24/Jul/2017

Smart Camino digital initiatives secure growing interest among pilgrims in the first half of the year

  • The free website and app for planning and following the Way of St. James are gaining users, with excellent loyalty levels and a very high average visit duration

Santiago de Compostela, 24 July 2017

The various initiatives within the Smart Camino plan, jointly developed by Turismo de Galicia and the Agency for the Technological Modernization of Galicia (Amtega), are securing the interest of pilgrims, who are increasingly employing more technology to support their journey on the Way of St. James. The different options available – website, mobile app and Wi-Fi connection at the hostels in the public network – all experienced growth over the first half of the year.

In the case of the Way of St. James website, the growth curve has held steady since early 2017, with close to 110,000 sessions and around 80,000 users. The loyalty rate is about 30%. In terms of how users navigate the site, which includes all the necessary tools to explore, prepare for and plan their pilgrimage route, two details are significant. First, the average session duration is very high, more than six minutes per person. From this figure it may be concluded that the content provided on the website is of interest and meets the needs for which it was created. Second, the so-called bounce rate is low. This means that visitors are not disappointed, leaving the site shortly after entering. On the contrary, the majority of them visit more than one page.

As regards the Way of St. James mobile app, which is available free for both iOS and Android platforms and provides real-time information, it trended very positively over the first six months of the year. Available in Galician, Spanish and English, it had more than 6,000 downloads during this period alone and continues to be the most downloaded Turismo de Galicia app.

The app includes route details, descriptions, photographs and useful information for the different pilgrimage routes, as well as hostels, tourism resources and various events. Pilgrims can use it to check hours, locations and telephone numbers on each section of the route. It also provides access to weather conditions, as well as address and contact information for health centres and emergency services. The majority of the functions are available offline.

Wi-Fi for more than 60,000 pilgrims at hostels

Another improvement put in place under the Smart Camino plan is the availability of Wi-Fi connections at the Public Hostel Network. Wi-Fi use is continuing to increase. More than 3,500 users connected in January, and by June, the figure had shot up to over 18,500. In total, close to 60,000 pilgrims staying at the hostels connected during this period.

Smart Camino is among the initiatives included in the Way of St. James Master Plan, whose roadmap is resulting in a number of improvements. Around 60% of the more than 60-million-euro investment has already been completed. Its aims, looking forward to the next Holy Year, Xacobeo 2021, are in line with the Galicia 2020 Tourism Strategy.