Even before this “New Normal” travelers have been utilizing their mobile phones all throughout the visitor journey. Even from back in 2015, 70% of US travelers used their phones for almost everything during their travel, documented by Google’s push into travel, see this study. From flights and hotel searching to booking, to in-destination planning, up to the point of return – our internet-connected mobile phones are always our companions to help answer all our questions.

Needless to say, creating a mobile app whether it be a native or a progressive web product, greatly helps every traveler in navigating and exploring their chosen destination. Travel and tourism apps are growing prominently as it can vastly help current and future visitors in planning, navigating, and getting the most out of their trip. Now the big questions are: What do you need to know before you implement your very own destination app? What features should you consider to fully serve and engage your travelers?

Top 10 Mobile App Features that YOU Should Have!

Before you dive in here you should note that both travel and hotel apps have consistently underperformed as downloadable apps.   My first recommendation based on features you require is to look at Progressive Web Apps, they require no app store download are 75% smaller on your phone, and are faster and easier to navigate.  They also provide the most functionality that native apps provide.

  1. Wayfinding, Mapping & Transportation

According to the same study as above, 61% of travelers use their mobile phones to seek direction. Therefore, incorporating your very own mapping and wayfinding solution in the app would be a big convenience especially to first-time visitors. Ensure you have clear and easy to engage local transportation options, for easy bus, train, or trolley navigation.  If budget allows integrating a bus or trolley tracker to help decrease carbon output

  1. Gamification- Interactive Trails- Ale, Wine, Historic and Outdoor

Provide easy, fun, and rewarding ways to get visitors engaged with unique experiences inside your destination.   With interactive trails, you can set up local shops, businesses, and places to see with great information, local maps, and unique ways to check-in and provide feedback to other travelers.

  1. Itinerary Builder

Since not all travelers come prepared (and that is a fact!), might as well make things easier by engaging with local suggestions, preset itineraries, or custom options that they can create and add as they scroll through different attractions or locations, helping them get to places that will drive lasting experiences.

  1. Traveler review and ratings- Especially Restaurants

According to another study, 69% percent of respondents said they would look for reviews on their phone first and another local consumer review shows that the average consumer spends 13 minutes and 45 seconds reading reviews before making a decision.  Ensure visitors can book at local restaurants through Open table or directly on their website, make it easy to see menus.   And of course, information and ratings to ensure the spot is right for them and their families.

  1. Translation services

International travel is easy breezy if you are multilingual, but if not, conversing will be a terrible hurdle to pass! Implementing translation services for your mobile app would be a big help to your international travelers who would love to know more about the area but could not even read or pronounce them correctly.

  1. Social Media Integration

Travelers can’t stop checking in to different places, sharing photos, and just letting the world know where they’re at and how their experience is. Let your Destination app have this feature where they can easily share their awesome experiences with your own hashtags. This is a great way to actually raise your brand awareness.

  1. Ticket and Reservations

Easily allow your visitors to reserve and purchase tickets for upcoming events. Let them maximize their ability to see different attractions without leaving their hotels or having to walk in. Great way to drive value for local businesses and ensure you are tracking from engagement to transaction, ensuring you can prove the effectiveness of your app.

  1. Notifications

Use new technologies like beacons and geofencing to alert travelers when they enter a certain location, attraction, or just any premise. This allows you to provide custom notifications and personalized greetings to your travelers – remember, the more you personalize their experience, the more they feel special.

  1. Coupons and Deals

Partner with local businesses and offer deals or coupons for a specified time. Promote attractions and other local amenities by giving one-off discounts to certain purchases. This can also be tied up to Loyalty options and point systems, but depending on how you position your program.  As well look to have a redemption process with your coupons that way you know who, when, and where your visitors are engaging. s

  1. Advertising Options

Generate additional revenue streams by implementing ad options for businesses and stakeholders to utilize. Feature different ad options that compliment your app’s design so it drives value and doesn’t distract your users from using your app.

There has never been a better time to invest in mobile and new ways to connect to local businesses.   When built properly you should have a tool that helps your reduce paper, increase engagement, and drives better experiences for your visitors.   Give us a ring and talk to some of our mobile experts there are several options and many solutions for any budget.

Contact us at [email protected] or call 833-300-6664 to get a tech specialist to help you with your marketing and travel experience goals.

The travel industry has always been one of the strongest sectors due to endless exploration and destination possibilities. Travelers, along with their changing and evolving behavior, has set the standard of how they are adopting the new visitor journey. The evolution of technology has definitely changed the vision and expectations of visitors all around the globe. Digital, Mobile, and interactive devices have been a go-to for all their travel needs, so how do you actually promote and make your destination visitor-friendly with the rise of these new technologies?

Kiosk Solutions

Kiosks have played a vital role in providing assistance to visitors and guests in different travel areas – whether it be an airport, hotel lobby, visitor center, transportation, or key high-traffic area for any destination. With multiple functionalities offered, these investments have proven to be effective for both local and international destinations. These self-service kiosks allow you to reach your visitors 24×7 – 365, without the need for additional staff, expensive backend systems which lessen production costs while increasing efficiency for visitor and staff. In this blog, we will dig deeper into the best features of kiosks and what destinations can get out of them!

Top kiosk features for destinations

  • Wayfinding and interactive mapping
  • Preset and custom Itinerary options
  • Trolley tracker or public transportation information
  • Restaurant and attraction information & reservations
  • Deals and Offers- redemption and information
  • Ticketing sales for attractions, events, local shops, and restaurants
  • Social media and user-generated content integration
  • Text & email sharing to Mobile, Mobile device integration
  • Advertising for additional revenue generation
  • Built-in Analytical tools for stakeholder and destination Marketing opportunities

Benefits of deploying digital signage and kiosks in your destination

Now that we have seen some of the top features of kiosks, it’s time to understand what benefits it provides to both the destination and the visitors. let’s list some of the top reasons why you should implement this technology in your destination and high traffic areas.

Top 10 advantages to interactive and digital signage solutions:

  1. Visitors want digital options to connect and receive travel and local information. Destinations want improved visitor experience and new ways to help navigate and connect with local businesses and people.   Provide new ways to personalize, engage, and purchase with local restaurants, attractions, and outdoor adventures.   Giving connections and directions with or without speaking to staff.
  2. Directions, wayfinding, and mapping. The days of paper maps and visitor guides are slowly going away, interactive experiences connect interactive maps with mobile to ensure a clear picture of local areas and allow visitors to use their personal device to save, manage, and connect both online and offline with key navigation information.
  3. Providing key information for things to do, local suggestions and preset ways for visitor interests can be easily met with both itinerary examples and social media integration. Visitors love to share and connect their experiences from their mobile phones, give them visual examples, and ways to inspire them while connecting them to their favorite channels.  Get great feedback and visuals for your social channels while continuing to expand the reach and connect the dots with your hashtags!
  4. Utilize great visuals and content through digital screens located in key areas connecting imagery of your top destinations, videos of your best attractions, and mind-blowing cuisines in your area. There are endless marketing strategies and brand awareness promotions through kiosks and digital displays.
  5. Drive new revenue options for your organization and help local businesses through digital advertisements You can now easily sell advertisements across any screen while promoting local businesses and providing key visitor information. You may also implement coupons and deals and provide new ways to engage and track visitor spending.
  6. Sustainability becomes front and center by lessening the carbon footprint, and reducing paper! Through kiosks, you can easily provide digital brochures and Maps to your visitors reducing the need to print most of your paper assets. As well as expanding new ways to drive awareness and meet your visitors on the devices they use, save the environment while making things easier for your visitor isn’t that a win-win?
  7. Assists visitors with disabilities. While it may be a challenge to actually explore destinations for visitors with disabilities, kiosks and mobile applications help our special visitors on the pre-visit reservation to make their journey as seamless as possible. Some kiosks are created to help special visitors through bigger image displays and sound production.
  8. Welcome your international visitors by reducing the language barrier through kiosks. Maximize the translation services available through kiosks in letting your new travelers and visitors understand what’s nearby.
  9. There’s no need to have your visitor visit the front desk to take the survey – no more old school pen and paper feedback forms! Let your visitors reflect on what they think about your destination through digital review and feedback options. Know real-time what you have to improve and how you can still make their experience worthwhile while your visitors are still around.
  10. Measure your return on investment through analytics. Identify which contents are effective to your visitors through real-time analytics. Compare your data while learning more about your travelers, and share real-time information with your stakeholders

Lastly, be able to serve and accommodate your visitors even outside your working hours. 24/7 indoor or outdoor kiosks can assist with any of your local information even when your staff is not around so no more limits on engaging, especially your first-time travelers!

Travel has changed for us forever now with the ‘new normal’ destinations must also be able to provide seamless, and contactless ways of assisting new and returning travelers. Digital technology has to be utilized as it is created to make all our transactions more efficient and most safe for the travel industry.   We now have an opportunity to provide the next level of the visitor experience and connect the dots of our knowledge and existing systems to build lasting ways to help and connect local and global challenges to a long-term solution and opportunity for our communication.  Reach out to learn more and see how we are helping travel organizations around the world easily and affordably find a new path to visitor engagement.

The spread of the infection as we all know does not show obvious symptoms, which means there had to be a lot of tracking to see who has been exposed to sick employees. And these companies, organizations, or facilities will have to face the consequences of having to work with the public health authorities to implement the proper resolution, identifying all the suspected ill employees, and also possibly shutting down. The World Health Organization and the Center for Disease and Control have provided global recommendations to ensure we all observe proper preventive measures as different workplaces and organizations reopen their facilities again.

Now, things are slowly regaining momentum and businesses start to reopen again – travel destinations, hotels, retail, and quick-service restaurants. We must learn several important key points that can help gain control in reopening these destinations/businesses. Let us start to understand what the new workplace safety measures are as well as the role of technology in making the return as safe as possible.

  1. Enhanced Sanitation – this is definitely going to be implemented by everyone as we transition to this new normal. What used to be the normal cleaning procedures are now probably just one of 3 or more. With the need to not just clean but also disinfect, returning to our workplace requires extra attention unlike before.
    1. UV cleaning tools – using UV for different workplace devices can help eliminate bacteria and viruses. Alex Berezow, a microbiologist conducted research showing that the usage of UV light is lethal to bacteria because of its high frequency. Note that UV light should not be used directly on the hands or our skin as it may cause irritation (and can damage your eyes!)
  2. Implementation of new Technologies
    1. Thermal Scanning and Mask Detection Kiosks – one that’s been booming right now are the existence of temperature and mask detection kiosks. This is where employees can just lineup while observing social distancing and have their selves scanned through the kiosk’s thermal sensor. No need for manual inspection through hand-held thermal scanners, protecting both the employee and the staff conducting the scan. But when choosing the best temp and mask detection kiosk, look for something that would still work based on your company’s needs even after this pandemic. Some kiosks work multipurpose and can easily be programmed to offer different modules such as featuring your website’s listings, advertising options, and more!
    2. Touchless access – Some other new technologies can be used to allow a lesser human to human contact such as gaining access to different parts of the establishments without touching knows or doors through tapping badges. Another one is the ability to print documents through touchless printing mobile apps. With the help of the QR Code, employees can print documents by just having their mobile phones scanned, easy, and safe!
    3. Contact tracing software – The use of contact tracing software offers not just tracking possible infected employees but also provides greater transparency, along with real-time notifications and social distance alerts for users within the premise.
  3. Virtual training – whether this is for new hires or upskill, reduce the risk by moving everyone away from crowded training. Use digital employee platforms or portals to conduct this training. Some platforms offer more than virtual meeting or training rooms but also the ability to upload necessary modules, videos, etc. Ensure your employees are always updated with the newest policies and procedures through an integrated platform that can be easily updated from the backend anytime.
  4. Enhanced Employee-Employer communication through Progressive Web apps or Staff Connect modules – find an easy and professional tool to communicate with your staff even if they leave their desks via Staff connect. Easily assign delegate tasks or simply contact them in real-time.

If you are looking for a multipurpose kiosk, feel free to contact us @ 833 300 6664 or email us at [email protected] and have one of our product specialists check on the best option for your company or organization.

There are decades when nothing happens and weeks when decades happen. What has happened to the world and the effect on the industry is unprecedented. This shift that just skyrocketed to our very existence encompasses a shift in our society, economy, how we work, how we communicate, how we get together, and how we will do business.

I have been part of and shared many blogs related to this shift. It’s something I have been talking about this for over 5 years however even I didn’t realize the magnitude of this shift. And of course, like us all, I figured it would take a few more years before it started to become obvious.

The reality is that businesses that didn’t invest in eCommerce, Digital Strategies, Reservation, Bookings, online ordering, and contactless solutions are now in a dire situation. It’s easy to look back and say “Yes, I saw that coming” but I don’t think we understood that it would mean the end to 1 in 6 businesses. Nor did we understand that brands that had been around for 100+ years would not make it. But this is the reality.

Those of us in Hospitality and Travel face much of the same, however we know that people still love to travel, and these customers will be coming back – we are fortunate on that side. This change will require us to do things differently and our ability to adapt to this change rapidly will be the difference in success and failure, not just for us but for our local community and businesses as well.

If you look at my last 3 webinars and blogs, they echo the same sentiments our customers were already facing. Our business and digital engagement rules were already changing and now it’s time to face the facts and find the right path for your organization. Here are a few things you may want to consider.

  1. Interactive and Mobile solutions will replace human interaction or will be a subset of it as people and the economy shifts.
  2. Customers especially the millennial and next generations require digital tools to engage. If you are not providing them ways to communicate virtually, you are not in the game.
  3. There are new revenue opportunities in the midst of these changes. Establishing media networks that connect content by location, device and time is where marketing will have to compete.
  4. Marketing professionals must transition to Experience experts, understanding their markets, devices, mediums, and contents are necessary to connect to their consumer
  5. Managing the omnichannel, multi-device, content and social mediums is difficult. You need to find a partner that can connect and communicate with your existing systems across any device.

In conclusion, don’t take my word for it, see below for just a few of the stats and articles that are coming out, I have studies from Oracle, Google, and more that have been talking about this shift since 2016. This isn’t new information, this is critical information. Protecting, connecting, and guiding your customers real-time through any device is the new SEO, SEM, and any other acronym you want to use. No matter what your industry is, it’s time to shift quickly. We want our customers and industries to be the best in the world. Please reach out if we can help, no matter who you select we love sharing information for the greater good.

If you are interested to learn more about implementing frictionless and contactless solutions for your existing and potential visitors, feel free to contact us @ 833-300-6664 or email us at [email protected] and we’ll get an omnichannel strategist to help find the best options for you.

Doug Ralston
President& CEO, Omniexperience
[email protected]

As we all try to recover physically, emotionally, and financially from the pandemic, US congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to salvage us. This over $2 trillion relief package has been approved last March 27, 2020 to help mitigate all the damages done by Coronavirus to American families, small businesses, workers through direct economic assistance.

The travel industry, if not the most, is known to be severely impacted by this pandemic. The stay-at-home order for months has caused a ‘holocaust’ to all businesses and attraction-related jobs and establishment. Now as we all slowly reopen services, being granted the CARES Act fund would be a big relief to any small business, as well as any local entities. Eligibility for Cares Act Funds can be read thoroughly here.

How to maximize Cares Act Funds in Re-Establishing your Destination

Being eligible is great but being granted the funds is a whole new level. Given that this funding is very limited, how do you really maximize every approved dollar? If every visitor center’s goal is to regain the number of visitors or remarket their attractions, what are really the best ways to get travelers to notice your destination? What are the best investments with a controlled subsidy from the government? Here are our top three suggestions:

  1. Technology – Why should you invest in technology? If this question is thought through deeply, you will know that this is not just a reflection of a strategic mindset but could actually trigger an inner realization that you are opening doors to highly beneficial, futurist investments. In fact, this has always been the way to go and this pandemic just speed things up when it comes to automation. The United Nation’s World Tourism Organization has recently released Global Guidelines to Restart Tourism longing to restore confidence in tourism. Have confidence that it’s safe to start traveling again, knowing that we won’t be just spreading viruses. Know that technology plays an essential role in making this happen: Building a new, safe, and seamless travel experience.
    • Mobile Apps or Progressive Web Apps Due to social distancing, most people prefer to just be on their phones, shopping, exploring food options, and planning the next getaway after all this hysteria. Native apps are common but we suggest making use of PWAS – these are web-based apps allowing your visitors to experience the same functionalities without the hassle of downloading from the play store. Easy to use and works with any browser!
    • Video conferencing, Virtual Assistants or Chatbots Video conferencing modules if selected properly can work on any device and connect to a travel professional anywhere in the world.   Chatbots have been the way to go by almost all industries in responding to web inquiries. This saves the customer’s time as this would answer FAQs instead of having to wait for an agent or a staff to get back to them. You can easily program and make changes from the backend to accommodate all keywords relevant to your destination.
    • Digital Signages, Touchscreens, or Kiosks No doubt that destinations are now heading to the idea of reducing face-to-face interactions to help both staff and visitors from any possible infections. The use of these touch solutions to display attractions, upcoming events, wayfinding, or even itinerary creation is now the new normal. Utilizing these devices to not only educate but to also allow your visitors to know their options can create a whole new level of visitor experience!
    • Temperature scanning, mask detection solutions.   Stand alone units and solutions that can leverage all types of interaction are a great investment.    These can be used for employee and visitor protection and ensuring policy, as well as WHO standards.  If you are having events and meetings this could be a must for tracking and management
  1.  Explore Other Revenue-Pooling Options
    • Exhibiting or running stakeholder/business ads through your website, digital displays, kiosks, or local apps. Make use of your technology to sell advertisements on all your available tech resources. Use this to gain passive income while actually helping your visitors have more options around the area.
  2. Enhanced Marketing Strategy for
    • Social Engagement – since we are trying our best to limit face-to-face interactions, it’s the perfect to make use of Social Media channels to reach potential visitors. The good news is that most social media platforms are free to use! Funding in a social media manager or even your local staff who can manage these platforms can help vastly in promoting good visitor engagement even through these social mediums.
    • Brand Awareness – Finding ways in promoting your destination can be done through social media channels or advertisement. Enabling options to retarget audiences through ads can help immensely in boosting brand awareness. Some other options may require on-site appearances such as launching PR campaigns, holding events or sponsoring events or exhibits.
    • Partnerships – Invest on complementary partnerships that could provide mutual benefits. Investing on deals and coupons for visitors with say, restaurants or hotels, can help provide better booking opportunities.

If you are interested to learn more about implementing frictionless and contactless solutions for your existing and prospect visitors, feel free to contact us @ 833-300-6664 or email us at [email protected] and we’ll get an omnichannel strategist to help find the best options for you.