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«Tourism and Hospitality Industry 2014, CONGRESS PROCEEDINGS Trends in Tourism and Hospitality Industry DMC AS A CREATOR OF MEMORABLE EXPERIENCES IN ...»

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Tourism and Hospitality Industry 2014, CONGRESS PROCEEDINGS

Trends in Tourism and Hospitality Industry



Scientific paper

Romana Lekić

Željko Trezner

Nataša Mance


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to integrate some concepts of the Experience Economy

and transformational offerings into a conceptual framework of transmodern experience production within tourist destination development.

Methodology – We explain the relevance of a tourist experience and sensation, with the DMC space split into three components: the resource space, the activity space and the experience space. Such space gets a sociological connotation as the destination milieu and becomes a ‘meta’ level, whose complexity is illustrated as the kaleidoscopic structure of a tourist milieu.

Approach – Experiences are more than additional benefits and offered supplementary to the basic services. In order to design memorable experiences, DMC have to analyzed tourists ‘needs, all five senses should be engaged and should try to surprise the guests over and over. This allows DMC to achieve high emotionality of services and products but on the other hand they have to put more efforts in the design and maintenance of service experiences.

Findings – Managers in tourist agencies and DMC of the future will need additional skills as well as being critical and analytic, they will need to be creative and innovative; communication skills need to include narrative, story-telling and the use of non-verbal cues to create atmosphere. They will need to develop empathy with their customers and the curiosity to discover and celebrate local distinctiveness.

Originality – Tourism and especially DMC it seems can learn a lot from literature and performance studies as these disciplines provide insight into how meaningful and memorable experiences are structured. The DMC is the animator and the motivator at the tourist destination.

That will ensure the quality of tourist offer of a destination and the quality of life of the domicile population.

Keywords DMC, memorable experiences, transmodern experience production, tourist destination development


In the course of years, tourism followed the industrial pattern. Right after it began in its modern form, various tourist activities became subject to their own rules. Although mass tourism continues being the predominant form, current growth of alternative tourism forms indicates that there are different consumers' requirements, which can be met. With respect to this, tourism should again turn towards people, and place an individual in the centre of the tourism system. There is a growing awareness of the need to develop a better tourism, equally beneficial and available to all, with a higher degree of responsibility. Travellers are now motivated by the wish to get familiar with a culture different from their own, at a place which cannot be replaced by any other tourist destination. Hospitability, in the full sense of the word allows to the guest a certain degree of closeness with the host, with the cultural and natural environment.

The essence of tourism is for the visitor to seek social contact which is sincere, even Tourism and Hospitality Industry 2014, CONGRESS PROCEEDINGS Trends in Tourism and Hospitality Industry close, in an environment which is unusual and attractive. Responsible sustainable tourism as a new paradigm of transmodern tourism1 encourages questioning and critical spirit, and, as a great power of the future, tries to prevent that culture in tourism be completely swallowed by the empire of spectacle and easy consumerism.

Responsibility and sustainability in tourism is a creative turning point, a new paradigm and creative code, which opposes infinite economic progress and obsession with material wealth and promotes the concept of quality of living as a benchmark of progress. Such creativity is expressed as the economy of knowledge which shifts the emphasis from material capital to non-material assets.

Such creative approach brings together rationalism and intuitive thinking. This is a more balanced approach – not as an illusion, but as the individualistic quest for happiness.

It relies on the evaluation of innovation and individual creation, in the quest for individual identity and the confirmation of one's own value through work, effort and attempt to surpass oneself, outside the principles of consumer satisfaction and by perfecting measures which enable the development of other tastes and passions, besides consumption.

A tourist destination should make it possible for tourists to be more than just observers and become true protagonists of their journey, by establishing social contact with the local population. The exchange, for a tourist transfers his spirit and culture, enables better mutual understanding. Closeness created in such a way meets the needs that can be named 'existential tourism'. Travel (and tourism in general) touch everyone and leave no-one indifferent, because everyone is faced with emotion, memories and intimacy in the process. Everyone carries emotions experienced during a trip, they enrich and determine oneself. In their quest for closeness, in selecting a destination and visiting a place, tourists want to see and know everything and feel a true bond. This makes it possible for a tourist to feel less of a stranger, and even feel a part of a destination. If people, society and culture are put in the centre, they cannot be discussed without considering their very essence. The 'human territory' is also a place where tourism takes place and people and their environment together make a tourist destination. One cannot exist without the other.2 This paper will show that tourism can really be a privileged experience, in which tourist can not only express their personality, but can change it and enrich it in an interaction with the locals they meet.3 'Transmodernism' was first used by the Spanish feminist and philosopher Rosa Maria Rodrigez Magda in her essay: La Sonrisa Saturno: Hacia una teoria transmoderna in 1989. Using Hegel's logic, she puts modernism, postmodernism and transmodernism into a triad position with the processes of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. The authors who advocate transmodernism, scientists, political activists, literats, successful entrepreneurs and spiritual leaders point out that it is not a linear process, but a 'passing to a new, higher level of consciousness'. From chaos, to a new society in which governments, civil society and workers in tourism should only recognize the deeper potentials of tourism.

Dimanche, F., Ferry, M. “Shaping tourism destinations: Back to the basics”, Tourism, 2003.

Dimanche, F., Samdahl, D. “Leisure as Symbolic Consumption: A Conceptualization and Prospectus for Future Research”, Leisure Sciences, 16, 1994.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry 2014, CONGRESS PROCEEDINGS Trends in Tourism and Hospitality Industry We shall shoe how DMCs respect these tourists' motifs and promote services in tourism by enabling direct relations between visitors and locals. We shall also indicate how important it is that DMCs channel their creativity towards the attraction base and identify it as a tool which can be used to make a creative experience. Managing experiences and moods of tourists within a destination is of great importance. In his baggage, a guest brings expectations, and takes home memories. Irrespective of his aesthetic values, creativity based on attraction base, today includes the inception of different thinking and values, establishing an emotional attachment to a product, which leads towards responsible tourism. A successful destination communicates powerful emotion. Leisure industry went through various stages of development, providing entertainment, along with information and education. Today we can also speak of the 'process of creating emotion', which is achieved through enrichment, fulfilment, healing, self-healing, self-discovery, self-relating and the coping with new emotions is the result of a new stage of the society, often called the 'dream society'.4 Destination management company (DMC) and its role in managing a travel agency.

The concept of destination management company – DMC, was created at the beginning of the 1970s in the USA. It emerged in order to describe the increasingly growing role of ground operators as logistics specialists at a tourist destination. Ten years later, destination management companies spring up all over the USA, thus extending their role in the MICE segment.5The Association of Destination Management Executives (ADME) was established in the mid-90s as an association gathering leaders and managers at DMCs. This association defined the destination management company as a professional service company which has a broad knowledge of the (geographical) region it operates in, the expertise and other means, all specialized in designing and creating activities, events, tours, transport and programme logistics.

Destination management companies usually operate in their own name and mostly offer complex tourist products (excursions, packages, events, meetings) or their professional service of creating (designing) and managing. They are different from other receptive agencies, which operate at the tourist destination in the name of the client who ordered such services and usually offer simple products and/or brokering services.

In accordance with the currently valid regulations in Croatia, each destination management company is a travel agency. In other words, destination management companies are the receptive travel agencies which apply and use somewhat different marketing strategies. The reason for that are not only the changes which occurred at the tourist market, but also the way in which they developed: by servicing first the business and only then the leisure segment of the tourism market.

Destination management companies offer a series of benefits for clients and subsequently for end users of their services. This includes first the knowledge and access to the best positions for the organization of a variety of contents, to various Jensen, R. The Dream Society - How the Coming Shift from Information to Imagination Will Transform Your Business, McGrax-Hill, 1999.

Schaumann P. The Guide to Successful Destination Management. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, 2005.

–  –  –

service providers and belonging to social networks in the local community. By using the well-established contacts and purchasing power in negotiating with local service providers, DMCs will ensure the highest quality service in the most cost-effective way, or will ensure this service differently from the way in which it is usually done by the direct provider. Using their own and others' creative ideas, along with the knowledge of resources and networking with clients and service users, enables the maximum use of potentials of the destination in designing and realizing those services. This secures the highest degree of adjusting the service to the preferences of the client and giving appropriate instructions to the client and/or broker for 'shaping the expectations' in the service user (client).

Apart from providing a feeling of safety and professional guarantees, destination management companies are prepared to perform other services for the client and user, taking into consideration their wishes and disposable budget. In the end, instead of dealing with a number of contacts, the client has only one at the destination and pays in one place. The service user at the destination has at his disposal a relevant contact for the resolution of a myriad of problems of all kinds.

Destination management companies stimulate the immediate providers of particular services to adapt to the needs of demand more expediently, and due to the excellent knowledge of local tourist resources, they encourage the creation of, and also create new tourist products. They actively respond to demand and launch new products using various distribution channels for their services and different forms of cooperation.


Globalisation and the hyper consumer society which equalizes and de-characterizes everything are the cause of the gradual departure from the concept of mass tourism and quest for unique destinations, authenticity, various identities and specific, recognisable products coloured by culture.

Sociologists, anthropologists and psychologists who study consumption agree that consumers use consumer goods and services to construct meaning. The purpose is to send a desirable picture to others, and for themselves, it is to define identity and acquire the feeling of advantage and satisfaction.6The quest for significance of an experience is the highest goal, because the postconsumer and post tourist try to shape their lives through the process of experimenting, which results in striking the balance within the framework of the fragmentary, the different, the independent, and disregarding all this, the important event.

Belk R.W. “Assessing the Effects of Visible Consumption Patterns on Impression Formation”, Advaces in Consumer Research, 5, 1978.; Belk R.W., Bahn K.D., Mayer R.N. (1982) “Developmental Recognition of Consumption Symbolism”, Journal of Consumer Research, 9.; Olsen, B. “Bri Loyality and Consumption Patterns”. In: Sherry J.F. (ed) Contemporary Marketing and Consumer Behaviour. London: Sage. 245-281, 1994.; Featherstone M. Consumer Culture and Postmodernism, London: Sage, 1997.

Tourism and Hospitality Industry 2014, CONGRESS PROCEEDINGS Trends in Tourism and Hospitality Industry

The concept of experience is of a relatively recent date, presented in two key papers:

Schulze's analysis of cultural behaviour of different social strata in Nurenberg7 and in the Pine and Gilmore book.8 In these books, advantage is given to experience rather than services, and experience is taken as the key element of creation of value within an organization. Experience is not a new phenomenon and is mostly linked to entertainment, tourism, cultural activities, marketing, the Internet and similar.

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