Can we own a hotel or start hotel business with our limited money? You may think that the answer is no. But, I would say Yes, and you will probably agree with me if you take a closer look at pixel hotel business idea in Austria.
Pixel hotel is a new form of hotel business which I recently learned while studying tourism destination marketing course. I got so interest to this idea that, I wanted to learn more about this and share my thoughts.
Whenever we think about a hotel, what usually comes to our mind? A nice tall building with lot of rooms in different floors with many other facilities. But, Pixel hotel is just the opposite. “The city is the hotel” which is the slogan of pixel hotel and it works like that. This new idea of hospitality industry came into existence in 2006. The idea originated from a concept made by a group of young architects and designers in Linz, Austria.
Pixel hotel is a cultural enterprise in Linz, with the aim of giving guests a direct experience of unusual accommodation with certain particularities. Another aim of this association is to utilize unused properties in urban and rural areas in profitable way. This also gives an opportunity to their guests to stay close to their travel destination. Hence, tourists get more time to travel. Targeted tourists are those people, who love watching things a bit slower and bit closer. As an accommodation project, it has become an international recognized brand which was cited as an example of innovative tourism in 2009. Rooms of pixel hotel are scattered in whole city which can be an old building, workshop or basically anything which can be used as accommodation.
Picture of the first prototype Pixel Hotel which was in an empty garage.
Similarly, for pixel guests, there is not any certain restaurant to offer lunch and dinner. Rather guests are invited to discover the local food and culture and to know the story of that place.
In my opinion, this is a very nice business idea to learn from. This idea can be utilized to start hotel business with very little money and with minimum preparation. Another competitor in the market is Airbnb, but people who rent apartment there usually own only one apartment and that is not their main source of income. On the other hand, an establish hotel is always more reliable to the guests and more profitable.
How Pixel hotel idea can be utilized in Finland
Finland is a big country with very little population. Most of the tourists’ services like hotels and transportation facilities are available mainly in big cities and in the center areas. So, when tourists visit Finland, they tend to stay in those places which are close to their hotel and where public transport are available. Because of this, attractions in small towns and places remain unknown and undiscovered by most of the tourists. But, we can utilize pixel hotel idea here to arrange accommodation and other facilities for the tourists in all over the country, then it may appear as an attractive tourists’ service for those who will plan to visit Finland in future.
Idea: A simple house can be used as a hotel
Moreover, there are many empty houses and apartments in every cities and towns which are ready to use or with little arrangements can be made ready to rent to make money. People can use this idea to start their own business with a limited money and minimum risk.
Having been processing the concept of marketing strategy during the ongoing autumn due to our course on destination marketing, the concept of strategy has been wandering in my mind. What does it actually mean and how important is it for a (tourism) company?
Applying the concept of strategy
In his book Valonöörin käsikirja (A lightneer’s guide) Frank Martela poses the questions What are our goals, what things are worth doing? and What can we do to reach our goals? as the central questions about the human life. He also points out that too often we do things that we didn’t actively choose to do. Too often we spend time on social media or Netflix though our goal is to do sports and be physically in a good condition. Or maybe we feel pressure to do certain things or maybe we just accept them because that’s how people always have done them. I think these questions and thoughts can be applied to business strategies as well.
During our course on marketing it was highlighted how important the mission, vision and values of the company are when creating a strategy. Another author and teacher Jim Collins reveals in his book Good to Great ways to develop a good company into a great one, based on a broad research. One of the core findings is to first find the right people around you, to keep them around you and then to “figure out the best path to greatness”. Also because with the right people you can more easily face changes in the changing world: “if people are on the bus because of who else is on the bus, then it’s much easier to change direction”. This can also be seen as a value-based approach: when there’s a group of people who share the same values and hopefully the same mission, it’s easier to set the direction.
Don’t get stuck to the word: it’s about the content
Wikipedia, tells that the word ‘strategy’ derives from the Greek word stratēgia and the original meaning would be something like “art of troop leader, office of general, command, generalship” and that a strategy is a “high level plan to achieve one or more goals under conditions of uncertainty”. The other week I also had the chance to hear some thoughts about marketing from Timo Kiuru, who works as a creative director for different companies. In his opinion the term ‘strategy’ shouldn’t be used at all. He still stressed the importance of values and to on a weekly basis check if you have been acting according to your values.
It was a very inspiring speech and I also agree that we shouldn’t get too stuck to the word itself or think that if there’s some kind of a strategy, everything will fall into places. The importance of the content of the strategy, the goals and actions have to also be highlighted: a strategy is no use if it’s not concrete, applicable and if it’s not applied. For a company it’s quite essential to define some sort of a strategy. If there is a high level plan with at least some values or core thoughts that are important and/or motivating it can’t go very wrong. Also, possible changes in the plan don’t necessarily mean it was wrong in the first place.
Mindfulness, victorious corporate culture, growth rates that the board cannot accept, going to the gym with your bosses, hiring a personal business coach, fighting loneliness… does not sound like a traditional Finnish management style, does it? In one company it is.
Managing corporate culture and people at SMT
Our Tourism Marketing and Management Programme had the privilege to have CEO of travel and event agency SMT Kirsi Paakkari as a guest speaker to discuss with us about managing corporate culture and people in a way that enables a tourism business to grow.
She has successfully merged two ill-performing businesses into a victorious one in a shrinking market, not an easy feat at all. It requires a lot from a manager to change the direction of a business and reach double-digit growth rates. Sometimes traditional Finnish management by perkele (traditional Finnish curse word) style might just not do it. Managers make many choices that define company performance.
Focus on employees management
Kirsi has clearly chosen to focus on the employees of the company. It was great to see how she monitors and leads the wellbeing of her people. She is also managing her company with metrics and data as much as possible while still listening to people. This might be the only way to reach her goal, which is to make SMT the best service company in Finland. This goal is also dependent on trust. Leadership requires trust in many forms. Employees have to trust their leaders and trust in the future of the company. In addition, the manager has to trust the employees, why hire people you cannot trust?
Our student Lari Turunen appreciated how Kirsi decided to bring new people from outside the industry to create new ideas for the company. Lari also noted that when you are building a new culture for a company you have to invest in it. Mergers should not be only about saving money and making companies more efficient but they should also be seen as an opportunity to start anew.
Management by employee wellbeing is similar to human sigma management and has a sound basis in academic literature. There are many challenges ahead for SMT as they integrate with American Express Global Business and are more and more focusing on a growing event market. It will be interesting to see how the company manages these changes and how management by wellbeing works in the future. Could it be the direction of future leadership in Finland or even globally?
A business degree that specialises in tourism business is now available for the first time in Finland. Running at the University of Eastern Finland Business School, the international Master’s Degree Programme in Tourism Marketing and Management has got off to a good start, as 20 new students started at the Joensuu Campus this September.
Their studies began with an orientation week focusing on the programme’s four main themes: technology, well-being, nature and sustainability. Visits to the Puukarin Pysäkki guest house and the Murtovaara Forest Farm Museum, both located in a small town in eastern Finland, were particularly enlightening experiences. These destinations summarise well the potential and challenges of tourism in places like the eastern part of Finland.
The programme brings together academic studies and real-life links with working life in many different ways.
“It has been nice to notice how interested companies have been in our programme and students right from the start. Already in early September, our students did a Sales Race event in collaboration with the North Karelia Cooperative,” Programme Director Juho Pesonen says.
The Master’s degree programme has a unique advisory board consisting of representatives of business and industry, and the task of this advisory board is to make sure that the content of the programme and its courses are in line with working life requirements. Students also learn practical marketing skills by participating in the programme’s marketing.
Collaboration is the key to successful tourism marketing
The significance of collaboration is highlighted in the programme in many ways.
“We focus on collaboration rather than competition, and collaborative learning and problem-solving is encouraged in many different ways. We do plenty of group work on our courses and make use of collaborative learning methods that are independent of time and place,” Pesonen says.
The programme’s novel approach also applies to teaching, as the number of traditional lectures has reduced thanks to the introduction of flipped classroom. Students are largely responsible for their own learning process, and this process is supported by different kinds of assignments given during contact sessions as well as by in-depth discussion of the most difficult content.
The programme’s smooth start has also been aided by Professor James Murphy from Australia, who was recently appointed as a docent of the University of Eastern Finland. He brings an international angle to the first course, and visiting scholars and teachers from all over the world will be contributing to the programme.
The goal of the programme is to train experts who are valued by employers and the scientific community alike. The programme places emphasis not only on content learning, but also on important working life skills such as critical thinking, taking initiative, can-do attitude, independent and lifelong learning, and team work.
“A good example of this is a campaign our students designed and implemented at the university on World Tourism Day on 27 September to raise awareness of sustainable tourism.”
Admissions to the international Master’s degree programmes of the University of Eastern Finland will be open between 1 November 2017 and 31 January 2018.
For further information, please contact:
Programme Director Juho Pesonen, tel. +358 40 184 2698, juho.pesonen(at)uef.fi
For more information on the Master’s Degree Programme in Tourism Marketing and Management, please see http://www.uef.fi/web/tmm.
There are dozens of reasons why you should study Tourism Marketing and Management at University of Eastern Finland. Here are 16 top reasons to study with us:
High quality studies
We aim to keep the quality of our studies high. Our studies are not the easiest; there are no free credits but a lot to learn. You will have to work hard, but when you work, you can be sure that the things you learn really matter after your graduation. We are using innovative teaching methods that inspire and motivate you to give 100 % to the programme and to develop your skills and career.
Focus on students
We value every student who applies for our programme. This degree programme would not exist without you students. We constantly listen to what you have to say, have a large number of feedback channels and methods and act accordingly to the feedback we receive. We take good care of our students, keep track of how their studies are progressing and help them to learn what is required and get their degree.
Co-operation with destinations and tourism companies
We are networked with various destinations and tourism businesses in Finland. Our network makes it possible for us to knit our courses to real-life business goals. All our courses programme courses have business partners and actual business case studies that we use to test what you have learned and deepen your knowledge on what is required after you have received your degree. Our programme is supervised by an industry advisory board that ensures that the skills and knowledge in our programme is up to date and relevant.
Our programme has a strong research focus. Right from the start, you will start to familiarize yourself with academic research and prepare for writing a master’s thesis. Thinking that is required to do academic research is similar to the line of thinking that businesses value. We need to be critical of information we receive, understand the meaning of it for business practices and try to find new approaches to marketing and management.
Wellbeing, nature tourism, sustainable tourism and technologies are all globally trending topics and form a strong and unique focus for our programme. This profiling should also be reflected on our students who are interested in the outdoors, wellbeing of people and planet and enthusiastic about new technologies. We do not train hotel managers or hospitality professionals but focus on developing tourism business in destination management organizations, tourism businesses and in public sector.
High ranking university, internationally recognized
One of the innovative teaching methods we use is Flipped learning. We do not believe that centuries old method of lecturing in front of the class when students listen is the most efficient way of teaching things. Most of our courses are utilizing flipped learning methodology where the traditional roles of lectures and homework are reversed. This means that learning is flexible and happens mostly online with material prepared by the teacher. We focus on learning, not just that you have to get credits and pass through courses. We do not have many exams but learning is measured with various tasks and team works. You will not submit essays and assignments only for the lecturer to read but will be producing valuable social media content right from the beginning to benefit the whole industry as well as the programme.
We have a common goal, to make our programme better known. The TMM staff and students are more like colleagues than students and professors. There are only four people working in the programme so you will get to know them well before you get your degree. We encourage our students to co-create learning and do things together. We only accept around 15 new students each year; finishing our programme is a team effort. Teams and networks are increasingly important in modern work life and we provide our students tools and skills to be a productive team member.
City of Joensuu
Our programme is based in a small city in Eastern Finland called Joensuu. We think that Joensuu is a perfectly sized city; it has everything you need but is surrounded by nature from all sides. It has good train and air connections to Helsinki from where you can continue anywhere in the world.
Work life is changing. Technological development in artificial intelligence and robotics are affecting how we work in the future. Many of the jobs people will work in in 2030 do not exist yet. Still at least for some time creativity and innovativeness will be the strengths of the human mind. We will train your mind to be useful for various development tasks in the tourism industry and provide insights how you can keep your skills relevant in the decades to come.
UEF aims to provide its students the best academic learning environment in Finland. We have identified the development of our learning environments as one of our most important goals. The best academic learning environment in Finland is built around innovative teaching methods, research-based education, diverse use of facilities, and transparency.
Under the lead of our motivated teachers, we are creating a new culture of teaching. The teaching we offer is of a high standard and based on the latest research findings, enabling us to train professionals for the needs of the rapidly changing working life. We support this process by renewing our campus facilities with flexibility, inspiration and technology in mind.
At UEF, we want to create a culture of open science and technology that enables seamless collaboration between our students’ own devices and the devices and technology provided by the university.
From day one, we want to make our students feel welcome as new members of the scientific community. We invest in supporting flexible study paths, and to this end, we have created a new digital environment, Kamu, for our students. Our work to develop our learning environments is rooted in student-centeredness. Together, we are building a university of tomorrow.
For successful students we provide opportunities to continue their education with doctoral studies. Our doctoral students have opportunities to work in the department in various research and development projects and have wide selections of courses available for their studies. Doctoral studies are free for those accepted for the programme and we even have a few paid positions available.
Costs and scholarship
Our programme is free for European and Finnish students. For students coming from outside EU/ETA region the annual study fee is 8000 €. We provide the best international applicant’s 80 % to 100 % scholarships for our programme. Studying in Joensuu is also cheaper than in metropolitan cities as living costs are lower.
We make tourism better
We are not only educating tourism professionals of the future but we aim to have a wider impact on tourism. Our goal is to make tourism better through our actions and through our students who will work in the industry. Better for local people, better for tourists better for planet and better for tourism research and tourism industry.
Airbnb has become one of the largest accommodation companies in the world if counted by the rooms available. Its rapid growth has been enabled by a phenomenon known as sharing economy. People are less inclined to own things and are getting used to share what they own with other people. Peer-to-peer accommodation happens when a person rents an apartment or a room they own to other person and this is typically enabled by digital platforms such as Airbnb. We wanted to study how this peer-to-peer accommodation phenomenon is shaping tourist behavior results from three different studies are now available online, elaborating what is important in peer-to-peer accommodation from traveler perspective.
In the first study we found out that sharing economy and peer-to-peer accommodation especially are good for tourism destinations. Availability of peer-to-peer accommodation enables wider selection of destinations for tourists, increase length of stay, travel frequency and number of activities tourists participate in the destination. Especially travelers’ desires for more meaningful social interactions with locals and unique experiences in authentic settings drive them to travel more often, stay longer, and participate in more activities.
Tussyadiah, I. P., & Pesonen, J. (2016). Impacts of peer-to-peer accommodation use on travel patterns. Journal of Travel Research, 55(8), 1022-1040.
In the second study we explored the market characteristics and the factors that drive and hinder the use of P2P accommodation to better explain the phenomenon of collaborative consumption in the tourism and hospitality marketplace. Using responses from travellers residing in the United States and Finland, exploratory factor analyses revealed two factors that drive the use of P2P accommodation: social appeal (desire for community and sustainability) and economic appeal (cost savings). The barriers include issues of trust, efficacy and familiarity with the system, and cost.
Tussyadiah, I. P., & Pesonen, J. (2016). Drivers and barriers of peer-to-peer accommodation stay–an exploratory study with American and Finnish travellers. Current Issues in Tourism, 1-18.
In the third study we examined the drivers of peer-to-peer accommodation in more detail and focused on different P2P accommodation user groups. We found out that the major drivers affecting the use of P2P accommodation services are the age of consumers, active use of the Internet and online technologies, and the frequency of international travel. Cluster analysis identified two user profiles corresponding to consumer motivations for using P2P accommodation services. The first consumer group uses P2P accommodation services to make their trips more convenient, while the second uses them mostly for social reasons.
Pesonen, J. & Tussyadiah, I. (2017). Peer-to-peer accommodation: drivers and user profiles. In Dredge, D., & Gyimóthy, S. (Eds.) Collaborative Economy and Tourism. Perspectives, Politics, Policies and Prospects. Springer. pp. 285-303. http://www.springer.com/gp/book/9783319517971
Nature tourism in Finland is all about “the space to breathe, a time to dream, hiking in summer, cross-country skiing in winter, gathering berries and mushrooms or simply a gentle walk in the woods.” (http://www.visitfinland.com/finrelax/). Nature is also one of the central themes in Master’s Degree Programme in Tourism Marketing and Management (MDPTMM, www.uef.fi/tmm). Why is nature so important for tourism that we have raised it so high in the programme?
There is an increasing amount of evidence that being in the nature has huge benefits for our health. The latest is a 300-page review report from European Commission (link). The report examines more than 200 academic studies exploring the topic from various perspectives.
As more and more of us are living in the cities the interest to travel back to the nature increases. We are bored with congestion, air pollution, noise and eternal hurry. We want to have a place for relaxation, a place to get away from it all. Nature provides balance and health for our busy life and creates fantastic possibilities for example for digital detox.
Nature does as good and people are starting to realize that. Destinations that have good infrastructure for nature tourism will come up strong. But nature tourism needs to be developed in a sustainable way. In Finland for example Visit Finland is focusing on FinRelax program to increase the level of nature tourism products across the country and developing them to a direction that focuses on creating wellbeing for tourists (http://www.visitfinland.com/finrelax/). Finland aims to be the best place to relax in the nature, a noteworthy goal. All the elements are in place and it will be interesting to see how it all plays out. We have a front seat for this as the MDPTMM will work closely with Visit Finland and especially with FinRelax program to understand destination marketing and management.
The main reason to study hospitality, travel and tourism is to work in the field. Hotels, airlines, destination, attractions, transportation, cruises, events, activity providers, shopping centers, tourist services, travel agents, tour operators and many others together form together a huge industry. It is a practice-oriented field and an interesting one. It is in constant growth and needs more and more skilled workers and innovators every year. There are so many good reasons why you should study hospitality, travel, and tourism:
Tourism is a service industry
Everywhere in the Western world service industries are booming. One of these industries is travel and tourism. By studying tourism you position yourself right in the very center of service. You will learn skills that are transferable to many other industries. Being a service and human-to-human industry, it is also one of those that will need hard-working and creative people in the future.
Tourism is an experience economy
Most jobs in the tourism industry are about creating experiences for the traveler. This is what makes this industry especially interesting. When you are studying tourism you will learn how to create these memorable experiences. When you are working in the industry, you will need to be able to adapt and improvise what you have learned as
Every day is different
No matter where you study or what position you get in the tourism industry, it is guaranteed that almost every day is different. You will meet new people that come all around the world and they will make sure that no day is like another. Every tourist has different expectations, motivations, moods, experiences and opinions that will make your job interesting and also most likely a little bit challenging.
Tourism is growing
Tourism is witnessing huge global growth every year and it is forecast to grow far into the future. It is definitely an industry of the future. Growth means that more and more skilled workers are needed all over the world. By studying tourism you give yourself the skills and knowledge to be a part of this growth.
Tourism is global
First and foremost tourism is a global industry. From Antarctica to space there are tourists everywhere. By studying tourism only the sky is the limit (well, actually, not even that!) to where you can work and what you can do.
Tourism is local
Despite being a global industry, it is also very local. Most of the tourism businesses are small- and medium-sized companies that provide income and jobs for local people. When you are working for the tourism industry there are many possibilities for you to contribute to your local community.
You get to travel
There are many positions in the field that enables you to travel a lot. You have to familiarize yourself with tourism destinations, attractions, and services, maybe guide tourists in exotic places or do research in foreign countries. Travel broadens your perspective on everything and tourism industry has plenty of possibilities to travel.
Tourism is fun
Tourism might not be the best option if you want to earn a lot of money. But if you value other things such as having fun, meeting new people, enjoying life and doing what you like, tourism and hospitality offers plenty of options. People studying and working in the field are typically relaxed, outgoing and international.
Who is the world’s greatest traveller? As the holiday season is about to start we gather to celebrate Christmas all around the globe. Santa Claus has become one of the main characters of Christmas, bringing joy and wonder to kids and grown ups everywhere. However, we rarely realize that Santa Claus is actually the world’s greatest traveller. I doubt there is a single person on this planet who would travel more during a year, albeit Santa does almost all his travelling in 36 hours.
A few years ago The Telegraph did some calculations about this magical day when Santa flies around the globe. According to the calculations Santa travels around half a billion kilometers. That is almost 13 000 times around the globe or 32 500 times from Helsinki to Tokyo (8000km) and back. Finnair is the official airline of Santa Claus as Santa lives in Rovaniemi, Finland. If Santa would use Finnair to deliver his gifts, he would get, based on Helsinki-Tokyo calculations in Basic class, he would get around 260 million Finnair points. For 3000 points and 74,52€ you could get a 100€ tax-free award voucher. By this calculation single points is worth 0,95 cents. Surprisingly, Santas points would be worth only little more than 2 million euros. So you won’t get rich with these points, not even if you are the world’s greatest traveller.
We can also look at the environmental impacts of Santa travelling Finnair. Using carbon calculator and Helsinki-Tokyo calculations Santa would create almost 70 000 tonnes of CO2. Average Finnish household produces 10 tonnes per year, so Santa flying with Finnair would correspond to 7000 households.
We do hope that Santa Claus has figured our an environmentally friendly way to travel the world but until he gives away his secrets we have to stick with more traditional transportation methods for our Christmas travelling. We wish you all happy holidays and look forward seeing as many of you as possible next year in Joensuu!
1. All available study programmes in Finland can be found on the Studyinfo portal (www.studyinfo.fi) where you can search for suitable programmes and start the application. The online application is only open during the application period, so make sure you know when the application period starts. Once you have found a programme you wish to apply to, find out what the admissions requirements are.
2. Collect the required application documents. Information concerning the documents you need for admissions is provided by the university/programme you are applying to and the Studyinfo portal. The list of required documents is also on the online application. Please note that each application must have its own set of requested application documents.
3. Please send all of your documents to the University Admissions Finland’s office by mail. Your application documents have to arrive by the given deadline. E-mail attachments will not be accepted. UAF does not process application documents that have arrived after the deadline.
4. University Admissions Finland processes all documents according to the same processing procedures. Documents are processed in two steps, both of which your application documents must pass:
a. We will verify your language skills and check that they meet the requirements set by the university.
b. We will check that all of your required educational documents have arrived and then we will verify your credentials.
We have now been intensively planning the programme and it will be absolutely fantastic. We have a huge number of industry partners lined up for the programme, so many interesting topics to discuss and study, innovative teaching methods, and all the tools you need to build yourself a career in evergrowing tourism business.
Let us know if there is anything we can help you with and good luck with your application!
Juho Pesonen (juho.pesonen[at]uef.fi)