Samuel Simon
Author - Samuel Simon

Today is the day. Free access to a valuable service design resource.

Today, #SDsanta is granting you very special access to a valuable piece from our case study library. The SDN advent calendar door number five opens to a project on creating an immersive experience in hospitality with a focus on eco-toursim and nature.

Allor valley: Changing the Face of Ecotourism - Chinese Hospitality 3.0

Bringing the Soul of an Exculsicve Resort to Life Using Service Design Tools and Methodologies.

Usually a paid-membership-only kind of content, we're leaving the excerpts of this case study here for you for free until 25th of December. Happy reading!


01 The Challenge

The Alor Valley Resort, can be described as a Hospitality 3.0 concept located inside the breathtaking XiXi National Wetland Park, near the city of Hangzhou. For guests visiting, the resort aims to offer a personal immersive experience that draws on the resorts unique landscape, authentic heritage and a balance between environmental and human needs. It aims to represent a forward vision for the future of Chinese hospitality.


The name - Shili Fangfei (十里芳菲) in chinese - embodies the Soul/Ethos for the project was created by the founder, Bei Zhang, reflecting a gift each guest should receive when visiting her resort, a “feeling at home” and a transfer of “luck and fortune”.

In order to bring this Soul to life, the resort’s overall theme is built around five key concepts - good wish (美愿 - mei yuan), impromptu (美力 - mei li), handcrafted (美物 - mei wu), food (美食 - mei shi) and living (美宿 - mei su) - and perfectly fuse together the Chinese and Western styles to create a "New Life Aesthetics”.

For this engagement, CBi China Bridge supported the owner in transforming the idea into an actionable Strategic Service Blueprint. Beyond strategy, we also needed to make sure the team was enabled with a new service mindset, the tools and methods for tackling the development of the resort strategy, customer profiles and experience offering. The use of Service Design combined with an engaged and empowered organization, helped Alor Valley quickly bloom. During 2 years, CBi China Bridge has continually supported Alor Valley organization and the founder, going from inception, to piloting and now the full implementation of the resort.


From the start, the goal was to create a Strategic Blueprint that guides and enable the organization to implement the strategy and continually innovating the customers’ experience, while also providing a new definition for the future of Chinese hospitality.

To the founder, innovating the Chinese traditional model of hospitality was important to the success of this resort, but it is just as critical to co-create the perfect soul of this project together with her team members, partners, community and customers.

• How to break and change the current traditional concept of “hotel” and give it a real “soul”?

• How to fully understand the customers’ perception in order to design a better system?

• How to build an innovative product leveraging on the know-how of the team,


02 The Approach


During nearly two-years, collaboration between the CBi China Bridge team and Alor Valley personnel began with learning the principles of Service Design, putting the customers at the center and learning how to co-create relevant directions.

The First Phase aimed to create a clear definition of the key elements of the Resort Proposal to the owners of the land, the government.

CBi team organized a co-creation session to dive into the problem and build a complete understanding of the context. Both Alor Valley core team members and key stakeholders joined it and, facilitated by CBi China Bridge, gave rise to all aspects of the customer journey to be re-invented.

As a result, this phase delivered a competitive and innovative offering, strengthening the working teams alignment, and creating a joint purpose based on users insights and needs.

The second phase aimed at reaching two goals: first, generate new ideas and then find the right resources for the project. To reach the first goal, the core team members from Alor Valley took part in a second co-creation session together with external experts from many and differentiated fields; they reframed the entire experience journey. While a crowdfunding campaign, was the answer to the second need of the team.

During the third phase real customers were involved in a user test: CBi facilitated them in experiencing the whole journey in the resort and observed their behavior. CBi team collected many valuable insights and found out the main pains and gains of the users. The experience was then refined and improved.

Together, our teams analyzed all service touch-points, from products customers used to the environment; aiming to ensure a harmonious and smooth experience, we all needed to understand what, how and why everything needed to work together.

Moving beyond the Strategy and Planning, the second phase in the project was a live pilot in the resort, followed by a cowed funding campaign. This reached enormous success, Bei Zhan’s team did not stop the iteration process so the third phase started with the aim of catching the male audience attention.

03 The Outcome

CBi organized a co-creation session, strengthening the resort team's alignment and creating a joint-purpose, based on user insights and needs. The second phase was a live pilot in the resort, followed by a crowdfunding campaign which led to enormous success.

04 The Impact

CBi China Bridge supported driving the entire process and making a big idea, a great reality. Through the redefinition of the journey map and the service blueprint, CBi and Alor Valley teams gave birth to a unique and innovative resort proposal, achieving great results.
[Full text on outcome and impact here.]


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