case study

The hiking experience in the hyperconnected era

We have shaped an integrated service, both physical and digital, capable of enhancing the Ticino tourist experience and guide people on their discovery of more than 4,000 km of hiking trails.

An integrated service for tourists, invaluable to the area.

Ticino is the region with the most extensive network of walking trails in Switzerland.

A resource that already generates a significant return on an economic level and that could be even more strategic for the local economy in the future.

The goal of the project was simple: fully exploit the routes’ potential, attracting an increasing number of people and provide tourists with an unforgettable experience during their trip.

Not just for hikers: trails for everyone

Thanks to the huge knowledge gained (field research, interviews with users and local professionals, observation, routes’ exploration), we were able to identify the dynamics which encourage people to use the trails in Ticino. Some important insights emerged from this: for example, contrary to expectations, the main users of the service are not (only) experienced hikers, but families, the elderly, residents and many daily visitors.

This confirmed that there is a huge pool of potential users, and each one has a different range of expectations, needs and tastes to satisfy. Another interesting fact is about how the trails are used: it became clear that people often organize an excursion when they are already on site, or even that they start a walk just for the sake of it, unaware that they are on a trail. Therefore offering tourists in-depth discovery opportunities throughout the end-to-end cycle of the experience is of paramount importance.

Inspire, welcome, guide

The idea is simple: provide an integrated experience encompassing both the physical and digital world, which can create expectations for all types of hikers/tourists and, at the same time, allow those arriving in the area to discover and explore the routes.

An engaging experience: before, during and after the trip

We designed an integrated ecosystem made up of 15 physical and digital touchpoints that guide people throughout the trailing cycle.

We expanded the points of contact – by integrating new tools with the existing structure – to ensure that anyone, at any time, can discover the best route for them and can be supported throughout their exploration.

The outcome is a service that: promotes the routes to the medium/long range tourist who wants to take a trip which requires little planning or directly on site; creates awareness about the existing routes to all the local people and support regarding guidance and organization; supports walkers and hikers with prompt tools and information; let people share their routes on social media channels and talk about their own experiences.

Online communication to inform and inspire

A dedicated area on the current website www.ticino.ch, with the explicit aim of inspiring the tourist and providing all the information necessary to plan or prepare their hike in advance.

The app is dedicated to discovering the hiking trails and nearby points of interest. The app, which also works offline, has been designed to enable hikers to orientate themselves, travel and navigate the routes via GPS.

Multiple touchpoints to advise the visitors

The experience is completed by a multiplicity of physical and digital touchpoints:

Informative sheets: documents that provide the user with all the information for each route and let hikers quickly consult the maps and information along the way.

Interactive Totem: located in strategic places around the region, these displays support the user when exploring the available routes and choosing their ideal itinerary. Using a screen interface, the info point displays the local trails, the weather forecast and photos submitted by other users in a targeted way and as part of an animated sequence.

On-site tablets: these tools are located in the tourist offices and allow users to virtually explore the nearby routes and find the one most suited to their expectations

Google Trekker and Drones to experience the trails in advance

The hiking trail network has been mapped with Google Street View Trekker™ and photographed by drones to offer hikers an emotional expectation of the routes to be discovered.

Info-advertisements to inspire visitors on nearby routes

The billboards are located in the centre of the main Ticino towns provoke curiosity and provide information on the nearby accessible hiking trails.

A more seamless and integrated system

The Ticino Hike project is expected to evolve towards two main directions. The first will cover the continuous expansion of quality content: new trails, more information, more interaction with local stakeholders.

The second refers to the possible integration of the system with beacon technology so as to ensure faster communications for the visitors.