Taking into account that wine routes are an essential vehicle for linking tourism and wine-producing activities and traditions, acting mainly as a privileged tool to divulge and promote one’s regional tourism, it is essential to have a technological and digital application that could easily interact and promote these routes with the visitors/tourists. ‘Wine Experience’ App is the technological interface that illustrates the “idea to product” notion of an innovative application to show, value, give life and a timeless dimension to the wine touristic, historical and cultural heritage routes and points of interest of Regional Wineries/Entities/Operators.
Based on a creative & innovative decision-making approach to satisfy the customers/ visitors/tourists needs it was necessary to develop some ideas, based on the research done, that could be a good solution to this problem.
The development of the system and application began with a requirements analysis based on a set of strategy-focused interviews with wine tourism customers and some recognized specialists to define the set of needs and other major interests that could be highlighted by the application.
Some of the reported needs could be solved with:
(i) a search engine for all information available;
(ii) the location and how to get in the wineries or points of interest;
(iii) the relevant information about wine tourism and cultural heritage points of interest;
(iv) the wine tourism services list for each winery;
(v) the schedule and information about ‘open’, ‘closed’, ‘near closing’;
(vi) the booking, contact and suggestion functionality;
(vii) the photos of the wineries;
(viii) the regional website with a page for each winery (with history, photos and references of wine touristic points of interest);
(ix) the wineries location on a map;
(x) present the information in an intuitive & immersive way.
These needs involve a specific set of human and technological resources, based on the type of the new application’s structure and design that are within the competences of the business strategy, web design & development teams.
The teams were able, during the R&D phase of the application, to think in a large number of different ideas and/or possible solutions to problems (fluency), changing, when necessary, the course of thought or design (flexibility) to obtain a unique or unusual response (originality). The prototype obtained was evaluated and proved a good and interactive solution that met all the defined needs and interests with an acceptable cost-benefit for all stakeholders.
This prototype of the application was validated with a group of people and has obtained a very good acceptance by its intuitive design, readiness and information available. With this presentation, some other needs emerged and, when possible, it will be taken into consideration for the next version of the application. Figure 5 shows the initial pages in the ‘Wine Experience’ app with the data of the project and the following page with a random photo with the region time and weather condition.
Figure 5. Project logo and Initial pages of ‘Wine Experience’ app.
The app shows a list of wine tourism points of interest with pictures and logos of the Wineries/Entities/Operators, their designation and route in which they are. By clicking in one of the wineries listed, it will show the information about schedule, address, ‘how to get there’, phone, accessibility, and the description of it with text, audio, photos, videos, etc. It allows the visitor/tourist to share it in social media and to create a list of favorite points or make a search for any element included in the all app data, as shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6. Initial pages of ‘Wine Experience’ app.
The ‘Wine Experience’ app & system are in technical and technological state-of-the-art, for web and application development, presenting a differential added value that allows the addition of updates and new functionalities [such as News (link to a social network), Augmented Reality, Photos 360º, 3D Videos, 3D Virtual Visits and interior plans] according to the needs, specifications and economic model of the Winery/Entity/Operator.
For the visitor/tourist, the ‘Wine Experience’ app & system presents the best and most differentiated user experience (UX) possible, with a clean design, intuitive, interactive and easy to use, online and offline (in case of non-availability of network Wi-Fi/3G/4G, the application is automatically configured for offline operation, with few restrictions), but also, an immersive and proximity environment with interactive mapping of the points of interest and reception of notifications, when visitors are close to a point. This allows the visitor/tourist to make an optimized interactive visit, with indication of the route, in a context of total immersion with the availability of differentiated contents and information about them.Figure 7 shows the notifications and the interactive map of the ‘Wine Experience’ app.
Figure 7. ‘Wine Experience’ app notification and interactive map.
The ‘Wine Experience’ system provides a Web Content Management System (CMS) that allows easy updating or modification of all content (routes, points of interest, regional products, etc.), in real-time, of the mobile application and its website and also statistics with a ‘HeatMap’ with the representation of the intensity of traffic in the routes and in the points of interest accessed by visitors/tourists.
It also includes extras (such as statistics, visited route, send occurrence, help) and general settings that include: (i) receive (or not) notifications, (ii) language (Portuguese, Spanish, French and English) and (iii) accessibility features, such as ‘always visible’ screen, ‘dark mode’ (color inversion including maps), five-level ‘font size’ and ‘accessibility mode’ (shows only points with accessibility information), as shown in Figure 8.
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