Are you a startupper, young business or intrapreneur in sustainable and inclusive tourism and want to build a sustainable tourism network?

These 5 steps will guide you in the process of creating and running your network of sustainable tourism players with key questions, tips and tools.

They are an extract from the European Youth Roots Manual on “How to build glocal and innovative tourism networks. For a more sustainable, inclusive and participatory tourism”.

Step 1. Establish the scale and scope of your network

  • Define the objectives: are they to share knowledge, disseminate best practices, build the image of a destination or to retain customers, build a community of users and sell?
  • Define who will be involved: the hosting community, employees, travellers, tourism enterprises, institutions or all of them?
  • Build a vision and a strategy: how do you foresee your network in 1, 2, 5 and 10 years?
  • How is your network innovative and disruptive compared to other existing networks?
  • Establish a membership plan. Do members need to pay to belong to your network? If yes, what value do they get in exchange?
  • How many members do you plan to involve? Remember that, if you want to keep a personal feel among members, it is better to keep their number below the Dunbar’s number.
Image source: https://sketchplanations.com/dunbars-number-150

Image source: https://sketchplanations.com/dunbars-number-150

 

Step 2. Visually represent your network

Networks can be represented and studied: this helps manage them better. No idea where to start from? Well, here some useful tools we selected for you.

  • Representative methods like the ecosystem map or system mapping
Image source: Leyla Acaroglu 2017

Image source: Leyla Acaroglu 2017

  • Online collaborative boards like Miro, Lucidcharts and Mural

Step 3. Plan, build, manage & maintain it

  • Plan your networking actions in every travel phase: how can you leverage the opportunities of community building in the pre-experience, in-experience and post-experience?
  • Acknowledge the mutual benefits: win-win relationships are at the basis of any successful network. What do participants give and take in spending their time and commitment?
  • Choose and implement your networking communication channels, among social media live streaming, webinars, conferences, call launches, meetings, groups, forums.

Step 4. Bolster your networking soft skills

  • Long-term vision to forecast risks and opportunities and take action accordingly.
  • Leadership to motivate members and keep the network strong and cohesive
  • Organizational skills to manage complexity and coordinate others
  • Mediation skills to facilitate decisions and scheduling
  • Favour a sense of belonging and a sharing environment
  • Listen to the stakeholders’ needs

Characters of people and their social network illustration

Step 5. Inspire yourself and learn from other networks

Remember to always keep up-to-date by reading news on sustainable tourism and attending webinars, conferences,  trade shows, investing your time on building quality, win-win relationships.

In the next article we will share with you a list of sustainable tourism network best practices!

Are you curious to discover them?

Do you wish to know more about the ultimate tips and tools?

Stay tuned on our channels and wait for the complete manual on “How to build glocal and innovative tourism networks. For a more sustainable, inclusive and participatory tourism”, by Materahub for European Youth Roots.