What is the travel experience

"Focus on the travel experience"

How will we move around in the future? The questions associated with new mobility concepts are currently being discussed in a joint series of talks by KU, THI and Donaukurier. This time, the focus is on the opportunities and challenges of mobility in tourism. Alexander Hart, Marketing Director of the Tourismusverband Franken e.V., and Professor Dr. Harald Pechlaner, holder of the chair for tourism and head of the Center for Entrepreneurship at the KU.

Mr. Pechlaner, Mr. Hart, tourism is hard to imagine without mobility. How do you envision the future of mobility in 2050?
Harald Pechlaner: The mobility of the future will be sustainable mobility. There will be a lot of issues such as nature conservation, climate friendliness and the quality of life for the people in the regions, not just a good distribution of occupancy. Digitization plays an important role in this.

Alexander Hart: I totally agree with that. In the future there will also be a large number of mobility offers. The interplay of the different offers will be in the foreground. Digitization can optimize the search for offers and their interaction.

How does mobility in tourism differ from everyday or professional mobility?
Hard: We differentiate between leisure and work. When on vacation or in your free time, the journey is often the destination. Here people experience a different time. When it comes to a job, on the other hand, progress has to be coordinated, you have to be able to get from one place to another quickly.

Pechlaner: For me, the quality of life of the locals has priority over the quality of life of the guests. Only then will the tourist experience be a success. But does that also mean: everyday mobility before tourist mobility? I wouldn't see it that way. We should try to build bridges. Everyday and professional mobility and tourist mobility should be brought together. However, this means that local public transport has to be combined much more closely with private, economic models.

So is there a need for greater integration of mobility offers?
Pechlaner: Exactly. In practice, it is about the integration of everyday mobility and tourist mobility. But also about the integration of different transport associations, for example the Augsburg and Nuremberg network systems with the transport association of the Ingolstadt region. We have relatively strong structural boundaries in rural and urban areas between the various regions. It's not easy to do that.

Do you also experience this in the Franconian tourist region?
Hard: The transport association for the greater Nuremberg area (VGN) has great offers. In addition to the regular timetables, there is a very extensive network of leisure routes. It was recognized early on how to market bus and train lines for tourism. We have been working closely together for many years, including with the Bavarian Railway Company, to bring the information closer to the guest. With cycle paths like the “Tauber Altmühl cycle path” we noticed that many also use the route to get to work. So there are good, successful approaches.

What are the challenges then?
Pechlaner: We have to succeed in seeing mobility in an interdisciplinary manner and from the customer's point of view. In Franconia, the offers go well together. But when we think of the Harz Mountains, the situation is much more difficult. Three federal states and six districts border one another here. This makes it much more difficult to integrate the offers. This is where the problem begins. So on the one hand we have administrative and political limits, but on the other hand we have to offer the guest an integrated experience.

Hard: In Franconia, for example, this has been achieved with the “MainRadweg” project. The cycle path runs for almost 600 kilometers from the Fichtelgebirge to the mouth of the Main in Hesse. The cooperation with the Hessian tourism is close, we work together across national borders. But problems arise, and that's how I see it, when it comes to local public transport. We are repeatedly asked by travelers: If I have a Hessenticket, how do I get on in Bavaria and how can I book it? The combinations with the most varied of variations are often too opaque for travelers.

What can a solution look like?
Pechlaner: For me it would be important that a uniform perception of the various mobility providers is possible via appropriate online platforms. Digitization makes it possible to combine mobility carriers such as trains, buses or e-bikes in such a way that they are experienced as an integrated offer. This gives the customer a new level of security when using multiple mobility offers. In other words: the point is to focus more on a good travel experience, even in everyday traffic.

The high volume of traffic is often a problem in rush hour traffic. Tourist mobility can also have negative effects. Do you see this as a threat to the region?
Pechlaner: No, I don't see any tendencies towards “over-tourism” in the Altmühltal or in all of Franconia. Of course there are hotspots, places that people simply want to see. “Over-tourism” is only achieved when a diffuse feeling of dissatisfaction arises among the local population. It is therefore becoming more important to combine the design of sustainable mobility with the management of visitors. Mobility becomes an experience. The visitor management makes it possible to offer this experience as optimally as possible in the future.

Are you already using such approaches?
Hard: Yes, we actively take up such challenges so that the guest does not queue in front of overcrowded ticket booths. We therefore present our guests with corresponding offers via online channels. We are currently running an Instagram campaign on “Hidden Places”, for example to point out places in Bamberg or Bayreuth that are less known, but by no means less interesting. But we also need new technologies for sensible visitor guidance, for example to be able to integrate parking lot systems. Here we come to the topic of "Open Data". What data can we use, what can we integrate?

So is visitor management a question of digitization?
Pechlaner: Yes, we have much better data availability today. The tourism associations have completely different options to intervene in the flow of visitors. This means that capacities can be matched on site, for example between available parking spaces and hiking trails or beach capacities, such as on the Baltic Sea. This turns visitor management into a strategic instrument, not only to manage excess capacities at short notice, but also to offer the right experiences to the right target groups.

Is there increasing interest in vacationing in your own region? Do the mobility offers have to be adjusted here?
Hard: We have experienced a real boom in tourism in Germany for many years. This is also the case in Franconia. We have grown enormously in the past few years. The trend is unbroken. Even now during the corona situation. People are realizing more and more what they have on their doorstep. We are making interesting suggestions that also encourage nature-friendly travel.

Pechlaner: Yes, we are experiencing a trend towards resilient tourism. Many people reflect more on their own travel behavior. People are becoming sensitive to sustainable forms of mobility and are happy to accept corresponding offers. A lot comes together here: technological developments, digitization, but also the sense of sustainable offers. Tourism is therefore a good showcase for the question of whether mobility can be a real experience or not. For the public transport industry, too, tourism can be a yardstick for sustainable and experience-oriented mobility. This is exactly where we need to achieve excellence.

Interview conducted by Thomas Metten.

 

On November 20th the “Future Forum Mobility” of the knowledge transfer project “People in Motion” will take place. The program takes place online and is aimed at science, business and politics as well as all citizens. The aim is to discuss the mobility of the future together in specialist lectures and science slams. Information about the program and registration can be found at: Mensch-in-bewegung.info/event/zkm/

The Eichstätter Tourism Talks will also take place on November 17 and 25. The topics "Future of Tourism in Bavaria" and "Visitor Management in Tourism" will be discussed. The two-day event will be presented by the Chair of Tourism at the KU and the Altmühltal Nature Park.