All posts by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

storytellingTourism marketing

A benchmark life-changing experience: The Santiago Way

When it comes to think about life-changing experiences to showcase one of the intended missions of destinations 3.0, there’s no other like the Santiago Way. This is an old pilgrimage in the North of Spain that takes place since the middle age times. Starting in St. Jean Pied de Port, the last village in France before entering Spain through the Pyrenees mountain range, it has almost 800km, which usually take a month to be walked.

The Way ends in Santiago de Compostela, where the relics of St. James have moved people from all over Europe to do this pilgrimage for centuries. Nowadays people continue to do it, although not always for religious motivations. It is overall a spiritual journey, in which the real goal is not really to make it to Santiago but to connect with your soul and often challenge it to make a leap forward. It is also a journey to create new relationships, open people’s mindset and people’s heart, and rediscover everyone’s human authenticity. People from all countries, all ages and social conditions live together for a few days or weeks in the same conditions, facing very similar problems and concerns, and thus building mutual understanding and cross-cultural brotherhood.

The Way is a great but simple scenario where thousands of stories are created and inspired every year. This video shows a great story of friendship and challenge overcoming that took place there. Enjoy!

Business trendsInnovationstorytellingTourism marketingTourism trends

Inspiration for Mixed Reality projects

This article has been written by Robert Pratten, CEO of Conducttr and expert on Transmedia storytelling.

Over the years, we’ve been experimenting with the possibilities of combining storytelling and mixed reality elements. Here are some projects, tutorials or videos that show how Conducttr blends the digital with the physical.

voice assistants

Voice assistants

Create an Alexa skill that will trigger Conducttr and request information

How to create your Alexa Skill

virtual reality

Virtual reality

“Meet Lucy” is a VR experience that adapts the story depending on the prior interaction with characters in social media

Learn more about “Meet Lucy”

buttons

Buttons

Create physical triggers for any project using AWS buttons, that identify single, double and long clicks

Set up your AWS button

lighting

Lighting

Home automation can be used creatively for storytelling. Philips Hue is just an example on how lights can enhance your project.

See how Conducttr controls Philips Hue

sockets

Sockets

Connect your story to the physical space having Conducttr control SMS or Wifi sockets.

See SMS sockets in action

bluetooth beacons

Bluetooth beacons

Beacons detect the position of certain devices and trigger contents for your story

See how beacons are used in military training

Arduino

Arduino

Raspberry Pi and Arduino can communicate with the Conducttr engine using our Open API.

See how an Scalextric is moved by online conversation

NFCtags

NFC tags

Stickers with NFC tag can convert any object in the digital space into triggers for your story.

Get inspired with NFC cards used for wargaming
Make your book or comic interactive through NFC scanning

location based

Location-based

Your story can move forward when your audience is located in a specific place. Trigger using matchwords, QR codes or NFC tags.

Learn how to build a scavenger hunt

phone numbers

Phone numbers

Integrate SMS and real phone calls into your story, to personalize the story to the individual

Try a branching video story using SMS and calls
Experience a survival game on SMS

for everything else API

For everything else… API

Wearables, DIY projects and integration with other platforms can be achieved by Conducttr API methods and actions.

This article has been reposted with permission from http://www.tstoryteller.com/inspiration-for-mixed-reality-projects

storytellingTourism marketingTourism trends

Envisioning Mixed Reality in tourism destinations

Having seen how Augmented reality and Alternate reality technologies can help developing new cutting edge experiences and marketing strategies, it is now time to see what Mixed Reality Technology can bring to the tourism industry. This is the most complex of all, and so there are just a few examples to help us envision how this Technology may be leveraged to develop tourism experiences.

As it is defined in Wikipedia, “Mixed Reality is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time. Mixed reality not only takes place in the physical or the virtual world, but it is a hybrid of reality and virtual reality, encompassing both augmented reality and augmented virtuality via immersive Technology. Whereas Augmented Reality overlays virtual objects on the real world environment, Mixed Reality not just overlays but anchors virtual objects to the real world objects and allows the user to interact with combined virtual-real objects”.

Due to its sophistication and high cost, this Technology is not recommendable for all the experience prototypes proposed for Augmented reality, but specially for edutainment (educational entertainment) experiences related to old heritage site, which usually require too much imagination to understand how life used to be in these places during its Golden times. By overlaying the current site real images with the virtual ones, we get an accurate idea of the original scenario to help us having an immersive experience to the history of the site, almost like a Time Machine would.

This video shows us an excellent example on how Mixed reality can create edutainment experiences, namely in old heritage sites that have lost many of its assets, so to help us imagine how these sites used to be in the old times in the most realistic possible way.

 

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Characteristics of a Successful Online Marketing Campaign

Being flexible and current are two important characteristics to a successful online marketing campaign. The social media landscape is constantly evolving—whether it is the changing of an algorithm, a new feature, new trend, or even the inception of an entirely new social media platform. To run a successful online marketing campaign you must be knowledgeable of these alterations and have the ability to adjust your marketing strategy accordingly.

Adapting to Changing Rules

To understand what a change in “social rules” looks like and how it could be a game-changer in your online marketing campaign, take a look at this recent example. Just a week ago Facebook instituted a change which disallowed requiring someone to “like” your page before entering your contest, promotion or giveaway. This feature, coined “like-gate”, has been a significant factor in online marketing campaigns. In many cases, the main purpose of offering a contest or giveaway is to enhance a company’s social media presence.

In fact, many online marketing campaigns use “likes” as a metric for success. Does your contest now serve a purpose if it isn’t generating “likes”? If not, how can you modify your strategy to accommodate for this? These are crucial questions in ensuring your online marketing campaign meets its objectives.

Finding Solutions

In 2013, the states of Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi carried out a Plan to promote Geotourism development and contribute to the region’s competitiveness as a tourism destination. An online marketing campaign focusing on the Geotourism MapGuide was carried out, which promoted the US Gulf Coast States (USGCS) through an online interactive map, mobile application, and print map. USGCS’s first marketing campaign was called “Hidden Treasures” and was designed to demonstrate the MapGuide’s utility as a resource for lesser-known attractions in the region. The mechanism behind this campaign was a giveaway in which participants could win a trip to one of three weekend getaways in Vicksburg, MS; Lake Charles, LA; or Miramar Beach, FL.

In early 2014, radical shifts in the brand page design and user feed algorithm on Facebook forced a shift in how the platform could be used for marketing and engagement. Facebook applications, on which the “Hidden Treasures” campaign was largely built, were sidelined. This meant that apps were no longer a central component in a page’s interaction with a user. As a result, driving traffic to the application was more difficult, entries into the contest were low, and the campaign did not achieve its intended result. This algorithmic change was largely focused to drive advertisers to pay for sponsored or boosted content. To adjust for this, a second campaign was rolled out, “Summer in the South” which was adapted to better thrive in this environment by utilizing Facebook’s pay-for-play services. The adjustment proved successful, driving over 12,000 visits to the USGCS Geotourism website—nearly a third of the website’s 5 month total traffic in two weeks’ time.

Integrating New Platforms

In other instances, an entirely new social media platform may start trending. In 2012, while working on the North American Destination Marketing Campaign (NADM) for Namibia, Pinterest emerged onto the social media scene. Specific content focusing on recipes and weddings, for example a board for “Weddings in Namibia”, were created.  By staying current and on top of trends, a completely new audience was reached.

These are just a few examples of how to keep a close eye on changes in “social rules” and trends when running online destination and tourism marketing campaigns.  Being able to quickly shift to enhance clients’ performance is key to success. To achieve this, a campaign needs to be flexible. Flexibility may be reached through diversification, as seen in the USGCS example. If the USGCS online marketing campaign solely relied on the “Hidden Treasures” campaign, the entire project would have failed. Being current is also extremely important. The NADM’s campaign would not have been as successful had it not been adapted to the social environment and utilize Pinterest. In an environment that is constantly changing, effectively running an online marketing campaign that is both flexible and current will help ensure that your campaign reaches its objectives.

This article has been reposted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Geotourism%20Program%20with%20National%20Geographic

Business trendsCo-creationCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainabilityInnovation

Envisioning Alternate Reality Games for marketing destinations

Unlike Augmented Reality Games, Alternate Reality Games (ARG) are not mobile based but transmedia based and much cheaper to create. ARG cannot be explicitly a marketing product, but rather a marketing strategy, which turns into an experience itself and could be indirectly considered as a marketing product, so long as they are usually free although sometimes they end up involving some business too. They stand out by offering best practices in collaborative learning and problem solving, having been object of attention by scholars, private and public organizations for that reason. ARG design requires many different skills, and there are actually several profiles matching that role, such as storytellers, web designers, and puzzle creators, to shortlist the main ones.

ARG deny the difference between the real and the game world. Actually, the game takes place for those who discover that something is going on in the real world beyond the obvious, by identifying some codified information and decodifying it to figure the clues to start playing. Another unique feature of ARG is that there is no other marketing than word of mouth from players, who look for other players to help them in tackling the game’s challenges. These games rely on knowledge sharing among players to solve the challenges and use the internet as a platform for sharing knowledge, although the game uses all types of media to provide the information to the players. The game works like an interactive networked narrative using the real world as the game board and many different media channels to deliver clues and the story that is eventually co-created by the organizers and the players.

The games are driven by a story that takes place in real time and is developed through the contribution and reaction of the players. The story characters are controlled by the game designers –unlike computer games, where characters are controlled by artificial intelligence- and interact with players, solving plot-based challenges and puzzles through collaboration by analyzing the story and coordinating real-life and online activities. Players discover the story researching just as archeologists would, as the story is split into pieces throughout the media channels to challenge players in connecting those story pieces to make a coherent narrative. The game uses players’ real live as the platform, players not being required to build a character other than themselves. The game designers control most of the story but leave some room for contribution to the players, who end up being co-creators of the story to some extent. Furthermore, so long as the game evolves demanding more complex challenges, players need to recruit new co-players with specific skills or expertise. ARG have become a genre of gaming themselves, not just a one-time occurrence, as it appeared to be at first.

ARG are usually free to play, using various kinds of revenue sources such as supporting products or marketing deals with existing products. In the case of tourism, the price to pay would be that associated to visiting the destination, without discarding other sources such as marketing deals with brands that want to be associated with the destination brand to target players as potential customers. Actually, after the first successful ARG had appeared, many corporations started regarding such games as a potential marketing strategy to promote their business as an innovative and fan-friendly strategy. So far, the major trends regarding the funding strategy for large-scale ARGs are the development of game-branded products and also fees for participation in the game.

Curiously, beyond the games created for fun only purposes, the so called “Serious ARG” have also emerged, consisting of the same structure and functioning way but with a real-world problem as a driving challenge instead of a fictional one. The first one –World Without Oil– was centered about the vision of a world with shortage of oil, and others such as Tomorrow Calling tackle many environmental issues. This type of ARG approaches the idea –ingrained in the Vision of Tourism 3.0- of open innovation for tackling the social and environmental challenges, so long as ARGs are focused on collaborative problem solving, leveraging the collective intelligence, knowledge and imagination to design innovative solutions. The “Serious ARG” approach works as a marketing strategy to attract and engage contributors through the shape of a game.

So far, the ARG phenomenon has already reached millions of players in more than 177 countries, who participate both online and in live events in the streets. There is even an award at IndieCade for games that have a social message, shift the social perception of games as a medium, represent a new play paradigm, expand the audience or influence culture.

Moreover, there have been organized some ARG directly related to the tourism industry. In 2008, the American Art Museum organised an ARG called Ghosts of a Chance encouraging players to find new ways to engage with their art collection, attracting more than 6000 participants over six weeks. At the same year, McDonald’s and the International Olympic Committee launched an ARG to promote the Summer Olympics of Beijing, facilitating the participation of players from different countries running the game in 6 languages, and encouraging players to share information and interact with fellow co-players overseas. They used a sport celebrity as Game Master to promote the game and promised to donate US$ 100,000 to charity at the end of the game on behalf of players.

Prototypes such as those presented for Augmented Reality Games could be useful for Alternate Reality Games, namely the “Worldwide ARG tournament calendar”, the “Film story or local legend based game”, and mostly the “Collaborative challenge based game”, without discarding other options. Rather, inspiration should come from the “Serious ARGs” focused on tackling real-world challenges.

The ARG can therefore become a good strategy to find and engage new targets, neutralize tourism demand seasonality and also create long lasting positive impacts both for the visitors –through the life-changing experience provided by the game itself- and for the destination, so long as the game challenge is related to some of the social or environmental concerns of the destination stakeholders.

StrategyStrategy planning & execution

Competitive strategy development

This article is written by Robert Pratten, CEO at Conducttr, founder of Transmedia Storyteller Ltd. and blogger

Plans implemented without a rigorous challenge to the rationale and assumptions behind them run the risk of falling apart. Failure can be costly.

Considering a market entry strategy, for example, a business might make assumptions about how the incumbent will react only to find it is better prepared to fend off new entrants: the incumbent is quicker to discount and bundle its products and it exercises its influence to stall the new entrant’s distribution. Shouldn’t this reaction have been anticipated?

Now imagine using Competitive Strategy Development (CSD): the business creates two teams – one the new entrant and one the incumbent – and they challenge each other over a series of turns. No complicated and expensive market simulation is needed, just the intelligence of the opposing teams and a way to represent the market.

Maybe the exercise is about capturing the airwaves, capturing hearts and minds or capturing shelf space. Whenever battleground, CSD can be easily adapted to develop plans with better critical thinking and commercial resilience. At the end of the strategy session the teams will share their experience of competing against each other: not only the technical approaches but also the mindset, the feelings, the expectations.

It’s always about the people

Earlier this week we demonstrated our Black Swan strategy development suite (so called because of its intention to get teams thinking about the unknowable unknowns) using a scenario based around the arctic circle and the competition for natural resources there. The combination of old school physical cards and counters with technology serves several purposes:

  • Faster to implement
  • Greater immersion
  • Faster review
  • Detailed post-exercise decision analysis.

Placing teams in different rooms or in different parts of the world, they are unable to see the definitive moves made by their opponent and instead must experience their competitor’s tactics as they would in real life – via social media and public news media.

As the exercise unfolds, our storytelling technology generates simulated social media posts and TV reports while all the time allowing the exercise director to interject with her own “live” unscripted simu-tweets and TV reports.

As each adversary makes a move, we used our Android mobile app and NFC-encoded cards to quickly codify the decisions. Scanned cards reduce the time needed to document developments and ensure consistency and contemporaneous data (which is captured on an exercise timeline).

Conclusion

Plans developed in a vacuum usually wither and die at first breath. Far better then to have competing teams develop real implementable market strategies in an adversarial exercise. This approach will ensure more thoughtful, resilient and defendable approaches for the real world.

This article has been reposted with permission from http://www.tstoryteller.com/competitive-strategy-development

Business trendsCo-creationEnvironmental sustainabilityMarketing 3.0storytelling

Envisioning Augmented Reality Games in destinations

Following up with the previous article on Augmented reality (AR), where many key ideas were introduced, this one is to envision further storyliving and gaming experiences based on Augmented Reality.

Creating an Augmented Reality gaming experience is quite a daunting task, so long as the digital content overlays the real world, a suitable scenario is needed to match with the game and its digital content. So, ideally, the game has to be based to some extent on the tangible or intangible (stories, traditions, etc.) heritage of the destination to make it meaningful and effective as a marketing strategy. The game can work as a tool to educate players in the destination history as well as to move them to take action in contributing to some of the local challenges.

For tourism destinations 3.0, the challenge of destination based Augmented Reality games is not only to draw the attention of many visitors, but also to offer them a life-changing edutainment experience that allows them to develop new skills on collaborative problem-solving, conflict resolution, critical thinking, negotiation, mindfulness, etc. Ideally, the game should be designed for many participants to play at the same time in order to make them interact and develop some of these skills.

Further, other relevant features to be considered in such games would be many constraints related to the social and environmental concerns and challenges, to raise awareness and address them to some extent, also awaking the players’ human spirit and turning it into a life-changing experience.

Let’s envision some prototypes:

  1. Worldwide AR game tournament calendar: Imagine a game that is going on globally and so takes place in several destinations sequentially, as it happens with many professional sports tournament calendar, so to attract gamers to each of the destinations participating in the game.
  2. Film story or local legend based AR game: Imagine gamers playing the characters of a film or series broadcasted in a destination, or from a local legend where they can create their own story collaboratively based on the same characters or adding some new ones, in the same scenario.
  3. Videogame based AR game: Imagine using a popular videogame to create an AR game attracting many of its fan players to the destination to play their own character or some of the existing characters in the physical scenario of the destination. This is compatible with Type 1.
  4. Collaborative challenge based AR game: Imagine an AR game to turn a collaborative challenge -such as an environmental or social challenge- into a game to further engage many players and make them become contributors. Making things fun helps both attracting and engaging unusual contributors.

Although it does not incorporate Augmented reality, Geocaching  is a good example to showcase what a multiplayer mobile phone based game can be. Foursquare is an example to showcase collaborative contribution through the mobile phone related to tourism destinations, although it is not a game nor it has AR.

At present, Augmented reality is mainly based on the mobile screen showing the view of its camera and displaying the related digital content, but in the near future it will merge with alternate reality as long as the wearable technology becomes more widespread. This will allow enhanced versions of the games, more complex and also more immersive for the player.

Marketing 3.0StrategySustainabilityThird sector and social sustainability

Sustainable Tourism Development: Helping Revive Post-Conflict Destinations

One of the greatest and perhaps least recognized aspects of the sustainable tourism industry is the potential for economic growth and peace building in post conflict areas of the world. Working in these areas proves that not only does sustainable tourism have the incredible ability to preserve natural and cultural resources, but it can play a key role in the revival of economies and communities shattered by conflict.

The State of Tourism in post conflict areas

Some of the major problems faced by post conflict destinations are security based. The first hurdle in the revival of the tourism industry is making sure the destination is absolutely safe for visitors and pushing that message consistently across all channels of communication.

Another issue that arises in regard to security is rebuilding the destination’s image, as these locations are often perceived as degraded during times of conflict and violence.  It’s important to highlight that a destination’s cultural and natural heritage is alive and well by sharing high quality content about the destination, such as images, videos and copy.

The second set of issues facing post conflict destinations relates to infrastructure and human capital. Many times, after a long-lasting conflict like the civil war in Sri Lanka, many forms of infrastructure and many of the industries that service tourists are in poor condition, making it difficult for them to visit in a number of ways. For example, in some areas, roads may have become impassable; buildings may be dilapidated and need to be rebuilt. In order to sustain a tourism industry, these areas need rebuilding and basic resources restructured in order to revive their destination’s appeal and functionality.

How to restart the tourism activity

When setting goals for these destinations it is convenient to mirror that of a brand new, undiscovered destination, even if they had a tourism industry before the conflict. Through clear and coordinated communication between all stakeholders, the first phase of these strategies focuses on building the structures necessary to sustain the tourism industry.

A great way to kick start the tourism presence in these areas is to focus on regions that have not been affected by the conflict. A good approach is to promote off the beaten path, adventurous destinations and target tourists who are interested in those types of places. In each destination this might look different, but strategic marketing and promotion allows for such burgeoning markets to flourish.

Benefits & Outcomes

First and foremost, tourism in these countries means an influential source of capital. It provides economic opportunity through employment, ownership of businesses, and an increased market size. It also perpetuates personal and community empowerment by offering renewed opportunities for self-sustaining businesses and economies.

Tourism can also play a key role in reconciliation. It often unites communities that may have been broken or displaced during conflict around common interests and goals, fostering a sense of peace and cooperation that may not otherwise occur. In some cases, tourism can contribute to preventing the revival of a conflict in destinations with increasingly well-established tourism industries, as it contributes to a virtuous cycle of development and economic growth that would be threatened by the renewal of violence.

By rebuilding and strengthening culture, economy, and infrastructure, the tourism industry provides post conflict regions a chance to make a statement about their future to the world. These communities are able to showcase their homes as more than just what people see on TV news.

This article has been re-posted with permission from www.solimarinternational.com/resources-page/blog/itemlist/tag/Geotourism%20Program%20with%20National%20Geographic

Business trendsMarketing 3.0storytellingStrategyTourism marketing

How Pokemon Go can inspire tourism experiences: envisioning augmented reality in destinations (I)

As many of you already know Pokemon Go is one of the most popular Augmented reality games, where a fiction world with many kinds of monsters overlays the real world through the smartphone screen. No matter how unreal do the monsters appear to be, game players end up behaving as if they were real, as fiction and reality merge in their minds.

Somehow, the augmented reality game creates a new reality overlaying the real that gets players to act in the way the game wants them to. It is therefore interesting to imagine how this game could be reframed or just how this technology could be used to move players to take action on a more meaningful purpose such as contribution to a social or environmental challenge. So long as we make sense of the world through stories, creating or using an existing story and developing an Augmented reality game to let the individuals become an active part of the story may turn out to be a truly powerful tourism experience.

Moreover, so long as the story and the game are focused on a mission related to social or environmental concerns, they end up being a very creative and effective way to move people to take action in favor of such concerns. As we have read in previous articles, stories that have a message and inspire contribution are like intangible gold, and Augmented reality games can make them even more powerful to create the desired impact.

Stories can be leveraged from legends, novels, films, history and may serve as a framework to create a gaming experience, especially for the younger generations who are keener on digital game playing, as a conveyor to learn history or sciences of the environment, for instance. In the case of theme parks, amusement parks, zoos, and other themed leisure and entertainment attractions, Augmented reality games should rather be inspired by videogames with characters related to the theme.

Needless to say, such games should be limited to car free areas, so long as the players usually lose sight of the “physical reality” and so become unaware of the real dangers, namely vehicles. In the first case, related to historical or environmental heritage, the game ground could be a monumental area, an old town, a preserved area (natural park) or even a museum.

The upcoming articles are to bring more insights about Augmented reality, Alternate reality and Mixed reality as drivers for destination experiences.

Marketing 3.0Tourism marketing

Visitor Experiences are Still Job #1. Only More so!

This article is written by Bill Baker, Chief Strategist at Total Destination Marketing, author, speaker, and blogger at “Small City Branding around the world”.

Product, service and experience delivery are frequently missing from many destination branding strategies, however, in the future their inclusion will be essential to ensure that the place and its DMO remain relevant and competitive. They are also the foundation for establishing and expanding the local economy. This need hasn’t changed with the influence of digitalization, except that there are more channels available to connect with the customer and enhance their experiences.

Wherever visitors are in contact with the destination, the encounters must, to the greatest extent possible, be aligned with its brand promise. DMOs must orchestrate this through their collaboration with government, non-profit and business partners. There can be no gaps between expectations and the reality of the place. Delivering outstanding experiences is more important than ever. A bad experience will spread like wildfire and negatively impact your brand. Without DMO leadership, who will monitor the experiences and expectations?

So much commentary regarding social and digital media speaks of customer-focus and relevance, however they seem to be speaking primarily in terms of communication and not in regard to delivering the core experiences that the place stands for. These same principles should be applied to product development and experience delivery. Given the transparency and depth of information available to consumers, the investment in quality experiences to stimulate positive word of mouth and increased media exposure has never been more acute.  The days of boosterism, over-promising and under-delivering have long gone for places that want to establish sustainable brands.

This article has been re-posted with permission from http://citybranding.typepad.com/city-branding/page/2/