The Tourism 4.0 Deep Dive Sessions that TOURBIT project organised in June-July 2022 were perfect webinars to present different 4.0 technologies that can contribute to improving products, services and processes in tourism SMEs. The topics of each webinar were chosen based on the Year release of Top technologies that introduce state-of-the-art technologies and trends in SME tourism. In all Deep Dive Sessions, 7 experts from different fields opened the backgrounds of different themes and 14 use case examples were presented during the webinar series.
Complemented with our fact sheets about these key enabling technologies (AI, IoT, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity, Blockchain, and AR/VR), tourism SMEs can gain some insights on technological solutions:
Nowadays more than ever, tourism SMEs need to understand as much as possible about customers and visitors, their needs and expectations in order to meet them and exceed them. Data analytics play an invaluable role in streamlining business operations and in innovation. Leveraging the right data and knowing how to analyse it, will help tourism SMEs’ recovery process and enable more sustainable tourism.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
AR & VR are can be used to improve the tourist experience and to add value to the tourism industry opening a vast world of possibilities.
For instance, they allow tourists to experience a destination virtually before they even arrive, or digitally enhance a real-world scene on-site, which is increasingly appreciated by the younger generation. AR and VR are giving opportunities to tourism businesses to present and promote tourism products lively, while the potential customer might still be sitting at home on his/her couch only dreaming about a trip to your destination. Both AR and VR technologies will boost revenue through promoting existing businesses or creating new digital tourism products.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) empowers tourism SMEs to thrive in the future.
Chatbots and voicebots, for example, are already today creating a smooth and 24/7 customer experience, while the tourism SME’s staff can concentrate on providing quality service on the spot.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) offers new opportunities to connect the physical and digital worlds and thereby enables a more direct and active interaction between tourists and their surroundings. For example, the technology grants hoteliers the possibility to offer their guest value-added services by allowing them to manage e.g. room temperature and lighting through smart devices according to their preferences. It also allows tourists to engage with the destination and enhance their experience while offering valuable data to businesses and administrations.
Cloud Computing offers ways to make tourism SMEs more integrated and manage data and documentation efficiently through data storage, back-ups, team cooperation and – very importantly – data security. Storing and handling data in the Cloud gives tourism SMEs many advantages, starting from simple things like giving access to booking and customer data to all employees and from any location.
Cyber Security is a fundamental must, if you want to bring your business forward digitally. Customer and other data must be secured according to regulations not only to make sure not to lose or leak any data but also to make sure your customer feels safe when booking your product or service online. This becomes especially important in customer communication where personal data is involved and for payment channels and other financial transactions. Safeguarding your businesse’s data and equipment from cyber attacks, viruses and malware should therefore be top of mind whenever you think about digitalisation for your business.
Blockchain is quite unknown yet and sparsely applied in the tourism sector, but it offers secure opportunities for tourism SMEs when doing business digitally. Blockchain is based on the so-called decentralised ledger technology (DLT), which is a digital system where details on e.g. transactions of assents are recorded in multiple places at the same time making it invulnerable against cyberattacks. Nowadays, it is most commonly known for cryptocurrency transaction, but it has multiple other applications, which some of them are yet to be explored.