The travel firms attending ITB Berlin trade fair held in early March in Germany noted that many technology firms introduced new technologies to tour operators, from tour operation software and tourist agent software to booking and payment systems.
Many seminars with topics related to tourism technology were held such as digital marketing, digitalization at destinations, effects of social media and the ways to cope with them. Panel speakers also talked about how to utilize AI to recognize clients’ demands. All the technological solutions suggested aim to attract more travelers and better serve them.
“Those are the trends. Technology will be the ‘nucleus’ of the tourism industry,” said Nguyen Quoc Ky, CEO of Vietravel.
With high technology and big data, service providers can know what travelers are doing, from the hotel room booking to the departure time. As they can access electronic information about clients, they can provide more suitable services.
ITB Berlin cited a 2019 report as showing that in the past, travelers mostly booked tours online for short tours, which lasted four days or less, but in 2018, the number of online bookings for long trips was, for the first time, higher than short trips.
Online channels have become more important to travel firms with 60 percent of bookings from the channels, if counting one-night trips.
The same can be seen in the domestic market. Travel firms all have confirmed that online sales have been growing rapidly in the last 2-3 years. At Fiditour, online channels bring 40 percent of total clients.
Saigontourist reported that 30 percent of clients book package tours now, while the figure was 10 percent three years ago.
Travel firms have realized that the only way for them is to take full advantage of technology to develop. They have shifted from traditional to digital marketing and created flexible products to satisfy every segment of clients.
Doan Thi Thanh Tra from Saigontourist commented that technology has changed marketing with 2/3 of marketing activities turning digital.
“Everything related to tourism has changed a lot,” she said. “We call this pre-tour experience.”
Tran Xuan Hung from Viking noted that instead of focusing on developing the company’s official website, Viking now also pays attention to Facebook and Instagram as clients like to search for information on social networks. He has found that many images, clips and clients’ feedback on the marketing channels are from Indonesia, a major market for Viking.