Why a digital transformation is important if you are really betting on Travel/Tourism as a major sector in your economy?
Before 15years ago, when the common people want to travel to foreign countries mostly it’s for job and business, now more than 50% of people who wants travel outside of their country is for tourism. It reaches 80% if we include visiting family members. With the recent generation being mobile and internet savvy, they expect decisions to be taken swiftly and independently through the knowledge they have. What does this mean? It means people expect the countries and business provide the knowledge in this mobile internet ecosystem.
The expectation of a Tourist
- People in the current generation expects the information in their fingertips (which is their smartphone) (EXPERIENCE)
- They expect information is up to date and real-time, so they can take decision swiftly (EXPERIENCE)
- They are very particular about what they want, they don’t expect to carry a lonely planet book and opening up every hour.
- They look for digital apps for everything in a structured way and simplified way (EXPERIENCE)
- They absolutely value time than money. They decide in minutes where to go, what to do and how to reach there (SPEED).
So they expect a lot of things from the countries they are visiting. it’s the government strategy how they can bring the different PPP players into this ecosystem and help the tourist.
Do governments need to really focus on Tourism?
it depends on the country economy strategy but, let me share why I believe every country need to put a emphasize on tourism. From 2000 – 2015, the growth of tourist arrival reached 100% growth. If you are a matured traveled destination like spain or Italy, you would have already seen this surge. If not, you are going to experience this surge, so what you going to do now to make sure the people get the experience would spread the word about your country for the next set of growth. In marketing, we firmly believe in referral/word-of-mouth marketing which is making sure the initial set of users truly enjoy the experience.
A company or a government who really understand its target market and then focus from a user perspective would develop the best experience for the end user journey. Travelers expect an experience because they do not want to spoil/waste single moment of their travel time. Those times are highly valuable than normal days.
When a traveler stops on the road and figuring out where to go, basically there should be a proper signage and knowledge board for every few meters to direct him. If the government can’t invest much, then everything should be transformed into digital as it allows to scale and the information could be updated in realtime (The digital investment would be less than physical signage). So a country which is trying to improve its tourism business, a digital plays an important role…
Hence as a company or country, the digital allows you to change the information in few secs because you are not going to a road in a remote place to put up a board that the road is broken after few meters. This is a simple explanation but there is more than that.
How to plan tourism digital transformation from the government side?
Every player who designs digital transformation strategy should be focused on a user perspective instead of what we can offer blindly. In technology development, they used their user story perspective with sentences in such ways like
“A user wanted to do ___ to achieve ____”, “A user should be able to see ___ from his mobile device to find _____”
so every time when they start the sentence from the user perspective, they already figure out what the users would need.
Also, the teams need to clearly know
- what type of target audience who is going to visit their country? ,
- will they know how to use a smartphone,
- will they have internet access,
- Will they know how to use a mobile application?
- Will they only know how to read sign boards?
- Will they know how to do online transactions?
- and multiple questions
And many questions he can ask himself before designing a strategy. If he knows the answer for questions like this, the digital transformation strategy is going to be simple and almost perfect plan along the way.
There are multiple touch points and stages where a tourist going to experience in his whole journey. Let’s go through how Norway has implemented digital solutions across each of this journey to make the whole journey smooth and memorable for everyone.
What are all the stages a Traveller has in his journey?
There is 3 phases whether it is before the journey or on the journey.
- Information systems
- Transactional systems
- Support systems
Digital Transformation of Information
- People take a decision based on the availability of the information. if somebody gives you the money and ask you to travel, you have 2 choices whether to select a country A or country B which one you will choose?
- You may end up doing online research to find different information about each country. Even though both countries could share similar culture/nature, you may end up choosing one from the other due to the availability of information by the country and also the community-driven information.
- The country own information or community driven information ranges from what factor to how to factor.
For example: Let’s take a take a look at the sitemap(wiki: what is sitemap?) of visitnorway, you could take inspiration on the structural flow of information
As a digital strategist, If I look from that perspective, they have a perfect index of every place and their sub details. They have considered everything a user want to search online and input that information on the website. There are 13,000 pages published on this website based on the sitemap of the site.
Is it worthful? Take a look at their website traffic
July is the peak time for Summer travel and so it’s like 1Million visit. Averagely 538K visits 🙂 can you imagine?
The digital infrastructure is clearly developed for every mode of transport and every mode of locations. As I shown in the above images.
Bus Transportation app
All these apps are basically designed for each county. so wherever you are, you can download the respective apps, this apps provides you with further features of
- Route Finding
- Ticket Purchasing
- Ticket Verification where you can show your digital tickets
Railway Transportation app
What are all the things need to be prioritized?
So if you see the above user journey of a tourist visit, and what are all the digital solutions like a website, a mobile application he is able to use while on his trip… The details provided in every platform they are not just info but are
- Real-time and up to date (most frequent) (whether it’s a train arrival time, or bus arrival time or even when Aurora going to show up!)
- Every information are synchronized (whether you call them on phone or email them or open up the app)
- No Glitches, it’s smooth (whether Navigation or Transaction)
- It’s simple and Structured (Tickets to guidelines)
As I don’t have much access to the backend of the technology they are using on every front, the few things I saw are the train ticket Officer. He just brings a device and scans your digital ticket. This is prevalent in many developed places but everyone can take advantage of it. That’s it. (Fraction of sec the process is done)
So After Journey?
A warm smile and Haada bra (Good bye!)
Going for an extra mile
There is something we need to think here, does Norway waited for other external companies to do this for them? Did they ever have a reason that TripAdvisor, Wikipedia or lonely planet going to cover all these knowledge?
No, they were at the forefront of everything, they lead and provided every information for everyone whether it’s a tourist or travel agency who can find all the information on their website.
Not just that, there are teams which cover information that is ready to be served for
- Individual tourist
- Local tourism partners (every partner from transportation to accommodation)
- Overseas tourism agencies
One more important thing: Data wise for local organization/SME
Imagine a situation when a government announce or even the information readily available explaining
- Expected tourist this season #####
- The demand and supply data of accommodation, transportation, food, health, tourist guides, activities, etc.
- All this data by localization of city
Every small and medium business would use this data to understand the opportunity available and make business easier from it. This helps the local economy as well.
Travel Industry going to change how the world should move forward whether from a cultural perspective or innovation perspective. Similar like in the ancient time where the east and west traveled and trade, it spread the innovation like paper across the world. It spread the culture as well. If the countries believe in the happiness of people and economic prosperity, they should enable the travel industry through a digital transformation as it makes the scalability in cheaper and cost-effective ways. After the belief, they should start to think from an end-user perspective and build solutions. Those solutions shouldn’t be in protected nature, meaning all the things they built should be built with public API in focus as this allows other parties to build solutions on top of it.
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