it!: a platform for post-covid tourism designed by polimi students

After winning the European hackathon #EUvsVirus, they are taking part in the 22-25 May matchathon

In April, the European Commission, led by the European Innovation Council and in close collaboration with the EU member states, hosted #EUvsVirus, a Pan-European Matchathon to connect civil society, innovators, partners, and investors across Europe in order to develop innovative solutions for coronavirus-related challenges.

Over 30,000 people from across the EU and beyond submitted 2,164 projects related to various domains. They selected 117 finalists and winners, amongst whom a team of students from Politecnico di Milano, who came third with their project "it!" in the challenge "New and resilient business models" in the section "Business continuity". The team is made up of Matteo Meschini, Elena Iannella, Elisa Mastrogiacomo and Ryohei Kawagishi.

The way people will travel will be heavily impacted by COVID-19. "it!" is a digital platform that aims to bring together the various players in the tourism market to face the post-pandemic crisis, offering to tourists an appealing and seamless way to approach all the phases of the holiday journey, from the booking to the moment the customer comes back home.

The main challenge that we faced was understanding which types of data are relevant for us and how to make them available in a meaningful way to the stakeholder.

The project aims to support destinations to raise their attractiveness, being able to deliver to tourists a homogeneous experience and guaranteeing safety standards in a post-COVID scenario.

The idea consists in better integrating DMO (destination management organization), i.e. government agencies that promote local tourism, and DMC (destination management company), private companies that offer goods and services on site to tourists.

The aim is, on the one hand to create meaningful experiences, tailored to the customer’s desire; on the other to help DMC to face the probable reduction of visitors by creating a sustainable system involving as many players as possible.

Gathering all those different stakeholders allows the collection of relevant data on the purchasing behaviours, on preferences of destinations and on the most interesting attractions; those data will help DMOs to better understand visitors and which are the most preferred activities, and DMCs to adapt their offer to the demands.

Another challenging aspect was to design effective governance of the platform in order to reach a reasonable amount of offer in a limited amount of time while guaranteeing an adequate level of safety standard.

The project consists in a multi-sided channel where all these characters can work together: a website where private users will be able to surf and discover new places, activities, events and culture offer sponsored by DMC’s and pick their favourite ones. The system will personalize the trip and will provide updated information about extraordinary measures for covid-19 adopted by hotels, restaurants, and other attraction, providing official help numbers and informing the user about a safe and preventing behaviour while travelling.

On the other end, DMC’s and private companies and activities can apply to take part to the system, acquiring visibility, knowledge, and important data, taking part to a much bigger network of contacts. “It!” is a platform where different players will interact in a direct and indirect way: DMO’s goal will be to guarantee offers to tourists, collect data on visitors’ activities and needs; DMC’S will be interested in providing services to clients and surviving post-covid crisis, obtaining data and spreading their network; users will get to easily plan their holidays, discovering new places, in total safety; Health System will have a channel to spread health norms; finally the local attractions will be able to collect data to offer safe services.

Individualizing all the actors of the system and how their needs and interests depend on each other, and finally synthesizing those in one final product that takes every side in account has been a considerable challenge.

it! team have been invited to the upcoming EUvsVirus Matchathon (22-25 May), which will include a Demo Day (21 May). During this event, we will help these teams match with corporates, investors, accelerators, venture capitalists, etc. around the world to put their innovative solutions into production and save lives.

For more information:
The project