Much of the beauty of travel can be in getting lost, spontaneous interactions and the great unknown. However, these experiences can be far smoother and richer with the use of technology. 2021 is in the midst of massive change, so we wanted to cover the important technology developments in travel and tourism and how you can leverage these trends. Let’s look in more detail at the way technology is being used in travel and tourism right now.

 

Smartphone travel

Travel and smartphones go together like piña coladas and tiny umbrellas. The computers in the palms of our hands make it simple to find new travel experiences, check reviews, and book online wherever we happen to be. Online and mobile reservations have become standard practice, as they offer a secure transaction and easy ticket management for guests. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also sparked demand for contactless bookings and check-ins, which is easily offered with the right online booking software, easy to use on mobile. The importance of smartphone travel & technology in the tourism industry should definitely not be underestimated.

 

Complex customer journeys

Your customers may already have multiple interactions with you on their journey to booking, but there could be many more touchpoints to consider due to social media platforms such as TikTok gaining popularity, the growing use of Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) and the rollout of 5G. Customers may now have multiple interactions for each of these steps:

  • Gaining awareness of a destination or activity
  • Creating their travel plan
  • Booking the experience 
  • The guest experience itself
  • Follow-up marketing and rebooking.

Customer touchpoints could range from rich video media and social posts to searching availability on TripAdvisor or RedBalloon to customer reviews. Does this mean you need to advertise everywhere? Not necessarily. It’s more about analyzing where your customers are dreaming, planning and booking, and optimizing these interactions for a consistent experience.  

 

Social sharing and planning

The sharing of travel experiences across social media is definitely evolving – and particularly so for younger travelers. In a 2020 Youth Insight survey, 80% of young travelers said they would use social media to plan their next domestic trip. Millennials and Gen Z travelers are far more likely to use social media or travel planning sites like TripAdvisor than they are a travel agent.

How can you leverage this? Ensure you’re partnering with key OTAs. Share authentic stories about guest experiences on the platforms your customers use. And expect guests to capture and share their experience in ways you’ve never even considered. You can even hand them the tools to do so, integrating your booking software with a company like Fotaflo, to share their post-experience images.

 

Virtual and augmented reality technology

Virtual and augmented reality are not brand-new technologies in tourism, but they’ve certainly gained traction during lockdowns. If there’s ever been a time to travel via technology, it’s 2021.

What’s the difference?

  • Virtual reality provides a computer-simulated environment in 3D, either through a screen or headset.
  • Augmented reality enhances the existing environment with computer-simulated elements, either through a screen, headset, or another device.

Back in 2019, research from Tourism Australia indicated that almost one-fifth of consumers had already used VR to select a holiday destination, and a quarter planned to do so in the future. As VR and AR tech becomes more accessible and affordable in 2021 and beyond, expect new possibilities for tourism marketing.

technology is changing the travel industry

 

 

Better service from big data

You probably already have a customer database of some sort, but advanced integrations and analytics in your software can unlock new insights into the customer experience. You can now gain a greater understanding of:

  • the reason for the trip or activity,
  • the amount spent,
  • the locations where guests are traveling from,
  • and even their personal interests.

Equipped with this type of knowledge, it’s becoming far easier to provide richer customer experiences. 

 

Personalized travel experiences

Today’s travelers have come to expect relevant, personalized marketing. If you’re a tourism operator there’s now an incredible range of possibilities to segment your customer database for highly personalized messaging. You could, for example, integrate your booking software to Zapier and MailChimp so that each new guest is automatically added to a database. Send out vouchers to encourage repeat bookings, or send a discount offer on the anniversary of their original experience. A booking software like Rezdy enables you to have these integrations and also to personalize service and food options on the day using digital guest manifests.

 

24/7 online service

The days of waiting on hold to make a booking are over. It’s now standard to offer 24/7 online booking with live availability, and with Rezdy this is simple on your own website and via resellers. Travelers may also be sending their enquiries around the clock via Facebook, Instagram and, other social channels. It’s therefore important to check in regularly to avoid missing out on bookings and ensure the best customer support. Automated messages and response assistants can help you to deliver consistently amazing customer service. 

 

If you’re currently on the lookout for a booking software that can help you leverage technology and support your growth, start a FREE 21-day trial with Rezdy or book a free demo with us today.

For more support and tips on how to increase sales in your travel & tourism business, follow Rezdy’s blog.

 

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