Technology and, more specifically, Internet, are changing the way tourism is organized and commercialized. On the one hand, users do not travel the same way they did a few years ago because they now have many more possibilities. And, on the other, the companies of the sector and even the tourist destinations themselves are immersed in full digital adaptation.
User’s digitalization has managed to implement the transformation of a business model. Tourism technology is now essential for any travel company.
The customer is much more demanding and has a more experienced and digital profile. The target is changing and the tourist has gone from being a passive subject that needs a service to a key piece immensely involved in the process.
Collaborative economy, travel apps, virtual tour guides... Tourism is implementing a great quantity of apps. How are the travelers themselves taking advantage of these possibilities? Are companies in the sector facing this challenge well? What is the strategy of new initiatives born on the Internet? And finally, how are future prospects in the field of tourism presented?
Tourism Technology - The Most Drastic Changes
There is no doubt that the tourism sector has taken a 180 degrees turn in recent years. Gone are the analogous processes loaded with intermediaries. What have been the most significant changes?
One of the great advantages of the Internet is the reduction of costs. With fewer intermediaries, processes are streamlined and companies can save time and expense, which translates into cheaper deals for the tourist. In fact, low cost tourism is one of the most powerful trends and business focused especially on millennial generation.
Generally, millennial's profile is that of a young man with limited resources but with extensive knowledge on ICTs and the Internet, forcing companies to offer new options and more competitive prices.
The user wants to be listened to and the companies in the sector can get a lot of feedback from the customer by using tourism technology. Without going any further, they can learn firsthand the needs of users and use this information to improve their services.
But not only is the internal opinion of the tourists relevant, but also externally. Hotels, transportation companies or price comparators care a lot about what their customers say about them on the Internet, whether in forums, in the comments section of their own websites or in social networks.
On the Internet, geographical barriers disappear. This allows tourism companies to enter foreign markets and reach more customers. Opportunities, therefore, multiply in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world.
Another great advantage is the possibility of forging alliances with other international companies. Strength lies in unity and in a sector as competitive and changing as tourism, being strong is fundamental.
The Era of the Collaborative Economy
The new members of the tourism sector are collaborative management businesses using tourism technology – whether they are related to transportation (such as users sharing their car for trips), accommodation (private accommodation in marketplaces such as Airbnb) or shopping (buying or renting tourist items on digital platforms such as Wallapop).
There is a big discussion surrounding this new business model. On the one hand, it has revitalized the sector by increasing tourist influx but, on the other hand, it can be a threat for the traditional companies. Time will eventually respond to this controversy.
The advance of tourism technology makes companies experience major changes in a limited time. What is obvious is that user’s needs are changing and companies must continue to adapt to them. Tourists are more active, social and digital, and only innovative ideas that fit their needs will survive.