7 recommendations for making your tourism destination smart

Tourists visit all kinds of destinations, but we still know very little about the tourists themselves. Where do they come from, what do they do, what do they spend and what do they like? To find out this, it is important to have data and information in good order.

How do you make tourist destinations smarter?

On behalf of ETFI, I work at DataFryslân as program leader Tourism & Recreation. At DataFryslân I am working on this data puzzle. In this blog I give 7 recommendations on how you could make tourist destinations smarter.

1. Statistics upgrade
Improve existing statistics by making them available at a lower level than just the provincial level.

2. Quantitative basis
Provide a quantitative basis where large-scale patterns become clear. This gives you insight into an order of magnitude, tourist movements over time and space and spending patterns. Think of telephone data, transaction data, GPS data, Google Analytics, apps to indicate visitor pressure or crowding.

3. Qualitative deepening
Look for the qualitative depth such as information about motives, activities or appreciation. You can do this through research on the small scale of the destination itself. Where possible, make use of the fresh and critical view of students.

4. Online resources
Experiment with “new” online resources such as AirBnB, TripAdvior, Twitter, satellite images, photos or videos.

5. New techniques
Work with new techniques such as web scraping, automated text analysis, modeling, training of neural networks through Machine Learning and Deep Learning. Try to automate things as much as possible.

6. Collaboration is key
Collaborate structurally in collecting data, so that you can benchmark between, for example, different municipalities. This allows you to learn from each other as not everyone has to reinvent the wheel and you can see how everyone is doing compared to the other.

7. Horizontal and vertical cooperation
Collaborate vertically in addition to horizontal. Learn from what is conceived and developed at other scales (provincial, national, international).

Are you missing an important recommendation? Please let me know so I can update this list.

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Jasper is an expert in tourism analytics and data science.