Technology has impacted every aspect of life, and the tourism industry is no exception. More than half of business travelers check into their flights and hotels with their smartphones. A vast number of people seek information online about purchasing tickets and hotel reservations as well as information about activities and entertainment in their chosen destination. Travelers can get all the information they need about visas, health concerns, political climate and more without leaving home.
Technology Enhances the Travel Experience
Tourism boards and travel brands are making an effort to include technology to enhance the travel experience of consumers. Today, you can get apps that give you a complete tour of thousands of sites around the world. Many of these apps offer special information about each place with hidden gems such as restaurants and other attractions that visitors may have missed on a regular tour.
Many hotels offer iPads specifically for guests to use for ordering food, planning their travel and get transportation, and free WiFi is available in most hotels and restaurants.
Some of the reasons consumers prefer the Internet for making travel plans are:
• They can research destinations before deciding where to go
• Look for travel promotions and incentives before booking
• Make plans based on the reviews of others
How Consumers Use Information for Travel
There are many different types of travelers including business travelers, family vacation travelers, budget backpackers, luxury travelers and personal travelers. The one thing they all have in common is how they plan their trips. Most travelers use:
• The Internet as a planning tool to search for options. The travel industry knows this, so they market directly to online searchers and effectively prompt travelers to book online
• Search engines to find the cheapest flights. Today, there are travel search engines that pull information from hundreds if not thousands of travel sites and give comparative information. They can be modified for date and time of travel
• Social media to connect with others who have gone before. Not only do people put their experiences online, but the travel industry also uses social media to inform and attract customers.
• Videos and vlogs to learn about their destinations from others during the travel planning process. Travelers also upload vlogs and apps that are travel-related
• Smartphones are the device of choice for many travelers. There are SIM cards available that make it cheap and easy to use their phones internationally, and they can take photos and keep copies of documents and travel information with them always
Travel Rewards Programs
Many credit card companies offer travel miles, hotel reservation discounts, car rental discounts and restaurant discounts when people make purchases with their cards. More and more people are taking advantage of these reward programs, not only for cheaper personal travel, but also for cheaper business travel.
Technology touches every aspect of the tourism industry and as airlines and hotels become more technologically advance, they need to remember that tourism is about people having a great time, and technology should serve that aim and hot hinder it.