Digital Transformation in the Tourism industry - A Reality

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PUBLISHED December 13, 2020 | updated December 13, 2020 03:26

Digital Transformation is happening at a rapid pace and it is now more of a necessity than an option. The pandemic has cost the tourism industry $320 Billion. Globally Digital Transformation has helped massively in addressing the urgent needs of consumers from ecommerce to banking however an industry that is less talked about is tourism. Digital Transformation is actually taking place in the tourism industry and is now more in need than ever before. 

Global Mobile Presence  

According to a World Bank report there are 2 billion mobile social network users which shows the massive smartphone penetration that has taken place and this reiterates the potential there is when it comes to targeting tourists globally especially on social media platforms. Free Wifi is now a must for most tourists and also mobile connectivity.  

Most tourists blog about their stay in hotels and therefore instantly require good mobile bandwidth to upload pics etc. The global mobile presence therefore has significantly helped in attracting tourists. 

AI powered Technology 

AI is literally everywhere these days and has made it extremely easy for organisations to maneuver their operations effectively and efficiently. AI powered chatbots are extremely useful when it comes to instant communication with customers and are proving to be highly effective especially when customers are increasingly becoming more tech savvy.  

Marriot which has a global hotel chain consisting of more than 5000 hotels is a very good example of how they have utilised AI effectively. AI powered chatbots are used to make reservations and check on account balances etc. They are therefore using Digital Transformation effectively and thereby providing a much enhanced customer experience.

Big Data Analytics

Tons of Data is being shared on the internet and social media and it is therefore imperative to be able to harness and benefit from the massive amount of data that is available. Big data analytics can help in revenue management, strategic marketing. customer experience and most importantly market research.

Travel companies store massive amounts of data of previous guests and therefore patterns can be easily analysed using data analytics and therefore provide a much better tailor made experience to travellers. Eg : room types. preferred outing, food type etc.  

Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) is still in its early stages but has got massive potential especially during the pandemic situation as travel has been severely affected and achieving pre pandemic levels will take some time.

Germany has already started providing VR tours for travellers internally and VR has already been used to promote Snorkelling in the Maldives. Microsoft Hololens VR glasses has gained prominence recently and has massive potential in VR Tourism. VR technology is also a cost effective way in promoting tourism.  

It is now up to the tourism industry to derive from the benefits of digital transformation. The world is becoming more tech savvy by the day and therefore it is imperative to provide the best service possible using digital means. The tourism industry may still be in its early stages when it comes to digital transformation but it is absolutely necessary to implement it as soon as possible for the benefit of the entire industry.  


Article by:

Thasim Rafi 

Digital Innovation Specialist / Corporate Trainer / Visiting Lecturer 

Email :  


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