Innovations in Digital Travel Services

31 december 2019

The Moscow Tourism Committee and Moscow Agency of Innovations are announcing an open challenge to seek technology solutions to enable digital services that will serve as an alternative or extension to the services provided by Moscow's tourist information centers.

In the past few years, Moscow has made significant progress in boosting its infrastructure and tourist appeal. The city has successfully implemented several street beautification programs, enhanced transportation options, opened new and upgraded existing venues and attractions, and facilitated the introduction of new accommodation and services.

According to PwC's Cities Readiness Index [1], Moscow belongs to the world's top five cities ready to adopt technology-driven solutions across a variety of social sectors, including culture and tourism. The study assessed such parameters as the availability of multifunctional kiosks and smart bus stops, the availability of advanced mobile applications for tourists, and the level of adoption of innovative technologies in airports and museums.

At the present moment, Moscow has two tourist information centers (TICs) located at Zaryadye Park and Kolomenskoye Museum Estate.

The TICs are vital elements of the city's tourism infrastructure. Created by the city administration, they provide numerous services to assist domestic and international travelers and promote the city as a travel destination.

TIC functions include:

gathering, processing and publicizing information on the city's tourism opportunities on travel sites and in other media;

designing and publishing travel guides, maps with city landmarks and tourist attractions, and other tourism marketing materials;

providing tourists with travel recommendations and route planning suggestions and assisting tourists within the scope of available resources;

promoting the city and greater region on domestic and international tourism markets.

TIC services include:

providing visitors with reference information about the city, country or region;

providing visitors with various free or paid-for printed or recorded materials (audio and video materials, maps, guides, directories);

telecommunication services (phone, videophone, Internet, email, and other services);

travel and accommodation booking;

buying tickets to events;

tour planning and management, including optional guiding and interpreting services;

restaurant table reservation;

assistance with car rental and shuttle services;

buying tours to local destinations;

selling souvenirs and other tourist paraphernalia

Moscow's TICs help improve the city's competitiveness on the national and global tourism markets. For many visitors, getting to know the city begins with a visit to a TIC.

The development of the TIC network drives the quality of travel services in the city and directly affects the level of satisfaction that tourists experience while visiting the destination. This becomes especially important given the growing contribution of the tourism industry to Moscow's economy.

In this regard, the Moscow Tourism Committee is considering the creation of a city-wide TIC system in two formats: a) information desks managed by English-speaking staff and located at key tourist arrival points, and b) mobile information points with printed collateral at key visitor-traffic locations: stations, hotels, museums, etc. The use of digital services will help expand the range of available offerings.

Proposed solutions must address the following needs:

to increase the operational efficiency of TICs;

to enable the real-time support of travelers via a communication channel of their choice in addition to offline support;

to enable assistance to tourists beyond the working hours of information centers;

to enable the provision of relevant information to tourists in places where no staff is present;

to improve customer service;

to expand the range of available channels and tools for the provision of information services to all audiences;

to attract attention to the city and its tourism offerings;

to stimulate the purchase of local tourism products;

to enable a more individual approach to each tourist;

to study current tourist needs;

to create favorable conditions for a dialogue between the city and the tourist;

to create an atmosphere conducive to exploring the city and enjoying this process;

to contribute to gaining and sharing positive visitor experiences;

to expand the database of service solutions for travelers;

to optimize the travel search process with the help of SEO technologies.

Open Challenges Program Eligibility Profile:
Eligible for participation in the program are legal entities registered in the Russian Federation or other countries. Foreign legal entities must have a representative office in the Russian Federation. The said entities must be either involved in technology R&D or have exclusive rights for the manufacturing and/or delivery of the submitted innovative solution.

Additionally, participation in the program is open to unincorporated research teams, individual scientists and inventors from Russia and other countries. Their submissions will undergo expert evaluation. However, due to regulatory restrictions, they will not be considered for piloting in Moscow.

Innovative solutions submitted to the challenge can be:

New solutions and technologies the likes of which haven't been used in Moscow;
new solutions and technologies that perform better than rivals in terms of specific capabilities or functionalities.

Ready-to-use solutions;
projects at early stages of development (ideas, prototypes, functioning prototypes).

Advantages for entrants:

an opportunity to run a pilot project in Moscow using the city's infrastructure (at this stage, equipment for testing purposes should be provided free of charge for a period of time agreed by the parties);

an opportunity to use Moscow's innovation infrastructure facilities on privileged terms for further business development activities

All solutions submitted to the challenge must include a detailed description of their operating principles, existing or anticipated limitations, implementation prerequisites, and resource requirements.

Submissions will be evaluated by a dedicated jury comprised of representatives of the Moscow Tourism Committee, other executive authorities and industry organizations.

1. С результатами исследования можно ознакомиться здесь: