Optimising All Inclusive Expenditure in Paphos: recommendations for the pilot stage of potential solutions

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Abstract

The tourist destination of Paphos has experienced a strong growth of the all-inclusive (AI) hotel product. Previous studies suggest a lower customer spend in Paphos when compared to other Cypriot destinations, indicating an opportunity for development.

In partnership with the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) and Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative (CSTI), the Travel Foundation commissioned a team of researchers from the University of Brighton to conduct this research into identified possible initiatives to increase customer spend in resorts, increase customer satisfaction and encourage repeat visits to the destination.

The aim of the research project was to explore stakeholder acceptance of solutions that could motivate AI customers to spend more time and money outside their hotel and thus better support local businesses and the community. It was identified that the underlying factors that restrict Paphos from becoming a more memorable destination also had to be explored to understand why the destination is not achieving its full potential. The study delivers suggestions for three tactical and one strategic solution that the partnership could focus on in the future. The report also includes feasibility studies, projected costs and stakeholder contacts for piloting the solutions that were identified as possible methods of increasing customer spend.
Methods overview
The research team identified a number of key stakeholders and engaged in a series of observations; unstructured, semi structured and structured interviews and focus groups with ten key stakeholder groups. The data collection took place in September 2013. Findings in this report emerged from 160 structured interviews with AI customers, 58 interviews and 5 focus groups with service providers.
Key findings
The research team identified a number of key strategic issues that will need to be addressed by local stakeholders.

Paphos, in the minds of local stakeholders, appears less developed and less organised than other Cypriot resorts. The following findings suggest that before tactical solutions are piloted, the partnership will need to strongly consider that Paphos is in need of strategic repositioning of its core tourist offering. As such a strategic review will be needed before the partnership can consider any of the possible solutions this report suggests. The outcome of the strategic review will influence the approach and content of the proposed solutions so that they may have the best chance of success.

Research findings suggest that the perceived negative impacts of the introduction of AI in Paphos appear heightened due to the absence of collaboration amongst key stakeholders. Paphos hospitality and a wonderful climate need to be leveraged to enable Paphos to protect itself from increased competition and limit substitution with other resorts offering AI.

Identity, brand, visual identity and local political issues, need to be considered in any future development strategies.

Communication and collaboration amongst business sectors requires mediation by a neutral organisation. Not all tour operators (TOs) are perceived to act in an ethical and sustainable manner, damaging stakeholder trust. Local authorities must be part of the solution and develop a clear strategy regarding who is allowed to hold licences at strategic places that affect the visual identity of the resort. It is not realistic for the CTO to be expected to act as both the enforcer and a rewarding body. CTO must be seen to enforce rules in a consistent and effective manner.

Once a strategic review takes place and issues of identity, brand, and collaboration are addressed, the partnership has a choice to pilot one solution that has the potential to both test the ability for collaboration and begin exploring how to best address notions of identity and brand. We suggest experiential education as the key to addressing the issue of lack of pride and absence of destination identity. The Ambassador Programme could be considered in conjunction with the education solution.

Secondary research and workshops with experts enabled the researchers to focus on seven identified possible tactical solutions (education was not one of them). Research findings specific to each of those solutions suggest that only three have the potential to yield positive results for encouraging guests to leave their AI hotels. More specifically:

Festivals are a great way to quickly leverage existing strengths and introduce visitors to a more authentic Paphos experience using identified quality local food and produce. This will increase spend in addition to helping develop an identity.

All stakeholders value quality labels but it is crucial to chose the right developer and moderator. Qualitative evidence suggests that the CTO should retain its recently launched hotel quality label but a neutral organisation should develop a sustainability label for all other service delivery operators.

The “Meze trail” and “meal exchange” solutions may be agreeable to customers but are unlikely to work in Paphos as immediate solutions because of conflicts of interest between stakeholder.

All stakeholders welcome hi-tech solutions that provide up-to-date, relevant, resort-specific information about local services and recommendations.

More information through well-produced media (leaflets, images and maps) should focus around a clear identity for Paphos. All stakeholders welcome promoting local produce, attractions and businesses that offer a good quality experience. Where, by whom and how the distribution process is managed is not unanimously agreed by service providers.

This report provides feasibilities for three tactical solutions to encourage greater spend in the local area from AI guests. It also includes one solution (education with a possible combination of the Ambassador Programme) that is more strategic in nature, and through piloting will help inform the strategic needs of the destination. The tactical solution piloting and evaluating better information boards at hotels could begin at any point. However the festival and technology solutions are more influenced by the strategic issues identified. Although the partnership could very well begin piloting any of the solutions suggested in this report, it must consider that piloting any of the solutions without addressing the strategic issues is likely to prove problematic.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCyprus
PublisherCyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative
Number of pages44
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2014

Keywords

  • all inclusive
  • hotels
  • cyprus
  • travel
  • tourism
  • sustainability

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