Tourism: Artificial intelligence continues to advance

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“Tourism demonstrates an important principle of data policy: those who set the right strategic course early on will have significant competitive advantages later,” said Digitization State Secretary Florian Tursky, referring to the tourism chapter of the Digital Action Plan. Among other things, it recommends setting up data rooms to support the networking of data from different sources.

Tursky explains: “Data alliances are crucial to success, especially in small-scale industries such as tourism. Austria Advertising recognized this early on and initiated a model example of a future-fit data space with the Tourism Data Space as early as 2022.” The State Secretary emphasizes that the Tourism Data Space relies on cooperation and networking with both European and European countries is particularly positive with significant regional initiatives (e.g.

Continuous improvement of the data situation in tourism

Tourism State Secretary Susanne Kraus-Winkler affirms: “The availability of high-quality and useful data is one of the most important success factors in the digital age. Data Spaces are the network node for tourism intelligence today and in the future. That's why improving the data situation in tourism is one of my main areas of focus." She sees particular potential in the use of anonymized mobile phone data: "In five pilot regions it has been shown that mobile phone data can significantly improve visitor flow management at tourism hotspots." Currently, ÖW, LTOs and destinations to jointly purchase comprehensive mobile phone data, with a feasibility study on further areas of application being developed. Kraus-Winkler says: “The biggest advantage of anonymized mobile phone data is that it is available almost in real time and enables conclusions to be drawn about the mobility behavior of our guests. This results in countless possible applications, from traffic management to target group-oriented further development of the tourism offering.”

As further current examples of improving the data situation in tourism, the State Secretary cites the measurement of tourism acceptance among the population (from 2024: more than 10.000 surveys per year), the KPI toolkit for destinations, the ESG data hub and the upcoming roll-out of a regional information and monitoring system (RESY).

Innovative use cases as pioneers

“In addition to sustainability, digitalization is one of the most important factors for the future competitiveness of Austria as a holiday destination. In Austrian advertising, we are therefore promoting the Tourism Data Space as a basis for a variety of data-based applications. And we already rely on artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality and data-based forecasts in our daily work,” Oliver Csendes, Chief Digital and Innovation Officer at Österreichwerbung. Austria Advertising has been using artificial intelligence to answer guest inquiries since summer 2023. The AI ​​chatbot “Austria Concierge” not only provides guests with individual answers to their questions about vacations in Austria. The anonymized evaluation of the incoming questions also offers the industry exciting insights into guest interests from the various origin markets. In another project, the ÖW is enabling virtual sightseeing flights over Austria with a hot air balloon model - a regular visitor magnet at trade fairs and an easy way for destinations to present themselves to potential guests with an immersive experience. The “Bad Ischl Augmented Reality Tour” will also start in spring 2024. The free smartphone app adds virtual experiences to three locations in Bad Ischl and makes history and culture come alive in an innovative way. In addition, Austria Advertising continually optimizes its forecasts and analyses, for example by examining consumer behavior in tourist regions using anonymized payment data.

Laptop (Photo: Unsplash/Thomas Lefebvre).
Laptop (Photo: Unsplash/Thomas Lefebvre).