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    • Find out about the different possible outcomes that can arise from strategic planning in this video. 

    Duration: 3:59

    • Watch the full strategic planning process illustrated in less than five minutes in this video.

    Duration: 4:47


    Get your planning right

    Fingers pointing to a diagram

    Get your planning right by looking at the future and taking steps to achieve the one you want.

    Every tourism business plans ahead to some degree, but historically the greater focus has been on short-term or operational planning, which is of course important but never enough. Operational planning can help to ensure that you ‘do things right’ in the sense that you manage the business day to day, week to week, in an effective way.

    However, you also need to ensure that you ‘do the right things’ with regard to moving the business in the right direction, and this is where strategy and planning comes in. As outlined in the understanding strategic management guide, strategic management is an all-encompassing activity within your business. One of the reasons why strategic and annual planning hasn’t been as widely applied within tourism as it might have been is that from a distance it can seem like a very unwieldy and complicated process.

    But it doesn’t need to be, and when you understand the strategic management process, you quickly recognise just how important strategic and annual planning is as part of that process. In laying the foundation for your strategic and annual planning efforts you should address the five issues shown in the diagram below.

    Diagram showing the principles of strategic planning.

    Once executed, you can only determine how effective your strategies and plans are by measuring progress, analysing the implications of the results you get and taking action to continuously improve.

    Measuring progress involves measuring implementation (ensuring that the actions agreed in your annual plan are actually executed within the agreed timeframe) and measuring impact (defining key financial and non-financial performance measures, and may also necessitate putting systems in place to gather the relevant data).

    You'll be able to use the strategy and planning guide to implement effective strategy and planning techniques which will encourage a filter-down process whereby your strategies are developed and then implemented through your annual plan. This will eliminate a lot of ‘hitting and hoping’, by guiding you to make decisions about the future direction for your business, following comprehensive research and analysis.