The event hosted by Bournemouth University’s eTourism Lab was a unique opportunity to engage in cutting edge research that is being done by the university. Central part of the event, was to engage with all stakeholders in a dialogue in order to show them, how the research can be used to develop stakeholder competitiveness. This event really was a great opportunity to discuss cutting edge research and the future of eTourism with leading researchers and experts in the field (ETourism Lab).
The event focused on a variety of key topics in eTourism: social media, location based and mobile marketing (SoLoMo), Augmented Reailty and Gaming, Online Reputation and E-Branding. These are all core topics, that are very important for all tourism businesses and destinations. The cutting edge research, the eTourism Lab is doing, gives valuable insights into where the future of eTourism is going and how tourism businesses and destinations need to react to stay ahead of their competitors.
Insights provided by researchers
From SoLoMo to SoCoMo: Soultana Symeonidou presented the future development of social, mobile marketing towards social context and mobile marketing as a new concept in marketing innovations. Tourism businesses and destinations will soon be using this new marketing tool that will revolutionise marketing.
Senior engagement in social media: Philip James focuses his research on active seniors’ engagement with online media in their holiday purchases and emphasized the potentials of the senior market in becoming very engaged online.
Brand reputation and eWOM: Vicky Loi highlighted the importance of online reputation for businesses, which is crucial to maintain. Through the web, eWOM’s influence is very powerful and should not be underestimated by businesses as 1 in 2 travellers change their purchase decision due to online consumer reviews.
The Service of Now: According to Nicolas Gregori, the world is moving towards social in real time and businesses in tourism need to be aware of that. Increasingly, tourism businesses are responding to the “Service of Now” concept by coming up with an innovative service marketing delivery using social media. The future is all about real time service!
Smart tourism cities and destinations: Nao Li from Beijing presented the concept of smart tourism cities and destinations. In April 2012, 18 pilot national smart tourism cities were announced in China. In 2014, first results will be presented that might convince more cities to become smart tourism destinations.
Technology enhanced Tourism Experiences: Barbara Neuhofer emphasised that it is all about unique experiences for consumers in the digital era. Technologies are a tool used to enhance these experiences in the destination and are connected, mobile, social, efficient, localized, anywhere/ anytime, real, virtual and fun!
Augmented reality gaming: Gamification in tourism is a major trend in tourism, however, some game apps fail to follow a consumer centered approach according to Feifei Xu. Most games will be played by travellers prior to their visit in a tourism destination. Jessika Weber revealed that worldwide, there are more than 1.5billion Gamers predicted by 2016. This is an incredible potential for any business wanting to tap into this booming area, as children and adults of all ages play games everywhere. Augmented reality gaming in tourism combine AR within games which is a huge potential for tourism.
Smartphone context-aware augmented reality apps: Zornitza Yovcheva talked about Augmented reality apps and how they can be used in the tourism industry. Augmented reality bubbles can deliver valuable info for travellers and improve tourism experiences.
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