29 May Why your destination needs smart tourism
Two words will put their signature on the near future of tourism destinations – open data and collaboration. Open data means there are freely available, structured, and linked databases. Those databases help the development of new tourism activities and services. Collaboration is, as we all know, a working practice whereby individuals work together to a common purpose to achieve business benefits.
Destinations where people will work together while combining strategy, tourism product development, branding, and technology knowledge and tools will be on the right way to develop a sustainable destination. How this would look like in practice, you can have a look at the video.
How to become a smart destination
It’s been a while since a buzz word smart destination started to become one of those, you’ll hear on most of the travel and tourism events and conferences. Despite all the possibilities of technology it’s not always easy to find the right people who can create the right solution. The solution that fits all the destination needs and, what is more important, implement the solution correctly.
Implementing a new technology solution might sound daunting and exhausting, but on the other side can be fun, productive, and full of collaboration and learning for everyone with a mutual goal to provide a better global image of a destination while being more efficient.
Your first goals and reasons to become a smart destination
When you start to plan your steps ask yourself couple of questions.
Do you want:
Your tourists to easily access your local travel products?
Your tourists to book more local experience while being on a destination?
To engage your tourists to enjoy the local experience and spend more?
Your B&Bs and hotels easy share their offer?
To present your offer in a super modern way and let tourists share that experience on social media without you spending a budget?
What is Smart tourism initiative
Group of professionals and their companies who use the strategy, branding, and technology knowledge and tools to develop a sustainable destination that will successfully manage a network of its digital tourism businesses.
Smart cities as a step toward a smart destination
In a perfect world, a real smart destination would have smart cities whose data would be from huge importance when a destination starts to develop smartly. A smart city uses information and communication technologies (ICT) to increase operational efficiency. It also shares information with the public, and improve both the quality of government services and citizen welfare.
If we would like to think bigger and from the travel and tourism perspective, we could see that the data we get from the smart city concept could be one of the steps into developing a sustainable destination. According to the World Tourism Organization sustainable tourism is tourism that meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunities for the future.
We can translate it into a “lighter” language. We could say that one of the features of a sustainable destination is that the destination has to be a place where its citizens like to live during the whole year. A place where people with its common activities are creating value for the community. And at the same time, they are attracting conscious tourists.
Once the tourists are attracted to a certain smart destination they can explore all the features and experiences one destination can offer from one place. And that would be probably their smartphones.
Know your destination story
But what if your city still doesn’t have features of the smart city? Don’t worry, there is always a solution. Even small steps can lead to something you’ll once call a big transformation of developing a network of digital tourism businesses.
Let’s say for the first step it’s important to know what exactly is your destination story. What is your uniqueness? How you’d like to be perceived in the eyes of your visitors. When you have defined your destination story, values, goals you’ll be ready to create a detailed action plan.
In that action plan, you’ll be able to write all the procedures and timelines that ‘ll lead you to your goal to become a smart destination. You’ll know more clearly which exactly knowledges and virtues people involved in the whole process of building a smart destination need to have.
At the same time, you should engage with all tourism-related businesses within your destination and tell them about your plans and goals. You support them, they support you. Simple as that.
Destination management approach shaped by technology
A smart destination means you have some digital data that you can interpret and make coherent conclusions and decisions. You should as a tourism destination enable your data to become open. At the same time support your tourism partners to provide open data.
After you fulfill all from the above, let the technology experts do their magic. They’ll be able to connect all the necessary data and ensure the flow of the data. In the end they’ll provide you with an efficient, pretty, and user-friendly interface your guest will love to use.
What are the main features of a smart destination
Using technology for more efficient management of a destination
Smooth managing of guest’s experiences on a destination
Managing data a destination already have
Managing data of all partners within a destination (before guests arrive, during their stay, after departure)
Establishing communication between everyone involved in a process
What are the benefits of a smart destination:
People in charge of the development of a destination have less administration
Smooth communication between a tourism board, its partners and guests
Easier implementation of a long term strategy focused on sustainability and guest experience
Easier implementation of new tourism products
Unique content that supports all tourism-related business at a destination
Developing a wished image of a whole destination
A unique point of sale for all tourism-related business in a destination
5 steps to become a smart destination
Define your long term goals and step by step action plan
Ensure openness of data related to your destination
Engage with travel technology and branding experts who will transfer your vision, goals, and data into efficient processes
Create a team for developing and creating content
Supervise all activities and communicate things you implemented with your community
To be able to develop and maintain a smart destination it’s important to make unity and harmony within the regional or national level. In that way, it’s possible to have focus on common goals and interests. You’ll make fragmentation of big goals, and at the end start with s first small step.
Companies behind the initiative Smart Tourism / Pametni turizam that lead you through your path to becoming a smart destination: Orioly, Infosit, Phobs, Equinox Vision, Magic4Club, monri Payments, hrturizam.hr