The tourism industry has undergone changes in the manner it promotes and distributes products and services.
Increased use of information technologies, mainly the use of smartphones which has served as a platform to improve the delivery of services, and fast becoming the present and future of the industry.
Travelers nowadays utilize their smartphone to obtain the information necessary to plan their next trip, as well as read user reviews from others who have visited a particular destination, hotel or restaurant. This medium also allows users to learn about last minute deals.
Euromonitor International, a leading international strategic research firm for consumer markets conducted market research to determine the changes undergone by the industry that have been the result of the ever-increasing dependence on IT.
The study entitled Understanding the 21st. Century Traveler describes travelers’ consumption habits in the 21st. Century, and how these have changed with the use of mobile apps.
It also highlights the four main uses given to smartphones which have had revolutionized the way in which tourists plan their trips:
Tourists share every trip experience on their social social networks. Euromonitor has coined the term “smoasting” when making reference to the present day traveler, who are addicted to their mobile phones.
Consumers have more control over the planning phase of their trips. They research and compare their buying options for their next trips online.
Travelers from emerging economies represent the largest growth opportunity for the online travel and tourism market. These consumers are still transitioning to booking their trips online.
Travelers use their mobile phones to investigate their travel destinations during their visits. They depends on geo-social apps and platforms such as TripAdvisor and comments published by friends on social media.
The sale of travel packages online worldwide amounted to US$ 185 million in 2012, in comparison to the US$ 170 million from the year before due to the ease of accessing and acquiring vacation packages and the diverse offering.
Considering the changes the tourism industry has undergone, destinations must be prepared to be able to take advantage of this trend and provide its visitors with a permanent flow of useful information (before, during and after their stay.)
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