By Martin Ekpeke
There’s never been a better time to be a tourist, with tech solutions easily helping people to get the best hotel and flight, book a choice meal in a stranger’s home and ultimately make the most of your time away from home. The impact of technology on tourism has been widely overlooked in the past, but thanks to innovative companies like Jovago.com and others that have made tourism to be attractive as ever. With their solutions, hitting the road has been exciting for thousands of Nigerians who flock the internet on a daily basis.
The impact of technology on travel and tourism in Nigeria and other countries can be attributed more to the adoption of mobile devices, tablets and computers that are frequently being used in every aspect of trip planning
Though, there are still constrains in the adoption of technology in tourism, a business traveler in any part of the country can easily book accommodation in any hotel in multiple states and countries on just one hotel booking portal. The growth of the sector can be hinged on the mobile platform, playing an important role in the business strategies of travel and tourism businesses throughout the country. A check shows about 85% of business travellers used mobile apps, 62% used them on every business trip and about 90% claimed that mobile apps improved their travel experience.
Although there are concerns, but using technology is more convenient in the long run. Using technology saves you time, boosts your chances of getting the best prices and provides you with security with payment options
This is novel and has taken a huge burden off tourists. People now rely heavily on technology to get the best of travel and tourism. According to Jovago, acclaimed Africa’s No. 1 hotel booking website, technology allows tourists to get the best prices. “Although there are concerns, but using technology is more convenient in the long run. Using technology saves you time, boosts your chances of getting the best prices like the ones we have on Jovago and provides you with security with payment options,” Marek Zmyslowski, Jovago’s Managing Director said in an email response to ITPulse’s queries. He said Nigeria is observing a greater adoption of technology in the tourism sector, as a result of more people using the Internet, adding that the internet plays an integral role in the operations of any e-commerce business. “At the moment, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics states that there is about 60 percent penetration which is a good thing but it can be better. The higher number of people with cheap and constant access to the internet, the more willing they will be to engage tourism activities in general,” he submitted. Presently, Jovago boasts of giving their clients access to more than 200,000 hotels around the world. But Zmyslowski said this is just scratching the surface, and that Nigerians should expect more innovations, as the company is currently raising the bar when it comes to the ease with which services are booked via its portal. The impact of technology on travel and tourism in Nigeria and other countries can be attributed more to the adoption of mobile devices, tablets and computers that are frequently being used in every aspect of trip planning. From browsing to booking hotel and flight, and even post-travel reviews, the availability of these devices is playing a key role as tourists and hotel management utilize them to engage themselves. The tech savvy, growing populations (youths) are not left out of the travel and tourism landscape. They are more engaged; creating a more connected and personalized experience in the midst of an extensive internet use via the online and mobile platforms. Even the industry players are deeply involved throughout all stages of the travel experience; they are adapting marketing strategies in order to maximise their visibility and to maintain competitive advantage. For Mark Essien, the Co-founder of Hotels.ng, a Lagos based online travel agency that specialises in hotel bookings within Nigeria, travel booking is currently being dominated by the online segment in Nigeria and across Africa. Thus, hotel owners and players in the tourism industry are being inspired to create new ways to reach customers at a faster and more convenient ways. “I was inspired to create the Hotels.ng app when I discovered the number of hotels available online before we started were only 200 hotels in Nigeria. Now, we have over 7,000 for booking in Nigeria,” he said. Stressing further how the app works, Essien said “You visit the website hotels.ng. Once there, you type in the location you are going, for example ‘Abuja’ or ‘Lagos.’ You will see a list of all hotels in that location, sorted by popularity. You pick your favourite hotel based on the pictures and book a room. We will confirm your reservation and you can go lodge on the day of arrival. If you want, you can also pay before arriving.” Tourism in today’s world is a very big economic and social activity, generating a large amount of income, employment and foreign currency and investment opportunities. Though, the developed nations are getting the lion’s share of the benefit of tourism currently, there is a promising future for the developing nations also.
Travel booking is currently being dominated by the online segment in Nigeria and across Africa. Thus, hotel owners and players in the tourism industry are being inspired to create new ways to reach customers at a faster and more convenient ways
The paramount thing is to leverage on available technology to create activities around the industry and then advance its contribution to the overall development of Nigeria. Information and Communication Technology in tourism sector can be used for tourism product development, marketing, distribution and training of personnel in the sector. This is important in order to satisfy the ever-changing demands for tourism products.