E- Tourism and Tourism Technology Trends- Full Guide

What is E-tourism?

E-tourism is the digitalization of the whole tourism industry, infrastructure and ecosystem.

eTourism has made life easier for the tourists as well as companies connected with the tourism industry. In last few years, eTourism has helped in great extent to promote tourism though the use of internet and various online e-applications. eTourism includes networking and competitive collaboration in the tourism sector. eTourism includes making online bookings for flights, hotels, transport at destination and even help planning the whole trip.

In this article, we will cover the primary benefits of eTourism followed by the description of some electronic applications and systems which are part of eTourism. Secondly, we will also cover how eTourism helps companies to develop network and communications followed by how they can be useful to companies as well as customers. Finally, it concludes with some examples of Airlines that are gaining huge profits through eTourism like Qantas and Emirates.

Today, in internet age, everyone would like to have all the facilities on their desk via internet and eTourism is no exception. eTourism provide that extra facility to tourists to book their hotel, flights or even plan the whole trip online. In fact even tourism companies are making use of eTourism for their promotions through websites, emails or various electronic applications.

88 % of consumers who went to travel or planned holidays in summer of 2005 used the internet to search, purchase holiday packages or plan their trips. Online hotel accommodation sales were also increased up to 52 percent, more than before in 2005. It is estimated that, around one third of all hotel bookings will be done online this year, and another one third will be directly affected by online research and planning, but booked offline.

Companies are using electronic applications like Customer portfolio analysis (CPA) systems which is a process that analyzes the value of potential customers, regarding the costs and incomes that each customer generates in organizations in order to optimize profits and offer value to different segments of customers.

Segmenting customers in different scenarios requires a selection of a target customer. For example, customer segmentation in the travel industry could be business travellers who use corporate travel agents to get special discounts when they need to buy a big amount of tickets. Another could be different situations and variables of each customer as demographic attributes, age or needs. For instance, change of itineraries in the middle of the trip are customer needs that help organizations to determinate what customers consider important to be satisfied in order to achieve customer loyalty and invest in a most efficient and effective way.

So, using electronic applications as part of e-Tourism eco system, companies can conclude which customer group generates the most revenue for organisations. These e-applications help organisations to identify existing customers who are difficult to satisfy and to identify the best customers to invest in. Organisations require less cost to maintain key customers than to attract new ones.

The role of the organization is development of this concept in order to help existing and potential customers, and to help them understand the value of the service and products regarding safety, quality, use, reliability, business attractiveness and ethical issues that organisations offer, which influences customers purchase decision.

Moreover, eTourism help organizations to develop network in the process of creating and delivering value to their customers.  Major parts of organisations’ network are supplier, owners/investors, partners and employees. By working with all of them effectively, organisations can establish excellent customer relationship. 

In addition, Partners play an important role in eTourism value creation. There are a number of different types of partners; joint venture or alliance partners, category teams, benchmarking groups, regulators, customer advocacy groups and sponsors. In the airline industry, alliance partners have been very popular. For instance, British Airways and American Airlines agreed to co-ordinate routes, schedules and reservation systems. This is regarded as a strategic alliance. The STAR alliance is another example of alliance, aimed at a diversification feature cross-industry agreement between non-competing firms. With 15 airlines that fly complementary routes, the alliance offers several benefits for both customers and partners. 

Cassab and MacLachlan in 2008 proposed the concept of multi-channel service defined as the use of alternative modes of contact by customers to interact with and obtain service from Tourism companies as part of e-Tourism eco system. They illustrate an example of this concept in the airline industry; customer contact with an airline may be face-to-face through frontline employees who use technology to assist the customer (e.g. an airline representative at the check-in counter); it may also be remote either through back-office representatives (e.g. the airlines’ call centre) or without the presence of a human representative (e.g. websites -service kiosks).

Further, Customers can take advantages of the eTourism through easy information on lot of  destinations, booking flights online, convenient booking, time saved in transit, and joint frequent flyer programmes while alliance members (partners) can also take benefits such as purchasing power, shared costs, joint IT and shared airport positions.  Though always great to follow travel tips before you plan holidays.

Partners are also crucial constituents in eTourism value delivery. Agent, brokers, management contractors, consortia, franchisees and licensees are a type of partner in value delivery. Airlines, for example, have a strong connection with travel agents.

Furthermore, eTourism made communication easy which further promote Tourism industry. Nowadays, customers can communicate with companies through e-mail, websites, telephone, fax, chat rooms, and contact centres, help-desks and complaints lines as well as through traditional face-to-face channel. Buttle in 2004 suggests three processes to enhance power of communication to create value for customers are disintermediation, personalization and interactivity. The new technologies such as email, direct mail and cell-phones enable companies to pass its messages directly to customers (disintermediation). High quality databases and direct channels to consumers can offer tailored services to individual customers (personalization).  In addition, interactive technologies such as world-wide web allow companies to communicate globally (interactivity). 

Finally, Examples of Airline industries which are making high use of eTourism are Qantas and Emirates. According to its 2006 annual report, 44 percent of all domestic flight bookings are made online and 70 percent of frequent flyer redemptions are handled via Qantas.com. Qantas’s network of Web sites attracts two million page views a day and more than five million unique visitors a month. Another example is Emirates airline which is growing with a rapid pace. In 2002 Emirates Airline has shown the revenue growth of 11% where as passenger growth of 18.3% to cope up with this kind heavy growth Emirates Airline assured development goal of operating 100 aircraft by 2010.

e-Tourism is, on the whole, useful in promoting tourism and providing an extra facility to tourists for planning their trip. eTourism has also given major benefits to various companies mainly airline industries as mentioned in the essay. There were few e-applications discussed in this essay which helps companies in managing their customers and hence generate more profit by providing more value to them.  Qantas and Emirates both airlines focus mainly on their websites and e communication channels through various e applications embedded in their websites which are giving huge profits to these companies. Hence, eTourism has helped promote overall tourism in the world in current times.

Tourism Technology Trends

1. AI (Artificial Intelligence):

The tourism and hospitality industry, as part of e-tourism, has delved into technology such as Chatbots, IoT, clouds, and biometrics. The speeding up has been particularly noticeable in the uptake of AI. From personalization and marketing to profit management and pricing, AI has become an important player.

Just a few years ago, ‘Big Data’ was an inescapable phrase but with the developments in data dealing and information storage, computers can now consume and evaluate record amounts of facts and figures―giving rise to smart applications for everyday use.

Modern society is witnessing an association with a different level of interaction through machines and software analogous to the progressions in mobile application developments and cloud technologies a decade ago.

2. Internet of Things (IoT)

Internet of Things (IoT) involves internet-based inter-connectivity between everyday devices, allowing them to both send and receive data. Already, we are seeing examples of its role within the travel and tourism industry and this is only going to increase.

For instance, IoT technology can be used in hotel rooms to provide customers with a device that connects to everything from the lights, to the heaters and air conditioning, allowing all to be controlled from one place. In airports, meanwhile, luggage cases can be installed with sensors that will alert passengers when they pass by.

Example: Smart technology smarter airports

IoT Parking Technology services: In order to mitigate the hassle of searching for vacant parking places, and IoT-powered method allows the advance booking of parking spots. Likewise, parking lot managers get parking service metrics from IoT sensors, which records the peak usage of vehicles per hour.

The use of IoT in the traveling industry has been instrumental in converting a regular traveler into a connected passenger who enjoys a smoother journey. The use of provides infinite options and increases the possibility of investments in connected technologies.

3. Recognition Technology

You may all have seen facial recognition in the movies, now even in your latest iPhones. The technology itself includes finger print recognition, facial recognition, retina scanning and various other biometric identifiers.

Such technology is already being used in some hotels to allow access to rooms via finger prints, or to allow for semi-contactless check-outs. However, in the future, it is hoped that this technology may be able to allow for customers to pay for meals in the hotel restaurant simply by walking through the exit.

Example: Facial Recognition Check-in in Marriott China


4. Virtual Reality (VR)

Virtual reality is the future of tourism, gaming and who knows what else. While much of the excitement has focused on video games, businesses and marketers have also made use of the technology, especially in terms of interactive 360 degree images and videos.

It is one of the most promising tech trends for tourism-related companies, because it allows them to digitally transport customers to a virtual recreation of a specific place. This affords hotels the opportunity to showcase their rooms, reception areas and even local tourist hotspots on their website, in order to encourage bookings. Other examples might include interactive virtual maps or VR hotel tours/ 360 video tours to present your hotel upfront.

Example: The world’s first Virtual Reality travel search and booking experience


Find more detailed information and examples about how virtual reality can benefit your business in the article “How Virtual Reality is Transforming the Travel Industry”.

5. Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality is similar to virtual reality, but involves augmenting a person’s real surroundings, rather than replacing them. One of the major plus points of this particular technological trend is that it is cheaper than VR, with users requiring only a smartphone or tablet device which has access to the internet.

Through graphical overlays, those in the tourism industry can greatly enhance the customer experience, providing customers with valuable information or even pure entertainment. For instance, apps can allow for photographs to be augmented through filters and effects. Details about local destinations can also be displayed as a customer points their smartphone at them, providing information at the exact time that it is most relevant.

Example: Augmented reality within the travel industry


6. Robotics

Robotics is the future of industrialisation and will become part of our households in future. It’s just a matter of time.

Robots are also utilised for a variety of other reasons. For example, in airports, they can be used to detect concealed weapons, while some manufacturers are also using robotics to create luggage cases that intelligently follow you. Moreover, travel agents are using robots for pre-screening, making waiting times more productive for customers.

Example: Autonomous Security Robots


7. Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is becoming better and better every day though we are yet to reach the peak of it. Perhaps the most obvious use within the travel and tourism industry is for customer service purposes, with chatbots possessing the ability to deliver rapid response times to problems or queries. It is also able to continuously learn from interactions with customers.

In addition, hotels and other companies operating in the tourism industry can make use of artificial intelligence to accurately and continuously sort through data. It will be able to draw conclusions about business performance or trends associated with customer satisfaction, and even intelligently manage inventories.

Example: Create Your Bot Booking Travel


8. Big Data

Big data works based on centralisation of all systems and collecting large data from all systems so it is easy to analyse. Almost all large tourism companies that are successful employ their own data collection techniques. One of the biggest uses for this data is to improve personalisation, with travel companies using the information they gather to make specific adjustments to their offerings.

Another valuable use for data is to analyse current business performance. In particular, hotel owners can use big data for revenue management purposes, using historic occupancy rates and other past trends to better anticipate levels of demand. When demand is predictable, pricing and promotional strategies can also be optimised.

Example: Big Data and predictive analysis