Looking forward to the next travel opportunity and having had the opportunity to work on strategic plans that included an in-depth study of the tourist market, here are some reflections on tourist figures, now almost always connected online.
Tourists and the way in which they plan and experience their travel have changed. The digital-oriented travellers are keen to participate, they want to be able to express opinions and document everything with videos and photos, they are eager to become a point of reference for research and for the experience of other travellers planning a trip to the places they have already visited. Social networking tools have become so very important in the acts of searching for information, in-depth study and exchange of opinions in a context where virtually all of us are connected via mobile.
For tourists always-online, travel decisions are based on the opinions of friends, colleagues and knowledge also expressed through social networks, as well as on articles on thematic blogs. When planning, this type of tourist chooses online the proposals that his/her online community considers most convenient and that have better ratings, comments and reviews from other users, being able to compare a hypothesis with others using various apps, sites and dedicated platforms. During the vacation, then, this type of individual gets guided or helped by online tools in the evaluation of activities and services, also contributing to updating them with new content.
The tourism sector is not always ready for this, lots of players are still lagging behind in the use of digital tools: they often are hardly reachable online and struggle to finalise the purchase of their potential customers online. The greater autonomy of tourists has created a new market segment-target that can be reached only when one is equipped with technologically advanced tools and that requires a much higher level of customisation of the offer than in the past. In certain cases, on the other hand, the offer is perceived as chaotic, given the presence of sites, portals and apps that are difficult to use and questionable with respect to users’ needs, therefore with minimum conversion rates compared to those potentially reachable.