Webinar: Platform-based promotion of emerging outdoor tourism destinatinos

Webinar: Platform-based promotion of emerging outdoor tourism destinatinos

Show Video

Hello, and thank you for your interest in the topic of content-based promotion of emerging outdoor tourism destinations. Over the next 60 minutes, we will look at the challenges of many emerging destinations when it comes to being seen on international markets and I will show you how you can use an outdoor tourism platform like Outdooractive to promote both your region and your own services and offers to travelers from all over the world. This workshop was developed in cooperation with German development agency GIZ as part of our "Open Tourism Data Initiative for Emerging Destinations in Southeast Europe", a project designed to increase the visibility of the Western Balkans as an outdoor tourism destination. But you will see that the challenges and solutions are quite universal to many emerging outdoor tourism destinations around the globe. My name is Simon Reuter, I am a research manager for Outdooractive, and I look forward to sharing this approach with you.

So what are we going to look at in this digital workshop? First, we will take a quick look at the challenges, emerging outdoor tourism destinations face when trying to make their offers seen on the international markets. Then, we will get a better understanding of how Outdoor tourism platforms can bridge the gap between you, the service provider or destination manager, and the travelers you want to attract. And finally, I will show you how you can use the Outdooractive platform to create and manage stunning content that will inspire and inform your visitors of the future. What's important to know: All of what I show you today can be done completely free of charge. This is something you can do to massively increase your visibility without any additional budget or payment. Let's go! I want to start by telling a quick story, that in one way or another I am sure you are familiar with.

Meet Ali. Ali is a local tourism service provider, let's say he runs a small guest house and offers guided tours in the hills and mountains surrounding his home village. The area is perfect for outdoor activities and Ali knows how to make sure that his guests have an amazing, authentic experience. Ali loves his beautiful region and he wants to share it with the world, but the problem is that it is not yet a famous destination for tourists, especially not on the international market. This is problematic, because Ali needs to make some money with his business, if he wants to survive. Let's go to a different part of the world: This is Anna.

Anna loves to travel and she loves to be active in nature. She is an adventurous person, and when she travels, she likes to go hiking, cycling and mountain biking, climbing, river rafting and so on. Most importantly, Anna wants a unique experience that she will remember - something she can tell her friends about. Ideally, she wants to travel "off the beaten track", to places that are not overcrowded with tourists, where she can have a "true local experience". So in a way, these two are a perfect match - right? Ali and his destination have everything that Anna is looking for.

The problem is: There is a good chance, Anna doesn't even know that Ali and his region even exist, or at least that they are a good place to travel to. Because when Anna is sitting at home, trying to decide where to go for her next trip, she is met with a ton of information, advertisement, and inspiration about adventure travel destinations. Now lets say, she goes to google and searches for the "best hikes in the world", she will get a lot of results from travel blogs and online magazines, offering her inspiration about where to travel for some good hiking.

I did what Anna did and the first search result was this website, an article by online travel magazine "Road Affair" offering a list of the "50 Best Hikes in the World to Put on your Bucket List". I read through the list and I wrote down the country each of the presented hikes is in. Then I put it into a "word cloud generator" to illustrate which country gets mentioned the most - the bigger it appears, the more often the country was mentioned in the article. What do we notice when we look at this result? First: Apparently the "best hikes in the world" are limited to just 28 countries.

And most of it appears to be in North America, Australia and New Zealand and the Alps of Europe. What is most striking, is what is not on that list: There's not a single country from Eastern Europe or the Balkans. Very few countries in Asia, even fewer in Africa, and literally just two in Latin America - even though South America is home to the Andes, the world's longest mountain range. And If you take a look at the other hundreds of articles published online on where to find the best hiking destinations, the picture looks very similar.

So I guess there's just no good hiking in the places that are not part of this list? Of course there is. But it appears that travelers end up finding inspiration and information about the same well-established outdoor tourism destinations over and over again. So could it be that, regardless of how great all of these destinations are, that some outdoor tourism destinations simply have a lot more visibility than other? Why could that be? One answer, of course, is money. The national tourism agency of Switzerland, for example, spend no less than 94 million Euro on tourism marketing for Switzerland as a destination in the year of 2021 alone - and that is only the marketing budget on a national level, not including all regional and local destination management organisations and all private-sector marketing.

With this kind of budget, you can pay for a lot of visibility. One of the biggest challenges we have in terms of promoting emerging destinations especially in poorer countries is that there is very often a lack of functioning Destination Management Organisations, in short DMOs. DMOs can, theoretically, exist on all sorts of levels, from the national level all the way down to a municipality level or even for just one specific sight or attraction. One of the main tasks of a DMO is to market and promote their destination to visitors - to make sure the destination ends up in these online articles, travel guides, etc. Now what do you do, if your region or even your country doesn't have a DMO? Or if it is so poorly funded that it has no chance of ever competing with Switzerland and other well-established destinations? A lot of individual stakeholders usually end up just doing their own marketing efforts, but unfortunately, this is in most cases not very successful.

Sure, someone like Ali can build his own website, a facebook page, an Instagram channel, and so on. But try googling something like "guided hiking tour" - you end up with over 42 million results. So unless someone specifically searches for Ali's services in the very destination that he operates in, a traveler - like Anna - will most likely never find out about Ali's offers.

So in a way, these traditional marketing channels in tourism - guide books, travel magazines, online blogs, advertisment - they fail to bridge the gap between emerging outdoor tourism destinations and its stakeholders on the one side, and the traveler looking for authentic experiences on the other. And this sort of leads to a vicious cycle: Your destination has a lack of visibility on the international market. This obviously leads to a lack of international visitors, which means there is not enough money flowing into your destination. So, to develop new offers and build better infrastructure for tourists in the destination is not feasible. And that means that even if travelers and up in your destination, there's a lack of infrastructure and offers for them and they will most likely not become proud ambassadors of your destination.

Bummer, but this is where Outdoor Tourism Platforms can actually make a huge difference. Because in many ways, they function very differently from traditional online and offline communication channels. Let's take Outdooractive as an example.

We are an online platform that allows people to find, plan, and navigate all of their activities in nature: Hiking, cycling, mountain climbing, horse riding, even water sports like white-water rafting or kayaking. Our users can also track their activities while on the trail and even share them with the community afterwards by creating their own routes. And there is a lot of them: Currently, Outdooractive has over 13 million registered users and over 60 million people visit our platform content every single month. And these users aren't just anybody: They are people who love to be active in nature, who love to travel for that reason, people like Anna. So, what makes an Outdoor Tourism Platform like Outdooractive different from other communication channels is that they are, at least partly, based on user-generated content - everybody can contribute and share inspiration and information about places with the community. The internal logic and the ranking mechanism of content is based on algorithms rather than marketing budget: You don't need to pay to get your content on the first page - it just needs to be good.

At the same time, these platforms offer a very intuitive user experience, so people like to really interact with the content. And most importantly, all of the content is available through the same channels: It's not like Switzerland gets a prime spot and their own platform - your content, content from your region will be visible to the same users as Switzerland's. So in a way, outdoor tourism platforms like Outdooractive level the playing field on the international market.

That means, a local stakeholder like Ali or his friends at the regional DMO - if there is one - can directly contribute content to the database: hiking trails and cycling routes, points of interest in the destination, but also hotels, restaurants, local events and even his own offers like guided tours. For Anna, Ali's region used to be kind of a blank spot on the map - she didn't even consider it a place worth visiting. Now, she can see at one glance that there are so many reasons to visit: Awesome trails, beautiful sights and attractions to explore, maybe a guided tour with Ali, and the kind of authentic, local experiences, she is looking for.

Anna finds the adventures she is looking for because Ali has a channel through which he can directly reach her. The platform connects them, rather than dividing them. And the good thing is: Once Ali's content is published through the platform, there are multiple channels through which travelers will end up seing them. For example, if you google something like "Hiking in Bosnia", the first result that comes up on Google is a page of the Outdooractive travel guide.

This is a fully functional virtual travel guide that automatically showcases all of the content from any given region in the world - including Ali's (if that was his home region, of course). So naturally, you are going to have a lot of reach with this. I want to give you two examples: This is a small destination in Western Germany that has published 51 routes, most of them hiking and cycling, through the Outdooractive platform. Just within the one year of 2021, this generated their content a total of 1.97 million teaser views, meaning that the content was shown to user. Content created by that destination received 118,000 page views - meaning a user actually visited the content and interacted with it.

There were even over 32,000 clicks registered, meaning that a user interacted with the content more deeply. How long do you think it would take you to get 118,000 people to look at your social media posts and to gather 32,000 likes? And this even works for offers like guided tours and travel packages: Here's the example of an adventure tour operator that has published 171 offers through our platform. These offers were shown as teasers over 31 million times in just one year. Over 12,000 times were these offers viewed in detail and over 2,000 times, a user clicked on a booking link forwarding them to the tour operator's website. If you look at that from the perspective of a destination, the possible impact is huge. If one stakeholder uploads, let's say, five routes to the platform and each of them create 1,500 pageviews in the first year, that means some 7,500 travelers might see local content from the region.

Now if not just one, but five stakeholders upload and publish five routes each, you end up with 25 published routes and possibly over 37,000 pageviews in the first year alone. What does that mean for you, if you are, for example, a local tour operator? Let's say you put in the effort of creating and publishing a total of 10 hiking routes. Let's say it takes you 2 hours to create one route, so the total effort for this is 20 hours of work. In each of those routes, you include information about your guided tours and a link to your business.

If each of these routes is seen by 1,500 users in the first year, you may have reached up to 15,000 travelers with this content. And even if just 2% of them are inspired to travel to your region, that means you have generated 300 new tourists to your destination. And now let's say that just 2% of those 2% end up clicking on your business link and book your guided tour, that means you have won 6 new paying customers. And it's not like your content will disappear after a year - it stays online and keeps being seen by travellers.

So this kind of reach keeps repeating year after year - and all that for the effort of just 20 hours. If you keep creating content like this, just for 20 hours every year, your content might reach up to 150,000 people over the course of 5 years. This will almost certainly inspire hundreds of travelers to visit your region and can easily bring you dozens of new paying customers.

Our vision is to make sure that emerging outdoor tourism destinations get the visibility they deserve so that all travelers looking for authentic outdoor experiences can find them all over the world. And by contributing your content to the platform, you can make that happen. Anna will love it, that's for sure! Okay, so we have established WHY openly available outdoor tourism content matters and what impact it will have. Now, you probably want to get started and begin digitizing content.

So over the second half of this webinar, I will show you what good content looks like and how you get your organisation and your content onto the Outdooractive platform. When we create and publish outdoor tourism content, it is important to think of it from the perspective of a user: What does someone, like Anna, need? Any good content will be a combination of two things: Inspiration and Information. Why is that? First, you want to INSPIRE Anna to travel to your region and pick that specific activity. However, once she has decided on one or more activities - like a hiking route - that she wants to do, you also want to make sure that she is WELL-INFORMED so she can find the way, not get into any dangerous situations, and will know how to prepare for and behave on the way. So here are some Must-Dos, when creating outdoor tourism content: The first thing people usually look at are images.

Images have the power to inspire us, they make us feel like we are already on the trail, that we are there. So it is important that any content you create, not matter if it is a hiking or cycling route, a point of interest, or an offer for a guided tour, comes with inspirational photos. They don't need to be professionally produced - most smartphones nowadays take good enough pictures to give the user an idea of how stunning the region is that you want to promote.

However, images are not only there for inspiration: They also give the user an impression, of what they can expect: in terms of terrain, difficulty, and character of the tour. A POV-shot of the trail like in the picture on the right-hand side gives the visitor an idea of the type of trail. The mountain biking picture at the bottom shows a steep, muddy single trail - a user will know right, that this is a difficult trail that requires a certain level of technique to navigate.

Usually it's best to have an inspirational, beautiful picture first and then a selection of 5 to 10 pictures that are both inspiring and informational so the user gets the whole picture - literally. Catchy titles are a great way of getting a user's attention. Remember: A user will usually look at a bunch of content from any given region. So if your title stands out, so does your route, POI, or activity. If you create a hiking route, for example, and it is on an official, marked trail, you should include the name of the trail. But why not add a little addendum, as in the example of the "West Highland Way - Scotland's first long distance hiking trail"? If you upload a hiking tour that leads to a certain summit, put the name of the mountain in the title and give a very short, but appealing description of the terrain or route, like in the example at the top: "Over snowy slopes to Bistra Peak".

Once you've inspired the user to click on your content, they will read the description next. An important note: This is NOT a turn-by-turn despcription of the entire route. Instead it should give the user a good idea of the CHARACTER of the route, what they have to expect when attempting this tour.

On Outdooractive, we actually use two descpritions: One very short one of just 180 characters max, that serves as an INSPIRATIONAL teaser. Then, a slightly longer text that inspires the user to chose this activitiy while also informing them about the specific requirements and potential challenges of the route. Note how in this example, the route is basically "sold" to the user almost like an advertisement: "Exposed ridges, wild waterfalls, and gentle alpine pastures - experience the whole diversity of the Nagelfluhkette Nature Park on a challenging mountain hike." Which is followed by a longer text that again focuses on inspiring aspects like "highlights" and "panoramic peaks", while also giving a lot of essential information like the "ridge traverse" that is "partly secured by wire ropes", the option of taking the "cable car", or that it is "essential to be sure-footed and have a head for heights". Again, you should lead with INSPIRATION to grab the user's attention and continue with INFORMATION to make sure the visitor knows what they must know. One of the most impactful tools of the Outdooractive platform is the option to link and thus highlight POINTS OF INTEREST to any route.

This has two huge benefits: The user gets an idea of places they can visit along the trail and whether there is certain infrastructure in place, such as overnight accommodations, restaurants, shelters, or freshwater springs. At the same time, this is a fantastic way of promoting local businesses and attractions: A hiker who knows that there is a café or restaurant waiting along the trail is very likely to plan enough time to stop during the hike and leave a bit of money at a local business. Simply uploading a few routes linked to a mountain hut or restaurant will very likely increase the number of visitors to this business - most people would not travel to a certain place just to eat at a restaurant. But if it happens to be by the hiking trail where they spend their day, they would sure enjoy stopping for lunch or coffee. So make sure to create and link POINTS OF INTEREST, or in short: POIs, to your published routes. A great way to make your content more relatable is to add personal recommendations and hints.

As any content you publish will appear under your name as the author, it makes the user feel like they get a personal recommendation from a friend or a nice person they meet on the trail. This could simply make the user more interested in the activity, as in the example at the top, where the author recommends to join the local kids at some fun in the snow. Or it is even a great way to draw attention to local businesses again, as in the second example where the author praises the cake, buttermilk, and mountain cheese available at an alpine dairy along the trail. If you are a tour operator or tour guide, you are looking to sell your offers, of course. You can do that through a platform like Outdooractive, too. In a way there is no better place to promote your offers, because on such a platform you have the PERFECT TARGET GROUP for your services.

People who use Outdooractive are the kind of people who do ACTIVE VACATIONS and ADVENTURE TRAVEL - they want authentic experiences in nature, and you are the one who can offer them just that. Again it is important to find the right balance between inspiration and information and, if possible, to include a price and a link or a contact form so users can get in touch with you directly. Of course there is no "one perfect way" to make great outdoor tourism content - taste and expectations differ. But since you are the owner of any content you create and publish through the platform, you are free to try out a few things. Through the "statistics" that you get for every content you publish, you get a pretty good idea of which content users like to click on and interact with, and which one they don't.

Generally, all content created on Outdooractive automatically receives a "Rank". This is a kind of score that shows how well content is created: Does it have enough pictures and descriptions, are there linked POIs, etc. The lowest score is 0, the highest is 100, and as a local organization you automatically receive a few bonus points so that your content will rank higher than the content coming from a "normal" Outdooractive user. The higher this score is for any individual content, the higher it ranks on the platform - meaning it will be seen first, or second, or, if the rank is low, hardly ever. So make sure you always get this rank as high as possible for any content you create and publish so it will be seen by as many people as possible.

In a few minutes I will show you how to do that. Now that we know what great outdoor tourism content should look like, let's get started on the Outdooractive platform! You have already seen the Outdooractive user platform and maybe you've also used the mobile application on your phone. But for tourism businesses and organisations, such as DMOs, protected areas, public bodies, or associations and NGOs, there is a special kind of "backend platform", called "Outdooractive MyBusiness". Through MyBusiness, you can create and manage your content, interact with the user community, and get insights into the performance of your published content. To get your organisation onto the platform, the first step is to sign up for a Free Business Account.

To get there simply follow this link which you can also find in the video description. Then, click on "Sign up now". First, you must select what kind of organisation you are.

In this case, I pretend I am a tour guide, so I select "Guide". But whatever your organisation does, I am sure you can find it in the list. Confirm your selection and continue by entering your personal details.

This is you as a person, representing the organisation. So you must enter your real name. Important note: If you already have an Outdooractive account, you must use a different e-mail address, that has never been used for an Outdooractive account before. Create a password and continue. In the next step, you add some details about your business (I'm using some fake information here, of course). Here you should use the name of the organisation or company as it is officially registered.

If your brand name is different, you can add that in the next step. Confirm that you are creating an account for an actual organisation and move on to the next step, where you can enter your brand name. If it is the same as your organisation, just enter it again and click on continue. In the final step you can check all the details you have entered. If everything is correct, confirm the terms and conditions and data processing to complete registration. In your email inbox you should now have a confirmation email to confirm your account.

Please make sure to also check you spam folder in case the email doesn't show up within a few minutes. Once you have confirmed your email address you can add some additional information about your interests, your preferred region, etc. Now, you have full access to your personal Outdooractive My Business. Also good to know: The account you just created ALSO serves as a "normal" Outdooractive account that you can use to log into the Outdooractive user platform on your browser and the mobile application on your phone.

Any activity recorded through your phone, for example, gets stored in your account and you can access it through Outdooractive My Business, too. Now that you and your organisation are on Outdooractive My Business, you should first add some more details about your organisation and yourself. Go to mybusiness.outdooractive.com. This is your dashboard. On the top left you can access your individual user profile, representing you as a person.

Right next to it is your Organisation profile. If you click on "Settings" you get to a number of tabs. Start by adding more details about your organisation, like a website, phone number, social media profiles, etc.

You should also write a short description about who you are and what you offer. Always make sure to SAVE when you make changes, so they become permanent. Under the tab "Brand and Design" you can adjust your brand name, if needed, and upload a logo. Under "Location" you should place your business to the right spot on the map - this can be your office or the main shop that you operate out of, like a tourism information centre, etc. I am faking this, so I'm just using the Statue of Liberty as my home address.

Make sure to "save" again. Under the tab "Media" you can add some pictures or even a YouTube video. These will show in your public Outdooractive profile. You can always check your public profile by clicking on "View on outdooractive".

Finally, under the tab "Status" you should change the status of your account to "published". From now on, users can find your organisation on the Platform. Now you can do basically the same steps for your individual profile, too: Add some details, upload a profile picture, and a background image, etc.

Once your profiles are all set up, you are ready to create and publish some content. This is done through the so-called "Content Manager". You can find it either on the dashboard of My Business or by clicking on the app icon in the top right corner.

The content manager has its own little dashboard, showing you what you have worked on most recently, how much content you have created and what the reach among the community is. The content manager is, where you create and manage all of your content. And there are different types of content. Most importantly, there are "Routes" - those are individual routes for activities such as hikes, bike rides, mountain climbs, trailruns, etc.

Under "Tracks" you can manage any GPX tracks you have recorded through your mobile application. "Points" are all "Points of Interest", including sights and attractions, restaurants and accommodations, shops and service providers, but also landscape features such as summits, viewpoints, lakes, etc. There are several other types of content available, too, but we will look at them a bit later. For now, let's start by creating a route.

You can, of course, only manage and edit your own content, so if you are just getting started, your account will be empty for now. Start by "Creating a new route". The most important first step, is always to start with the route itself, the geometry of the route.

First, select the right activitiy from the list and give your route a catchy title. There we go. Now, there are two ways to do this: If you know where the route is exactly and the paths, roads, and trails are visible on the map, you can use the "routing engine" to create the GPX track directly in the platform. Just click on the starting point, some intermediary points, and finally either the end point, or in case of a circular hike, "close the loop". Most likely, however, you will have recorded the GPX track already, while you were on the trail.

In this case, click on "Import GPX Track" to upload the file to the platform. You can see the track on the map now, but a lot of information is still missing, like the "track types" - they are "unkonwn". In many cases, your track will go along paths and trails on the map. So by clicking on "Snap it!", the routing engine will recognize which parts of your recorded GPX track are the same as the paths embedded in the map layer. It also "smoothens" your GPX track a little, which is good.

If there are still parts that can't be found on the map, you can edit the track types right here manually. This is important, as it gives the user information about the kind of trail they will be on - is it an asphalt road, a wild trail, or maybe even a via ferrata? By clicking on "Save", your route is saved and you can begin to edit the details. Important note: Creating a new route does not mean it is published right away.

You can edit the route, make changes, etc. and only when You decide it is ready for publication, you will publish it. From now on, the procedure is pretty straightforward: Work yourself through all of the tabs at the top here, from left to right, to fully create the content. Under "Route" you can edit the route geometry again, if needed. Under "Description", you can add all sorts of text.

Start with a short, inspiring summary of the route - this should be catchy and appealing, rather than containing too much information. There's a character count at the bottom, helping you to get the length just right. Only if your text is as long as suggested above, you will get the full points for a high rank of your content. Continue by adding a longer, more detailed description.

Again, these are not turn-by-turn directions, but rather a more elaborate description of the character of the activity and what a visitor should expect. Check that the length of what you've written matches the suggestion above. The "Author's advice" allows you to add a short, personal note or recommendation. "Safety information" can be crucial, especially for visitors who don't know your region yet. Are there aggressive dogs herding flocks of sheep that a hiker should be careful of? Is the walk muddy and exposed with danger of falling? Things like that can be crucial information for a visitor.

Equipment is a field you can skip, if you want to, as the platform will enter an automatic list of gear that is needed for the selected activity. If you want to add something, you are welcome to do that, though. Add the name of the starting and end point of your route, so people will know where to start. Only then are you invited to share some turn-by-turn directions. This will help visitors to find the right route, while they are on the trail.

Make it as detailed as necessary, but try not to bore your reader with unnecessarily long descriptions of every turn in the path. However, mentioning some obvious landmarks like prominent buildings, rock formations, river crossings, etc. can really help a user to orient themselves while they are on the trail.

The "internal note" field is just for you, in case you want to leave a little reminder for yourself, and will never be shown to other users. Important note: You must always write your texts in the same language that your Outdooractive My Business interface is currently in. You can add translations, if you want to, by clicking on the translation button next to each field.

If you want to create the entire content in a different language than English, you must change it for the entire interface at the bottom of the page. This is really important, because otherwise your route will be categorized as "English-language content", while it's actually, for example, Spanish. So make sure your content matches the interface language you have chosen. Before you move on, make sure you SAVE everything. The next tab, "Details", lets you add and adjust technical details of the trail. You might want to adjust the automatically calculated duration of the route and add the name of the highest and lowest point along the trail.

Add a rating for the difficulty, required technique, overall experience, and landscape. To know, which scoring applies, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the "instruction manual". Here you can find exact instructions so you choose the right rating. This is important, so your visitors will know what to expect and whether the route is suitable for their level of fitness and skills. If you want, you can highlight a certain region in your content, to promote this area further.

Please select, what time of the year the activity is suitable for, so visitors can easily find something for their time of visit. There is also a list of additional tags that you can assign to a route, like whether it is a "circular route" or it takes you "there and back", whether it's family-friendly, a summit route, or whether there are refreshment stops available, like a café or restaurant. In case there is additional literature like guide books available for the trail or at least the region, add it here.

You can even add a link to a shop where it can be bought, if you want to. Same goes for print maps. Save what you have entered, and move on to the next tab. Under "Getting There", you should enter information about how a visitor can get to the trailhead.

If there is public transportation, please let visitors know. Also give instructions for drivers and details about parking. We skip the "Events" tab for now and head directly to the "Linked POI" tab.

As mentioned before, this is a very powerful tool that lets you promote certain points of interest through your route. You can browse the map and see, whether any POIs that you deem relevant are already on the platform. Of course, you can also add new Points on the map. Either you do it directly here, or you go the "Points" section of the Content Manager.

To create a new point is even easier than creating a new route. Simply click on "create new point", select the type of point from the list and enter the details and descpriptions as indicated. If relevant, you can add opening hours, too. Very important: You must select the right location on the map, so your point appears at the right place in the map. You can search for places or navigate to the right point in the map and click on it.

Save everything, as always, and continue to the tab "media". Here you can upload pictures to the platform. Make sure that you have full ownership over the pictures you upload or the permission of the photographer. Give them a title, so that users know what they show. If the photographer is someone else and you have their permission to publish them, you can enter their name and organisation. If the pictures are yours and you want to share them with the world, so that other people and organisations can also use them to promote your region, you can change the license to a Creative Commons license.

This way they become "open data" and other people can use them, too. If you leave it at the Outdooractive license, nobody else is allowed to use them and you retain full copyright. Finally, when you are happy with everything you have entered, go to the "Status" tab. Here, you can check the "Outdooractive Rank", a.k.a. the quality of your content, and eventually, publish it.

Once your point is published, users can find it on the map. Also, you can go back to your route now and, after refreshing the page, link the new point you just created to your route. Save your changes and move on to the "Media" tab. As I just explained for the creation of "Points", you can now add images here, too. And you really should - inspirational images make your content stand out from the crowd! If you don't have enough pictures yourself, you can also browse the database of Outdooractive to see if there are pictures from the region that you can link to your route as well.

Once you have uploaded or selected the pictures you want, you can adjust the order of appearance by simply dragging them around. Now we have done all the steps needed for creating a great route. It's time to see how well we've done: Click on the tab "Status" to see what Rank you have achieved with your content. Remember: 100 is the best you can get, anything over 65 is considered a "top route", meaning the quality of the content is assured.

Not so bad! If you want to improve your rank, you can re-visit all of the previous tabs and see if you have left out something, whether you have linked enough POIs, added enough pictures, or whether your texts match the required length. Once you are happy with your work, click on "Status" again and change the status to "published" -> congratulations, your first route is online now. And that's how easy it is to create stunning outdoor tourism content. Now if you are a tour guide or tour operator, you probably offer guided tours on the route you just published and you want to advertise them, right? Luckily, through a platform like Outdooractive, you can also publish your offers and guided tours or other events. On Outdooractive, we make a distinction between "Offers" and "Events".

An "Offer" is something that a visitor can always book, an activity that is not linked to a fixed date and time. An "Event" is anything that is already scheduled to happen on a specific date and time - a "guaranteed departure" if you want so. So if Ali, in our example here, offers a guided tour on the hike we just created on request, whenever tourists want to book it, he should create an "Offer". If he offers this guided hike on a regular basis, every Saturday, for everyone who will show up or register beforehand, or if he has already scheduled this hike for three dates in spring and tourists are welcome to register so they can join, then it would be considered an "Event". Both are created through the Content Manager, right here. In our case, we will create a guided tour with a fixed departure date, so: an "Event".

Again, you start by selecting the "type" of activity you offer and give it a catchy title. Write a very short, inspiring Summary, just like you did for the route, followed by a longer, more elaborate and informative description. Usually you should be the event organizer, but in case you are creating the offer for someone else, you can add their organisation here.

Add the address of the meeting point, where you will meet your clients. Now you have a number of options for adding external links to your website, or at least your social media profile. If you use an online registration system for your services, add a link here. If it's possible to book and buy tickets for your services online, like through AirBnB Experience or Get your Guide, you can add a booking link here. You can add more information about registrations or pre-bookings that should be done by clients beforehand.

Once you have filled in all the details you want displayed in your event, click on save so that the event is officially created - although NOT yet published! You can, of course, edit all information you already entered. Using the tab "Event Times", you can now add one event time, repetitions, or even multiple times that same event - like a guided tour with guaranteed departure - takes place. Make sure to SAVE whenever you have made changes. Under the tab "Prices" you can let users know, how much it will cost and what else they should be informed about regarding the cost of the service.

Just as with routes, the tab "Getting There" lets you enter information about how to reach the point of departure - by public transportation, by car, and where to park. Very important is the tab "Location" - only if your departure is placed at the right point on the map, users will be able to find your offer or, in this case, event. You are even forced to enter a location, otherwise you cannot publish your route. So navigate to the right area using the search bar and then click the right spot on the map.

Don't forget to save! Now, you can navigate to "Media" and, again, upload some appealing and promising picture to inspire users to book your services. Before we publish the event, there is one more thing you can do: Navigate to "Related Content". Using the "add related content" button, you can now select the route you just published and link it to the offer. This way, users can get an idea of the trail they are going to conquer together with you. You can, of course, also link POIs you have created, if you are going to visit them during the guided tour.

Finally, we navigate to "status" again, check the rank, and - if we are happy with everything we entered - publish the event. Congratulations - your first guided tour with a set date and time is now available to millions of users worldwide. Of course you can also create any other kind of event that you organize and offer. And if your services are bookable at all times or at selected times of the year, you can publish them as well: Not as EVENTS, but rather as an OFFER.

I won't show that in detail though, because it works pretty much the same way as creating an event and you are going to be able to figure it out on your own. A last thing you can do now, and this is really recommended: If the event you just created and the route you published before are, indeed, on the same trail, you can now link the event in your route, too. That means that whenever somebody checks out this route, they will be shown your guided tour, as well.

There's no better advertisement, because a user who checks out your content is obviously interested in doing that hike - and with a linked event, whenever someone looks at the route, you basically jump out from behind a digital corner and tell them: Hey, why don't you go with a guide and have an amazing experience? All you have to do is open your event or offer on outdooractive and copy the URL. Then go back to the route - that's best done through the content manager - and add a link to your event or offer wherever you think it fits best. Et voilá, your offer is now linked to the route you already published. I know this all seems a little technical, but after having created two or three routes and offers or events, it is super easy. And the reach you can have with this kind of content is amazing: Companies pay thousands of euros to get a few thousand page views for their marketing campaigns.

You can do that entirely for free, using the reach of outdoor tourism platforms. So, no matter whether you are a local tour operator or tour guide, a local DMO, whether you manage a protected area or a hotel in nature - content such as routes, POIs, offers, and events can have a big impact and help you promote your destination to a huge target group worldwide. It's not difficult, it doesn't take long and the outcome is often really amazing. I hope you have a good understanding now of how to create and publish this kind of content and what it can do for both your destination and your individual business, if you run one. You can find the link to the registration page for a free business account under the video or by following this QR code. Thank you for watching and I can't wait to check out all of the amazing content from your region that you are going to share with a world of outdoor tourists.

If you are in contact with, or even collaborating, with other stakeholders who could use this approach, too, please forward this webinar to them or show them how to get started yourself. As I showed you in the beginning, the more stakeholders from a region contribute together, the more the destination as a whole benefits. Collaboration really trumps competition here. So let's work together to digitize your outdoor tourism destination. Many thanks to GIZ, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Development and Cooperation, all our local partners in the Western Balkans, and the dedicated people here at Outdooractive for making all of this possible. All the best and stay outdooractive!

2023-05-02 15:50

Show Video

Other news