Opportunities and delimitations in the use of technology tourism experiences
Mathias Abild – Educated as a Cand.It Experience Design (UX design) from Aalborg University and has reviewed the study’s messages with experiences in one way or another, including and specializing in: how sound plays the social experience in museums. Has a keen interest in technological application in experiences and how the physical framework can be merged with technology to provide an immersive experience, thereby creating and cohesion between the real and the virtual layers. Has had project work at Museum Jorn and now works as a Learning Engineer at YouSee and among other things contributes to create digital learning experiences.
The development and use of technology in everyday life is constantly evolving. We live in a time as a community, locally, nationally or globally, where we try to find a connection with technology. It can be argued that the present society is a great attempt on how technology should work in society as well as what power it should have.
Of course, this also affects tourism, which extends across many disciplines. And in line with the development and definition of what tourism really is, more markets are being incorporated into the concept of ‘tourism’, to which more bodies and stakeholders are becoming interested in tourism. In order to avoid this blog to define what tourism is, the UNWTO (World Tourism Organization) describes tourism as:
“Tourism comprises the activities of persons traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes.”
– and it’s not just in the field of study that tourism is growing. It is also the way tourists approach and explore possible new destinations. Because with the digital world, with the internet and smartphones at the forefront, they have opened up completely new opportunities in terms of information and market-oriented promotion, but also the independent action of the tourist in relation to selecting and deselecting desirable destinations. This also poses a greater challenge to tourism organizations and companies in the tourism industry to attract tourists to their destination. Because how is it done?
There is not only one way, but there are several perspectives that, in interaction, will provide a cohesion in order for the whole package to ‘sell’ the destination as best as possible. And regarding this, I would like to discuss ‘location-based experiences’ with the use of technology.
Location-based experiences’ are, as the phrase describes, experiences that can only be accessed from the physical location where the experience is located. This does not mean that the experience cannot be moved elsewhere. This means that in order to get the experience, it is necessary for the tourist to be physically at the same place as where the experience is. The smart thing about tourism in terms of location-based experiences is that it forces the tourist to travel to the given destination to become part of the experience. Location-based experiences can be many different things, it can be everything from experiences in the city or nature to museum visits, amusement parks, sporting events, etc. The most important instance is that it must be experience-based.
This blog post will be based on the ‘Tirpitz Museum’ in Blåvand in Denmark and the Dallas Cowboys ‘AT&T Stadium 5G Fan Experiences’. The Tirpitz Museum is an interactive museum, which has three permanent exhibitions; World War II, amber and mythical stories at Blåvand (in different rooms), each of which tells stories about the west coast of Jutland in Denmark. The AT&T Stadium 5G Fan Experiences is the American football team Dallas Cowboys Stadium, which through digital stands around the stadium has made experiences. The reason these two are chosen is because they help illustrate the diversity and development potential within the area of location-based experiences.
From the outside, both have prepared their location-based experiences based on the premise that technology should only be the complementary element to the experience. The technology should help support the sender’s intentional goals for the experience, rather than being the overriding part of the experience.
In Tirpitz, they use experiential spaces where they create physical ‘universes’ (both with material and digital devices) to set a certain emotional mood to be perceived by the guest. This gives an incredible amount of credibility and gives the feeling of being in a pocket of time. The museum conveys its stories through sound, which is spoken by actors. This helps to bring the stories to life and personifies them. So instead of having a lot of text around the rooms, they have compiled all the stories through arbitrary ‘records’ which you have to chip on the ‘audio-speaker’ that you were given at the entrance. In doing so, the guest himself has to go out and search the stories and put together his own understanding of the overall story.
At AT&T Stadium, they work with the immersive. The set up digital stands are based on augmented reality (AR), which provides the opportunity to apply a digital layer to the physical space via computer-generated perceptual information. At some digital stands, the guest can take a team picture with his/hers five favorite players and at others you can make your own touchdown dance. This helps build a stronger connection with the team and thereby a greater sense of community with the team. In addition, they have done live tracking of the match via connected smartphones, which are also visualized via AR, which provides the same opportunities for data about the match in the stadium as when at home. However, at the stadium you also get the atmosphere of the match live, which you do not get at home.
Both location experiences show their uniqueness in that it is a specific place that you must go to in order to get the experience. The location limits the possibility of the experience, which forces the guest to be physically present to get the experience. In addition, both show how technology can be used differently to tell the desired story. On the other hand, it is in both cases technology that sets the framework for the story, but it is the story that is the focus. And that is what is the essence of both experiences. In addition to the experiences involving the guest – which is essential to all experiences – the technology does not overshadow the stories of these places.This makes location-based experiences stronger because it is the history of the location that is unique, and not the technology. Technology must therefore be a supplement to conveying the desired message.
Therefore, when creating location-based experiences, it is necessary to ask the same question as Marc Hassenzahl; ‘why is the given technology necessary?’. There has to be an understanding of why you use the technology you use in order to shape the experience and why does this technology help to tell the story you want to be told? Because if these questions are not asked or answered, the technology becomes either superfluous and / or starts overriding the experience, which will ultimately have a negative impact on the experience of the guest.
And the problem with tourism that I see right now is that too many people think that technology itself is the answer to the experience at the specific destination / location, rather than asking the questions: “how and why can technology help support the intentional experience? ” with related questions: “what technology can help support the intentional experience?”
But as with all other designs, it is about getting the right design (do we solve the right problem?) And in order to get the correct design (do we solve the problem correctly?). And the question is whether, given the trends in tourism right now, we are solving the right problem? And do we solve the problem correctly?