We are living in turbulent times, times of uncertainty, times of reactivation. The pandemic has left us with a new reality, a reality to which we are gradually becoming accustomed, a reality that is changing day by day, a reality to which we are getting used to our way of enjoying, our way of sharing, our way of travelling.
A way of travelling where the post-covid tourist is looking for different experiences, but, above all, experiences that offer security.
THE TRAVELLER IN THE POST COVID ERA
There are undoubtedly several aspects in which travellers will change in the short and medium term. According to BRAINTRUST's latest Tourism Barometer, the destinations chosen and the types of trips taken will be the most impacted and the ones that will change the most in this new context.
ASPECTS THAT WILL CHANGE THE WAY WE TRAVEL
(Source: BRAINTRUST 2020 Barometer. n=1,507)
As can be seen, more than half of the potential tourists are going to change the type of destination. But in which direction? The Barometer also provides answers to this question
TYPES OF DESTINATIONS TO BE CHOSEN IN THE FUTURE
(Source: BRAINTRUST 2020 Barometer. n=799)
Two aspects stand out above the rest: destinations with fewer crowds and lower health risks will be sought. Therefore, it is up to destinations to respond to these demands from travellers, seeking ways to reduce the concentration of people (without limiting the number of travellers) and to put in place all the mechanisms to ensure (and transmit) the least health risk.
With regard to trip types, it is observed that trips associated with nature and rural environments are expected to increase and those with a more urban character are expected to decrease (more pronounced decrease for trips associated with leisure/shopping than for those associated with heritage/culture).
CHALLENGES OF DESTINATIONS
Many destinations are currently making efforts to attract domestic tourists by relying on natural surroundings, very quiet environments and low tourist concentration.
However, the reality in the medium term may not be so simple. The truth is that many of our cities concentrate large numbers of visitors in a few points of interest, generating crowds and overcrowding, not so much because of the number of tourists they receive, but because of the level of concentration they have in a very limited number of tourist attractions.
By way of example, an analysis carried out by GCPH shows how the Aqueduct in Segovia and the Mosque in Cordoba concentrate three times as many people in one year as spend the night in the city.
SATURATION LEVEL OF POINTS OF INTEREST IN GCPHE
(Source: 1st GCPH Observatory. www.gcphe.es)
This is logically a problem in the short term because of the feeling of overcrowding and reduced health safety: but it is also a problem in the long term, as excessive concentration leads to rejection of the tourist by residents and a bad experience.
Therefore, one of the first challenges for destinations is to be able to diversify their offer, so as to generate more points of interest in their surroundings and be able to attract more travellers with less crowds and, additionally, to facilitate repetition and an increase in the length of stay, since, by offering a broader offer, the traveller will have more reasons to return and/or stay longer at the destination.
In addition to concentration, other specific levers are identified that would make travellers decide to make a trip in the coming months:
LEVERS FOR CHOOSING A DESTINATION
(Source: BRAINTRUST 2020 Barometer. n=750)
Asking potential travellers what a destination could do to encourage them to visit it, the first response is to make a good offer or promotion (reflecting the economic impact that the crisis may have on tourism), but beyond this lever it would be worth highlighting those linked to offering a complete plan or a special activity (40% between the two) and, of course, providing a guarantee of safety (health).
Therefore, and in view of the above results, it appears that three of the main recommendations that could be made to destinations would be:
- Avoiding overcrowding -> through proper visitor management and above all through diversification of the offer. Intelligently moving visitors to different points of interest, in relatively dispersed locations, is key to minimising the excessive concentration of tourists without reducing the volume of visitors to the city.
- Give them plans to make -> provide the traveller with content for the visit. Most of us need "excuses" to decide to visit a destination and have the possibility to make a complete plan there. It is not about visiting city X, but about going to X to do a route, a tasting, to see an exhibition, to see such and such a point of interest or whatever... These complementary elements are what determine in many cases the intention to visit. And the generation of new points of interest is key in this sense.
- Digital experience -> essentially in two aspects, complementary but different in scope:
- Information and management: implement digital channels that allow "communicating" with travellers in an efficient and secure way, and actively manage them in order to optimise their interests and those of the destination.
- Experience in the visit: provide the different experiences that can be lived in the destination with digital components that offer new perspectives and contribute to differentiate the destination through safe, sustainable elements, etc.
IMAGEEN, a leading company in the exploitation of cultural tourism through new technologies(http://www.imageen.net), and BRAINTRUST(https://www.braintrust-cs.com), a leading multinational in the field of tourism consultancy, have joinedforces to develop a digital product that, based on the development of augmented reality virtual environments, manages to transform tourism in destinations, adapting it to the new era.
WHAT THE SOLUTION CONSISTS OF
IMAGEEN offers visitors and citizens immersive experiences with their own mobile device (Smartphone or Tablet) that allow them to visit the past of monuments or different parts of the city, relive historical events that have occurred there, or understand with didactic and interactive technologies curiosities or details of the monuments or places they visit.
This new solution has a comprehensive approach, seeking to immerse tourists through augmented reality in the different points of interest of the city, interacting in different environments, transporting them to different times and experiencing a new way of tourism.
BRAINTRUST+IMAGEEN implement these projects in five stages, which at the end of the process improve the indicators of any tourist destination:
In the first phase, a diagnosis of the destination is carried out: current main points of interest, potential points of interest, current level of saturation, other existing problems, etc.
With the result of the diagnosis, potential points of interest to be developed digitally are identified, assessing the impact that each of them could have and defining an action plan, which could include the search for the necessary funding for their development.
Once the action has been specified, the third phase would be the construction of the digital content for the point and its implementation (training, verification of operation, etc.).
The last two phases would be aimed at confirming the performance and quantifying the results of the project (in terms of economics, sustainability, tourist experience, etc.).
In short, this solution responds, through an exhaustive prior analysis detecting the main problems and opportunities of the destination, to the current needs of tourism management, new experiences, diversification and security, creating those safe spaces that are in such high demand in this "new normality" that we have come to live in.
HOW THE IMAGEEN+BRAINTRUST SOLUTION CAN HELP
For a destination, the implementation of this solution brings innumerable benefits, including those that most directly affect this new type of traveller.
- Diversification of the offer, expanding the value proposition with new plans and activities, which, as mentioned above, is one of the key aspects that can attract new travellers. Complete plans, special activities, in short, "excuses" to visit a destination.
- Better visitor management, generating new points of interest and reducing crowding. This point is key, because as we have seen at present, many destinations have the capacity to accommodate more travellers, but the concentration in certain points of interest makes the sensation of saturation and agglomeration high.
- Improving the experience, both by allowing sites to be seen "differently" and by better management of people and heritage.
- Attracting new travellers. Expanding the value proposition, with differentiating and interesting (and easily communicable) elements, can help destinations attract more visitors, at a time when this is key for local economies.
In addition to these benefits, of course, the following could be added
- Greater knowledge and interaction with tourists. The solution developed allows interaction with visitors through augmented reality, enabling better management that helps to improve the experience in the short and medium term.
- Knowing user opinions in order to adapt the tourism offer. In the times we live in, being able to gather permanent feedback from travellers is a key element, which helps destinations to permanently improve their value offer.
- Improving the image of the touristdestination and brand with a strategic digital approach The implementation of this type of solution represents a radical leap in the image and positioning of the destination brand, making it a national and international reference.
- De-seasonalisation, as the new value proposition can be a key element to reach market segments in which it was not previously present, or serve as an excuse to attract travellers outside the usual seasons, again having an impact on the sustainability of destinations.
- Diversification (origins). The possibility of offering different plans and complete experiences makes it possible to attract a type of tourist that is currently out of reach of the destination, with a greater cultural load and possibly higher average expenditure.
- Increase in the average stay, as a result of having the possibility of developing more experiences in the destination. The incorporation of different activities makes it easier for travellers to decide to stay more days in the city in order to take advantage of everything it has to offer.
- Increased spending. Closely linked to the previous two, the attraction of a different type of tourist and the possibility of them extending their stay only contributes to an increase in the amount spent in the city, with the resulting benefit for the economy and local citizens.
- Encouraging repetition. Adding more points of interest can encourage repeat visits to destinations. And even more so when they are known and have enjoyed a good experience.
In short, the implementation of this solution can allow destinations to completely transform their tourism, adapting to the new traveller and the new reality that awaits us in the medium and long term.
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