Google and TripAdvisor have become great travel companions for many of us. They stand as a hassle-free alternative to paying a visit to the local tourist office, which provides valuable services for tourists, but is, nevertheless, losing ground to digital channels.
The rapid changes in consumer behaviour have created a major gap between what venues and cities offer and the expectations of tourists. What used to previously be a single, central meeting place, tourist offices are today outpaced by the many online services that offer instant information at your fingertips. As a result, while the tsunami of digitization is sweeping over the tourism industry, local tourism offices have somehow lost their influence on consumers.
At the same time, online booking platforms have become the new mammoth players in digital tourism. They provide travellers with valuable information and insights in a very proactive way, right from the time of booking, and even before a user can express his needs for information. This is achieved by leveraging user data analytics to deliver a wide and targeted offering, from online booking of accommodation, to transportation, entertainment, ticketing and other travel- related services.
In this context, tourism offices, and more broadly, traditional players in the tourism market are faced with significant challenges which require that they reclaim control over their data to regain their leading position.