The Challenge: Create a digital solution for brochure stands
CTM Media is an expert in helping travelers and tourists discover events and attractions. Historically renowned for their brochures informing travelers of nearby events and attractions, CTM Media has expanded to become the go-to expert helping travelers and tourists around the world add excitement to their vacations.
Recognizing an opportunity to build upon these brochure displays, CTM Media contracted ComQi in 2006 to create a digital solution for the top of the brochure stands. ComQi provided CTM with 15” LCD all-in-one compact flash-based digital displays. These displays provided CTM with the ability to offer a premium service for their customers that enhanced the paper brochures. Additionally, it improved the user’s experience by showing high-quality video and photos of the different destinations and attractions, increasing visitor engagement.
Given the success of the LCD displays, CTM Media saw evidence that a digital display for hospitality and tourist engagement was effective. With that in mind, they took on a new challenge in 2011: taking the VisitorFun online experience and turning it into an interactive display for hospitality partners.
The primary challenge was bringing the online experience into the hospitality venue via a digital interactive display. Specifically, the Visitorfun online database contains rich media such as descriptions, images, video links, etc. Updating this database is crucial for the partners that advertise with CTM Media. Finding a way to take the existing VisitorFun database, and use it to update digital signage and an online website at the same time was the critical path for this project.
The Approach / The Solutions
Originally, CTM Media believed that they may have to create a second database to format the content of Visitorfun for an interactive display. Maintaining and managing a second database for two different formats (digital display and website experience) would be an expensive, time-consuming and frustrating endeavor. In addition to the people-hours required to maintain two separate databases, having separate data sources increases the odds of outdated or inconsistent information being shared across their various placements.
They sought a technology expert to help bring the Visitorfun database to digital signage and expand their footprint with richer, more engaging content displays. Given their previous successful partnership with ComQi, they trusted ComQi to help with this new endeavor.
Using ComQi’s API tools, CTM created an immersive, interactive touchscreen program. They then deployed 32”, and 42” touchscreen displays that brought the Visitorfun database to life. ComQi helped design the hardware solution (screens and media players) for the Visitorfun displays. CTM uses the EnGage CMS proactive monitoring features to ensure constant uptime for the displays. Today, the Visitorfun program is written in HTML5 and still utilizes the EnGage API’s for distribution of the content to all the various locations.
The displays are often deployed in environments that may have unreliable internet. This is not an issue for ComQi, as the EnGage CMS is designed to operate with full functionality regardless of the connection speed or reliability. This helps CTM Media establish trust with its partners and users of Visitorfun.
The Visitorfun program is reliable and engaging, and the design components create an effective and streamlined user experience. Visitorfun’s interactive display is designed to help tourists find an event or activity based on their interests in the least amount of clicks and time possible. Users see curated attractions and events from CTM Media’s partners, categorized by interests such as places to eat, theatre, play, and shops & services.
CTM’s VisitorFun ExploreBoards are selectively placed in high-traffic tourist locations including attractions, visitor centers, airports, retail destinations, and hotel lobbies with over 400 premier hotel locations including Hilton, Marriott, Crowne Plaza, and Grand Hyatt.
Featuring high definition images, videos, and information in six languages (English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Mandarin), ExploreBoards drive brand awareness. Visitors connect with tourism information by virtually exploring nearby attractions, accessing maps and directions, previewing menus, brochures, and videos, sharing content via email or text, and even booking their tickets.
A major advantage of Visitorfun’s digital signage is the ability to display video and other important information in an engaging and immersive format, and then send details of those listings directly to an interested visitor’s mobile device. These displays help CTM Media’s partners reach and excite a new audience of tourists. In addition, since each screen is in a different location and content is refreshed daily, each screen’s experience is different.
ComQi’s Engage CMS presenting the Visitorfun program gives users a curated and engaging experience with multiple pictures, videos, and descriptions to help people feel confident about their activity selections. In CTM Media’s fiscal 2019 year, over 400 of these screens were deployed and were used over 4.3 million times.
Over the length of the program, CTM constantly improves the experience. Additions over the lifespan have included QR Code activations, multi-language activation, airline flight arrival and departure information, text and email information sharing, and event booking information.
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the tourism and hospitality industry drastically. The theater district of New York City, which is one of CTM Media’s main featured partners, shut down at the start of the pandemic and is only starting to reopen nearly 15 months later. Like many of ComQi’s other accounts, CTM Media and ComQi collaborated to ensure the disruption to the industry did not lead to the disruption of their partnership. CTM Media and ComQi continued to work together and provided solutions to offset the financial burden of the pandemic, and aim to continue providing excellent digital signage experiences for tourists with the opening of many tourist destinations in 2021.
Contact us to learn more about how our digital signage and cloud-based CMS solutions can power your interactive hospitality displays!