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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

SLM Students' Insights on Innovation Infusion Events: Lesley Anderson, Tourism Nanaimo

By Amal Khalid and Yihua Chen

On the 20th of March 2014, Lesley Anderson, the executive director at tourism Nanaimo, presented a very rich and valuable talk for both students and practitioners about the role and uses of the Explorer Quotient (EQ) as a tool to promote the tourism of Canada by the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC). Lesley showed that the resources and cultures within Canada make it a potential worldwide tourism destination, and how these characteristics need enhancement and a better way of marketing in order to attract more people and compete with the rest of world’s desirable tourist destinations. Also, she demonstrated the benefits and impacts of EQ in the tourism domain. Lastly, Lesley illustrated the various motivations for people to engage in tourism, and how DMOs and the CTC use EQ to help in defining them in promotion, product development, selling, and to identify the target market.
EQ was created to understand the motivations behind why people travel through a process of tests and surveys, which acts as a driver to promote a particular destination. As a new market segmentation tool developed based on the psychographic science, EQ helps the tourism business identify their target customer more efficiently and enables effective alignments of existing resources like strengthening brand, marketing and media relations. Furthermore, this tool is able to stimulate product development and build capacity based on a common understanding of tourists.

There was a clear link to sustainability and innovation in this seminar. First of all, the EQ system is developed based on people’s emotions and feelings. The understanding of customers on a psychological level will largely help tourism businesses enhance tourists’ experience, which is a significant key in achieving economic sustainability. Furthermore, community engagement is an important part of obtaining social sustainability. The tool makes it easier to enable collaboration between different businesses within the tourism industry. Last but not least, business owners are able to identify both prospective customers and partners by simply implementing EQ. This can significantly save a large amount of time and efforts an owner need to put in than before.

The seminar links to the Sustainable Leisure Management program in trying to build bridges between all aspects of sustainability, and creating a healthy environment for all these elements to work together. The speakers initiate ideas and promote the concept of knowledge mobilization which is how EQ can be a tool in facilitating many ideas and efforts for fruitful marketing results. Also, from the business aspect, tourism industry and any other domain in today’s world would need sustainability to sustain itself. The seminar left us pondering of how applying sustainability and innovation could improve many sectors in our life.

The urgent need for innovation is needed at in any organization or industries in order to flourish. We can see from this case that how a novel approach in customer segmentations shifts the way people manage and marketing their businesses and various benefits along with efficient are possible to achieve after the shift. This small step opens a brand new view. We now as future practitioners feel the responsibility and encourage to address and develop innovative solutions to make a better world!

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