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Travel technology (also called tourism technology, and hospitality automation) is the application of Information Technology (IT) or Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Some forms of travel technology are flight tracking, pre-travel planning through online travel agencies, and systems that allow tourists to review their experiences.
Travel technology was originally associated with the computer reservations system (CRS) of the airlines industry, but is now used more inclusively, incorporating the broader tourism sector as well as its subset the hospitality industry. It may also be referred to as e-travel / etravel or e-tourism / etourism, in reference to "electronic travel" or "electronic tourism".
E-tourism can be defined as the analysis, design, implementation and application of IT and e-commerce solutions for companies within the travel and tourism industry, or it can be used to refer to the application of ICT for tourists.
Technology continues to change how travelers gain access to and use travel-related information. For many businesses and locations, the experience starts long before a traveler arrives. Pre-travel planning is a fundamental step in trip planning and helps the customer obtain knowledge about their upcoming trip. The internet is one of the top sources for trip planning information. Users are able to search for videos, social media posts, customer reviews, places for shopping and dining, events going on, all in one place. Evolution of personalised recommendation engines like triphobo.com help users get end to end itinerary which includes transport, accommodation, restaurants and things to do arranged in a data by day format. This helps pre-travel planning in a big way enhancing customer knowledge about their destination and logistics.
Online travel agencies
Booking engines allow easy access for consumers and travel professionals; the systems enable individuals to make reservations and compare prices. Online travel agencies such as expedia.com, are a large contribution to how the travel and tourism industries have changed due to technology. These online agencies help users plan and book trips and provide comparisons of hotels, flights, vacation packages, prices and more, all in one place. The change from of-person to online travel agencies gives the customer more power in planning their trip.
The increase in review websites has also had a huge impact on the tourism industry. Sites such as tripadvisor.com let users read, post, and interact with reviews of travel experiences and attractions others have had. eWOM, meaning electronic word of mouth, has become a big influence in consumer’s attitudes and actions, resulting in different choices of products and planning aspects.
Social media and mobile technologies
The introduction of smartphones and mobile applications has also had a big effect on the tourism industry. Social media posts allow users to gather general information, free of marketing bias. GPS and social media apps allow users to tag and share their locations. Travelers no longer need to print out directions and can use map apps to help them get around. Social media users can search for locations on social media platforms and gain more knowledge of the locations without even using a review site.
Applications such as Uber and Lyft have also made traveling easier. Users no longer have to plan ahead for transportation to and from an airport or a different destination. Ubers and Lyfts may also be used in place of a rental car.
Many travelers take some form of mobile communication device with them on the road, whether it is a tablet, computer, or a mobile phone. To keep customers advised of changes many tourism and hospitality businesses use mobile communication; they send delay notices, offer deals and sponsor location-based advertising. Depending on the type of business the communication might happen through emails, text messaging or GPS tagging, for example.
Today the tour guide can be a GPS tour guide, and the guidebook could be an audioguide and trips could be planned completely online. The continuing evolution of information technology and the widespread public use of the Internet has created a number of conditions that have been game-changers—in both beneficial and detrimental ways—to the modern travel agency. The internet is reshaping many business aspects. As a result, the travel and tourism industries will have to continue to adapt to new technologies in the future.
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