Digital transformation in travel and tourism trends has been having a profound impact. The tourism industry is not an exception, for it underwent significant changes due to the digital disruption that affected literally every aspect, converting the travel and tourism industries into travel early adopters of digital transformation.
Digital transformation, widely, is the totality of processes that transform analog materials into digital form. With the development of technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), big data, or blockchain, the development of new digitized solutions and products has obtained momentum. This article will be focusing on the role of digital transformation in travel and tourism.
The Tourism Industry is Not Any Different
The digital transformation in travel and tourism industry means adapting modern solutions to the daily tasks of organizing travel. Ranging from choosing a destination and planning an itinerary to booking flights and other modes of transportation, as well as hotels or generating offers that are highly tailored to customers’ demands and taking virtual tours before actually choosing a destination.
Why is Transformation Significant in the Tourism Industry?
Digitalization is not only a convenience for the customer but also a way to decrease costs, increase the scale of information influence, and a chance to reach new audiences.
To boost their competitiveness, travel industry players must stay open to technological innovations that correspond with social requirements and trends and help in improving financial efficiency.
Even though more than half of international travel sales are made through online channels, there is still much work to be performed in this area.
Furthermore, the increasing use of booking systems by vacation planners fits well with the strategy of highlighting social distance due to the constant risk of the next wave of coronavirus, decreasing the risks associated with a possible infection. And helps in minimizing the costs of tour operators and industry intermediaries.
The Role of Digital Technology in the Tourism Industry
Digital Assets and Communication Technology in the Connected World
The customer expects a more personalized offer from the travel agency, and it is in this arena – compared to other sectors – that the travel industry has a lot of catching up to do.
Opportunities for better tailoring offers to the individual requirements of potential travelers include:
- · Better travel search engines,
- · dynamic pricing engines that can optimize seat occupancy all while maintaining appropriate cost/quality ratios,
- · use of mobile applications,
- · IoT-based devices used, for instance, by hotels for voice control of air conditioning, and by airlines for tagging travelers’ baggage.
Smart Destinations in the Travel Industry
Also worth mentioning are smart destinations, such as places that adopt an interactive management style to enhance the quality of the tourist experience through new technologies.
The idea of a smart destination, derived from the smart city concept, thus refers to the incorporation of technology in tourist destinations to enhance the quality of services and tourist satisfaction.
Furthermore, with digital transformation in travel and tourism with the facilitation of smart destinations, cities can seek new mechanisms to promote innovation in tourism destinations by implementing and developing information and communication technologies to make differentiated and highly competitive tourism services.
Customer Preferences and Service Providers’ Assets
The digital transformation in travel and tourism sector thus acts as a link between the customers of travel agencies and other companies involved in servicing tourism, and service providers, for whom the potential to take advantage of modern solutions is an opportunity to differentiate themselves and obtain a competitive advantage.
Already today, companies in the tourism, hospitality, or aviation industries are consistently using artificial intelligence, machine learning, or future analytics, for instance, in marketing campaigns or online events and workshops for the travel and tourism industry.
All of this translates into increasing the visibility of their brands, making customer acquisition much more straightforward and, most highly, cost-effective.
Therefore, digital transformation in tourism plays a very important role in fostering the industry’s development.
Top Solutions for Digital Transformation in the Tourism Industry
Digital technologies can assist the whole tourism cycle and customer journey.
The top solutions used in the industry are fundamental:
- · booking applications – assisting both the booking of tickets, accommodation, or cars for rent;
- · travel search engines – facilitating us to choose the vacation or trip that best suits our requirements and the preferences of those traveling with us;
- · travel app supporting tourists in a provided city – making it easier to find tourist information, restaurants where dishes for people with several food intolerances are served, promoting nearby stores and toilets, or presenting a schedule of upcoming cultural events in a given area
- · virtual guides – these can take the form of apps or interactive guides offered by museums and other essential institutions;
- · financial planning apps – when traveling, these can be highly important, especially when you need to use currency conversion;
- · transit planning apps – when traveling in different parts of the world, it is usually necessary to use local forms of transportation, in which apps that help buy train tickets, order cabs, or rent cars become very useful.
The Importance of Digital Transformation in the Travel Industry – Final Thoughts
Certainly, communications technology and innovative technologies ensure digitally enabled growth in the travel and tourism industry. Digital transformation in travel and tourism is helping to improve customer experience and construct a positive impact during the entire trip – starting with a tour search engine, checking in, buying tickets online, sightseeing, checking out, and returning home safely. Undoubtedly, further digitization of the tourism industry will bring even more advantages and enhance the discovery of every corner of the world, even the most remote.