Hi-Tech Tourism, the way of the Future:
Are you a technophile or a technophobe? This depends on whether you are one of these people who carry your iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry, MP3s, laptop or whatever gadgets with you on holiday because you like or have a need to be connected to the world even on your vacation.
Whether you are a technophile or a technophobe, most travellers these days use at least some technology in planning their work or vacation trip and researching destinations. We use the internet to consult online forums and pre-book travel requirements such as hotels, tours, transfers, entertainment, etc.
Hi-Tech and Travel
The good news for technophiles is that the tourism industry in many countries has embraced this transition to technology and many are offering enhanced services to travellers such as destination downloadable maps, free downloadable audio-guides, etc. We can now buy apps that will let us download all kinds of destination information like restaurants, entertainment, weather or stay in touch with news back home.
Britain is no exception. In fact, Britain’s tourism industry has gone Hi-Tech, from pre-travel planning through to the experience at the destination.
According to the British Tourism Authority, a recent study found that 62% of Twitter users travel abroad three times or more a year, and 60% use Twitter to connect with local suppliers, hoteliers or transport companies before they travel, with 28% reporting they made a reservation following an initial contact on Twitter.
Twitter has taken the travel industry by storm, with some travellers undertaking TwiTrips, whereby all decisions on where to sleep or eat or which bar to visit are taken based on tweet from followers (see www.guardian.co.uk/travel/series/twitrips-twitter-trips). Although, there’s a proportion of people who do not like technology and many who scorn Twitter, so not all visitors to Britain will be taking TwiTrips!
Take-it-with-you technology such as free downloadable audio-guides and hi-tech hand-held devices means that the hi-tech tourism revolution has personalised the travel experience in Britain.
- Hearmanchester.com has downloadable audio trails based on locations alongside the Rochdale Canal (which runs through the city centre), with locations highlighted by signposts on the actual trail. (www.hearmanchester.com/)
- VisitBrighton have an extensive selection of free podcasts, including the topics of history, film locations, arts & sculpture, ‘People who Made Brighton & Hove’ and a Gay & Lesbian History trail. (www.visitbrighton.com/site/maps-guides-and-interactive/podcasts)
- The Spires & Steeples podcast offers a local look at the arts and heritage walking route from Lincoln to Metheringham. (www.spiresandsteeples.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=30&Itemid=34)
- Visitors to Rye in East Sussex can download a VisitRye app to their iPhone for maps, recommendations on restaurants, museums and other attractions. (www.visitrye.co.uk/)
- VisitBritain have a service called mobiExplore, which allows users to view UK maps (street and tube maps), and access ‘What’s On’ guides, lists of local restaurants and hotels, weather reports and discount vouchers directly from their mobile phones. (www.visitbritain.us/about-britain/image-and-sound-gallery/mobile.aspx)
- Visitors to Grassington in the Yorkshire Dales can download a ‘Discover Grassington’ micro-site guide onto their mobiles which contains information about the town, plus two local walks. A poster displayed in the window of the National Park Centre provides simple downloading instructions. (www.grassington.uk.com/)
- Even arriving in Yorkshire is a high-tech experience, as welcome messages via Bluetooth technology are being sent to mobile phones as visitors cross the border into the region.
Looks like I have a lot of travel technology to catch up to before I hit the road again.
Apple iTunes Audio Guide
Great Guides to Help You Plan Your Travel Budget