Travel and tourism is a top five industry in the UK, responsible for £106bn of revenue across sectors including travel agents, accommodation, food and drink, and cultural activities. The travel industry uses digital signage because it plays an important role in the ongoing growth of businesses, at home and abroad, providing both businesses and customers with important services.
Interactive screens, live data streams, wayfinding guidance and tourist information services are prime for large format digital screens. These services help tourists and tourism workers connect to places – enhancing the tourist experience and the way in which tourism professionals can market and engage with customers.
Cultural information points
Large format digital screens and information kiosks are commonplace in museum and exhibition environments. Within a weather-proof casing, many tourism centres and places of interest are beginning to move these digital signage outdoor information points. In Barcelona, information points are being updated with large format touchscreen displays.
These enable tourists to select their preferred language, find places of cultural interest and important information on each spot. The city’s La Rambla, a 1.2 kilometres strip in the heart of the city, for example, has five touchscreen information points scattered along it. These can be accessed by tourists not only to highlight accommodation and hotels, but also to point out many of the often-hidden cultural highlights of the street, including the Joan Miró designed cobbles and the world-famous La Boqueria Food Market.
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Helping visitors find their way around a tourist destination is a further way in which digital signage and large format displays are being deployed. In 2013, the New York Department of Transportation launched its WalkNYC program – unveiling a series of digital kiosks and a graphic identities that provided information to travellers looking for directions. While encouraging tourists to walk around Manhattan the kiosks used beacon technology to pinpoint locations and deliver clear directions to places of interest – even suggesting nearby landmarks and places of interest tourists might otherwise have missed.
In some cases, digital signage kiosks can offer extraneous services that offer visitors a service while engaging with them. On beaches and other remote locations where 3G data services might be weak or even non-existent, digital kiosks can double up as Wi-Fi access points. The tourism information board at Barry Island in Wales deployed digital kiosks in exactly this way in the summer of 2016, offering internet access to beach goers in exchange for valuable sign-up details. Tourists are asked to complete a short questionnaire before being granted Wi-Fi access, helping to build an tourist-information board database and hone marketing messages and local business services that might be of further interest. Visitors can use the touchscreen kiosks to book beach huts for the day, and also view information such as weather reports and tide tables.
Digital signage and large format displays deployed in tourist information points can also deliver important local news to people from outside of the region. Whether it’s traffic reports or advertising events and exhibitions, the innate ability of digital signage to be constantly updated and feed live data streams makes it hugely effective at delivering this type of information.
Digital signage also enables local businesses and services to advertise and reach visitors, engaging them more deeply than printed brochures or posters. Local restaurants and hotels can advertise specific rates and offers, while exhibitions and activity-based businesses can reach tourists with address information, pricing and opening times – helping spread the flow of tourist revenue throughout a specific area.
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