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ALADDIN-Mobile Destination-Management for SME's

Final Report Summary - ALADDIN (Mobile Destination-Management for SME's)

The EU project ALADDIN aimed to develop a mobile destination system that combines both, the provision of a mobile incoming tour operator workspace and a mobile content and service management system for destinations. Thereby ALADDIN considered different usage scenarios, bearing in mind the variety of holiday types, such as culture, city or sun destination trips and different types of travellers, such as business and leisure travellers in groups or as individuals.

A detailed business analysis and specification carried out by the research partners of the project was the basis for the final implementation of the ALADDIN system. Field tests in three partner destination areas helped to improve the proper running of the system in real environments. Extensive dissemination in the public and scientific area was to be the basis for good exploitation efforts. In addition the so far non-existent competition in the area of mobile applications for tour guides opens up a promising market for a standard that is supposed to ensure the success of the ALADDIN system beyond the cooperative research project.

A complete documentation of the research activities, methodologies and project results can be found in the two books that have been or are to be published by the ALADDIN consortium. Book number one 'At home in the destination - the Aladdin platform: Mobile and multilingual information, communication and services for tour guides, travellers and local SMEs' summarises the first year of the ALADDIN project. It begins with the state of the market(s), the principle technologies to be developed within ALADDIN and the approaches to mapping destinations with relevant information for all involved.

Three chapters look at the test beds for the field work and outlining the parameters of Budapest (in the context of the package Chinese traveller), Stockholm (from the point of view of the business traveller) and Wolfgangsee (bringing in the independent traveller). Then the business process modelling and use case scenarios that had driven the project and the challenge of multilinguality are outlined before looking at the software architecture and efficiency issues involved. The book concludes by considering the business models and the benefits and future of the ALADDIN systems.

The second book 'Postcards from the field: developing, testing and evaluating the Aladdin platform' (provisional title) deals itself with the developmental testing of the ALADDIN systems in the three locations and with the three different areas of the market. It begins by considering the nature of mobility and the challenges this poses to traditional communications within the sector, especially for SMEs. It outlines the commitment to evaluation throughout the project and demonstrates how the field tests allowed for modifications and continuous improvement to take place before the final test in Stockholm. It reveals the real problems faced by the project in developing appropriate and acceptable hardware and software to gain user confidence.

It considers the issue of language and the need for multilinguality in the provision of tourist information. The book also offers a review of the evaluation methodologies and techniques undertaken. The book concludes by considering the business models through which the ALADDIN system can gain a foothold in the markets and deliver the potential that has been identified throughout the project. The book will be available in many libraries and for sale from Fraunhofer in Stuttgart and through Amazon in autumn 2007.

The results that have been achieved over the past two years demonstrate that there is a high level of interest and need for a mobile destination management system like ALADDIN. External factors such as the continuous growth of the European tourism market, the growing number of mobile phone users, the increase in the number of people who also take their mobile devices with them when they travel and the shifts observed and forecast in traveller behaviour opens up a promising user market for ALADDIN and supports the need for such a system. The trend towards more frequent and shorter holidays, for example, is accompanied by a more dynamic and less predictable market for destinations. The insistence on value for money and added value for business travellers also heightens the need for up-to-date and reliable destination information. The ALADDIN system can deliver up-to-date information and services at any time in any place, supporting:
- business travellers during their trips in liaison with conference and event organisers,
- individual travellers on their trips, especially when they are planned at short notice or spontaneously,
- package travellers at the destination,
- the tour guides,
- the tour companies and
- service suppliers.

As a summary of strengths, we can say that the ALADDIN system can function as an interactive, personalised and continuously updated guidebook and work tool. It can mean a new paradigm in the business and individual (and partly in the group) travel markets, for both travellers and tour guides, and serve as an additional communication medium for service providers by allowing them to adapt their product and marketing activities as a necessary response to these trends. The target group analysis demonstrated that there is a real need to optimise the working processes of the incoming tour operator and the tour guides that work with them.

With ALADDIN, it would be possible to improve these processes throughout the traveller destination experience. The delivery of personalised navigation and location-based services in ALADDIN coincides with the requirements and needs of travellers to access such systems. In reviewing the analysis of the mobile solutions, it is apparent that there is currently no other mobile traveller solution on the market that combines both B2B and B2C environments. The two environments in ALADDIN will benefit from each other and synergy effects can be used. The internal appraisal shows that the ALADDIN system can be developed by the technology partners because of their established expertise in developing mobile solutions and the availability of existing software components to be used in the ALADDIN system. With the inclusion of the necessary transnational cooperation aspects in the tourism area, the perfection of traveller relationship management by making CRM features mobile and furthermore by including localised content through the use of a translation service, adoption of the ALADDIN system would lead to a sustainable enhancement of the competitiveness of European SMEs in the tourism area.