Swiss Open Laboratory for E-Tourism (SOLET)

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Information doc: 

Prof. Dr. Thomas Myrach, ++41 31 631 47 85, University of Bern, Institute of Information Systems, Engehaldenstrasse 8, CH-3012 Bern

Effective member: 

The SOLET is devoted to the use of information and communication technology (ICT) in tourism. It aims to create a playground for innovative ideas that may be used to improve the work of agents in the tourism and hospitality industry, the collaboration between different players in the value chain, the relationship of tourism agents and their respective customers. It links scientists and practitioners with an interest in the field and allows for sharing their ideas, developing new concepts and tools, as well as validating them in scientific experiments.

Description of Concept

The SOLET creates an open community that should bring forward the innovative use of ICT in Swiss tourism. To this end, the SOLET offers specific services to the different stakeholders of ICT use in the tourism industry, e.g.:

- The establishment of a forum (face-to-face and virtual) for the exchange of ideas and requirements.

- A brokering service for matching interested users and research projects through the online user community

- A brokering service for matching interested tourism organizations and research projects (e.g. pilot tests). 

- A portal service for an overview over running pilots and showcases.

The SOLET follows a community approach. Rather than contributing money, participants contribute their time on areas of their interest. Every participant may actively and passively get access to innovative ideas and concepts on the use of ICT in tourism and may get involved in developing and testing them. The basic IT-infrastructure is hosted by the participating universities. Pilot projects are sponsored by companies or by research funding organizations. 

References and Track Record

The SOLET is initiated by a group of academic partners who have worked for several years on the development and use of new ICT applications. The participating institutions are:

- Institute of Information Systems (IWI), University of Bern

- Technology Center Information Systems (TEWI), Brig

- Department of Informatics (IFI) at the University of Zurich

- Institute of Economics and Tourism within the University of Applied Sciences Valais

- Institute for Tourism of the Lucerne School of Business

There exists a considerable record of successful projects and initiatives which are relevant for the SOLET.

Some examples:

The foundation of the Swiss Chapter of the International Federation of IT in Travel & Tourism (IFITT). IFITT Switzerland has organized a string of events called Swiss E-Tourism-Forum in different regions of Switzerland for collaboration facilitation between the academic partners and tourism practitioners.

The eFitness® Benchmarking ( platform federating 8 tourism destinations and over 200 accommodation enterprises from Germany, Austria and Switzerland around the subject of new media-based marketing effectiveness in tourism. This was supported by the European Commission's Interreg IIIA program.