats, nice and traditional accommodations, good service, good food, leisure and cultural activities and participation on traditional local folkloristic activities. The type of the holiday life and the kind of experiences travelers want to have during the free time, become a motivational element that may be prevalent or integrated with other needs. The wellness fall into this category. The experiential forms of authentic tourism means increased contact with the territory embraces local products, food and traditions.

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

Many of wellness and wellbeing tourists, with particular reference to those ones of the Olive Oil Route, are motivated by the same factors as wellbeing tourists: they seek relaxation, escape from busy jobs, peace and quiet, sports, and healthy gastronomy, combined with cultural experiences and visiting. Even in this case, an Olive Oil holiday as a product means peace and quiet, an easy-going and warm atmosphere, nature, scenery and activities related to nature, traditions and culture. In the organization of a holiday, the key elements are the value for money and the beauty of the place. The ability to lead a healthy lifestyle, comfort and usability of the tourist attractions of the place and eating well are the other significant elements, those ones able to influence the choice. Their motivations can be defined as psychological needs and wants, which include internal forces that trigger, direct, and integrate individuals’ behaviors and actions. Olive Oil and tourism have already been for long intensely linked sectors, as olive oil-growing regions usually are favored landscapes with rich cultural heritage and a smooth, southern climate and therefore attractive for visitors. Guests taste olive oil, visit cellars and are attracted by the olive oil growing culture, olive oil producers profit from tourism expenditure, develop special tourism offers thus diversifying their product assortment and sources of income, the tourism destination sharpening its profile and gaining more attractiveness. A trip represents the tourist and can express many aspects of his personality: his lifestyle, his values, his more stable habits. However, an important push to travel is also derived from the current needs of an individual, who at different times of his life can dream and choose very different holidays. The motivational reasons for travel of the typical traveler of this tourist product are related to several factors which emerge the improvement of their well-being through holidays to meet physiological needs (e.g. rest or care), to search for or express prestige , to evade from everyday life, their cultural enrichment and the desire for knowledge. Touristic reasons may obviously vary and include other forms such as: • Tourism as a pleasure of curiosity, which leads to the search for forms of travel connected with exploratory or cognitive activities (eg hiking or training trips); • Tourism as a dream to realize, trying to experience life contexts that are not accessible on a daily basis and are therefore considered attractive. • Each traveler builds its own tourist expectations and an "interior image of each journey" that poses among its possible choices; this involves assigning a meaning to the vacation that it drives in comparison with some internal aspects, making it more or less likely a choice. The quality of a tourist destination and the satisfaction of tourists are among the elements to take into account to improve the management and promotion of a tourist area and destination. The proposed tourist packages are built taking into account those elements and respond to the needs of the potential visitors, affecting the intention to repeat the trip, since elements like the image of a destination or satisfaction of a trip positively affect the loyalty of tourists. To summarize, Well-O-Live touristic package is able to respond and satisfy the following four customer segments: * Senior customers: offering of products and services related to personal wellness, healthy food, cultural and folkloristic attractions. * Business customers: offering of products and services related to the possibility to acquire knowledge about the process of olive oil and its peculiarities.

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

* Families as customers: offering diverse products and services for their relaxation and matching with different recreational activities to enjoy their free time. * Mature customers: offering products and services able to satisfy their wishes and expectations related to personal wellness and recreational desires with cultural, sports and recreational activities.

Photo album from WellOlive Blogger Experiences

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

4 How to develop a good rural wellbeing tourism service? 4.1 Content for the products and services The rural wellbeing tourism is not a well-specified category of tourism products and services (Hjalager et al., 2015). Hence, the offering need to be open for constant change. Being innovative in service development will bring competitive advantage related to other destinations/businesses. The businesses and service providers should hence involve diverse stakeholders to the development processes. For instance, staff can assist and bring new ideas for innovation processes (Hjalager, 2011). In addition, customers are the experts on what they are interested in experiencing. In order to develop a successful tourism product or a service both customer and business perspectives of the tourism product need to be examined. Storytelling the place of the item creates content for the services. The story of the place helps to identify the customer in a place and to facilitate the experience. At best, the story can create a cling to the feelings and hence the thoughts and thus to the whole of human life. Local people are the most important part of the story. People's authenticity and place-bound identity reinforce the traveler's experience. Local residents must be involved in developing tools to improve the visitor's enjoyment. By getting to the local people and their stories, the customer can also be attached to the landscape and the place. Each spot has its own identity that separates them from all other places. Attractive hooks in a place's story add to interest to visit the place and to identity to the destination. A multifaceted landscape experience revitalizes. More and more tourists nowadays want more than just to see and watch. Aesthetic pleasure is especially associated with sight and hearing, but other senses can also be involved in understanding beauty. Therefore, the product should utilize systematically different senses, in which sensory stimuli are designed according to the story, and thus the element of the product can be elevated by the variability. Especially in rural tourism, making or doing in nature relaxes. The landscape is enjoyed through many activities that enhance the experiential aspects of a rural wellbeing tourism service: e.g. nature trails, bicycle trails, berry picking, routes to ancient relics and museum tours. The product card template in Appendix 2 can be used in identifying the product characteristics.

Well-O-Live offerings – From national level to transnational The Well-O-Live concept embraces different and interconnected values directly and indirectly linked with the territory of southern Europe and olive producing regions. The concept is connected to the themes and values of the Routes of the Olive Tree for promoting sustainable and quality tourism in Europe, strengthening European identity, disseminating the richness of European traditional cultures. The idea is to offer a new and integrated experience to the traveler that could enjoy the pleasure of wonderful places, rich of natural attractiveness and cultural sites and heritages, testing high quality olive oils, discovering the history of the place where will spend its holiday and enriching his knowledge about local traditions. The touristic packaged developed are based on a set of criteria that embrace

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

high quality standards performances and on the sustainability of the touristic product itself. The criteria used for ensuring the quality of the touristic product are: • Sustainability of the touristic destinations; • Possibility to match different local resources and available services in order to develop an integrated touristic offer with an average quality standard; • Selection of local accommodations according to quality standards as located in rural areas, close to interesting cultural sites and heritages, possibility of easy transport and connections toward the cultural sites, realized according to traditional architectural styles; • Accommodations with a high reception level; • Development of different itineraries, planned according to special requirements, with different integrated touristic solutions in order to satisfy a large range of needs and expectations of the final user; • Quality customer service: a diverse range of information material that meets the customer’s enquiry of the touristic destinations and travelers will receive services focused on to respond to their needs and expectations, based on a proactive approach; • Continuous improvement in customer service by delivering assistance and consultancy to staff and operators; • Developed tourism experience packages with local operators; • Consultation with local operators about relevant data collection and sharing; • Timely information: Offering easy access online information about the touristic destinations and touristic packages at anytime from anywhere. Providing information to the visitor at their fingertips. Either online or in person a customer to receive current information to enhance their visitor experience. Caring for the online customer to enhance the visitor experience of the region. • Verifying the level of cleanliness, hygiene and security of the chosen accommodation facilities.

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

Matching the offering to the needs of customers The starting point for the activities was to find out how the Well-O-Live offerings can match to the identified needs of potential customers. The identified customer needs were: • Availability of good quality reception services • Possibility to visit local olive oil producers and to know about its production process • Possibility to stay in structures and location immersed in green and quietness • Possibility to taste typical olive oils together with other traditional food products • Opportunity to visit localities and historic sites of particular importance • The opportunity to visit and enjoy natural beauty spots • Opportunity to have leisure opportunities in terms of participation in traditional local and folklore events • The opportunity to enjoy traditional and good quality food • Opportunity to practice outdoor sports activities that support personal well-being • The opportunity to stay in traditional and good-value traditional accommodation facilities • The possibility of using personal treatments for the wellbeing of the person • The opportunity to know and live local customs and habits To match these interests and wishes following actions and issues were considered in the development process: • The selected destinations and the touristic packages developed are identified on existing traditional accommodations with high quality reception services for their guests, with viability to speak English • In the selected destinations, there were identified different olive oil producers where it will be possible to visit and to know the olive oil process • Each touristic packages developed include different traditional accommodations located in the rural areas, immersed in natural landscapes and in rich green areas. • The touristic packages provide visits to farms and mills that produce olive oil where is possible to taste the product • All selected tourist destinations are rich of historical sites and heritages of particular cultural interest. The tourist packages selected the main museums, galleries, monuments and other cultural attractions available in the surround areas. • All the touristic packages developed cover destinations which are rich of natural landscapes and attractions of particular beauty where is possible to make unique excursions. • In the selected touristic destinations are available during different seasons of the years different traditional local events as festivals on local arts, music and dance, on tradition gastronomic products an various forms of folkloristic events and initiatives • All the selected destinations are distinguished by the presence of traditional cuisine rich in varied and high quality food gastronomic products • The touristic packages developed provide the opportunity to practice different outdoor sports activities related to the specific environment of the destination, as cycling, walking, fishing, riding, surfing, diving, claiming, swim and others • Each touristic packages developed include different traditional accommodations mainly located in typical hotels and guest houses according to the traditional architecture of the sites where they insist

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

• The touristic packages provide destinations, accommodations and information that include the possibility to use different personal treatments as massage, sauna, spa, different natural and biotherapies and other services and facilities for personal wellbeing • The selected touristic destinations are known and renowned for their hospitality, offering to their guests the opportunity to interact with local habitants, to know, and to acquire those distinctive features of local culture • The touristic packages offer to the travelers’ different well combined and structured packages that include different activities, covering cultural and natural excursions, visits to the farmers and mills, participation to local traditional events Developing the offerings Spain/France/Croatia/Greece/Italy Olives You & combined transnational products The starting point for the national product offerings was the resource mapping done in the region. A tour operator started to develop product packages based on the central olive related resources for each destinations. During the development process, the tour operator familiarized itself with the locations and services offered in each region. Based on the information available, they developed drafts of tourism packages to the regions. Each partner was requested to read carefully the database and to select from each sector its preferences. We based the tourist packages on these answers and after that; we send again the ready program for approval and feedback. Each local partner together with local travel agencies and other institutions selected the products. The products were supposed to include components that were identified from the customers’ needs and following the criteria of Well-O-Live (mentioned above). E.g. regarding the accommodation the criteria was to choose agro-tourism type of accommodation that would highlight cultural specialities and the ones with most strategic location for the whole program. In terms of gastronomy, there should be providers that have e.g. rich gastronomy menus with local specialties and connection with olives. The first drafts of the products were then send to regional partners and they were asked to evaluate and comment the suitability of the products. In addition, the local DMOs were included into the package development process and their perceptions of the functionability of the products were mapped. The regional stakeholders gave their opinion about the products and they were encouraged to give additional suggestions for the products’ contents if suitable. The products were modified based on the comments and suggestions of regional stakeholders. The descriptions of the Well-O-Live offering is available here: http://wellolive.eu/vacation-packages.html. During the process, altogether five (5) local touristic packages were developed, one for each country involved: in Italy for the province of Brindisi; France for the Rhode Alpes region; Spain for the Catalonia region; Croatia for the Dubrovnik region; and south Dalmatia and Greece for Kalamata region and Peloponnese. In addition, two transnational touristic packages were launched. One product includes activities in France and Spain and the other activities in Italy, Croatia and Greece. These transnational touristic packages focus on the full range of themes, which have high potential and value for the sustainable development of tourism in the selected regions.

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

4.2 Stakeholder collaboration The customer’s good and memorable experience can be achieved through cooperation. It is a good idea to build cooperative models for regional cooperation:

"Together we are more". Any person or group with an interest in the organization’s activity is referred to as a stakeholder. Stakeholders can be divided into different categories depending on not only their level of interest and their potential to influence the decision-making process of an organization, but also on the destination level. First of all, in development activities the stakeholders and their subjectively perceived contribution need to be identified. The collaboration activities usually need someone to facilitate and manage the process. The versatile profile of diverse stakeholders will give multiple perspectives to the issues in hand and the collaboration may also bring totally new ideas to be discussed. Informal and formal networks and networking are important for the growth of businesses, product development, packaging and for the opportunities for future development. It is rather difficult to small- and mediumsized tourism enterprises (SMTEs) to maintain their competitiveness that without collaboration – especially at transnational level. There are several diverse ways for collaboration, such as sharing resources and information, develop joint marketing strategies and facilitating new innovations. Following list summarizes the main identified benefits of collaboration in tourism sector.

Benefits of collaboration in tourism (Konu & Smith, 2017): 

Creating complementary goods and services

Improving quality of goods and services

Levering more resources

Moving from competition to ‘coopetition’

Increasing productivity

Sharing and expanding knowledge

Developing joint marketing strategies

Improving competitiveness

Increasing innovation

Fostering entrepreneurship

Affording new business opportunities

Creating holistic experiences of destinations for tourists

Transnational collaboration may have a lot of diverse challenges. Nevertheless, there are some recommendations and suggestions that can be taken into in transnational collaboration (Konu & Smith, 2017).

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

1) It is important to ensure that there is a committed and strong leader for the collaboration activities 2) The funding need to be on sustainable base and it should be allocated to diverse tasks that support the collaboration (e.g. establishment, research, implementation and monitoring) 3) Identification of common resources and services, and assessment are they strong enough to build a brand around them 4) Ensure that the consumer research is robust at diverse levels (transnational, national, local) 5) Important to be aware about the national agendas and how those relate to the collaborative activities

Efficient and involving service development is central issue when transnational products and services are developed. There are several different tools and methods available. Service design methods can be used for many purposes starting from the exploration, heading to creation, reflection and finally implementation. The methods may be used to strengthen the collaboration with diverse stakeholders or involving customers or other actors to the service development processes. There are several good handbooks for service design so these methods are not discussed here in more detail. However, if you do not have the skills or time to go more deeply into the topic, you may try to find suitable collaborators that can provide the facilities and methods for your purposes.

Experience Labs of Well-O-Live - Developing regional offerings and collaboration by utilizing service design methods Experience labs (XLab)

Experience Lab is a training programme focused on improving destination management and marketing knowledge, addressed to local operators, students, service providers and anyone who is interested in improving his knowledge about service design, travel marketing and destination marketing. The workshops have different durations according to the needs of territories (lasting from a weekend to a month), they usually have informal settings and are conducted by expert teachers, that engage participants to work on specific tasks with a focus on the involved territory. The Well-O-Live Experience Labs differed a bit on their implementation based on the needs of each region involved. Implementation of the XLabs in Well-O-Live context

In Nyons (south-eastern of France), the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Lyon has liven up a workshop with various target companies, a special expert in social & media marketing and the participation of three French local partners as Nyons Convention, Visitors Bureau and the Afidol (French Association of olive producers). The social’s expert, Alessia Clusini, has presented innovative strategies related to the highly attractiveness of a territory … even with a small budget! An argument that has risen a great attention of all people. ‘‘Do a lot with a small budget’’ it was a bit the lead of the X.LAB in Brindisi, where the Italian partners (the Municipality of Brindisi and Destination Makers) gave also a special name to the event. DTalks as Destination Talks - highlighting the particular importance of the interaction and the debate about how

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

to increase online sales in the travel market by digital marketing, innovation in the food & wine industry, public funding opportunities for SME, territorial marketing. The Dubrovnik’s Experience Lab, hosted by Development Regional Agency DUNEA, focused more on the olive oil culture and traditions. Destination Makers presented the contents with the collaboration of University of Eastern Finland and local best practices about oleo tourism and rural tourism. Aim of the 2-day Dubrovnik’s Lab was to present how to create new offer using the personal and less known products of the destination, in this case Oleo tourism and rural tourism. The common logic behind the valorization and management of cultural and natural heritage became evident at the Greek Kalamata X.LAB, where has been presented an innovative management scheme for olive tree heritage in the region of Messinia. Among the Kalamata XLAB participants were individuals or bodies actively engaged in alternative tourism development, but also culture and cultural heritage, as well as collective solidary actions for local sustainable development, concretely: professionals in the tourism & catering sector, entrepreneurs, but also trainers, researchers and artists. The main goal of the Barcelona X.LAB was to improve skills and capabilities of professionals in the tourism sector, thus helping them facing with changing tourism market expectations. Directorate General for Tourism of Generalitat of Catalonia has coordinated the elaboration of the “Comprehensive Olive Oil and Tree Tourism Database” with the valuable help of University of Eastern Finland-Centre for Tourism Studies.

Experiences of stakeholder cooperation in Well-O-Live Stakeholder cooperation has been implemented mainly at the local level in each partner country through project activities. Experience labs gathered together actors across the sectoral bounds to network and discuss about cooperation under Well-O-Live theme. Meetings involved both public and private sectors, including e.g. representatives of various associations, local professionals (e.g. olive oil producers) and future professionals (students), tour guides, tourism operators as well as academics,

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

tourism experts and entrepreneurs. Participants have the opportunity to identify several best practices from other countries, regions, or by other local stakeholders. The benefits of the each lab for each target groups were recognized and they learned from each other’s. Professionals and entrepreneurs increased their knowledge and competence in different types of tourism experiences and identified some best practices. For students, labs act as forums to learn practices for their future activities. Foreign speakers from partner countries brought their international contribution and expertise to the events, while local speakers were experts in wide range of issues related to olive oil tree. Public-private partnerships were condensed. Based on the feedback, participants saw the interdisciplinary approach very useful and important especially in raising awareness of the opportunities around olive oil and olive trees. Each labs also fostered a reflection about the offer diversification and allowed a creation of a new Well-O-Live concept. Participant gained new insights from others and were very satisfied with networking possibilities events offered. Their expectations also exceeded. In addition, some follow-up activities have also planned. Especially in Kalamata and surrounding regions, Well-O-Live has gained important visibility, too.

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

5 Promoting and marketing developed offerings 5.1 Marketing tourism products and services In service industries, such as tourism, it is essential to know the customers’ needs and interests. To be able to serve the customers the best possible way, the customers need to be taken into account in all activities, including service development and marketing activities. As it has been discussed, the tourism product is always experiential which brings own challenges to marketing it. Tourism product is both experiential and entertaining, which create its own challenges in marketing a tourism product. For example, customers may believe more peer-to-peer than marketers’ messages when making their purchasing decisions, with the exception of public marketing in some cases (Cox et al., 2009). Especially foreign travel is usually expensive and travelers spend a lot of their time for searching information before their decision-making. Therefore, it is important that they will not be disappointed with the choices made, as tourism products have no right to return such as goods if the experience is disappointing.

5.2 Plan the marketing strategy Businesses/destinations may utilize different marketing strategy tools. Here two diverse approaches are presented: an offering oriented and a customer oriented. The tools are developed by Pesonen (2017) and they are based on traditional segmentation methods (Pesonen, 2013), to AIDA (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) model, to Business Model Canvas (https://strategyzer.com/canvas/businessmodel-canvas) and/or to the literature of digital marketing (Benckendorff, Sheldon & Fesenmaier, 2014).

5.2.1 Offering oriented approach

The products and services of a business/destination act as starting points of the offering oriented marketing strategy. The target markets are identified based on the products and services available and suitable markets are chosen based on the characteristics of the product/service. The businesses/destinations that have an offering oriented approach can serve customers well when they have enough customer information and they understand customer needs and desires. The tool for offering oriented approach is presented in a table form in Appendix 3. In this case, the tourism products and services are listed in the table starting from the most important one. The business/destination need to identify target groups and how the communication messages and marketing activities for each product/service and recognize how the activities will help customers to find the product, information about the product and how the interest can be transferred to buying behavior.

5.2.2 Customer oriented approach

In the customer oriented approach, the starting point is the customer segment and what kind of value business/destination can offer for the customers belonging to specific segment. Customer oriented business/destination aims to first place develop and maintain long-term customer relationships. The

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

products and services developed based on the customer needs and the developed offerings are seen as a core to maintain profitable and long-term customer relationships. The tool for customer oriented approach is presented in a table form in Appendix 3. The starting points are different customer segments and their needs and interests. The aim is to develop unique customer experiences targeted for the particular customer segments. The table may include both existing target groups and offerings targeted to them but also potential segments and services that are planned to be developed. The customer segment may be very narrow. In this case, marketing and services focus on customer experience and creating customer value, not just product or service itself. By doing this, businesses will have the opportunity to develop new products and services in terms of how they can create value for different customer groups or segments. Often, enabling customer experience requires cooperation between producers/companies, as an individual producer/company may not be able to provide all the products and services needed to create a customer experience.

Developing marketing strategy for Well-O-live offering – an offering oriented approach As the aim of Well-O-Live project was to create and promote new thematic tourism products, the offering oriented approach was chosen. In the first phase, the typical Well-O-Live tourist target group was identified. Then, different sub categories mainly related to the age of the typical tourist of the Olive Oil Touristic Route, and its interactions between the age groups and the different set of motivations, expectations and needs for choosing a holiday were distinguished. As a result, the following three (3) main sub categories were recognized: • The target group of 28 to 33-year-olds and those ones that are in the period of personal stability, between 33 and 40, tend to change their lifestyles by turning them into more stable and series forms that move tourists of this age to generally choose more committed holiday forms, such as those aimed at encouraging cultural experiences, to practice natural excursions and different sports activities or aimed at acquiring new abilities. • Those belonging to a range of ages 40 to 45 and those between 45 and 50 are often accompanied by greater economic possibilities and involve the choice of tourist destinations more often associated with specific healthy gastronomy, cultural interests, recreation and experiencing nature, to discover and to live new interesting local attractions, to enjoy local traditional folklore with particular reference to dance and music, the opportunity to enjoy a different and full experience which goes beyond the simple contact with cultures, people, places or landscapes. • Those ones over 50 years old and up to 65, with goals of health and psycho-physical well-being, seek new, authentic experiences or treatments, they have an interest in special wellness, health and food offers. In addition, this segment has an interest in services with mind-body retreats; they expect an excellent atmosphere, nice and traditional accommodations, good service, good food, leisure and cultural activities and participation on traditional local folkloristic activities. Following the target groups needs and interests and the related products and services offered were identified:

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

TARGET GROUPS NEEDS AND INTERESTS

PRODUCTS AND SERVICES OFFERED

Availability of good quality reception services

The selected destinations and the touristic packages developed are identified on existing traditional accommodations with high quality reception services for their guests, with viability to speak English

Possibility to visit local olive oil producers and to know about its production process

In the selected destinations there were identified different olive oil producers where it will be possible to visit and to know the olive oil process

Possibility to stay in structures and location immersed in green and quietness

Each touristic packages developed include different traditional accommodations located in the rural areas, immersed in natural landscapes and in rich green areas.

Possibility to taste typical olive oils together with other traditional food products

The touristic packages provide visits to farms and mills that produce olive oil where is possible to taste the product

Opportunity to visit localities and historic sites of particular importance

All selected tourist destinations are rich of historical sites and heritages of particular cultural interest. The tourist packages selected the main museums, galleries, monuments and other cultural attractions available in the surround areas.

The opportunity to visit and enjoy natural beauty spots

All the touristic packages developed cover destinations which are rich of natural landscapes and attractions of particular beauty where is possible to make unique excursions.

Opportunity to have leisure opportunities in terms of participation in traditional local and folklore events

In the selected touristic destinations are available during different seasons of the years different traditional local events as festivals on local arts, music and dance, on tradition gastronomic products an various forms of folkloristic events and initiatives

The opportunity to enjoy traditional and good quality food

All the selected destinations are distinguished by the presence of traditional cuisine rich in varied and high quality food gastronomic products

Opportunity to practice outdoor sports activities that support personal well-being

The touristic packages developed provide the opportunity to practice different outdoor sports activities related to the specific environment of the destination, as cycling, walking, fishing, riding, surfing, diving, claiming, swim and others

The opportunity to stay in traditional and good-value traditional accommodation facilities

Each touristic packages developed include different traditional accommodations mainly located in typical hotels and guest houses according to the traditional architecture of the sites where they insist

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

5.3 Reaching customers – introducing new offerings to the markets The most important issue in reaching customers is to:

“Make services easy to find and buy”. Today, information and communication technologies create versatile opportunities and challenges for the tourism industry. Especially tourism marketing has changed and developed rapidly as tourists are adopting new technologies before, during, and after their trips. Therefore, it is important to analyze how technology affects tourism marketing and what kind of opportunities it creates for planning, executing, managing and measuring marketing. It is also noteworthy that today travelers rather prefer to watch videos about their planned destinations than to read old-fashioned text pages about them. This means that social networks allowing users to publish video content and discuss it have become one of the main channels of tourism destination marketing. However, it still needs to be noted that certain target groups prefer to use tour operators when they are planning and booking a holiday. The tour operators may be an important channel especially for nice tourism products that focus on some specific theme. Following things should be noted if it was decided to use tour operators as distribution channel: 

Identify TOs specialized to particular segments and highlight the issues of the offering that would appeal to their customers.

To be appealing for the TOs following information is relevant: - highlight the specified offerings to diverse segments as some of the TOs are also focusing themes/product lines that are very specific - the promoted products need to be existing ones and they need to have a product description and price

In Well-O-Live, the main emphasis after the product development was to make them known among diverse customer groups. For this reason, online channels were chosen as they enable to bring the experiential aspects of the products more visible for the customers.

Blogger experiences of Well-O-Live offerings Idea of the blogger experiences The aim was to convert the designed and developed Well-O-Live packages into authentic and singular quality storytelling process around the olive oil and tree destinations that add value for tourists, promoting experiences and activities that can be generated in and around destination themselves, and making them more visible and outstanding to all key-actors and general public. Therefore, the ultimate goal is making the olive tree heritage more accessible to the public beyond the boundaries of the landscapes, enhancing perception and branding of the “olive oil and tree identity” and of rural destinations involved.

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

Blogger Experiences are a tool, which enable to: 1. meet new demand behavioral patterns of buying and consuming the holiday experience; 2. ensure fulfillment of both residents and tourists; 3. allow operators and stakeholders to improve their involvement in the digital value chain. Destination makers provided all partners the methodological guidelines how to organize the fam trips, including guidelines what these trips should include. One blogger, one video-maker and one local expert compose the Blogger.X team. The blogger experiences were designed in a way that they lasted from three to five days and the trip included approximately ten relevant experiential activities that were also identified in the resource-mapping phase. The programme was developed in collaboration with local stakeholders, regional tourist boards and the project personnel. The main idea was to include products and services that are available for visitors and not just organized for the bloggers. In addition, special attention was supposed to put to the valorization of the site-specific olive oil and tree heritage and identity. Promoting national offerings – Spain/France/Croatia/Greece/Italy Olives You Altogether five Blogger Experiences were organized in 2017 in partner countries Italy, Croatia, France, Greece and Spain: Lyon: 15-18 May Brindisi: 4-7 June Dubrovnik: 11-14 June Barcelona: 19-22 June Kalamata: 26-29 June The Well-O-Live offering is aimed to be distributed by an innovative promotion through social media, considered as a sustainable tool to meet the ‘on-the move consumer’ needs and expectations. The promotion of the experiences was done through a live reporting and storytelling in diverse channels such as various social media channels and in guest’s blogs. In order to gain wider visibility, the contents developed with the blogger experiences are included in the “Crossing Routes – Blogging Europe" platform (http://culture-routes.net/), launched by the European Institute of Cultural Routes and presenting stories of bloggers who are travelling across Europe and experiencing the Council of Europe Cultural Routes. The blog posts of Well-O-Live experiences can be found here: http://blog.cultureroutes.net/category/wellolive-project/. All the visual material can be found from the links above and from the following sources: Videos on YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCnwwClJ7IbFjAzviCLf_jDg Photo albums: www.facebook.com/pg/wellolive.eu/photos/?ref=page_internal The content of the overall promotional material was created in a way that it is useful both for the promotion of the destination and the travel packages (e.g. the video presents the whole destination, including several activities). The bloggers were asked to write posts to their social media during the trip, to make quality pictures, to do at least one article on their blog, and the video-maker to produce one video for the whole trip (one for each destination).

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

Feedback questionnaires was used to develop the activities and gather the experiences of the relevant stakeholders. In general, the feedback was very positive and destinations visited met blogger teams’ (blogger and video maker) expectations, in some cases even surpassed. The overall professional satisfaction was very high. In addition to local places, history and especially gastronomy, bloggers enjoyed interaction with locals and local lifestyle atmosphere. Language barrier and time management were minor problems mentioned. Internet access is also essential in the case of blogger trips.

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

6 Central aspects in developing transnational tourism products The aim of this handbook was to discuss important aspects that should be taken into account when transnational thematic products are developed. The raised issues are elaborated with practical examples and experiences in Well-O-Live project. As mentioned, transnationality is understood as a principle of

carrying out an action across national borders. In addition, to be a successful tourism initiative attention should be paid to following issues:

1. Identifying and involving relevant stakeholders 

This includes all the service providers, local communities, customers and public actors in diverse levels (see figure 1). Identification of the stakeholders is the central starting point of the development activities.

Figure 1. Scopes in tourism development collaboration. 2. Harmonization of the concepts used. 

To ensure the quality of transnational offering and that all stakeholders are talking about same issues. It is essential that the understanding and presentation of the relevant concepts are identic, or at least understood in similar ways. Give a definition to the product/offering you are developing – What is the value proposition for a customer? What kind of values and themes the product aims to communicate?

3. Determination of the resources and building common framework or criteria for the products and services sold under a specific theme. 

This includes mapping and categorizing following issues: o What are the unique selling points, differentiating factors in the market? o What are the unifying criteria on transnational level under the theme? o Are there specified but supporting criteria on national/regional levels? o What kind of competitive advantages/features each partner/region/service provider have?

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

4. Build guidelines for the offering  

Guidelines include the definitions of the elements of the natural and service environment and identify the service components needed in the tourism product/service. There should be general guidelines that are applied in transnational level. In addition there can be country/region specific guidelines too that give more detailed criteria for the products and services.

5. Identifying the market position and target groups for the theme product.     

Based on the central resources and offerings, what is the current and/or future position on the market? What kind of products and/or services do you offer now and in future? Can specified target groups be identified based on the resources and criteria? Is it already possible to list suitable products for specific target groups (how offering correspond to customers’ needs and interests)? Is it possible to involve potential customers to the product development?

6. Future vision and mission to set the direction where to go.  

What transnationality in the theme’s context really mean? What is/are the real linking factor/unifying features here?

7. Agreeing and communicating the key message.  

What is the main message that the themed offering wants to disseminate? The main message should correspond to the definition of the product offering, and it needs to fit to all stakeholders involved at transnational level.

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Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development

REFERENCES Benckendorff, P.J., Sheldon, P.J. & Fesenmeier, D.R. (2014). Tourism Information Technology. 2nd Edition. CABI. Wallingford. Björk, P., Tuohino, A. & Konu. H. (2011). Wellbeing tourism in Finland – A wide perspective. Matkailututkimus [Finnish Journal of Tourism Research], 7(2), 26-41. Carmichael, B. A. (2005). Understanding the Wine Tourism Experience for Winery Visitors in the Niagara Region, Ontario, Canada. Tourism Geographies, 7(2), 185-204. Hjalager, A-M. (2010). A review of the innovation research in tourism. Tourism Management, 31(1), 1-12. Hjalager, A-M., Tervo-Kankare, K., Tuohino, A. & Konu, H. (2015). Prowell: towards a new understanding of rural wellbeing tourism. Raport Nr. 45. Syddansk Universitet, Center for Landdistritsforskning, Esbjerg. Hjalager, A-M. & Konu, H. (2011). Co-branding and co-creation in wellness tourism: The role of cosmeceuticals. Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management. 20(8), 879-901. Komppula, R. & Boxberg,M. (2002). Matkailuyrityksen tuotekehitys [Product development in a tourism enterprise]. Edita oyj, Helsinki. Konu, H. & Smith, M. (2017). Cross-Border Health Tourism Collaborations: Opportunities and Challenges. In Smith, M.K. & L. Puczkó (eds). The Routledge Handbook of Health Tourism. Routledge, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: New York, NY, 298-314. Konu, H. Tuohino, A. & Komppula, R. (2010). Lake Wellness – a practical example of a new service development (NSD) concept in tourism industries. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 16 (2), 125-139. Koutoulas, F. (2004). Understanding the tourist product, Interim symposium of the Research Committee on International Tourism (RC50) of the International Sociological Association (ISA) on the topic: Understanding tourism – theoretical advances, 14 -16 May 2004, University of the Aegean, Mytilimi, Greece. Medlik, S. & Middleton, V.T.C. (1973), The Tourist Product and its Marketing Implications. International Tourism Quarterly, No. 3, reprinted in Burkart, A. J. and Medlik, S. (Eds.) (1975), The Management of Tourism, Heinemann, London. Middleton, V.T.C. (1989). Tourist product. In Witt SF & Moutinho L (eds). Tourism Marketing and Management Handbook. Prentice- Hall, Hempel Hempstead. Pesonen, J. &Tuohino, A. (2017). Rural Wellbeing Tourism Destinations – Demand Side of View. In Smith, M.K. & L. Puczkó (eds). The Routledge Handbook of Health Tourism. Routledge, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: New York, NY, 401-418. Pesonen, J. (2015). Targeting Rural tourists in the internet: comparing travel motivation and activitybased segments. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing 32, 211–226

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Sheldon, P. & Park, S.-Y. (2009). Development of a sustainable tourism destination. In R. Bushell & Sheldon, P. (eds), Wellness and tourism: Mind, body, spirit and place. New York: Cognizant, 9-113. Smith, M. & Puczkó, L. (2014). Health tourism and hospitality: spas, wellness and medical travel. London, Routledge. Volo, S. (2009). Conceptualizing experience: A tourist based approach. Journal of Hospitality marketing and Management, 18(2-3), 111-126.

This publication is part of the project Well-O-live ”Wellness and Wellbeing Experience across the Routes of the Olive Tree” which has received funding from the European Union’s COSME Programme (2014-2020). The content of this document represents the views of the author only and is his sole responsibility; it cannot be considered to reflect the views of the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises or any other body of the European Union. The European Commission and the Agency do not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.

The Well-O-live partnership

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Appendix 1. Identifying a customer

PICTURE

QUOTE Describe here typical behavior of the customer, or what the customer might say (in his/her words)

WHO IS (S)HE? Describe here the profile of the customer e.g. age, location, sex, travel company, travel experience, hobbies

NAME OF THE CUSTOMER (PROFILE) What type of persona, what is the most prominent differentiator(s)?

MOTIVATION What are the travel motivations? What is the main motivator? What are the needs and desires?

What attitudes are held? What are the expectations, service perceptions, what motivates the customer to buy a particular product/use particular service?

BEHAVIOUR What does the customer do? What kind of behavior is expected? What service modules would work well for the customer?

Which trends or mindsets respond to the customer What may indicate the behavior?

Importance of benefits How important different benefits (e.g. emotional, functional) are?

Decision making Is the customer fast or low decision maker? Are the decisions based on facts or emotions?

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Appendix 2. Product card

NAME OF THE PRODUCT WELL-O-LIVE

CONTENT

Add here how this product represents unique features of Well-O-Live.

Add here short description of the content of the product.

More detailed information Min/max number of people X

Duration X

Availability

Email

Telephone

LinkedIn URL

Twitter handle

X

Restrictions X

Price (€/person, incl. VAT) X

Booking guidelines X

Languages On what languages are the services available?

Additional information

Add here contact information

Location Information about location, how to get there


NAME OF THE PRODUCT SERVICE BLUEPRINT -

Describe processes that are visible for customers (“front office”): interactive process with a customer Describe processes that are visible only for the service providers: internal processes (“back office”)

-

What components/service modules (accommodation, services, activities etc.) are required for the service and who is providing them? In what order certain activities should be in order to provide comprehensive service chain? Who are involved in diverse phases of the service provision? Who is responsible for organizing and selling the service/tourism product? What kind of resources are needed in diverse phases of the service process? What are the critical success factors for the service? How the services are made available for the customers? Will certain ways bring added value for a customer?

E.g.


Appendix 3. TOOLS FOR MARKETING STRATEGY DEVELOPMENT Offering oriented approach Product/ Service

Target group?

Why targeted customers should by the product/service?

Where the customers get the information about the product/ service for the first time?

What makes the customers inspired and interested about the product/service?

From where the customers find information and recommendations to support their intention to purchase the product/service?

From where they can buy/book the product/service?

How the customers are encouraged to provide feedback and recommend the product/service?

What distribution channels are used to inform the customers about the value the business/destination can provide? (AIDA)

How to form and upkeep customer relations? How customer relationships are developed?

How the customer relationship is formed and how to make the customers return?

Customer oriented approach Customer What kind of value segment the customers are seeking for? What kind of needs they have? What motivates them to travel? What are they passionate about?

33

What kind of value the business/destination can offer for the customers?

What kind of partnerships/services/products the business/destination needs to be able to facilitate the value creation for the customer?

How the success of the strategy is measured?


Experiential tourist packages Wellness and Wellbeing Experience across the Routes of the Olive Tree

www.wellolive.eu/vacation-packages.html


Discover and book your vacation packages following the Cultural Routes of the Olive Tree!! Well-O-live is a thematic tourism product of rural tourism including wellness and wellbeing activities, cycling

and walking tours, cultural experiential activities, wine and food tasting, all revolving around the European heritage of the olive oil and tree. Rural destinations are a fertile ground for emerging behavioral patterns of tourists, demanding for a large variety of personalized experiences and conveying a growing interest and concern about heritage, authenticity,

health and environment. Tourists travelling to rural destinations seek for holistic and personal wellbeing (physical, mental, and spiritual) associated with the recovery of social and cultural heritage of destinations, contact with nature and meaningful

relationships with local community’s traditions and habits.


ITALY OLIVES YOU "There is nowhere in the world quite like Apulia. This region is an unforgettable place with a unique personality formed by its history, landmarks, arts and food scenes. What are you waiting for? We have created for you a special itinerary to discover the flavours of Salento. Come with us to discover all Apulia's beauty!" FRANCE OLIVES YOU Nyons offers nature sun, beauty and heritage. Discover an authentic territory in the colors of vineyards, lavender and olive trees! Let yourself be charmed by the Nyons villages and appreciate the art of living in Provence. Enjoy it!

GREECE OLIVES YOU Enjoy the moments of pure libidine with the sea breeze that caresses your skin, the colors of Greece that fill your eyes, the history of the city that enriches your knowledge and the fragrance of the olive trees that accompanies you in the walks. All this you can choose for your well-being with the itinerary Greece Olives you, don't miss it!


SPAIN OLIVES YOU This is a week tour in Catalonia, stopping to see the most symbolic places in order to have a holiday full of relax and discovers. Lleida, Tarragona, Barcelona, Girona and Figueres: five cities where you can find the three most important things in life: health, happiness and healthy eating. CROATIA OLIVES YOU What you will love the most will be the wild nature, the immense woods interrupted by valleys cultivated with low vineyards, the largest lands in the inland of the island and smaller ones on the coast, breath-taking views that you can enjoy from the top of the western cliffs of KorÄ?ula ... everything you will enjoy in Croatia will remain in your heart! FROM FRANCE TO SPAIN A particular exciting five days tour where you match two different countries: France and Spain. The firsts two days you will be submerged by nature, health and food and the lasts three days you can enjoy culture, history and the art of knowledge. MEDITERRANEAN OLIVE WEEK Mediterranean: a sea full of pearls of well-being. Greece, Italy and Croatia: three places where keywords are "quite" and "relax". In this holiday, it is impossible not to feel at home thanks to the simplicity of these places full of love, respect and kindness.


Day 4

Day 1 • arrival and accommodation at Bastide du Vieux Chene in Condorcet • transfer and guided city tour of the centre of Nyons - meeting point Place de la Liberation . Visit of I Le musèe du Scourtin. • Free lunch • Drive in 2cv among the olive trees • In the late afternoon you will visit the Vignolis, Cooperative du Nyonsais shop and learn how to taste your food with wide range of vinegars and oils • Free evening and dinner.

Day 2 • Breakfast at the hotel • In the early morning transfer and visit the olive oil farm Brès • Gastronomique lunch at Restaurant d'un Gout à L’autre where you will discover a modern cuisine based on fresh local products from the region • In the afternoon and possibility to relax in the spa of Institut Quintessence - at the center of olive trees in Nyons, this place is an aesthetic and sensory parenthesis of wellness and relax – on request and with previous reservation only! • Free evening

Day 3 • Check out and early transfer to Girona ( approx.. 4h ) • Accommodation at Hotel Es Portal • Gastronomic lunch at the hotel • In the afternoon walking tour of the center and visit of the Cathedral , Sant Feliu, Placa de la Independencia • Free evening and dinner

• Breakfast at the hotel and early transfer to Figueres (approx.: 30 min by train) • Visit olive oil mills of Emporda. Visit Olis Ventalló (Olive Oil Experience) • Free lunch • In the afternoon – city tour of Figueres – the birth place of Salvador Dali . Visit of Sant Ferran Castle , Teatre-Museu Gala Salvador Dali • Late transfer to Girona and free dinner

Day 5 • Early transfer to Barcelona ( approx.. 1h 30 min) • Arrival and accommodation at Hotel Cava Mastinell • Gastronomic lunch at the Hotel • After lunch visit of Fundació Alícia- Alícia is a center with a social vocation, devoted to technological innovation in cuisine, the improvement of eating habits and the evaluation of the food heritage. • In the afternoon transfer to Barcelona city center for free time and dinner • End of program

Methodological Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development  
Methodological Handbook of transnational rural wellbeing tourism product development  

Main aim of this handbook is to give perspectives to experiential rural tourism design, management and promotion. In particular, the manual...

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