The Scottsdale Convention and Visitors Bureau has plugged in a new electronic service for tourists — an interactive kiosk that provides information on all things Scottsdale and Arizona.
Located at the bureau’s main visitor center at the Galleria Corporate Centre, 4343 N. Scottsdale Road, the kiosk provides Internet connections to the bureau’s Web site plus the sites of member organizations.
Visitors can use the machine to book hotel rooms, reserve a rental car, make restaurant reservations, purchase “ShowUp Now” passes for discounted admissions to Valley museums and attractions, print tickets and coupons, access calendars of upcoming events and print maps and walking tours.
The kiosk, which became operational during the first week of the new year, also is equipped with a webcam so the user can e-mail pictures or videos to friends and family back home.
Another function allows the user to download audio podcasts of walking and driving tours to the visitor’s iPod. Eventually it will be possible to download video podcasts as well.
“More and more people are booking their travel with technology,” said Lauren Simons, the bureau’s vice president of marketing. “When they arrive, they still need that accessibility.”
To make the service available to the most people, the bureau also has set up a mobile version that will be stationed at major Scottsdale events such as the Barrett-Jackson World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction, FBR Open PGA tournament, Scottsdale Culinary Festival and others.
“If it takes off, we will put them in other areas as well,” Simons said.
The $15,000 cost of developing the custom software and hardware for the machines was included in the bureau’s five-year strategic plan, which calls for increased technology accessibility, she said.
There is no cost for the visitor to use the kiosk.
Several members of the bureau said the service will help their businesses in various ways.
“It will be great to send our guests that way as a onestop shop for information,” said Kim Cole, director of public relations for the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale. “It will supplement the information that is available at our concierge desk.”
Jennifer Wesselhoff, vice president of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce, said the kiosk will offer facts about Sedona that could prompt Scottsdale tourists to visit the red rock country as well.
“It provides itineraries that include Sedona, opportunities to book our hotel rooms and rent cars to get to our area,” she said.
She said 15 percent of Scottsdale visitors also visit Sedona, and 37 percent of Sedona visitors also visit Maricopa County, opening up many possibilities for marketing synergies between the two areas.
Last July, the Sedona chamber and the Scottsdale visitors bureau announced a partnership to cross-promote the two locales. The alliance includes a joint Web site, brochure, familiarization tours and other promotions.