We have discussed, explained and written over and over again how digital impacts all sectors, one after the other. Well, it is just because this popular phenomenon called is digital transformation keeps on surprising us. This article will touch on one sector that will make your mind go on a short holiday: Travel and tourism. One might argue that digital has always been present in travel to some extent. But, this online presence is increasing massively with the growth of mobile. It is very interesting to look at the changes and the evolution in tourism, in terms of digitalization.
The father of travel innovation
Back in the 70s, technology was already used in travel: the Global Distribution Systems (GDS). This system allowed travel agents to book plane tickets, after having checked the seat availability. Of course, a computer system was at the heart of the agencies and airports’ processes.
If you think about it, all the procedures that gets you from Airport A to Airport B have always been digitalized to a certain extent. Plane tracking, seating reservations, passport controls etc. Then, we saw the rise of a new habit: booking hotels and plane tickets trough websites such as Booking.com or Expedia. If was the “easy” and the ‘cool way’ way for frequent flyers.
But what I found particularly interesting to look at in this article, is the part where people visit a new country, whether for holidays or on a business trip. When walking next to the Eiffel Tower, the Big Ben, or any other area filled with tourists, we mostly see selfie sticks. What we do not see anymore are
city maps. People go from point A to point B, with their eyes on their phones.
Smartphones: your new travel guide
With the sharp evolution of mobile, apps started shining in the travel sector. If you go on Google Play or on your App Store, and type ‘Travel’, you will find so many applications, you won’t know which one to download.
All these apps serve the same purpose: find that trendy restaurant, or amazing photography exhibition. They also grew to become a kind of social network of their own, creating communities of travelers who share pictures, reviews and experiences.
Let’s compare two mobile applications that are slightly different.
The first one is Dojo, the trendy app everyone is downloading. Only available on mobile, Dojo is an app where you can find all the trendy spots, the newly opened restaurants, cafes, bars. But not only, the app also displays the exhibitions that are currently showing, vintage films and concerts. It also shows you some pictures, a short description and the venue’s contact details (phone number, Facebook page etc.). What’s good in this app is that they categorize places into 14 categories, so that users are sure to find exactly what they are looking for : films and ‘arts vivants’, restaurants, cocktail bars, cafes, street food, just opened, exhibitions, bars, live music and nights out, patisseries, beer, wine bars, brunch and date night. They also display the must-try places in the form of a schedule.
The second app is Travelkiosk. The latter is different because it is build by and for travelers. They form a solid community. This app has a strong social network aspect for various reasons. Well, simply because travelers can follow and message each other, just like on Facebook, Twitter or any other platform. This allows them to exchange ideas and thoughts about the best places to visit, share their experience and recommendations.
Also, because with two clicks, users can create “tickets” that include information about a particular location such as pictures, address, comments etc. These tickets are then shared and seen by followers, and posted directly on Instagram. This last point has been developed to answer that new “photography” aspect of travel.
So, next time you plan a trip, how many mobile applications will you download?