By drawing on its ecosystem and in-depth knowledge of start-ups, Welcome City Lab, an innovation platform of Paris&Co for urban tourism, publishes a yearly Book analysing the major or emerging trends observed over the previous months.
This year, the 5 major trends that have emerged are the following:
- Caring and reassuring
- Low tech
- Gamification and virtual immersion
- Where to test quickly and well? Cities, hotbeds for innovation!
Trend 1: Caring and reassuring
The unprecedented crisis linked to Covid-19 that began last winter is presenting a new challenge to the tourism sector: that of ensuring health safety for all and in all circumstances. Although French people still wish to travel, 30% of them want a health guarantee and 21% want safe transport solutions (source: GroupExpression). Tourism professionals must therefore adapt by putting in place all the necessary measures to welcome customers in optimal conditions. This necessity for health safety is expressed through a new promise for tourism professionals communicated in the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau reassurance campaign ‘Caring Attitude’.
Cities also have a major role to play in limiting infection. The crisis has accelerated urban development trends such as authorization for restaurants and cafes to extend their terraces, pedestrian streets, an increase in the number of projects for green spaces, sustainable architecture, and urban agriculture. All these issues also enable the local population to reclaim their city, in improved sanitary conditions. One thing is certain, some of the measures introduced to combat covid-19 are going to become lasting standards. Tools favouring contactless interaction, contactless payments, flow management are all set to be features of the urban tourism of tomorrow.
Trend 2: Phygitalisation
The health crisis has definitely accelerated the digitization of our world. Event planners have had to adapt quickly in order to retain links with their audiences, and the digital events sector is booming. Whether they are 100% digital or hybrid, with one part onsite and the other online, events are being completely reinvented and new challenges are emerging. The time scale, for example, is completely changed. Before an event, it is important to produce and spread emotion to ‘warm up’ the community of participants. During the event, a wide range of experiences must be offered (talks, workshops, networking, stand visits, one-to-one meetings, etc.), and scenography is a key factor. After the event, carefully arranged replay sequences must be made accessible to participants. Finally, for a digital event to be successful, it is important to identify emotional sequences throughout the year to animate the community, for example by organizing meetings and appointments in small groups.
Digital events also have an impact on the production of content. Transmedia, which consists of communicating on all digital media, is required to produce content adapted to the new spatial and temporal configuration of the event. Finally, it is essential to implement new IT and digital architecture to meet the expectations of audiences.
For more information on planning a phygital event, see our interview with Elodie Coudre, Director of the Congress Division at MCI Group.
To organize your digital or phygital event, discover our list of recording studios or parisian venues that can host hybrid events.
Trend 3: Low tech
The present health crisis has been a sharp reminder of the fragility of our urban ecosystems. Low tech advocates a more frugal society, with low-energy oriented technologies. In opposition to high-tech, low-tech wants to provide what we need by minimizing resource consumption and social impact. Re-engaging with our senses, being aware of space and time again in body and mind, for a less frenetic tourism ... This is possible by letting go of one’s smartphone!
In daily life, the bicycle is the most widespread low-tech innovation. This form of transport makes it possible to reduce one’s carbon footprint when getting around and sightseeing and is the perfect companion for ‘slow tourism’.
The reorganization of tourism with local communities using low-tech can help urban tourism on its way to sustainability. More authentic attractions and experiences with locals are increasingly in demand and are easy to put in place using low-tech solutions such as workshops and games.
Trend 4: Gamification and virtual immersion
The principles of gamification and virtual immersion are an opportunity for destinations to enhance the tourist experience with a fun and dreamlike dimension. They also help interest the younger generation of travellers in cultural or historical activities that they would otherwise have been dismissive of.
Life-size treasure hunts made possible with geocaching, immersive guided tours, mobile games for experiences outdoors, augmented reality apps ... the possibilities offered by gaming and virtual immersion are endless.
Trend 5: Where to test quickly and well? Cities, hotbeds for innovation!
Cities are ideal places for innovation, enabling new tourist, cultural and recreational practices to be tested and results quickly obtained at this time of climatic urgency. The density of the offer and of the networks of actors, the volume and regularity of tourist flows, as well as the 24-hour activity of certain services make the urban space the ideal place for experimenting with innovative solutions.
The tourist is the perfect external ingredient. Unlike the local resident who is familiar with their city, a tourist discovers a new environment and tests the proposed solutions. The tourist also has a greater need for guidance and their fresh eye is a useful indicator of their experience of the city, both before their trip and after their return home. Their experience is important as it identifies what practical innovations are needed in the city.
Due to their gregarious nature, events are also driving innovation. Covid-19 is transforming this sector (logistical innovations, queue management, new ideas for catering, dynamic or on-board signage) and will at least have made it possible to test a good number of innovations, including virtual ones whether or not they will gain the approbation of the e-visitor.