9 Questions to help you build a vision for your tourism business

better tourism mission sustainability Jul 27, 2022
9 Questions to help you build a vision for your tourism business. Image of a pair of glasses bringing the blurred background into sharp focus

 

 

The only thing that seems certain is uncertainty – a trite but true little sentence these days. Rapid and unpredictable change is a feature of our everyday lives.

 

Our external environment is so uncertain that it can be quite a challenge not to mirror it in our personal or professional lives.  However, even though so much is unpredictable, I work hard to remind myself that we can still control and direct quite a lot. This is vitally important to prevent myself from surrendering to continuous reaction and pivots, but instead to seek to stabilise plans and actions within the parameters of what I can truly influence.

I’m keenly aware that one thing I do influence and must take full responsibility for is my vision for myself and my business.  In my view, a clear, compelling vision is the cornerstone of any business.

 

What is Visioning?

 

Put simply, Visioning is the process of getting clear on the future you dream of for yourself and your tourism business.  It’s about tuning in to yourself and arriving at a point of clarity about your future.  The Visioning Process should result in a written Vision Statement.  This concept is often used interchangeably with concepts such as Mission Statement or Strategic Plan.  However, they are three very distinct things, and the best description I’ve found of the difference between them comes from Ari Weinzweig in his highly readable essay “The Power of Visioning”:

Mission Statement:       

akin to the North Star, a never-ending piece of work that we commit to going after for life

Strategic Plan:                

the map of where we want to go

Vision Statement:          

the actual destination – a vivid description of what “Success” looks and feels like for us at a specific point in time in the future

 

What is a Vision Statement and why is it important?

 

A Vision Statement is a detailed description of what it’s like when you get to the future you dream of.    It’s your point of arrival at a specific time in the future, described in rich sensory detail and written as if you are already there.  It’s not in any way ‘fluffy’ – it’s solid, tangible, detailed and in writing.

In the midst of all else you have to do, what’s the value of spending time on this? Well, when you have clarity, true clarity, on where exactly you want to get to, you can figure out an effective roadmap to get you there.  Getting yourself clear on a positive future and purpose for your tourism business allows you to make better decisions and to focus on the things that really matter to you.  It allows you to avoid getting distracted by things that don’t - you will be surprised at how easily you can eliminate things that don’t serve you and move towards those things that do.  A clear vision puts you back in the driving seat. 

 

9 Questions to help you build a vision for your tourism business:

 

Firstly, get clear on you! Find the answers to some questions about yourself:

  1. What do you really want?  What is your dream for this business (no matter how far-fetched it may seem right now)?  How would things be different if your dream came true?
  2. What are your aspirations?  If there were no barriers at all, what would you dearly love to be, love to have or love to do?  Let it out and write it down, no matter how audacious it may seem!
  3. What inspires you? What provides the reason for the work you do?  Can you imagine doing this work for many years to come?
  4. What motivates you? This is about your specific goals.  What will energise you to work hard and remain focused?

 

Secondly, get clear on others! Once you’ve a good sense of yourself in this business, cast yourself forwards to that point of success in the future.  Articulate the answers to the following questions about the business you dream of building:

  1. What experiences and memories are your guests raving about? 
  1. What do those who work for and with your business say about it?
  2. How does your business connect with the wider destination and the natural or built assets of your place?
  3. What relationship does your business have with residents and other businesses in the destination?

 

Thirdly, get clear on money! Try not to shy away from this one – getting clear on your profit ambition does not cheapen you or your vision. It empowers you to fulfil it!

  1. How profitable is your business? How are you sustaining your profit? How are you ensuring that you, your team and your stakeholders can rely on this business over the longer term?

 

How to write a Business Vision Statement

 

Give it time. At first, write down everything that comes into your head for each question. Take some time when you will be uninterrupted and can allow your mind really dwell on the questions. Let your thoughts flow onto the page, without any need to edit or analyse them.

Leave it for a few days. The come back and draft and re-draft your answers, like as if you are crafting them to express exactly what it is you want for the future. If your answers are rich in detail, you will be able to actually see and feel a positive future.  When you refer back to your Vision Statement, you will be inspired and excited, motivated and energised.  Since you wrote it, you know you have it in you to achieve it!   While your everyday work may sometimes be mundane, your vision will never be! 

The process may take a few days or even a few weeks.  You may have team members who can get involved. You may choose to share with family or friends as you work through.

Once you have clarity of vision, you can create personal choices and business choices around that vision – you can really make it happen!

 

 

Tina O'Dwyer

Tina is a facilitator, mentor and coach with particular interest in sustainable tourism, regenerative tourism, food tourism, tourism networks and collaborations. Contact Tina on [email protected] or sign up for our newsletter for weekly insights straight to your inbox: The Tourism Space Team's Weekly Article

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