How the Tourism Businesses Using ICT to Improve the Tourist Experience? Introduction Tourism is integral to the global economy. The value of the industry is apparent as well in the employment sector; it provides millions of jobs all over the world. And, it is currently undergoing a technological revolution…
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109). This implies that the application of an array of communications- and computer-assisted, and electronic technologies are being used to a greater extent to improve the performance and implementation of business operations in the tourism industry, and to enhance tourist experience. One of the primary functions of ICTs is the processing and speeding up of information flow to and from the customers. In addition to the World Wide Web, other technology devices, such as smartphone and GPS, have boosted the tourist experience (Mamaghani, 2009; Cantoni, Kalbaska, & Inversini, 2009). Homogenisation of communication technologies allows global reception of mobile phones. Tourists use GPS to quickly and conveniently acquire directions and information about present locations. The combination of standard technologies and systems also has given suppliers the opportunity to lessen costs, and enhance the tourist experience. For instance, airline businesses launched mobile check-in by combining the check-in procedure with the newest mobile phone technologies (Frew, 2000; Kourtit et al., 2011). Customers gain from further ease or convenience and the tourism sector gains from cost efficiency by supplanting employees with kiosks. Other technologies that the tourism sector can use nowadays in order to enhance the tourist experience are the QR Code, augmented reality, MP3 guide, and geolocation marketing. Quick Response (QR) Codes are a kind of barcode that can be seen through QR reading gadgets such as smartphones. QR Code can be used by tourists to access addresses, maps, and locations through their mobile phones (Hall & Williams, 2008). Augmented reality is a latest technology that erases the line separating what is unreal and what is real by improving people’s senses. This technology is guiding tourists and gives them a surreal experience of magnificent tourist destinations (Conrady, 2010, p. 248). MP3 guide provides tourists access to maps, from historic destinations to the most popular attractions. This technology eliminates the need for tour guides, and makes the tourist experience convenient and trouble-free (Conrady, 2010). Geolocation is a process of detecting a physical location using a wireless device. It can detect a person’s longitude and latitude coordinates to identify his/her precise position. The tourism sector may use geolocation marketing to enhance its services by making local information available to its customers. Tourism businesses may concentrate its marketing efforts and advertise to local populations (Yunker, 2010, p. 76). Geolocation marketing is giving the tourism sector the opportunity to show services that are offered in specific locations. ICTs in Tourism Much of the progress in the tourism industry is rooted in technology processes and facilities that businesses buy for their standard activities. Recently, ICT systems have produced numerous process innovations. Processing of accounts, checking in of guests, and bookings has become considerably downsized, and additional facilities for maintenance made operations more versatile and flexible (Zhou, 2004; Ruiz-Molina, Gil-Saura, & Moliner-Velasquez, 2010). Cooper and colleagues (1998 as cited in Page & Connell, 2006, p. 44) have observed that these ICTs are
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