"Smart data in tourism" Round Table

27. January 2020, Olaf Nitz

How do you get 50 top decision-makers in the tourism industry from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg and South Tyrol to take two days off?

We did just that by inviting them to an event on smart data in tourism in the Ötztal.

In mid-January, representatives of companies and destinations of various sizes met in the AQUA DOME in Längenfeld and at over 3,000 meters in the ice Q on the Gaislachkogel and exchanged their views on the current trend topic of the tourism industry.

Smart data in tourism

On the first day, Martin Schobert, Managing Director at Saint Elmo's Tourismusmarketing, introduced key tourist issues to the topic of smart data, and Cornelius Obier, Managing Director of Project M, presented the status of data management in Germany from the point of view of tourism consulting. In his lecture, he worked out many examples and challenges. The image that probably all of the participants remembered most is his warning of the behavior of the lemmings. Strategies and activities must match the respective individual requirements of the destination – and are not equally recommendable for everyone.

Appropriately, there was a deep and very different insight into practice. Approaches to the topic of tourism data were presented in practice from six destinations:

  • Reinhard Lanner, Chief Digital Officer at Österreich Werbung, reported on the NETA (Next Level Tourism Austria) project and the planned data hub, which is even mentioned in the new Austrian government program.
  • Mathias Schattleitner, Managing Director of Schladming-Dachstein Tourismusmarketing GmbH and Josef Schirig, Managing Director of the Serfaus-Fiss-Ladis Tourist Association reported on their joint project of the guest loyalty program. The collaboration of two top destinations in a data innovation project is remarkable.
  • Andreas Braun, Managing Director of TM Baden-Württemberg, presented data management in Baden-Württemberg, how the recording of all POIs, events and catering businesses and direct marketers is orchestrated and pointed out the challenges between central strategy and decentralized maintenance of the content.
  • Sandra Zenhäusern, Head of Marketing & Sales at Zermatt Bergbahnen AG, presented what is probably the most-discussed case. Bonefire AG was founded in Zermatt by various stakeholders, and is responsible for developing tools for digitalizing the Zermatt – Matterhorn destination.
  • Oliver Schwarz, Managing Director of Ötztal Tourismus, presented on how they optimized internal and external cooperation.

Guest data and CRM

One trend was very present in almost all practical examples: The topic of guest data and CRM. Many destinations are starting to work with this data and are increasingly concerned with customer and guest loyalty. In our work, too, we see one of the most important development areas here, which brings both guest benefits (through personalization) and added value for businesses and destinations (efficiency in communication and value creation).

Finally, for the first day, I was able to summarize and illuminate the entire stage of tourism data. The focus was that the topic is viewed holistically and that the use of data has a lot of potential and aspects – even beyond open data.

Visibility as part of the data strategy of Tirol Werbung

On the second day, Patricio Hetfleisch, head of the Tirol Werbung media house, held the opening keynote, focusing on the topic of visibility as part of the Tirol Werbung data strategy. A key message was that destinations should increase their scope for action in the customer journey. He also showed the approach of the "Digital Data & Analytics Lab Tirol", where in the future various data experts from Tirol Werbung and MCI will work together on the topic of tourism data.

Bastian Zimmermann then gave our sister agency a look outside the box into other industries. He provided insights into examples from the airline and banking industries and showed how technology can be used to make personalized communication successful. His appeal here was not to be put off by the complexity and to start with small use cases.

In working groups, the participants discussed the disciplines of CRM, marketing, transaction data and sales, what needs to be ensured internally in the organizations in development, how the processes can be optimized, the benefit for guests can be worked out and how ultimately an increase in value added can be achieved with data.

Finally, a top-class panel consisting of Gregor Matian from Salzburg Land Tourismus, Patricio Hetfleisch from Tirol Werbung, Karl Mitteregger from TTG Oberösterreich and Thorsten Rudolph from Hochschwarzwald reflected on the next steps for the successful use of tourism data. It was an appeal not to fall into the complexity trap and to start with existing data and tools. It was also important for the panelists to emphasize that without networking and cooperation, a destination cannot be successful here and the know-how must first be built up.

As organizers, we look forward to the good exchange and exciting insights and are already planning the next in-depth event on the subject of smart data.

We have summarized the content of our first workshop on smart data in tourism 2019 in a workbook.

Saint Elmo's Tourism marketing

Saint Elmo's
Tourism Marketing

August-Everding-Straße 25
81671 München

T: +49 (0)89 46 23 72 0

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