How to adapt to the changing visitor experience?
Digital Strategies and tools for In-Destination Experiences after Covid19

What you will learn:

  • Planning for recovery
  • New technologies and the shift
  • Ways to build a more frictionless sustainable travel experience
  • Some tools and engagement, things to consider for both staff and visitors

We could all write a book on the effects of Covid19 on business and especially travel. We have heard the horror stories and the continued doom and gloom. One thing we can all agree is that things will change forever, and a shift is now underway on how people will engage in travel and commerce. What is interesting after being in this industry for over 20 years is that I feel most of us knew things would change and evolve. The progression of the newer generations and their connection to social and all things virtual was the topic of many conversations. We shifted over 5 years ago from Information Age to Experience age, this was the turning point of the renewed understanding and focus on how digital will impact our industries.

Many of us also considered what the deeper impact would be, what about our lives, our work, our connection points we had all grown up with, how would values shift? We were all asking the right questions but at the time we thought we had many years before having to truly make significant changes.  Now the organizations who embraced this change, virtualized or upgraded their visitor centers, those who have given deeper thought to digital engagement will set the stage for all of us. (See changing economy blog – it’s the deeper effect from a business perspective).  (Hawaii, Louisiana, Maine, Poconos, San Francisco our see case studies)

I recommend a few articles and reading points below, but one thing is clear: the decisions we make now will shape some businesses and may end others. Many intellectuals can tell you in 5 different ways how they project things will be after this pandemic, to shift completely, however I believe we can start with a simplified approach that should help us all find our path.

Basic concepts and solutions:

  • Organizations need to focus on virtual collaboration tools to ensure no matter when or how this shift, you can still work from anywhere and collaborate with anyone.
    • Standard work products will now be Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Slack, etc.
  • Think through how this will affect your ecosystem and how to deliver economic value virtually. Think through culture and mindset while using technology as a facilitator. Keep in mind that you may need to pick a product that is unique for your organization’s needs.
  • Digital transformation will take on a new meaning. Shifting from capital investments to technological advancements. What was considered a nice-to-have is now becoming a necessity.
  • Traveler facts: Now more than ever, visitors will be continuously connected, they will ask for options to have virtual rather than face-to-face communication; they are empowered by shared experiences.
  • Technology to help connect with the Internet of Things (IOT) will now be the largest shift to facilitate automation and virtual connection points.
  • Some suggestions on tools you can easily implement to ensure you can provide more virtual and digital tools for communication, meet this new demand:
    • Mobile – Not your Grandma’s native mobile app but a Progressive App that is light and easily accessed through browser or store, with the same as native.
    • Virtual terminals & Kiosks especially for high traffic areas, visitor centers, conventions centers, etc. Allowing safe and frictionless access to key information, directions, etc.
    • Video Conferencing connects your staff through any of the channels above. With a push of a button, a traveler can have a one-on-one interaction through their mobile app or kiosk.
    • AI and Chatbots, providing automated responses and information to commonly asked questions; allowing your staff to work on more strategic services.
    • Connection options using virtual technology lets your travelers connect with staff from anywhere, through a mobile device or PC. They can be easily alerted and can establish any conversation.
    • Instant Messaging and good old texting come back to life, allowing easy information and the ability for 2-way information from an expert.
    • Interactive Trails, scavenger hunts and new ways travelers can explore unique areas without having to rely on human interaction

This is a simple starting point to consider. Keep in mind that this technology can be affordable and highly impactful and will integrate directly with your existing systems. As well many organizations like ours have implemented pricing models that include no money down and leasing programs.

We all still have unanswered questions on what the post-virus and digital era will look like? And how will the digitization of these services become an essential part of our lives?  While Covid19 has brought many of us to a standstill, it is providing us the ability to step back, evaluate our position within the market, and chart the course ahead. Whether you choose to be reactive or take this opportunity to embrace this shift, coming to terms with this shift for many of us will determine our future no matter what industry you are in.