Technology and social media is disrupting the tourism industry


From the inception of technology that allowed people to share their travel tips, photographs down to gadgets which allow travellers to travel with more ease and comfort, the tourism industry has been thoroughly disrupted and not necessarily in a bad way. It has allowed the industry to grow in unimaginable ways and also helped the people travel with more unconventional methods and given new life to the nomadic way of life and also virtual travel such as online booking and trip planning. 

Corporate giants like Google and Amazon have taken the reins when it comes to creating a trip planning platform. Google Travel is becoming increasingly coherent over the years, allowing multiple users to plot out an itinerary together, share booking schedules, flights and keeping all the necessary maps in one place. In a way, Google is monopolizing the industry simply by being the biggest player in the game. As the most used search engine, they have the power to show consumers their products and services first before showing other relevant results, becoming Expedia’s top-most contender for customers (despite spending $5 billion on Google ads alone last year). 

Another up and coming contender for travellers is Amazon. Whilst being a latecomer to the party, they have surveyed the market and undeniably came up with a marketing plan in late 2015, where they introduced Amazon Local – a hotel booking platform – before pulling it unceremoniously from their marketplace with no explanation whatsoever. Analysts might theorize that they were testing out the waters and true enough, Amazon has re-entered into the market through India and they are providing what no other platform can offer: the ability to customize your stay and itinerary based on your needs. Hotels often offer up their rooms and call it a day, but on Amazon Travel, you would essentially be able to purchase a two day three star stay at a remote location with bottle service and no breakfast included, a ride from the airport, a dinner for two and all of that will be found in your virtual cart. According to hospitality technology specialists, Google tends to try certain services out to see if it works out whereas Amazon takes their sweet time trying to discern what their target demographic wants before wheeling out the big guns. 

Aside from these corporate giants which are trying to make money off travellers by making life easier – there are also a few gadgets which have made life on the road (or the air) a lot more convenient. Before you take a break from exams and pack up to go out, it might be worth it to invest in an all purpose charger so you do not need to keep track of all your adapters and have it bulk up your luggage. Batteries have become an essential part of our lives, due to the amount of gadgets we have: laptop, smartphone, drone or cameras or both, etc. It would pay off if you had one universal charger rather than a multitude stuffed in your bag that you will likely lose. 

In this day and age, there is almost no point to travel if you do not travel with a camera and hence it has disrupted how travel is perceived. It is now first seen through a screen and you will have to fight crowds in order to get a shot seen as beautiful from Instagram’s standards. Some influencers or bloggers will convince you that the best time to visit a tourist spot is hours before it opens because there will be nobody there and you will have a nice sunrise as your backdrop which will make for a better photograph

Another way that technology has made travel less appealing is how people shame strangers through the internet. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, they all have some kind of method or community for passengers to air their grievances. China has taken measures against its countries’ people from leaving the country due to the amount of complaints going viral all over the internet. From Chinese tourists ravaging the buffet bar to attempting to bring home a piece of national treasure, there are countless examples all over the internet. However, Americans are rated as the worst travellers in the world, being boisterous and having a strong sense of entitlement, expecting world class treatment even if they are in a developing country with no means of serving them up to the standards in America. All of these captured in digital ink all over the internet, immortalizing all the ways that travellers can be horrible. While this form of personal attack might not be able to change the minds of the offenders and make them into ideal passengers or travellers, it can serve as a warning to those who are more educated and self-aware into being better travellers and being more considerate to those who are travelling with them. 

At the end of the day, technology has helped improve the landscape of travel. From conception to execution, technology is there to serve as a helping hand. 

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