Sharing Economy Project had interesting cooperation with study unit “Developing Destination Experiences” and with an international group of students from University of Applied Sciences and from the University of Lapland.

The students had a task to get familiar with the concept of sharing economy in tourism in a futures wheel workshop. Perspectives in the workshop were social responsibility, branding, business innovations and consumer values. Other task was to formulate ideas for sharing economy in tourism in Lapland.

Futures wheel workshop

Picture below illustrates the impacts of global development of sharing economy on consumer values as an example. Trends and tendencies show how connected the seemingly unrelated paths are. It is not possible to predict future consumer behaviour by considering only for instance the technological progress, without considering the demographic changes.

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Picture. View on impacts of global development of sharing economy on consumer values.

Ideas for Lapland

As a result, the groups came up with many ideas on how sharing economy could and will benefit tourism in Lapland. Here some examples of those ideas for Finnish Lapland:

1.     GuideShare

GuideShare is a guiding app and a website where locals provide guiding. With this application a tourist can search for a local tour guide in Lapland. The user of the application can choose the kind of experience he/she wants to engage in through a tour guide.  This can be done by letting the application allow the user to choose what areas he/she wants visit or the available activities he/she wants participate in. The application has specific details about the tour guide. These details will include: the language the tour guide speaks, their costumes, their experience, special talent and reviews. The application can enhance personalized tour guiding. This is to provide visitors an alternative unique option that cost less than that provided by traditional service provider.

2.     Village Transportation Application

Village Transport Application, Accessible Lapland, is a transport service to rural areas for international and national customers coming to Finnish Lapland. It’s a connection transportation to busses, trains and international airports. The transport services are provided by local entrepreneurs and individuals. The application is supposed to increase accessibility to achieve international customers and compensate the missing public transportation to small villages. The transport service is available around the clock.

3.     Lapland Break

A website for offers accommodation by locals for international and national visitors. The service includes both regular flats and houses and cottages.  The users can get detailed information about the different types of accommodations and then book the one that suits best their needs.

4.     Cook, Eat and Meet with Locals

Get the local experience! Cook, eat and meet with local is a sharing economy platform that allows anyone to eat with locals. We have created a cooking app to get a local food experience with ordinary locals. Who knows better of traditional cuisine than locals? By signing up a platform, people can host or attend the events. Our goal is to bring people together through exceptional and one of kind experience.

5.    EthicalAdvisor

EthicalAdvisor supports environmentally conscious travel. In general, it is a similar platform as TripAdvisor. EthicalAdvisor focuses on matters that are related to environmental and ethical issues of travel.

Conclusion

To sum up, the students were able to recognize interesting idea paths and gave ideas and proposals for the project from different perspectives. Some of the ideas presented do already exist in other parts of the world whereas collaborative consumption is rather new phenomenon still in Lapland region. In Lapland, sharing economy, at the moment, is most common in accommodation services (for instance AirBnb and Coachsurfing), other fields being under rapid development at the moment. Many groups noted that it is important that the tourism stakeholders understand that the sharing economy does not harm local businesses, rather it improves the overall situation in the area and benefits to the sustainable development of the destination. Collaborative consumption has a great potential in tourism!

Petra Paloniemi, Senior Lecturer, Lapland University of Applied Sciences, MTI

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