Digitisation: a solution to the new challenges of tour operators?
We all wonder when will the tourism industry recover and when will we reach this so-called “new normal”? We can’t know for sure, but the last quarter of the year appears to be more favourable for tour operators. This year that was told to be a transition phase of the industry to help us plan and get ready for what the future holds, might indeed have turned into a great opportunity for tour operators to reinvent the tourism industry before the restart.
Why is it necessary to adapt ourselves to the new normal?
Professionals need to predict and then adapt themselves to all the trends that arose during the pandemic, in terms of travellers’ needs, health regulations and digital acceleration, for instance. 2021 is almost over, and it is important to plan forward and anticipate 2022, that hopefully will bring us good news for tourism. If tour operators are not ready for the restart, they will lose a significant first-mover advantage that is based on the dedication towards innovation within the year.
Traveller’s motivations and demand have evolved quick during the crisis due to political or demographic trends. Now is crucial for the companies of the tourism industry to have a human-centred approach to innovation. This reassures tourists about their safety during the tours, which is their principal cause of concern.
And to do so; what’s better than technology? The number of digital users has boomed during the pandemic; because of the remote interactions in correlation with the lockdown; so travellers are also more used to all the technology and digital tools than ever before. And as we talk more and more about smart-mobility within the travel industry; tour operators should definitely provide this innovative experience integrated into the resources and needs of the society.
How can tour operators reassure their clients through technology?
As previously mentioned, people need to see the evidence of safety protocols while travelling; it has become a decisive factor while booking a tour. And it is up to the tour operators to adapt their tour guiding style and reassure their clients that travelling safely nowadays is possible. For that, the investment in technology makes sense. The regulations for the tour are now stricter. The number of people, the distance between each participant and all these small rules that, if not respected, might break the trust and image that the tourists will have of the tour organizers. The toursits want to be safe!
The new technologies that enable to keep distances, visit at your own pace while still hearing perfectly the tour guide; are the key to the future of all the tours activities. No need for the expensive radio guide systems that are transferred hand-to-hand, hence, requiring a lot of effort to clean the devices and hand them to the tourists. Now everything can be done easily via a mobile application.
The most sophisticated and cutting-edge technologies, are the ones that are available for everyone. The technology enhancing the visit of the participants while being really easy-to-use. With just one click to enter the app, connect to the Wi-Fi network, and simply hear the guide through your smartphone. This investment in innovation would then become a small price to pay. The reason is because there are state regulations, tour operator image, people satisfaction and safety at stake!
What if travellers still prefer to have a tour on their own?
Tour operators should also adapt to this need that is rising. People are more independent. Sometimes they want to explore on their own and not stick to a group. They might also still perceive as unsafe because not recommended by the health institution. For that, travel companies should be ready to propose solutions via applications. It ca nbe done with a self-guiding itinerary offering clear explanations of a place, a city, or a monument. The new apps have also to deliver the guests’ tours with the best experience possible. It is all about a good story-telling and a good technology to fulfil all travellers’ growing needs.