A short while ago, travelers, who didn’t know where to go, used to consult a travel agency who was supposed to take care of everything. Now, they can choose from thousands of apps and online portals to plan their holidays. Instead of printing flight or train tickets, not only once but often twice and keeping them safely in a binder, like old fashioned travelers are accustomed to, today’s travelers use digital tickets saved on their smartphone. Before the existence of smartphone cameras and selfie-sticks, travelers used to take pictures with cameras without preview mode, waiting with bated breath for the printed results and the corresponding negative strip.
Today, smartphones take high quality photos, selfies and video that are easier to share and stream with friends via social media and instant messengers. Both, tourism and tourists benefit from digital developments.
Internet, main driving force for change
The common denominator of all the developments described above unquestionably is the Internet. 8/10 consumers book their holidays online according to Bitkom. The digital changeover is not an illusion, it is taking place right now. The latest study Reiseanalyse 2016 by Forschungsgemeinschaft Urlaub und Reisen e.V. (FUR) undoubtedly underlines that finding.
Although, package holiday still is the most popular option when it comes to the organization of holidays for German travelers, accommodation providers like booking.com are annually attracting more and more followers because of the consumers’ increasing demand for an individual and personalised offer.
On the other hand, although the classic face-to-face talk still is the best way to complete a booking for German travelers, online bookings are increasing. So much that FUR predicts the majority of holiday bookings will be generated online by 2020.
Furthermore, looking for inspiration or specific information about your destination on a flyer or at the travel agency is losing some steam against the multiple and various option available online. It seems like the entire costumer journey is shifting online in the near future. How did you book your last holidays? Did you consult a travel agency or have you been creating your unique trip using Airbnb and your favorite airline app instead?
Smart holidays with big data
There is clear indication to believe in the growing success of E-Tourism in the future. Travelers’ and consumers’ preferences are to the online sphere, influenced by the big impact of new technology and mobile devices on their daily lives. The fundamental question is, if organizations and companies can adapt their business models and organizational processes to the digital era.
According to Bitkom, 68 percent of touristic companies are reacting well to these digital challenges investing in digital services such as apps, social media channels and big data analysis. In this sense, 2/3 of providers evaluate social media channels in order to make individual offers to every kind of traveler. Moreover, the trend of group traveling in order to benefit from collaborative consumption like lower individual prices, is expected to become popular in the next years, so it would be interesting to know which providers will adapt their business models and portfolio to these new growing interests.