So what do we know about this? It is complicated. What are the recent big successes? Wild Atlantic Way springs to mind as do all the Greenways being developed following the huge success of the one in Mayo.
Irish tourism is a huge product and one where there are clear gains to be made from our Green and clean country but especially our extra friendly people.
But it is not all roses, staffing in hotels, cafes, hostels etc is a task. How many people are needed, for when, what skills do they need, how long do I need them for and what do I pay them? These are all questions that are hard to answer when setting up.
Oddly enough data and software can help. Most people will book a hotel or guest house, airbnb, or campsite. This information allows the owners to see what staff they need. Some hotels and restaurants have arrangements with cooks, cleaners etc to ‘follow the customers’ . So for example a hotel in middle of Ireland may be quiet mid week but out the door on the weekend. Once the bookings arrive in the systems can generate a message to gig workers like cooks, cleaners, bar men, serving staff etc., offering them work, and usually accomodation to match the new emerging demands.
They pay a premium for this of course but it is cheaper than carrying staff for hours they are not needed. Staff get well paid and get to do other jobs or study or follow their dream outside of these hours.
Owners of stand alone business will need to form alliances with their neighbours to be able to share the information. Guys renting bikes on greenways will need to talk to hotels and guesthouses so they can be ready with teh bikes. Coffe shops and stalls along the way need to link up with the bike guy so they can know when there are potential customers coming.
A simple example is a guy on a greenway renting bikes. When he has 50 out he whistles up more help for the return process- as this probably will happen in a rush. A couple of the coffes shops have an arrangement where he tells them when he passes 30 bikes. They then know there are 30 people on the greenway and maybe they need a few more scones. It’s simple stuff but it helps give the customer and the business people better experiences.
Without getting too big brother about it, this can all be automated so that the computers do the heavy lifting and talk to each other . This is our hope, that a community based platform will work with the community to help give everyone the benefit of the tourists who come to town.
Ski resorts are increasingly using this to make sure they have enough food, cooks, instructors, and cleaners to deal with the weather driven surge in demand. The software and tools are out there, we need local leaders to help roll them out.
Uber probably invented the idea and constantly use software to identify spikes in demand. Airlines use it to price seats and to reallocate planes if there is lower, or higher demands. The technology exists. #smartrural can exploit it.