Visit Savonlinna was designed together with its sister site Savonlinnanyt.fi was designed as on open platform to facilitate collaboration between companies.
Visit Savonlinna is an open platform offer as public service to local companies and business associated to promote their services. It utilized adaptive website design, open interfaces making it possible to link data to/from other websites. Collaborators are granted content editor privileges. In this way the responsibility for the website management is distributed. Businesses update their own information through automatically updated link. Responsibility for updating belongs to owner/author of information. By utilizing 'crowdsourcing' In this way, the region has been able to mobilize and commit over 200 companies to share their info and rich contents to a wide online audience - 400 000 pages view annually for Visit Savonlinna and over 500 000 for Savonlinna Nyt event calender. The usage of website has been boosted by promotion of hashtag #SaimaaMoments.
Key resource has been expertise of eTourism generated through national centres of expertise programme. This has allowed designing and maintaining the website on a shoe-string budget. The total platform development cost has been c. 100 000 euros over 6 years.
Evidence of success
Total # of active businesses utilizing the platform for business promotion is c. 400. Circa 400 000 pageviews and 160 000 individual users p.a for www.visitsavonlinna.fi and 550 000 pageviews and 190 000 individual users for www.savonlinnanyt.fi (event calender). The bulk of the users are domestic, but from outside the area --> Metropolitan area of Helsinki.
Interviews and feedback from users) has indicated consumers appreciate rich variety of content on the website.
The key challenge in the planning phase was to 'translate' the needs of companies into technical specifications for database and website design. This could be achieved with the help from several EU funded standardization projects for tourism data. Finding final solutions required iterative process.
Potential for learning or transfer
The platforms have already been replicated for use by neighboring city of Mikkeli (Mikkeli Nyt for event calendar) and for Visit Saimaa regional marketing (www.visitsaimaa.fi). The fundamental challenge is to build sustained networking and engaging SMEs for the of the platform. This kind of open business platform is the way to go and will replace platforms with centralize content production.
Please login to see the expert opinion of this good practice.