Question by Sarah: Can you please summarise this article and give your opinion?
This is the article:
The Scottish tourism industry will be “dead in the water” without embracing new technologies.
The warning came from Alan Rankin, chief executive of the Aviemore and Cairngorms Destination Management Organisation, ahead of Tourism Innovation Day, on February 28 in Glasgow.
Rankin, former chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Forum, spoke out following results of a Scottish tourism survey carried out by Highland Business Research for Tourism Innovation Day, which showed that 59% of companies felt that they could do better in terms of embracing technology.
He said: “The tourism industry will be dead in the water unless it adopts the opportunities presented by new technologies.”
Many of the companies surveyed, which included accommodation businesses and tourist and visitor attractions in Scotland, cited similar themes when asked about their biggest technology challenges.
These included securing funding to develop and increase the use of technology; not having broadband available in their area; being able to update their website regularly; the cost of promoting a small business on the web and staying on top of changing technology and trends such as the growth in use of rich media and Web2.0.
Rankin questioned whether Scotland will be able to meet the challenge as quickly as emerging markets.
“In the global market, having your website configured for the mobile phone, will become a necessity,” he said.
“For a lot of people in the Asian economies, the phone is a more important internet mechanism than the computer. This will become increasingly true of the developed markets.
“Yet in some of our key rural tourism areas in Scotland, we don’t have the mobile technology infrastructure in place – a major obstacle to overcome. Some areas do not even have broadband available.”
In the Scottish tourism survey, 94% of respondents have not offered mobile travel applications for customers and 96% did not have a version of their website for the mobile phone.
Respondents were aware of the importance of social networking sites as a promotional channel, but only 17% of respondents had used such sites for promoting their businesses.
Rankin warned that using social networking comes with its own sets of problems.
“Such sites can pose challenges in terms of controlling the messages and should a company receive online criticism, it is there for the whole world to see. Companies therefore need to either get their service right in the first place,” he said.
Tourism Innovation Day, which is organised by the Tourism Innovation Group with Scottish Enterprise, has been designed to inspire and equip Scottish tourism organisations to apply technology, and develop innovative new products and services.
Sue Crossman, project director for TiG, said, “The percentage of global hotel bookings made online for the first quarter of 2007 was almost double that of the same period last year.
“Internet bookings accounted for 41.2% of total CRS bookings in major hotels chains throughout the world, up from 22% in 2006.
“One third of all bookings during the first quarter of 2007 came through hotels’ own websites.
“With the ever increasing use of the web coupled with mobile phone advances, new technology will let the customer source better deals, and will raise their expectations in terms of receiving more customised tourist information.”
She challenged businesses of all sizes to raise their game in exploiting new technology, calling for “effective digital portals” to be set up for all of Scotland’s main tourist destinations.
The portals could use technology similar to popular social networking sites such as Bebo and Facebook, and allow visitors to post comments, pictures or videos about their personal experience of any location or service.
Crossman claimed such sites would boost online bookings and help visitors find out more about the quality and variety of tourism experiences on offer.
Digital portals would encourage smaller business, such as individual bed and breakfasts, that are still not confident about what the new technology can do for them, to work together to promote themselves and their location.
She said: “Some companies are missing out on the available technology and that is not helping our global competitiveness.
“There are now cost-effective ways for any accommodation business to offer online bookings; this is a must going forward. New technology, including the kind that allows you to post user-generated content on the web, is very exciting and should be helping destinations get their messages out there effectively.”
Tourism Innovation Day includes keynote speaker, Ben Vinod, chief innovator at Sabre Holdings, the company behind Lastminute.com.
by Phil Davies
If you had to summarise that article What would you say??
Do u agree with the article???
Answer by Debbie W
Sounds like Scotland has it’s head in the sand for some time.
Add your own answer in the comments!