The “New Normal” in Tourism…How Can Tech Help?

The peak season in St Ives, this is the image we are all used to. A classic hot spot for UK domestic tourism!

 

Cornwall has consistently been voted one of Britain’s top tourist destinations and in 2014 attracted c.4.5m staying visitors and 14m day visitors generating £2.8bn turnover for the county’s economy, supporting 55,000 jobs1. Therefore, tourism is something that cannot be ignored when it comes to the local and national economy.

 

In light of the pandemic, the question arises: ‘what is going to be ‘new normal’ for tourism here in Cornwall and the South West?’ Is it going to be empty beaches in the short run? Crowded scenes, like a constant bank holiday in the medium term? What will the long term and the next 3-5 years look like, and will there be a permanent shift in visitor behaviour?

 

Here at Data Duopoly, we have been busy analysing trends to predict what could happen next. 

 

Visitors more than ever, will be cautious about flying abroad due to the close proximity of being in an aeroplane, therefore we predict a large boom in domestic tourism near the end of August this year. We envisage this being sustained until the end of the year, in line with traveller annual leave calendars. In addition, a large surge in bookings for Summer 2021 is predicted, with some companies already seeing large influxes in numbers due to cautious travellers from the pandemic.  

 

So how can venues and visitor attractions prepare using tech solutions?

 

The primary aim will be to ensure visitors have confidence in their safety when visiting attractions. This could be by:

 

  • Using CCTV to monitor car parks, venues can monitor how many people are due to come through the gates
  • Digital tickets could be used to help with entry times via QR code scanning
  • Visitors will need to be informed, so digital billboards or notifications to people’s phones will help visitors make informed social distancing decisions
  • Contact tracing will be important to be able to let people know if they have been in contact with someone that has tested positive

 

Utilising the power of GPS to enable data driven decisions:

Tracking visitors on-site in real-time using GPS app based technology, such as Data Duopoly’s XplorIT is one example of how tech can help with contact tracing and aiding social distancing. We at Data Duopoly already use GPS tracking to send personalised incentives to visitors to drive increases in concessionary spending on-site.

 

Therefore, a natural progression for us is to develop a GPS enabled solution to the Covid-19 outbreak to help maintain social distance and facilitate data driven decisions. Using tech in this way, utilises the fact that 95% of people in Britain own a smartphone.

 

How does this work?

 

Firstly, the app that visitors can download will show them the busiest areas in real-time, and prompt them to visit when it is less busy, to help maintain social distancing. 

 

Secondly, if any visitor later reports they have Covid-19 symptoms, they can let the venue know. The venue can then find out who they may have been in contact with.

 

A walk through of a use case: 

 

  1. Let’s imagine people walking around a visitor attraction. If someone visits a specific exhibit like a water garden, entering at 3:04pm, and leaving at 3:30pm. The contact tracing app would know everyone else who had downloaded the app and was in approx. 3 m distance from the index person. 
  2. The visitor attraction would be in an informed position whether to contact those people to recommend self-isolation, to increase the cleaning of that particular area, or whether to take more drastic measures and contact everyone on-site on that day.
  3. This provides opportunities for venues to make informed decisions to protect their visitors.

 

We know that visitors expect a digital experience when they visit venues. This is only increasing with more people embracing technology during the lockdown who previously shunned it. For example, how many of you have had family video calls on platforms like Zoom, Skype or Google Hangouts during lockdown with family members who were using these platforms for the first time? These people will now expect a digital experience to complement their physical one post lockdown.

 

Embracing tech solutions that helps to keep visitors informed and alert during the pandemic, while also improving their visitor experience, ensures that tech helps long-term recovery!

 

Written By:

Tanuvi Ethunandan (CEO & Co-Founder at Data Duopoly)

Data Duopoly solve the issue of congestion and frustrations experienced by visitors by offering  personalised incentives to discover and navigate venues. Find out more at: www.dataduopoly.com

 

1Source: The South West Research Company ltd, Sept 2017

2PC: Cornwall Live