Handbook of Research on Innovation in Tourism Industries
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Handbook of Research on Innovation in Tourism Industries

Edited by Gry Agnete Alsos, Dorthe Eide and Einar Lier Madsen

The tourism sector – already one of the fastest growing industries in the world – is currently undergoing extensive change thanks to strong market growth and a transition to more experience-based products. The capacity for firms to innovate and adapt to market developments is crucial to their success, but research-based knowledge on innovation strategies in tourism remains scarce. This pioneering Handbook offers timely, original research on innovation within the tourism industry from a number of interdisciplinary and global perspectives.
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Chapter 6: Potentials for user-based innovation in tourism: the example of GPS tracking of attraction visitors

Flemming Sørensen and Jon Sundbo


The importance of users for innovation has already been emphasized in the literature (Baldwin et al., 2006; Kristensson et al., 2008) and the concept of user-based innovation has become central to the innovation discourse (Sundbo & Toivonen, 2012). Currently user-based innovation is also emerging as a topic within tourism research (Hjalager & Nordin, 2011). Indeed, user-based innovation may have particular potential in tourism (Sorensen & Jensen, 2012) in which users are an important learning source for tourism companies (Hall & Williams, 2008; Ottenbacher et al., 2005). Reasons for such potential include that the production and consumption of tourism are inseparable (e.g. Baum, 2002; Crang, 1997) and, therefore, tourists possess valuable knowledge derived from coproducing tourism experiences (Hall & Williams, 2008). Multiple methods for retrieving information of potential value for user-based innovation, for example about usersí practises and demands, are available for tourism organizations (e.g. surveys, observations, focus group interviews and workshops) (Veal, 2006). However, limited knowledge exists about usersí importance for tourism companiesí innovation processes compared to other sources of knowledge, the extent to which user-based innovation is implemented in practise, and, not least, how this can be done (Hjalager & Nordin, 2011). In this chapter we investigate these issues based on an innovation field experiment concerning the use of GPS technology as a basis for user-based innovation in a Northern European Safari Park.

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