Stage 10. Technology & Disruption

Reviewing current use of technology and identifying disruptive forces emerging and how to tackle them.

Over the last decade, the tourism industry has really upped its game when it comes to digital transformation and adopting new technologies, and we have seen that digital technologies have developed into the main driving force behind marketing and management activities across the board. As the digital world constantly evolves, it brings both challenges and opportunities along with it.


Over the last decade, the tourism industry has really upped its game when it comes to digital transformation and adopting new technologies, and we have seen that digital technologies have developed into the main driving force behind marketing and management activities across the board. As the digital world constantly evolves, it brings both challenges and opportunities along with it.  

Technology has enabled destinations to connect with their visitors like never before, leveraging ways of communicating with key audiences by gaining a better understanding of consumer behaviour to deliver engaging experiences and content in richer and more personalised ways. The challenge for marketers is three-fold; how to keep up with this ever-changing landscape, how to engage today's traveller, and choosing the most effective channels, technologies and measurement tools for your organisation.

This course of the Transformation Series provides an overview of the latest technological trends and innovation to let you understand the challenges and opportunities that the proliferating technologies open up for tourism service providers in general, and for tourism destinations and businesses in particular.

The technologies explored are Artificial Intelligence, AR/VR, Proximity Marketing and iBeacons, Blockchain, Chatbots, Gamification, Voice Assistants.

This will include:

  • An analysis of 'Martech', marketing technology for DMOs.
  • An exploration of the newest trends in technology: 5G, mobility and autonomous travel, extended reality, blockchain, dark web.
  • An in-depth explanation with relevant case studies in Artificial Intelligence, AR/VR, Proximity Marketing and iBeacons, Blockchain, Chatbots, Gamification, Voice Assistants.
  • Technology-enhanced experiences for visitors
  • An overview of the workplace technology
  • A series of templates to run sprints and workshops in your organisation

A list of Case Studies and Talks to watch.

  • Laax: Refining the Digital Customer Experience
  • Singapore Tourism: A 360 Perspective
  • Stockholm Sounds Mobile App
  • Fjord Norway: Data-driven Partner Marketing
  • Lapland’s Augmented Reality App
  • Tourism Victoria & Real-time Campaigning
  • Switzerland Tourism: Transforming the DMO Website through Data & AI
  • Tourism Ireland: using Machine Learning & AI in Digital
  • Vienna Tourism: Embracing New Ways of Storytelling with Voice Apps
  • Discover Puerto Rico: Welcoming Visitors Back To the Island with a Brand New DMO
  • Banff and Lake Louise: Marketing Canada’s First National Park with a Data-Driven Approach
  • Helsinki Airport: Focus On Innovation
  • The End of Tourism as We Know It?

Technology & Disruption - Sprint

To start working on your strategies, it’s good to start with a Sprint. Gather the whole team and think about the role of technology, knowledge and innovation inside your organisation.

First, you are going to analyse how new technology can benefit your processes, where and how it might represent challenges for future development and what innovative methods you are using inside your DMO to foster creative thinking and the use of technology.

Then you are going to define the digital tools that help your team in productivity, performance and creativity and for each of these tools, you will assign Digital Champions, namely members of your team who will learn about those tools and possibly test them to be introduced in the various processes.

The sprint also makes you think about the use of new technology to create experiences in your destination, identifying the tools that can improve the tourism experience of different target segments.

Finally, you will investigate opportunities to innovate through new digital technologies, identifying/mapping new trends, using data to enhance visitor experiences and partnering with creative industries to identify new solutions.



Get started with the sprint 🏃🏾‍♀️

A sprint is a great way to rally all your teammates around a big idea or produce great results by concentrating the team on a specific need over a short period.

  1. Print the attached worksheet in large format (A1 is best!)
  2. Find a great communal space, such as the canteen, to stick it up (double-sided tape!)
  3. Invite team members to scribble their thoughts and ideas on the wall
  4. Organise a stand-up session, where several members can express their thoughts
  5. Take a snap, keep it posted or even better 'scan the wall' and digitise into Mural

You'll be pleased with the results when you get everyone thinking collectively.


Martech and New Technology

Martech and New Technology: Tourism Ireland AI and ML

Tourism Ireland was in the process of restructuring the strategy for 2020 and going forward, continuing to focus on an omnichannel approach with machine learning and AI at the heart. The new strategy involves a programme of MarTech investments and the primary focus is being consumer-centric, allowing the DMO to quantify individual propensity measured through all the digital touchpoints.

There are approximately 2,000 data points for each individual and so in order to measure a single consumer, a consolidated identity is the basic building block of a consumer journey.

Integrating AI provides valuable insights into the whole customer journey. With this type of data, Tourism Ireland is able to shape the journey, for example, by directing visitors to less travelled regions and lesser-known icons in order to sustain the smaller communities in the destination.

This also includes redeveloping the website and replacing the previous email marketing tool for one that is driven by machine learning models that produce machine-generated emails. This means that every individual will receive a different email with information tailored to that unique customer journey, created via a pool of content and email specific knowledge. Since moving to machine-generated emails, Tourism Ireland has seen a 35% uplift in the content quality indicative of the email open rates.

Machine learning allows Tourism Ireland to look at the history of engagements from data stored and calculate the contribution from that for each channel to also measure visible propensity. It works by observing a consumer visiting Ireland. It then works out the contribution of each marketing touchpoint and pushes that intelligence into a model that can be applied to each new consumer.

Watch the full presentation by Brian Harte, Head of Customer Engagement & E-Marketing with Tourism Ireland: Tourism Ireland on using Machine Learning & AI in Digital

               

                                                               

Martech and New Technology: Fjord Norway

Data-driven Partner Marketing

Fjord Norge AS/Fjord Norway is the official tourist board of Western Norway. Representing a region, Fjord Norway is focusing on international marketing directly to consumers or through tour operators and press. What has stood out for us here at the #DTTT is the fact that Fjord Norway as an organisation is visionary and eager to 'be the most professional and competent destination company in Europe'. As part of this, Fjord Norway is taking on the responsibility to position the Fjord region as the most attractive destination for nature-based adventure holidays.

At the start of 2016, Fjord Norway relaunched their new website, moving away from a platform that the organisation owned to an off-the-shelf product and software. It was an important step to question the role of the destination website in this process. For Kristian Jørgensen, the destination website is not as important for inspiration purposes, as consumers will find inspiring content elsewhere.

Destinations can add value to the travel cycle by focusing on supporting travel planning. Fjord Norway is doing so through a brand new travel planner system, bringing in commercial partners to help consumers move from a travel plan to a booking directly through the website. This means integrating the various booking systems that partners are using to facilitate a seamless booking process for international consumers directly on Fjord Norway's website or driving traffic directly to a partners website and booking system.

Martech and New Technology: New trends in technology

Martech and New Technology: Artificial intelligence

According to Forbes, spending on AI-based marketing technology (Martech) solutions is projected to reach $52.2B by 2021 and “top-performing companies are more than twice as likely to be using AI for marketing (28% vs. 12%), according to Adobe’s latest Digital Intelligence Briefing.

In today’s world, the key to future success for any brand is all about the customer experience and the answer to maximising the customer experience as much as possible is personalisation. While digital has evolved and marketers strategies have successfully evolved along with it, there are some capabilities that can be achieved only through artificial intelligence. It allows companies to analyse and correlate vast amounts of data from a plethora of sources, utilise data in the most efficient way, and identify patterns to make predictions for future activities. In terms of the visitor, it successfully delivers personalised information and recommendations plus virtual assistance to ensure a seamless experience throughout the whole visitor journey.

AI and machine learning should be seen as an ‘enabler’ for digital marketers to fulfil marketing objectives more efficiently and effectively, and the graph below demonstrates the variety of activities and opportunities for which companies can use AI.

Although AI is not a new practice, it may still sound daunting to some, whether that be for lack of resources or understanding around the area.

Here’s how DMOs are using artificial intelligence:

Switzerland Tourism

Switzerland Tourism recently launched its new website, a project developed over 4 years, and it’s a really fantastic example of a destination website that has been thoughtfully crafted around market behaviour and the user journey to create something different and completely immersive. If you haven't seen it already, take a look - sound on!

Artificial intelligence and VR was successfully used for on-site personalisation and optimisation to create an interactive inspiration calendar, optimised for all devices. Research showed that 2 out of 3 users to the website were new users. In order to capture the interest of these users, the goal of the new website was to inspire, showing the diversity of Switzerland across all products, regions and seasons year-round.

Powered by AI, the project focused on three main parts;

1. Inspiration to make it a truly immersive and aspirational experience

2. Listening to guests to build its digital services

3. Developing personalised content tailored to different audiences and levels of accessibility

A total of 48 virtual reality videos were created, 4 videos per month, allowing the visitor to deep-dive into the sights and sounds of Switzerland. AI and machine learning were used to deliver the best image results. The technology automatically recognises the focus element of the image most relevant to the user, and crops to suit each possible device and format - e.g. the castle below.

This image delivery service facilitates the editing of over 400,000 images on myswitzerland.com - an amount simply too vast for a manual editor to process.


Roughly 98% of the image delivery is automated however, it takes time for the machine learning algorithm to learn and improve so errors may still occur. Therefore a manual capability is still needed as a back-up.

Personalisation is at the heart of this development which is key to optimising the customer journey, especially when trip planning.  

Martech and New Technology: Switzerland AI recognition

Martech and New Technology: Blockchain

Blockchain is a way to record transaction data in an immutable way. Who sent what to who? Once a transaction has happened, it cannot be altered. The integrity of the data relies on three elements.  


1 - DECENTRALISED NETWORK OF COMPUTERS

Rather than a single database, there is a network of computers that agree to run the same ‘verification software’. This makes it more robust against hacking as well as fraud.

2 - CLEVER CRYPTOGRAPHY

Blockchain cleverly encrypts transactions in relation to the existing history, thus forming a chain of events. This makes it extremely hard to alter. Compare it to the kids' game ‘I’m going to see & I take with me’, where you always have to build on the ‘truth so far.

3 - INCENTIVES

Parties agree to run the ‘consensus software’ in return for rewards. This aligns incentives and promotes behaviour that supports the common good (as well as individual benefits).

As a DMO, there are 3 possible approaches to consider when it comes to integrating Blockchain;

Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) launched Tourism 2.0, a blockchain-enabled virtual marketplace that connects potential buyers directly to hotels and tour operators, aiming to help tourists find better offers from hotels and tour operators. In addition to that, Tourism 2.0 will also be a consumer-friendly platform that will enable travellers to design personalised travel experiences in Dubai.

The initiative was launched in March 2018 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, and supports Dubai's vision to welcome 20 million visitors per year, and to become the world’s first government to execute all applicable transactions using blockchain by 2020.

Think about the bitcoin concept applied to a distribution network, rather than pure transactions. Here is an example of developing a system that allows brands, hotels and service suppliers to manage a parallel distribution channel that helps to control existing distribution channels.

Cool Cousin

Elsewhere in the travel sphere, Cool Cousin is a travel app completely optimised for the Millennial and Gen Z traveller, which provides on-demand city guidance that matches their style and needs, directly from like-minded and trusted locals.

In addition to that, Cool Cousin has now launched CUZ. Using blockchain technology and powered by the crypto token CUZ, Cool Cousin offers travellers diverse and affordable premium services, while creating a new source of income for locals around the world, without compromising the content’s trustworthiness.

Martech and New Technology: Chatbots

We see this trend growing every day, and although we believe there are still some limitations in this technology and there is much room for improvement, we see there are different approaches to create a chatbot that can be both useful and innovative. Three in five travel companies offer customer service via live chat while 28% are experimenting or actively using artificial intelligence.

The logic behind it is that, although we are moving towards an automated world, people still seek human interaction and trust more conversational approaches which are important to consider when developing a chatbot. On the other hand, we live in an era where we seek instant information. If you put yourselves in the shoes of a consumer, or visitor in the case of travel, chatbots are the perfect platform where instant answers are required. For example, where is the nearest train station?

Powered by artificial intelligence, chatbots are able to not only respond instantaneously but are able to provide accurate answers and solutions, and a level of customer service that meets customer expectations.

This way of communication is native to the new-age traveller where multiple apps and online messaging is part of everyday life, therefore it is a service many travellers now expect. Many destinations and travel partners have already integrated a chat facility on their website. Here are some examples.

Visit Norway

Visit Norway created a chatbot integrated into their website which is connected to Facebook messenger. This may be limiting if users do not have Facebook which is something to bear in mind.

The idea behind it is to automate the communication with the visitor and give them all the information they are looking for in a quick and easy way.

Automatic prompts appear as clear buttons at the bottom of the conversation, allowing the user to conveniently select the information they are interested in, followed by relevant questions and instant responses with corresponding links.

For example:  

Questions are based on the most commonly asked questions which means in some cases, the user may not even need to type anything and will receive an answer in just a few clicks.  

Visit Faroe Islands

Similar to Visit Norway, Visit Faroe Islands have integrated the automated Messenger chat, called Saga, which greets you with a friendly message upon visiting the site.

In this way the visitor finds the chatbot on the website, having the impression of something which is belonged by the DMO; however, the chat platform is Facebook Messenger. This is an easy solution to integrate the chat on the website but may have limitations as above.

The messenger allows the user to quickly select what they are interested in from a selection of popular topics; See&Do, Stay, Practical Info and What's On.

Discover Hong Kong

Upon visiting Discover Hong Kong's Facebook page, a friendly chatbot suggests activities and locations explore in Hong Kong.

The above screenshot displays how chatbots can be a great tool for discovery. Consumers are likely to be intrigued to learn more when relevant information is offered directly and may find something to do or somewhere to go that they had not considered before.

Visit California

Visit California created a pool to let people decide the name of the visitcalifornia.com chatbot.

This is an example of how to engage people in the decision-making process of the DMO, show that you apply the best trends in the market and that your DMO is innovative, create content around the building of the chatbot.

Martech and New Technology: Proximity marketing & iBeacons

Proximity marketing or ‘location-based marketing’, refers to reaching visitors at exactly the right time and the right place through their mobile devices, ultimately enhancing the visitor experience. This type of mobile marketing successfully bridges the gap between offline and online experience with relevant and personalised messaging.

Nowadays, it is becoming more and more difficult for marketers to develop a competitive edge when it comes to digital marketing campaigns and reaching the right customers. However, on the flip side, there has never been a better opportunity than now to reach customers directly. For DMOs, it is essential to constantly adapt and innovate to meet visitors’ changing needs and behaviours, and proximity marketing is a great way to do this. Beacons, geofencing and push notifications are key players in this strategy.

Proximity marketing through Beacons or iBeacons can help destinations create a stronger digital strategy to target the right people while in-destination through events, attractions, airports and hotels. Beacon technology is powerful, as it can locate devices even when there is no mobile phone signal in a destination. Beacons are small devices that can easily be attached to surfaces such as walls, vehicles or even people.

Geofencing or geotargeting recognises devices using location tracking services, particularly smartphones, within a specifically selected area.

Banff & Lake Louise

Banff & Lake Louise developed a ‘Hyper Mobile Local’ pilot project, launched during its peak season between July and September where the destination welcomes 2.2 million visitors. The strategy is based on geofencing and location-tracking whereby they look at the location devices on smartphones and track visitors into the destination to effectively encourage them to do more while visiting.

"According to Google, 85% of U.S leisure travellers decide on activities only after having arrived at the destination, nearly nine out of 10 travellers expect their travel provider to share relevant information while they are on their trip - and 67% of travellers feel more loyal toward a travel company that shares information during their trip that improves their travel experience." - Google Travel Insights

Banff & Lake Louise's own research also found that the more visitors did in-destination, the higher the likelihood that they would recommend visiting. This creates such great opportunities as a DMO to completely enhance the visitor experience by tracking the visitors while they are in the destination, providing topical information and promoting in-destination experiences. It's also effective in dispersing visitors to different areas at different times and managing visitor flows at popular locations.

The destination geofenced certain areas in the park such as Lake Louise and Marine Lake, as well as popular areas within the town. The visitors within these areas were then targeted with both static and interstitial adverts to promote in-destination experiences.

Results showed that there was not one conversion during the project, however, what they discovered was that while visitors did not book directly through the adverts, the adverts were generating awareness and they were still booking at a later time. This was a great leader driver for in-destination experiences and a multi-channel approach helped to improve conversion.

Destination Djursland

In the summer of 2017, New Nordic Engineering and Destination Djurslandcollaborated on a pilot project. The goal was to test a solution developed by New Nordic Engineering; to map the visitors' actual movements between the destination's many attractions - and to do it without disturbing the visitors' experiences. Thus: No questionnaires. No app to be downloaded. No QR codes to be scanned. No electronic "check-ins" or discount codes.

The method used by Destination Djursland is called 'Mobile Crowd Sensing', which refers to collecting data through sensor-rich smartphones. A total of 26 measuring stations were set up around Djursland and five groups were defined that were then divided into measurement points between Key counters, indoor attractions, outdoor attractions, nature experiences, and shopping / urban environment.

This form of data gives DMOs a whole new insight into the visitors' journey, adding a new layer of knowledge to enhance the visitor experience in the future. Data revealed expected patterns in addition to completely new insights which the DMO can then effectively use to shape marketing strategies going forward.

Visit Benidorm

Visit Benidorm has created an app for the destination including beacons that can help visitors to get a more immersive and connected experience. With mobile becoming a major driver in tourism, the app can serve up information for visitors in the destination, rather than them having to visit the website. The app was launched as part of FITUR 2016 and Visit Benidorm see this new technology as an ideal way for visitors to get a more diverse experience when visiting the destination.

Through beacon technology, Visit Benidorm can deliver contextual messages and information based on a user’s location in the destination. Beacons have been deployed throughout the city and through personal preferences (interests and language) set in the app, the beacons can transmit recommendations, information and messages, to help the visitor navigate around the city and help explore offers and things to do.

Martech and New Technology: Gamification & apps

Gamification as a marketing tool and trend has come up for many years in travel but never managed to gain traction with the majority of tourism businesses and destinations. For destinations, gamification can provide an experience-based service and effective communication tool to meet visitor needs by enhancing the in-destination experience and influencing richer user engagement with the destination itself.

Gamification is about the integration of gaming dynamics in non-gaming environments. In travel and tourism, the application of gamification refers to the enhancement of tourist experiences (walking tour, discovering a sight, etc) through gaming elements (see graphic Basic gaming elements). The proliferation of digital technologies – above all smartphones and tablets – act as a catalyst of change for the delivery of gamified experiences. Mobile internet connections, social networks, augmented reality, GPS, high-resolution displays and touch screen technology are some of the key innovations that drive the development of immersive and engaging gaming experiences for tourists.

There are some examples of destinations having used gamification to add value to the visitor or in-destination experience but other technologies such as VR and 360 videos have generally proved much more popular among consumers.

Martech and New Technology: Laax - Inside App

However, one destination that has truly succeeded with its destination app which includes gamification as one of the main features, is LAAX. The Flims Laax Falera is three lift-linked villages that collectively share one of the biggest skiing areas in Switzerland. The destination is marketed under two very clear, seasonal brand strategies - the winter product is positioned under brand LAAX while the summer products and experiences are under Flims.

The app was launched in 2016/17 and since then continues to evolve and expand with over 140,000 users today. The app has a significant list of functions to make the customer experience as seamless, convenient and enjoyable as possible, adding value throughout the journey.

You can order food, track your activity that day, track your friends, meet new people, get live updates, and it also includes access to other activities and experiences in the destination, for example buying cinema tickets.

Integrating gameplay with rewards enhances the visitor experience with fun and engaging features, particularly with its target audience and within this particular sector. Almost 18,000,000 INSIDE points have been collected so far.

Although gaming is a major mainstream trend, gamification in tourism is often not part of a destination’s digital strategy, as it is not the main focus in marketing the destination. For tourism businesses, it makes sense to make an investment in enhancing the visitor experience through gamification as part of an app, however, pay close attention to who your target audience is and your primary offer.

For destinations, gamification has many benefits, particularly in this case as it's a predominantly young audience who are digital natives. Hence, they live and breathe online, they are accustomed to cutting edge technology, and most importantly they are enthusiastic virtual gamers. Combining a gamified visitor experience and utility and function make for a great mobile visitor experience. Digital here serves a great purpose of enhancing interaction and engagement, creating memorable experiences for your visitors while softly fostering loyalty around the brand.

These memorable experiences encourage word-of-mouth, particularly with this younger segment who are mobile pioneers and enjoy sharing their experiences. Gamification is also a new way of communicating and getting to know your customer with the view to improve both the digital customer experience and the visitor journey, key in today’s climate.

Martech and New Technology: Stockholm Sounds App

Stockholm Sounds is one of the digital projects by the Stockholm Visitors Board. It is a unique and innovative travel guide for mobile phones and combines the brand theme of music with strong elements of digital gaming.

Stockholm Sounds is a mobile app that serves as a niche visitor guide. The app is centred around the theme of music and is aimed at introducing both famous and rather unknown insider spots within the city. All points of interest that are featured within the app, have in common that they are connected to sound in general and music in Sweden in particular.

Gamified elements are central to the app, as it does not only offer traditional travel guide functionalities, but the app is set out to create a technology-enhanced immersive destination experience for visitors to the city. This includes challenges, quizzes and riddles, which are connected to the city and historic events that have taken place in specific places of the city. In order to make the application available to international tourists, the app is fully functional in offline mode.

Martech and New Technology: Augmented / Virtual Reality

While AR and VR are not new players in the technology realm, both are still largely untapped within the tourism space. One in four travel marketers do not anticipate investing in AR or VR until 2020 or beyond until further advances have been made, however, by the end of 2018, there were 171 million active virtual reality users. And in 2020, it is predicted that VR/AR will be a more than $162 billion industry. That's huge! So what are the opportunities for DMOs to tap-into?

Virtual and Augmented Reality can enable destinations to drive conversions and interest through a highly immersive, engaging and three-dimensional experience. Connecting visitors to the destination in new and exciting ways.

The potential for creating and delivering innovative and unique tourism experiences through AR is manifold. The areas of application for augmented reality in tourism span across the travel cycle, thereby indicating the potential impact that this technology will have on travellers and their engagement with brands and destinations.

Although major investments into AR technology are made, it seems it is the big brands in industries such as automotive, gaming and retail rather than travel that already take into consideration how AR can give them a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Looking outside the industry at the successful use of AR in enhancing the visitor experience, we look at retail giant IKEA and the IKEA Place app. The app is built on Apple's new AR kit which allows users to scan an area in their home and place true-to-scale products from the IKEA range to see exactly how they would look in real life.

In the retail world, this totally transforms the decision-making process when it comes to spending money on high-value products such as furniture, removing common frustrations such as measuring spaces or trying to visualise if you have made the right choice or not.

How could this be applied to the tourism industry? The capacity of AR applications to overlay virtual representations of buildings, sites or any other virtual object onto real-world live recordings open up unprecedented opportunities for tourism destinations to develop compelling and highly engaging tourist experiences. The areas of applications ranging from virtual reconstructions of historic sites, that allow tourists to re-live historic life and events; to location-based augmented reality outdoor games that provide tourists with a fully immersive experience of the destination. Over the years we have seen destinations experimenting with these possibilities in different ways.

Visit Oslo

In 2019, VisitOSLO worked with leading tech and theatre professionals to pilot an AR app, bringing famous playwright Henrik Ibsen back to the streets of Oslo over 100 years after his death. Using cutting-edge motion capture technology to create an augmented reality app that sparks new interest in the world-famous author of 'A Doll’s House', and taking visitors around the city at the same time.

"AR technology lets us add a whole new dimension to the visitor experience. We certainly believe that a good AR city app will attract visitors and that the technology has the potential of bringing people closer to the city and its many (previously hidden) stories." - VisitOSLO

The app successfully brings the story to life, highlighting key spots in Oslo where Ibsen lived, had drinks, walked etc. These points of interest would “trigger” Ibsen into a preset monologue – followed by some information about him and the setting (such as The National Theatre) in a specially designed app with a map guiding users to the spots.

Prior to this, VisitOSLO also integrated AR with its City Museum attraction, creating an augmented reality app City Detective, where both children and adults can look into the Oslo of the past and solve puzzles whilst visiting the City Museum in Oslo.

Virtual Reality

VR on the other hand allows consumers to 'try before you buy, experiencing the virtual world of a destination from the comfort of their own home. One of the main benefits of applying VR systems is that it allows travellers to sample a destination beforehand. With the immersive experiences that are available, travel brands can offer customers an opportunity to see new sights or enjoy exotic adventures without leaving the comfort of their own space.

Through Google Cardboard and various VR Gear available widely on the market, virtual reality content is now more accessible than ever for consumers, and for destinations, adds a new layer to immersive content creation.

Destination BC’s ‘The Wild Within VR Experience’

An interactive, 360* video that allows travellers to experience the pristine coastal wilderness of British Columbia, Canada in an immersive way. Back in 2014, Destination British Columbia was the first DMO in North America that started to use virtual reality in the promotion of the destination. The use of the latest technology is a part of Destination BC corporate strategy which is focused on increasing resonance and engagement with the destination brand. This development also aims to support the long-term goal of ‘Creating a Magnetic Brand‘.

The footage is shot in both first-person and third-person view and follows general touristic experiences from the view of the visitors. Viewers are journeying along the coastline in a commercial whale-watching boat and later have the option to either go visit a sea lion colony or to go hiking in the mountains, adding an element of interactivity.

As pioneers in the field of VR destination promotion, Destination BC had to use 3D printers to create a custom rig for multiple GoPro cameras that they were able to either mount on a backpack or a drone that was used for filming. While the VR experience was initially designed for the Oculus Rift, the DMO kept in mind the impending release of consumer-grade headsets of every brand, making sure that the contents of its production can be adapted to different platforms.

Take a look at the making of this VR Experience here.

Documentary Series in 360 Degrees: Chasing the World

Chasing the World VR explores places unreachable for a common tourist – and with that, the places where VR really gets into its own. The concept is shot by filmmaker Daniel Bury, who has travelled solo for the past two years with several 360 cameras to create unique 360/VR storytelling.

"I believe that virtual reality and extended reality are also the birth of a new form of art that has the potential to combine all other forms of art in an incredibly powerful and immersive way. It's a form of art that quite literally transports viewers to new worlds, activating different brain waves to craft a completely immersive experience. I'm in love the visionary potential of this awe-inspiring medium."

Chasing the World VR was conceived as a six-part series, shot in Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Morocco, Brazil, and Peru – four of which have already been finished. Daniel intersperses tranquil landscapes with accelerated time lapses; he embeds intimate conversations with people he meets along the way and interlaces these with scenes from their lives. The music frames the action perfectly, enhancing the atmosphere and unearthing truly emotional moments.

Legends of Catalonia – Land of Barcelona

Developed in partnership with Sony, the video combines Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to create an interactive, immersive and personalised experience that transports you instantly to Catalonia, to discover and explore, as if you were actually there.

The video game features internationally renowned Catalan personalities: Carles Puyol, acclaimed FC Barcelona soccer player; Edurne Pasaban, mountaineer, and famous restaurateurs the Roca brothers. And, the action takes place at iconic sights in Catalonia, such as Tarragona’s Roman amphitheatre, Lleida’s old cathedral, the mountain range of Montserrat, Dali’s Cadaques, Barcelona’s Sant Antoni market and the Sagrada Familia church.

The game lasts 50 minutes and is available in three languages: Catalan, Spanish and English.  

Paris Then and Now

The most common use of AR in tourism is using technology to be able to experience a destination in a unique and different way. In 2013, MaVilleAvant launched the AR app ‘Then and Now‘ enabling users to travel back in time and compare how the city looked like 100-years ago and how the city looks like today. The history of 100 places in Paris can be experienced through augmented reality, giving visitors to the city a completely unique perspective.

It is fascinating to see what places looked like 100 years ago and the app also serves an educational purpose, providing users with interactive content. MaVilleAvant has worked on similar AR experiences for cities such as Nantes, Barcelona, Montreal, Tampa, Vancouver and Metz.

Notifications can be adjusted to enable the experience of AR places in the surrounding area of the city. In each location, images can be viewed back and forwards in transparency mode accompanied by a description of interesting facts or funny stories in the local language. The app content is easy to consume and share on social media but requires users to be connected to the internet to access any of the AR content.

Martech and New Technology: Melbourne Remote Control Tourist

Tourism Victoria & Real-time Campaigning

The Remote Control Tourist (RCT) campaign was a first of its kind digital campaign, run by Tourism Victoria to increase tourist arrivals from other Australian states and New Zealand to the city of Melbourne. This campaign, which cost in total $3.6m and involved over 100 people working on it, provided a unique, fully digital and interactive pre-trip experience for potential visitors.

The campaign comprised of two people, the so-called ‘remote-controlled tourists’ (RCTs), who explored the city of Melbourne for 8 hours a day, and for a total of 5 days. Equipped with helmet-mounted cameras, GPS tracking devices and live streaming technology; all of their movements, interactions and experiences were broadcasted live on the web. The audience could follow each of their moves and actions, and give them instructions in real-time via a dedicated website and social media channels (Twitter and Facebook). Thus, users could send requests to the remote control tourists, asking them to visit certain locations within the city, undertake specific activities, explore places and interact with locals on their behalf.

Martech and New Technology: Lapland's Augmented Reality App

In September 2012, the region of Lapland launched their augmented reality application called Laplication in London. This app is based on the simple idea that people can experience the wonder of the Northern Lights anywhere, anytime. The Northern Lights are visible for up to 200 nights a year in Finnish Lapland.

The idea of the augmented reality app is to make the unique experience of the Northern Lights accessible to everybody, no matter where they are in the world. Through the incredible augmented reality technology, users can actually experience the phenomenon through their Smartphones or Tablets in the palm of their hands.

However, the app also takes into consideration that it is all about creating memorable experiences and moments with the app. The Laplication app, therefore, integrates a toolkit where users can "laplify their photos". This basically means that holiday photos can be laplified and turned into "no ordinary photos". By using the Lapland themed image editor, different filters and objects can be chosen from the "Lapstagram".  

Martech and New Technology: The End of Tourism as We Know It?

Signe Jungersted, Director of Development, and Tine Kastrup-Misir, Director of Communication at Wonderful Copenhagen, joined us at DTTT Global 2018 to discuss how strategy is not a static exercise, the notion of 'localhood' and lessons learned.

Learn, test, see what works and adapt what works - it’s not always as straightforward and it changes as it evolves. This is important when considering what works for your destination, what may work for another may not necessarily work for yours.

Martech and New Technology: Voice Enabled Assistance

In 2016, Google revealed that 20% of all queries on mobile were via voice search and by 2020, 50% of search is expected to be driven by voice. The growth of voice continues and in an era of strong content creation and compelling storytelling, it’s a really great way to connect your destination stories with your audience through a new channel.

Vienna Tourism Board

The Vienna Tourist Board always looks to explore new technology when communicating to visitors, and this year, voice is used to bring Beethoven’s life, stories and music to visitors. Vienna is a cultural hub for museums, sightseeing and music - the City of Music - and was home to the renowned classical composer for more than 35 years.

While he was not born In Vienna, it was the backdrop to the majority of his life and career, and the city pays tribute to this in many ways with memorials, exhibitions, walks and preserved apartments in which he lived during his time in Vienna. To celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary in 2020, the Vienna Tourist Board has developed a voice app for Google and Amazon, in partnership with the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra.

Beethoven’s Vienna was launched at the end of September 2019, and we were joined by Andrea Kostner, Future Business & New Technologies lead at The Vienna Tourist Board, at #DTTTGlobal 2019, who shared some key insights into the development of this project, and the engagement from visitors. Read our article about the case and watch the talk that follows.

Martech and New Technology: Creating Immersive Brand Experiences through 360 Storytelling

360 Content is a hugely powerful medium for storytelling but creating effective, powerful and engaging VR content isn't quite as easy. We've seen lots of great examples of good 360 content since it came on the scene a number of years back and now we're starting to see some amazing VR films too. On a smaller scale, 180 videos and images are as immersive as 360 content but do not specifically require a headset to experience the content.

With this template, you are going to storyboard different ideas on how to work with 180 and 360 content storytelling, identifying pros and cons of both, analysing the needs and wants of your audience and which sensory stimuli you can play with to make content even more immersive. Then you are going to define audience, location and format and how do you want your visitors to feel and what do you want them to experience. On the right side of the template, we gathered a directory of amazing videos shot in 180 and 360.


Technology-Enhanced Experiences

Technology-Enhanced Experiences: Marketing Canada’s First National Park with a Data-Driven Approach

Diane Bures, Director of Consumer Marketing at Banff & Lake Louise Tourism, joined us at DTTT Global 2018 to share the challenge of attracting visitors to Canada's first National Park while protecting its natural environment and adding value to the visitor experience at the same time.

Find out how this DMOs communication strategy aims to educate visitors, promote positive geographic spread around the destination, and influence visitors' behaviour, for example, doing more to enhance their experience.

Technology-Enhanced Experiences: Puerto Rico: Google Destination Program

Technology-Enhanced Experiences: Helsinki Airport’s Focus On Innovation

Technology-Enhanced Experiences: How to Engage your Visitors with New Technology

With this template, you are going to explore new technologies to implement in your destination based on four examples from destinations that created innovative solutions for their visitors.

I Amsterdam, the DMO of the dutch Capital, took a digital approach to tackle over-tourism, displaying live waiting-times for popular attractions on their website.

The Swiss ski resort of Laax created an application with a gamification approach aimed at engaging their visitors more and make them compete on the slopes to collect points that they can spend to purchase food and drinks as well as merchandising.

Paris-based Timescope has installed around the city of Paris some observation stations that let visitors experience the city as it was in the past, while the Spanish PastView, instead, provides guided tours of Sevilla in which visitors can see how the city looked like in the past thanks to special AR glasses.

The DMO of Oslo used augmented reality to bring back from the past the famous writer Henrik Ibsen through an app that tells the stories of the artist while visiting the city.

Based on these four examples the template brings you to investigate potential uses of location-based content, gamified content and AR and VR to create more appealing visitor experiences as well as to enhance already existing ones, through the use of mobile apps or other tools.


How to digitally transform your DMO

How to Digitally Transform your DMO: The evolution of the workplace technology

Workplaces have consistently evolved over the last 50 years with the progression of technological advances. Technology itself has been the driver of many changes in the workplace, starting with the office space.

What once needed to be an office with individual cubicles or enclosed spaces due to the high volume of telephone calls, is now a more open space due to the introduction of email as the main means of communication. Many physical resources such as document binders and filing cabinets have gradually disappeared from the workplace in large part due to technology advancements. Today, the workplace can be entirely virtual, triggering the emergence of remote jobs through time.

Technology has pretty much taken over our personal and professional lives, a timeline of just about a decade, and we are now fully connected to the Internet of Things, 24/7, able to respond to work emails on the commute to work, after hours and even on holiday, establishing an always-on, hyper-connected world.

This is why for DMOs, it's important to be visible to your audience, ready and waiting for them to engage, shifting away from the traditional marketing process of promoting a campaign or advert, and waiting for your audience to respond.


Source: Exoplatform


Improving productivity through technology

Over the last decade, the progression of technology has not only changed the physical spaces in which we work today, but it has transformed our systems and processes across the board from internal communications to marketing management.

We have explored the world of MarTech, and the many different tools available to facilitate anything from remote collaboration to digital reporting at the click of a button, minimising hours of laborious admin and streamlining processes that enable your team to optimise daily business operations in the most effective, efficient and coherent way.  


Technology for agile working

The past few years have seen a total transformation of the workplace, both in terms of how we work and the tools that enable us to work better. The importance of choosing the right tech has shifted from IT departments to marketing teams as the need for nimble, user-centric, collaborative and adaptive tools has taken precedence in delivering effective results.

Today, we continue to work more agile and collaboratively, and in response to this, collaboration tools and systems are consistently being developed and evolved to facilitate this way of working in the digital world. Among the vast range of tools, DMOs should be looking at to transform, the right tools central to driving future success should focus on four key areas:

  • Collaborate
  • Communicate
  • Collect ideas
  • Creative thinking

Using the right tools will enable you to effectively collaborate internally and externally, with your team, other departments, and partners outside the organisation.


Asana is an extremely user-friendly management platform that allows you to track, communicate and manage daily tasks and projects. It is at the core of everything that we do and is our task and project management tool that helps us to create a structured workflow and enables us to collaborate internally, with our experts and clients. We use Asana to structure our events, client projects, marketing, content and editorial planning and build teams within Asana to organise, plan and deliver each of these. Within each team, we work on a project basis, mapping out the tasks and deliverables that we will work on each month or during the course of the project.

MURAL is a digital brainstorming and collaboration tool, another essential tool for us, especially when working out ideas for the Think Tank and working with our destination clients. We are advocates of moving brainstorming and visual thinking online, allowing for remote collaboration of teams and with our clients. When working on specific projects with clients, we use Mural to brainstorm ideas, concepts and strategies in a virtual space. This allows us to conceptualise ideas, user journeys or strategic developments, working together, commenting and discussing things directly in Mural.  For us, this is a great opportunity to work more creatively and share outcomes in a visual way.

And last but, in our opinion, most important, is Design Thinking, which we are going to cover more extensively in Chapter 12. Exploration and Innovation, the last chapter of the Transformation Series.

Contrary to its name, Design Thinking isn’t just for designers. Design Thinking is a mindset that helps you improve the current experience of people you serve, your users, and can also be referred to as ‘human-centred design’. Once you start ideating in this way, who knows what you may come up with!

Design thinking focuses on the experience of people and aims to improve it. It is a way of looking for smart and effective solutions to everyday problems.


How to Digitally Transform Your DMO: Conclusion

How to Digitally Transform your DMO: New Technology Research and Development

We're taking R&D out of the research department and making it something that concerns everyone. With templates helping you to investigate, prototype and map out new approaches, our R&D material is designed to be practical and actionable. We all work better when we work together, which is why our R&D framework is build around productive teamwork and testing of new technology and approaches within your organisation augmented by also taking into consideration your competitors.

New technology and innovations in travel are always a big topic for destinations, wanting to explore how new technology could be used in a destination context. Here at the DTTT, we encourage you to take the time and explore how new technology could add value to your current offering as a DMO. We have designed a framework for your teams to work through, developing ideas, uses cases, testing results and prototyping different routes for your destination to take.

Exploring New Technology

Our new technology R&D framework is divided into four main areas, helping you to develop ideas and use cases based on a structured process.

The starting point for you and your team is to identify the technology you want to focus on. This could be anything from chatbots to Snapchat which you would like to explore further in a destination context. Start filling in the pink box in the template, outlining how the technology is relevant for your organisation, your visitor, team and partners. It is important here to think about the technology with an open mind, exploring all points and aspects and its relevancy.

Use the right-top box to explore possible use cases, taking into consideration also the pros and cons of these in order to help you make a decision at the end. Use the right-middle box to focus on competitor benchmarks, exploring how other destinations or organisations are using the technology. Think about what you like or don't like about competitor use cases and different scenarios that you are finding.

After having explored the relevance of the technology for your destination, use cases and your competitor's approaches, take some time to focus on how you would test results when using the technology, outlining different prototyping routes. The idea of this framework is to help and guide you through a structured process of exploring new technologies for your destination. It is up to you to decide whether a meeting will be sufficient to explore this as a topic or if it makes more sense to dedicate a sprint for it. Although a sprint might sound like a big activity, it can also be broken down into several focused meetings within a week, to ensure the outcomes are effective and you are using the limited time in the most efficient way.



Over the last decade, the tourism industry has really upped its game when it comes to digital transformation and adopting new technologies, and we have seen that digital technologies have developed into the main driving force behind marketing and management activities across the board. As the digital world constantly evolves, it brings both challenges and opportunities along with it.


Over the last decade, the tourism industry has really upped its game when it comes to digital transformation and adopting new technologies, and we have seen that digital technologies have developed into the main driving force behind marketing and management activities across the board. As the digital world constantly evolves, it brings both challenges and opportunities along with it.  

Technology has enabled destinations to connect with their visitors like never before, leveraging ways of communicating with key audiences by gaining a better understanding of consumer behaviour to deliver engaging experiences and content in richer and more personalised ways. The challenge for marketers is three-fold; how to keep up with this ever-changing landscape, how to engage today's traveller, and choosing the most effective channels, technologies and measurement tools for your organisation.

This course of the Transformation Series provides an overview of the latest technological trends and innovation to let you understand the challenges and opportunities that the proliferating technologies open up for tourism service providers in general, and for tourism destinations and businesses in particular.

The technologies explored are Artificial Intelligence, AR/VR, Proximity Marketing and iBeacons, Blockchain, Chatbots, Gamification, Voice Assistants.

This will include:

  • An analysis of 'Martech', marketing technology for DMOs.
  • An exploration of the newest trends in technology: 5G, mobility and autonomous travel, extended reality, blockchain, dark web.
  • An in-depth explanation with relevant case studies in Artificial Intelligence, AR/VR, Proximity Marketing and iBeacons, Blockchain, Chatbots, Gamification, Voice Assistants.
  • Technology-enhanced experiences for visitors
  • An overview of the workplace technology
  • A series of templates to run sprints and workshops in your organisation

A list of Case Studies and Talks to watch.

  • Laax: Refining the Digital Customer Experience
  • Singapore Tourism: A 360 Perspective
  • Stockholm Sounds Mobile App
  • Fjord Norway: Data-driven Partner Marketing
  • Lapland’s Augmented Reality App
  • Tourism Victoria & Real-time Campaigning
  • Switzerland Tourism: Transforming the DMO Website through Data & AI
  • Tourism Ireland: using Machine Learning & AI in Digital
  • Vienna Tourism: Embracing New Ways of Storytelling with Voice Apps
  • Discover Puerto Rico: Welcoming Visitors Back To the Island with a Brand New DMO
  • Banff and Lake Louise: Marketing Canada’s First National Park with a Data-Driven Approach
  • Helsinki Airport: Focus On Innovation
  • The End of Tourism as We Know It?

Technology & Disruption - Sprint

To start working on your strategies, it’s good to start with a Sprint. Gather the whole team and think about the role of technology, knowledge and innovation inside your organisation.

First, you are going to analyse how new technology can benefit your processes, where and how it might represent challenges for future development and what innovative methods you are using inside your DMO to foster creative thinking and the use of technology.

Then you are going to define the digital tools that help your team in productivity, performance and creativity and for each of these tools, you will assign Digital Champions, namely members of your team who will learn about those tools and possibly test them to be introduced in the various processes.

The sprint also makes you think about the use of new technology to create experiences in your destination, identifying the tools that can improve the tourism experience of different target segments.

Finally, you will investigate opportunities to innovate through new digital technologies, identifying/mapping new trends, using data to enhance visitor experiences and partnering with creative industries to identify new solutions.



Get started with the sprint 🏃🏾‍♀️

A sprint is a great way to rally all your teammates around a big idea or produce great results by concentrating the team on a specific need over a short period.

  1. Print the attached worksheet in large format (A1 is best!)
  2. Find a great communal space, such as the canteen, to stick it up (double-sided tape!)
  3. Invite team members to scribble their thoughts and ideas on the wall
  4. Organise a stand-up session, where several members can express their thoughts
  5. Take a snap, keep it posted or even better 'scan the wall' and digitise into Mural

You'll be pleased with the results when you get everyone thinking collectively.


Martech and New Technology

Martech and New Technology: Tourism Ireland AI and ML

Tourism Ireland was in the process of restructuring the strategy for 2020 and going forward, continuing to focus on an omnichannel approach with machine learning and AI at the heart. The new strategy involves a programme of MarTech investments and the primary focus is being consumer-centric, allowing the DMO to quantify individual propensity measured through all the digital touchpoints.

There are approximately 2,000 data points for each individual and so in order to measure a single consumer, a consolidated identity is the basic building block of a consumer journey.

Integrating AI provides valuable insights into the whole customer journey. With this type of data, Tourism Ireland is able to shape the journey, for example, by directing visitors to less travelled regions and lesser-known icons in order to sustain the smaller communities in the destination.

This also includes redeveloping the website and replacing the previous email marketing tool for one that is driven by machine learning models that produce machine-generated emails. This means that every individual will receive a different email with information tailored to that unique customer journey, created via a pool of content and email specific knowledge. Since moving to machine-generated emails, Tourism Ireland has seen a 35% uplift in the content quality indicative of the email open rates.

Machine learning allows Tourism Ireland to look at the history of engagements from data stored and calculate the contribution from that for each channel to also measure visible propensity. It works by observing a consumer visiting Ireland. It then works out the contribution of each marketing touchpoint and pushes that intelligence into a model that can be applied to each new consumer.

Watch the full presentation by Brian Harte, Head of Customer Engagement & E-Marketing with Tourism Ireland: Tourism Ireland on using Machine Learning & AI in Digital

               

                                                               

Martech and New Technology: Fjord Norway

Data-driven Partner Marketing

Fjord Norge AS/Fjord Norway is the official tourist board of Western Norway. Representing a region, Fjord Norway is focusing on international marketing directly to consumers or through tour operators and press. What has stood out for us here at the #DTTT is the fact that Fjord Norway as an organisation is visionary and eager to 'be the most professional and competent destination company in Europe'. As part of this, Fjord Norway is taking on the responsibility to position the Fjord region as the most attractive destination for nature-based adventure holidays.

At the start of 2016, Fjord Norway relaunched their new website, moving away from a platform that the organisation owned to an off-the-shelf product and software. It was an important step to question the role of the destination website in this process. For Kristian Jørgensen, the destination website is not as important for inspiration purposes, as consumers will find inspiring content elsewhere.

Destinations can add value to the travel cycle by focusing on supporting travel planning. Fjord Norway is doing so through a brand new travel planner system, bringing in commercial partners to help consumers move from a travel plan to a booking directly through the website. This means integrating the various booking systems that partners are using to facilitate a seamless booking process for international consumers directly on Fjord Norway's website or driving traffic directly to a partners website and booking system.

Martech and New Technology: New trends in technology

Martech and New Technology: Artificial intelligence

According to Forbes, spending on AI-based marketing technology (Martech) solutions is projected to reach $52.2B by 2021 and “top-performing companies are more than twice as likely to be using AI for marketing (28% vs. 12%), according to Adobe’s latest Digital Intelligence Briefing.

In today’s world, the key to future success for any brand is all about the customer experience and the answer to maximising the customer experience as much as possible is personalisation. While digital has evolved and marketers strategies have successfully evolved along with it, there are some capabilities that can be achieved only through artificial intelligence. It allows companies to analyse and correlate vast amounts of data from a plethora of sources, utilise data in the most efficient way, and identify patterns to make predictions for future activities. In terms of the visitor, it successfully delivers personalised information and recommendations plus virtual assistance to ensure a seamless experience throughout the whole visitor journey.

AI and machine learning should be seen as an ‘enabler’ for digital marketers to fulfil marketing objectives more efficiently and effectively, and the graph below demonstrates the variety of activities and opportunities for which companies can use AI.

Although AI is not a new practice, it may still sound daunting to some, whether that be for lack of resources or understanding around the area.

Here’s how DMOs are using artificial intelligence:

Switzerland Tourism

Switzerland Tourism recently launched its new website, a project developed over 4 years, and it’s a really fantastic example of a destination website that has been thoughtfully crafted around market behaviour and the user journey to create something different and completely immersive. If you haven't seen it already, take a look - sound on!

Artificial intelligence and VR was successfully used for on-site personalisation and optimisation to create an interactive inspiration calendar, optimised for all devices. Research showed that 2 out of 3 users to the website were new users. In order to capture the interest of these users, the goal of the new website was to inspire, showing the diversity of Switzerland across all products, regions and seasons year-round.

Powered by AI, the project focused on three main parts;

1. Inspiration to make it a truly immersive and aspirational experience

2. Listening to guests to build its digital services

3. Developing personalised content tailored to different audiences and levels of accessibility

A total of 48 virtual reality videos were created, 4 videos per month, allowing the visitor to deep-dive into the sights and sounds of Switzerland. AI and machine learning were used to deliver the best image results. The technology automatically recognises the focus element of the image most relevant to the user, and crops to suit each possible device and format - e.g. the castle below.

This image delivery service facilitates the editing of over 400,000 images on myswitzerland.com - an amount simply too vast for a manual editor to process.


Roughly 98% of the image delivery is automated however, it takes time for the machine learning algorithm to learn and improve so errors may still occur. Therefore a manual capability is still needed as a back-up.

Personalisation is at the heart of this development which is key to optimising the customer journey, especially when trip planning.  

Martech and New Technology: Switzerland AI recognition

Martech and New Technology: Blockchain

Blockchain is a way to record transaction data in an immutable way. Who sent what to who? Once a transaction has happened, it cannot be altered. The integrity of the data relies on three elements.  


1 - DECENTRALISED NETWORK OF COMPUTERS

Rather than a single database, there is a network of computers that agree to run the same ‘verification software’. This makes it more robust against hacking as well as fraud.

2 - CLEVER CRYPTOGRAPHY

Blockchain cleverly encrypts transactions in relation to the existing history, thus forming a chain of events. This makes it extremely hard to alter. Compare it to the kids' game ‘I’m going to see & I take with me’, where you always have to build on the ‘truth so far.

3 - INCENTIVES

Parties agree to run the ‘consensus software’ in return for rewards. This aligns incentives and promotes behaviour that supports the common good (as well as individual benefits).

As a DMO, there are 3 possible approaches to consider when it comes to integrating Blockchain;

Dubai Department of Tourism & Commerce Marketing

Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) launched Tourism 2.0, a blockchain-enabled virtual marketplace that connects potential buyers directly to hotels and tour operators, aiming to help tourists find better offers from hotels and tour operators. In addition to that, Tourism 2.0 will also be a consumer-friendly platform that will enable travellers to design personalised travel experiences in Dubai.

The initiative was launched in March 2018 by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, and supports Dubai's vision to welcome 20 million visitors per year, and to become the world’s first government to execute all applicable transactions using blockchain by 2020.

Think about the bitcoin concept applied to a distribution network, rather than pure transactions. Here is an example of developing a system that allows brands, hotels and service suppliers to manage a parallel distribution channel that helps to control existing distribution channels.

Cool Cousin

Elsewhere in the travel sphere, Cool Cousin is a travel app completely optimised for the Millennial and Gen Z traveller, which provides on-demand city guidance that matches their style and needs, directly from like-minded and trusted locals.

In addition to that, Cool Cousin has now launched CUZ. Using blockchain technology and powered by the crypto token CUZ, Cool Cousin offers travellers diverse and affordable premium services, while creating a new source of income for locals around the world, without compromising the content’s trustworthiness.

Martech and New Technology: Chatbots

We see this trend growing every day, and although we believe there are still some limitations in this technology and there is much room for improvement, we see there are different approaches to create a chatbot that can be both useful and innovative. Three in five travel companies offer customer service via live chat while 28% are experimenting or actively using artificial intelligence.

The logic behind it is that, although we are moving towards an automated world, people still seek human interaction and trust more conversational approaches which are important to consider when developing a chatbot. On the other hand, we live in an era where we seek instant information. If you put yourselves in the shoes of a consumer, or visitor in the case of travel, chatbots are the perfect platform where instant answers are required. For example, where is the nearest train station?

Powered by artificial intelligence, chatbots are able to not only respond instantaneously but are able to provide accurate answers and solutions, and a level of customer service that meets customer expectations.

This way of communication is native to the new-age traveller where multiple apps and online messaging is part of everyday life, therefore it is a service many travellers now expect. Many destinations and travel partners have already integrated a chat facility on their website. Here are some examples.

Visit Norway

Visit Norway created a chatbot integrated into their website which is connected to Facebook messenger. This may be limiting if users do not have Facebook which is something to bear in mind.

The idea behind it is to automate the communication with the visitor and give them all the information they are looking for in a quick and easy way.

Automatic prompts appear as clear buttons at the bottom of the conversation, allowing the user to conveniently select the information they are interested in, followed by relevant questions and instant responses with corresponding links.

For example:  

Questions are based on the most commonly asked questions which means in some cases, the user may not even need to type anything and will receive an answer in just a few clicks.  

Visit Faroe Islands

Similar to Visit Norway, Visit Faroe Islands have integrated the automated Messenger chat, called Saga, which greets you with a friendly message upon visiting the site.

In this way the visitor finds the chatbot on the website, having the impression of something which is belonged by the DMO; however, the chat platform is Facebook Messenger. This is an easy solution to integrate the chat on the website but may have limitations as above.

The messenger allows the user to quickly select what they are interested in from a selection of popular topics; See&Do, Stay, Practical Info and What's On.

Discover Hong Kong

Upon visiting Discover Hong Kong's Facebook page, a friendly chatbot suggests activities and locations explore in Hong Kong.

The above screenshot displays how chatbots can be a great tool for discovery. Consumers are likely to be intrigued to learn more when relevant information is offered directly and may find something to do or somewhere to go that they had not considered before.

Visit California

Visit California created a pool to let people decide the name of the visitcalifornia.com chatbot.

This is an example of how to engage people in the decision-making process of the DMO, show that you apply the best trends in the market and that your DMO is innovative, create content around the building of the chatbot.

Martech and New Technology: Proximity marketing & iBeacons

Proximity marketing or ‘location-based marketing’, refers to reaching visitors at exactly the right time and the right place through their mobile devices, ultimately enhancing the visitor experience. This type of mobile marketing successfully bridges the gap between offline and online experience with relevant and personalised messaging.

Nowadays, it is becoming more and more difficult for marketers to develop a competitive edge when it comes to digital marketing campaigns and reaching the right customers. However, on the flip side, there has never been a better opportunity than now to reach customers directly. For DMOs, it is essential to constantly adapt and innovate to meet visitors’ changing needs and behaviours, and proximity marketing is a great way to do this. Beacons, geofencing and push notifications are key players in this strategy.

Proximity marketing through Beacons or iBeacons can help destinations create a stronger digital strategy to target the right people while in-destination through events, attractions, airports and hotels. Beacon technology is powerful, as it can locate devices even when there is no mobile phone signal in a destination. Beacons are small devices that can easily be attached to surfaces such as walls, vehicles or even people.

Geofencing or geotargeting recognises devices using location tracking services, particularly smartphones, within a specifically selected area.

Banff & Lake Louise

Banff & Lake Louise developed a ‘Hyper Mobile Local’ pilot project, launched during its peak season between July and September where the destination welcomes 2.2 million visitors. The strategy is based on geofencing and location-tracking whereby they look at the location devices on smartphones and track visitors into the destination to effectively encourage them to do more while visiting.

"According to Google, 85% of U.S leisure travellers decide on activities only after having arrived at the destination, nearly nine out of 10 travellers expect their travel provider to share relevant information while they are on their trip - and 67% of travellers feel more loyal toward a travel company that shares information during their trip that improves their travel experience." - Google Travel Insights

Banff & Lake Louise's own research also found that the more visitors did in-destination, the higher the likelihood that they would recommend visiting. This creates such great opportunities as a DMO to completely enhance the visitor experience by tracking the visitors while they are in the destination, providing topical information and promoting in-destination experiences. It's also effective in dispersing visitors to different areas at different times and managing visitor flows at popular locations.

The destination geofenced certain areas in the park such as Lake Louise and Marine Lake, as well as popular areas within the town. The visitors within these areas were then targeted with both static and interstitial adverts to promote in-destination experiences.

Results showed that there was not one conversion during the project, however, what they discovered was that while visitors did not book directly through the adverts, the adverts were generating awareness and they were still booking at a later time. This was a great leader driver for in-destination experiences and a multi-channel approach helped to improve conversion.

Destination Djursland

In the summer of 2017, New Nordic Engineering and Destination Djurslandcollaborated on a pilot project. The goal was to test a solution developed by New Nordic Engineering; to map the visitors' actual movements between the destination's many attractions - and to do it without disturbing the visitors' experiences. Thus: No questionnaires. No app to be downloaded. No QR codes to be scanned. No electronic "check-ins" or discount codes.

The method used by Destination Djursland is called 'Mobile Crowd Sensing', which refers to collecting data through sensor-rich smartphones. A total of 26 measuring stations were set up around Djursland and five groups were defined that were then divided into measurement points between Key counters, indoor attractions, outdoor attractions, nature experiences, and shopping / urban environment.

This form of data gives DMOs a whole new insight into the visitors' journey, adding a new layer of knowledge to enhance the visitor experience in the future. Data revealed expected patterns in addition to completely new insights which the DMO can then effectively use to shape marketing strategies going forward.

Visit Benidorm

Visit Benidorm has created an app for the destination including beacons that can help visitors to get a more immersive and connected experience. With mobile becoming a major driver in tourism, the app can serve up information for visitors in the destination, rather than them having to visit the website. The app was launched as part of FITUR 2016 and Visit Benidorm see this new technology as an ideal way for visitors to get a more diverse experience when visiting the destination.

Through beacon technology, Visit Benidorm can deliver contextual messages and information based on a user’s location in the destination. Beacons have been deployed throughout the city and through personal preferences (interests and language) set in the app, the beacons can transmit recommendations, information and messages, to help the visitor navigate around the city and help explore offers and things to do.

Martech and New Technology: Gamification & apps

Gamification as a marketing tool and trend has come up for many years in travel but never managed to gain traction with the majority of tourism businesses and destinations. For destinations, gamification can provide an experience-based service and effective communication tool to meet visitor needs by enhancing the in-destination experience and influencing richer user engagement with the destination itself.

Gamification is about the integration of gaming dynamics in non-gaming environments. In travel and tourism, the application of gamification refers to the enhancement of tourist experiences (walking tour, discovering a sight, etc) through gaming elements (see graphic Basic gaming elements). The proliferation of digital technologies – above all smartphones and tablets – act as a catalyst of change for the delivery of gamified experiences. Mobile internet connections, social networks, augmented reality, GPS, high-resolution displays and touch screen technology are some of the key innovations that drive the development of immersive and engaging gaming experiences for tourists.

There are some examples of destinations having used gamification to add value to the visitor or in-destination experience but other technologies such as VR and 360 videos have generally proved much more popular among consumers.

Martech and New Technology: Laax - Inside App

However, one destination that has truly succeeded with its destination app which includes gamification as one of the main features, is LAAX. The Flims Laax Falera is three lift-linked villages that collectively share one of the biggest skiing areas in Switzerland. The destination is marketed under two very clear, seasonal brand strategies - the winter product is positioned under brand LAAX while the summer products and experiences are under Flims.

The app was launched in 2016/17 and since then continues to evolve and expand with over 140,000 users today. The app has a significant list of functions to make the customer experience as seamless, convenient and enjoyable as possible, adding value throughout the journey.

You can order food, track your activity that day, track your friends, meet new people, get live updates, and it also includes access to other activities and experiences in the destination, for example buying cinema tickets.

Integrating gameplay with rewards enhances the visitor experience with fun and engaging features, particularly with its target audience and within this particular sector. Almost 18,000,000 INSIDE points have been collected so far.

Although gaming is a major mainstream trend, gamification in tourism is often not part of a destination’s digital strategy, as it is not the main focus in marketing the destination. For tourism businesses, it makes sense to make an investment in enhancing the visitor experience through gamification as part of an app, however, pay close attention to who your target audience is and your primary offer.

For destinations, gamification has many benefits, particularly in this case as it's a predominantly young audience who are digital natives. Hence, they live and breathe online, they are accustomed to cutting edge technology, and most importantly they are enthusiastic virtual gamers. Combining a gamified visitor experience and utility and function make for a great mobile visitor experience. Digital here serves a great purpose of enhancing interaction and engagement, creating memorable experiences for your visitors while softly fostering loyalty around the brand.

These memorable experiences encourage word-of-mouth, particularly with this younger segment who are mobile pioneers and enjoy sharing their experiences. Gamification is also a new way of communicating and getting to know your customer with the view to improve both the digital customer experience and the visitor journey, key in today’s climate.

Martech and New Technology: Stockholm Sounds App

Stockholm Sounds is one of the digital projects by the Stockholm Visitors Board. It is a unique and innovative travel guide for mobile phones and combines the brand theme of music with strong elements of digital gaming.

Stockholm Sounds is a mobile app that serves as a niche visitor guide. The app is centred around the theme of music and is aimed at introducing both famous and rather unknown insider spots within the city. All points of interest that are featured within the app, have in common that they are connected to sound in general and music in Sweden in particular.

Gamified elements are central to the app, as it does not only offer traditional travel guide functionalities, but the app is set out to create a technology-enhanced immersive destination experience for visitors to the city. This includes challenges, quizzes and riddles, which are connected to the city and historic events that have taken place in specific places of the city. In order to make the application available to international tourists, the app is fully functional in offline mode.

Martech and New Technology: Augmented / Virtual Reality

While AR and VR are not new players in the technology realm, both are still largely untapped within the tourism space. One in four travel marketers do not anticipate investing in AR or VR until 2020 or beyond until further advances have been made, however, by the end of 2018, there were 171 million active virtual reality users. And in 2020, it is predicted that VR/AR will be a more than $162 billion industry. That's huge! So what are the opportunities for DMOs to tap-into?

Virtual and Augmented Reality can enable destinations to drive conversions and interest through a highly immersive, engaging and three-dimensional experience. Connecting visitors to the destination in new and exciting ways.

The potential for creating and delivering innovative and unique tourism experiences through AR is manifold. The areas of application for augmented reality in tourism span across the travel cycle, thereby indicating the potential impact that this technology will have on travellers and their engagement with brands and destinations.

Although major investments into AR technology are made, it seems it is the big brands in industries such as automotive, gaming and retail rather than travel that already take into consideration how AR can give them a competitive edge in the marketplace.

Looking outside the industry at the successful use of AR in enhancing the visitor experience, we look at retail giant IKEA and the IKEA Place app. The app is built on Apple's new AR kit which allows users to scan an area in their home and place true-to-scale products from the IKEA range to see exactly how they would look in real life.

In the retail world, this totally transforms the decision-making process when it comes to spending money on high-value products such as furniture, removing common frustrations such as measuring spaces or trying to visualise if you have made the right choice or not.

How could this be applied to the tourism industry? The capacity of AR applications to overlay virtual representations of buildings, sites or any other virtual object onto real-world live recordings open up unprecedented opportunities for tourism destinations to develop compelling and highly engaging tourist experiences. The areas of applications ranging from virtual reconstructions of historic sites, that allow tourists to re-live historic life and events; to location-based augmented reality outdoor games that provide tourists with a fully immersive experience of the destination. Over the years we have seen destinations experimenting with these possibilities in different ways.

Visit Oslo

In 2019, VisitOSLO worked with leading tech and theatre professionals to pilot an AR app, bringing famous playwright Henrik Ibsen back to the streets of Oslo over 100 years after his death. Using cutting-edge motion capture technology to create an augmented reality app that sparks new interest in the world-famous author of 'A Doll’s House', and taking visitors around the city at the same time.

"AR technology lets us add a whole new dimension to the visitor experience. We certainly believe that a good AR city app will attract visitors and that the technology has the potential of bringing people closer to the city and its many (previously hidden) stories." - VisitOSLO

The app successfully brings the story to life, highlighting key spots in Oslo where Ibsen lived, had drinks, walked etc. These points of interest would “trigger” Ibsen into a preset monologue – followed by some information about him and the setting (such as The National Theatre) in a specially designed app with a map guiding users to the spots.

Prior to this, VisitOSLO also integrated AR with its City Museum attraction, creating an augmented reality app City Detective, where both children and adults can look into the Oslo of the past and solve puzzles whilst visiting the City Museum in Oslo.

Virtual Reality

VR on the other hand allows consumers to 'try before you buy, experiencing the virtual world of a destination from the comfort of their own home. One of the main benefits of applying VR systems is that it allows travellers to sample a destination beforehand. With the immersive experiences that are available, travel brands can offer customers an opportunity to see new sights or enjoy exotic adventures without leaving the comfort of their own space.

Through Google Cardboard and various VR Gear available widely on the market, virtual reality content is now more accessible than ever for consumers, and for destinations, adds a new layer to immersive content creation.

Destination BC’s ‘The Wild Within VR Experience’

An interactive, 360* video that allows travellers to experience the pristine coastal wilderness of British Columbia, Canada in an immersive way. Back in 2014, Destination British Columbia was the first DMO in North America that started to use virtual reality in the promotion of the destination. The use of the latest technology is a part of Destination BC corporate strategy which is focused on increasing resonance and engagement with the destination brand. This development also aims to support the long-term goal of ‘Creating a Magnetic Brand‘.

The footage is shot in both first-person and third-person view and follows general touristic experiences from the view of the visitors. Viewers are journeying along the coastline in a commercial whale-watching boat and later have the option to either go visit a sea lion colony or to go hiking in the mountains, adding an element of interactivity.

As pioneers in the field of VR destination promotion, Destination BC had to use 3D printers to create a custom rig for multiple GoPro cameras that they were able to either mount on a backpack or a drone that was used for filming. While the VR experience was initially designed for the Oculus Rift, the DMO kept in mind the impending release of consumer-grade headsets of every brand, making sure that the contents of its production can be adapted to different platforms.

Take a look at the making of this VR Experience here.

Documentary Series in 360 Degrees: Chasing the World

Chasing the World VR explores places unreachable for a common tourist – and with that, the places where VR really gets into its own. The concept is shot by filmmaker Daniel Bury, who has travelled solo for the past two years with several 360 cameras to create unique 360/VR storytelling.

"I believe that virtual reality and extended reality are also the birth of a new form of art that has the potential to combine all other forms of art in an incredibly powerful and immersive way. It's a form of art that quite literally transports viewers to new worlds, activating different brain waves to craft a completely immersive experience. I'm in love the visionary potential of this awe-inspiring medium."

Chasing the World VR was conceived as a six-part series, shot in Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines, Morocco, Brazil, and Peru – four of which have already been finished. Daniel intersperses tranquil landscapes with accelerated time lapses; he embeds intimate conversations with people he meets along the way and interlaces these with scenes from their lives. The music frames the action perfectly, enhancing the atmosphere and unearthing truly emotional moments.

Legends of Catalonia – Land of Barcelona

Developed in partnership with Sony, the video combines Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) to create an interactive, immersive and personalised experience that transports you instantly to Catalonia, to discover and explore, as if you were actually there.

The video game features internationally renowned Catalan personalities: Carles Puyol, acclaimed FC Barcelona soccer player; Edurne Pasaban, mountaineer, and famous restaurateurs the Roca brothers. And, the action takes place at iconic sights in Catalonia, such as Tarragona’s Roman amphitheatre, Lleida’s old cathedral, the mountain range of Montserrat, Dali’s Cadaques, Barcelona’s Sant Antoni market and the Sagrada Familia church.

The game lasts 50 minutes and is available in three languages: Catalan, Spanish and English.  

Paris Then and Now

The most common use of AR in tourism is using technology to be able to experience a destination in a unique and different way. In 2013, MaVilleAvant launched the AR app ‘Then and Now‘ enabling users to travel back in time and compare how the city looked like 100-years ago and how the city looks like today. The history of 100 places in Paris can be experienced through augmented reality, giving visitors to the city a completely unique perspective.

It is fascinating to see what places looked like 100 years ago and the app also serves an educational purpose, providing users with interactive content. MaVilleAvant has worked on similar AR experiences for cities such as Nantes, Barcelona, Montreal, Tampa, Vancouver and Metz.

Notifications can be adjusted to enable the experience of AR places in the surrounding area of the city. In each location, images can be viewed back and forwards in transparency mode accompanied by a description of interesting facts or funny stories in the local language. The app content is easy to consume and share on social media but requires users to be connected to the internet to access any of the AR content.

Martech and New Technology: Melbourne Remote Control Tourist

Tourism Victoria & Real-time Campaigning

The Remote Control Tourist (RCT) campaign was a first of its kind digital campaign, run by Tourism Victoria to increase tourist arrivals from other Australian states and New Zealand to the city of Melbourne. This campaign, which cost in total $3.6m and involved over 100 people working on it, provided a unique, fully digital and interactive pre-trip experience for potential visitors.

The campaign comprised of two people, the so-called ‘remote-controlled tourists’ (RCTs), who explored the city of Melbourne for 8 hours a day, and for a total of 5 days. Equipped with helmet-mounted cameras, GPS tracking devices and live streaming technology; all of their movements, interactions and experiences were broadcasted live on the web. The audience could follow each of their moves and actions, and give them instructions in real-time via a dedicated website and social media channels (Twitter and Facebook). Thus, users could send requests to the remote control tourists, asking them to visit certain locations within the city, undertake specific activities, explore places and interact with locals on their behalf.

Martech and New Technology: Lapland's Augmented Reality App

In September 2012, the region of Lapland launched their augmented reality application called Laplication in London. This app is based on the simple idea that people can experience the wonder of the Northern Lights anywhere, anytime. The Northern Lights are visible for up to 200 nights a year in Finnish Lapland.

The idea of the augmented reality app is to make the unique experience of the Northern Lights accessible to everybody, no matter where they are in the world. Through the incredible augmented reality technology, users can actually experience the phenomenon through their Smartphones or Tablets in the palm of their hands.

However, the app also takes into consideration that it is all about creating memorable experiences and moments with the app. The Laplication app, therefore, integrates a toolkit where users can "laplify their photos". This basically means that holiday photos can be laplified and turned into "no ordinary photos". By using the Lapland themed image editor, different filters and objects can be chosen from the "Lapstagram".  

Martech and New Technology: The End of Tourism as We Know It?

Signe Jungersted, Director of Development, and Tine Kastrup-Misir, Director of Communication at Wonderful Copenhagen, joined us at DTTT Global 2018 to discuss how strategy is not a static exercise, the notion of 'localhood' and lessons learned.

Learn, test, see what works and adapt what works - it’s not always as straightforward and it changes as it evolves. This is important when considering what works for your destination, what may work for another may not necessarily work for yours.

Martech and New Technology: Voice Enabled Assistance

In 2016, Google revealed that 20% of all queries on mobile were via voice search and by 2020, 50% of search is expected to be driven by voice. The growth of voice continues and in an era of strong content creation and compelling storytelling, it’s a really great way to connect your destination stories with your audience through a new channel.

Vienna Tourism Board

The Vienna Tourist Board always looks to explore new technology when communicating to visitors, and this year, voice is used to bring Beethoven’s life, stories and music to visitors. Vienna is a cultural hub for museums, sightseeing and music - the City of Music - and was home to the renowned classical composer for more than 35 years.

While he was not born In Vienna, it was the backdrop to the majority of his life and career, and the city pays tribute to this in many ways with memorials, exhibitions, walks and preserved apartments in which he lived during his time in Vienna. To celebrate Beethoven’s 250th anniversary in 2020, the Vienna Tourist Board has developed a voice app for Google and Amazon, in partnership with the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra.

Beethoven’s Vienna was launched at the end of September 2019, and we were joined by Andrea Kostner, Future Business & New Technologies lead at The Vienna Tourist Board, at #DTTTGlobal 2019, who shared some key insights into the development of this project, and the engagement from visitors. Read our article about the case and watch the talk that follows.

Martech and New Technology: Creating Immersive Brand Experiences through 360 Storytelling

360 Content is a hugely powerful medium for storytelling but creating effective, powerful and engaging VR content isn't quite as easy. We've seen lots of great examples of good 360 content since it came on the scene a number of years back and now we're starting to see some amazing VR films too. On a smaller scale, 180 videos and images are as immersive as 360 content but do not specifically require a headset to experience the content.

With this template, you are going to storyboard different ideas on how to work with 180 and 360 content storytelling, identifying pros and cons of both, analysing the needs and wants of your audience and which sensory stimuli you can play with to make content even more immersive. Then you are going to define audience, location and format and how do you want your visitors to feel and what do you want them to experience. On the right side of the template, we gathered a directory of amazing videos shot in 180 and 360.


Technology-Enhanced Experiences

Technology-Enhanced Experiences: Marketing Canada’s First National Park with a Data-Driven Approach

Diane Bures, Director of Consumer Marketing at Banff & Lake Louise Tourism, joined us at DTTT Global 2018 to share the challenge of attracting visitors to Canada's first National Park while protecting its natural environment and adding value to the visitor experience at the same time.

Find out how this DMOs communication strategy aims to educate visitors, promote positive geographic spread around the destination, and influence visitors' behaviour, for example, doing more to enhance their experience.

Technology-Enhanced Experiences: Puerto Rico: Google Destination Program

Technology-Enhanced Experiences: Helsinki Airport’s Focus On Innovation

Technology-Enhanced Experiences: How to Engage your Visitors with New Technology

With this template, you are going to explore new technologies to implement in your destination based on four examples from destinations that created innovative solutions for their visitors.

I Amsterdam, the DMO of the dutch Capital, took a digital approach to tackle over-tourism, displaying live waiting-times for popular attractions on their website.

The Swiss ski resort of Laax created an application with a gamification approach aimed at engaging their visitors more and make them compete on the slopes to collect points that they can spend to purchase food and drinks as well as merchandising.

Paris-based Timescope has installed around the city of Paris some observation stations that let visitors experience the city as it was in the past, while the Spanish PastView, instead, provides guided tours of Sevilla in which visitors can see how the city looked like in the past thanks to special AR glasses.

The DMO of Oslo used augmented reality to bring back from the past the famous writer Henrik Ibsen through an app that tells the stories of the artist while visiting the city.

Based on these four examples the template brings you to investigate potential uses of location-based content, gamified content and AR and VR to create more appealing visitor experiences as well as to enhance already existing ones, through the use of mobile apps or other tools.


How to digitally transform your DMO

How to Digitally Transform your DMO: The evolution of the workplace technology

Workplaces have consistently evolved over the last 50 years with the progression of technological advances. Technology itself has been the driver of many changes in the workplace, starting with the office space.

What once needed to be an office with individual cubicles or enclosed spaces due to the high volume of telephone calls, is now a more open space due to the introduction of email as the main means of communication. Many physical resources such as document binders and filing cabinets have gradually disappeared from the workplace in large part due to technology advancements. Today, the workplace can be entirely virtual, triggering the emergence of remote jobs through time.

Technology has pretty much taken over our personal and professional lives, a timeline of just about a decade, and we are now fully connected to the Internet of Things, 24/7, able to respond to work emails on the commute to work, after hours and even on holiday, establishing an always-on, hyper-connected world.

This is why for DMOs, it's important to be visible to your audience, ready and waiting for them to engage, shifting away from the traditional marketing process of promoting a campaign or advert, and waiting for your audience to respond.


Source: Exoplatform


Improving productivity through technology

Over the last decade, the progression of technology has not only changed the physical spaces in which we work today, but it has transformed our systems and processes across the board from internal communications to marketing management.

We have explored the world of MarTech, and the many different tools available to facilitate anything from remote collaboration to digital reporting at the click of a button, minimising hours of laborious admin and streamlining processes that enable your team to optimise daily business operations in the most effective, efficient and coherent way.  


Technology for agile working

The past few years have seen a total transformation of the workplace, both in terms of how we work and the tools that enable us to work better. The importance of choosing the right tech has shifted from IT departments to marketing teams as the need for nimble, user-centric, collaborative and adaptive tools has taken precedence in delivering effective results.

Today, we continue to work more agile and collaboratively, and in response to this, collaboration tools and systems are consistently being developed and evolved to facilitate this way of working in the digital world. Among the vast range of tools, DMOs should be looking at to transform, the right tools central to driving future success should focus on four key areas:

  • Collaborate
  • Communicate
  • Collect ideas
  • Creative thinking

Using the right tools will enable you to effectively collaborate internally and externally, with your team, other departments, and partners outside the organisation.


Asana is an extremely user-friendly management platform that allows you to track, communicate and manage daily tasks and projects. It is at the core of everything that we do and is our task and project management tool that helps us to create a structured workflow and enables us to collaborate internally, with our experts and clients. We use Asana to structure our events, client projects, marketing, content and editorial planning and build teams within Asana to organise, plan and deliver each of these. Within each team, we work on a project basis, mapping out the tasks and deliverables that we will work on each month or during the course of the project.

MURAL is a digital brainstorming and collaboration tool, another essential tool for us, especially when working out ideas for the Think Tank and working with our destination clients. We are advocates of moving brainstorming and visual thinking online, allowing for remote collaboration of teams and with our clients. When working on specific projects with clients, we use Mural to brainstorm ideas, concepts and strategies in a virtual space. This allows us to conceptualise ideas, user journeys or strategic developments, working together, commenting and discussing things directly in Mural.  For us, this is a great opportunity to work more creatively and share outcomes in a visual way.

And last but, in our opinion, most important, is Design Thinking, which we are going to cover more extensively in Chapter 12. Exploration and Innovation, the last chapter of the Transformation Series.

Contrary to its name, Design Thinking isn’t just for designers. Design Thinking is a mindset that helps you improve the current experience of people you serve, your users, and can also be referred to as ‘human-centred design’. Once you start ideating in this way, who knows what you may come up with!

Design thinking focuses on the experience of people and aims to improve it. It is a way of looking for smart and effective solutions to everyday problems.


How to Digitally Transform Your DMO: Conclusion

How to Digitally Transform your DMO: New Technology Research and Development

We're taking R&D out of the research department and making it something that concerns everyone. With templates helping you to investigate, prototype and map out new approaches, our R&D material is designed to be practical and actionable. We all work better when we work together, which is why our R&D framework is build around productive teamwork and testing of new technology and approaches within your organisation augmented by also taking into consideration your competitors.

New technology and innovations in travel are always a big topic for destinations, wanting to explore how new technology could be used in a destination context. Here at the DTTT, we encourage you to take the time and explore how new technology could add value to your current offering as a DMO. We have designed a framework for your teams to work through, developing ideas, uses cases, testing results and prototyping different routes for your destination to take.

Exploring New Technology

Our new technology R&D framework is divided into four main areas, helping you to develop ideas and use cases based on a structured process.

The starting point for you and your team is to identify the technology you want to focus on. This could be anything from chatbots to Snapchat which you would like to explore further in a destination context. Start filling in the pink box in the template, outlining how the technology is relevant for your organisation, your visitor, team and partners. It is important here to think about the technology with an open mind, exploring all points and aspects and its relevancy.

Use the right-top box to explore possible use cases, taking into consideration also the pros and cons of these in order to help you make a decision at the end. Use the right-middle box to focus on competitor benchmarks, exploring how other destinations or organisations are using the technology. Think about what you like or don't like about competitor use cases and different scenarios that you are finding.

After having explored the relevance of the technology for your destination, use cases and your competitor's approaches, take some time to focus on how you would test results when using the technology, outlining different prototyping routes. The idea of this framework is to help and guide you through a structured process of exploring new technologies for your destination. It is up to you to decide whether a meeting will be sufficient to explore this as a topic or if it makes more sense to dedicate a sprint for it. Although a sprint might sound like a big activity, it can also be broken down into several focused meetings within a week, to ensure the outcomes are effective and you are using the limited time in the most efficient way.