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Beacons: The Next Gen Tourism Booster

Tourism is one of the most evolving and ever developing industries in the retail sector. Every day, some or the other new places to visit, new hotels with amazing features, new airlines with flexible pricing etc. are coming up which lure tourists towards them. As the time advances, the method of marketing for the tourism industry has also drastically changed.

Audio guides in Tourism

We have heard of audio guides when we visit museums and galleries or many other places. They are nothing, but pre - recorded guided information about a place we visit, and make us familiar with all the details about it, helping us to get independent and aware of our surrounding places. These audio guides can be handheld ones or they can be apps too. It just needs to be downloaded and one can start exploring. Some of the famous audio guides used are 

  1. Detour- A city-centric walking tour app.

  2. History Pin- Suitable for a history or an architecture enthusiast.

  3. Just Ahead- Lets you know what famous landmark is ahead of you.

  4. Audio Compass- Provides you all local attraction details in India, Singapore, Istanbul & London.

  5. Trip My Way-All tourist attractions across India.

Traveling with Headphones
Beacons in Tourism
Man with Cellphone

One of the major changes, which has revolutionized the tourism industry is the use of beacons. 

  • They are small devices which work within a targeted areas and connect to a phone through a Bluetooth connection. 

  • It doesn’t need any WIFI or cellular connection and enables the user to access data/ information specific to that particular connection, given the app for that location specific is installed on the phone.

  • This factor is the most useful in the tourism field as location based information is the major thing for it.

  • For example, suppose if a person is travelling to a new place and once he is near any famous landmark or a visitor place, he gets all the information related to it, like the history and facts and figures etc.

This was just one of the many applications of beacons in tourism. The various ways in which beacons are employed are as follows-

  1. When you visit a Museum / Famous Landmarks 

Beacons can help you in knowing all about a place you visit just by the click of an app. 

  • Beacons, if installed at each and every point worth knowing, enhance the experience of the place. There is no need to ask anyone about the facts or figures related to the monuments, landmarks present there. 

  • Any museum is filled with the details of history, there are numerous statues, maps etc. which reflect the rich art and history of the museum. The beacons would prove quite advantageous at this stage as there would not be any need to wait for the guides and follow them and the crowd with them. You can enjoy the view for as much time as required. 

  • Sometimes, if the museums are very big (like mostly they are), one can get navigational information too.

  • Many museums around the world have installed beacons, which help to enhance the visitor’s experience. 

  • For example, the Doge’s Palace in Venice, one of the largest museums in Venice has all the services a normal museum guide would ranging from guiding the visitors, helping them learn more about the exhibits all directly from their phones.

  • It makes the experience interactive and memorable.

  • The app automatically detects the exhibit a visitor is approaching and shares information on its own without the user having to type in anything.


2. When you are at a Tourist Attraction / Destination/ Local Shops

When a person travels to another place to explore, the first thing they need to know are the places over there worth visiting. This makes the task easy for the person, and no time has to be wasted in searching maps, making lists of places to visit and noting everything. Just a mobile phone is enough, and the explorer in the person can start exploring. Other important details like 

  • weather forecasts, 

  • traffic on the road, 

  • restaurants, 

  • hotels nearby, 

  • shopping malls, 

  • medical stores, 

  • transportation schedule, everything can be managed by the app itself. During this time, when the travel agencies want to impress the tourists, this app would prove quite fruitful in terms of flexibility of use and ease. Local shops at an unexplored place are also a wonderful finding offered by beacons as it would alert and the people can experience the local shops and attractions.

Benidorm in Europe has converted into an intelligent tourist destination with the help of beacons information related to tourist location, information about culture, nature, beaches, history, sports, events and leisure are displayed to the people. 

Beacons are also installed in the City of Michigan and The State of Queensland in Australia.

Houses in Tauber Germany

3. When at Airport

Travelling in airlines and that too, the big airports make anyone confused. When a passengers lands or gets ready to board one, the beacon senses the presence and starts suggesting navigation through the airport, public transport points, check-in counters, immigration, boarding/arrival gates and baggage claim areas.

  • For example, CSIA (Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport), Mumbai has had beacons since 2016, which suggests and helps people to navigate through the airport, see flight schedules, look for any other information like finding a book store, restaurant, currency exchange counters, etc.

Family in Airport

4. When you visit a Hotel or Resort

Hotels are the center of tourists and tourism and beacons would definitely help them gain a lot of popularity and take customer hospitality to another level. When people arrive, the hotels can welcome them personally through the app, and taking into consideration their tastes, they can be served with welcome drinks and then offer a customized experience and stay at the hotel/resort.

  • The guests would receive push notifications about the different amenities and leisure activities present at the hotels and enjoy them. 

  • Indoor maps of the hotel would help the guest in navigating.

  • Starwood hotels and resort has implemented beacon technology in their hotels in Manhattan and Silicon Valley which enables the guests to enter their room with the Starwood Preferred Guest app. 

  • They receive a digital key on their smart phone and can unlock a key when they come within the proximity of the room. The app asks suggestions and offers suggestions for dinner, shopping and other activities.

Holiday Resort

Given the hyper-local and contextual capabilities of beacons, they are of immense value to both travellers as well as players in the tourism industry. Over 70% of the global population today use mobile phones and these gadgets can prove to be very nifty while travelling. Beacons deliver wholesome travel experiences by integrating the fun, information and functional elements of travel. The tourism industry today is starting to recognize and harness the potential of iBeacon technology  and how it opens a gateway to further personalize and enhance the travel experience.

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