According to the Post Office and the Regulation Authority of Electronic Communication, the 31 st of march 2011, France had 65,5 million of SIM cards.
Face to this major evolution, tourism started to be connected and began its “digital moult”. Several decades before, if we wanted to book a trip, we used to go in a travel agency in order to organize our journey thanks to experts help.
Throughout the 90’s, a lot of French economic sectors had been touched by the numeric, particularly touristic sector.
Hence, the way to sell and consume evolved according to the tendency of the numeric since 1998. Digital tourism gathers E-tourism, M-tourism and social media. E-tourism is the main component of digital tourism as it assemblies online travel agencies, online blogs and travel guide, platforms for price comparison and online airline companies. Thanks to its huge data base, Internet allows the customers to collect a lot of information according to each destination in order to then, book their stay.
The success of E-tourism is also due to the fact that travellers can compare the prices of several providers quickly and at home. Since digital tourism emerged, E-tourism became the main motor of the sector. According to the online magazine etourisme, E-tourism represented 60% of the global turnover of online trade sector in 2015.
Regarding the Opodo’s barometer of 2016, almost 77% of French person prepared their travel online. However, we can notice that nowadays, E-tourism market starts to be mature in favour of M-tourism. In 2016, according to the same barometer, almost 39% of French person used a mobile to prepare or book a travel.
The M-tourism, second component of digital tourism, means the use of all mobile technologies in a tourism purpose to book a trip by phone, using mobile application in order to organize and plan a stay etc. M-tourism is now really demanded by the consumers and represents a new way to access to the information.
Concerning the professionals, digital tourism allows the creation of huge data base in which the characteristics of all customers are registered (main destinations, period of travel etc.). Hence, the specialists of tourism sector are now able to propose “tailor-made” offer to the customers.
Emergence of M-tourism
The professionals well understood the importance of our “little screens”. A study published in the echotouristique highlights that more than 6 French person up to 10 have a cellular. Indeed, 38% of the audience of the tourism sector are now on mobile. By three years, the experts believe that this figure will increase by 12 points to finally reach 50% of the audience. Concerning the booking, 23% of them are realized through a mobile.
Because mobiles are easy to use, have a quick processing of the information and are easy to move, we are more and more attracted by them. Indeed, we can take them with us wherever we want and rapidly connect them to Internet in order to have an easy access to the information we are looking for.
Moreover, thanks to the geo-tracking, travellers are now able to enjoy any kind of services according to their geographic position. For example, it is now possible to find a restaurant close to where we are, by specifying several criteria such as the price or the kind of cuisine we could like to eat.
M-tourism became vital for the tourism industry thanks to the thousands of applications developed. Consumers are now waiting for a service 24/7 before, during and after their travel. Several services such as car rental, booking of a restaurant and online notification are the main functions used by the travellers.
It is an important revolution that happened in our mobiles, that is why all the professionals have to follow the move if they want to survive among the tourism industry.
Consequences of M-tourism for the experts
In 2020, M-tourism is going to be one of the biggest market in terms of distribution with more than one third of online booking. Because the objective is now to improve the conversion rate (number of buyers/numbers of visitors), the experts don’t have any choice: they have to follow and respect this revolution.
According to a survey made in 2016 by the management consultancy firm KPMG, the main concern of the professionals is to facilitate the booking process and the order system on mobile. Therefore, the ergonomic has to be optimised as much as possible. The second project driven by the firms is the development of an Internet website which has to be adapted to the size of the screens. Indeed, consumers can have a look at a website, regardless of the size of the screen, without any problem of quality while they are reading. Developing mobile application, sending newsletter and set up some chat pop-up are also one of the projects of the firms.
The collection of these projects is crucial if the experts want to enjoy the power of the mobile in order to increase the number of clients. However, setting-up new tools means having enough time, enough money and qualified workers. Hence, having Web Design and social media experts are an obligation for the enterprises in order to succeed in their actions.
What about the future of tourism in France?
Because of these changes, the future of tourism in France is going to be highly influenced by the technologic innovations as they represent the main evolution of the tourism sector. Tourism 2050 is a report made by the DGE (Enterprises General Directions) in which several experts drew the future of tourism by 30 years. Ludovic Dublanchet, consultant in E-tourism, states that “the technology won’t win at 100%”.
The traveller will be able to know deeply his future travel thanks to the virtual reality. Indeed, the technology will be a way to reassure the clients and immerge them in their future stay.
Thanks to digital tourism, professionals are now able to anticipate better the needs of the travellers and their environment. Hence, we will have the creation of tailor-made travels in order to guarantee the satisfaction of the clientele. Ludovic Dublanchet also declares that the evolution of the transports is going to be more and more important in terms of velocity and fluidity.
Despite the fact that technologies are more and more present in our society, the human side remains the heart of tourism. What will be the future of the human side among all these innovations?
According to the same report, the client reception and the care of the tourists remain essential issues as well as the discovery of new horizons followed by a good hospitality. Indeed, the services delivered by the human remain vital and irreplaceable.
Nowadays, the tourism sector is totally different than the tourism of yesterday and the evolutions are going to continue their growth. From one side, the clients are both actors and prescribers but also arbitrators of tourism trend. From the other side, the professionals try to anticipate and sometimes they innovate with the numeric and non-dematerialised services: the growth of sharing platforms, guided visit tour by local population, the wish to have a personalized relationship etc.