Countless tourism businesses quickly transformed during the pandemic shutdown to go more digital so they could be prepared to offer a more modern experience known as Tourism 4.0. Travel and lodging entities were financially challenged due to the shutdowns, but investing in new technology with greater social awareness is helping the tourism industry build a sustainable bridge to the future.
Related: How AI is Driving Industry 4.0
How Tourism Is Changing
The definition of tourism 4.0 reflects an adoption of modern interactive technology and a vision that strives for social solutions such as equal opportunity, fair treatment in the workplace, and promoting a healthy environment. While embracing cloud-based digital technology is a core fundamental to this new paradigm, corporate governance and addressing social concerns have become more emphasized in the 4.0 industry model.
Patterned After Industry 4.0
The new tourism paradigm has its roots in following the Industry 4.0 model pioneered by utility companies and manufacturing plants. The immediate goal of Industry 4.0 is to cut energy and other operational costs by measuring processes, detecting vulnerabilities, and studying alternatives. The broader goal is to make an operation more efficient and sustainable.
The concept of human-centered design (HCD) methods plays a major role in the shift toward a more open and transparent business model. HCD methods can improve staff interaction while reducing stress levels and training costs. Some of these strategies include selecting user-friendly software, using smart voice assistants, and training employees to build trust between the guests and the hotel’s technology.
Smart Tourism Technology
The term “smart tourism” is growing in usage to reflect advanced technologies with embedded interactive sensors to measure organizational processes. Here’s a look at how these smart technologies are contributing to tourism:
IoT Sensors – IoT devices contain RFID chips that communicate with a central location where data can be analyzed. Sensors can be used for safety monitoring of indoor air quality and many other factors that affect comfort for travelers.
Cloud Computing – The cloud is the key to offering a wide range of internet services – enough to make guests feel at home. Thanks to the cloud, companies can hire remote workers who collaborate from different locations around the world.
Automation – Replacing redundant, boring, or unsafe work with automated software helps an operation become more efficient.
Artificial Intelligence – The use of AI, particularly machine learning software, can help speed up problem-solving. It’s useful for scheduling events and monitoring activities.
Virtual Reality – This immersive multi-sensory experience while wearing a headset simulates the physical world and makes a person feel they are part of a virtual environment.
Augmented Reality – Similar to virtual reality, augmented reality mixes the physical and digital worlds, allowing the user to control digital elements like physical objects. Modern video games deliver this experience, which hotels can offer as entertainment.
Blockchain – This emerging technology has been ushered in by cryptocurrency, but can be used as an official ledger for confirming transactions or as a way to store data securely.
3D Printing – A 3D printer can automatically build products based on programmed instructions. An upscale hotel might use a 3D printer in its business center to attract high-end clients.
Avoiding Techno Overkill
Despite the exciting opportunities that new technology brings to the tourism industry, it’s also important for companies not to overwhelm tourists with too much technology. If tourists spend hours immersing themselves in the digital world, they won’t have time to enjoy the physical world.
The traveler’s journey can become somewhat dehumanized and not as personalized as the tourism industry is aiming for. Other potential problems with highly interactive technology include privacy violations and increased level of risks associated with cybercrime. Outsourcing to seasoned security experts can help resolve these concerns so you can focus more on your business.
Adopting tourism 4.0 is becoming increasingly important for the hospitality industry. Many hotels have already made some adjustments to allow for social distancing and more digital solutions should another pandemic occur. Investing in the right interactive technology is one of the main challenges ahead for tourism companies so that they can deliver more personalized guest experiences with problem-solving capabilities. Businesses in the tourism sector should consider working with system integrators and other technology experts to ensure a successful and effective deployment.