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Qr code digital payment at coffee shop
2021-11-10 | 21:05

Innovations in travel and tourism industry

What is innovation in travel and tourism?

Innovation in the travel and tourism industry can take many different forms. It essentially refers to the many ways in which businesses and corporations update the experience that customers and tourists have when traveling. 

Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, travel has been virtually non-existent. Although in some cases, individuals had the opportunity to travel within their own countries, international travel was impossible for most in order to prevent the spread of the virus.  However, as travel plans are slowly starting to pick back up and we are beginning to make our way into a post-pandemic world, those working in the travel sector and tourism sector are trying to come up with new innovations to improve future travel. 

But how exactly can travel companies build on and improve the existing experience? Many of the new innovations in the travel sector reside in the technological field as the travel and tourism industry is firmly placing itself in the 21st century digital age. Travel companies are therefore integrating technology into hotel rooms, room service, and booking platforms amongst many other aspects. 

Why is innovation important in tourism?

The tourism industry is one of the main engines of the world economy. It is constantly changing to respond to the fluctuating needs of customers so technology innovation is present in all the scopes of tourism. 

The travel and tourism industry needs to continuously adopt innovative strategies in order to make tourism businesses more efficient, keep costs down and maintain a competitive edge. Leveraging technology makes it possible to personalize the customer experience and improve customer satisfaction as issues can be dealt with in real time. Plus, technology makes it possible to streamline operations and cut costs down in many departments. 

How is technology changing the travel and tourism industry?

Technology is giving customers a lot more power and independence on their trips. If you think about how many different aspects of a vacation can be managed from a mobile app in the palm of your hand, it becomes clear just how influential technological innovation has become. 

You can book a flight or a hotel, download your boarding passes on your phone, buy tickets for a museum, browse a restaurant menu on a QR code, etc. Of course, in-person communication and interactions are still available to supplement the digital experience. However, if visitors want more independence,  travel technology and innovation make this possible. 

Since customers can do things for themselves, it frees up time for employees who can redirect their time to other issues and processes. This makes it possible for tourism businesses to improve efficiency which increases customer satisfaction. 

NFC technology and tourism 

Near Frequency Communication technology, often referred to as NFC technology is a form of wireless technology which allows two devices to essentially talk to each other and exchange data. NFC technology is widely used by individuals in everyday life for contactless payment but it is also leveraged by businesses to improve operations and the services provided.  

Just like with most other forms of technology in the travel and tourism sector, NFC technology improves efficiency and makes it possible to personalize the customer experience. For example, one of the leading ways in which NFC technology is used in hotels is as a door key. Instead of needing a physical door key or swipe card, visitors just download their virtual key onto their phone and hold it up to a digital pad on their door to get into their room. This improves both security and efficiency.

Examples of NFC use cases in the tourism industry

3 innovations and technology trends in the travel and tourism industry

NFC technology 

As highlighted, NFC technology is the leading form of technological innovation in the tourism sector. It can be used to provide visitors with key information and to personalize their customer journey. Traditionally, if a guest needed to know about local attractions or good places to eat nearby, they would have to wait to talk to the hotel concierge. However, many hotels now use NFC technology to their advantage to make it easier for visitors to get the information they need instantly. 

If you’re interested in learning more about the possibilities that are available to you, MySmartJourney helps businesses implement NFC technology in innovative ways to create fun and unique experiences. With our platform, companies can broadcast text, visual, video and 3D content. They can create self-guided tours for museums, art galleries, historical sites, parks, resorts and much more. 

Tour builder for hotel establishments and traveler services

Artificial Intelligence 

Artificial intelligence (AI) is another form of technology that is leveraged by the travel and tourism industry. AI is the main way in which tourism businesses accurately and efficiently create personalized experiences for their guests. 

AI can take in and process huge data loads. Once this data is collected and recorded, AI systems can run reports that easily show you what is going well and what people like and what people aren’t enjoying or gravitating towards. With these insights, you can alter and customize your visitors' experiences.

It can also be used before customers are even physically with you as you can set up AI operated live chats which will ensure the customers’ questions are answered without having to spend money and labor. 

Virtual Reality 

Virtual reality may not sound like it belongs in the tourism industry, but it is actually the perfect place for it. Establishments such as hotels, cruises, vacation tours and more often use virtual reality or augmented reality in order to elevate the booking experience. 

Including a virtual reality or augmented reality options when viewing rooms, destinations or tours gives guests a preview of the experience they are about to book. During the Covid-19 pandemic, some companies even used virtual reality to give travelers a taste of abroad. Many places offered guided tours around beautiful islands and locations during the pandemic for people to enjoy at home. Although this was a solution to a very specific problem, VR will continue to be used to give those who don’t have the capabilities to fly and explore new places the chance to still experience them from home. 

Creating physical digital experiences

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Modern Couple Wearing Masks in Art Gallery
2021-11-10 | 22:35

7 Secrets to creating the perfect audio tour

Exploring new towns or cities, museums or attractions is an exciting activity for many, which gives insight into a wide range of interests. From history to modern day innovations, there is always something to learn about everything. However, the traditional guided tour can get monotonous and frankly quite boring. 

Therefore, it is increasingly important for companies who are offering such tours to provide alternative options to the traditional tour that many find difficult to engage with. One of the easiest ways in which businesses can offer alternatives is to implement audio tours as a substitute to a guided tour. 

An audio tour is preferred by many due to the less rigid format of a tour that it provides. In order to help you introduce audio tours, we have created a guide on all you need to know about audio tours. 

What is an audio tour? 

An audio tour or an audio guide is a tour that is primarily led by auditory tools. The main difference between an audio tour and a guided tour is the fact that there is no tour guide per se, the audio that you are listening to is your tour guide. 

In place of a regular in-person tour guide, an audio tour consists of pre-recorded information that is loaded onto a device and given out for people to listen to individually. This allows visitors to go around at their own pace and take things in a leisurely manner, which is preferred by many. 

However, it is important to understand that audio tours do not have to be limited to spoken word. In fact, audio tours can create an immersive experience, especially if used in conjunction with other technological advancements that can be used for tours. Even without these additional aids that you can use, you can include music and dramatics within your audio tour to make it more fun and exciting for those using it and listening to the tour. 

Create the perfect audio tour

How do audio tours work?

Fully understanding how an audio tour works will help you when and if you are planning on including an audio tour as an option in replacement of a guided tour. The first step in getting the audio tour ball rolling is to record the audio. Depending on your format, this can be done by a single person or you can hire different people for different functions in your tour. 

Once the audio is recorded, you then need to upload them to the device that you have chosen to use. You then have options on how you want to implement your studio tour within your exhibits or attractions. Whilst some companies choose to simply have their customers click on the relevant button for the relevant information, others are more advanced and the device can identify the location and play the relevant information or some choose to leverage QR codes, which allows visitors to use their phone to gain access to the information. 

There are different options in how an audio tour works and functions, which gives you options as to how you would like to administer your audio tours. It is wise to assess your target audience in order to determine what mode of audio tour will be perceived best by visitors. 

7 tips to create the perfect audio tour

Now that you know exactly what an audio tour is and how it works, we are here to provide you with some top tips to ensure you can create the perfect audio tour for your audience. If you think your visitors will benefit from an audio tour, here is how you can create the perfect experience for them. 

1. Keep it short 

The first tip is actually quite a simple one, which will limit the amount of work that you have to do. We recommend keeping each clip at one minute or less. This is because if you start including morsels of information that last anything more than a minute, you will fall into the same problem you encounter with in-person tours when it becomes monotonous.

By committing to smaller bite size pieces of information, you will be able to get all the key information over to your visitors, without boring them. It will also allow them to take in the sights of the landmarks or exhibition without having a constant stream of dull information being fed into their ears. 

2. Use different voices 

Using different and unique voices is a great way to engage listeners. We have all had those experiences, maybe in a classroom, or in your weekly meeting, with people whose voices drone on and on and put you to sleep. That is exactly what you want to avoid in your audio tours. 

Therefore, when you begin the recording process, we recommend testing out a few different voice actors until you find one that you feel is interesting and engaging. On top of that, do not feel as though you have to limit yourselves to just one voice. Using multiple different people to narrate a story brings it to life and encourages people to pay attention. So, if it is in your budget, see if you can hire multiple interesting voice narrators, if not, ensure the one you use has a fun and unique voice. 

3. Create interesting content 

The content of an audio tour is the most important aspect. If you have bad content, you have a bad audio tour, it's as simple as that. It is a bad idea to simply recite names, dates and historical facts. Although these are important and integral to include in the tour, they should not make up the entirety of the tour. 

Instead, create somewhat of a story, with an interesting and inclusive narrative that will get everyone interested in the facts and history. If you are having a hard time generating content, we suggest looking elsewhere and gaining inspiration from places such as blogs and social media to see what it is that people are interested in and then incorporate those ideas and themes into your tour.  

4. Multiple languages 

It is important to remember that most of the time, when there are audio tours available, they are for significant landmarks or museums, which are prominent tourist attractions. That therefore means that the people who are going to want to be using the tours are not all going to speak the same language. 

You need to accommodate for these circumstances in order to ensure you are creating an inclusive experience and no one is left behind. So, when you are planning on recording your voice-overs and when you are looking for voice actors, you should look for actors in a range of different languages.

Of course, it is illogical and impractical to think that you can cover and translate your tour in every single language to accommodate every single person that might possibly walk through your doors. A great way to know what languages you should cover is to assess your target audience. If you know from what country people who visit are from, you can prioritize translation into those languages first. 

5. Leverage feedback 

Whilst we are on the subject of target audiences, you should take advantage of the opinions of your target audience as that is what matters most at the end of the day. If you have previously run in-person guided tours, gather feedback from them and use them to better your audio tours. 

If visitors have singled out things that they think are particularly good or highlighted parts of the tour that they find boring, use that information to adapt your audio tours. You should also gather more general feedback on the kinds of things they were expecting from your attraction and the information they were hoping you were going to provide. 

Collating all this information and feedback will put you in a better position when you begin writing the script for your audio tour as it will ensure that the content you are creating reflects what your customers want to hear and learn. 

6. Record in a quiet place 

The recording process is almost as integral as the content, because no matter how good the content is, it does not matter if you can’t hear it. You might have created the best audio tour ever, but if it does not sound good, no one will ever know. The best way to achieve a good, natural sound is to record in a quiet place. 

Although a professional recording studio might not necessarily be in your budget, you really do not need one. All you need is a quiet room with no background noise and a room with a high-quality microphone. This will allow you to create the illusion of a recording studio without the huge price tag.

7. Use mobile phones 

Getting visitors to use mobile phones to access audio tours is probably the best, easiest and safest way in which you can run your audio tour. Not only is it convenient, because in today's digital age, practically everyone has access to a smartphone, it is also cheaper and more convenient as it means that you don't have to invest in expensive high-end auditory gear for your visitors to potentially lose or break. 

Companies such as My Smart Journey can help you implement this method of audio tour throughout your city or exhibit. We use QR code technology to create immersive experiences that people love! The concept is simple: at each main attraction, or anywhere where you want customers to be able to access a certain part of your audio tour, you place a QR code. Customers then use their phone to scan the QR code and gain access to that specific part of the tour. 

You can also have more fun with it and make it more interesting with the My Smart Journey platform. Our platform includes an easy-to-install process, which means that you can experiment with the kinds of things you include in your tours. You should take advantage of this and create more specialized experiences. 

For example, if there are parts of the tour that would particularly interest kids, create a game that they can play and link it to a QR code. Alternatively, if you have the opportunity, you could also create VR experiences and immerse your visitors into a new time and place through the simple scanning of a QR code. 

Ultimately, getting visitors and customers to use mobile phones is the best way to run an audio tour, especially in the wake of the pandemic. It is a far cleaner and more hygienic practice as there is no transferral of germs through devices. It is also convenient as it means that visitors are responsible for their own device, meaning you will not lose equipment or have to deal with damaged audio devices. Moreover, and most importantly, it opens up the door to greater opportunities in the types of experiences you can offer as you will not be limited to audio only. 

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NFC Technology. Unrecognizable woman maiking contactless payment with smartphone to terminal
2021-11-05 | 16:05

What does NFC technology bring to hotels?

What is NFC technology?

NFC technology stands for Near Frequency Communication. It allows two devices to talk to each other when in close proximity and is becoming increasingly popular across hospitality and retail industries. 

The use of NFC information technology is creating more seamless customer and guest experiences. The most common use of NFC technology that you might have seen in practice in your everyday life is with contactless payment. Services such as Apple and Google pay on mobile devices work as the transmitting device and the card machine is the receiving device. 

Despite the frequent use of NFC technology in the financial industry, many overlook the ways in which it can improve other customer experience and improve the efficiency of daily tasks in areas such as the hotel industry. 

What is NFC in the hotel industry?

Many underestimate the dynamic and inventive ways in which NFC technology can be used. Here are some ways in which NFC technology is leveraged in the hotel industry:

Room Access

One of the most common uses of NFC technology in the hotel industry is to allow guests to access their rooms without needing a traditional hotel room key. The technology itself can work as the locks on your door and create a more secure and reliable system for safe and easy room access. 

Hotels can place NFC tags on all of their doors and give hotel guests a unique code in a mobile app that allows them and only them instant access to their room. Placing your phone up to the access point on the door will open it instantly and will also ensure the door locks securely. 

Wifi access

The implementation of NFC technology can also be used to ensure access to wifi is easily obtained by guests throughout your hotel. By placing little QR codes in both common areas and hotel rooms, you can ensure everyone can access wifi easily as soon as they need to. 

The distribution of QR codes throughout your hotel for wifi access will improve the overall customer experience. All guests need to do is place their phone over the QR code for it to be read which will then send them to a page to register for the hotel’s wifi. A real-time solution to a 21st-century problem. 

Payment

Offering guests contactless payment is a must as they are likely used to using it outside of your hotel. You can offer contactless payment for anything within your hotel that requires payment. However, be aware that there is usually an upper limit to how much you can spend on contactless, meaning paying for the entire stay on your phone might not be possible. 

Nevertheless, you can minimize card use in all other areas of your hotel. For example, implement contactless payment in your restaurant or bar as well as for room service, or your gift shop. Regardless of where you use it, it will undoubtedly improve your guest experience and might even increase profit since customers are more likely to pay for something if they don’t have to search for a card and manually enter their pin. 

Maintenance 

An often overlooked use of NFC technology is for reporting maintenance issues. It can improve the very foundations of your hotel business and how it is run. Again, distributing small QR codes around the hotel, and especially within rooms can help so that maintenance issues are reported swiftly. 

Instead of guests having to ring the front desk or find a member of staff to fix their issue, they can use the QR code in their room. These codes will redirect guests to a maintenance form to report their problem. This can then be accessed by staff members to resolve the issue as soon as possible. 

How does NFC technology work?

You know what NFC technology can do, but it is often difficult for people to get their head around how exactly this form of innovative technology works. Given the fact that this is relatively new technology, the confusion is understandable. 

As the name suggests, near-field communication (NFC), needs two devices that are in close proximity to each other. The system itself barely uses any power so there is no pairing system necessary, just a momentary chip activation. 

Once in close proximity to one another, the NFC-enabled device is activated and data can be passed between the two devices. It is actually a simple process which makes consumer experiences more smooth, seamless and secure than ever before.

How can NFC benefit your hotel?

Efficiency 

Implementing NFC technology within your hotel will undoubtedly improve the overall efficiency of every aspect of your business. Using it to allow guests to flag up maintenance issues will ensure your staff and management are instantaneously made aware of any problems and can fix them as soon as possible. 

Using it to allow people to register their stay will ensure they are in the system immediately and can begin their stay right away. Basically, NFC technology allows you to remove the middle man which saves you money but also inevitably improves the speed and efficiency at which things get completed within your establishment. 

Security 

Often, people are wary of moving away from traditional room keys or room cards as they think digital solutions will compromise security. This could not be further from the truth. 

NFC technology means your room key is on your phone and in the 21st century digital age, phones are looked after and accounted for far more than keys. With the key on a guest's phone, there is no easy way to access the room. The perpetrator would have to figure out how to unlock the guest’s phone first. It is therefore far safer to have the key on the phone than it is to have a traditional key. 

Customer experience

Ultimately, a successful business is measured against customer experience and the use of NFC technology is guaranteed to improve customer experience. The possibilities are endless with this form of technology and you can be as creative with it as you like. Whilst you can use it simply to improve efficiency within your hotel, you can also be more innovative. 

For example, you can use it to make some experiences more interactive and fun for the children staying at your hotel. Distributing stations throughout the hotel that create a virtual game for redirecting kids towards quizzes and online or on-site games is a great way to ensure you are using NFC technology to cater to all your guests. Alternatively, you can use it as a virtual tour guide with QR codes that direct guests towards the best restaurants and attractions around the hotel or even within the hotel itself. 

If you have ideas as to how you can be inventive with your implementation of this technology, contact MySmartJourney. Our team will be happy to collaborate with you to ensure the experience you want to create is achieved.  

Our platform is easy to use and flexible which enables you to leverage NFC technology in a way that benefits your business. For inspiration on how you can best use NFC technology, click here to see some of our success stories. 

How are you missing out if you are not using NFC?

Realistically, if you are not using NFC technology, you are living in the past. This type of technology is a tangible process that is being implemented throughout different industries as you read this. In order to keep up with today’s digital age, you need to seriously consider introducing NFC into your business. Not only does it improve efficiency, but it also improves security and the overall customer experience. 

Implement NFC technology

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People at a museum
2021-09-29 | 19:44

What exactly is cultural mediation ?

What does cultural mediation mean?

Cultural mediation in the process of connecting individuals with other cultures in a seamless and informative manner. 

We, as humans, have a wide range of connections to various cultures and societies, which are not always easy to identify and decipher within the wider context of our lives and the world. 

The social environments that we have the opportunity to be exposed to propose intriguing and exciting possibilities, but these possibilities are not always easy to grasp and understand. That is where cultural mediation comes in. Cultural mediation is the process of helping individuals fully comprehend alternative cultures through involvement and participation

Cultural mediation is integral in supporting people on their journey to understand other cultural norms and encourage cross cultural coherence. Different social environments create different boundaries and modes of knowledge. Cultural mediation works to bring together these concepts of cultural difference to enhance understanding and acceptance across boundaries.

What does a cultural mediator do?

Unsurprisingly, cultural mediators bring together ideas of culture and mediation in order to facilitate cultural development and cohesion. Ultimately, cultural mediators work as a source of knowledge as they convey information between two or more cultural sources with great ease and accuracy. 

In addition to creating coherence between parties, individuals and cultures, they also facilitate dispute resolution in order to promote clarity and unity. They have a deep well of knowledge and are easily able to recall information in order to explain concepts of cultural norms and differences. Moreover, they are often proficient in different languages so they can ease comprehension between different parties, individuals and cultures. 

Although cultural mediators can be real life individuals, in this 21st century setting, cultural mediation has also transferred into the digital world. Businesses and web interfaces have been developed in order to allow cultural mediation to bridge the gap between the physical and digital world. 

Cultural mediation has evolved into the digital sphere

How does Vygotsky's theory explain cultural differences?

An individual who has been influential in the world of cultural understanding and difference is Vygotsky. He devised the Vygoatskian principle to explain the concepts behind cultural mediation. 

The Vygotskyian principle emphasises the importance of tools and signs in developing our cognitive functions. According to his theory, the tools and signs that we encounter throughout society become internalized and inform the development of our everyday abilities, such as learning, problem solving and memory. This therefore means that society and culture are the mediators for our abilities. 

Vygotsky focuses on the development of children's cognition in order to best demonstrate his theory. If you think about the process of how children learn, his theory becomes easier to grasp. It can be broken down as follows:

  1. Children begin with very little knowledge about the world around them.
  2. As they grow, they begin to form opinions, beliefs, critical thinking and problem solving skills.
  3. They acquire these skills by observing the world around them and asking questions.
  4. These observations and answers are internalized and eventually form a child’s understanding of the world around him, and enhances a plethora of their abilities. 

Vygotsky’s theory highlights the importance of mediators in developing understanding in children, which can also be translated into the importance of understanding across cultures within adults. Although adults are fully competent in understanding their own cultural beliefs and systems, they are not so competent in others. 

Therefore, a similar process is at work in cultural mediation amongst adults. Adults observe other cultures and internalize behaviours and modes of thinking that align with these differing cultures. 

Art and cultural mediation

Cultural mediation’s interaction with art is an important one, as it allows for an exchange of meaning and significance within artwork, which makes it more accessible to a wider group of people. Art is an extremely creative medium, and cultural mediation allows this creativity to thrive as it promotes an exchange in knowledge and exploration of works of art. 

Although a comprehensive understanding of the culture and context that surrounds a piece of work is not required to appreciate the content of the piece, it can help to enhance your experience of the art. Whether you have a particular interest in a specific piece of art, or a broader interest in the world of art, cultural mediation can help you understand as much as possible in order to get the most out of it. 

Art and cultural mediation go hand in hand.

Why is cultural mediation important for museums?

As highlighted, an in-depth knowledge of art, including a well rounded and comprehensive breakdown of the cultural background of pieces is integral in order to compose an all encompassing understanding of the art. 

That need for substantial background knowledge translates into a necessity for cultural mediation within museums in order to ensure visitors are provided with everything they need in order to enjoy their visit as much as possible.

Here are some key reasons to implement cultural mediation in your museum :

1. Helps you connect with visitors

Hiring cultural mediators will inevitably improve your connection to visitors as it creates a more personal experience for them as they make their way through the museum. 

As much as museums are brilliant sources for individuals to feel cultured as they slowly build knowledge and understanding on a plethora of different things, the inherent set up of a museum can often prove to be dreary and in some cases overwhelming. 

Since there is so much information available within a museum, it is easy to get lost in it all, which can sometimes counteract everything that you are meant to be enjoying. Integrating cultural mediators throughout the museum can help to mitigate this. If visitors find it difficult to concentrate, understand or fully appreciate what is in front of them, mediators can step in and offer to help.

2. Provides fast answers

Implementing cultural mediation technology or in person cultural mediators allows your visitors easy and instantaneous access to resources. The ability to quickly answer the questions of your visitors is integral in maintaining maximum engagement

3. Opportunity to create unique experiences

Cultural mediation comes in many different forms. From digitally interactive information points, to cultural mediator led workshops, there are an endless number of ways to provide information.

Understanding your target market and specifying your methods of cultural mediation will help your museum maintain maximum interest from your guests. For example, if the museum caters to children, you could create a digital game that visitors participate in throughout their journey around the museum. 

Each attraction has an accompanying digital feature that lets you learn more about the attraction and earn some points. If you have a more sophisticated target audience, maybe introduce some lectures throughout the day to provide even more background knowledge to your exhibit. 

There are a multitude of ways that you can incorporate cultural mediation into your museum. Any way that you can develop and expand an individual's understanding of your exhibition is a form of cultural mediation, so feel free to be creative and ensure it caters to your visitors.

4. Makes it more accessible 

The format of a traditional museum isn't necessarily accessible to all. However, by implementing cultural mediation practices you can ensure your museum is able to reach as many people as possible.

As mentioned, there are different forms of cultural mediation so you can provide access to your expertise and knowledge surrounding your museum and its exhibits in the digital sphere. This can then be utilized by those unable to physically visit your museum, whilst still providing them with a gateway to understanding more about the pieces they are interested in. 

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Tourists with suitcases
2021-08-23 | 20:21

Best 10 Tourism & Travel trends of 2021

The covid-19 pandemic has reshaped the world in unimaginable ways. Lockdown measures have pushed us to rethink most of our habits. This means that many of the things that we used to enjoy freely are no longer within our reach. Traveling is no exception to this.

Before this pandemic, many great travel plans revolved around wandering through crowded cities, enjoying exotic architectures, having a delightful dinner at exhilarating restaurants, and visiting sensational museums.

With the cancellation of flights in the majority of countries, most 2020 travel plans were unfortunately halted. As such, in 2021, the tourism and travel industry has been looking for innovative measures and approaches that will allow the industry to adapt. This translates into improved safety measures, sustainable regenerative travel proposals, as well as new travel destinations.

While we won’t be able to travel as freely as we used to before, there are still numerous heavenly places to explore. Therefore, we will be talking about the most exciting 2021 tourism & travel trends. 

Will traveling rebound in 2021?

While the covid-19 pandemic has affected many sectors and fields, the tourism and travel industry is one of the most affected industries. This is why governments and the travel industry have been looking for innovative ways to stimulate a travel rebound in 2021 and restore international travelling.

Towards the end of 2020, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection shared key findings from its 6th Annual State of Travel Insurance Survey of Travellers. Analysis of the results shows that Millennials and high-income travelers are the groups that are ready to return to travel, driving a strong rebound of traveling. This has made the travel industry rethink its tourism trends for 2021.

Moreover, almost all countries around the globe have already implemented massive vaccination campaigns. With that in mind, travel restrictions are expected to be lifted sooner than later. Therefore, a lot of people are already planning their next international trips.

While the International Air Transport Association projects that global traffic will not return to pre-Covid levels until 2024, shorter travel routes are already recovering faster than international ones. This means that even if tourism trends are not likely to resurface anytime soon, newer and more adapted travel trends should allow people to enjoy some of the breathtakingly beautiful travel destinations. As such, with new 2021 travel trends, a rebound in traveling is expected.

Additionally, data published by Delta Air Lines Inc. has indicated that visits to their website were up by 40% in Q4 compared to Q3 of 2020. Travel enthusiasts are yet to convert their visits to ticket purchases. However, such data suggest that there is a strong interest in traveling. A rebound in traveling is thus expected once travel restrictions are lifted and safety measures are implemented. 

Travel restrictions in 2021

With the new British COVID-19 variant spreading rapidly through most European countries and even internationally, the European union and many other countries have imposed unified travel restrictions for 2021. 

The key travel restrictions in 2021 are:

  • Proof of negative covid-19 test: people willing to travel, especially internationally, are required to take a PCR test. The test should be taken no more than 3 days prior (72 hours) to your flight and a document of your test result should be presented to the airline before boarding the plane.
  • Proof of recovery from covid-19: travelers who have already had the coronavirus and recovered need to present a document proving their recovery.
  • If a traveler contracts the virus after having had a negative test result, they are required to quarantine for two weeks.

Additionally, countries have implemented various local regulations such as mask-wearing, curfews, and social distancing measures.

Please note: The information listed here is not exhaustive, as countries may change their travel restrictions and Covid-related regulations as the pandemic situation evolves. We advise you to stay informed and follow official governmental guidelines and regulations when planning your trip.

Top travel trends in 2021

A woman travels in the mountains

Despite the consequences of the pandemic, the tourism sector is not completely lost. On the contrary, it’s reinventing itself to continue offering you a change of scenery. As traveling is set to rebound this year, new tourism trends are emerging. 

Here are some of the top 2021 tourism & travel trends:

1. Regenerative travel

At a time when it has become extremely difficult to travel, everyone likes to imagine his/her future journey. Regenerative travel is a relatively new travel trend that aims to make tourism eco-friendly.

While sustainable tourism promotes more responsible, less harmful, and more sustainable practices for people and resources, regenerative travel aspires to take action to regenerate resources, heal Mother Nature and ensure a livable planet for future generations.

According to supporters of regenerative tourism, local decision-making is essential. New Zealand is one of the pioneering countries in regenerative tourism. This country tries to balance tourism with its natural resources and the well-being of its communities while taking into consideration all stakeholders, especially the Maori.

Tourism New Zealand, the country’s leading tourism organization, measures its success not only in economic terms but also in terms of the well-being of the country, taking into account the nature, health of its inhabitants, and community identities.As such, regenerative travel is imposing itself as one of the top 2021 travel trends.

2. Domestic travel

With continuous international travel restrictions due to the current pandemic, domestic travel is starting to look like a very decent alternative. While tourism trends in the past few years have focused on international travel, domestic travel is now one of the top 2021 travel trends.

Domestic travel offers passengers the safety and sustainability that has been lacking during this pandemic. It also allows cost savings and provides a familiarity that so many travel enthusiasts cherish.

It provides a chance to discover beautiful local places. Before the pandemic started, most travelers sought to discover tourist attractions abroad. This often meant that local destinations were neglected. With current travel restrictions, local destinations are presenting passengers with wonderful opportunities to discover local historic and cultural heritage.

3. Working remotely while traveling

With the current pandemic, remote working has become a dominant trend. What initially started as an adaptation to lockdown quickly became a much-appreciated working style. Remote working provides digital nomads with the professional flexibility they have always wanted.

No longer tied to a fixed work environment, many people are nowadays seeking to book extended hotel stays, so that they can combine the pleasure of traveling with working in a novel environment. As such, working remotely while traveling is establishing itself among the top 2021 travel trends.

4. Emerging wanderlust

In the midst of current travel restrictions, continuous lockdown, and travel hiatuses, the desire for traveling is only increasing. Canceled 2020 international travel plans mean that most if not all of us, are more than ever craving a trip to our favorite destinations.

Travelers are thinking of planning both domestic and international trips once travel restrictions are lifted and with the current vaccination progress, it looks like we are set for a massive travel bounce!

As such, we can expect the travel industry to come up with innovative tourism trends, specifically designed to capture the attention of travelers who missed last years’ trips.

MySmartJourney is an App that can be customized to share contextualized and interactive contactless information in any public site:

  • It's easy to use and works on all devices.
  • It works in real time and you can update content depending on the context as well as generate reports instantaneously. 

It monitors indicators and data in real-time.

5. Travel safety

If there is one thing that this covid-19 pandemic has taught us is that we have to be more cautious than ever. Nowadays, safety is at the center of travelers’ concerns. Most passengers will not book a trip to a destination that is still plagued with the virus. This is why governments and the travel industry are working day and night to ensure travel safety.

This new wave of tourism trends is seeing travelers prioritize safety and health measures. Public transportation will be abandoned with more passengers choosing to drive their own car or rent one. However, quarantine measures are likely to stay unpopular among travelers. Governments will therefore be looking for alternative ways to ensure tourism safety. 

6. Frugal traveling

Frugal traveling is certainly among the top 2021 travel trends. The current pandemic has had a negative effect on the financial situation of the majority of people. This means that travelers are more likely to think twice before booking their next trip. It also means that travelers will be expecting more value from their trips. 

We are, thus, ushering in a new era of economical traveling. The travel industry will have to adapt by providing more attractive offers, namely more choices, higher value per cost as well as improved flexibility and transparency.

7. Tech at the foreground of 2021 travel trends

Nowadays we are living in an increasingly digitized world. Technology has helped reshape our lives and society in unimaginable ways.  As tourism in 2021 is plagued with many hurdles and concerns, technology is set to play a major role in restoring the belief that safe and enjoyable tourism is still possible.

Technology is one of the major 2021 travel trends since it offers an array of innovative solutions. Travelers in 2021 are expecting to be able to book their hotel stay and airplane ticket with their smartphones. They are also expecting a more personalized traveling experience.

Besides, tech solutions are essential to Covid safety measures. One of the latest technological innovations of this pandemic era is mobile applications that guide users on which locations are safe and which are to avoid.

8. Escapism

The 2020 lockdown has unquestionably affected our mental health. This has pushed the majority of us to look for ways to escape routine life. While most of us seek refuge in our smartphones and social media presence, planning for future trips is a major source of escapism for many of us.

The majority of travelers have spent large chunks of their lockdown time looking for potential travel destinations. With the power that social media has on influencing our daily lives and desires, the travel industry and hotels can capitalize on that by offering VR (virtual reality) simulations of the experiences that travelers can get.

Travelers will be more excited to discover destinations that they have had a virtual experience of. This will help restore tourism in a post-pandemic world.

9. Diversity as a key 2021 travel trend

Since most of us missed out on traveling in 2020, people from all around the globe are set for international travel once travel restrictions are lifted. It’s therefore expected that we will witness an increase in the number of multicultural tourists. Tourism agencies and locals shouldn’t be surprised with a spike in tourists from the Middle East, Africa, or Latin America, etc.

10. Visiting friends and family

While lockdown has separated us from our loved ones, an expected relaxation of travel restrictions is a great opportunity for us to reconnect with our friends and family living abroad. It’s also a chance to indulge in touristic destinations and visit iconic spots in different places around the world. 

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People at an event
2021-08-16 | 15:18

Why use microsites for your events?

What is a microsite?

A microsite is ultimately a site that exists outside of the primary website of a company. It serves as an extension to the original website, although it often has stand-alone features that differentiate it from the main website. 

A microsite can function either as a website on its own or as a cluster of websites, and is often temporary. They are used as marketing tools as they are often centered around specific branded content. 

Microsites come in different forms, such as blogs, infographics or interactive experiences. Their ultimate goal is to elevate the marketing campaign of a company product or event. 

What is the purpose of a microsite? 

The main purpose of a microsite is to add value to the marketing strategy. Creating a virtual area outside of the main company website helps boost the exposure of a specific brand or event campaign. 

Microsites are a successful tactic in promotion and marketing as they allow creators to think outside of the box and leverage non-conventional strategies. A microsite is not restricted to the constraints of a primary website and therefore can afford to be more experimental with its content and set up. 

In addition to demonstrating creative innovation, microsites benefit the greater good of a company, brand or event. Since they inhabit more web space, they have the ability to extend the boundaries of audiences that are reached. 

Although its content, form and visuals are afforded more freedom, they still inherently link to the initial web page. A microsite adds a new exciting layer to an already established company website.

What is the difference between a microsite and a website? 

As microsites require their own URL, individuals sometimes struggle to understand how they differ from websites. However, there are few technical differences between microsites and websites with the main difference being their purpose.

A website is the main hub for a company. It’s the primary virtual and online source for all the information about said company, brand or event. It must adhere to an unwritten set of rules in order to ensure it can successfully do its job. For example, a website has to be easily accessible since it’s the first port of call for customers to find information. 

A microsite, on the other hand, is not the first port of call for your customers. These sites generally have a very specific purpose and so they don’t carry the same weight of information as a website does. 

Nevertheless, microsites still have an important function to carry out as they help the brand/ company reach more people, or reach a specific target group. This targeted experience ensures microsites are able to convey personalized and specific information that may have gotten lost in translation in the wider landscape of a website.

What is an example of a microsite?

There are numerous examples of microsites available on the internet as they are used by different brands and companies. One of the most impressive microsites is one created by the fashion brand Chanel. 

Chanel launched a microsite in 2012 that provided a great case study to look at how a microsite works. Chanel’s microsite was titled Inside Chanel and featured stories about the history and making of the brand. 

The microsite was a fun and interactive way for fans to learn more about the brand, whilst simultaneously allowing the brand to entice more people in by piquing an interest in the company itself. 
As all the technical information such as product information, contact details and delivery policy was included on the main website, Chanel had the freedom to create a unique experience on their microsite. Inside Chanel offered individuals a more intimate look into the inner workings of the brand.

Top benefits of microsites for your events

Now that you know what a microsite is, it’s time to explore its many benefits. Using this strategy to create specific event microsites is a smart marketing move. Event microsites provide an array of benefits ranging from event branding, to event management and event planning.

Here are some of the key benefits of using microsites for your events:

1.  Event branding 

Events are a specific area of business that benefit greatly from microsites. As they are not restricted to the overall branding and marketing techniques used by the company as a whole, event microsites can curate very specific and unique event brands

They help build hype and recognition for events as they are established both from within and outside the brand/company. Event microsites can contribute greatly to the marketing strategies employed. Companies should embrace the opportunities that microsites present as they provide them with the freedom to temporarily rebrand and ensure they cater to a specific target or segment.

2. Easy to set up 

Creating a microsite is extremely easy as it doesn’t require the same level of information, alternative landing pages and specified aesthetics that a website does. 

The great thing about microsites is that they are super easy to create. Events are usually one-time occurrences so the short lifespan microsites makes them a great marketing tactic. A microsite can quickly be made to market a single event and then removed once the event is over. 

Moreover, if the events are annually occurring, the microsite can go live when it needs to and be constantly updated with new, event specific branding and information allowing to keep the core identity of the event whilst also easily changing what you need to. 

3.Search engine optimization

Although creating microsites for the sole purpose of enhancing your SEO is an unsuccessful tactic, if you’re already creating a microsite because it complements your website, you should definitely use this opportunity to enhance your search engine optimization

Using keywords and including backlinks will help drive traffic to your main website. If your microsite is focused and professional, including SEO tactics will inevitably improve your ranking in the search results.

4. Targeted content

When creating a microsite, there’s usually a target audience in mind. Although the brand/company might have a wider ranging target audience, microsites allow it to focus on subgroups for specific events. 

Leveraging an event microsite allows you to branch away from the more generalized content in order to curate more targeted content. This allows you to create a personalized user experience.

5. Cost

The cost of setting up a microsite is one of the most appealing benefits. It requires little investment and the revenue that it brings in is worth the initial investment. Moreover, the kinds of data tracking software that can be virtually installed on microsites allows the marketing team to monitor event registration and interest. 

At the end of the day, microsites are there for you to use how you wish. They are an opportunity to provide customers with a unique experience that they would not be able to get on your main website. Make sure you seize this opportunity to create a tailor-made site that will appeal to your target market.

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