European winter tourism – after a long period of growth (Cockerell, 1994, 1988; Spring, 1998) – is interested by a strong competition: in opposition to a market and demand characterized by low growing rates (Fredman and Heberlein, 2003), the supply has been developing and expanding, drawn by both the rise of new winter destinations and the improvement in the offer of the existing ones (Hudson, 2000; Flagestad & Hope, 2001; Gaido, 1998). In this context, actors involved in the economic and public sector (firms, associations, DMOs) are thinking about which strategies to develop in order to maintain or increase their market share and, above all, how to create a sustainable competitive (Porter, 1985, 1991). The issue is of great interest because the new game’s rules are progressively eroding the still delicate economic and financial balance of ski corporations. Many causes – the reduction of snow precipitations (Wall, 1992; Perry, 2000; Agnew and Viner, 2001; Scott et al., 2002) and the consequent increase in the use of artificial snow (Scott, McBoyle and Mills, 2003; Scott, Wall and McBoyle, 2005), the increase in costs of investment for modern transports, the growth in employers and energy costs, the increment of costs for safety in the pistes and slopes and environmental integrity (Hudson and Miller, 2005), even to minimize the risks of avalanches (Peters and Pikkemaat, 2005) – have contributed to increase significantly the operative costs and investments, while a moderate intervention has been done in prices, causing a decrease in the return of investments. Many authors underline that it is not easy for firms to face these challenges on their own, counting only on their own competitive strategy, but a clear destination strategy is needed (Ritchie and Crouch, 2000; Ritchie and Ritchie, 1999; Go and Govers, 2000), built on commitment and cooperation among the public and private actors with a particular relevance of the role of the DMOs (Dredge, 2006; Blain, Levy and Ritchie, 2005; Bieger, 1997, 1998). However, the planning and implementation of an intentional destination strategy (Mintzberg, 1978; Mintzberg e Waters, 1985) is difficult to realize, especially in consideration of the complex and multi-sectoral conception of the local offer (Burkart & Medlik, 1974; Leiper, 1979, 1990; Smith, 1988, 1991, 1998) – ski and hospitality – proper of the community model which often generates a sort of conflict among the different local actors (Sheehan and Ritchie, 2005; Sainaghi, 2003, 2006) and, in depth, between ski corporations, hospitality firms and City Halls (responsible for urban and territory planning). These conflicts and the inevitable divisions prevent in many cases to realize a destination strategy and take the action more on short-term policies and tactics, unable to steady or recreate the bases of competitive advantage. This paper is inserted in this discussion and, starting from some empirical evidences, is focused on the link between competitive positioning and performance of winter destinations, with particular attention to ski corporations and hospitality firms. The paper shows that the lack of a clear destination strategy – which has to regulate equally: i) the structural balance between the capacity of cable cars and ski lifts systems and the capacity of the high-turnover hospitality offer; ii) the commercial mix of the destination with attention to the allocation of tourist flows originated by daily ski passes or by ski passes with more than a day – tends to realize a competitive positioning characterized by low performance and not sustainable.
|Titolo:||Strategic positioning and performance of winter destinations|
|Nome del convegno:||TTRA Conference|
|Anno del convegno:||2007|
|Luogo del convegno:||Las Vegas - USA|
|Titolo del libro:||Beat the Odds with Tourism Research|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2007|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||02 - Intervento a convegno|