Digital Transformation in The Tourism Industry
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In our blog on digital transformation, we explained why it is so important for businesses to implement modern technologies into their currently existing business processes. Not only does it result in saving loads of time and optimizing overall organizational productivity, but it also makes sure that your business stays ahead of the competition in the long run. No matter what industry you’re active in, sooner or later technology will play a central role in your business. Introducing new technologies into your business is critical to staying ahead of your competitors. To ensure a successful digital transformation, you and your organization have to make sure that the technologies you choose are perfectly tailored to your business’s values, mission, culture, and current processes. In order to ensure the right implementation of the right technologies, you can get the help of a digital transformation partner.
In our recurring blog series on digital transformation, we have a look at one of the industries we’ve been working for, which already includes over 24 different industries. This week, we take a deep dive into the tourism industry, which is rapidly reshaping itself due to the global pandemic, where travel isn’t what it used to be before the emergence of the virus.
What is the tourism industry?
The tourism industry encompasses a lot of different sectors. From transportation services such as airline- and railway companies and car rental services to the production and distribution of products for leisure activities such as paper or digital tour guides and translators. Simply said, the tourism industry can be defined by the services, infrastructures, and products that make leisure traveling possible, from start to finish.
The significant decrease in mobility caused by the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a major drop in tourism leading to a decline in the travel services business. Lockdowns and social distancing measures have resulted in sharp drops in the use of tourist services, which had previously been consistent and even growing. As many elements of tourism have been forced to slow down, the necessity and demand for innovative technology in the tourism industry have never been greater. Even though the widespread use of the COVID-19 vaccines is creating a safer environment for traveling, many countries are still enforcing strict regulations and limitations regarding traveling tourists.
Technologies in the tourism industry
When you’re planning a trip, there’s a lot that needs to be done in order to make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible. You probably start with finding a destination, which can be far away or close to home. Whereas twenty years ago, you would probably drop by a travel agency near you, you can now find, book, and pay for your entire journey with a few clicks and swipes on your smartphone, tablet, or laptop. You can book your train tickets to the airport, your flight to your destination, and your hotel for your stay in minutes. Once you arrive at your destination, you can find the best-rated restaurants near you from a wide selection of review platforms, websites, and applications.
In the past, you had spent hours going through loads of confirmation papers and forms to just book a single ticket, and then we’re not even speaking of the time it took to wait in endless queues at the check-in desks at hotels, airports, car rental counters, and more. The reason this took so long is because most, if not all procedures were done manually. While your name and personal information now pop up on a screen, retrieved from a database, it previously required a thorough search through years of paper documentation, which were easy to forget, lose, or even forge. The emergence of technologies, from process automation to data analytics, has sped up these processes immensely, and that’s just one small part of the digitization of the tourism industry.
Benefits & examples
The use of technologies such as the 'Internet of Things,' location-based services, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual reality, and blockchain technology has resulted in a more appealing, efficient, inclusive, and economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable tourism offer than before. It has also helped in providing travelers with optimal destinations by implementing technologies that can detect seasonal and situational influences in specific tourist locations, also known as smart destinations. For example, a trip booking platform making use of these kinds of algorithms will likely not recommend you a vacation spot where the weather conditions are poor or where they predict overcrowdedness. Here are some more beneficial influences and examples of technology on the travel and tourism industry:
Smart travel for a better experience
A unified smart travel model – one that encompasses smart visas, borders, security processes, and infrastructure – will revolutionize tourism in the same way that the smartphone transformed telecommunications and media. Passengers can purchase tickets and check-in online, have their boarding passes on their cellphones, pass through automated clearance gates, and even authenticate their boarding passes electronically to board planes thanks to the interconnectedness of all these tools. These methods greatly improve travel convenience as well as security and safety.
Because the future of travel is focused on digitization, tourism jobs will require specific technical skills in order to efficiently execute and manage smart travel services. The greatest societal impact of digital change in tourism might be on the industry’s workforce, which accounts for one out of every ten jobs on a global scale. The automation of processes impacts jobs currently done manually, either changing them or making them obsolete. However, because it is expected that the tourism sector will grow even larger, digitally-enabled growth will create many new job opportunities.
A smart location is one that has a technology, innovation, sustainability, accessibility, and inclusion strategy in place throughout the entire tourism cycle: before, during, and after the trip. A smart destination considers both locals and visitors when planning tourism, taking into account multilingualism, cultural factors, and seasonality. Smart destinations offer a seamless experience for tourists while sustainably managing local resources by continuously and correctly monitoring, integrating, and analyzing data for efficient decision-making, prioritization, and anticipation of difficulties.
Digital tour guides
Digital tour guides allow tourists to enhance their journey by having online and offline access to information about their location on their smartphone or tablet. From community recommendations to location-based audio guides, a digital tour guide is made to make traveling an easier and more exciting experience. Besides existing tour guides available on the internet and in app stores, locals can also choose to become a tour guide themselves by creating their own custom tours on several online platforms.
Online reservation & check-ins
Whereas before the emergence of the internet and smartphones, we had to stand in endless lines at the airport in order to obtain and check-in our boarding passes. Nowadays, we can do this all from the comfort of our couch before even leaving for the airport. Especially in times of a global pandemic, this is a useful solution that increases the possibility of social distancing at airports during the check-in process.
Online communities have become major players in the tourism industry. When looking for a hotel or restaurant at our destination, we can instantly read through the review section to find out if it’s worth a visit. In that sense, one could say that these communities have become a new type of tour guide, collectively recommending the best spots in and around your travel destination.
Travel safety guidelines
In times of a global pandemic, governments all over the world have installed specific regulations regarding travel and tourism in their countries. For example, some countries only allow vaccinated travelers, while others don’t allow any tourism at all. Because the situation is constantly changing, these regulations are changing too. In order to know exactly where you stand, governments all over the world provide tourists and citizens with digital information platforms that provide users with real-time insights into the current situation regarding rules and regulations in their country. This also includes warning levels regarding risks of terrorism and/or environmental disasters such as floods or forest fires.
Project: Peerdrops WBWL Explorer
Peerdrops is a design firm that works in a variety of industries. They create signs, physical games, and concepts for zoos, national parks, businesses, and other organizations. The West Brabantse Waterlinie, a nature reserve in the south of the Netherlands, attracts a large number of tourists and plays an essential part in Dutch history that most tourists are unaware of. The municipality of Steenbergen, where the reserve is located, wanted to implement interactive technology to bring history and tourism closer together.
Together with Peerdrops, Lizard Global created the WBWL-Explorer app, which allows users to clear nature park areas using geofencing and GPS location trackers. The user is placed on a map surrounded by POIs (places of interest) and can learn about the area through fun walking and riding routes.
Duikersgids is a community-driven platform that brings the diving community together. Divers can find diving places, leave comments about their dives, and subscribe to the digital and print versions of Duikersgids, which helps divers find all the diving information they need for a successful dive.
Lizard Global created an MVP of the Duikersgids mobile app, which resulted in a community-driven environment with tens of thousands of users for five years in a row, all contributing to enjoyable diving experiences across the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and beyond.
Project: River Cruise App
River Cruise App is the first free-to-use mobile application that uses narrative, music, and special sound effects to instantly add value to your boat rides on Europe's most historic rivers. The offline audio guides are linked to an ever-growing list of European rivers, giving the user background information and music appropriate for that specific route. River Cruise App enhances your experience through sound while you sit back and relax.
Audio Dux B.V., brought in Lizard Global to fully redesign River Cruise App and to include additional features such as authentication, geofencing, a location-based audioguide, background play and an offline feature. There's no way you'll get bored on your next journey along Europe's most stunning waterways.
Digitally transform with Lizard Global
To embark on the digital transformation journey, you'll need a concrete grasp of your company's capabilities as well as a vision for the future that will determine how internal processes, organizational structures, and technology adoption will need to change. The tools, techniques, technologies, and concepts of the modern era provide us with more possibilities than ever. In order to provide the best possible services in any industry, we guide our clients through the process of digitally upgrading their services through digital implementations like data analysis and process automation.
We think that technology can help every business in establishing a larger and more loyal consumer base, regardless of the industry. We gladly help you through the process of digital transformation, as it can be a difficult and impactful step to take. Not only do our digital transformation specialists know which technologies are best for your business and its unique ways of functioning, they can also design and build your solution in such a way that it is scalable and ready for future growth and success.
Are you looking for a digital partner for the development of your web application or mobile app, and are you ready to take the step towards a digital transformation of your business and industry? We can help! Get in touch with our experts by filling out the contact form on our website, or drop us a line on WhatsApp or our social media channels.
Curious about our other verticals? Check out our portfolio for an insight into all the industries we’re supporting with digital solutions. Or take a look at our previous blogs on the digital transformation in:
Transport & logistics