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The fact that tablet ownership will grow is not really big news. However, latest research in the industry reveals that in the next five years tablet ownership in Western Europe is predicted to quadruple. This really is an enormous growth and without a doubt will impact the way in which organizations and Tourist Boards will be planning their future digital marketing strategy.

The Think Tank Team closely monitors latest trends and as mobile is one of the key trends of 2013 it is important to keep track of changes and developments that will have an impact on destinations and the wider tourism industry. Tablets as one part of mobile has been neglected by some destinations that solely focus on Smartphone apps. The fact that tablets are growing so strongly implies that destinations need to change their focus from mobile apps and think about tablet solutions.

At the moment, one in seven Europeans own a tablet in order to access content online, search, browse and use it for all kinds of entertainment purposes. Predominantly the younger generations own tablets at the moment – but the predicted growth indicates that more and more Europeans of all age groups will own a tablet in the future (The Drum).

What does this mean for tourism?

Tablets can be considered as highly social devices and are used in a variety of ways. Still, Tourist Boards or tourism organisations are rarely offering mobile applications to consumers in order to inform, facilitate and engage with travellers.

However, with the immense growth in tablet ownership in mind, destinations and tourism organisations really need to consider the importance of adapting content and applications to tablets.

Usage of tablets as basis

The next crucial step for tourism destinations is to think about the way in which users actually use tablets. Finding out the main purpose of use is the basis for planning potential tablet apps, as travellers love to use tablets at home and they very often share them with other household members.

If travellers are using it mainly to inform themselves then the content needs to be adapted to that – if it is all about having fun and inspiring people then the app should reflect that and be image rich while engaging people to share it with friends.

Fitting tablets into strategy

One very important thing to remember in tourism is that destinations should not follow an approach where they try and aggregate a number of mobile and tablet apps just for the sake of having apps for potential travellers. Everything that destinations do should follow an overall digital strategy. How mobile and tablet apps fit into this strategy should be decided on the basis of achieving the general goals of the destination. This could be to encourage more travellers to engage with the destination, increase visitor numbers or increase traffic to the website. For mobile and tablet it is crucial to ensure that the approach taken fits into the overall strategy and fits a purpose.

Implications for Destinations

Although there is an immense growth predicted in the next 5 years, destinations should still be focused and should follow a strategic approach in terms of tapping into and making the most out of the growth in tablet, which should always be in line with the destination’s overall strategy in order to sophisticate the way in which technologies such as apps are used.

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