Diana Ramiro

 Collaborative Digital Ecosystems

Collaborative Digital Ecosystems: environments of tourism evolution and creation of communities

At some point, and to certain extent owing to the pandemic, we have learnt that developing too specific digital solutions which do not take into account the needs of the different stakeholders of the travel and tourism industry normally lead to impractical outcomes and frustrating situations. Technology has become vital for travelling, discovering, and experiencing; but it also tests our ability—as human beings—to cooperate and integrate every single aspect of a sector which could be considered one of the most transversal nowadays. 

In a world of unstable politics and economies, travelling is key to encourage understanding, boost employment and improve international relationships. And yet how do we leverage technology in an industry with so many faces, realities, and participants?  

There is no easy answer, and one should be careful when diving into the depths of technology since it can quickly turn into our worst enemy if we do not follow a clear approach. However, there are ways of creating solutions which can benefit the very diverse stakeholders of the travel and tourism industry: collaborative digital ecosystems.  

An ecosystem is built upon synergies, thriving due to the actions and relationships of the actors who inhabit it. The travel and tourism industry has grown throughout the years and developed its own wide ecosystem with its particular relations and agents. And this ecosystem, in turn, has been divided into thousands of other smaller ecosystems, sometimes because of specialisation and others because of organic development. But how do we make it simpler? How do we unify the industry keeping in mind the distinct interests of every stakeholder? And how do we apply technology? 

The digital world allows us to bring goals together by using different tools to generate global ecosystems based on collaboration and common purposes. Within a travel and tourism digital ecosystem, there can be a place for all the industry’s stakeholders. Depending on their mission and objectives, they will perform certain functions and benefit from the rest of the members of the ecosystem thanks to automatised processes, seamless solutions, attractive value propositions and constant communication. 

What should a tourism digital ecosystem be made up of?

A travel and tourism digital ecosystem should be a place where products and services can be sold and purchased before and during your journey. Somewhere you can find most of the travel & leisure offer of a destination or a region. But also, somewhere providers and agents wish to be because it helps them flourish through several alternatives. And finally, somewhere travellers always come to because they get a better customer experience (offers, discounts, quality services, unique products, etc.). 

The ecosystem becomes a win-win for everyone, from governments and big providers to local suppliers and tourists. It is constantly evolving by creating innovative services and promoting new business models.

For a digital ecosystem to function, it is crucial to have proper communication and promotion tools. The latter should work both internally and externally, that is, tools which keep the industry connected at a B2B level and tools which can be used to reach customers at a B2C level. 

Clarity and engagement can be achieved through quite diverse means, and technology helps us revitalise how we communicate with our audience. Everything is fleeting in our daily life, that is why it is difficult to catch someone’s attention and make a real impact. But digital solutions based on video and sound—which stimulate two of our most sensitive senses—are more prone to get our message through and help us build a loyal relationship with our audience. 

Tourism is a rich sector when it comes to products and services offered to travellers. For this reason, and mainly in relation to cultural identity products, a standardised certification becomes essential to guarantee the origin and quality of said products. 

Technology can be useful to protect the credibility and excellence of local products from any destination, improving the value perceived by the customer. Besides, it does not simply involve certifying the authenticity of the product, but also securing its tracking from the moment it is produced to the instant it is sold. 

A travel and tourism ecosystem cannot lack tools to collect and analyse data. Its active use by all the stakeholders transforms into information which is valuable for destinations, brands, suppliers, providers, and partners in order to make the best strategic decisions. 

The last main tools of an integral ecosystem should be those related to training. It is pointless to create a digital environment without teaching those who are going to use it how to make the most of it, to understand it and even figure out new ways of developing it and innovate.  

A tourism digital ecosystem does not simply succeed thanks to technology though. It is necessary to conceive an appropriate strategy and to have the support of the different stakeholders from the destination or region. Coordination and cooperation are vital to make the ecosystem work.  

At Wanderlust Global Life, we are specialised on bringing the best technological solutions together to create digital travel and tourism ecosystems which become game-changers. A scalable country level ecosystem with the features mentioned above can make a difference for the whole sector, enhancing public-private collaboration, generating wealth, promoting socioeconomic sustainability, and improving tourism quality. 

We are convinced the right technological approach can help destinations create global ecosystems in which tradition and innovation live together, combining online and offline solutions and covering the different stages of a journey: before, during and after. A destination which involves every stakeholder of the industry is a destination that will blossom. Evolution will arise within the ecosystem, and it will create a sense of community among its members. It is true the travel and tourism industry is filled with differences, but that is exactly what makes us stronger. 

More information at: https://www.wanderlust-global.com/  

Author: Diana Ramiro

Chief Operating Officer at Wanderlust Global Life. 

Bachelor of   Tourism Degree, specialised in Management of Travel & Tourism Companies. 

National End-of-Degree Award in University Education (Spain). 

The authors are responsible for the choice and presentation of the facts contained in this document and for the opinions expressed therein, which are not necessarily those of Tourism and Society Think Tank and do not commit the Organization, and should not be attributed to TSTT or its members.

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