Smart Villages as ‘Destination Management’ Digital Tourism Portals

Digital Scotland offers a particular strength in ‘Destination Marketing Platforms’.

These are web content platforms for implementing ‘Digital Tourism‘ best practices.

Publishing regular and informative social media content about your town, with a particular emphasis on user generated content, video and key tie-ins like Instagram feeds.

Destination Management System

A recent RFP from the team at visitwestlothian.co.uk defines this category of application as a ‘Destination Management System’, and the features they called for describe how it is used as the name suggests, for the tourism promotion of places.

The main requested features were stated as:

  • “Provides a more Inclusive digital information service by including detailed accessibility information relating to our venues and activities
  • Includes a more comprehensive and accessible What’s On section which encourages and enables all event organisers to upload their own event content.
  • Includes a Venues section which brings together details of all relevant meeting/conference venues across West Lothian and includes a search function
  • Includes a new section on Filming Locations which highlights some of the top filming sites across the county for both visitors and production teams.
  • Is replaced and updated using new branding and typeface, with existing functionality reviewed and other elements added.”

and also that

“As part of this project we would also like to create video, 360 and drone footage content for a number of our attractions/venues to help inspire visits. Videos would last a maximum of 1 and a half minutes and all content would be embedded into the relevant business listings/sections on the website.”

Smart Village Microsites

As well as defining the main features of a DMS, this RFP in particular highlighted the role our Smart Village sites platform provides:

Offers a microsite template which can be used to create additional, basic online platforms for some of our Villages & Towns (some of which would benefit from an enhanced online presence).

It’s fairly safe to say in this day and age all communities would benefit from an enhanced online presence, but this type of powerful marketing technology has previously been out of reach of their budget and skills.

Smart Village App Store

Smart Villages addresses that need through a ‘SaaS’ (Software as a Service) model, so that this type of software is made affordable and scalable for thousands of different sites.

In essence it’s an “app store” of different capabilities – Content marketing, e-commerce, social media marketing, that can be provisioned and fine-tuned for each community.

Tourism Portals

SmartStrathyre.scot is Scotland’s first Smart Village, pioneering the use of the technology to better self-equip themselves for the digital revolution and harnessing it to grow their community.

The site enables the residents to more easily self-generate their own digital tourism marketing content, such as the local Things To See and Do guide, the local history of Rob Roy McGregor and their Myths and Legends.

The community utilizes the forums to share a wide spectrum of important, relevant local news, such as the Emergency Response Team and crime report updates, provided by the local community police officer Will Diamond.

Biggar.online

The Biggar.online community portal shows how Smart Villages can be used for local event marketing, such as The Big Weekend, driving demand for local businesses like Accommodation.

The Visitor Guide summarizes the many other events and venues and the site acts as a powerful tool for organizing and promoting these types of activities.

E-Commerce Marketplace

Each Smart Village will act as an e-commerce marketplace, a single shopping portal that aggregates the products available from local retailers and artisans.

For example the first we’re now setting up is Shop @ Biggar.online.

Harnessing digital innovations

The Smart Village site acts as the main content portal for aggregating local tourism information, and can be enhanced through incorporating other innovative content and technologies. For example Augmented Reality is another technology that could be used to great effect.

As this feature video highlights is has been used in the Highlands to provide visitors with a uniquely engaging way to interact with the local attractions.

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