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Digital visitor management – holistic and sustainable

In order to properly guide and direct your visitors, an end-to-end digital solution is needed. By the time a family has planned a day trip early on Saturday or Sunday and set off by car, it is already too late for meaningful guidance. This is because they do not have a Plan B with them when they hit traffic jams along the road and parking lots have filled up over the morning. Even crowded hiking trails, beaches and places to refreshment stops can no longer be avoided. The increasing number of tourists at popular spots and the pressure this places on the environment and infrastructure inevitably causes problems.

Municipalities can do little more than close roads, punish parking violators, pick up trash and appease property owners. Yet nature can no longer regenerate sufficiently during the breaks, leading to conservationists demanding more and more closures.

This is why the family trip must be influenced during the planning phase, beginning with inspiration. It is important to avoid previous mistakes by not focusing only on the top highlights in the region and to counteract influencers who draw even more people to visit . End-to-end digitization makes it possible to make all sights and all routes visible in order to help balance out visitor traffic while also opening up new experiences for visitors that are away from the hotspots.

Software algorithms help to make better suggestions for activities, as systems can then use artificial intelligence (AI) to display different, more contextual content. For example, if the weather forecast for Sunday is good, a website or app will change the order of suggestions with lesser-known spots being displayed higher up and the main sights further down. In order to optimize this even more on its platform, Outdooractive is collaborating with the NIT (Northern Institute of technology Management) in the research and implementation of Germany’s largest lighthouse project using artificial intelligence in digital visitor guidance.

Visitors can also be guided even more accurately if the platform knows and understands the user’s profile, making it possible to make more personalized recommendations. Before they embark on their daytrip, suggestions can be sent to a visitor’s smartphone via email or push notification.

One prerequisite for this is that destinations integrate the right information on the platform. Touchscreens with traffic light systems do not really help, because the guest is already there and information on DMO websites does not reach the them. Because guests use platforms for inspiration, planning and navigation once they are in the area. Outdooractive is one of the leading players in outdoor tourism and therefore plays a decisive role in visitor guidance. Above all, Outdooractive is the only platform in the world on which destinations can completely digitize for low monthly costs and and in doing so influence what is communicated digitally.

For achieve all this, user profiles must first be generated. To do this, it is necessary to give guests and locals an incentive both to register and then enrich their profile with personal preferences. For this purpose, Outdooractive has created a whole range of tools with which potential users receive GDPR-compliant guest profiles.

The basis for visitor guidance is data – huge amounts of it. Data about the use of and visits to POIs, parking lots, beaches and hiking trails; data about vacation and tour planning, and data about the users’ clicks. Measuring the volume of people out in nature cannot be done with hardware measurement systems alone. For an entire area smartphone tracking is required. Data from telephone companies is used to measure rough visitor flows. Using GPS-based smartphone applications makes movements on individual paths visible. The clicks of users and show where they want to go and these can be tracked on desktop websites and in apps. Apps provide information about GPS position, recorded track, map usage and more.

To help safeguard the environment, Outdooractive has created “Digitize the Planet e.V.”, a non-profit organization (NGO) that seeks to digitize the regulations governing the use of nature. The information provided by Digitize the Planet is available as open data for integrated into all maps, navigation tools, and outdoor platforms. Outdooractive has already integrated most of the world’s protected areas and is now adding more data directly from Digitize the Planet.

Outdooractive combines data sources in a single system. There are interfaces to all relevant systems in tourism. The information is bundled on the platform and the data is visualized for the DMO manager. From this, many interesting insights are available to help better guide visitors and avoid the issue of overcrowding. Guests themselves are given simple and automatic access to codes and rules the region they are visiting so that they are made aware of the need for conversation measures.

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