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SLM Students' Insights on Innovation Infusion Events: Lesley Anderson, Tourism Nanaimo

By Manish Kumar & Anna Nehm

What did we hear?

This Innovation Infusion presentation was given by Lesley Anderson, Executive Director at Tourism Nanaimo and former Manager, Brand Experiences at the Canadian Tourism Commission (CTC), and introduced the Explorer Quotient (EQ) and its use for DMO's.

The Explorer Quotient is a marketing segmentation tool, which was invented by CTC, Canada's national tourism marketing organisation. CTC wanted to attract more international travelers to Canada to stimulate the resource based economy and sustain the economic growth of local communities. The organisation wanted to create a customer-centric brand by looking at the demand side, what exactly the customers want. Therefore, CTC invented a new tool in order to analyze the psychographics of travelers coming to Canada to find out what really drives them to Canada and what motivates them to travel. Discover your travel type according to the EQ. 
Instead of looking at demographics such as age, income, and gender, EQ looks at psychographics, which looks at one's beliefs and worldview. This tool is an innovative market segmentation tool and also an evolution of the traditional field of demographics. Simply, EQ puts different markets into different segmentation groups. The power of EQ is based on social values that drive people to make decisions. Social values play an important in defining different kind of travel behavior and motivation and it also impacts the purchase behavior of customers. CTC initially surveyed 3000 long-haul travelers and key decision makers and came up with three predominant types of explorers: Free Spirits, Authentic Explorer and Cultural Explorer. 

EQ informs product developers and organizations about important nuances for each traveler type. Also, by using this marketing segmentation tool, businesses can make travel experiences more relevant to visitors. Moreover, by knowing who your customer is, businesses can adapt their products and as well their marketing strategies and promotional materials in order to target those customers more efficiently. Many destinations and tourism organizations have used this tool and re-launched their products and brands as per customer’s demand. For example a DMO in New Brunswick used EQ to analyze what type of travelers choose to come to the province, whereas Chinook Country Tourism Association, Alberta, used it for mapping and clustering customer experiences.

It is helping local DMO's and other organizations to reshape the future of their destinations and communities. Some of the perceived benefits of implementing EQ are its cost effectiveness and credibility in customer research. It stimulates product development by partnering with different organizations; strengthen brand, marketing and media relations, and helps in building collaboration through common language and understanding. Another most significant benefit of using EQ is its contribution to the development of a consumer-driven brand, which creates a culture of collaboration based on a solid, common understanding of the customers. There have also been cascading benefits of different stakeholders and shareholders such as defining the targeted traveler group and how they can motivate and attract those travelers to destinations.

In conclusion, EQ is a market segmentation tool that DMO’s can use to identify the psychographics of their targeted audiences and to launch various products according to the customer’s needs and wants. It has the ability to develop a rich, layered set of insights about travelers’ values, motivations and how to engage and attract these travelers. Moreover, by knowing the needs and wants of the customers, DMO's know with what kind of industry partners they need to work with in order to be able to offer the desired services to customers. In Canada, this market segmentation tool has changed the way travel experiences are developed, marketed and sold.

Where was the link to innovation and sustainability?

This market segmentation tool links to innovation as it is an innovative tool and also seen as an evolution of the traditional field of demographics. This is due to the fact that this tool does not only look at demographics but mainly at psychographics. By adapting marketing strategies to the needs and wants of the target groups, based on EQ results, companies will save a lot of time and money that they would have otherwise spend on unnecessary tourism campaigns or promotional materials. EQ is an effective tool whose results help DMO's to create innovative and sustainable tourism products that fit to the target markets. Additionally, it helps the destination to attract more international travelers, which contributes to the economic sustainability and community pride.

How does it connect to what we have learned thus far?

The presentation connected to the fact that the needs and wants of travelers and tourists are changing constantly. Companies need to design and create new tourism products on a regular basis in order to retain customers and to attract new markets.

People are becoming more environmental conscious as they have recognized the need to secure the future for our future generations. Therefore, psychographics might change over time as well. Furthermore, two new types of tourism that have emerged not too long ago are sustainable tourism and ecotourism. The popularity of these two types of tourism might increase in the future as more people will seek sustainable and ecofriendly tourism products and services. EQ will help to design and develop products and services for those travelers.

Why is the topic relevant to Sustainable Leisure Management?

The Explorer Quotient is relevant to Sustainable Leisure Management since it gives one a great insight into the psychographics of travelers. This is important information that managers and as well Change Agents need in order to design innovative products and services in the future.


Canadian Tourism Commission. (2010-2014). Explorer Quotient. Retrieved March 20, 2014, from

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