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Remote Working Whilst Bikepacking Across Europe – How One Finnish Company Got On Their Bike To Reach The Outdooractive Summer Conference in Germany

Pirjo Räsänen, Outdooractive reseller for the Finnish market, commutes 2100 kilometers by bike from Lithuania to Immenstadt in Germany for Outdooractive Summer Conference

Attending international conferences and events may be common enough, but for the Finland reseller for Outdooractive’s digital tourism platform, the usual transport options did not appeal.  Instead, they chose to bikepack their way to the event in southern Bavaria, Germany – working as they traveled.

On May 7, Pirjo Rasonen, the CEO of Ellare Oy, Outdooractive’s sales partner for the Finnish market, set off by bike to arrive in Immenstadt by June 29 for the annual Outdooractive Summer Conference. In numbers the bike trip involved 5 countries, 35 days, 2100 kilometers, 3500 meters of altitude and 15 working days “on the road”.

Pirjo and Ellare Oy has helped Finnish destinations develop nature and activity tourism for over 20 years, and has particular expertise in developing bicycling tourism.  The experienced bike packer took the summer conference as an opportunity to combine her passion for biking and exploring Europe, her role as Outdooractive representative in Finland, and her role as a champion of bicycling tourism and took her laptop with her in her bike bags to work from the road.

“The hardest part was finding good Internet on the road. I wrote contracts on the road but also led webinars. You do need a fast and stable Internet for that.”

True to the motto “Eat your own dogfood,” Pirjo planned the entire trip with Outdooractive. Outdooractive is Europe’s largest outdoor activity and tourism digital platform, used by millions of consumers to find their perfect adventure and trusted by thousands of tourism destinations to help them guide their guests and manage their destinations.

When planning the route for her epic trip, Pirjo primarily used premium content from destination and other ‘official’ partners that is available in the Outdooractive platform. “This way, I could always be sure that the trails were good to ride. What the community sees as a ‘good’ cycling route is sometimes also good but already very subjective. As Outdooractive is used by so many destinations, then I was able to trust completely in their ‘official’ content”.

For Pirjo, this cycling trip was a way to relax from her everyday work, to use the app she works for on a daily basis and to draw a conclusion: “The navigation function in the Outdooractive app is really the best thing when you cycle through the most diverse countries in the world. Both in the countryside and in the city.”

Alongside the stunning scenery – “I stayed in what must be the most beautiful campsite along the Danube” – what really stood out for Pirjo during her trip was the kindness and hospitality she received from the locals along her route. “The most difficult part of the trip, I think, was in Poland.  There was a section of the route that was affected by recent flooding and had turned into a “mutavelli” (Finnish for mud-pit).  It was difficult to cycle, I was falling down, and both my bike and I were completely mired in mud.  I managed to get to a backyard and asked the residents for water.  Despite the language barrier, they could see what I needed.  The resident handed me their garden hose and I was able to clean myself and the bike down in their garden!”

Pirjo added, “Meeting and interacting with local people and other bike travelers was a highlight of the trip.”There is hardly a more sustainable way of traveling than by bike. Values for which Outdooractive stands and which Pirjo represents absolutely through her 35 – day bicycle journey from own muscle power.

Moreover, – since she has not yet had enough – she has just added a few more weeks and right now is cycling back home to Finland. But this return trip is a pure “recreational vacation”- the laptop remains closed.

A map of Pirjo’s epic trip can be viewed online at

Current changes in destination tourism

First things first: don’t let them drive you crazy!
It’s not easy for tourism professionals. Groundbreaking innovations and artificial intelligence are coming from all sides, and experts and consultants are making prophecies about what will even exist in a few years. Therefore, my well-intentioned advice: don’t let yourself go crazy! Below I describe my honest opinion of what I would do if I were in charge of tourism in a destination.

The most important thing is the product
I suggest that we all keep reminding ourselves of what it’s all about at the end of the day. Giving guests a great time that they will never forget and will tell others about. User experience, in other words. That sounds pretty digital, but the digital side is only half the truth. Because besides all the digital information channels and holiday companions, it’s still about the on-site experience, the food & drink, the accommodation, the journey, the excursions and tours, the culture and the weather. These analogue experiences are easier to find, easier to plan and easier to document and share if they have a digital counterpart, the digital twin. Work out your own strengths Learn to say no. Not every destination is great in every discipline. And learn to avoid clichés. clichés. These are exactly the things where the destination is strong, and what a guest will come for, if they come at all. The locals may not be able to hear the same clichés, or look enviously at the beacons where everything is supposedly always where everything is supposedly always better. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. greener. The inhabitants always see their own place too negatively: “There’s nothing going on here. going on”. But that’s not true! I think digitalisation helps to work out one’s own strengths. not always great things, but special things, and that’s what you have to focus on. concentrate on. These strengths also create the brand and thus the reason for the guest to go there. reason why you should go there.

Everything! Everything! As long as you see something when you look out of your window that is not yet in the database, you are not finished. As long as there is something in town that you can’t pay for with a credit card and book online, you’re not finished. As long as there are still closed hiking trails that are not on the online map, you are not finished. As long as you don’t know your guests digitally and what they are doing, you are not finished.

Artificial intelligence
No reason to go crazy. And no reason to wait for anything either. Design a good offer with the service providers and digitise it. Any form of user communication needs perfect data. No matter whether it’s conventional websites and apps, search engines, conversational interfaces (chatbots & co.) or the metaverse. Someone has to digitally record the museum’s opening hours correctly and keep them up to date. And everything else you need for a holiday or a day trip. The systems get the data from the web. Just like search engines have been doing for a long time. The systems will also evaluate according to their own logic what is the best, the most correct and the most up-to-date data. That means: generating data. Good data, all data, and keep it up-to-date.

 Open data plays no role
Search engines have always been indifferent to whether the data is open or not. It’s the same with artificial intelligence. In the future, many systems will no longer display data in its original form with source reference and licence, etc., but will process it into an answer depending on the application. The Open Data Hubs are not fundamentally wrong, they are just at least 10 years too late. The platforms and systems are not waiting for this, but are already building their own digital world. What is currently lacking in information is being invented to go with it. The way to avoid this is to make the missing data available as quickly as possible from the official source. At Outdooractive we call this the “Alliance of Officials”, in which we unite the official data from many stakeholders into one official data set – the digital travel guide of the destination. Pure content databases lack the travel guide superstructure to inform a guest comprehensively and the tools to accompany the guest. 

European Data Spaces
The EU is taking a promising path with the GAIA-X Data Spaces. It is working on a data ecosystem that is not intended to be a central database and does not require open data. A networked data landscape is being created in which data from many platforms and databases flow together and can be exchanged via standardised data formats and interfaces. For an application, the data as well as the services can then come from different systems. Bookable services or services with other business models can be easily assembled. Licence agreements and business agreements can then be concluded in a simple way (smart contracts), including the use of APIs. At Outdooractive, we have been building exactly such a system for 20 years now, where data from different sources flow together and are organised with standards for rights, technology and business models. That’s why we were chosen by the EU to help develop the structures for the European Tourism Dataspace. The Tourism Technology Alliance (TTA) is already a first visible manifestation of how data will flow in the future. Other partners are just joining the TTA. AI will not replace these models, as it still needs the product and the ability to book and enjoy it.

There was a time when I could no longer hear the word, as it is used in an inflationary manner and often misused for advertising purposes, and usually it has little substantive content. But strictly speaking, Outdooractive’s vision, mission, values, products and services are all geared towards sustainability. Not only am I myself deeply rooted in an alpine cultural landscape where traditionally you don’t do anything that harms the existence of your descendants, but also the entire team and the company Outdooractive cares passionately about sustainability. That’s why Outdooractive is different. The platform is built sustainably in order to give the destinations and service providers back their communication sovereignty in the long term and to digitalise the official – and thus ultimately sustainable – offer in the destinations with the alliance of officials.

In many research projects, we have been working for years to make transport in destinations more sustainable. These include the awarding of public transport friendly tours, flexible adventure buses, and environmentally friendly travel. We seamlessly integrate public transport into the platform’s applications to offer public transport in the right context for travel to and from the destination. 

To enable guests to make informed choices about sustainability, we are currently working to ensure that the more than 200 different labels are underpinned by data.  Under the umbrella of the supreme institution for sustainability certifications, the GSTC, I am leading a working group for the definition of a uniform data standard for businesses, tour operators and destinations, right now at the GSTC Conference 2023 in Antalya. The aim is to be able to display and filter uniform indicators for different actions for sustainability, such as: Energy consumption, renewable energy, water consumption, waste, emissions, local products and fair employment.

World Mountain and Trail Running Championships – Outdooractive as Map Partner

Outdooractive to be the official map partner of the World Mountain and Trail Running Championships, and the Innsbruck Alpine Trailrun Festival.

This exciting partnership will facilitate 3D visualization and route overviews on the event’s websites, while also offering fans the chance to get involved in event-specific Challenges.

Visually representing 3D route visualization during the live TV broadcast will be provided alongside the offer of Destination Pro+ accounts and the integration of a ‘FlexView’ that allows content from the Outdooractive platform to be displayed on the event websites in an-easy-to use map format. Last but not least, Outdooractive will  be rounding off its services to these world-class championships by offering visitors the chance to participate in ‘Challenges’ created specifically for the events.

A 40-second 3D bird’s eye view of the course that the participating athletes will have to tackle will be available to viewers in realtime on their devices during the live broadcast. This visualization will also provide a taste of the Challenges that have been put together. The FlexView display will also provide all the key information surrounding the different routes showcased in the events in terms of their distances, elevation profiles and the terrain they cover.

In the course of the World Championships and also the Alpine Trailrun Festival, there are various routes that differ in terrain, length and altitude meters. Outdooractive visualizes these routes in advance on the corresponding websites and thus provides an exact insight into the route parameters. The cooperation also includes a Destination Pro + account, Challenges to be mastered during the event, and a FlexView integration that allows Outdooractive content to be displayed on the company’s own website. This partnership is made for successful outdoor sports events and offers both spectators and athletes a successful overall package.

The event organized by Alpine Trailrun Festival GmbH, will take place between June 6th  and 11th  in front of a local and international audience.

The preceding festival, organized by the agency Laufwerkstatt, will take place between June 1st and 3rd, and draws on its long tradition and huge popularity.

Event organizer, Alexander Pittl, who has been tasked with organizing both events said: “We are very pleased that we can rely on the expertise and know-how of a company as experienced as Outdooractive. We are united in wanting to achieve high goals – which is easier to do together!”

Outdooractive is delighted to share the news of these partnerships. The company’s expertise in routing, route planning and visualization benefits and complements any sporting event that offers and wishes to expand its global reach. An Outdooractive team will also be present at the Innsbruck event area during the events and is looking forward to exchange with both trailrunners and visitors.

Outdooractive Launches Community Feed

Outdooractive connects outdoor enthusiasts, destination experts, and official destination partners to find the best outdoor trips and adventures.

Outdooractive, Europe‘s leading digital platform for outdoor tourism, has recently implemented a new feature which allows a new way of interacting with other members of the Outdooractive community.

Uniquely, this update to its Outdooractive consumer app creates the opportunity for outdoor tourists to interact with, see the latest conditions report from, or ask questions of, their favorite destinations or places they are planning to visit. Thousands of official destination partners rely on Outdooractive’s business solutions to help manage their tourism activity and are already part of the Outdooractive community.

“No more missing out“, is the headline for all Outdooractive users. Has a new track been recorded and/ or a new route been published? Has a new point of interest been added? Has an event been announced? No matter if the official tourism organization of the favorite region or the best outdoor buddy has published anything new, the information immediately shows up in the feed of every member that has decided to “follow“ the person or organization in question.

With its exclusive network of official destination partners regularly adding new hiking, cycling and mountaineering routes; details of events and offers in their region – the Outdooractive community feed is *the* place to be inspired and research your next active trip. With the majority being tourism organizations, partners include a wide range of official stakeholders such as protected areas, associations, trail managers, Search & Rescue-teams, accommodations and many more.

Craig Wareham, B2C-Director at Outdooractive is enthusiastic about the new options: „Besides being responsible for how happy Outdooractive’s users are with our app, first and foremost I am an end-user, too, and it is particularly as such that I am very much thrilled about the new community features and the possibilities they offer.”

Wareham continues to explain: “On the one hand I get informed immediately about the tracks that my old friend from school, Mike, has just recorded during his vacation in Southern France. On the other hand, my feed also shows all the new routes, events and points of interest in Wales that have just been published by the responsible tourism organization. Since that is where I often spend my short holidays and long weekends hiking and biking, I am glad to get all the information right away and always be up-to-date.“

Every user can thus build his own community piece by piece based on their preferences and interests. Outdooractive will suggest other members or organizations to users whose contents are a match for the user in question.

Every user has full control over their own privacy settings and GDPR-compliance guarantees they can adjust them at any time. Each user can completely disable the follow function to prevent any other community members from following them. Alternatively the user has the option to mark certain geographic areas as “private“, thus suppressing them from being viewed by anyone else. The relevant settings and privacy zones can easily be adjusted in the Outdooractive app and on the website.

The new functionality is available within the basic version of the Outdooractive profile to ensure that every user can benefit from the community features right from the beginning.

New Product Feature: Snow Depth Map

Looking for safe trips in the snow? Preferably with a lot of snow for a successful ski tour or as little snow as possible for a wintry but safe route on foot? Introducing our latest feature: the snow depth map for the Alpine region.

Snow Depth

If you enjoy snow, the snow depth and snow cover maps provide information about where and how much of it you will currently find on your trip. Using high-resolution satellite images and ground measurements, we show you what to expect when planning your trips.

Snow Depth Map

As a Pro+ user, you will find the ‘Snow Depth’ as a ‘Style’ option for both the Outdooractive map and the OpenStreetMap as part of your “Weather & Climate” information, which is accessed by selecting the ‘Maps and trails’ button at the bottom right of the map panel. You can activate the snow depth map in almost all map views and use it when planning your routes and trips.  The information can also be used in combination with the Outdooractive Avalanche Report which you can activate under the ‘Additional layers’ section and run at the same same time. Now you have all the information you need to plan and safely enjoy your trip.

Current Snow Cover

Snow can be a huge source of fun, but it can also bring many dangers, and while some might be on the lookout for the best snow conditions, such as ski tourers, others will prefer to avoid it altogether, like mountain bikers. In order to gain a comprehensive overview of snow conditions, ExoLabs has developed an innovative solution based on satellite data and ground measurements.

Satellite data enables up-to-date mapping of snow cover across an entire mountain range. ExoLabs uses data provided by satellites from both NASA and the ESA that is then converted to create a high temporal and spatial resolution of the snow layer. This map is updated daily and allows is accurate to within 20 meters (with individual image pixels corresponding to an area of 20 x 20 meters).

Note: Currently the snow maps are only available on the web, but not on the App.


As transmission, processing, and analysis of satellite images can take up to 24 hours, our daily snow layer most closely matches the conditions of the previous day, and cloud cover is a critical limitation to the unobstructed view of the satellites. To fill these data gaps, ExoLabs uses information from the most recent cloud-free satellite imagery as well as imagery of the immediate neighborhood to best model the spatial snow distribution. It should be emphasized here that prolonged periods of overcast weather can lead to larger uncertainties in snow cover. The last direct observation may vary in age depending on the geographic area. In very densely forested regions, snow on the ground may be masked by a snow-free canopy.

Current Snow Depth

For many users, the height of the snowpack is of great importance, as it determines the choice of activity and the equipment needed. To model the snow depth in the best possible way, ExoLabs uses the measured snow depths from measuring stations. With the help of geostatistical methods, which take into account local as well as regional differences in snow distribution, the spatial snow distribution can then be modeled. Topographic influences on snow distribution are also taken into account such as a steep slope which can carry a lower snow load than a topographic depression.

The resulting daily snow depth thus takes into account the main influences on snow distribution and represents them at a 20 m areal resolution. When interpreting the data, it is important to understand that these figures represent an average value for the immediate area. There can be a great deal of local variation in the snowpack which cannot be captured in detail at the 20 m resolution. This means that the depth given given uses an approximate average value for this area.

Linked to the University of Zurich, ExoLabs specializes in environmental monitoring. Using satellite data as well as weather and climate models, and modern machine learning techniques, ExoLabs is able to gain a comprehensive insight into the condition of our environment. This valuable information is then presented in a user-friendly format in order to facilitate informed and sustainable decision-making.

The snow height maps were developed and piloted as part of a project supported by ESA Space Solutions.



Celebrating gold and silver at the world winter swimming championships! Outdooractive welcomes back Paul Bieber

Congratulations to Paul for his recent gold and silver wins – Outdooractive has a real world champion in its ranks.

Our SEO Manager made it to the top of the podium in his age group in the over 1,000 meters freestyle and also came in second in the in over 450 m category. Outdooractive CEO and Founder, Hartmut Wimmer, alongside his wife, Annette, Head of Finance, welcomed the newly crowned World and Vice World Champion following his return from Bled, Slovenia. As for Paul himself, his view on his achievement was pretty modest:

“What I found really special about the championships was getting to meet all the other athletes. That was actually the best experience for me. When you see what lengths some athletes will go to be able to participate in a world championship. Some of them came from as far as Argentina, Morocco, wherever. They have invested a lot of money and time to fulfil a life dream! That required insane encouragement. Getting to mix with such people from different cultures is far more important to me than any medals.”

“I feel right at home here!”

The 38-year-old Röthenbacher has been with Outdooractive for just over two years and spoke of his gratitude for the opportunity. “I feel right at home here. The team is great and the interaction between the different generations also works very well!”.  “Outdooractive suits me perfectly because of the flexible working hours. I probably wouldn’t be able to pursue my sports otherwise and that’s one of the many great things about Outdooractive – in my role as SEO Manager, I’m also not necessarily tied to fixed working hours.”

Paul (Team Allgäuer Alpenwasser/Outdooractive) is actually an ice swimmer and a multiple German champion and record holder. To qualify as ice swimming, the water temperature must be below 5 degrees. At the World Championships in Slovenia, Paul was jumping into the water of 5.8 degrees.  Bathtub temperature by comparison! My preparation for Slovenia was intensive. I thought the water temperature would be somewhere between two and three degrees and unfortunately, it turned out to be too warm.” Those who are getting chills just reading this might like to consider  Paul’s training methods: “Two days before leaving for the World Championships, I was sitting in a barrel at -0.6 degrees, for ten minutes.”

Paul plans to create a swimming school

Besides his own swimming career, Paul is also thinking about the next generation. “It’s extremely important to me that kids know how to swim! Corona was a disaster and there are fewer and fewer pools in some places.” Paul now plans to teach kids to swim in Röthenbach and Lindenberg using a three-stage model. “Some children first have to get used to the water and lose their fear of it through play. The second pillar is then at preschool-school age when children should learn the basics such as how to do a breaststroke and keep their heads above water. The third stage involves swimming distances of 25 or 50 meters. This perseverance is enormously strenuous for children.” Paul is currently looking for swimming instructors for his project.

The entire Outdooractive team wishes him every success!