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Local Stakeholders Event - City of Venice

Published on 08/09/2022 (last modified 08/09/2022)


Feb 24, 2022 h.


University of Venice - Ca’ Dolfin, Aula Magna Silvio Trentin



An event organized through the 7 minutes game methodology

Through the 7 minutes game methodology, the 5 stakeholders groups have been invited to answer to the following questions:
1. As you heard in the presentation, "smart tourism" projects need to have data on mobility, tourist turnout, demand profiles, cultural and creative heritage, hospitality and services, on an ongoing, up-to-date basis. However, the data are collected and held in a fragmented way by different subjects: the Public Administration, Institutions, Associations, large and small companies. What could be the initiatives to ensure that each of these subjects, for their part, feels involved and is incentivized to give the system the data they collect (or could collect) during the exercise of their business?

2. At this moment, what do you think may be the main obstacles that prevent, especially small
operators, from fully entering the world of digital communication and data enhancement,
increasingly necessary to reach demand in a targeted way, to know its profiles, dialogue with
customers, narrating and enhancing the distinctive quality and competence of the offer?
What initiatives would help remove these obstacles?

3. The SLIDES project has experimented with a pilot action a type of initiative to promote and enhance the heritage of culture and creativity and the symbiosis with tourism. What other types of initiatives, new or even already implemented in the past and to be renewed, would you like to suggest? Are there any specific actions (training, communication, etc.), "rules", incentives, participation / involvement that could increase the chances of success and sustainability over time?

4. What are, in your perceptions, the future scenarios of the use of data in relation to tourism?
The discussion that followed highlighted some stakeholders’ needs and proposals that can be of interest to the development of the strategy:
● Some aspects were considered essential for a broad involvement, both of operators and visitors, in the collection and use of data. On the one hand, this refers to security and respect for privacy, and on the other, to the reliability of the information produced and disclosed. Note that sometimes visitors are not inclined to leave data: we are all tracked but who assures us that these data are respected and used correctly? Hence the need for systems that guarantee security and privacy.
● The ability to collect data and information and use them to manage the relationship with demand and communication is absolutely essential for businesses and organizations, even small and artisanal ones. But one aspect strongly conditions the development of practices: the scarcity of time and specific resources to dedicate. Companies focused on production have few resources to devote to understanding the public, welcoming it, using advanced communication tools.

There is therefore a paradox: the craftsman has understood that data can help him a lot, but for his type of customers and for his resources this is an individually unbearable cost. What solutions, towards what strategy?
Some indications suggest to promote:
- the use of "intelligent" tools that automate the collection of visitor data (beacons, sensors, etc.)
- the use of platforms that allow to collect and share data as easy as possible. However, it is not only a problem of accessible technology but also of establishing clear rules in order to create sufficient trust.

Individual entrepreneurs and organizations participate if they feel guaranteed and if they perceive the value both for everyone and for themselves.

Another interesting aspect is the advantage of complementarity: by putting together data from different types of operators (hospitality, transport, catering, crafts, museums, etc.) each one can benefit from information collect by others that he can't gather by himself and vice versa. The contents of the interactions that visitors have with the different types of operators and moments of their stay are also different: from faster and on large numbers, to more intense on smaller numbers.

With regard to initiatives for the promotion and enhancement of cultural heritage and creativity, the importance of differentiating the contents and forms of both communication and actions was underlined. There is a great need to exploit the peculiarities and specificities that only Venice can offer. Communication doesn't have to be trivial and flattened. The messages on the particularities of Venice and of living in Venice have to be univocal. Whoever communicates must know, not repeat automatically clichés.

It takes greater professionalism and profound knowledge of the city to mediate and communicate the city to visitors. There is a certain lack of interpretation of the city and of how to present it in a appealing but correct way.

Another aspect concerns the precision and authority of the communication. Certain information must come from easily recognizable official sources: it is necessary to understand when the institutions or subjects of the city are speaking in order to distinguish them from remote or less reliable sources (problem of image distortions, fake news, etc.).

A distinction was also made between collective tourism (of larger groups) and individual tourism (individuals and small groups). Often today the most attentive tourists are informed, they have their own beliefs. If you have to understand their needs and attitudes, however, you should also be more active and proactive to offer experiences that are detached from the stereotypes that visitors may have learned from the web. With particular reference to artisans and creative companies, it is necessary to take a step forward in storytelling and in interacting with visitors. Artisans are "producers of emotions" but it is not easy to communicate intensely and manage effectively a contact that sometimes lasts only a few minutes. There is also the problem of dialogue with so many different cultures and languages. There is a gap in skills and tools to fill.

It was suggested to try to involve subjects and actors of the city that are usually not very engaged. Artisans have limited resources to devote to promotion / communication. One hypothesis could be to involve them in school / work training projects, to be supported by young people. However, the initiatives must be structured in projects that involve several subjects to increase the opportunity to offer (collaboration with schools and training centers).
Other points reported concern the events and itineraries. For example, the Carnival brings a lot of people but then it is not aimed at discovering the city. Therefore, use data more to profile demand and organize differentiated paths to offer that bring together and enhance various subjects of heritage and creativity.

A development direction is also to organize a wider range of events on specific themes, focused on equally specific targets. There is the opportunity to capture different interest groups (music, art, fashion, etc.), even different in terms of experience. It is not just about imagining new events but also reinterpreting past events in a new way. For example, the Festa de la Sensa is a fair, why not expand it and spread it in different places in the city instead of just in the usual ones?

Another idea is to offer itineraries and routes with respect to various narrative keys: a new one could be that of a chronological reading of the city that would lead to distributing visitors in various parts. Some current trends, such as walking tours for example, can create a further trivialization: but in reality they are an opportunity to offer them with local skills and organizations. Riding the phenomenon to enter, alongside the banal tours, an offer of an "intermediate" level that may even be used as a train for offers of a high cultural level.

 With the aid of new digital technologies there is also the opportunity to offering a sort of kit to let the visitors create their itinerary by their own instead of only pre-established ones.
Finally, some observations regarding the use of web mass communication tools with respect to the objectives of enhancing specificity. The communication tools that are successful today are standardized on mass parameters. Social media communicate with levers that are based on a common perception that highlight stereotypes and simplifications that tend to flatten things. The challenge is to be able to collect a standardizable and normalizable data (therefore on large numbers) but able to represent the "differentiation", the richness of the particularities and then hand it back to audience and visitors. It is not easy to do a "marketing of specificities". It is easier to propose always the same things, focusing on points of interest that are easy to communicate, which cost zero to those who propose them and easy to resell. But the challenge of competitiveness and sustainability is to be able to propose different and peculiar experiences.

See the report

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