Digital and mostly mobile solutions are now indispensable in tourism. But which are the right ones for your own purposes?
To avoid falling into expensive traps, here are a few basic tips for digital solutions:
Whether it’s a virtual guest folder in a hotel, an outdoor app for tourists, conference technology or virtual reality: digital solutions are only as good as the infrastructure they require.
In most cases, a – free – Wifi network must be available. And it must be area-wide, seamless and, above all, powerful. After all, there is a big difference whether the network is mainly handling e-mail and web surfing or digital solutions with high data volumes. Because as soon as more than 40-50 people want to stream or download videos or virtual reality content simultaneously, most networks are overloaded.
Then nothing works anymore! Result: Annoyed guests!
So don’t get lulled by maximum download times, ask the providers for (guaranteed) minimum download times!
In outdoor areas, the creation of an area-wide Wifi network is extremely expensive and time-consuming. Because you don’t just need electricity including the expensive laying of cables. But also weatherproof devices, which are much more expensive than those for indoor use.
Digital solutions with beacons, on the other hand, can be operated with batteries. However, this is very maintenance-intensive and susceptible to vandalism or theft.
Instead of using Wifi, data transmission can of course work via an already existing mobile phone network. However, this can mean high data roaming charges for guests. And there must be no “dead spots” in the planned area of application! But such dead spots are very common outside inhabited areas, i.e. mainly in “untouched nature”, especially in hilly terrain and in the mountains.
First of all, think about what infrastructure is feasible and affordable. And when choosing digital solutions, pay attention to the amount of data that needs to be transmitted over the network.
Large campsites, highly frequented tourist attractions and places visited by large groups (e.g. cruise ships) should avoid solutions with high data volumes at all.
For network problems, it is best to choose offline-capable solutions!
So it should actually be clear that the digital solutions must function reliably on site.
However, there are QR codes time and again in places where there is no network reception at all.
Or guests get angry, when battery has been drained by the online app within a very short time.
And there are lots of apps that offer no added value compared to the website, but instead may cause high roaming costs.
Since Corona, digital solutions with rental equipment are absolutely frowned upon for reasons of hygiene. Apps for your own smartphone are therefore a much safer and practical solution. But guests only enjoy apps that are really well made: Fast, intuitive to use, running on as many mobile devices as possible, and of course with content that is exciting and helpful.
A no-go is in-app advertising that pops up without being asked, while you want to call up information about the hiking trail in the forest.
Choose only contactless digital solutions. Because every rental device and every touch screen installation is a hygiene risk.
Have your app produced only by providers who have the appropriate references! Of course, the IT man in the village can also program an app. But without a sound knowledge of customer expectations and requirements for touristic digital solutions, the result will probably just be an expensive shelf warmer.
As a first step, it makes sense to create an exact catalog of requirements: What are my goals, what resources are available for the implementation, what infrastructure is feasible at all, and which technologies best fit my needs.
And of course all requirements regarding content, navigation, content management and promotion of the solution.
Only then start looking for the appropriate digital solutions.
And you don’t have to reinvent the wheel! Because a completely new development is always a greater risk – financially, time-wise and also in the result.
Therefore it is wise to choose already existing, proven products. And future-proof technologies from suppliers, who will still be on the market in a few years’ time and who are constantly developing their digital solutions.
Invest in advance in the advice of experts who will help you draw up a catalog of requirements, find the right digital solutions and conclude a contract with the chosen provider. This investment is worthwhile, because you will get the best price-performance ratio for your digital solution.