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Tauck Creates a New Type of Travel Experience

Posted by Judy Melanson on Wed, Jul 17, 2013

Originally published in Loyalty360

CMB Focused InnovationInnovating and successfully launching new products, be they loyalty programs or sneakers, is a difficult job requiring significant investment and navigating initiative-sinking risks.  Compounding the problem, for many firms, the innovation process itself is poorly-defined and unfocused—a great idea can morph into a poorly conceived solution or fail at execution.mproving your chance of success requires a focused innovation process—a structured process where you apply the “right method” to the “right questions;” pursuing innovation within constraints, and focusing on untapped market opportunities.

We recently presented a case study of focused innovation in action at the Front End of Innovation conference.  The case study highlights a project with Tauck Worldwide; in partnership with our sister company at the South Street Strategy Group.

Tauck is a travel industry leader; for nearly 100 years, it has focused on providing high value guided tours for its highly satisfied customers. But Tauck recognized some challenges to their future success—the erosion of the guided travel industry and an aging of customer base. They needed to create a new kind of travel experience to meet the needs of affluent Baby Boomers, a population extremely comfortable with researching, planning, and traveling on their own.  In partnership with South Street Strategy Group, our Focused Innovation process involved:

1. Identifying the primary goal, opportunity or business challenge, and constraints: We started by exploring the business context through internal ideation, interviews, and workshops with executives and senior managers. This step helped us answer questions and identify constraints, including the need to:

·       Leverage Tauck’s core competencies

·       Design a new product, addressing unmet needs

·       Hit sales goal of $M in X time period by attracting new customers

2. Investigating the opportunity using multiple methods:  We collected insights from different people (e.g., travel agents, call center reps, potential customers) and information sources to uncover customer needs and preferences. We segmented the Boomer market by travel preferences and conducted in-depth qualitative research to identify the target market and flesh out the desired experience for different types of vacations. The key output was a ranking of travel concepts on key criteria, and an initial read on the market opportunity.

3. Validate and optimize:  So we had some great ideas for new trips and a new market to tackle, but we needed more detail to actually build out the product. We used a Discrete Choice model, to simulate market demand for various product alternatives and prices. This information guided product design and pricing. A critical piece of this stage is emulating real world choices—a trip can sound appealing, but at this stage we want to know who would buy, if they are really interested, and how their interest changes by price.

4. Implementation and go to market: With the concept validated, the Tauck team needed to build out the trips, contract with hotels, and identify top events and attractions for multiple locations. The comprehensive understanding of their target market also guided their decisions, including how to brand the products, establish relevant partnerships, and reach out to potential customers using traditional channels as well as online and social media. Although it’s often glossed over, this critical go-to-market planning stage can mean the difference between success and failure.

culturiousThe result of this focused approach? Tauck launched the Culturious brand as a totally new product line, on time and with unanimous board approval. The new brand meets customer needs by offering small-group tours geared toward active Baby Boomers with an interest in physically challenging, culturally engaging travel. Culturious has consistently received “exceptional” guest satisfaction scores and won the 2010 Innovation prize from the Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnerships (CQIA).

Focusing innovation on the end-goal and working within constraints enabled Tauck to quickly launch a successful innovative product. Leveraging their existing competencies to address unmet needs in the Affluent Boomer marketplace enabled them to hit sales goals in Year 1.   

So, what are you waiting for?  Consider your challenge, identify your constraints, and get focused on your Focused Innovation process!

Judy is VP of CMB's Travel & Entertainment practice and loves collaborating with her clients. She's the mom of two teens and the wife of an oyster farmer. Follow Judy on Twitter at @Judy_LC 

Innovating and successfully launching new products –be they loyalty programs or sneakers – is a difficult job requiring significant investment and navigating initiative-sinking risks.  Compounding the problem, for many firms, the innovation process itself is poorly -defined and unfocused—a great idea can morph into a poorly conceived solution or fails at execution.

Improving your chance of success requires a focused innovation process—a structured process where you apply the “right method” to the “right questions”; pursuing innovation within constraints, and focusing on untapped market opportunities.

We recently presented a case study of focused innovation in action at the Front End of Innovation conference.  The case study highlights a project with Tauck Worldwide; in partnership with our sister company the South Street Strategy Group.

Tauck is a travel industry leader; for nearly 100 years, it has focused on providing high value guided tours for its highly satisfied customers. But Tauck recognized some challenges to their future success—the erosion of the guided travel industry and the aging of their customer base.  They needed to create a new kind of travel experience to meet the needs of affluent Baby Boomers – a population extremely comfortable with researching, planning, and traveling on their own.  In partnership with South Street Strategy Group, our Focused Innovation process involved: 

1.     Identifying the primary goal, opportunity or business challenge – and the constraints we had to work within: We started by exploring the business context, through internal ideation, interviews, and workshops with executives and senior managers, leveraging insight and experience in the market, and researching and assessing the competitive landscape. This step helped us answer questions and identify constraints, including a need to:

·       Leverage Tauck’s core competencies

·       Design a new product, addressing unmet needs

·       Hit sales goal of $M in X time period by attracting new customers
 

2.     Investigating the opportunity using multiple methods:  We collected insights from different people (e.g., travel agents, call center reps, potential customers) and information sources to uncover customer needs and preferences.  We segmented the Boomer market by travel preferences and conducted in-depth qualitative research to identify the target market and flesh out the desired experience for different types of vacations. The key output was a ranking of travel concepts on key criteria, and an initial read on the market opportunity.
 

3.     Validate and optimize:  So we had some great ideas for new trips and a new market to tackle, but more detail was required to actually build out the product.  We used a Discrete Choice model, to simulate market demand for various product alternatives and prices.  This information guided product’s design, pricing, and enabled us to focus on those who are most interested in actually purchasing the product. A critical piece of this stage is emulating real world choices—a trip can sound appealing, but at this stage we want to know who and if they are really interested – and how interest changes by price.
 

4.     Implementation and go to market: With the concept validated, the Tauck team needed to build out the trips –contract with hotels and identify top events and attractions for multiple locations. The comprehensive understanding of their target market also guided their decisions, including how to brand the products, establish relevant partnerships, and reach out to potential customers using traditional channels as well as online and social media. Although it’s often glossed over, this critical go-to-market planning stage can mean the difference between success and failure.

The result of this focused approach? Tauck launched the Culturious brand as a totally new product line, on time and with unanimous board approval. The new brand meets customer needs by offering small-group tours geared toward active Baby Boomers with an interest in physically challenging, culturally engaging travel. Culturious has consistently received “exceptional” guest satisfaction scores and won the 2010 Innovation prize from the Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnerships (CQIA).

Focusing innovation on the end-goal and working within constraints enabled Tauck to quickly launch a successful innovative product. Leveraging their existing competencies to address unmet needs in the Affluent Boomer marketplace enabled them to hit sales goals in Year 1.     

Top 10 benefits of a focused innovation approach:

1.     Aligns solution/ideation with strategy

2.     Solution is customer centric

3.     Focused on growth markets

4.     Provides flexible framework to drive from insight to action

5.     Enables deep conversations, by function, on goals and insights learned

6.     Adapts to handle “big problems” as well as “ready to test” concepts/ideas

7.     Creates Center of Excellence to facilitate and support efforts in agile manner

8.     Captures learning from each initiative

9.     Facilitates and supports with framework, expert resource and best practices

10.   Provides a governance structure to focus resources, including harnessing power of ideas within the organization

So, what are you waiting for?  Consider your challenge – identify your constraints – and get focused on your focused Innovation process!

- See more at: http://loyalty360.org/loyalty-management/july-2013-online-issue/tauck-creates-a-new-type-of-travel-experience#sthash.gMf5DUVE.dpuf

Innovating and successfully launching new products –be they loyalty programs or sneakers – is a difficult job requiring significant investment and navigating initiative-sinking risks.  Compounding the problem, for many firms, the innovation process itself is poorly -defined and unfocused—a great idea can morph into a poorly conceived solution or fails at execution.

Improving your chance of success requires a focused innovation process—a structured process where you apply the “right method” to the “right questions”; pursuing innovation within constraints, and focusing on untapped market opportunities.

We recently presented a case study of focused innovation in action at the Front End of Innovation conference.  The case study highlights a project with Tauck Worldwide; in partnership with our sister company the South Street Strategy Group.

Tauck is a travel industry leader; for nearly 100 years, it has focused on providing high value guided tours for its highly satisfied customers. But Tauck recognized some challenges to their future success—the erosion of the guided travel industry and the aging of their customer base.  They needed to create a new kind of travel experience to meet the needs of affluent Baby Boomers – a population extremely comfortable with researching, planning, and traveling on their own.  In partnership with South Street Strategy Group, our Focused Innovation process involved: 

1.     Identifying the primary goal, opportunity or business challenge – and the constraints we had to work within: We started by exploring the business context, through internal ideation, interviews, and workshops with executives and senior managers, leveraging insight and experience in the market, and researching and assessing the competitive landscape. This step helped us answer questions and identify constraints, including a need to:

·       Leverage Tauck’s core competencies

·       Design a new product, addressing unmet needs

·       Hit sales goal of $M in X time period by attracting new customers
 

2.     Investigating the opportunity using multiple methods:  We collected insights from different people (e.g., travel agents, call center reps, potential customers) and information sources to uncover customer needs and preferences.  We segmented the Boomer market by travel preferences and conducted in-depth qualitative research to identify the target market and flesh out the desired experience for different types of vacations. The key output was a ranking of travel concepts on key criteria, and an initial read on the market opportunity.
 

3.     Validate and optimize:  So we had some great ideas for new trips and a new market to tackle, but more detail was required to actually build out the product.  We used a Discrete Choice model, to simulate market demand for various product alternatives and prices.  This information guided product’s design, pricing, and enabled us to focus on those who are most interested in actually purchasing the product. A critical piece of this stage is emulating real world choices—a trip can sound appealing, but at this stage we want to know who and if they are really interested – and how interest changes by price.
 

4.     Implementation and go to market: With the concept validated, the Tauck team needed to build out the trips –contract with hotels and identify top events and attractions for multiple locations. The comprehensive understanding of their target market also guided their decisions, including how to brand the products, establish relevant partnerships, and reach out to potential customers using traditional channels as well as online and social media. Although it’s often glossed over, this critical go-to-market planning stage can mean the difference between success and failure.

The result of this focused approach? Tauck launched the Culturious brand as a totally new product line, on time and with unanimous board approval. The new brand meets customer needs by offering small-group tours geared toward active Baby Boomers with an interest in physically challenging, culturally engaging travel. Culturious has consistently received “exceptional” guest satisfaction scores and won the 2010 Innovation prize from the Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnerships (CQIA).

Focusing innovation on the end-goal and working within constraints enabled Tauck to quickly launch a successful innovative product. Leveraging their existing competencies to address unmet needs in the Affluent Boomer marketplace enabled them to hit sales goals in Year 1.     

Top 10 benefits of a focused innovation approach:

1.     Aligns solution/ideation with strategy

2.     Solution is customer centric

3.     Focused on growth markets

4.     Provides flexible framework to drive from insight to action

5.     Enables deep conversations, by function, on goals and insights learned

6.     Adapts to handle “big problems” as well as “ready to test” concepts/ideas

7.     Creates Center of Excellence to facilitate and support efforts in agile manner

8.     Captures learning from each initiative

9.     Facilitates and supports with framework, expert resource and best practices

10.   Provides a governance structure to focus resources, including harnessing power of ideas within the organization

So, what are you waiting for?  Consider your challenge – identify your constraints – and get focused on your focused Innovation process!

- See more at: http://loyalty360.org/loyalty-management/july-2013-online-issue/tauck-creates-a-new-type-of-travel-experience#sthash.gMf5DUVE.dpuf

Innovating and successfully launching new products –be they loyalty programs or sneakers – is a difficult job requiring significant investment and navigating initiative-sinking risks.  Compounding the problem, for many firms, the innovation process itself is poorly -defined and unfocused—a great idea can morph into a poorly conceived solution or fails at execution.

Improving your chance of success requires a focused innovation process—a structured process where you apply the “right method” to the “right questions”; pursuing innovation within constraints, and focusing on untapped market opportunities.

We recently presented a case study of focused innovation in action at the Front End of Innovation conference.  The case study highlights a project with Tauck Worldwide; in partnership with our sister company the South Street Strategy Group.

Tauck is a travel industry leader; for nearly 100 years, it has focused on providing high value guided tours for its highly satisfied customers. But Tauck recognized some challenges to their future success—the erosion of the guided travel industry and the aging of their customer base.  They needed to create a new kind of travel experience to meet the needs of affluent Baby Boomers – a population extremely comfortable with researching, planning, and traveling on their own.  In partnership with South Street Strategy Group, our Focused Innovation process involved: 

1.     Identifying the primary goal, opportunity or business challenge – and the constraints we had to work within: We started by exploring the business context, through internal ideation, interviews, and workshops with executives and senior managers, leveraging insight and experience in the market, and researching and assessing the competitive landscape. This step helped us answer questions and identify constraints, including a need to:

·       Leverage Tauck’s core competencies

·       Design a new product, addressing unmet needs

·       Hit sales goal of $M in X time period by attracting new customers
 

2.     Investigating the opportunity using multiple methods:  We collected insights from different people (e.g., travel agents, call center reps, potential customers) and information sources to uncover customer needs and preferences.  We segmented the Boomer market by travel preferences and conducted in-depth qualitative research to identify the target market and flesh out the desired experience for different types of vacations. The key output was a ranking of travel concepts on key criteria, and an initial read on the market opportunity.
 

3.     Validate and optimize:  So we had some great ideas for new trips and a new market to tackle, but more detail was required to actually build out the product.  We used a Discrete Choice model, to simulate market demand for various product alternatives and prices.  This information guided product’s design, pricing, and enabled us to focus on those who are most interested in actually purchasing the product. A critical piece of this stage is emulating real world choices—a trip can sound appealing, but at this stage we want to know who and if they are really interested – and how interest changes by price.
 

4.     Implementation and go to market: With the concept validated, the Tauck team needed to build out the trips –contract with hotels and identify top events and attractions for multiple locations. The comprehensive understanding of their target market also guided their decisions, including how to brand the products, establish relevant partnerships, and reach out to potential customers using traditional channels as well as online and social media. Although it’s often glossed over, this critical go-to-market planning stage can mean the difference between success and failure.

The result of this focused approach? Tauck launched the Culturious brand as a totally new product line, on time and with unanimous board approval. The new brand meets customer needs by offering small-group tours geared toward active Baby Boomers with an interest in physically challenging, culturally engaging travel. Culturious has consistently received “exceptional” guest satisfaction scores and won the 2010 Innovation prize from the Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnerships (CQIA).

Focusing innovation on the end-goal and working within constraints enabled Tauck to quickly launch a successful innovative product. Leveraging their existing competencies to address unmet needs in the Affluent Boomer marketplace enabled them to hit sales goals in Year 1.     

Top 10 benefits of a focused innovation approach:

1.     Aligns solution/ideation with strategy

2.     Solution is customer centric

3.     Focused on growth markets

4.     Provides flexible framework to drive from insight to action

5.     Enables deep conversations, by function, on goals and insights learned

6.     Adapts to handle “big problems” as well as “ready to test” concepts/ideas

7.     Creates Center of Excellence to facilitate and support efforts in agile manner

8.     Captures learning from each initiative

9.     Facilitates and supports with framework, expert resource and best practices

10.   Provides a governance structure to focus resources, including harnessing power of ideas within the organization

So, what are you waiting for?  Consider your challenge – identify your constraints – and get focused on your focused Innovation process!

- See more at: http://loyalty360.org/loyalty-management/july-2013-online-issue/tauck-creates-a-new-type-of-travel-experience#sthash.gMf5DUVE.dpuf

Innovating and successfully launching new products –be they loyalty programs or sneakers – is a difficult job requiring significant investment and navigating initiative-sinking risks.  Compounding the problem, for many firms, the innovation process itself is poorly -defined and unfocused—a great idea can morph into a poorly conceived solution or fails at execution.

Improving your chance of success requires a focused innovation process—a structured process where you apply the “right method” to the “right questions”; pursuing innovation within constraints, and focusing on untapped market opportunities.

We recently presented a case study of focused innovation in action at the Front End of Innovation conference.  The case study highlights a project with Tauck Worldwide; in partnership with our sister company the South Street Strategy Group.

Tauck is a travel industry leader; for nearly 100 years, it has focused on providing high value guided tours for its highly satisfied customers. But Tauck recognized some challenges to their future success—the erosion of the guided travel industry and the aging of their customer base.  They needed to create a new kind of travel experience to meet the needs of affluent Baby Boomers – a population extremely comfortable with researching, planning, and traveling on their own.  In partnership with South Street Strategy Group, our Focused Innovation process involved: 

1.     Identifying the primary goal, opportunity or business challenge – and the constraints we had to work within: We started by exploring the business context, through internal ideation, interviews, and workshops with executives and senior managers, leveraging insight and experience in the market, and researching and assessing the competitive landscape. This step helped us answer questions and identify constraints, including a need to:

·       Leverage Tauck’s core competencies

·       Design a new product, addressing unmet needs

·       Hit sales goal of $M in X time period by attracting new customers
 

2.     Investigating the opportunity using multiple methods:  We collected insights from different people (e.g., travel agents, call center reps, potential customers) and information sources to uncover customer needs and preferences.  We segmented the Boomer market by travel preferences and conducted in-depth qualitative research to identify the target market and flesh out the desired experience for different types of vacations. The key output was a ranking of travel concepts on key criteria, and an initial read on the market opportunity.
 

3.     Validate and optimize:  So we had some great ideas for new trips and a new market to tackle, but more detail was required to actually build out the product.  We used a Discrete Choice model, to simulate market demand for various product alternatives and prices.  This information guided product’s design, pricing, and enabled us to focus on those who are most interested in actually purchasing the product. A critical piece of this stage is emulating real world choices—a trip can sound appealing, but at this stage we want to know who and if they are really interested – and how interest changes by price.
 

4.     Implementation and go to market: With the concept validated, the Tauck team needed to build out the trips –contract with hotels and identify top events and attractions for multiple locations. The comprehensive understanding of their target market also guided their decisions, including how to brand the products, establish relevant partnerships, and reach out to potential customers using traditional channels as well as online and social media. Although it’s often glossed over, this critical go-to-market planning stage can mean the difference between success and failure.

The result of this focused approach? Tauck launched the Culturious brand as a totally new product line, on time and with unanimous board approval. The new brand meets customer needs by offering small-group tours geared toward active Baby Boomers with an interest in physically challenging, culturally engaging travel. Culturious has consistently received “exceptional” guest satisfaction scores and won the 2010 Innovation prize from the Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnerships (CQIA).

Focusing innovation on the end-goal and working within constraints enabled Tauck to quickly launch a successful innovative product. Leveraging their existing competencies to address unmet needs in the Affluent Boomer marketplace enabled them to hit sales goals in Year 1.     

Top 10 benefits of a focused innovation approach:

1.     Aligns solution/ideation with strategy

2.     Solution is customer centric

3.     Focused on growth markets

4.     Provides flexible framework to drive from insight to action

5.     Enables deep conversations, by function, on goals and insights learned

6.     Adapts to handle “big problems” as well as “ready to test” concepts/ideas

7.     Creates Center of Excellence to facilitate and support efforts in agile manner

8.     Captures learning from each initiative

9.     Facilitates and supports with framework, expert resource and best practices

10.   Provides a governance structure to focus resources, including harnessing power of ideas within the organization

So, what are you waiting for?  Consider your challenge – identify your constraints – and get focused on your focused Innovation process!

- See more at: http://loyalty360.org/loyalty-management/july-2013-online-issue/tauck-creates-a-new-type-of-travel-experience#sthash.gMf5DUVE.dpuf

Innovating and successfully launching new products –be they loyalty programs or sneakers – is a difficult job requiring significant investment and navigating initiative-sinking risks.  Compounding the problem, for many firms, the innovation process itself is poorly -defined and unfocused—a great idea can morph into a poorly conceived solution or fails at execution.

Improving your chance of success requires a focused innovation process—a structured process where you apply the “right method” to the “right questions”; pursuing innovation within constraints, and focusing on untapped market opportunities.

We recently presented a case study of focused innovation in action at the Front End of Innovation conference.  The case study highlights a project with Tauck Worldwide; in partnership with our sister company the South Street Strategy Group.

Tauck is a travel industry leader; for nearly 100 years, it has focused on providing high value guided tours for its highly satisfied customers. But Tauck recognized some challenges to their future success—the erosion of the guided travel industry and the aging of their customer base.  They needed to create a new kind of travel experience to meet the needs of affluent Baby Boomers – a population extremely comfortable with researching, planning, and traveling on their own.  In partnership with South Street Strategy Group, our Focused Innovation process involved: 

1.     Identifying the primary goal, opportunity or business challenge – and the constraints we had to work within: We started by exploring the business context, through internal ideation, interviews, and workshops with executives and senior managers, leveraging insight and experience in the market, and researching and assessing the competitive landscape. This step helped us answer questions and identify constraints, including a need to:

·       Leverage Tauck’s core competencies

·       Design a new product, addressing unmet needs

·       Hit sales goal of $M in X time period by attracting new customers
 

2.     Investigating the opportunity using multiple methods:  We collected insights from different people (e.g., travel agents, call center reps, potential customers) and information sources to uncover customer needs and preferences.  We segmented the Boomer market by travel preferences and conducted in-depth qualitative research to identify the target market and flesh out the desired experience for different types of vacations. The key output was a ranking of travel concepts on key criteria, and an initial read on the market opportunity.
 

3.     Validate and optimize:  So we had some great ideas for new trips and a new market to tackle, but more detail was required to actually build out the product.  We used a Discrete Choice model, to simulate market demand for various product alternatives and prices.  This information guided product’s design, pricing, and enabled us to focus on those who are most interested in actually purchasing the product. A critical piece of this stage is emulating real world choices—a trip can sound appealing, but at this stage we want to know who and if they are really interested – and how interest changes by price.
 

4.     Implementation and go to market: With the concept validated, the Tauck team needed to build out the trips –contract with hotels and identify top events and attractions for multiple locations. The comprehensive understanding of their target market also guided their decisions, including how to brand the products, establish relevant partnerships, and reach out to potential customers using traditional channels as well as online and social media. Although it’s often glossed over, this critical go-to-market planning stage can mean the difference between success and failure.

The result of this focused approach? Tauck launched the Culturious brand as a totally new product line, on time and with unanimous board approval. The new brand meets customer needs by offering small-group tours geared toward active Baby Boomers with an interest in physically challenging, culturally engaging travel. Culturious has consistently received “exceptional” guest satisfaction scores and won the 2010 Innovation prize from the Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnerships (CQIA).

Focusing innovation on the end-goal and working within constraints enabled Tauck to quickly launch a successful innovative product. Leveraging their existing competencies to address unmet needs in the Affluent Boomer marketplace enabled them to hit sales goals in Year 1.     

Top 10 benefits of a focused innovation approach:

1.     Aligns solution/ideation with strategy

2.     Solution is customer centric

3.     Focused on growth markets

4.     Provides flexible framework to drive from insight to action

5.     Enables deep conversations, by function, on goals and insights learned

6.     Adapts to handle “big problems” as well as “ready to test” concepts/ideas

7.     Creates Center of Excellence to facilitate and support efforts in agile manner

8.     Captures learning from each initiative

9.     Facilitates and supports with framework, expert resource and best practices

10.   Provides a governance structure to focus resources, including harnessing power of ideas within the organization

So, what are you waiting for?  Consider your challenge – identify your constraints – and get focused on your focused Innovation process!

- See more at: http://loyalty360.org/loyalty-management/july-2013-online-issue/tauck-creates-a-new-type-of-travel-experience#sthash.gMf5DUVE.

Innovating and successfully launching new products –be they loyalty programs or sneakers – is a difficult job requiring significant investment and navigating initiative-sinking risks.  Compounding the problem, for many firms, the innovation process itself is poorly -defined and unfocused—a great idea can morph into a poorly conceived solution or fails at execution.

Improving your chance of success requires a focused innovation process—a structured process where you apply the “right method” to the “right questions”; pursuing innovation within constraints, and focusing on untapped market opportunities.

We recently presented a case study of focused innovation in action at the Front End of Innovation conference.  The case study highlights a project with Tauck Worldwide; in partnership with our sister company the South Street Strategy Group.

Tauck is a travel industry leader; for nearly 100 years, it has focused on providing high value guided tours for its highly satisfied customers. But Tauck recognized some challenges to their future success—the erosion of the guided travel industry and the aging of their customer base.  They needed to create a new kind of travel experience to meet the needs of affluent Baby Boomers – a population extremely comfortable with researching, planning, and traveling on their own.  In partnership with South Street Strategy Group, our Focused Innovation process involved: 

1.     Identifying the primary goal, opportunity or business challenge – and the constraints we had to work within: We started by exploring the business context, through internal ideation, interviews, and workshops with executives and senior managers, leveraging insight and experience in the market, and researching and assessing the competitive landscape. This step helped us answer questions and identify constraints, including a need to:

·       Leverage Tauck’s core competencies

·       Design a new product, addressing unmet needs

·       Hit sales goal of $M in X time period by attracting new customers
 

2.     Investigating the opportunity using multiple methods:  We collected insights from different people (e.g., travel agents, call center reps, potential customers) and information sources to uncover customer needs and preferences.  We segmented the Boomer market by travel preferences and conducted in-depth qualitative research to identify the target market and flesh out the desired experience for different types of vacations. The key output was a ranking of travel concepts on key criteria, and an initial read on the market opportunity.
 

3.     Validate and optimize:  So we had some great ideas for new trips and a new market to tackle, but more detail was required to actually build out the product.  We used a Discrete Choice model, to simulate market demand for various product alternatives and prices.  This information guided product’s design, pricing, and enabled us to focus on those who are most interested in actually purchasing the product. A critical piece of this stage is emulating real world choices—a trip can sound appealing, but at this stage we want to know who and if they are really interested – and how interest changes by price.
 

4.     Implementation and go to market: With the concept validated, the Tauck team needed to build out the trips –contract with hotels and identify top events and attractions for multiple locations. The comprehensive understanding of their target market also guided their decisions, including how to brand the products, establish relevant partnerships, and reach out to potential customers using traditional channels as well as online and social media. Although it’s often glossed over, this critical go-to-market planning stage can mean the difference between success and failure.

The result of this focused approach? Tauck launched the Culturious brand as a totally new product line, on time and with unanimous board approval. The new brand meets customer needs by offering small-group tours geared toward active Baby Boomers with an interest in physically challenging, culturally engaging travel. Culturious has consistently received “exceptional” guest satisfaction scores and won the 2010 Innovation prize from the Connecticut Quality Improvement Award Partnerships (CQIA).

Focusing innovation on the end-goal and working within constraints enabled Tauck to quickly launch a successful innovative product. Leveraging their existing competencies to address unmet needs in the Affluent Boomer marketplace enabled them to hit sales goals in Year 1.     

Top 10 benefits of a focused innovation approach:

1.     Aligns solution/ideation with strategy

2.     Solution is customer centric

3.     Focused on growth markets

4.     Provides flexible framework to drive from insight to action

5.     Enables deep conversations, by function, on goals and insights learned

6.     Adapts to handle “big problems” as well as “ready to test” concepts/ideas

7.     Creates Center of Excellence to facilitate and support efforts in agile manner

8.     Captures learning from each initiative

9.     Facilitates and supports with framework, expert resource and best practices

10.   Provides a governance structure to focus resources, including harnessing power of ideas within the organization

So, what are you waiting for?  Consider your challenge – identify your constraints – and get focused on your focused Innovation process!

- See more at: http://loyalty360.org/loyalty-management/july-2013-online-issue/tauck-creates-a-new-type-of-travel-experience#sthash.gMf5DUVE.dpuf

Topics: South Street Strategy Group, strategy consulting, travel and hospitality research, growth and innovation