In order to find out the main problems and needs of the market, we took inspiration from research, own experience and interviews. We thought that this was going to be the best combination to identify the main issues concerning visitor attractions. After our research, we quickly came to the conclusion that weather in general and weather dependability played a huge role in the success of attractions. For example, Day et al. (2012) and Dodds (2010) found that weather definitely has an impact on the decision-making process of tourists on which destination or attractions to visit. Also, the interviews with employees and visitors backed the identification of this issue.
When we found out that due to climate change, weather is getting more and more unpredictable, we decided to work on a solution that tackles this very issue. We tried to come up with a solution suitable for all the different stakeholders, for example, tourists, DMOs and the attractions. This is where we maybe bit off more than we can chew, as in the end it seemed that we were working too broadly and trying to solve multiple problems at the same time, which made it harder to come up with a viable product
– Research at the Salzburg Zoo
About 95% of tourists use digital tools in search of the best experience before, during and after travelling and access a dozen number of websites and apps in search for their desired destinations. Booking through mobile devices has increased in recent years and is expected to reach 25% of all online transactions. Taking into consideration all of the above, GOAT allows tourists to browse attractions which are available nearby, with ticket prices based on the local weather predictions. Another feature that the app offers to the customer, is the convenience of having all the purchased digital tickets stored in the app’s eWallet.
The weather impacts the proﬁtability of the DMOs in several ways, including reducing or increasing demand for a destination and reducing or increasing customer satisfaction after visiting the destination. GOAT helps to manage part of the attraction ticketing and by doing so it can reduce queues, increase the number of visitors on less busy days, whilst boosting the visibility of the individual attractions and their profit. Also, GOAT will support and increase the number of visits of rural destinations which are not so commercialised or publicly recognised.
The GOAT application uses a dynamic pricing algorithm, based on the weather forecast, availability and historical data, to encourage price sensitive customers to visit underutilised attractions. It combines the offers of a diversity of attractions in a single application, supporting attractions to overcome sales shortfalls due to bad weather conditions and simultaneously to promote their activities through in-app ads. This can be done online through our website or via our mobile application, on which the tickets can also be stored and displayed for use. From the customer perspective, GOAT is an intermediary that specialises in tourist attractions, providing a platform through which customers can search for, select, and purchase attraction tickets in destinations around the world. Moreover, every type of tourist attraction can benefit from using the application, from major tourist attractions in big cities to small-sized attractions in Austria’s mountain regions. The app will be attractive for the attractions, as it solves a big part of the weather dependability most tourist attractions have to deal with.
– Prototype GOAT application
The app has three revenue streams, the first and largest of which is commission. Between 10% and 20% of each ticket purchased via the app is taken as commission. The commission rate is dependent on the size of the attraction, the number of tickets made available via the app as well as any other contract conditions such as platform exclusivity. As the platform expands additional commission-based revenue will be generated through the inclusion of additional ancillary sales within each attraction, such as specific tours or events.
With multiple attractions competing for customers on the platform we will also generate revenue from sponsored listings. These will allow for attractions to purchase premium space among premium listings. Additional advert revenue could also be generated from restaurants and accommodation, paying to be listed alongside attractions which they are close to.
As the application requires the use of GPS in order to provide attraction recommendations, we will accumulate large amounts of geo-data displaying movement patterns. This could be anonymised and sold to DMOs as another revenue stream or could be used in part of a cooperation agreement with DMOs to offer the platform in their destination.
– Brainstorming session
Interviewing customers for problem identification, the customer journey mapping, continuous process of prototype testing, sharing and discussing our problems and ideas and the vibrant mood within the group were important in coming up with a solution for attractions, DMOs and travellers. However, due to time constraints we could not test our prototypes at the same attractions we visited for our problem identification. After presenting our pitch to experts from different sectors in the tourism industry, our problem was deemed a major problem for both indoor and outdoor attractions. However, our solutions in providing an online ticketing system for attractions in the form of an app that could also help DMOs spread visitors within destinations and avoid overcrowding and simultaneously show all attractions in destination in a single app was not viable to the experts. The two major reasons were: there is already a company (Guideme) offering a similar service in Austria and we did not consult the DMO of Salzburg city to find out how many Salzburg cards they sell in a year which includes free transport and entry to attractions in Salzburg that could have helped in our income projection. Nevertheless, an insight into offering a revenue management system for attractions as a solution of weather dependability was recommended by the experts instead of online travel agents.
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