Technology and the necessary off-line connection

Technology and the necessary off-line connection

It is a fact that information technology (IT) is fundamental to the tourism chain. If we limit ourselves to thinking about the corporate sphere and the day-to-day routine of the industry’s players, we cannot fail to realize that that the internet, programs and applications enable the companies in the tourism chain to connect with every part of the globe, while sitting in the comfort of their offices, simply by means of a few clicks. Not to mention that the utilization of online processes increasingly contributes to lower costs and increased profitability. This brief consideration allows us to state that IT companies, regardless of their size, turnover or number of employees, play an essential role in tourism’s productive chain.

A very simple example for putting the importance of information technology in the tourism industry into context is the case of travel agencies and the use of CRM tools. Imagine that a travel agent extracts the data from the CRM tool they use at the agency and realizes that some of their old customers’ passports are about to expire. When they ring their old clients and tell them that their passports are about to expire, it is entirely possible that one or other of them will remember the last trip they took and decide to take another trip. Or even be grateful for having been reminded of something that is so important and bureaucratic, and decide to book a new trip with the agent who remembered just how essential it is to renew one’s travel document. Putting it in the simplest terms, this means that a program that has the data of all the clients who have been ever been attended at that agency has provided the travel agent with a good reason to talk to the customer and to generate new business.

Aside from the simplistic example above, the fact is that large tourism organizations and companies have already realized just how important IT is to the industry’s development. So much so that they invest in applications, software and programs, in addition to making ever greater use of social networks which have increasingly, been playing a key role in the diffusion and even the sale of travel itineraries around the world. According to information that was presented at the end of 2017 at the Turistech Forum, surveys indicate that 86% of tourists who visit a destination in Brazil, for example, use some kind of electronic means (e-mail, websites and applications) when buying a package or making a reservation. In addition, there are companies who offer the widest possible range of technological solutions for tourism, everything from applications for making reservations to wristbands for accessing the hotel room.

But beyond the online universe, where and what are these companies that help drive the tourism sector and the other 50 economic sectors that make up the industry? The main motive behind the creation of the Travel Tech Pavilion, which is a brand new area inside the existing Travel Tech Show event at WTM Latin America, the sixth edition of which has been n confirmed between April 3rd and April 5 at the Expo Center Norte in the city of São Paulo, is to present these products and services, which are offered by companies of different sizes, and not only to ensure that they are included but also that they are understood and commercialized.

The space will ensure the on and offline connection between the tourism players and the small and medium-sized technology companies that have never taken part in the event, in such a way as to help meet a real and implied present need that seeks options and varieties in terms of technological solutions for the industry’s various business models.

After all, we are well aware of the challenges faced by small and medium sized entrepreneurs, just as we know of their importance in the machinery of the travel industry. The start-ups are there to confirm that it is necessary to pay close attention to this new market that does not yet have any resources to invest, but that has good solutions.

And, paradoxically in this case, not everything can be resolved in the online environment.

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With 26 years' experience in the Brazilian and international tourism markets, Luciane Leite is the director of WTM Latin America, for REED Exhibitions, which is the world's number one fairs' and events' organizer. Prior to this, she headed up strategies, teams and projects, for organizations such as São Paulo Turismo, BAHIATURSA and the State of Bahia's former Department of Tourism and Culture. With a degree in Tourism and an MBA in Marketing from ESPM (Superior School of Advertising and Marketing) and with a post-graduate course in tourist destinations from George Washington University, this executive also plays an active role in tourism councils and groups, as well as we having been a speaker on matters related to the industry at conferences in a number of countries.

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