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Wrapping Up Season 1 with Dr. Alessandro Inversini
We wrap up the first season with Dr. Alessandro Inversini, Associate Professor at EHL Hospitality Business School. He is expert in marketing communication, digital communication and digital marketing with extensive academic and industry experience.
Transcript (in English) Hello and welcome to the final episode of Season 1 of the Resilient Tourism Podcast Series. This is Alessandro Inversini and I will try to take you through some of the key lessons learnt and future ideas. We have had the privilege of conducting 15 interviews with various tourism stakeholders from different parts of Switzerland. Our goal was to share success stories about data-driven digital transformation to inspire Travel and hospitality professionals towards shaping the future – or I must say the present – of our industry digital transformation. Moreover, cultivate a culture of digital and data-driven innovation. We hope that you enjoyed listening to these episodes as much as we have enjoyed meeting and learning from these professionals who all share a passion for tourism. Before starting a bit of housekeeping: as you may know by now, this podcast was created under the Innosuisse-funded Flagship Resilient Tourism project. For those who are interested in the project, I invite you to consult our website www.resilienttourism.ch. This flagship is a 4-year project – we are about to close the first year of operations soon. It involves 5 research institutions in Switzerland and more than 30 implementation partners from the Swiss travel industry. The aim is to proactively respond to the digital transformation challenges in the wider travel sector by creating a valuable partnership between academia and industry. One of the key points for us as partnership is also to create a Thought Leaders platform: this year, we wanted to feature Swiss-based innovation. In few seconds, I will also tell you what is cooking for next year. But first things first, let’s have a look back on season one to pinpoint the key learning elements. Throughout the season, we've had a diverse panel of tourism experts, including hospitality and tourism professors, consultants, entrepreneurs, technology providers, a small hotel owner, and destination marketers and managers. They've shared their experiences and recommendations related to the digital transformation of the tourism industry. They all tried to show pragmatic solutions to the problems they have been faced to. As we wrap up Season 1, we would like to share some of our key conclusions based on the interviews we conducted: First, there is a lack of quality and quantity of data available in tourism. Despite the growing importance of data, many organizations struggle to collect, manage, and analyze data effectively. This is partly due to the fragmentation of the tourism industry and the different data sources involved. Secondly, effectively using data to improve the customer experience and boost business performance is also very challenging. Many organizations struggle to translate data insights into actionable strategies that can benefit their customers and their business. As a result, the needs of the customers are often partially understood. Lastly, the tourism and hospitality industry is still quite traditional and requires a lot of human intervention. This makes it difficult to understand how to find the right balance between technology and human interactions. But, as we’ve learned from our guests, there are plenty of options to solve – or at least work with - these data related issues. Here are some of the ideas which came out in the podcasts : for example, it would be helpful to create a common data infrastructures to consolidate data from different stakeholders and open to interested parties; this will help in acquiring new analytic and management tools for real-time and forecast projections; data could be used to identify trends in customer behavior by analyzing for example customers’ feedback; or develop innovative business models or service innovation that will generate massive amounts of data to improve the tourist experience. This is crucial: the information collected should always aim to improve our customer experience, our guest experiences in a nutshell. I would like to talk about a few concrete examples that show the diversity of projects and possibilities that data-driven projects can offer. Please do forgive me if I am not mentioning all the contributors; I do acknowledge the importance of each one of them in building this podcast series, but I am just exemplifying with a few examples what was discussed by many, if that makes any sense. •In our interview with Vincent Bailly, director of the Lavaux World Heritage Association, we saw that the association aims at analyzing flows and tourist behaviors by collecting different data sources (for example Vincent mentioned Swisscom mobile data). What is interesting in this project is that the overarching goals of it are not only to monitor the tourist behavior, but also to understand and to some extent to shape the evolution of the relationship between the different travelers and the locals towards maintaining the site on the UNESCO list. There is a clear link here between the sustainable management of a destination and data-driven strategies, which is very interesting. Similarly, Ticino Turismo has achieved to obtain a lot of data insights on their tourists by simply digitizing the Ticino Ticket, which is the travel card that every tourist use across the Canton. Finally, Saas-Fee is also able to forecast the occupation rate up to 90 days, simply by having in place a fully digitalized customer registration process and a customer journey companion. These projects do not only allow to get a better understanding of the things happening in the territory, but also to then trigger new products or communication that are proven by data, or built upon data •On a smaller scale, Sebastian Schmid from Hotel Glocke has also shown us that digitalization does not always mean big projects such as the previous ones. For a small hotel, a small restaurant or any small tourism provider, it might just mean using digital tools, such as a PMS, a CRM, feedback systems…) that will allow them to automate some processes and allow the staff to become more available to spend more time with the customers. This is, by the way, the idea behind Hoxell, represented in this podcast by Julia Geffers. Her main message was that digital tools help to seamlessly communicate with the guests – but also with the staff to smoothly run front and back of the house. We had many other examples of digital projects in these podcasts, which all involved different usages of data and for different purposes. Whether it is for improving processes and profit, enhancing the customer experience, understanding better the customer behavior, adding new digital options, or even monitoring the market, there are a lot of possibilities and reasons to shift towards a digital transformation. But, if we had to choose the most important learning point of this season, it would be the following : most of our interviewees agreed that collaboration, knowledge sharing, and resource mutualization are crucial in our industry. Therefore, it seems clear that the wider industry needs to work together to adopt a digital transformation mindset based on data-driven solutions. We believe that digital technologies will play a crucial role in the present and future of tourism. While we don't aim for a 100% digital industry – c’mon we are still a people-to-people industry where human touch often is more important than having the right technology. To conclude, I’d like to extend our thanks to all the people who participated in the podcast. Our interviewees, and who operates behind curtains. Especially my two partners in crime Amélie Keller and Prof. Maggie Chen. Also all the other contributors such as Beatrice, Anna, Michelle and Timo. Thank you all for your contribution. Thanks to Innosuisse and all the Flagship partners, without whom this podcast couldn’t have been done. For more information about our Resilient Tourism project, visit our website at resilienttourism.ch . Looking ahead to Season 2, we plan to expand our reach internationally and conduct in-depth one-on-one interviews with, this time, a more critical approach to the digital transformation of the field. We'll gather insights from the Swiss tourism sector as well as from professionals, professors and businesses in other countries, in order to try to reply to all of your questions and doubts regarding the digital transformation of the travel sector. We're excited to continue this journey with you, so stay tuned for more! See you soon. A bientôt. Arrivederci. Bis Bald.
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