Digitalization is massively changing the socio-economic culture in the world, especially in the travel and tourism industry. The Digital revolution has completely changed the way businesses operate nowadays.
Gone are the days when people had to go to travel agencies and stand in long queues for hours to book their tickets. With the advent of technological advancements and rapid digitalization, all travel companies have shunned geographical barriers and are adopting online methods to approach their clients.
Let's take a closer look at the picture of the new, improved tourism industry due to technology and the scopes of improvement in the future.
Rise of online booking
People from hospitality service-based sectors like hotel booking and check-ins, cafes, and restaurants have been greatly affected by the rapid digitization. The tourism industry has surely tweaked its tactics to appeal to the Genz and millennials who are ready to spend more for a better travel experience! Customers in this age range are constantly using the internet in different aspects of their lives so much so that they consider digital presence as the basic criteria for critiquing any business.
Nowadays, travelers depend on travel portals to look for vacation trips or while planning a vacation. A 2019 survey shows that the total value of online booking including flight bookings and hotel bookings itself reached around US$755 billion and has since grown at the rate of approximately 10% annually.
More than 90% of customers research online for holiday locations and trips and most of these sites will take you to several online booking sites and applications. One major advantage of this is how travelers get to consider reviews and past experiences of other travelers while choosing hotels or airlines. You can research and book in advance from the comforts of your home.
However, this rapid digitization has greatly affected people from hospitality and service-based sectors like hotel booking and check-in staff and waiters at cafes and restaurants. Digitalization and automation have highly reduced the need for several types of jobs and work has become delocalized and distanced from the regulation that protects workers’ rights. On one hand, it is making things easier, on the other hand rapid technological advancements are also negatively impacting lots of service workers. This is why mature policy discussions with different stakeholders are needed to reach a common ground.
Sharing economy: the new rule of the travel business
The fundamental value of the travel industry always strives to create a connection between people and location. Through this shared economy, travelers get to experience a variety of accommodation types with more customization options.
Ride-sharing apps have become increasingly prevalent in modern days. The passengers get transparent pricing before even boarding while the drivers get to pick up multiple passengers along the same route which ultimately benefits passengers, drivers, and platform owners.
What are the significant digital travel trends that we are seeing in recent years?
Firstly, travel businesses are increasingly relying on mobile apps to grow. More than 35% of users book trips via mobile apps and this percentage is only going to increase soon. Developing your mobile app is no doubt expensive to several market players but it is worth it. Alternatively, a lot of companies are registering as vendors of other travel apps which saves both time and money.
Travel apps will often present you with options that you will most probably go for. Also referred to as cognitive computing, this mechanism relies on your previous searches, historical data, and filled profile. They can narrow down your options for your entire trip without any effort from you.
Thirdly, there is an omnichannel model in the travel business whereby no one player is the ultimate. The user gets to experience several providers and find out how they compare against each other before finalizing on any provider. This model helps several business providers have higher potential to make it into the customer’s screens.
Lastly, as more and more players enter this business, the main focus is to create the best tailor-made holiday trip for the customer’s specific requirements. The more customized the providers can be, the more they will be increasingly favoured. Data and AI give businesses the power to pursue their customers. Google survey shows that more than 36% of travellers nowadays are willing to shell out extra money for more tailor-made and unique experiences.
Digitalization has no doubt impacted the travel and tourism industry the most because it mostly offers you an experience and not any physical product and is therefore dependent on the digital lifestyle. However, with the advent of rapid technological advances, people working in certain service sectors are in danger of losing their jobs. Therefore well-rounded policy decisions are required to create a digital path that is inclusive of modern technologies and empathetic to local culture and values.