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Even in this weird and complex year, some digital trends in the travel industry deserve attention to understand how companies are transforming and how they need to transform from smart hotel rooms to over-tourism.
Undoubtedly, as we will see when analyzing digital trends in the tourism industry, digital transformation has fundamentally changed the way people travel and the way they behave like tourists so that operators can no longer avoid it.
Although this is a “complex” period due to the pandemic affecting the entire world, the trend of digitalization continues and is accompanied by all this.
Obviously, during this period, the speed and importance of these trends are lower than in the past, and this is simply because the changes and investments within the industry have decreased significantly due to emergencies.
This does not prevent us from thinking about the future of the industry and trying to imagine the characteristics that will become its future characteristics.
We know that forecasts are always accurate—now they are more accurate than usual. However, we can still identify at least six interesting digital trends in the tourism industry.
Although the first trend we report is not strictly a number, it involves the entire industry and is, therefore, a precursor to all other industries. This is not a trivial trend, because it represents a very interesting fact that digital transformation has brought a huge impetus to the industry, which seems to be driven by its digital components.
Although the market as a whole showed general growth in 2019, it should be noted that at the beginning of 2020, the main increase in tourism turnover was found in e-commerce tourism, reaching +9%, reaching 15.5 billion euros, due mainly to mobile phones. As we will see, this will be very important in the future.
This is because the popularity of the Internet is now an important part of travel.
Think about how often tourists use digital technology to select, book, and manage their trips.
In this situation that we can understand why the digital sector of tourism has become equal to the analog sector, in other words, “parallel”, not only for travelers but also for operators, they have been eager to develop and Integrate customers. -Integrate digital solutions into their business.
If we study carefully, we can derive the second trend from the first trend, that is, the travel experience during travel is becoming more and more digital. Today, people are increasingly using digital tools and technologies to enjoy a better experience.
One such example is the use of smartphones, which are undoubtedly the perfect companion for every tourist.
Because of their versatility, travelers use smartphones for a variety of different purposes.
For example, 68% of Italian tourists search for information through a mobile device instead of using a computer or tablet; for 42% of respondents, smartphones are essential for sharing their experience on social profiles; finally, 38% Of people use them to post comments and comments on dedicated apps and websites.
Therefore, after careful study, mobile phones are and are destined to become an increasingly important point of contact for any operator who wants to reach potential customers.
Obviously, smartphones have a huge impact on the behavior of tourists, especially their choices, from the purchase of air tickets to the booking experience upon arrival at the destination. Keep in mind that in just 5 years, from 2015 to 2020, the number of American tourists who claim to “always” use their mobile phones while traveling has increased from 41% to 70%.
This data shows one thing: Operators who want to be relevant to the market should not only think digitally but also “mobile-first” first.
If the second direction is mainly related to tourists, then the next direction is mainly related to travel companies.
Digital transformation has fundamentally changed tourists and their expectations. At the same time, however, hotels have more tools at their disposal that can implement increasingly sophisticated technologies in their facilities.
This is particularly true of the third trend: More and more hotels are investing in advanced digital solutions to allow guests to leave an unforgettable stay experience.
Therefore, we are moving away from the purely digital dimension, and because digital conversion will also have an impact on the physical space, according to cl, these spaces are changed and modified by the players themselves.
With this in mind, the first smart hotel is about to open. Customers can open the door, adjust the room temperature, and even pay at the end of their stay with a single tap of their smartphone.
Even well-known hotel chains like Marriott International realized the importance of following this trend and began to cooperate with Samsung and Legrand to create smart rooms equipped with the most advanced responsive IoT systems and equipment, allowing every experience All are as memorable as possible.
This type of technology will allow guests to request, for example, virtual assistance to set alarms, follow yoga classes through interactive mirrors, customize cleaning services, and even run bathrooms.
Of course, all of this can be done through voice commands or using specific applications.
The Starwood chain is also following this path of digital development. Its main goal is to “automate” certain processes, such as check-in, allowing guests to independently check in, using their smartphones again to convert them into “digital keys” “open” rooms.
Among other things, this type of transformation will enable hotel facilities to continuously improve efficiency, learning directly from customer behavior, which can be tracked, collected, and analyzed. In other words, the digital transformation of hotels enables them to truly benefit from big data, which is becoming more and more important and relevant for the tourism industry.
The fourth trend in the tourism industry is precisely the increasing use of big data, and its importance also increases.
Digital transformation and the changing habits of tourists increasingly involve the use of the Internet and smartphones when traveling, giving operators in this industry a large amount of data available to them, and they can use this data in a variety of ways.
As we have seen, one way is to use it to improve the customer experience they can provide. By intercepting comments left online, operators can obtain extensive instructions on how and where to make changes to meet customer needs.
Another way to use big data is to explore competition. By monitoring and analyzing online available information, operators can understand and learn from competitors’ behavior and strategies.
Monitor their strengths and weaknesses, discover which aspects are most appreciated and criticized by users, their communication strategies, and how they express their audiences: you can collect correct data, necessary assumptions to draw relevant conclusions, all of which will be applied Changes to your business.
These are just some of the many ways companies can use big data.
The development of readable big data leading many people in the industry to focus on developing predictive and personalized solutions. Which represents the fifth digital trend in the travel industry. Predictive personalization refers to the ability of the system to predict the behavior of a specific category of users based on the user’s past behavior.
This is usually done by more advanced chatbots that “talk” to users and can understand their needs and predict their future requests.
In the tourism sector, the importance of this ability has increased at the level of competition, but it is different from other sectors because “personal predictions” have been synchronized with tourist behavior.
If you think about it, it’s rare for a tourist to buy the same flight or stay in the same facility, because the destination loses its appeal immediately after arrival, at least for a while.
It is not like an ordinary restaurant or shop: for example, for a hotel, the current behavior is more important than the previous behavior, because the guests are likely to never come back, and therefore will not provide the facility with the opportunity to implement the behavior they have learned.
The current residence should be private and memorable, not (only) the future residence. This is why predictive personalization is so important to the travel industry, from the moment you book.
Based on precise search behavior, the operator must be able to define the user profile in front of him as accurately as possible to access it through the most convenient quotation in terms of cost, facilities, and services. This is what predictive personalization is all about: Let users maximize their investment in terms of expected experience when choosing products.
From the operator’s point of view, this means being able to determine how much each potential guest is willing to spend and provide them with a package that meets their needs before they express it.
The sixth trend refers to two phenomena. Although they are not numbers in themselves, the root causes of both are entirely numbers.
For some time, people have been talking about over-tourism, or the concentration of surplus tourists in certain areas at certain times of the year, which may pose a real threat to the balance and sustainability of certain attractions. But what is the relationship between excessive tourism and digital transformation?
What To Expect In Tourism During 2021
Many people start to dream about the upcoming vacation from the content posted on the social profiles of acquaintances or contacts. Econsultancy talked about the “Insta effect”. 40% of people under 30 consider “Instagrammability” as an important factor when choosing to travel.
Therefore, it is obvious that the more times a destination is visited, photographed, and shared on social networks, the more it can attract other users to visit it, which leads to over-tourism in a continuous cycle, which may be the negative consequences of the tourism sector. Social networks, by the way, can be considered another trend.
However, as often happens, the cause of the problem is also its solution. If digital transformation is conducive to the surplus of tourists in certain well-known places, the Internet and social networks also provide a way to counteract this phenomenon.
The opposite trend of sub-tourism is to visit lesser-known or unknown destinations instead of classic and well-known destinations. This is confirmed by Booking.com, which found that 51% of users are increasingly looking for the so-called “next best place”, that is, those unknown and unpopular sites.
To find these destinations, tourists turn to the Internet and social networks. They are now true travel guides and can easily find different flights and destinations that suit their needs and interests.
This means that even the least “fashionable” places can use the Internet to become relevant and, most importantly, to attract tourists.
This latest trend is also driven by COVID-19, summarizing the impact of digital transformation on the field.
With the emergence of new solutions and new technologies, specific business models are also changing; this may cause some problems, some of which are not easy to solve, but it also opens up new opportunities for growth and development, as long as you know how to Adapt and learn how to manage this transition.
Since 2017, Saba Ghani has been serving as the talented and dedicated chief content writer for Pakistan Tour and Travel & EMHI Solutions. With her exceptional writing skills and in-depth knowledge of the travel industry, she has been instrumental in crafting engaging and informative content that captivates the audience. You can catch her at [email protected] or Twitter