The Mobile Revolution in Tourism
There is little doubt that mobile technology is revolutionising the tourism space. At a recent discussion hosted by The Digitial Tourism Think Tank at WTM Africa 2014, Cape Town Tourism’s Executive for Marketing Velma Corcoran shared some interesting thoughts on this trend and how relevant this is for Africa.
Access to mobile information is growing at a rapid pace. The number of mobile phones will exceed the world population by 2014. With internet access available on most smartphones and tablets, the way visitors plan their trip, access information when they are in-destination and share what they’ve experience afterwards is already being influenced directly. All this at the click of a button or two.
Africa is known as the “dark continent” because its infrastructure is still developing. And this is precisely why mobile is such a perfect fit for the continent. Anyone, no matter how remote they are, can now get access to things that were previously extremely difficult to access. An industry that is tapping into this very well is banking, with innovative mobile applications and SMS systems to assist their clients.
Although South Africa has a couple of technological challenges, with WiFi not always readily available, simcards that need to get RICA registered and expensive data, the future for this country, just as it is for the world and for Africa, is in mobile. We need to get geared.
Take a moment to think of your tourism product and figure out how mobile devices could increase your client’s experience. Mobile can make it easier for them to book, engage or interact with you and your services. Whether it’s providing free WiFi, sending them an offline map to use on their phone, or making sure your website is suitable for smaller screens, the opportunities for mobile technology are endless and don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
The tourism industry should always place the visitor at the centre and ask how we meet can them, wherever they are, via the tools they are using.