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DON’T PANIC

July 18, 2007

Recently two girls from Canada surfed my couch on a backpacking trip through Europe. They had agreed with their parents to “meet somewhere in Europe” during their parents’ holiday trip yet had failed to get in touch. It seems approximeeting doesn’t always work.

A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.

A towel is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have.

 

Still, it’s interesting to see how technology changes tourism – they book their flights on the web and the destinations and attractions they go to are chosen with the help of word of mouth and pictures, posts and ratings in blogs and online communities, not via tour operators or guide books. They don’t even carry a Lonely Planet (although that one too is mostly user generated these days): “We didn’t know which one to buy as we are deciding which country to go to on the fly.” Instead internet cafés are their best friends. They surf the places of co-members of an online community instead of staying in good old hotels, coordinate with other people along the way by the means of SMS and email and blog or email from their trip instead of sending postcards.

This change in social behavior means a million challenges for the tourism industry. Are they prepared?


 

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1 Comment
#4625 mhr says on August 2, 2007 at 2:01 pm
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while technology is nice, the multitude of information is still way too much to access. for example, if you dig wine – you’d know that the region doc colio is worth a trip. still how do you find that information on the internet if youre interested in wine?

word of mouth, be it through blogs or real world of mouth is still the prime source of information. and blogs, as usefull they are – only have a value if they are pristine in their form.

personally i see a future when once you search something in google you’ll have the same source of information that you get when you pick up random brochures from shops to base your decision on. in the end it will be filtered and companies will buy their space through muscle weight and you’ll have to stick to sources of information you trust and that have not yet been bought up by corporate interests.

only thing i as a traveler care for is user friendly websites, good catalogs of where you can find accomodations as well as the knowledge that these sites list accomodations not because the owners pay them to list and rate them.

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