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Toerisme Brugge

Creating an electronic passport to visitor attractions for Toerisme Brugge

Toerisme Brugge

Toerisme Brugge promotes awareness of Brugge’s cultural and historical legacies, as well as more contemporary attractions, to today’s value-conscious leisure travellers.

To help the organisation keep pace with the ever-more sophisticated expectations of visitors, while increasing the efficiency of its operations, Toerisme Brugge chose ACT to upgrade its paper-based City Card scheme.

Putting Brugge on the map as a must-visit city

Like many cities, Brugge goes to great lengths to maintain its status as a must-see destination. Tourism plays a key role in the local economy, and helps to foster a positive national image worldwide.

For Toerisme Brugge, the city’s tourist board, encouraging greater visitor numbers to the city’s attractions is a top priority. One of the tools it used for this was the paper-based City Card scheme - but this wasn’t getting the results the tourist board wanted. “We wanted to be able to capture visits; to better understand the popularity of individual attractions, and the demographics of visitors to our city in order to drive our marketing efforts. But our existing paper-based scheme couldn’t do this,” says Toerisme Brugge’s ICT Manager. “So we decided to seek an upgrade to a paperless, electronic system.”

From an administrative point of view, an electronic system would enable Toerisme Brugge to automate settlements to the attractions, significantly reducing the time and cost of manual reconciliation. But as a not-for-profit organisation, Toerisme Brugge also needed to achieve value for taxpayers’ money.

That’s why the organisation turned to ACT. “We chose ACT for its technical leadership in delivering similar schemes, to give us a head start”, says the ICT Manager. “It has an established presence in the tourism sector, so we were confident they were well-positioned to help us learn more about our visitors and attractions and to streamline our financial reimbursement.”

The ACT solution at a glance

Single pass to multiple attractions

Electronic smart cards

Card readers supplied

No need for new IT systems

Online management tools

Financial settlement tools

Optional integration to global sales channels

Statistics and reporting

Creating an all-inclusive, prepaid tourism experience

ACT’s Discovery smart card visitor system is used by the greatest number of destinations in the world, including many of the world’s most popular city locations. Designed to provide an all-inclusive prepaid tourism experience, its convenient smart card format enables visitors to unlock all a city has to offer.

According to the tourist board, “the ACT Discovery solution is effectively a ready-made itinerary of 35 of Brugge’s major attractions, making it easier for visitors to maximise their time in our city. It also provides cardholders with free parking in 4 major car parks throughout the duration of their stay.”

Discovery provides all the necessary system and sales network components needed by a tourist body or private scheme operator to establish and manage a comprehensive, flexible visitor programme. The solution is fully managed, providing low barriers to entry, and its ease of use means customers can rapidly achieve full productivity.

ACT worked collaboratively with Toerisme Brugge to understand its needs and design the most appropriate configuration to fit its budget. By providing the hardware and back-office integration, ACT enabled the tourist board to adopt electronic city passes without having to replace its existing IT infrastructure. This allowed the paper-based card to be maintained until the Discovery solution went live, to provide a seamless transition.

“ACT also integrated the Discovery system with our existing financial software, which meant attraction reimbursement and vendor commission settlements could be automated without having to alter our accounting processes,” says the ICT Manager.

Increased value for visitors, attractions and the tourist board

For Toerisme Brugge, the Discovery smart card has allowed it to extend its marketing reach, automate entry to attractions and develop e-business techniques without major upheaval. “Sales of the ‘Love Brugge’ City Card have been steadily increasing and we’ve already extended the scheme to include a Young Person’s card for 16 to 25 year olds.”

Importantly, Toerisme Brugge is now able to capture key customer demographics when visitors buy their smart cards online, as well as walk-in purchases which are captured through ACT’s SmartStation front-of-house EPOS system. “We have accumulated over a year’s worth of data that can be used to profile existing visitors and target future marketing activities more effectively,” the ICT Manager continues. “We have also increased our understanding of how participating attractions are performing in terms of visitor numbers. New attractions are proactively expressing interest in joining the Brugge scheme, making the card even more appealing to our customers.”

As it’s web-based, the system is very easy to use. Adding new attractions to the back-office application is straightforward and immediate. The simplified, integrated financial reimbursement system means attraction settlement is now automated, resulting in reduced administration and greater accuracy.

The solution also offers profit-and-loss reporting, with the ability to drill down into the data. This enables the tourist board to analyse whether the City Card represents better value for money for visitors than paying individual admission prices for attractions.

With ACT’s innovative development roadmap, the scheme is flexible and future-proofed. The solution can be integrated with more than 30 of the world’s most popular online travel operators, including Travelocity and Expedia. This allows customers to purchase the card while booking flights, hotels or car hire, and offers a readymade sales distribution network to tourism bodies.

To anyone evaluating a similar programme, the ICT Manager says: “ACT’s solution was technically superior to the alternatives on the market. We’re very happy with sales and visitors’ overall response to the card. It doesn’t end with project delivery - we also have a great relationship with ACT’s Discovery specialists, who provide us with ongoing support to ensure the scheme’s continued success.”

 

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“ACT’s solution was technically superior to the alternatives on the market.”

Key facts

6,100 ‘Love Brugge’ City Cards sold in the first 10 months, cumulatively representing 32,000 individual visits

Ready-made itinerary of 35 attractions

Greater inclusion of smaller attractions

Average number of visits per 48hr card: 7.57; per 72hr card: 9.16

“Sales of the ‘Love Brugge’ City Card have been steadily increasing and we’ve already extended the scheme to include a Young Person’s card for 16 to 25 year olds.”
“We have accumulated over a year’s worth of data that can be used to profile existing visitors and target future marketing activities more effectively.”
“We have a great relationship with ACT’s Discovery specialists, who provide us with ongoing support to ensure the scheme’s continued success.”