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EXCLUSIVE – Using data analytics and ICT to enhance visitor experience at the Singapore Tourism Board (STB)

Share with us about your role as CTO of Singapore Tourism Board (STB).

The rise of digital technology has transformed the way people consume travel and lifestyle experiences, and how businesses conduct their operations.

As the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) for STB, I lead the Technology Transformation Group in seeking to shape the way STB works with data and enhances the visitor experience in Singapore with our tourism stakeholders through the use of technology.

Our vision is to help make Singapore a destination that provides a seamless and personalised experience for visitors, and for STB and businesses to remain competitive in a fast-evolving environment.

Digital engagement with tourists and visitors is essential in the tourism business now, given that it is common for tourists to go online for research for their trips and plan their itineraries. What is the broad digital engagement strategy for STB?

STB is aiming to leverage technology more effectively in three main areas:

  • To deepen our insights on visitors’ needs through data analytics
  •  To deliver quality experiences for all
  • To connect businesses for more efficient and effective sharing and exchange of content

Are there any current or upcoming ICT projects within STB that you are working on?

Some major initiatives include:

  •  Tourism information and services hub

-A back-end digital content and distribution platform where industry stakeholders can contribute and easily extract relevant information (such as events, promotions and opening hours) and services (such as enhanced navigation, itinerary planners) for their own respective platforms (websites, apps etc).

-This open platform offers increased exposure to businesses and their offerings and makes sharing and updating of content much more efficiently and effectively.

  • Tourism data hub

-A data analytics platform that will aggregate tourism-related data for analysis to generate insights into and boost our understanding of our consumers.

-Data to be aggregated and analysed include tourism receipts and visitor arrivals tracked by STB, and social media sentiments, web analytics and more.

-This platform will also enable STB and our tourism partners to reach our consumers in timely, impactful and relevant ways, strengthen industry capabilities in data analytics and bring greater value to Singapore’s tourism sector.

-Enhancing visitor touch points through the development and deployment of mobile applications and smart kiosks at key visitor areas. Some key service functionalities that STB is currently exploring include enhanced navigation, real-time visitor information and itinerary planning. These will create seamless and personalised experiences for visitors in Singapore while they are on the move.

Collaboration across different government agencies is a good way to share and triangulate data that might be useful in making decisions and planning. Is STB currently working or planning to work with other government agencies to achieve such objectives?

Yes. In partnership with other relevant agencies, STB is working to deliver richer lifestyle experiences for both locals and visitors. This contributes to the Smart Nation initiative to enable better living, more business opportunities and stronger communities. Specifically, projects being worked on will help bring precincts to life through enhanced interactivity, and support businesses to raise productivity and increase revenue through innovation and big data.

STB recently signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) with the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) to drive tourism traffic and exchanges between Singapore and Korea. In terms of working with other countries and their agencies, how would the process of collaboration go about and what are some of the platforms that will be used for knowledge and data sharing?

STB continuously identifies opportunities for collaboration that will enable the growth of Singapore’s international visitor arrivals and tourism receipts.

In this vein, we have been forging partnerships with global digital partners, some of which include Alitrip, Ctrip, Mafengwo, Tuniu, Dianping (China) and most recently Kakao.

Additionally, through STB’s tourism information and services hub, we hope to enable tourism businesses to easily connect to other businesses, cross exchange information and services, much like an open marketplace.

Tourism businesses could further draw from this platform to enhance its consumer-facing channels and/or applications to enable a more seamless and enhanced experience for visitors.

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