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How emerging tech can help the Visitor Economy #2

A second webinar bringing together tech companies and the Visitor Economy resulted in an insightful session where both sides talked about the issues they have faced and the changes they have made in the face of the pandemic.

From touch screens to touchless tech

Evoke Creative – a Wirral based company best known for their touch screen technology in the likes of McDonalds and JD Sports – was immediately impacted when touch screens were suddenly seen as germ spreading interfaces. The company was already looking at antimicrobial innovation for the screens but saw the pandemic as an opportunity to pivot the business and offer a new range of services. Touchless temperature checkers for entry points of venues, which incorporated hand sanitisers, and people counters have been added to their product list. Joining McDonalds supplier meetings – with around 400 others – gave Evoke insight into all the impacts of Covid-19 on the restaurant chain. And as Commercial Director Simon Taylor remarked, “Love them or loathe them McDonalds is a good barometer of what’s going on in the industry”.

While this new screening technology is not mandatory it gives consumers faith that the venue is operating in their best interests and keeping them safe.

Evoke understands that the investment for such units needs to have a long term benefit so they have built in legacy features which will help venues manage capacities and map customer movements.

Make your data work for you

Tim Roberts from DATP, based at the Innovation Centre in Daresbury, took us on a journey of customer data and how businesses can use this for better customer profiling and targeting. By collecting GDPR compliant data from web visitors to check in desks gives you a wealth of information but the tech really gets clever when it pulls out the relevant parts that help you reach your potential consumers at the right time, in the right place. DATP is keen to further develop it’s NEO product by working closely with the hospitality industry so if you are looking for a data solution then do contact Tim (details on the presentation) to understand how this can help and see if you can be one of five companies to trial this for free during Q3 2020.

Be in charge of the information

Connor Di Leo from Zooniversal gave us a run through of the potential of QR Codes – from being able to access basic information on your phone such as restaurant menus, all the way to providing the visitor to Liverpool with all the tourist information they could wish for. The potential for QR Codes has not been realised in the UK and it’s a relatively simple tech to adopt. Most people have smart phones with QR Readers and it means that venues and destinations are in control of the information shared to users rather than them resorting to Google for what they are looking for.

Find new ways of supporting entertainers

Connor also gave us a snapshot of his utopian view where consumers can ‘tap to pay’ for the live performance they are enjoying. At present the music industry makes it almost impossible for grass roots musicians to make a living from performing and selling new work. His technology, currently in development to be trialled in Liverpool music venues, gives musicians a chance to survive and gain traction, and gives consumers the choice of how they want to support them.

Be mindful of accessibility and consumer behaviour

Lastly Laura Pye who heads up National Museums Liverpool talked about the process she and her team have gone through to open our beloved museums safely. Track and trace set them back in opening as they weren’t in the habit of collecting customer data with the museums being free. However, they were able to adapt the technology they had for ticketing their temporary exhibitions to issue free tickets to visitors and ensure they captured the data needed for track and trace (in a compliant manner).

They have been encouraging those able to book online to do so but even with this ongoing campaign are finding that 50% are arriving without having booked showing that you can’t always legislate for consumer behaviour. People without access to the internet also need to be catered for to prevent exclusion so NML staff have been on hand to help them register at the entrances. This mix of technology and staff support is likely to be the solution for a while to come.

Using QR Codes to register people, and customer counters within the museums, also helps to manage through flow and ensure social distancing is adhered to.

Laura’s experience is useful to hear form the tech perspective to understand the biggest pinch points in opening tourist venues to the public and the way her team have had to overcome them.

As was mentioned in the webinar there are funded programmes such as: LCR4 Start to help businesses take their first steps on their digital journey; New Markets 2 which may be able to contribute up to 35% of the cost of commercial advice to undertake a new project; and the new LCR Future Innovation Fund that wants to invest in the innovative businesses that have solutions to overcome the challenges caused by the pandemic and can commercialise new products quickly.

If you have a tech solution for the Visitor Economy or if you are a hospitality business looking for tech solutions please contact helen.cross@growthplatform.org about how to get involved in the conversation and future webinars.

Watch the webinar