There is only One Trend in Tourism – Digital Transformation

Patricia PetrinjakCOVID-19
10 min read

Given last year’s predictions of a complete flood of tourism and the world as we know it, creativity, innovation, and perseverance have ultimately conditioned new solutions, new perspectives – and most importantly, new hopes.

In the report on the expected trends, Euronews expects major changes within the wellness industry, increased demand for local experiences, but also the emergence of the “new” tourists, who want to leave an as little ecological trace as possible while traveling, but also to experience the community in which they decided to spend their vacation.

Furthermore, all participants in the travel industry, from vacation rentals to hotels and destinations, have in some way digitized their business so far – whether it was the increased use of social networks or the use of channel managers.

Nonetheless, COVID – 19 caused a completely new level of expectations related to the further implementation of digital and/or contactless solutions in the way we are working and traveling.

Thoughtful Travel

No one will give up travel but will adapt it to the circumstances.

In other words, everyone will travel, but smarter.

According to Booking.com predictions, two-thirds of passengers (65%) said they were excited about traveling again, and 42% of passengers plan to travel even more to make up for a lost time during the lockdown periods. Additionally, two-fifths of passengers plan to re-book the trip they were forced to delay.

Priority when choosing a vacation destination will have low-risk locations from which return is easily possible and quick.

Emphasis on Visual Content

Quality photos of the accommodation and destination will no longer be enough to attract potential guests.

As standards and requirements for visual content are constantly rising, a virtual way of touring accommodation, 360-degree videos of rooms, a hotel restaurant, or additional facilities will replace what has been covered by standard photo galleries so far.

It also implies the possibility of content viewing on different devices, be it a smartphone, laptop, or tablet.

Photo by Eva Darron on Unsplash

Safer Travel

The accommodation provider and the destinations will be expected to adapt to the new – normal conditions.

Guests will appreciate top cleanliness and adherence to all measures, so be sure to encourage them further to provide you with feedback. Reviews will, perhaps more than in previous years, be the basis for choosing accommodation.

However, you will not only achieve security by disinfection but also by actively using digital solutions.

Four Seasons in New York was among the first to open its doors to staff from the front line against the virus, which proved to be a valuable experience in predictions that awaits others.

Hilton hotels offer contactless hotel stays and extensive security measures to ensure their guests’ stay to the maximum. In contrast, the hotel chain Mariott has made even more significant efforts by implementing the latest technology while keeping the accommodation clean and safe.

Although we will not completely avoid meetings with guests and each other, the feeling of security in guests will also cause the implementation of technological solutions.

Self – Solutions

Possibilities of contactless payment, self-check-in, and check-out alongside the possibility of secure communication with guests are just some of the solutions that will help in the perception of accommodation security.

Digital communication is gradually changing the welcome of the always available reception.

Using chatbots, you will greatly facilitate and speed up answering guests’ questions and improve the experience during the booking process or inform guests about the security measures. Pandemic will not erase additional questions, requests, and concerns that guests have during their stay.

Within Rentlio, for example, in addition to email templates and email communication, you can also automate communication using SMS or What’s App application.

Using an efficient cloud-based system with the possibility of accessing and managing reservations via a smartphone will more and more shape the functioning of one hotel system or a larger number of apartments. Cost and revenue optimization, time savings, better customer relations, and analysis capabilities are just reasons for using such systems.

Systems like Rentlio 😊

Different Travel

Variety of new terms is emerging, from slow travel, staycation, workcation through escapism and attention focused on small things that the pandemic only seemingly reminded us of, to the importance of local experiences and the emergence of a new – old generation of tourists, so-called familiarists.

Conde Nast Traveler and Euronews are just some of the portals that have shared their visions of the travel trends that await us.

Combining Leisure with Bussines

As working from home is a daily routine for most employees, whether they are digital nomads or not, with quality and a stable internet connection and laptop majority can do the work from any location – and this combination will become increasingly popular.

A simple, sustainable, and safe alternative to long journeys is a staycation. In addition to achieving a relaxing atmosphere at home, the trend refers to local travel or spending a vacation in a nearby destination. Besides saving money and time, staycation focuses guests on cultural and historical attractions and unique offers such as gastronomy and specific experiences of that destination.

The remaining terms, such as bleisure travel or workcation, are variations on the theme and define the combination of staying with doing work at a particular destination.

Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash

It is expected that laptops will increasingly be a necessary part of luggage, and an attractive place to work and internet connection is significant to guests when choosing accommodation.

Unique and local experiences

Seemingly undiscovered and closer destinations, nature landscapes, outdoor activities and wellness programs could not be more desirable.

According to the aforementioned Booking.com survey, as many as 43% of travelers plan to explore a new destination near their own home or region. As many as 46% of them plan to focus on the nature of their own homelands.

But not only that – most will put more effort into getting to know the hosts, their culture, and customs. It is a new generation of guests and tourists, the so-called familiarists, who will spend more time truly experiencing all that the host has to offer and what makes the holiday area specific.

However, the same circumstances – prohibitions and restrictions, on the other hand, will “force” passengers to go on the vacation they have always dreamed of but never had the time, money, or courage. This refers to long and exotic trips, adrenaline-filled experiences, and trips contributing to the local community, such as volunteering.

Return to nature and sustainability of travel

Escape from reality is a collective side effect of the pandemic, so destinations and dream accommodation have been searched over the months spent in various isolations. After staying in the same four walls, everyone longs for the endless mountains and greenery spaces, that is, for staying in nature, outdoor activities, and exploring natural landscapes.

The vast majority of guests are expected to orient their vacations in such a way as to spend as much time outdoors as possible.

The coronavirus is by far the most effective in raising awareness of climate change, global warming, and the travel industry’s environmental impact and the average traveler. More effective than generations of scientists who have been warning about these changes for years.

Passengers will increasingly prefer more sustainable ways of traveling and accommodation that consider such a way of doing business.

Accordingly, expectations will grow from the travel industry to offer just such facilities.

Photo by Nick Bolton on Unsplash

From changing expectations to applying technology

Digital solutions will prove invaluable if we want to keep up with changes in guests’ and passengers’ behavior and expectations.

Augmented reality has not been science fiction for a long time, and it can be used creatively by all participants in the tourism industry. Namely, accommodation and destination providers using augmented reality have the opportunity to provide guests almost instantly with information such as opening hours, reviews and recommendations of certain facilities, activity suggestions, and attractive tourist information or additional content within the accommodation.

By taking advantage of what most guests have on hand – a mobile phone, you can easily provide the necessary information while protecting the guest and respecting safety measures.

Furthermore, the so-called brochureware approach is mostly still present in hotel deals and website layouts.

However, the pandemic is also drastically changing that.

When viewing potential accommodation, the one-way user experience is on its way out, missing out on more flexible, creative, and personalized experiences for potential guests, which further opens up opportunities for more direct bookings.

If you implement Rentlio Booking Engine to your site you will allow guests to view availability and pricing directly on your site as well as offer specific additional services that you are unable to offer through global OTA channels.

Smarter Travel

Technological innovation will play an important role when it comes to rebuilding passenger confidence, while at the same time becoming the inevitable solution to the future of travel.

Until the pandemic outbreak, we were not even aware of the established processes and rules when traveling.

Waiting in line to check-in is a process we didn’t pay the slightest attention to.

According to Booking.com’s predictions, 64% of travelers believe that technology will play an important role in controlling health risks, and 63% of travelers believe that accommodation facilities will have to use the latest technologies to enable a safer way of traveling.

Contactless everything will be expected.

Technology and digital solutions remain the main driver and heart of every trip, before, during, and after your stay. Consequently, digital solutions will continue to be implemented and changed, all for a better offer and personalized customer experience. Analyze and define the necessary changes to optimize your own time and costs and improve all future guests’ experiences.

Therefore, it is the right time to contact us for free consultations to help you optimize your business. 🤝

New hope

We will conclude with hope – hope for a better, different, and inspiring year while accepting new perspectives, new guests, and their expectations.

According to some predictions, the full opening of borders is not realistic to expect before 2022, until vaccinations and testing become a common part of everyday life. And because of the above, we will appreciate the traveling more, and we will be more aware of the experience and plan it more carefully.

Not in a hurry, visiting the most important cultural monuments and museums from the list in the guide in record time.

As always, adaptation is inevitable, and the path to recovery is (always) innovation.

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Although she would love to read all day, Patricia enjoys writing. In addition to cultivating the wild yeast in her free time, she shares her living space with two dogs and one Dalmatian enjoying her first-class sea view which is why she moved from Zagreb in the first place.