Corporate Outdooractive News

New year, new team – Outdooractive follows a clear vision

Dear Readers,

We wish you a happy, successful, and above all, a healthy 2023! We look forward to working with you to master the challenges of the year with the same drive that we have always had.

However, to achieve this, it is essential to have the best possible team in place. In the case of Outdooractive, this comprises around 150 employees from a far-reaching range of countries who continue to give their best for the company from our headquarters in Immenstadt, Germany, and from our international offices.

In addition, we have also put together a visionary and strong leadership team to continue Outdooractive‘s success and pioneering work in digitizing the world of modern-day tourism.

This pioneering spirit is one of our core values and is the path that our management has elected to forge. We are willing to take risks and have the ambition to be the first to do things, to take experiencing the outdoors to a new level, and to break new ground with our ideas.

Hartmut Wimmer, Founder & CEO

“Only on new paths do you leave visible traces.” A sentence that reads as ambitious as it is visionary. From day one Hartmut Wimmer has been pursuing his vision to make Outdooractive not just the world’s largest outdoor platform but also its primary digital travel guide. Like any hiking route, the path to this goal does not always lead straight ahead, nor is it always uphill. However, with his pioneering spirit and strong beliefs, Hartmut has seen Outdooractive assert itself with a sense of strong purpose and clear goals. He recognizes that digitization and sustainability – two of the great challenges of our time- can only be overcome through a spirit of cooperation. Outdooractive is a true leader when it comes to forging such relationships and the company will continue along this path throughout 2023 under Hartmut’s leadership.


Annette Wimmer, Head of Finance

“I have been Outdooractive with heart and soul from the very beginning,” says Annette Wimmer. She can certainly be proud of the great products and ideas that have been created by Outdooractive, as well as the dedication and commitment of the great colleagues she works with. As of 2023, Annette Wimmer will be in charge of managing the company’s taxes, accounting, and administration. She has already completed 15 years of being the company’s CFO and has set her sights on enjoying the product itself more by putting it to the test in the outdoors. In Annette’s view, people should be able to have fun while also being considerate of the environment and acting sustainably. Above all, they should always feel as safe as possible while on their adventures. Outdooractive helps to guarantee all of these things.


Pirmin Mösle, CTO

Pirmin Mösle is very much what we would call “home-grown Outdooractive” and he loves the challenge of linking the big topics of digitization and sustainability, especially when it comes to tourism. Together with his outstanding team, Pirmin is able to put this passion into play through his involvement in the product as well as implementation and research. His aim is to further establish Outdooractive as the strongest product in the Industry in 2023 and help drive ever greater focus on sustainability and digitization, especially in our B2B line. To achieve this, Pirmin is prepared to take all the necessary steps to ensure that Outdooractive becomes THE world’s digital travel guide.


Markus Schreiner, CFO

Markus’ interests completely gel with the sorts of activities Outdooractive is so good at: skiing, mountaineering, mountain biking, and much more. For Markus, the goals of Outdooractive and his hobbies form the perfect symbiosis. He will be at the helm of the company’s finances, contracts, personnel, and administration. Markus’ goal is to ensure that sufficient funds remain available to expand our brand awareness and position in both existing and new markets. It’s Markus’ view that Outdooractive should take the long-term lead in enabling outdoor tourists to enjoy unforgettable outdoor experiences through technology that guides, connects and protects.


Norbert Hofherr, COO

It is the combination of his passion for the outdoors and his experience and enthusiasm for digital business models that drives Norbert Hofher. He is responsible for Sales & Marketing for both our B2C and B2B lines. Besides steering our profits, Norbert is also there to provide everyone in the team with the best and most efficient working environment. His personal plans are also very important to him, with the goal being to explore Norway with his family – something that will not doubt help inspire and fuel Norbert’s Commitment to Outdooractive being THE best platform for creating memorable experiences.

The entire Outdooractive team wishes you the very best for 2023.

We are delighted to have you by our side and look forward to reaching many more milestones with you.

Take care,

Your Outdooractive Team

What really matters – thoughts from our CEO for 2023

(Reading time: 9 min.)

Despite being the CEO of a fast-growing international company, the quiet time ‘between the years’ still affords a moment to catch your breath and collect your thoughts. For me, this regularly results in all the impressions of the past twelve months transforming into a plan for the coming year. With this in mind, I wanted to take a moment to share a few of my thoughts and insights with you.

After finally being able to fully travel again in 2022, I immediately took the opportunity to attend some international conferences and what struck me most this year was that practically all of the topics focused on sustainability. That’s hardly surprising when you’re attending the GSTC conference in Seville or the Green Destinations in Athens, but when even the NOAH Conference in Zurich – the biggest digital and investor event in the calendar – is now all about sustainability, you know something is happening. It was as recently as December when Marco Rodzynec, the founder of NOAH, said “Sustainable is the new digital“.

I wouldn’t say I’m a Green- at least not politically. However, my background means I’m innately rooted in my home region of Allgäu where I grew up with the values and traditions of a mountain people who make their living in harmony with nature. For us, the resources we consume have always been used very carefully to ensure the land remains fully able to sustain future generations.

This is a lifestyle I have also chosen to carry into the modern world. We have been heating our positive-energy house for many years with a heat pump powered by solar electricity that we produce ourselves on our roof. We have also been driving electric vehicles since they arrived on the scene – even if politicians and the car industry don’t always make it easy. We avoid plastic and creating waste wherever possible. We buy local products and look for quality, even if it costs a bit extra. I hardly ever even print documents any more.

Our entire company fleet has been powered by electricity for years and we always opt to take the train as far as it makes sense. The German car manufacturers – protected by the government – have slept through this necessity (no, it’s not a trend). Nevertheless, we have always bought German cars so as not to make ourselves even more dependent on other world powers. Even if Tesla produced in Germany, the money would still go to America. The heating in my new high-tech electric car failed before Christmas and even though, as a mountain person, I’m fine driving while wearing a jacket, the windows still froze over. In the past, the dealership would have been able to obtain replacement parts the next day, but with my car it now takes three weeks. I think there needs to be a rethink in Germany’s flagship industry, from grandfathering to innovation, and from short-term share prices to a model of longer-term sustainability. What Tesla is now could have actually been the role of German carmakers.
Even Deutsche Bahn seems to be doing everything it can to make people avoid using public transport. It makes me wonder why such important infrastructure (which also extends to ports, airports, internet services, the electricity grid, etc.) isn’t in the hands of the state, as is the case with roads, and why the government can’t act in the interests of the people based on their priorities?

At the NOAH Conference I represented Outdooractive as a speaker and focused on the topic of “Sustainability through Digitization“. I was the third to last out of more than 300 speakers and so I had a lot of time to listen to the other presentations.

 When it comes to energy, there are several companies that offer a holistic solution. If a solar system were installed on every roof, it would be enough to cover the world’s energy needs. To store the electricity temporarily, a unit is needed in each house so that the electricity produced on sunny days remains available at night or in bad weather. There also needs to be a charging station for electric vehicles in every house. These houses are in turn heated with electrically powered heat pumps while intelligent electricity management systems ensure that the energy is distributed evenly. By including the batteries of the e-cars, a large, decentralized energy storage system is created- effectively making it a miniaturized power plant with its own network. This mitigates the need for actual power plants for energy generation, allowing politicians more of an opportunity to drive other sustainable solutions instead of having to negotiate energy supplies from questionable states and extending the lifespans of power plants. There are even companies that offer such solutions as a package. Their services even extend to supporting investing homeowners financially by the use of monthly subscription models in which the fee no longer pays for the provision of energy, but instead for the use of hardware and software. The bottleneck to any sort of nationwide rollout of such technology is, on the one hand, manufacturers, who unfortunately cannot produce the technology quickly enough, and, on the other, the manpower needed to install and maintain so many units. Unfortunately, the European economy has relied too much on the fact that non-European supply chains are not only cheap but also work pretty well. Local manufacturing has also been undervalued and poorly remunerated for too long. Countering all these factors will be a fundamental challenge.

When I was choosing options for my car almost two years ago, I had the choice of “vegan leather” seat covers. I pretty quickly dismissed the idea on the basis that it would be ‘just another one of those plastic things’; and then ordered real leather, thinking that at least it’s a natural product (if the tanning process doesn’t involve too many heavy metals) and that the animals’ skin would have otherwise ended up in the rubbish. It seems I was wrong and I say that now that I have learned what the future of food production looks like. We all know by now that current agricultural practices are ruining our planet. We are already living on borrowed time and that if the global population continues to grow we are going to have huge problems unless we are willing to make some dramatic changes. This dilemma can no longer be solved in a conventional way, not even if we were all to switch to a vegetarian diet. But there is a solution: in the future, our food will be produced in large steel tanks in which nutrient solutions, fungi, algae and fermentation processes will produce proteins. I hate industrially produced food. I’m put off if the ingredient list of any food item is longer than one – and if it also contains cryptic chemical terms, my dislike for it increases exponentially. Fortunately, these processes don’t require any unnatural chemicals. They can even be compared in a way to the re-growing of body parts using human DNA. By using the DNA of our main foods, a replica of what we know, like, and need is created, with the benefit that the production no longer harms the planet, because it can be decentralized, negating the requirement to transport food long distances. Production takes place in large stainless steel containers (in the dark) the energy for which can be supplied directly using solar panels installed on the roof. Without the need to harm any animals, fitting vegan leather in my car now makes sense.

In my view, the so-called climate activists who go around destroying paintings and holding up traffic are criminals who should be punished and given no media attention. Politicians, who for decades have rejected the science and either make no commitments at the climate conferences they attend – or simply keep putting them off – should also be held accountable. By not taking action and through selfishness, they are simply transferring the problem to their successors and to the future generations of the global population. Unfortunately, it is only the electorate who can regulate these politicians at the ballot box – assuming the country is a democracy in the first place. This means that access to information and education is key to helping a population change a country’s direction.
On that note, I am convinced that only a radical change of direction is capable of delivering what is so desperately needed. I have heard many lectures that began with “We are out of time” as well as quite a few that state “It is actually already too late“. These were talks given by companies, NGOs and investors involved in planting trees in Africa. I’ll freely admit that I used to smile at tree planters. I always viewed greenhouse gas offsetting as some sort of indulgence and believed that only a radical reversal in the production of CO2 was the solution. I no longer believe this to be the case.  Yes, we have to reduce all emissions dramatically – and completely to zero in many areas – but in cases where doing so quickly proves especially difficult, the remaining amount of carbon needs to be captured in plants – both existing and those that have to be added to account for all our emissions. I believe I now understand how a viable industry with CO2 trading can emerge from this, and why investors would be willing to put money into companies that improve the soil, provide irrigation, plant trees and use sensors to monitor the environment, alongside other data. Those creating a mess are the ones who should also pay to have it cleaned up, such as is the case with those emitting carbon funding tree planting in Africa.

When it comes to sustainability, there are literally hundreds of certifications, labels, and seals of approval and to be honest, I always roll my eyes when our tourism clients keep coming up with such initiatives. As an end user, they are hard to make sense of, let alone commit any meaningful action to.  In most cases, I view them as little more than marketing-driven exercise in green-washing rather than an honest attempt to make any true difference.
Professionally, however, I can’t escape the topic. And I don’t want to either, because my ambition to digitize the world of tourism also encompasses the issue of sustainability.
At Outdooractive, we have been focused on the topic of sustainability since the very beginning, from managing visitor flows to protecting nature and guiding the outdoor tourist. It therefore seems natural that we should also be taking a deeper look at wider topics such as energy, waste reduction, regional supply chains, and the benefits of a circular economy.
We are a partner of Green Destinations, a member of the GSTC, and work with many other organizations dealing with certification and labelling. Since my visit to GSTC 2022 in Seville, where I was involved in panel and roundtable discussions, I have made the following observations:

  1. There needs to be a superordinate and fully independent organization like the GSTC to define criteria and ensure that certificates are comparable and comprehensible for the consumer. This was also the finding of our ESKINAT project.
  2. The GSTC has set out to establish an internationally recognized certification standard.
  3. There is currently wild proliferation in the industry and a total gold rush atmosphere among so-called Certification Bodies, i.e. the companies that carry out certifications. The GSTC can put an end to this.
  4. These bodies certify to a degree using GSTC criteria, because the GSTC also allows “recognized certifiers” who have different standards. In this respect,  ‘GSTC’ loses validity.
  5. There is also a widening range of additional certifications and seals of approval.
  6. Individual countries are starting to take certification into their own hands and define their own criteria based on the GSTC. Examples include Norway, Mauritius and Turkey.

I have now resolved (in my typically megalomaniacal way) to harmonize the data of the certifications and to bring them into a uniform and coherent scale (score). Seals of approval from individual organizations should play no role, and the data should be transparent and available for all to see. Let’s see how far I get with this.


Hartmut Wimmer, Founder & CEO of Outdooractive


I hope I was able to inspire a few of you with my thoughts. Perhaps I can rally a few more comrades-in-arms, or stir an opinion or some feedback. I am always up for a lively discussion, new partnerships, and connecting with others who care about our future and that of the planet.

I wish you all the best and a great start to 2023

Hartmut Wimmer

Social responsibility starts right in front of your doorstep

Corporate Social Responsibility is an important part of Outdooractive’s company culture. To live up to that responsibility, we do not merely support the global initiative 1% for the Planet, but also make an important contribution to the protection of our environment by closely cooperating with Digitize the Planet ensuring all protected areas and their rules become digitally available.

Furthermore Outdooractive is ready to take over responsibility on a local level. Our company car fleet consists of EV models only and we incentivize all employees to commute to work by bike. Last but not least, Outdooractive regularly supports disadvantaged families from our home region, the Allgäu. Thus we want to make a difference for our local community and for these families in particular, for example ensuring they can celebrate a happy Christmas. Donating money and gifts was again an important task to be taken care of in 2022 and we hope to have a big impact with this little gesture even if it is not for a great number of people.

Successful trail management for an optimal guest experience

The quality of the trail network determines whether a guest experience turns out well or poorly. Adequate signage, clear wayfinding and marking, are just a few of the key points that describe successful trail management.

The outdoor experience must be consistent with marketing communications to achieve good ratings and reviews.

Consistent quality can only be achieved with a hybrid model: Communicated promises and reality on the ground are based on the same database.

The quality of hiking and biking trails with their signage and markings are an essential part of the tourism infrastructure.

Tourist infrastructure projects were the real origin of Outdooractive and the knowledge from 20 years of planning flows into our system. We make the bundling of our know-how available to our partners in the form of our platform, which supports the management of trail networks and visitors. Only with fully integrated trail management in the tourism system can the guest be offered the best experience.

Why should you use digital trail management?

By being able to identify defects faster and more accurately, you save yourself not only time but also money. Repairs take less time and at the same time you increase your efficiency.

Take advantage of real-time data and make the job easier for yourself, trail managers and coordinators. Information can be shared more easily, tasks created directly as soon as hazards are identified.

Guide your guests through your destination in a structured way and provide accurate distances. This not only improves the quality of service for your guests, but also ultimately their experience in your destination.

With Destination Pro+, trail management is already fully possible. In addition to a perfectly maintained infrastructure, benefit from live tracking of customers, your state-of-the-art website and much more.

 

Outdooractive @ Google I/O

Google I/O is the annual conference hosted by Google in California and is their biggest event of the year for presenting their latest products and software. A global audience of millions is addressed over the two days the event runs.

Google works with a very small number of developers to showcase their latest technologies and Outdooractive has had the huge honor of having been selected as one of them.

read more …

Outdooractive among the 7 best for digital maps and apps for hiking

“The Great Outdoors”, a prominant hiking magazine from the UK, has featured Outdooractive among its selection of the top 7 platforms for digital maps and hiking apps. The magazine is known for its rigorous testing and reliable gear reviews as well as great content and imagery. Their groups of testers is made up of renowned outdoor experts including Alex Robbie, an editor focusing on a variety of topics relating to the wilderness, adventure and the environment, and an outdoor photographer. When trialing Outdooractive’s features he made a comparison with those that had previously been offered by ViewRanger, which would go on to be acquired by Outdooractive.

read more …

Connecting accounts with partner apps provides destinations with even more data than before

By connecting with Garmin, Suunto, and our other partner apps Outdooractive users are now able to transfer their plans and routes to wearables and devices. These account connections also offer the possibility to transfer tracks recorded on a wearable to the user’s Outdooractive profile, which they can then edit and share with the community.

What does this mean for our destination customers?

Your guests can use the navigation function of their wearables to explore destinations in a dynamic yet simple way. At the same time, a new incentive has been created to publicly share experiences of a region. As a result of these account connections, we saw over 150,000 additional tracks uploaded in February alone. This automatically translates to greater data accrual within a destination and, as a result, our customers gaining more information and insights about their guests – a major benefit in terms of visitor management. Not only this, but an increase in content on the platform centered on a destination increases its exposure and, in turn, global visibility.

We have also seen a further 22,000 routes from the Outdooractive database being uploaded to Garmin and Suunto devices, which also benefits destinations in the distribution of their routes and content.

This development marks just the beginning and we aim to considerably expand account connections as a benefit to our customers on both sides of our business.  

Now available: PDF exports of route booklets

In addition to the current option to export route maps, corporate customers with a Destination Pro+ bundle are now able to create and download booklets of their routes using My Business. This PDF can be used as, for example, an e-booklet or a print brochure.

The Content Manager takes you to your published content and with a selected map section and a cover image, you are to quickly create your own booklet. The “Linked content” function, also allows you add links to pre-existing routes allowing your booklet to deliver even greater value from your content.


(German only)

As our platform is multilingual and international in nature, both the content and layouts are exported to the booklet in the selected language of My Business. Not only does this mean that no additional translation effort is necessary, but you are also able to directly provide your guests with the content they need in the right language.

To learn how to create your own booklet, watch the recording of our April 14 webinar:

Not yet a Destination Pro+ customer?