Sustainability Session, Technology and Notes OmniExperience and Destinations International

We are very excited to continue to work with thought leaders and organizations looking to implement ideas and tools that can help in the core pillars of Sustainability. What we have learned is that destinations have an opportunity to lead in this cause, and are also expected to be responsible for driving tourism dollars. The key is that DMO’s can use technology and other tools to drive revenue while looking at options for directing visitors, awareness and ways to lessen the impact on locals and destination natural resources.

To do our part in this sustainable and engagement path of all our organizations, I wanted to layout some products and programs that may be helpful during this time, and set the stage as travelers return. The core of this is to tie together the 3 Pillars of Sustainability, 6 Major Advantages of Sustainability and look at some ways to measure this impact.

Three pillars: Economy, Society, and the Environment. These principles are also informally used as profit, people and planet.

Six major advantages for practicing sustainability are: 

  • Improved brand image and competitive advantage
  • Increase productivity and reduce costs
  • Increase business ability to comply with regulation
  • Attract employees and investors
  • Reduce waste
  • Make shareholders happy.

Sustainability is measured by assessing performance of Social, Environmental, and Economic principles.

We have 2 key states that we can use as learning opportunities and also as a starting off point to help us all realize new areas or opportunities. This is for organizations, technologists, DMOs, and overall business leaders who are concerned with all types of impact.

Hawaii:  Big Sustainability challenges from our project perspective.

  • Controlling flow of visitors into popular attractions, the negatively impacted locals
  • Visitors not paying attention or following outdoor regulations and ways of experiencing destination
  • Visitors not understanding the culture and thus interacting in offensive ways with locals
  • Finding ways to decrease paper and plastic consumption, anything to help keep beaches and attractions cleaner

What we did and learned:

  • Implemented mobile and kiosk touchpoints
  • Providing suggestions and Itineraries that allowed people to learn about other great areas to visit
  • Provided mobile gamification to award people for visiting Warrior Marker locations, driving new experiences for travelers while relieving popular areas
  • Provide videos and content to educate travelers on culture and the people at these locations, down to how to great and engage with them
  • Provide Kiosks at high traffic areas, that allow visitors to connect with local business, interactive mapping, coupons and other key areas that can be shared via mobile

Louisiana:  Automation, Better Data and ways to evolve from paper brochures

  • Key was updating and automating visitor centers
  • New ways to engage and share local events and information from highways to local attractions
  • New ways to serve the next generation of traveler, moving to more digital foot print
  • Extending out Byways and local information, while driving advertising and revenue opportunities
  • New ways to reduce paper and ultimately look at a phased approach to reduce or eliminate brochures

What we did and learned:

  • Integrated digital signage, video walls to expand reach of brand image and advertising campaigns
  • Integrated interactive Kiosks to allow visitors to get to local listing, interactive maps, preset itineraries and more
  • Provided easy email, text share for any local event or attraction and easy to follow directions to their phone
  • Mobile app, connecting all services and information from each visitor center, allowing direct connection between suggestions and information reviewed at the visitor center with easy to access itineraries and suggestion direct form their mobile device
  • Phase II digitize brochures, for easy flip through and touch experiences, provide ways for vendors to manage information that goes directly to visitors
  • We can track better who is coming in the VIC and understand their needs, while providing real time information to stakeholders on who has inquired about their business

The bottom line is we love what we do and using technology to solve sustainability and local issues is a key part of how we identify our value to our customers. It’s interesting how many of these ideas are generated from customers who have a problem to solve and know they need to find new ways to connect and show how their organization is helping on many issues.

A special thanks to DI and their team, who has allowed us to continue to share and build our solutions to help align with the needs and research they provide to us all. Please feel free to reach out we would love to work with you and see how we complement your existing investments into a well-rounded omnichannel solution.

Doug Ralston
President and CEO
[email protected]