The tourism of tomorrow: hyper-connected and robotized

What trends will shape tomorrow’s tourism? How can the sector, a heavyweight in the country and region’s economy, reinvent itself in the face of a health crisis that has brought it to its knees? What new experiences, for what new type of customer?

A tourist who knows everything and surfs constantly

Tourism is a complex sector to analyze that loves technological innovations: “Actually, in tourism we only use what we already do in everyday life”, begins Sophie Lacour. The industry is thus following the social movement that has become touristic “a tech pro”permanently connected [ndlr, 70% de la population mondiale possède un smartphone, au nombre de 7,7 milliards dans le monde, depuis 2018, on recense plus de smartphones actifs que d’habitants].

“The tourist knows everythingsays Sophie Lacour. He surfs all the time. On average, to book a trip, an internet user goes online 50 times, searches 38 websites, reads at least a dozen reviews and researches for 15 weeks. » If the future vacationer knows everything about tourism professionals, the opposite is true, thanks to data, “which creates a kind of digital DNA”.

On average, an internet user goes online 50 times and searches 38 websites to book a trip. (c) Adobe Stock

Going on vacation: a source of anxiety

But going on holiday doesn’t always look like an easy task: tourists are netlagged, with 26% considering this search for their future holiday destination as one of the biggest burdens of their lives! 31% even manage to book a stay that doesn’t suit them, or not on the right date, and 17% ultimately choose not to leave. 52% play it safe: choose travel destinations they’ve already been to.

“Researching and sorting all the information available on the Internet is very time-consuming. 24% of Millennials also say they are willing to outsource this task to a friend for an average fee of $169. This implies that they are unaware of the travel agency profession, which on average charges the same prices or even less.”analyzes Sophie Lacour.

Technological and robotic tourism

For the consultant, tomorrow’s tourism will be increasingly forward-looking, with professionals who, thanks to new technologies, can put together a tailor-made travel diary for clients. And Sophie Lacour assures us: “This is not science fiction, many such innovations are being tested or are in the R&D phase.” A few years ago, some companies considered offering a trip based on DNA sequencing.

“In this world of hyper personalization, responding to a genuine desire of the tourist, technologies are used to refresh the offer. I’m not saying everyone will have an appetite for this type of tourism, but it will appeal to a specific clientele that needs to be considered.”warns her.

And for these customers, the services get a new look and the hotel gets smarter: “Today, you can talk to your lamp, your mirror, your faucet, your toilet… It may seem anecdotal, but in a world where viruses are scary, these technologies make it possible to avoid touching objects, which is pretty consistent with ours today.” time is environment”, observes Sophie Lacour. Hence the look of the safe chamber: “Blue light, previously used in the hospital environment, is finding its way into trade and tourism, customers want all objects to be disinfected”illustrates them.

Another real issue: the reception of the public through robotics, “In Japan, no one is shocked to be greeted by a dinosaur robot, no matter what the hotel is, in France it’s more delicate,”states the expert. robot with basic functions, “Robotics are difficult to integrate into tourism”admits Sophie Lacour.

But it can make it possible to respond to the problem of the last kilometer – from the train station to the hotel, from the hotel to the place of visit, etc. – with the robot suitcase or the car hotel room, certainly a prototype but on which several brands are already positioned. “We are really in a futuristic tourism, but these are inventions that raise the question of how the hotel will become, maybe in the future it will be mobile, explode on the territory or move with the tourists »says Sophie Lacour.

Other new trends in tourism: workation (working on vacation) and staycation (staying at home on vacation). Tomorrow’s tourist has a phone on his finger, a t-shirt and glasses that use haptic technologies or are battery-powered. “The tourist is nomophobic, he cannot bear to be separated and needs to be reassured”notes Sophie Lacour.

Robotics, already a reality in some hotels. (c)Adobe Stock)

“Today we are Instagrammable or we die”

Today’s tourist is Atawadac [ndlr, acronyme pour any time, any where, any devices, any content] and constantly and immediately demands content on all types of media that could be used by professionals, showing them the route to the places to visit. Augmented reality, eye tracking (which allows, depending on what you are looking at, to trigger a medium related to the tourist spot visited thanks to connected glasses).

“We are in a world of images, today we are instagrammable or we die. 32% of travelers love staying in places that are, and 56% say they’ve stayed in a hotel that looked better in photos than it really is., says Sophie Lacour. The picture is law, sometimes to the extreme: in China, a village has been rebuilt from scratch, staged with real fake peasants waiting to pose until there are enough tourists… “For a fake photo or an arranged shot, you risk losing your clients”warns her.

In the same spirit, a hotel chain has invented a new profession: social media sitter, who takes the picture and takes care of posting it for you on social networks. “We’re really moving away from spontaneity and authenticityShe recognizes Sophie Lacour. But if the profession exists, if people are paid to practice it, that means there’s a way to dig. »

A cult of the image that generates maladies such as self-esteem, where tourists are more concerned with staging themselves than contemplating the place they are in or the work in front of them. Some cities like Vienna have even banned the practice.

The selfie, or when the cult of the image takes over the discovery of tourist sites… (c)AdobeStock

A prerequisite for sustainability

“Tourism has been accused of all evils, especially during the pandemic, but for me there is a key point: it is a vector of peace that allows you to meet others and discover other cultures »explains Sophie Lacour, convinced that we have to rethink tourism thanks to Greentech so that it becomes sustainable.

A study by Booking shows: The demand for sustainable destinations and practices is constantly increasing – 87% of those surveyed say they want to travel sustainably and 72% think we need to act now. Some professionals have already taken this route by offering ecological challenges (picking up litter on the beaches or cigarette butts in exchange for a drink).

For those who would put off or put off these futuristic tourist visions, holidays without context, in the open air, in all simplicity, with “real” people are always possible, “Everything is a question of dosage and some strive for this separation”reassures Sophie Lacour.

*Conference as part of the 2021 Regional Research and Innovation Meetings.

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