Des Moines Tourism Agency tracks visitors via cellphones
why is it important: It can better estimate the economic value of events and where future promotional investments are spent, Flack said.
- Catch Des Moines will distribute more than $500,000 in incentives this year to attract or help events in the metro.
How it works: Arrivalist uses mobile location data and algorithms with an average accuracy of 30 feet.
- In the past, Catch Des Moines relied more on an event’s self-reported statistics, such as registration numbers, to estimate economic impact, Flack said.
- The new data allows tourism officials to see how many people were at specific locations during an event.
For instance: Some of the initial reports from DSM Arrivalist have just come back, including data on last month’s Red Bull Soapbox (which Axios Des Moines participated in).
- It generated an estimated total economic impact of nearly $1.4 million, which is good for a one-day event, Flack said.
- Information provided to Catch Des Moines measures aggregate data and does not identify individuals or their phone numbers, Flack said.
- Heidi Mannetter, an associate professor who teaches digital marketing at Drake University, told Axios that because of this, she thinks the privacy threat level is low.
Yes and: Data can also help with public safety by alerting event planners to things like overcrowding or traffic jams, Arrivalist CEO Cree Lawson told Axios on Tuesday.
- More: Only people who allow apps such as weather services to track their location are included in Arrivalist’s algorithms, he said.
The big picture: There are concerns about the use of location-based technologies or mobile data.
- The Federal Trade Commission this month threatened to use privacy laws against companies that exploit sensitive health information.
- ACLU last week released thousands of government filings alleging mobile location data led to constitutional violations of unreasonable searches and seizures.
At the end of the line: Phones now influence DSM tourism.