Innovation in the tourism industry is no longer seen as merely desirable.
The timely response of tourism companies to new technological changes in various areas of activity related to tourism, the ability to create new methods of work and improve performance has been recognized as a necessary condition for the survival of companies. For example, Mr. Fokas, president of the Athens Hotel Association, believes that staying in a hotel is one of the most important moments during leisure and travel. Athens offers tourists a wide choice of hotels – from luxurious expensive to low-budget. The requirements for hotel operation are constantly updated and improved, and most of the owners of Athens hotels are interested in meeting modern standards and improving production capacities in order to strengthen their competitive position in the international tourist market.
Innovation, whether in the process of developing the product itself or in the ways and means of distribution, can have a significant impact on increasing corporate income. If a company does not meet these requirements, it will become uncompetitive.
In order to identify factors that affect the creative activity of an enterprise, it is necessary to identify the key elements of the effectiveness of innovation. To conduct research within a certain framework, we will consider those companies that have studied and successfully applied new concepts in their activities. This will reveal the reasons for successful innovation, as well as identify two main assumptions about what is holding back innovation in tourism.
First, it is the unwillingness to reduce the resistance to innovation within the organizations themselves. Secondly, it is the inviolability of communication barriers between scientists participating in the research process, the results of which can be applied in tourism, and managers. Historically, managers and scientists have had difficulty understanding each other. Organizations and enterprises are conservatives, actively resisting any change.
As a rule, scientists present managers as bureaucrats, paper worms and parasites, incapable of creative out-of-the-box thinking and being an obstacle for creative individuals trying to work effectively. Managers, according to scientists, are more interested in money and power than in knowledge and innovation.
Managers, on the other hand, represent scientists as capricious individual farmers who have no idea about interpersonal relationships, dry specialists who absolutely do not care about productivity and economy, or about the general goals of the enterprise. Scientists deliberately present their work as mysterious and incomprehensible and object to any form of control. They are more interested in impressing their fellow scientists than in the success of the enterprise they work for.
However, managers insist on overcoming any barriers that hinder communication between scientists and company management.
Modern innovators are aware of the importance of cooperation and communication between them and aim to turn tourism innovation into a continuous process.
By overcoming the perception of unshakable communication barriers, management has proven capable of moving forward with the discoveries and scientific breakthroughs they so desperately need to increase revenues and ensure the longevity of their businesses. They were able to analyze and justify effective approaches to the rationalization of the company’s creative capacities. Based on their experience, three criteria for the success of innovation in tourism can be formulated:
1. The need for cooperation between scientists and management of tourism companies in the process of developing and implementing innovations. Objective selection of innovative programs.
2. Effective personnel policy.
3. Readiness for the practical use of innovations.
Mutual cooperation of scientists and company management
In companies where the implementation of innovations has brought significant results, senior management attaches significant importance to the research process. It turns out that managers are much better at identifying a company’s R&D capabilities than they realize. In addition, managers are the only ones who know the real state of affairs in the company. And only they have the authority to propose new directions for the enterprise.
Often, scientists feel some limitations in solving problems that have an appropriate theoretical basis. In fact, if they were working in a purely theoretical field, their choices would be extremely narrow, centered on the problems of that field only, limited by their own observations and traditional research frameworks. Thus, a professional scientist rarely works in a direction that would 100% provide him with the discoveries necessary for innovation. Ultimately, only top management can align the company’s research and commercial goals at every stage of the innovation process.
However, it is not so easy. Top-level management will have to develop a research program that would simultaneously meet both market requirements, the economic goals of the enterprise development, and the general state of science and technology. Two key success factors were identified. First of all, it is that innovators are able to withstand any negative moments in their work, and also that they move further and further ahead in solving difficult problems. They don’t take “no” for an answer.
One of the reasons some companies fail to innovate is over-conservatism. Scientists prefer to deal with well-defined problems that will be solved in the future using already known methods. Management prefers to deal with those tasks, the solution of which is guaranteed to bring profit. These two conservative approaches limit and devalue much of the research and development that leads to innovation in tourism. But when scientists and management unite and prove willing to take the significant risks that are inevitable in both economics and science, and when both sides make all the necessary commitments, then the results may exceed all anticipated expectations. The process leading to successful innovation is not about solving secondary production problems, but about long-term goals, expressed both in the socio-economic direction and in the direction of technical development.
Research should focus on two types of innovation:
Improving, in which the individual parameters of the tourist product are updated without changing it in essence;
Breakthrough – the transition to a new, higher level of development and production of the tourist product as a whole.
In the process of research and development, leading to breakthrough innovations, the cooperation of scientists and managers is extremely important, their close interaction in order to achieve the common goals of the company, which contribute to strengthening its position in the market.