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SmartGuide's digital audio guide platform and the Czech Government partner to Restart Tourism during and after the pandemic

In recent years, the Czech Republic has seen a surge in tourism, with visitors flocking to its picturesque cities and historic sites. To further boost this thriving sector, the Czech government teamed up with SmartGuide, a leading provider of digital tour guide solutions, to promote lesser-known destinations and ensure traveler safety. This case study explores the successful implementation of SmartGuide's self-guided tour system across the country, aiming to create a more inclusive and secure travel experience.

SmartGuide digital audio guide and the Czech Government partner to Restart Tourism 01

The primary objective of this collaboration was to encourage visitors to explore off-the-beaten-path locations while adhering to travel safety guidelines. To achieve this,  SmartGuide published digital audio guides for different local destinations, including the Czech Republic's capital, Prague. SmartGuide currently offers a total of 188 digital tour guides of Czech destinations available in more than 13 languages including, English, French, and German, leveraging their innovative tour guide system to provide an immersive and authentic experience to visitors. Local Destination Management Organizations (DMOs), tour guides, and travel enthusiasts played a significant role in crafting these engaging narratives, ensuring that the content was both informative and captivating.

Throughout this case study, readers will gain insights into the technicalities of implementing SmartGuide's tour guide solutions, as well as the marketing strategies employed to promote these lesser-visited places. The project's outcome not only led to increased footfall in these hidden gems but also demonstrated the effectiveness of SmartGuide's audio tour guide system in complying with new travel safety norms and boosting sustainable tourism. Let’s discover how this innovative approach is reshaping the future of tourism in the Czech Republic and beyond.

Tourism in Czechia before, during and post-pandemic

The Czech Republic is a popular tourist destination, with over 19.5 million visitors in 2019. Its rich culture and history, combined with its natural beauty, make it an attractive destination for travelers from all over the world. From exploring the palaces and chateaux to sampling the local cuisine, there are plenty of experiences to enjoy in this country.

Tourism in the Czech Republic has experienced a steady growth trend since the beginning of the decade. In 2019, the country recorded approximately 37.2 million international trips, encompassing both same-day visitors and overnight tourists. However, similar to numerous countries worldwide, the Czech Republic has faced significant challenges due to the pandemic. As a result, the number of visitors plummeted to 10.3 million in 2020 and further declined to 10 million in 2021, primarily due to the subsequent travel restrictions. This situation led to the closure of attractions and a sharp decrease in visitor numbers, severely impacting the tourism industry. Consequently, it has become imperative to devise innovative solutions that can effectively revive tourism and provide support to local economies.

One such solution is a partnership between the Czech government and SmartGuide – a digital travel guide platform that enables self-guided tours using audio technology. This helped boost tourism in the country by providing tourists with a safe, interactive experience while keeping social distancing. It has supplied valuable data for tourism boards to better understand visitor habits and preferences when marketing for tourism in the future. Post-pandemic, SmartGuide helps with promoting sustainable tourism in the Czech Republic, as it distributes visitors also to the less visited places (for example in Prague, SmartGuide helped redirect 30% of tourists from the overcrowded city center to the hidden gems in the outskirts). 

SmartGuide digital audio guide and the Czech Government partner to Restart Tourism 02

Overcoming challenges in implementing the digital tour guide solution in the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic's tourism industry faced a unique set of challenges as it sought to promote lesser-known destinations, ensure accurate navigation, cater to diverse traveler needs, and provide an immersive experience, all with the pandemic in the mix. SmartGuide's innovative digital tour guide app emerged as a game-changer in overcoming these hurdles and unlocking the country's tourism potential. By collaborating closely with local experts, leveraging GPS technology, and designing an intuitive platform for digital guide creation, SmartGuide revolutionized the way visitors explore tourist destinations and attractions in the Czech Republic. 

Below is a compilation of the challenges that the tourism industry in the Czech Republic faced, along with the corresponding solutions provided by SmartGuide:

1. Identification and selection of lesser-known destinations with big visitor potential that would benefit from increased tourism.

Solution: SmartGuide collaborated closely with local destination management organizations (DMOs) and tour guides, leveraging their expertise to pinpoint hidden gems and captivating craft narratives for the digital audio guides. These narratives were customized to provide personalized and immersive experiences. They also incorporated local insights from tour guides, sharing fascinating anecdotes, historical facts, and insider tips. Destinations and hidden gems such as Valtice, Vlašim, or Pevnost Josefov, among many others, got their digital audio guides created and published on SmartGuide. 

2. Ensuring the accuracy and reliability of the digital tour guide app’s navigation and guidance around the country through the vibrant streets of the Czech Republic.

Solution: SmartGuide utilized GPS technology and detailed mapping to provide users with precise navigation and guidance while exploring the vibrant streets of the Czech Republic. This feature ensured that visitors could effortlessly navigate the destinations, uncover hidden treasures, and find lesser-known attractions, thereby enhancing their overall experience. Additionally, the app employed GPS-based Point of Interest (POI) triggering, which alerted users when they approached significant landmarks, historical sites, or points of interest. This functionality further enriched the exploration process, allowing travelers to effortlessly discover and appreciate the distinct offerings of the Czech Republic.

SmartGuides digital audio guide platform and the Czech Government partner to Restart Tourism - Boat tour

3. Meeting the diverse visitors’ needs and preferences. This encompassed challenges related to accessibility, interests, and language preferences. 

Solution: SmartGuide aimed to ensure that the platform offered customized content that would serve drastically varied visitor groups (such as adults and children, for example) with different narratives for the same points of interest. The leading digital audio guide also caters to individuals with disabilities by incorporating accessibility features.

4. Congestion of popular spots and the need to promote authentic local experiences.

Solution: SmartGuide's solution is aimed at decongesting popular spots and promoting authentic local places. By offering self-guided tours and detailed information on visitors' phones, SmartGuide encouraged exploration beyond the crowded tourist areas. Visitors could discover hidden gems and off-the-beaten-path attractions, enhancing their experience with the local culture. SmartGuide guided visitors towards lesser-known but equally captivating destinations, reducing the strain on popular spots and promoting a more diverse and immersive travel experience in the Czech Republic.

SmartGuide's digital audio guides revitalize Czech Republic's tourism sector

The tourism industry in the Czech Republic faced significant challenges due to the pandemic, resulting in a considerable decline in visitor numbers by over 60% in 2020. To address this situation, the Czech government joined forces with SmartGuide to implement self-guided tours and provide a digital tour guide system that offers sustainable and effective solutions to support the recovery and revitalization of the country's tourism sector.

SmartGuide’s self-guided tours provide just that, delivering detailed destination information directly to visitors' phones. Empowering destinations to easily create digital travel guides, SmartGuide helps them reach independent travelers. The digital audio guides offer personalization, granting the freedom to choose routes and itineraries to meet individual interests. Beyond convenience, SmartGuide also amplifies destinations through cutting-edge marketing services. Destinations also benefit from powerful tools like big data analytics and insights, enabling targeted campaigns to efficiently reach and engage prospective visitors.

SmartGuide Triumphs in Czech Republic: A harmonious collaboration crafting unforgettable digital audio experiences

SmartGuide has transformed the tourism landscape of the Czech Republic, making it effortlessly accessible for exploration. It was implemented in the Czech Republic through a collaboration between SmartGuide, local destination management organizations (DMOs), tour guides, and travel enthusiasts.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade supported the project “Save Tourism – Let's Get to Know the Czech Republic”, which aimed to inspire domestic and foreign visitors to explore the country safely during the pandemic. As part of this project, SmartGuide developed a digital travel guide app for Prague that works as an audio guide with detailed information about monuments, museums, and other attractions. The app also offers detailed maps and directions to make exploring easier.

In addition to Prague, SmartGuide helped create 100 digital audio guides for other destinations in the Czech Republic such as Brno, Karlovy Vary, Kutná Hora, Olomouc, Ostrava, Plzeň and Tábor. These audio guides are designed to inspire travelers to explore lesser-known places in the country that they may not have known about before. 

Turn every tourist into an explorer with SmartGuide

SmartGuide also provides a smart destination management system that helps promote sustainable tourism in Czechia. It allows DMOs to manage their destinations more efficiently by providing them with data-driven insights into visitor behavior and preferences. Tour guides are also able to use this system to create and scale personalized experiences for their clients based on their interests.

SmartGuide was recently awarded the Hero of Tourism 2022 by CzechTourism for its innovative platform for digital audio guides. The award recognizes the company’s commitment to helping revive the country’s tourism sector during these challenging times. With its revolutionary digital tour guide system, SmartGuide's leading tour guide app is helping make travel easier and more enjoyable for visitors while providing sustainable solutions for promoting destinations around the world.

Conclusion: Czech Republic's hidden treasures are unlocked with SmartGuide's digital tour guide system 

The Czech Republic has witnessed a remarkable transformation in its tourism landscape, thanks to the successful implementation of SmartGuide's innovative tour guide system. This cutting-edge solution has not only enhanced visitor experiences but also brought lesser-known destinations into the spotlight, all while promoting safe tourism practices during and post-pandemic.

SmartGuide's digital audio guides have played a pivotal role in redefining travel within the country. By offering engaging self-guided tours, visitors can now uncover the rich history, culture, and attractions of lesser-known locations at their own pace, providing a more immersive and personalized experience. These guides, crafted in collaboration with local tour guides and destination management organizations, showcase the hidden gems of the Czech Republic, encouraging visitors to venture beyond traditional hotspots.

In addition to elevating the visitor experience, SmartGuide has also been instrumental in promoting safe tourism practices, especially during these challenging times. Furthermore, the digital platform eliminates the need for physical maps and brochures, minimizing touchpoints and contributing to a more hygienic travel experience as well as promoting sustainable tourism.

SmartGuide app screenshots of Czech  Republic

The Czech tourism board's decision to adopt SmartGuide's tour guide solutions has set a new benchmark for the industry, proving that technology can play a vital role in enhancing tourism while prioritizing safety. As more countries look to revitalize their tourism sectors post-pandemic, the Czech Republic's success with SmartGuide is an inspiring example of innovation and adaptability.

In conclusion, we've explored the power of grassroots content sourcing and its impact on providing authentic and valuable information to travelers. From the success of the Czech Riseup competition, where content authors competed for a prize by SmartGuide (congratulations to Karlovy Vary!), we've witnessed firsthand how individuals can contribute to creating remarkable travel experiences.

Now, it's your turn to get involved! Join the movement and become a content creator for SmartGuide. Share your local insights, hidden gems, and unique perspectives to help fellow travelers explore the world with a personal touch.