Just imagine the data potential
As the travel loyalty community meet up – in various places around the world – in the next few weeks, it is interesting to focus on some ‘loyalty in reverse’ projects, such as Venice.
If you haven’t read about it already, the counsel of Venice ( the management body) has decided that the ancient city will be the first in the world to tax people for visiting. It is a move that they hope will reduce the number of day trippers, which are the main problem, because they all do the same tours, and trudge around the same sites, such as St Mark’s Square and the Rialto Bridge. It is argued that the day trippers have little economic value to the city, but do a great deal of damage, and put a strain on the infrastructure.
The plan is to charge each visitor €5 to enter, and while this is not high, it is expected that it will deter quite a number of trippers.
Venice has already banned cruise ships from inside its perimeter, because of the damage they cause to the sea bed, and it is hoped the penalty for day trippers will ease the burden even more.
Interestingly, the scheme, which will only be operated as a trial to start with, requires the registration of all visitors, whether day trippers or not. The day trippers will put in their details, pay their €5 and receive a bar code which they can use to prove they have paid if and when challenged. But all other visitors – those staying for longer, students, volunteers, those visiting for sporting events or for work, will also need to register and use a bar code when challenged.
This gives Venice a fascinating insight into who is visiting their city, the age, reason, country of origin and a whole lot besides if they choose to ask the questions. So Loyalty Magazine is suggesting that it is ‘loyalty in reverse’ because Venice is managing to gain that all important data which it can use itself for research, or pass onto partners (for a fee) and at the same time, it is being paid to collect it, rather than giving a reward.
Loyalty Magazine understands that the tourist tax will be used only to fund the system in the first year, but we would be very surprised if someone hasn’t already thought of the potential of such a comprehensive data base. Italian data analysts for sure, are going to be very aware of the value of this global list of travellers.
And in the future, if they added just one question to the registration form, just think how much additional information they can collect. For example, Are you a Vegan? Do you have an electric car? Where are you travelling to next year? What is on your wish list?
Or they could ask the tourists for a promise. “I agree not to buy single use plastics”, or “I agree to take all my rubbish home with me”.
The potential is very interesting indeed.