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Research on places and employer attractiveness

Published: 29 March 2017

Howthe retail and tourism industry develop their brands in order to attract and retain employees, customers and visitors, and how these sectors while collaborating, can achieve innovative solutions for developing urban centers that attract new target groups, is examined in two different research projects.

Retailing and tourism are important for the Swedish economy. An attractive brand that gives a positive signal to new staff and to customers is invaluable.1000 employees and prospective employees will now provide researchers with insights to increase knowledge about how companies can strengthen their brand as an employer, so-called employer branding.

– Employees play a crucial role for the perception of  a brand. An attractive employer can attract competent staff who are more likely to stay in the company,  says Associate Professor Maria Ek Styvén.  

In the research project Maria Ek Styvén collaborates  with Visit Luleå and a reference group of local companies.

–Tourism is a growing industry in Luleå and in the region. We are well on the way to the national aim of doubling sales in the tourism industry by 2020. These two projects are therefore very beneficial, since  attractive employers and cities constitute  a competitive advantage to manage the supply of  competence in the area of  tourism and retailing. With new and improved knowledge, we can better meet the needs of tomorrow, says Jenny Hellman, CEO, Visit Luleå.

A wide range of companies are also involved in the project led by Associate Professor Malin Lindberg. The city center of Piteå, with its well-known concept, Small Town, Swedens oldest pedestrian street with lots of shops and restaurants that attracts a lot of visitors to Piteå,  is the base for the development of new knowledge and concepts for innovative development of places.

Results from the project also have an application in Kiruna city, the world wide known city that is beeing transformed and removed in order to make place for the expansion of the mining industry in Kiruna and Gällivare. The research team focus on trade and tourism in Piteå and how synergies can be achieved when companies collaborate to increase the attraction of the city center.

The project is a continuation of previous research on place innovations linked to Swedish Lapland tourism organisation. Previous research resulted in a tutorial and a website how to work with place innovation.

The above projects, Attractive Employers: Employer branding in retailing and tourism, and attractive city center location through innovative synergies, are financed by the R&D fund of the Swedish Tourism&Hospitality Industry, BFUF and the Sedish Retail  and Wholesale Council, Handelsrådet, with a total of 3.3 million crowns. Of  four projects that received funding in the call Luleå University of Technology got two.