The future of the tourism industry
The Internet and low-cost travel companies have without a doubt established the main levers of transformation in tourism today. New players have emerged in the tourism industry like online travel agencies, low-cost travel agencies, metasearch engines and travel communities.
And if it were the Internet and low-costs that forced tourism companies to mature and wise up, nowadays the sector is characterised by technology and the new ecosystem that has appeared. The arrival of new players and changes in consumption are forcing companies to readjust. Tourism is well-known for its ability to adapt to changes, so we shouldn’t be alarmed; tourism and disruption are bound to understand one another, although we must clearly differentiate between disruption and innovation.
The term disruptive comes from “something that causes a sudden break or change”, so in the business world, we could consider it as something that creates new markets and consumers. Currently, disruption is the game changer, and there’s still a long way to go with new advances, technologies, etc. And it’s precisely this failure to adapt that’s causing many brands to disappear. On the other hand, companies who are investing in innovation with a different management style that’s more adaptive, cross-sectional, social, global and accessible are the ones who will survive and thrive in the future of the tourism industry. As tourism companies, we cannot miss out on the innovation loop.
When addressing disruptive innovations it’s advisable to show some of the challenges the tourism sector is currently experiencing to face the forthcoming future:
– We’re immersed in a “sharing economy” that is increasingly becoming more and more consolidated and regulated. The new sharing economy, also known as the trust economy, is an economy model based on connecting individuals so that all parties win and benefit, cutting out the middle-men and making better use of the available resources. Airbnb is one of the pioneering startups in this sharing economy. We are still going through a phase of readjusting to this new situation and this should set a precedent for bringing market needs closer to companies with the ability to read and adapt to the reality of what’s happening in the travel sector. The collaborative economy continues to grow, and regulations are starting to be established in many countries and sectors. Right now, it seems unstoppable and sooner or later will be inevitable because people’s mentality is changing and startups are appearing every day with this new philosophy.
– The reinvention of accommodation with more traditional models at the mercy of new consumer trends. Concepts like the Millenials generation (people born between 1981 and 1995) and the birth of Generation Z (authentic digital natives born between 1995 and 2010) must be understood by companies offering differentiating accommodation services as both generations will mark future trends in the tourism sector. Entrepreneurs must move away from a traditional approach in order to provide new and different services and experiences to these new customers.
– With the inclusion of the new generations and their demands in the sector, travel agencies are experiencing a pivotal moment. Millenials love travelling much more than previous generations and as such the tourism sector must examine the needs and demands of the younger groups carefully.
– Together with the hotel service, we are seeing the reinvention of traditional restaurants. Customers today want a more personalised, sensorial and surprising offer. New restaurant concepts are emerging, playing with open spaces and breaking away from the longtime restaurant to make the most of disused spaces and offering new culinary experiences.
All of us who find ourselves in the tourism sector must be consistent with what is happening around us. Disruption is something inherent in life, things happen, and it’s during difficult moments when the ability to improve must arise so we can adapt to change. An exciting future lies ahead of us, defined by technology and customers born in the digital era, with the arrival of self-driving cars, nanosatellites, quantum computers, augmented reality, drones, extremely advanced wearables and robots of all types.