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Analysis of Thematic Hotels and Cooperation: Focus Field Bike Hotels

by Nikolaos Tsitsoulis (Author) Veselin Dimitrov (Author) Tatiana Medvedeva (Author) Orkhan Orujov (Author)

Research Paper (postgraduate) 2013 163 Pages

Tourism

Excerpt

Table of Contents

List of Tables

List of Figures

List of Abbreviations

Preface

1. Introduction

2. Theory insights
2.1 Moving from mass tourism to sustainable and niche tourism
2.2 Sport tourism
2.3 Adventure tourism (or outdoor tourism)
2.4 The role of niche tourism in destination management
2.5 The role of cooperation in tourism in destination management and sports tourism

3. Literature Review of bikers’ behaviour
3.1 Alpine Destination
3.2 Canada
3.3 USA
3.4 Australia
3.5 New Zealand

4. Bike hotel chain and organizations
A. Bike hotel chain
4.1 Accent Inns, Canada
B Bike hotel organizations
4.2 Engadin St. Moritz Tourist Organisation
4.3 Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus, Switzerland
4.4 Girona Greenways Consortium, Spain
4.5 Riccione Bike Hotels – Italy
4.6 Tirol Werbung GmbH, Austria
4.7 Whistler Resort Association, Canada
4.8 Bike hotel Sudtirol, Italy

5. Spa and Swiss Deluxe Hotel association
5.1 The value of spa and therapies for bikers
5.2 Siwss Deluxe Hotels

6. Methodology

7. Bikers survey
7.1 Fixing the data
7.2 Descriptive statistics
7.3 Inferential statistics
Biking experience
Age
Number of persons under/over 18 living in household
Reasons for biking: health/exercise
Reasons for biking: environmental
Reasons for biking: enjoinment
Reasons for biking: thrill and excitement
Marital status
Gender
Association membership

8. Bike hotels’ survey
8.1 Descriptive statistics
8.2 Quantitative analysis
Main strengths of the business
Future changes in the bike product

9. Discussion and recommendations
Gender
Age
Occupation
Importance of different experiences
Level of biking experience
Reasons for biking
Bikers’ preferences considering bike services of hotels and the supply of those services by hotels
Bikers’ participation in biking activities per year and their contribution to the growth of the hotels’ business
Bikers’ participation in seasonal activities per year and the supply of those activities by hotels
Booking channel
Organizing bike tours and information for tour planning
Bike hotels and cooperation
Bike cooperation
Spa centre and cooperation with a spa association

10. Conclusion

Bibliography

List of appendices

Declaration of sole authorship

List of Tables

Table 1 – Example of adventure categories

Table 2 – Adventure index of Switzerland for

Table 3 – Adventure index of Switzerland for

Table 4 – Switzerland Mobility route network

Table 5 – Sales generated as a result of Switzerland Mobility

Table 6 – The annual income level of cyclists

Table 7 – The characteristics of occasional riders

Table 8 – The characteristics of short distance riders

Table 9 – The characteristics of long distance riders

Table 10 – The characteristics of competitive riders

Table 11 – The expectations of bikers

Table 12 – Factors to facilitate cycle tourism experiences

Table 13 – Different expenses for bike tourists

Table 14 – Tourists participation in bike activities

Table 15 – Top 10 preferred activities

Table 16 – Most common activities

Table 17 – Total estimated expenditures of cycle tourists 1995/

Table 18 – Accommodation type preferences

Table 19 – Experiences and preferences of bikers

Table 20 – Services and facilities of Gstaad Saanenland Tourismus

Table 21 – Minimum accommodation criteria of Girona Greenways Consortium

Table 22 – Best optional accommodation services of Girona Greenways Consortium

Table 23 – Bicycle facilities and services of Riccione Bike Hotels

Table 24 – Facilities and service criteria of Tirol Werbung GmbH

Table 25 – Services and traits of bike hotel Sudtirol

Table 26 – Membership criteria of Swiss Deluxe Hotels

Tables that concern bikers survey

Table 27 – Importance of bike facilities

Table 28 – Participation in bike activities

Table 29 – How often bikers participate in other seasonal outdoor activities

Table 30 – Importance of different experiences

Table 31 – Information sources used for tour planning

Table 32 – Channels that bikers prefer to book a bike hotel

Tables that concern bike hotels survey

Table 33 – Seasonality of bike hotels

Table 34 – Types of bike activities and their contribution to the growth of business

Table 35 – Other activities (except biking) that the accommodations provide

Table 36 – Facilities that bike hotels offer

Table 37 – Main strengths of bike hotels

List of Figures

Figure 1 – Sport tourism segments and categories

Figure 2 – Niche tourism life cycle

Figure 3 – The most enjoyable aspects of biking

Figure 4 – The number of people that accompany bikers during their trip

Figure 5 – Income level of bikers

Figure 6 – Biking trip duration

Figure 7 – Reason for choosing a bike destination

Figure 8 – Core values for Engadin St. Moritz Tourist Organisation

Figure 9 – Positioning of Engadin, St. Moritz and positioning of both destinations

Figure 10 – Interrelation between Engain and St. Moritz brands

Figures that concern bikers survey

Figure 11 – Gender

Figure 12 – Age groups

Figure 13 – Occupation

Figure 14 – Educational background

Figure 15 – Marital status

Figure 16 – Persons under 18 years old

Figure 17 – Persons over 18 years old

Figure 18 – Level of biking experience

Figure 19 – Reasons for biking

Figure 20 – Bike association membership

Figure 21 – Bikers’ preferences considering bike services of hotels

Figure 22 – Bikers’ preference considering renting a bike or using their own

Figure 23 – Importance of bike facilities

Figure 24 – Participation in bike activities

Figure 25 – How often bikers participate in other seasonal outdoor activities

Figure 26 – Importance of different experiences

Figure 27 – Organizing bike tours

Figure 28 – Information sources used for tour planning

Figure 29 – Channels that bikers use to book a bike hotel

Figure 30 – Crosstabulation of level of biking experience and off-streets paved bikers path

Figure 31 – Crosstabulation of level of biking experience and on-street bike lanes

Figure 32 – Crosstabulation of level of biking experience and secure bike storage

Figure 33 – Crosstabulation of level of biking experience and cycle repair

Figure 34 – Crosstabulation of level of biking experience and call out/rescue service

Figure 35 – Crosstabulation of age groups and level of biking experience

Figure 36 – Crosstabulation of age groups and off-street paved bike paths

Figure 37 – Crosstabulation of age groups and unpaved trails or dirt paths

Figure 38 – Crosstabulation of age groups and bicycle boulevards

Figure 39 – Crosstabulation of age groups and closed tracks

Figure 40 – Crosstabulation of exercise/health reasons (reason for biking) and on-street bike lines

Figure 41 – Crosstabulation of exercise/health reasons (reason for biking) and cycle hire

Figure 42 – Crosstabulation of exercise/health reasons (reason for biking) and cycle repair

Figure 43 – Crosstabulation of exercise/health reasons (reason for biking) and sale of spares and parts

Figure 44 – Crosstabulation of exercise/health reasons (reason for biking) and sale of specialist clothing

Figure 45 – Crosstabulation of exercise/health reasons (reason for biking) and sale of routes and maps

Figure 46 – Crosstabulation of environmental and social reasons (reason for biking) and bicycle boulevards

Figure 47- Crosstabulation of environmental and social reasons (reason for biking) and cycle repair

Figure 48 – Crosstabulation for environmental and social reasons (reason for biking) and sale of spares and parts

Figure 49 – Crosstabulation of thrill/excitement (reason for biking) and cycle hire

Figure 50 – Crosstabulation of thrill/excitement (reason for biking) and cycle sales

Figure 51 – Crosstabulation of thrill/excitement (reason for biking) and sale of spares and parts

Figure 52 – Crosstabulation of marital status and luggage transfer

Figure 53 – Crosstabulation of gender and bicycle boulevards

Figure 54 – Crosstabulation of gender and closed tracks

Figure 55 – Crosstabulation of gender and cycle hire

Figure 56 – Crosstabulation of gender and electric station to load batteries

Figure 57 – Crosstabulation of association membership and luggage transfer

Figures that concern bike hotels survey

Figure 58 – Bike hotels location (country)

Figure 59 - Area of the hotel’s location

Figure 60 - Type of accommodation

Figure 61 - Maximum occupancy in persons

Figure 62 - The extent of the hotels specialization in the bike tourism market

Figure 63 - Membership of bike hotel associations

Figure 64 – Willingness to be a member of a bike association if it would exist in the hotels’ local region or country

Figure 65 - Collaboration with TA not specialized in bike tourism

Figure 66 - Collaboration with TAs that offer bike tourism packages

Figure 67 - Importance of biking to the success of the business

Figure 68 - Has the bike tourism part of the business increased or decreased?

Figure 69 – Seasonality of bike hotels

Figure 70 - Types of biking activities and their contribution to the growth of business

Figure 71 - Bike services of the accommodations. N=18 and Missing 3 for all variables ..

Figure 72 – Other activities (than biking) that the accommodations provide

Figure 73 – Facilities that bike hotels offer

Figure 74 – Services that bike hotels offer

List of Abbreviations

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Preface

We would like to express our deep gratitude to our head coach Prof. Wagenseill for his guidelines and valuable comments during the whole semester. We are also grateful to Dr. Lutzenberger for his helpful methodological inputs and comments to our surveys. Finally, we would like to thank Mr. Kasal who helped us not only with the technical part and the publication of our survey but also with valuables comments about the analysis of the results.

1. Introduction

Nowadays tourism is one of the most rapidly developing and changing sphere of life all around the world. We see tourism everywhere around us; it is hard to imagine everyday life without tourists, travel agencies, excursions, and hotels. There are thousands and thousands of different organizations, associations, magazines that are directly or indirectly involved with tourism.

It is considered that hotels with generic offer suffer from reduced demand. One possible way to improve the performance is a thematic specialization. It provides added value for specific niches and target groups.

The focus of this paper is bike hotels and the tourists who are visiting bike hotels. In such a huge market as hospitality it can be extremely hard to be competitive and to correspond to tourists’ needs. It is even more difficult if to talk about niche market, what bike tourism, without any doubts, is. Today tourists are experienced, know what they want and want to get everything from the price they are ready to pay for services.

According to Novelli (2005), in niche tourism marketing, the customer-related approach focuses on tourist requirements and expectations, where the demand has to meet the supply side. The importance is given to factors that define a satisfactory holiday for tourists. According to this statement the aim of this paper is to analyse tourists’ needs and hotel’s offers and to see if they correspond to each other.

The objectives of the paper are to make a research about bike tourism market, different countries, where different kinds of biking are popular. Alpine region, Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand with their best examples were taken due to the long-time existence of biking sport there. This paper attempts to understand why bikers bike and what is important for them when they stay in specialized bike hotels. Respondents from different countries helped us to find out bikers preferences and their dislikes. This report seeks to analyse and describe demographics, motives, activities, behaviour and demands of the bike tourist segment and the currently offered bike hotel product in the market.

Chapter 2 provides relevant theoretical insights. Chapter 3 examines relevant literature in the field of bikers’ behaviour in the Alpine Region, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zeeland. Chapter 4 presents bike hotel chains and alliances. It focuses on their strategies and regulations. Chapter 5 describes the relevance of spa and therapies for bikers. As one of the best spa association cases, Swiss deluxe hotel association is analysed. Chapter 6 provides the methodological framework of the two surveys that were developed. Chapter 7 and 8 describe the findings of the bikers and hotels survey respectively. Chapter 9 presents the most relevant findings, compares the demand side of bikers and the supply side of hotels. Additionally, managerial implications are provided. The conclusion (chapter 10) provides the limitation aspects of this project and suggests further research.

2. Theory insights

This part constitutes an introduction to the topic of the present project using insights into relevant theoretical fields as niche tourism, sport tourism, adventure tourism, the role of niche tourism in destination management (DM), the role of cooperation in tourism DM and sport tourism.

2.1 Moving from mass tourism to sustainable and niche tourism

The rise of mass tourism started in the 1950s. “Mass tourism can be defined as modern, industrial tourism where large numbers of tourists are transported, accommodated and entertained inexpensively by large mainstream tourism enterprises in pre-packaged and highly organized tour arrangements.” (Higgins-Desbiolles, 2006, p. 198).

Mass tourism had some negative economic, ecological and social impacts. Furthermore there was developing a switch of demand to a more individual approach and more specialized offers.

As a reaction to those negative effects sustainable (or alternative) tourism started to develop. The main characteristics of sustainable tourism are limited-scale, low-impact, community-based and raised awareness.

Sustainable tourism is complex and diverse; it includes many different types and/or niches as ecological tourism, ecotourism (or green tourism), rural tourism, community tourism and others (Higgins-Desbiolles, 2006).

A parallel idea to sustainable tourism is niche tourism. There is no formal definition of the term although it is largely borrowed from the term niche marketing. In marketing the term refers to a specific product made to meet the needs of a particular market segment. Novelli (2005, pp. 5) supports that “The market should not been seen as some simplistic homogenous whole with general need, but rather sets of individuals with specific needs relating to the qualities and features of particular products”. Niche market (or small market segment) is a well-defined group; the individuals in the group have the same specialized needs and have a strong desire to obtain the offered product

Niche tourism marketing tries to identify travel preferences according to the behaviour and motivation to experience a specialized product or service. Tourism marketers frequently try to identify activities that are practiced by specific travel groups in order to contact them. This is called macro niches. Additionally they often assume that a specialized product may appeal to another niche at the same time. Macro niches (e.g. cultural tourism, rural tourism, sport tourism etc.) can be further divided into smaller groups that are called micro-niches (e.g. gastronomy tourism, wine tourism, cycling tourism etc.). Novelli (2005, p. 6) states that in niche tourism an important factor is “the geographical dimension by which locations with highly specific offers are able to establish themselves as niche destinations”. Furthermore, niche tourism is seen as a way to attract high spending tourists, as it is considered to be an elite form of tourism and directly opposite to mass tourism and to mass packaged tourism.

The increased demand for specialist holidays by experienced group of tourists provides a necessity for the growth of niche tourism. For businesses involved in the tourism business the creation and the involvement in niche tourism can add value to their business model and can be seen as a way to achieve a competitive strategy. Especially in increased market competition, a competitive advantage is highly desired as it relates to a company being able to achieve a higher proportion of the total sales than the competitor (Novelli, 2005).

2.2 Sport tourism

Sport tourism and adventure tourism are very similar in many ways; sometimes it is even hard to make a distinction between them. In scientific literature cycling can be a part of both niches. Due to this reason both theoretical aspects of those types are provided and will be treated similarly.

Sport tourism is all about participating in a passive sport holidays (e.g. sport events and sport museums etc.) or active sport holidays (e.g. cycling, skiing etc.). In different cases either sport or tourism are the main reason for travelling (Novelli, 2005). Pitts (1999, p. 31) states that there are two broad categories. “Sports participations travel (travel for the participating in a sports, or leisure (…).
Sports spectatorial travel (travel for the purpose of watching sports, recreation or leisure (…).” Gibson (2002) states that there are three possible overlapping categories of sport tourism that are presented in figure 1. It can be observed, that adventure tourism is a part of active sport tourism.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthaltenFigure 1 - Sport tourism segments and categories

2.3 Adventure tourism (or outdoor tourism)

Adventure tourism is:

a leisure activity that takes place in an unusual, exotic, remote or wilderness destination. It tends to be associated with high levels of activity by the participants, most of it outdoors. Adventure travellers expect to experience varying degrees of risk, excitement and tranquillity and to be personally tested. In particular they are explorers of unspoilt exotic parts of the planet and also seek personal challenges (Mintel International Group, 2001: 5).

Evans (2003) and Weber (2001) state that adventure levels can be based on the personal perception of the tourist considering the risk level and the type of travel or activities that he perceives as adventurous.Starbrooke, Beard, Leckie and Pomfret (2003)define the ten core characteristics of adventure as uncertain outcome; danger and risk; challenge; anticipated rewards; novelty; stimulation and excitement; escapism and separation; exploration and discovery; absorption and focus; and contrasting emotions

Low risk activities may be undertaken by anyone without the necessity of having a previous experience in that. Those activities are categorized as soft adventure. High-risk activities are categorized as hard adventure, which would require previous experience, ability to manage the unexpected and specialized skills that have to do with the specific type of holiday (Novelli, 2005). Sung, H., Morrison, A. and O’Leary (2000) identify the most common adventure activities that can be used for adventure segmentation (Table 1).

Table 1 - Examples of adventure categories

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2.4 The role of niche tourism in DM

Niche tourism can help destinations differentiate their specialized tourism product and position in a highly competitive tourism environment. Furthermore, niche products can highly motivate tourists in their destination choice (Ali-Knight, 2010).

Buhalis (2000) supports that destination in the mature phase of their development should focus on repositioning their tourism product and focus on developing an alternative niche strategy. Figure 2 shows that niche products have a different impact and contribution to destination development. Destinations with developed niche tourism can contribute to the development of new destinations or to reposition established destinations (Ali-Knight, 2010).

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Figure 2 - Niche tourism life cycle

2.5 The role of cooperation in tourism DM and sports tourism

Fyall and Garrod (2005) believe that becoming a member of cooperation is one of the principal options for niche tourism markets. This concerns especially small and independent hotels that have to compete in a fiercely competitive market. Being member of a consortium can help the hotels to improve their competencies, advance their market and improve their competitive position.

Wang and Krakover (2008) state that a more cooperative mind-set is more likely to be found in more mature destinations that tend to focus on a macro business perspective, in order to achieve a competitive advantage of the destination and create a win-win situation for all the shareholders involved. Businesses cooperate in order to achieve their common goal of attracting the visitors to the destination and compete to achieve a bigger piece of the pie once the visitors are in the destination. This is called coopetition. Destination Management Organizations (DMO) should represent these trends of the shareholders.

Factors as establishing links between private firms and public organization are common and attractive in the tourism industry because attracting more tourists is a congruence of objectives that can benefit both (Pechlaner, Volgger, 2012 and Palmer, Bejou, 1995).

Devine, Boyle and Boyd (2011) believe that sports tourism is highly fragmented because it consists of a large number of organizations that vary in content and characteristics. They consider collaboration as a necessity rather than luxury, for the public sector DMO that develop and deliver this niche market. Those inter-organizations relationships can bring a collaborative advantage.

3 Literature Review of bikers’ behaviour

3.1 Alpine Destination

Switzerland is the eighth country in Europe in adventure holiday packages buyers, with a market share of 3% of all the purchased adventure holiday packages. Authenticity and landscape is an important pull factor for tourism and outdoor activities.

The tour operators’ (TO) market in Switzerland is highly fragmented. There are many niche TO that focus on adventure tourism. At the same time there are large TO that provide only some adventure tourism destinations. Suppliers of adventure tourism are recommended to target the small TO because it is hard to meet the demands of the large TO. Travel agencies (TA) receive a margin of approximately 10-12% while TO receive a margin of 10-20%. Many TO have committed to sustainable tourism and ecotourism. Hence, promoting the destination as authentic and ecological friendly will make it attractive to both, TO and potential tourists. (CBI Ministry of foreign affairs, n.d.).

Adventure Tourism Development Index (2011, 2012) ranked Switzerland first among the developed countries of the world for 2010 and 2011 (see tables 2,3). Switzerland’s adventure tourism success is based on the partnership between government, private sector and Swiss people. Mobility is reaching tech-savvy adventures using an iPhone and Google Android applications that map more than 600 hiking, cycling, mountain biking, skating, and canoeing routes (Free Switzerland Mobility App, n.d.).

Table 2 and Table 3 - Adventure index of Switzerland for 2010 (left), 2011 (right)

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthaltenAbbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 4 presents Switzerland Mobility, a national network that links the non-motorized traffic for leisure and tourism routes with public transportation and a wide variety of tourism services (Swiss Tourism Federation, 2011).

Table 4 – Switzerland Mobility route network 2011

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The interest of Swiss people and foreign tourist on Switzerland Mobility is growing steadily. Table 5 shows that the sales generated from cycling was 187 million CHF (Swiss Tourism Federation).

Table 5 - Sales generated as a result of Switzerland Mobility 2011

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According to Beige (2005), who conducted a survey about the tourists’ behaviour in different regions of Switzerland, there is a strong variety of nationalities of tourists’ who come to Alpine region for sport activities. However the major part of all visitors is Swiss, followed by German tourists. It was indicated that women were more active than men, and the age groups have a significant level of variation. The size of municipality, as well as the developed infrastructure and transport system affects the number of tourists coming to one or another region.

The major part of tourists is involved not only in one type of activity, but takes part or shows interest for different kinds of sport depending on the season. The winter activities tend to be the longest and the most frequent due to the high popularity and recognition of winter sports. Men participate in longer activities than women and the number of people who take part in a particular activity influences the duration of it.

According to the author, who compared his results with the data from Travel Market Switzerland of Bieger and Laesser (2002), the tourists surveyed show a higher level of journey frequencies. The data collected with the help of Swiss tourists explains the high share of Swiss destinations in the overall research.

Gfeller (2009) states that due to the economical challenge in Switzerland, the bicycle market has a huge potential, regarding the reason that people try to move to sustainable and clean vehicles. Moreover, the electric vehicles develop rapidly and start to be more and more popular, the concept is still innovative but it can be used in every day life.

According to Pomfret (2004), the mountains of the Alps offer a wide variety of opportunities the recreational tourism due to its landscape beauty. Hiking and climbing are regarded as traditional summer sport activities, in winter downhill as well as cross-country skiing are popular. These long-time existing sports have been complemented in the last time by an abundant number of other activities such as mountain biking, canoeing, paragliding, snowshoeing, waterfall climbing and so on.

According to Lamprecht, Fischer & Stamm (2008), mountain bike tourism (MTB) is one of the most popular activities with a systematically growing market. Having appeared about 20 years ago, mountain biking meanwhile has become one of the most beloved free time sports. Originally, there were a few adventurers, who were racing with the self-constructed bikes from California hills. Later sportsmen of the Alpine region have overtaken a new trendy sport and now they ride far and wide forest- and mountain ways. In the beginning, they were known as notorious peace breakers and local citizens were accusing them in ruthless behaviour, which frightened animals and people. According to Breuer & Sander (2003), the nature had to suffer under such an enormous burden of mountain biking.

The pioneer of the mountain biking destination is the area called Portes-du-Soleil, which consists of four Swiss and eight French places together. (Bergamin, 2009). In order to appeal to wider audience, already processing migrating operation was stimulated in terms of promoting mountain transportation. This led to the fact that, an abundant number of down hillers and free riders with heavy bikes started to use those means of transport as well. This was a reason for emerging of downhill slopes, bike parks and obstacle parcours in the region. Bergamin states that the newest group, which arose from all three types of extreme sports mentioned above, is the group All-Mountain or Enduro rider.

One of the peculiarities of the alpine tourism is that it can be completely different from one region to another. In Italy, except Tyrol, and France alpine tourism is initiated and supported from outside of the area. Differently, in Switzerland, Austria and the region of Tyrol the touristic development is initiated and supported by the local people. (Tschurtschenthaler, 2007, p.162). Growing touristic potential of the mountain biking is the result of the various kinds of studies and successful examples of development from different regions. Lamprecht, Fischer & Stamm (2009) have pointed out the study of BASPO, where it was calculated that the number of mountain bikers in Switzerland from 2000 to 2008 has increased from 4.3% to 4.7%. Riding a bicycle has become a lifestyle in recent years.

The winter tourism in the Alps is strongly affected by climate change. The snow reliability will decrease in the future (Agrawala, 2007). This implies negative effects for the tourism industry due to the reason that the availability of snow strongly influences the destination choice of national and international tourists. Also because of the situation of climate change a need to switch from winter tourism to other variations of tourism as adventure tourism can be observed. It brings the development of supporting infrastructure and new business models on a new level of importance.

Hence, bikers are a rapidly growing group with a relatively good income; people who enjoy having vacations on a regular basis and prefer to overnight in various kinds of hotels. Usually the season of biking takes place from the end of April until the end of October.

Wirth, Prцbstl and Haider (2009) state the most important motivation’s factors for tourists who come to the Alpine region are natural integrity and incomparable landscape beauty. They claim that "resting and relaxing" as well as "experiencing nature and landscape" play the major role in attracting the tourists to the Alps. However, protected areas were also rated in the top 10 list of the main drawing factors. The segment of people who are interested the most in resting and relaxing way of holidays is represented by older people, whereas the group of younger people are more social and activity oriented tourists.

According to Gherissi-Laben and Mignall (2004), in Swiss Alpine destinations the clients, while staying in hotels, are satisfied with the high level of hospitality. Usually the most satisfied clients are older than 60 and already visited the destination in winter before. However, the guests stayed in 4 and 5-star hotels are generally much more satisfied, whereas the guests of 1- and 2-star hotels are much less satisfied with the different factors except the room quality/price ratio, guests of 3-star hotel admitted that they were also dissatisfied with price they paid for the room. Hence, in order to meet guests’ expectations in summer season lower-segment hotels need to try to improve welcoming part, entertainment, comfort and extra expenses quality/price ratio. 3-star hotels should focus more on a room service quality, as well as on the price level which guests would be happy to pay.

Decision and behaviour patterns of the “old tourist” are significantly differ from the new tourists. The new tourist has been identified as more experienced, more flexible, more independent, quality conscious and “harder to please”. The new tourist tries to be different from the others and asks for individualized products (Poon 1993, Weiermair, 2003). Individualization in this sense also implies optimizing opportunities for the customers by choosing best fitting solution to their needs (Horx 2001).

Demographic changes are similarly depict the new consumer. One of the most crucial and important driving force within the socio-demographic factors is the phenomenon of population aging associated with western cultures (Foot 2002, Mьhlhausen 2000). In the OECD-countries each third person will be over 60 years by 2020 (Horx 2001). According to trend research, the “aged tourist of the future” will present the wide majority in tourism field and can be characterized as being in relatively better health with more travel experience and with a higher level of income, which can increase frequency and the intensity of travel (Horx 2000, Horx 1999, Godbey 2002)

3.2 Canada

The growth and demand of cycling has impacted local and international communities in different ways. “Cycling is perceived as an environmentally-friendly means of transportation, which assists in creating a greater demand for tourism activities” ( Ga, Kamal, Lopez Silveira, Naccarato, Scott, and Dodds 2010, page 5).

Promotion of cycle tourism provides great number of benefits including as high increase in business opportunities, increase in employment opportunities, health benefits, and environmental benefits. They state that “As the demand for cycle tourism increases, cyclists spending on food, drinks, entertainment and other expenses related to the sport will also increase at travel destinations” (Ga et al., p. 9)

According to Regional Tourism Organization 8 (2011) there is an extremely growing market for bicycle tourism. The majority of the attracted tourists are age 30 up to the 65 age group in increasing numbers. “They are primarily professionals and university graduates with above average incomes”.

Regional Tourism Organization 8 – (2011) reports that among people, aged 35 to 40,the rate of cycling has been popular and stable for the previous 10 years.. VeloQuebec (2000), showed that cycling enthusiasts usually live alone or with one other person. The majority of them (70%) have no children in their household. Consequently this increases the likelihood that they have a relatively high income. Regional Tourism Organization 8 (2011) illustrates that the majority of cyclists had professional jobs with a stable annual income.

Table 6 - The annual income level of Cyclists

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According to this study cyclists are well educated (45% are University graduated). Common motivational factors of cycle tourists that have been recognized include physical challenge, relaxation, social escapism, peace and quiet” (Ga, D. Kamal et al 2010, page 10).

According to the VeloQuebec research (2000) there is also a great number of different recreational activities enjoyed by cyclists as canoeing, camping, hiking, water sports and golfing.

Regional Tourism Organization 8 (2011) inferred that market segments are different and included different experiences and expectations. Bikers who cycle with their family are more concerning about safety, comfort, child attractions and the satisfaction of their family. Professional cyclists are looking for quality of roads, distance some challenges and other specific aspects. Old generation is looking for nature and cultural aspects.

Cycling tourists are divided in different market segments by criteria as demographic, frequency, distance, speed, motivation, preferred locations, negatives and travel accommodation (Tables 7-10).

Table 7 - The characteristics of occasional riders

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Table 8 - The Characteristics of Short Distance Riders

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Table 9 - The characteristics of Long Distance Riders

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Table 10 - The characteristics of competitive riders

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According to (British Columbia- Mountain Bike Tourism, n/a) bike hotels mostly attract their customers because of their specialized bike image and consequently the bikers wants to visit such hotels in order to try and use their favourite activities. The most significant bikers expectations are presents in table 11.

Table 11 - The expectations of bikers

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Cycle Tourism Assessment And Strategy Study (2011) supports that Touring cyclists look for a different cycling facilities of lodging types, depending on their personal priorities, from the most basic to the top luxurious available. Therefore different groups of travellers as young holidaymakers, family groups or competitive cyclists are usually looking for some affordable accommodations. (Cycle Tourism Assessment And Strategy Study, 2011, page 6-2) “Increasingly tourists are accustomed to higher standards of accommodation and will not accept anything less than bed and breakfasts with comfortable bathroom or good standard hotel rooms”. According to the same study it the most significant services and features that those Hotels have to offer are the following:

1. Reservation restrictions: “The availability of accommodation is sometimes limited by restrictions requiring reservations for more than one night. This does not suit cyclists who are travelling through the area to a new location each night”
2. Secure Bicycle Storage: One of the most significant aspects that have to be in overnight accommodation is a secure and convenient storage for customer’s bicycles. Some of them are expensive and people are taking care about their property.
3. Food Service: The restaurant should be available for breakfast, launch and evening meal. If there is no restaurant within the hotel then it has to be somewhere within the two kilometres. Obviously good breakfast is important for cyclists and they also prefer to have snacks while they are on the road. (Cycle Tourism Assessment And Strategy Study 2011,page 6-2) “That is why cyclists prefer a bed and breakfast where food is abundant and is available without having to find a restaurant and wait to eat. Some cyclists prefer a carbohydrate diet”.
4. Vehicle Parking.
5. Clothes Dryer: It is highly important for bikers to have a place where they can hang and dry clothes overnight
6. Internet Access.
7. Cycling Information: Accommodation owners should have information about other bicycle friendly accommodation, camping, businesses and entertainment, different bike services such as bike routes and tours in the area, bike repair locations and their opening hours would be helpful.
8. Repair Kit: Hotels should provide some repair kits and tools as a tire iron, tire patch kit and multi-tools – Multi-tools are special equipment of various sizes, includingscrew drivers, spoke wrenches, a chain tool and more. All these tools are very important in order to fix your bike.
9. Luggage Transfer Service: (Page 6-3). There is a strong desire for cyclists to bicycle a multi-day loop route and have their luggage transferred from one accommodation provider to the next during the trip. This is difficult to organize for individuals or couples who are planning their own itinerary. Accommodation providers could agree to share the transfer duties for a set price but this may limit the distance and route choice”.
10. Emergency Road Service: Cyclists are always concerned about what will happen if their bike will breakdown on the road during their trip. It can become a huge problem if this happens far away from their accommodation location. (Page 6-3)”The most frequent repair problem is a flat tire which most cyclists know how to repair when carrying a spare tube and tire pump”. Assistance may be available from the goodwill of passing motorists or nearby residents but this cannot be relied on.

3.3 USA

According to New York time magazine (2010) the USA bikers were described as highly educated with high discretionary income. Bike Tourists spend more than average regular tourists. Moreover they usually stay longer in one area. In comparison with other tourists they have less direct impact on the local environment and have a green travel potential. Bicycle Tourism in Maine city study (Maine Department of Transportation 2011, p.2) states that two groups of bike tourists exist: “Cyclists on a multi-day bicycling trip that may be a self-guided tour or a guided tour by a bicycle tour company”. “Day trip cyclists that may cycle for a day during a multiple day trip or come to cycle on a one day trip”. Usually, the bike tourists prefer to take a long guided bike tours than self-guided. Nevertheless at the same time they more likely to take self-guided short bike tours (Up to 3 days).

According to Boozer and Self (2012) people who bike are enjoying aspects as being outdoor, challenge, exercise and social aspects (Figure 3).

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Figure 3 - The most enjoyable aspects of biking

The survey also indicates that the distribution between the people who prefer to bike with 1, 2 and 3 or more persons. Approximately 12 % bike alone, 29 % bike with one partner, 24% prefer to bike with 2 companions, and 33% tend to bike with 3 or more people (Figure 4).

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Figure 4 - The number of people that accompany bikers during their trip

Figure 5 illustrates the income level of respondents. According to survey’s indicators 42 % of the total respondents have an annual income more than 100000$. Moreover 16 % of people get an income under 50000$. Other income levels were reported in decreasing frequency from higher income levels to lower income levels.

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Figure 5 - Income level of bikers

According to figure 6 the most popular biking trip’s duration is half day or less. In contrast people are less likely spent 3 or more days for the biking trip.

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Figure 6 – Biking trip duration

According to Boozer and Self (2012, p. 5), the trends are “strong national, regional, and local growth in biking recreation“. It should be inferred that based on surveys indicators the average expenditure is $138.49 per day, including lodging.

3.4 Australia

City of Mitcham (2004), states that MTB consists of three disciplines: Recreational Trail Riding, Downhill Riding and Free Riding. The most common rider segment are male, 26-35 years old, living in the same city, mostly undertaking downhill or cross country riding, tertiary educated and earning around 40 000$ per annum. The follow up segments are by younger riders aged under 16 and 16-25 every consisting of 22% of the whole survey population.

Residents of Mitcham City and it was found out that almost all of the respondents are positive when it comes to cycling; only a relatively small group was concerned about the negative impacts on the nature that riding can cause. Furthermore most of the environmental organizations that had “reserved opinion” about the mountain biking effects on nature has also agreed that with managed approach there will be better outcomes.

Additionally, bikers are people that like to revisit their favourite places. Furthermore, the common belief that they prefer downhill riding appears to be wrong for Australia because the survey shows that the most common is cross country cycling.

Furthermore the authors have discovered several specificities for the different types of biking:

Recreational cross-country riding and trail riding:

- Recreational cross-country riders count for an estimated 90% of mountain bike users (Mountain Bike Australia, 2001).
- Undertaken by a large range of age groups
- Use the mountain bike as a self-reliant means to access and experience natural areas.
- The preferences, skills and experience of recreational cross country riders can differ considerably therefore their preferences for trail experiences and settings vary significantly (Cessford, 1995b).
- As riders become more skilled, they generally seek longer, more challenging trails (International Mountain Bike Association, 2001).
- Ride as a means to keep fit or socializing
- Have less demands for specific land requirements
Downhill riding:
- Involves riding a mountain bike down a steep, technical descent that challenges a rider’s skills.
- Usually very advanced riders.
- Riders wear full face helmets and body armour
- Requires specially designed bicycles that are heavier, stronger and have more advanced suspension and braking systems than cross-country mountain bikes.
- Greater risk of injury than cross-country riders due to the nature of the terrain they ride.
- Downhill riding is considered an “extreme” sport and draws considerable media interest.
- The most sustainable trails for downhill bikes are rocky contours with many grade reversals (International Mountain Bike Association. 2001).

Free riding generally also requires specially designed bikes to perform tricks, jumps and manoeuvres on and over obstacles such as boulders, rocks and high and steep rock faces. In some instances riders construct obstacles to add to the challenge of ‘free riding’. Some free riders want these technical features within trail network while others like them as standalone features such as in a free riding challenge park. (International Mountain Bike Association, 2004:93)

Later the authors has conducted a survey for the cycle tourists and found that that most of the riders are male (89%) and the majority of the riders are between 26 and 35 years old (56%). Around 40% of them live in the city where they go for their bike activities and 19% go to other city that is close by. 40% of the surveyed are with a degree or students at the moment and 20% more have technical and further education (TAFE). According to the analysis of the case study if the bikers that were students during the survey complete their education a total of 74% from all surveyed will be tertiary qualified. Furthermore almost all of the riders within working age were employed and around a third of them earned 50 000$ per year.

The survey also allows for an activity profile to be created for the bikers. The study shows that even though there is a most popular activity, a large number of riders prefer to take part in more than one. Furthermore most of them consider themselves to be experienced and intermediate and even 60% state that they have taken part in a competition or event. From social point of view the most popular riding is with friends.

The next findings of the study shows what the bikers want for the design of the trails and the facilities they use. The respondents indicated that the biggest excitement they receive is if the trails and facilities were different than the common ones offered (71%). Further 20% stated that the length of the trail was important and 19% said that the technical features are also a major contributor to a good track. Moreover they answered to a question about what other features should be considered and the first 6 were: “designated trails, appropriate signage, car parking, drinking fountains, and safe access to sites, toilets and rest areas”. (City of Mitcham, 2004)

Further the literature review shows that the mountain bikers are primarily male but with a steady increase of the female segment. Aditionally, they usually have tertiary level of education and come from professional backgrounds with medium to high income level. The majority of them are aged between 25 and 45 with a high percentage around 35 years. They usually ride two or three times per week and tend to travel of small groups of people frequently traveling only for the unique experience or competition. (Tablelands Integrated Mountain Bike Alliance, 2012)

The study states that most of bikers will expect a high level of trail infrastructure and good services at the MTB destinations such as spectacular scenery and local culture. They usually inform themselves about the destinations through word of mouth or the internet. (Tablelands Integrated Mountain Bike Alliance, 2012)

According to the study the mountain bikers are tending to spend more money than the average tourist. Furthermore they are likely to travel with their family and stay for extended time if the location is satisfying. Moreover they are likely to participate in other activities outside the biking if there are any offered. (Tablelands Integrated Mountain Bike Alliance, 2012)

The demand for biking has increased significantly. The once declining business is now transformed into “economic power horse”. Furthermore the author states that according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics data there are 60 000 visitors that are willing to participate in MTB if offered or at least available. (Tablelands Integrated Mountain Bike Alliance, 2012)

Faulks, Ritchie and Fluker (2006) found that there is a significant rise in the interest for biking activities and tourism. Additionally, it was found out that among bikers there are different segment. The rider is more likely to be male, younger (14-35 years old), travel as a family or alone but rarely as a couple.

Furthermore, the visitor is more likely to stay at a friends’ home or camp when choosing an accommodation. Moreover, they prefer air or water transport and not so much using a car or 4WD. There is an affinity to visit the same place that they have stayed before and get information for new ones from word of mouth. Additionally, they are more willing to go on an overseas trip than the average tourists and they in general do not participate in tourism for relaxation purposes or as stated in the case study – “where I can escape the grind (Failks, 2006, p. 13)”. The average bike tourist is more likely to spend around a week and 11% of them even a month for their vacations. Finally, they spend a larger amount of money during holidays than other tourists who are more likely to spend three or less nights in a hotel.

Further, the analysis of the associations and organizations in Australia shows that they have the ability to promote the growth of bike tourism via lobbying and policymaking. Through this cooperation there have been established some requirements of the cycle tourists. These factors have been divided in several groups: attractions, information, routes, public transport, tour companies, bicycle hire, accommodation and storage/parking facilities (Table 12). Cyclists’ primary concern is the need of a safe environment in which to ride, with research indicating that they prefer quiet roads and designated paths (Lumsdon 1996; Hunter Cycling Network 2005). Table 12 shows the further requirements of the cycle tourists that. (Faulks et al., 2006).

Table 12 - Factors to Facilitate Cycle Tourism Experiences

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Further, Faulks et al. (2006) argue with the claim of others that the bike tourists are part of homogeneous group (Simonsen & Jorgenson 1996) by stating that even though they are all motivated by a “common interest” they also are quite different from one to another and represent different types of market segments.

One possible way to differentiate them is to compare them based on motivations which recognize levels such as cycling enthusiasts, hard core cyclists and occasional cyclists (Simonsen & Jorgenson 1996). Furthermor,e they can be differentiated based on their activities which include: leisure and day cyclists, touring cyclists, mountain bikers and event cyclists (Mundi Biddi Trail Foundation 2005). Other ways to distinguish them is according the accommodation type they prefer. This may include camping, hosteling or visiting luxurious hotels. Furthermore, the tourists might be short brake going for exploration and others might be long stay independent cyclers. (Faulks et al., 2006).

Table 13 illustrates the different expenses for bikers by comparing them to the average spent rate of the regular tourists which is $159.00 (Tourism research Australia, 2008;) the writer comes in conclusion that the cyclists are considerably more profitable group.

Table 13 - Different expenses for bike tourists

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Faulks et al. (2006) also describes the survey conducted on a sample of biker tourists. It shows that most of the people were employed in professional or administrative positions and with high level of disposable income. However contrary to the previously reviewed case studies it showed that the majority of the cyclists are between 41 and 60 years old.

The biggest part of bike tourists (34%) finds out about new destinations from friends and family (word of mouth) and the second biggest part (20%) inform themselves from the Internet which is increasing every year (2% in 2003). The most important motivation factor is the location and the ease of access (Figure 7).

Figure 7 – Reasons for choosing a bike destination

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Faulks et al. (2006) analyses the behaviour of bike tourists according to the accommodation type. After comparing the official accommodation use of 2007 and 2009 they conclude that the percentage of people that are staying at friends and families’ house has declined significantly (from 36% to 6%) and the people staying at hotels/motels/apartments has increased (from 32% to 35%) with the biggest increase recorded in the stay in camping and caravan parks (from 32% to 53%)

As a conclusion the Faulks et al. (2006) describe that bikers are a high yield, high spending market, and one that is predominantly highly educated. Finally, the future development will depend mainly on the ability to promote it on the internet.

Schmalleger (n.d.) supports that most of bike tourists are international visitors. Around 5% of international tourists go for cycling while only 1.7% of domestic do for cycling (Table 14).

Table 14 - Tourists participation in bike activities

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Furthermore, Schmalleger (n.d.) made a top 10 of the activities of several locations in Australia and he discovered that in all of the resorts cycling was among top 10 activities and also pointed the other more popular ones (table 15).

Table 15 - Top 10 preferred activities

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Tourism research Australia’s (2008) national visitor survey shows that the regular cyclist is aged between 30 and 44 years and is less likely to be 65 or more years old. Furthermore they are mainly traveling as families with children or older married couples. They regularly have a higher than the average household income and they are more likely to stay longer at the accommodation.

Schmalleger (n.d.) supports that the average expenditure per night in 2009 was almost double than the estimates in 2005 (244 than 124.64). Furthermore, the only way for bike tourists to be high-yield visitors is to provide them with enough alternative commercial products which they are interested in and want to spend their money on.

For the motivation of their visit (source of information prior to their trip) the cyclists participating in the case study survey pointed that “personal recommendation (word of mouth)” was the main factor (59.2%). Furthermore ,16.5% used magazines and 15.5% used websites.

Additionally the author illustrated the most common activities. (Table 16)

Table 16 - Most common activities

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According to the survey the people who came especially for biking were significantly less likely to do other outdoor activities (hiking/bushwalking) during their trip. (Schmalleger , n.d.).

2.5 New Zealand

Cyclists tend to stay longer (some stay even as much as 45 days) at their destination and while staying spend more money than the normal leisure tourists. Table 17 shows the response rate of the people who answered the survey. (Brent Ritchie & C. Michael Hall, 1999).

Table 17 - Total estimated expenditures of cycle tourists 1995/1996

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Additionally, Brent et al. (1998) state that bike tourists are keener on choosing cheaper types of accommodations with the largest choice being the camping grounds. The results from the survey done in 1997 can be seen bellow illustrating all the responses for their preferences according to where they stay (Brent et al., 1999).

Table 18 – Accommodation type preferrences

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Brent and Ritchie (1998) examined the travel behaviour of bikers including transport services and accommodation

The results revealed that 70.2% of the respondents were experienced cyclists that preferred to travel alone or with a partner. Most of them are described to be young with average days spent over 50 days cycling on the South Island. This long stay is explained because the market of New Zealand consists of individuals travelling long-term hauls and not like Europe where most of the bikers are family short break cyclists.

Camping grounds were found to be the most popular accommodation type (91.3%) and were rated to be the first choice for 65.9%.

Table 19 presents preferences for recreation settings and experiences of the mountain bike riders (Brent and Ritchie, 1998).

Table 19 – Experiences and preferences of bikers

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Cessford (1995) describes the riders as “active” outdoor recreationists. Women were discovered to be a small minority of the cyclists and almost half of them represented themselves as beginners. Most of the bikers in the study were found to have less than 5 years of experience.

Furthermore the author discovered that most of the more experienced ones had a high club involvement. According to the case study many of the cyclists were found to participate in running, tramping and other outdoor activities. The author also describes the cyclists as predominantly young group aged mostly between 20 and 39 years. (Gordon R. Cessford (1995).

4 Bike hotel chains, organizations

A. Bike Hotel Chain

4.1 Accent Inns, Canda

The award-winning hotel chain based in Victoria is an example of a successful business model. The company owners always try to hire best workers and that’s why its hotel’s staff stays with them for long period of time. Accent Inns always differentiated by its service understanding and friendly personality.

The Accent Inns invented special “Bike Love” program and nowadays this program makes them one of the best bike-friendliest hotel chain in BC and maybe even the world. Every Hotel that is involved in “Bike Love” program includes: 1. Ground floor rooms. 2.Bysicle wash and tuning station with a professional- grade bike stand. 3. Advanced tool kit and rags. 4. A laundry room.

“Accent Inns” also supports “Bike to work” week in several regions with the help from “Norco” (Appendix A and B).

The above-mentioned Hotel chain has several corporate partners: Medi chair, Landsea Tours and adventures, Pacific Coastal Airlines (Appendix C).

B. Bike hotel organizations

4.2 Engadin St. Moritz Tourist Organisation, Switzerland

The organization consists of 13 municipalities between Maloja and Zemez and it is responsible for advertising the region. In more detail it is responsible for the sustainable development of tourism in the Upper Engadin and the preservation of jobs in the tourism sphere by creating and maintaining a standardized and efficient corporate identity. It is also responsible for the information provided to local tourists. For this reason it operates information office in some resorts.

The core organizational structure is as follows. The CEO is in charge of the organization. The assistant CEO, the Finance & HR manager, the Brand manager and the Communication manager are directly reporting and assisting the CEO. The heads of Product Management, Sales, Market & Product communication, and Information & Reservation report directly to them. The heads of the departments have more employees respectively in each of them (for more information see appendix D).

In total there 25 hotels that fulfil predefined quality criteria that focuses on the special need on mountain bikers. Lockable bike room, workshop to clean and repair bikes, nourishing biker’s breakfast, lunch packet and competent information are those criteria. Hotels that comply with the following criteria are awarded a specific symbol and are identified mountain bike-friendly hotels in the list of hotels.

The brand strategy for Engadin and St. Moritz is defined parallel and independent at the same time. In the end of the brand process those two strategies were harmonized. The workshop teams consist of service providers and politicians from the whole destination as well as representatives of the Engadin St. Moritz tourism Organisation. The aim of the branding process is to “define more clearly the identity and usage of those two brands”. Essential common core values were developed in the areas of excellence of those destinations in order to make them credible (Figure 8).

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Figure 8 - Core values for Engadin St. Moritz Tourist Organisation

Figure 9 presents the positioning of Engadin and St. Moritz as well as the positioning for both destinations.

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Figure 9 - Positioning of Engadin, St. Moritz and positioning of both destinations.

Figure 10 presents the interrelation of brands architecture.

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Figure 10 - Interrelation between Engadin and St. Moritz brands

[...]

Details

Pages
163
Year
2013
ISBN (eBook)
9783656502647
ISBN (Book)
9783656503644
File size
5.6 MB
Language
English
Catalog Number
v233049
Institution / College
Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts – School of Business
Grade
Tags
Alpine region bike tourism bike hotel bike association bike cooperation Tourism Niche Tourism Niche Marketing Niche Tourism Marketing Eco

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Title: Analysis of Thematic Hotels and Cooperation: Focus Field Bike Hotels