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50 | Tourism Trends
[PARTNERS OPINION]
THE POTENCIAL BENEFITS
of networking
for tourism companies
VALTER ALCOFORADO BARREIRA | Executive Director, KNOWING COUNTS
Tourism sector networking is today an effective
solution for players in this area (including SMEs), for
the actual competitive challenges they face, namely
competition between destinations and a battle to win
tourists from source markets.
Types of networks can be grouped according to various
parameters: Informal, formal, horizontal and vertical.
Examples of formal networks are the alliances established
between wine cellars and respective associations, whilst
informal networks are those resulting from a reciprocity created
by word-of-mouth marketing given by its visitors from other
cellars in the same region.
Horizontal networks can be formed, for example, by collaborative
activities between cellars, marketing agencies and the various
organisations linked to wine, in the sense that together they can
promote a specific wine tourism destination. Vertical networks
may be created and fostered through the cooperation of cellars and
tour operators, with accommodation providers, restaurants and
organisers of food festivals, in the sense of increasing the activities
of visitors and tourists and improving their experiences in the wine
tourism destination.
This business networking strategy seems to be very productive
for those involved, indeed the collaborative relationships between
tourism companies and other organisations has been correlated with
the strategic development of tourist destinations, like, for example,
the alliances formed between an association linked to the wine sector,
wine producers and government entities, to create and promote a
tourist destination. For example, in the Finnish case, it was shown
that networking between SMEs and universities increased potential
and the creative innovation of tourism products.
Companies seek to get involved in informal or formal network
relationships because they want to get access to resources which are
beyond their own reach but which are available to network members
in the form of goods, services, information, advice, help and
support so as to enable a better and more timely reaction capacity
to competitive challenges. These relationships may be established
with different individuals such as family members, friends and
acquaintances, within or outside of their local communities.
Tourism companies’ network of relationships is fundamental both
for their efficiency and effectiveness. In some cases, the relationships
are fairly restricted to a social, familiar or ethnic group where
everyone knows everyone else and moves in the same circles, united
by strong bonds. In these situations they benefit from a high level
of confidence between all parties and can count on one another, but
lose out in terms of the wealth of information that acquaintances
but not friends (with whom they have weak links), could contribute
in bringing new experiences, information and resources from
particular social circles. An example of these communities with
strong links are the Chinese communities abroad.
Other types of networks are those based on cooperative
relationships or ‘coopetition’ concentrated in specific well-
defined geographical areas, where company clusters have
developed which share similar values and goals, or are aligned
in some way with each other, like, for example, Silicon Valley.
Another aspect of networking are the SMEs held by the same
capital holder, like, for example, in the case of economic
groups, joint ventures, consortia, or some other type of formal
association with a large company.
Yet another relational network is made up of bonds between a
SME and a chamber of commerce to which it belongs to or its
professional association in which it is an active member. Finally,
there are the types of networks known as ‘buyer-supplier’ which
are formed through contractual relationships and the day-to-day
relationships of the exchange of goods and services and which are a
relevant network for the SMES.
I wanted to share with you the countless possibilities of
collaborative networks in the tourism sector in order to
challenge you to reflect on identifying those networks that are
more attractive to your organisation’s or your personal goals,
and study whether it makes sense to create or participate in
networks whatever their type, be they transactional, information
or socially led.
This will be a first step in a worthwhile journey made up of three
components in the process of effective network management:
Creation, Cultivation and Capitalization.
vab@knowingcounts.net
Networking in tourism needs to be both formal and informal, using trusted and
established friends, colleagues and partners as well as acquaintances. All is grist
for the mill argues Valter Alcoforado Barreira, Lisbon’s foremost networking expert.

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The potential Benefits of Networking for Tourism Companies

  • 1. 50 | Tourism Trends [PARTNERS OPINION] THE POTENCIAL BENEFITS of networking for tourism companies VALTER ALCOFORADO BARREIRA | Executive Director, KNOWING COUNTS Tourism sector networking is today an effective solution for players in this area (including SMEs), for the actual competitive challenges they face, namely competition between destinations and a battle to win tourists from source markets. Types of networks can be grouped according to various parameters: Informal, formal, horizontal and vertical. Examples of formal networks are the alliances established between wine cellars and respective associations, whilst informal networks are those resulting from a reciprocity created by word-of-mouth marketing given by its visitors from other cellars in the same region. Horizontal networks can be formed, for example, by collaborative activities between cellars, marketing agencies and the various organisations linked to wine, in the sense that together they can promote a specific wine tourism destination. Vertical networks may be created and fostered through the cooperation of cellars and tour operators, with accommodation providers, restaurants and organisers of food festivals, in the sense of increasing the activities of visitors and tourists and improving their experiences in the wine tourism destination. This business networking strategy seems to be very productive for those involved, indeed the collaborative relationships between tourism companies and other organisations has been correlated with the strategic development of tourist destinations, like, for example, the alliances formed between an association linked to the wine sector, wine producers and government entities, to create and promote a tourist destination. For example, in the Finnish case, it was shown that networking between SMEs and universities increased potential and the creative innovation of tourism products. Companies seek to get involved in informal or formal network relationships because they want to get access to resources which are beyond their own reach but which are available to network members in the form of goods, services, information, advice, help and support so as to enable a better and more timely reaction capacity to competitive challenges. These relationships may be established with different individuals such as family members, friends and acquaintances, within or outside of their local communities. Tourism companies’ network of relationships is fundamental both for their efficiency and effectiveness. In some cases, the relationships are fairly restricted to a social, familiar or ethnic group where everyone knows everyone else and moves in the same circles, united by strong bonds. In these situations they benefit from a high level of confidence between all parties and can count on one another, but lose out in terms of the wealth of information that acquaintances but not friends (with whom they have weak links), could contribute in bringing new experiences, information and resources from particular social circles. An example of these communities with strong links are the Chinese communities abroad. Other types of networks are those based on cooperative relationships or ‘coopetition’ concentrated in specific well- defined geographical areas, where company clusters have developed which share similar values and goals, or are aligned in some way with each other, like, for example, Silicon Valley. Another aspect of networking are the SMEs held by the same capital holder, like, for example, in the case of economic groups, joint ventures, consortia, or some other type of formal association with a large company. Yet another relational network is made up of bonds between a SME and a chamber of commerce to which it belongs to or its professional association in which it is an active member. Finally, there are the types of networks known as ‘buyer-supplier’ which are formed through contractual relationships and the day-to-day relationships of the exchange of goods and services and which are a relevant network for the SMES. I wanted to share with you the countless possibilities of collaborative networks in the tourism sector in order to challenge you to reflect on identifying those networks that are more attractive to your organisation’s or your personal goals, and study whether it makes sense to create or participate in networks whatever their type, be they transactional, information or socially led. This will be a first step in a worthwhile journey made up of three components in the process of effective network management: Creation, Cultivation and Capitalization. vab@knowingcounts.net Networking in tourism needs to be both formal and informal, using trusted and established friends, colleagues and partners as well as acquaintances. All is grist for the mill argues Valter Alcoforado Barreira, Lisbon’s foremost networking expert.