We are at the dawn of full tourism recovery and what comes with it are diverse needs and wants of tourists focused on finding new experiences across destinations they wanted to explore. Here are what I think will dominate the tourism landscape this 2023:
Gamification is not a new concept but will emerge as a top trend in the tourism industry this year. As we are already in the “experience economy” so to speak, tourist experience management has evolved to become a competitive factor among destinations and tourism establishments. Gamification in tourism uses gaming techniques to engage travelers online and inspire them to meet certain goals or objectives. This vastly improves the whole experience because it makes the entire visit to a particular destination much more enjoyable, interesting, and engaging. Nowadays, almost everyone has a smart phone making it simpler to start interacting with tourists through games. I will explain gamification in a separate blog post as this requires its own spotlight.
Personalization is not a new concept as well but it will be more relevant as the tourism industry rapidly recovers from the pandemic. Social media companies like Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube employ personalization using algorithm to automate suggested products or videos for a particular user to explore. Whatever appears on one’s dashboard is based on previous searches or activities. Scary as it may sound, but our digital footprints are monitored every time we consent to use a mobile app or a website. However, personalisation is not limited to digital platforms and it has advantages beyond just increasing client engagements. Customers are more likely to revisit their favorite destinations, hotels, restaurants, or salons if they feel they are being provided a personalized experience. They’ll show loyalty to brands that make them feel special. Moreover, personalization is best experienced by tourist through good service.
Localization is preference to local destinations over foreign trips as well as preference to lesser known destinations over the more known ones. Travelles are looking for hidden gems and road less travelled to explore and would try to avoid crowded places. People no longer think of travel as visiting famous landmarks and selfies against iconic backdrops. Travellers now wanted authentic experiences like immersing into a local culture, trying traditional cuisine, or enjoying local events and fiestas. Tourist wanted affordable yet rewarding and memorable travel experiences. The pandemic has thought travellers to look into the beauty of their neighbourhood and find meaning in small details.
Others call it user-generated content but I would like to call it user-created information. It means contents or information available on social media platforms created by tourist themselves based on their personal travel experiences. These are unsponsored and spontaneous posts on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, Twitter, and other social sharing platforms made by different travellers which scale quickly and develop engagements aka viral. This means that influencer marketing has evolved into micro influencing thereby making everyone who posts on social media a potential digital influencer. I will discuss influencer marketing in a separate blog post.
Although the metaverse has already dominated the tourism industry to a bigger extent as compared to other industries, the use of AI, VR, AR, and ML technologies will continue to define who will dominate the industry. Those who will not be able to cope up with technological innovation will fade and those who have invested in the use of the latest technology will thrive. Destinations that are prominent online will remain a competitive choice amongst travellers. Further, we will see the more extensive use of robotics in hotels and the restaurant industries this year.
These are 5 major trends I think will help define the tourism industry this year as we go back to pre-pandemic level of tourism spending. 2023 will still be a challenging year for the tourism industry because an inevitable challenge is ahead of us – climate change. But for now, let 2023 take the center stage.