Zartico Gets $20M To Help Tourist Offices Promote Local Destinations • CableFree TV

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

In spite of representing 10% of global GDP, the tourism industry is one of the latest to use big data and analytics. Darren Dunn and Jay Kinghorn experienced this first hand: Dunn worked as a sales manager for various travel companies, including FarePortal.com, and Jay was an Associate Managing Director at the Utah Tourism Office.

“Destinations around the world [are] rely on outdated quarterly and annual reports to make critical decisions about marketing distribution, product mix, and coordination with stakeholders such as hoteliers, attractions, and local governments,” Dunn told TechCrunch in an email interview. “The tourism and hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic and the industry has yet to fully recover. The industry must provide attractive career opportunities so that people can build their careers and have long-term stability.”

To try and bring some data and digitization into tourism operations, Dunn and Kinghorn co-founded Zartiko, a platform that provides analytics and visualization to Destination Management Organizations or DMOs – government tourism boards that promote places as tourist destinations. Signage business lives up to expectations. Zartico today announced it has raised $20 million in a Series A funding round led by Arthur Ventures and partnered with Peterson Partners, with proceeds from which Dunn said will go towards research and development and hiring.

The Zartico platform takes geolocation, spending and event data from partners — Dunn didn’t say which providers — and overlays it on top of other data streams (such as customer relationship management systems and job exchanges). Using it, customers can see where visitors are migrating and moving at street level and track the impact of tourism on local businesses.

Image credits: Zartiko

In terms of analytics, Zartico uses AI to predict activity, such as the number of visitors in a particular area, and to extract mentions of travel destinations from unstructured text (such as social media posts and web pages). Dunn says these extracts can be used to help clients develop a new line of travel products and fine-tune their marketing campaigns.

“DMO doesn’t have raw data, such as customer email addresses or shipping addresses, or conversion data, to explicitly link marketing initiatives to sales and revenue growth,” Dunn said. “Improvements to our integrated data model increase consistency across our core datasets. [for DMOs,] for faster, more accurate, and easier self-service across spending, traffic, marketing, and web datasets.”

Zartico’s geolocation tracking might not appeal to all privacy advocates — or, for that matter, tourists. After all, it wasn’t until August that the US Federal Trade Commission said that one data broker, Kochava, sold the exact location of American consumers to customers. including in therapists’ offices and homeless shelters. BUT fundamental An article from The New York Times showed various ways in which location data – usually from smartphones – can be used to track a person’s movements, especially when compared to public records.

When asked about Zartico’s privacy policy, Dunn provided a detailed list of the protections the company has in place to prevent abuse, starting with data de-identification and anonymization. He claims that the company does not conduct analytics on individuals and does not store personal data, does not allow law enforcement to use its data, and will fire a client if Zartico learns of “dishonest” or illegal actions on their part.

“We do not allow our data to be used to target ads to people under the age of majority – such as alcohol and casinos – or to build an audience for places that are primarily visited by children, such as preschools and playgrounds,” Dunn added. “We [also ] do not allow our data to be used for employment, lending, health care, or insurance purposes, and we do not allow our data to be used for vulnerable or sensitive communities—for example, by political, religious, or sexual orientation—or to identify those located in sensitive areas (for example, , conflict zones, protests, places of worship, clinics, etc.) or locations.”

Zartico was launched in March 2020 – a week before most of the world shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the wrong time and competition from rivals, including the “Arrival”, Rove and Datafy (who specialize in data visualization and reporting) and Placer.ai (which tracks people), Dunn says Zartico has grown to over 188 clients in less than three years. All clients are government agencies – think cities, counties, and travel agencies – that have actively contributed to Zartico’s $10 million in annual revenue.

Image credits: Zartiko

Dunn has big plans for the future, including using machine learning to create behavioral models that prevent “over-tourism” in certain destinations. Zartico is also eyeing new markets – mainly sports venues, municipalities and airports – as the workforce increases from 61 to more than 100 over the next six months, he said.

“The pandemic has heightened understanding and appreciation of the impact of the newcomer economy in the world. This experience highlighted the need for real-time decision making,” Dunn said. “No longer content with rear-view mirrors, the travel industry is seeking and deserving advanced tools. Zartico is well positioned to lead the tech transformation with a rapid transition to high-frequency big data sets for situational awareness.”

To date, Zartico has raised a total of $24.5 million in capital, including the Series A tranche closed today.

Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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