During its Annual Meeting and General Assembly 2016 beginning of June, European Cities Marketing (ECM) set out to explore the impact of the sharing economy on city tourism, city marketing and the meetings industry.
The so-called sharing economy or connected economy is not only challenging the well-established business models of city tourism, but it is also presenting great challenges and opportunities to city planners, managers and marketers.
Coinciding with the Global Sharing week, the ECM meeting offered its 100 members of more than 35 countries the experiences, views and options of the different players to find ways to collaborate, to remedy the problems and explore the future together.
ECM President Ignasi de Delàs explained: “The big question for our city management organisations is not whether to be pro or con the sharing economy. It is how destinations can actively interact with, simply because this phenomenon is here to stay.” This statement echoes a recent discussion paper on Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) and the sharing economy produced by Manolis Psarros, CEO of Toposophy and keynote speaker at ECM annual conference.
The sharing economy is the fastest growing segment in tourism, estimated to represent 50% of all travellers by 2025, expecting to equal traditional rental economy’s revenue growth. The sharing economy also has bright future within the Meetings Industry since 65% of business travellers would use the sharing economy for business purposes, according to a recent IMEX survey.
Towards a common regulation, for better common opportunities
ECM President continued: “Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) in general are the connectors between industry players and authorities, they are the stage managers of their city. And for our members DMOs, it is a crucial need to balance the interest of their established partners with the popularity of the new collaborative platforms.”
At ECM Annual Meeting in Madeira, European cities collectively asked sharing economy influential bodies to play with local rules to rationalise, legalize and facilitate growth of the sector.
Tax evasion, violation of labour rights and consumer protection laws to name a few are the main reasons leading European Cities to claim for a big change. Objectively, the success of some tourist technological platforms have had negative impact on some local neighbourhoods in Europe’s great cities (everyday visitor pressure, gentrification, crowding out of local life driving up the cost of shopping and renting an apartment for local citizens).
Ignasi de Delàs added on: “Sharing economy is undoubtedly an added value for our cities and economies, it is also a great way for visitors to engage with the locals – to get the real and authentic city experience delivered by real people, living real lives.
We urge key players to do their utmost to play with local rules in order to make the pie bigger i.e. increase the total number of visitors to some destinations, attracted by what sharing economy platforms offer there. However, up to now, the growth of the tourism sharing economy has largely happened with engagement of every other stakeholder group except governmental authorities.
If managed properly, the sharing economy can be a tool that can prove highly cost effective, provide opportunities for deeper citizen engagement and offer considerable rewards on environmental impact too”, concluded ECM President.
* European Cities Marketing is a non-profit organisation improving the competitiveness and performance of leading cities of Europe by providing a platform for convention, leisure and city marketing professionals to exchange knowledge, best practice and widen their network to build new business. European Cities Marketing is promoting and linking the interests of members from more than 100 major cities in 36 countries.
Flavie Baudot, email@example.com, +33 380 56 02 00