Online marketing and e-commerce for tourism: the Open Platform approach


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Presentation given at the 10th International Conference on Information Management, Sopot, Poland, June 2011. Covering development and deployment of the National Tourism Open Platform (EnglandNet) by VisitBritain and UK tourism industry partners.

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Online marketing and e-commerce for tourism: the Open Platform approach

  1. 1. Online marketing and e-commerce for tourism: the Open Platform approach Andrew Daines Freelance Travel and Tourism Consultant 10th International Conference on Information Management, Sopot, June 2011
  2. 2. Agenda• Introducing the UK tourism industry• Development of EnglandNet / National Tourism Open Platform (NTOP)• Stakeholder relationships and commercial models• Performance• Future direction, opportunities and challenges
  3. 3. UK Tourism Headlines• Tourism is worth £115.4 billion to the UK economy, 8.9% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (source: Deloitte, The economic contribution of the Visitor Economy: UK and the Nations, June 2010)• UK currently ranks 6th in terms of international arrivals (source: Deloitte, The economic contribution of the Visitor Economy: UK and the Nations, June 2010)• In 2010: – 29.6 million overseas visitors spending £16.7 billion – 116 million domestic overnight trips, worth £20.4 billion Sources: International Passenger Survey / United Kingdom Tourism Survey (UKTS)
  4. 4. UK national tourism organisations• VisitBritain – funded by UK Government Department for Culture, Media and SportStrategic Partners:• VisitEngland – funded by VisitBritain• Visit Wales - incorporated within the Welsh Assembly Government• VisitScotland – funded by the Scottish ParliamentOther partners:• Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Isle of Man Tourism, Guernsey Tourism, Jersey Tourism
  5. 5. Recent and on-going trends• UK tourism industry fragmentation• Devolution of UK nations• Regionalisation localisation in England• Tourism delivery structural changes
  6. 6.…….at the time of the first International Conference on Information Management
  7. 7. Accommodation data – pre-2005 Scotland TRIPS interface Britain Visitor CentreNorthern England TRIPS interfaceCentral England BTA OverseasTRIPS interface offices Leased lineSouthern England connections TRIPS TRIPS interface Database South West England TRIPS interface London TRIPS interface Wales TRIPS interface BTA / ETB TRIPS interface
  8. 8. TRIPS database• Reasonably comprehensive in terms of quantity of data, but limited in depth• Data collected and managed by, national and regional tourist boards• Data updated once per year• Extracting data difficult – distribution limited to, overseas offices and Britain Visitor Centre
  9. 9. TRIPS product record - 2000
  10. 10. Evolution ofDestination Management Systems (DMSs)• Destination management ‘in a box’• Product database at its core – Mechanism to collect and manage data• Product data populates a variety of services• ‘Self-service’ or ‘serviced’ models• Long-standing DMS suppliers: – Tiscover – New Vision Group (NVG) – New Mind
  11. 11. DMSs emergence in the UK – late 1990s onwards Call centreDestinationManagement Website Product databaseSystem Brochure production KioskDestination WebsiteManagement Product databaseSystem Tourist Information Centre Member commsDestination WebsiteManagement Product databaseSystem Hotel TV
  12. 12. Destination Management Systems• Met the requirements of the destination, in terms of functionality and budget• Product data much richer than TRIPS• Ability of offer lots of services to tourism businesses – but limited distribution opportunities available
  13. 13. Overall situation• Duplication of effort regarding product data management – Confusion for tourism businesses and visitors – Inconsistencies• No national value-add services (e.g. booking)• Limited distribution of content• Failure to meet consumer and industry expectations
  14. 14. A call for action• 2001: the year of: – Foot and Mouth outbreak in the UK – Large parts of country devastated by flooding – Fuel crisis – 9/11 Terrorist Attacks• 2002: English Tourism Council: – E-tourism in England strategy – Partnership formed with the 10 English regional tourist boards to create EnglandNet (the National Tourism Open Platform)
  15. 15. E-Tourism for England, 2002: Key objectives• National product database: data collected once only• Bookability of accommodation and other product• Systems flexible, to enable distribution onto new platforms, e.g. mobile• Integration at a Britain level with systems used in Wales and Scotland• Global distribution via British Tourist Authority networks• The prize: England gains competitive advantage as a destination by serving consumer and industry
  16. 16. EnglandNet: Key objectives at outset• Investment into Destination Management Systems by Regional Tourist Boards and Destinations should be protected• Flexibility for Regional Tourist Boards and Destinations to choose their own systems / solutions• Integration with global players – Global Distribution Systems, Travel Agents, Tour Operators, etc.• Core requirement: common approach - interoperability
  17. 17. EnglandNet / National Tourism Open Platform• Services – National Tourism Product Database (2004) • Accommodation, attractions, events, activities, destination guides – Interoperability Gateway (2004) – Polling Service (2005) – White Label Product Search (2009) – Product Search / Polling Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) (2009) – Portable Travel Channel (2010) – Smartphone Application (2010)• Core principle: open platform
  18. 18. National Tourism Product Database• 50,000 accommodation products• 12,000 attractions• 6,000 events• 700 activities• 1,000 destination guides• One product, one owner• Product owners: – National product owner – National, regional or destination tourism organisation (default owner) – Marketing Group
  19. 19. Content supply: product owners
  20. 20. National Data Aggregation Official product ratings / awards National Tourism Product Database VisitBritain Destination Management Application Interoperability Gateway Property Nation / Nation / Nation / National National MarketingManagement Region / Region / Region / Product Owner Product Owner Group System Destination Destination Destination Tourism Tourism Tourism business business business
  21. 21. National Data Consolidation Nation / Interoperability National Region / Gateway Tourism Destination Product DatabaseDestination Management Bespoke development by Espire onSystems: behalf of VisitBritainNew MindNew VisionTiscoverTourist-IWorld.NetIn-house / bespoke systems
  22. 22. Look Book – ‘Polling Service’• Real-time availability and price checking for accommodation product• Non transactional• Provides a ‘deep link’ to one of 40 sales agents, where the transaction can be completed• Sales agent partners: – National, regional and sub-regional tourism organisations – National Product Owners – Marketing Groups• Over 16,000 unique pollable products
  23. 23. Polling Service Sales Agent Product Product National Sales Sales search search Tourism Agent results Agent form Product Database Sales Agent Sales Agent systems Sales Agent integration with Polling systems Service to provide live transaction price and availability dataPolling Service licensed by VisitBritain from Eviivo
  24. 24. Polling Service: key benefits• For the tourism businesses: – Wide range of sales agents / commercial models• For the consumer: – Wide range of bookable accommodation product – Opportunity to compare prices• For VisitBritain: – Opportunity to offer bookability without handling the transaction• For national product owners / OTAs – Open platform – routes to market
  25. 25. Global, national and regional distribution VisitBritain offline / print Third party websites Global and Other online national National devices websites Tourism Product Database Third party offline Interoperability Regional Gateway campaign TIC extranet Cross-regional campaign
  26. 26. White Label Product Search deployment
  27. 27. Polling Service deployment
  28. 28. API deployment
  29. 29. Portable Travel Channel
  30. 30. Smartphone Application
  31. 31. Stakeholder relationships• April 2006 – March 2010 each of the English Regional Development Agencies pay £25,000 per year for access to all NTOP services, including: – Interoperability Gateway for product content – Distribution of product content (inc. – Connection of booking services to Polling Service (RDAs / DMOs liable for no fees / commissions) – Deployment of White Label Product Search – Deployment of Polling Service – Access to APIs – Opportunity to shape future development
  32. 32. Stakeholder agreements• Master Service Agreement – The general terms of the relationship, including definitions of terms• Service Level Agreement – The provision and use of the platform and services• Data Supply Agreement – Governs how product data is supplied and how the data can be used• Data Distribution Agreement – Governs how and where data will be displayed
  33. 33. National Tourism Open Platform: commercial models• White Label Product Search – Ratecard for fees levied to channels deploying White Label Product Search. Channels retain commissions earned on bookings.• Product Search / Polling APIs – Ratecard for fees levied to channels deploying Product Search / Polling APIs. Channels retain commissions earned on bookings.• Portable Travel Channel – No cost to channels deploying Portable Travel Channel. Channels retain 30% of commissions earned on bookings.• Smartphone Application – Fees apply, variety of business models.
  34. 34. National Tourism Open Platform: commercial models• National Tourism Product Database entry – No cost for tourism businesses – Fees for data extracts• Interoperability Gateway – No cost levied by VisitBritain, no subsidies to offset technical development• Polling Service – Tourism businesses must have account with Sales Agent (cost models vary) – Negotiated fees / commissions charged to Sales Agents for connection – Ratecard for fees levied to channels deploying Polling Service
  35. 35. Performance: White Label Product Search Polling Service 2007/8 2008/9 2009/10 2010/11Number of referrals 17,637 18,929 82,422 272,554Value of referrals 4,588,343 4,161,855 17,015,325 64,274,618(£)Number of 1,228 2,297 10,898 13,741bookingsValue of bookings 187,982 391,545 1,803,750 2,335,907(£)Source: VisitBritain, May 2011
  36. 36. Future direction: challenges• April 2010: RDAs collectively withdraw their support for platform (£225,000 per annum)• From May 2010: Changes in government landscape; large scale disbanding of regional tourism promotion• October 2010: Government funding for VisitBritain will be cut by 34% from April 2011• December 2010: NTOP repositioned within VisitEngland, services maintained (UK-wide)• 31 May 2011: VisitEngland announces withdrawal of support for NTOP, effective September 2011 …the end of the National Tourism Open Platform?
  37. 37. Should consumers turn to Facebook?
  38. 38. Book Norway• Very similar principles to the UK’s National Tourism Open Platform• Key functions within public and private sector committed to achieving success – Inc. Innovation Norway, DMOs, accommodation groups, transport operators• Operated by a private sector company – Board made up of key stakeholders• One year development, live service launched April 2011
  39. 39. Conclusions• NTOs can add value by providing leadership and an environment for collaboration• Working together isn’t necessarily the easiest or quickest option• Each stakeholder must have a clear understanding of the role every stakeholder plays• Stay focused on the end goals and prizes
  40. 40. Sources of information / inspiration•••••
  41. 41. Thank you Andrew Daines