The trends and challenges of digital transformation in the tourism and leisure sector

    4 Minutes Read

    Digital technology has had a major impact on consumption patterns across many sectors, making consumers more autonomous and demanding than ever.

    In this article, we'll focus on the trends and challenges of digital transformation in the tourism and leisure sector.



    Why is digital transformation important in the tourism and leisure sector?

    When we talk about the "tourism and leisure" sector, this can involve everything from travel bookings to ticketing and reservations for theater, sports and theme parks.

    Each of these examples shares similar trends and challenges!

    Speaking of travel, 79% of tourists plan their trip online, and more than half book their stay online.

    Online searches and bookings have become the most popular media for consumers, as they meet needs instantly.

    For all players in the sector, it is therefore essential to adapt their offers by optimizing digital customer journeys on mobile, desktop and tablet devices.

    It's the hyper-connected, hyper-comparative consumer who now has the power to easily choose almost every aspect of his or her experience; destination, accommodation, transport and/or activities.

    This phenomenon is forcing industry players to question their strategies, actions and tools, and to put customer needs at the heart of any customer acquisition and loyalty strategy.

    Apart from being almost an obligation in order to remain competitive today, digital transformation offers the opportunity to :

    • Develop your company's reputation
    • Broadening the base of audiences reached
    • Enhance your offering
    • Develop potential sources of revenue

    The following trends reveal the current means of achieving these ends:


    Digital trends in the tourism and leisure sector

    A digitized multi-channel customer experience

    Tools such as mobile apps, websites and chatbots make it possible to interact effectively with customers, and offer personalized, always-available multi-channel service.

    Digital platforms can manage every stage of the customer journey:

    • Booking
    • The transaction
    • Preparing your trip or experience
    • How it works
    • Feedback
    • Follow-up

    By making it easy for customers to be tracked at every stage of their journey, the customer experience becomes more fluid, personalized and reliable.

    Online bookings exceed expectations

    Mobile applications have become the norm for quickly making reservations, accessing loyalty programs, or other services such as :

    • Expense statements
    • A diary
    • Suggestions
    • Check-in
    • Real-time information
    • Last-minute changes
    • Planning complex itineraries

    Data-driven decision-making

    Industry players are able to collect a huge amount of data, enabling them to improve their pricing models and sales strategies.

    Every step of the digital customer journey enables data to be collected to make more relevant decisions, better understand competitors, and improve the customer experience.

    Data not only makes it possible to multiply pricing options and offer a wider choice (which translates into better fill rates), but also to increase sales by offering the possibility of examining a customer's history to find out exactly which services are most likely to interest them, and highlight them at the right time.


    Virtual tours

    The "virtual tour" encompasses the real and virtual forms of a museum, play or sporting event, for example.

    Since the launch of the first museum websites in 1995, virtual tours have been developing to make cultural activities increasingly accessible.

    Today, some of these devices are :

    • Website exhibition
    • The 360° self-guided tour
    • The video tour
    • A fully digital virtual reality tour


    The challenges of digital transformation in the tourism sector 

    Increased competitive intensity

    In the tourism sector, competition is intensifying, with innovative new players as well as traditional ones (Expedia, taking advantage of the latest technologies.

    These players are capturing increasing market share at the expense of traditional travel agencies and tour operators, who must be more creative to offer competitive advantages such as :

    • Exclusive access
    • Special relationships with service providers
    • Pricing

    Understanding the digital needs of target audiences

    Each digital pathway needs to anticipate the type of audience it is aimed at, in order to meet their needs as effectively as possible.

    Here are a few examples of the methods to be taken into account:

    • Points of contact
    • Jet lag
    • Online payments compatible with visitors from outside France
    • Tours in several languages
    • Target's interests and knowledge levels


    Evaluating the overall budget from creation to digital path management

    There are several types of costs to consider when it comes to creating and managing digital customer journeys:

    • Digitization
    • Broadcasting
    • Communication
    • Management

    The budget involved depends on the technology and whether the company chooses to use service providers or orchestrate everything in-house.


    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 15% of the world's population suffers from some form of physical disability that has an impact on the way they interact with digital devices.

    These visual and auditory needs must be taken into account to guarantee a positive user experience for anyone using a website or mobile application.

    Data security and confidentiality

    With the digitization of processes, the collection and storage of customer data becomes crucial.

    Companies must implement robust security measures to protect sensitive data against cyber attacks and confidentiality breaches, especially when there are tens of thousands of customer data stored for sporting events or concerts!

    The existence of bugs in customer paths

    In a sector marked by so much competition and ultra-demanding consumers, every interruption in the customer journey has an impact both on sales and on the brand's image with customers and partners.

    When it comes to ticketing for very popular events, for example, it's particularly important to carry out load tests to ensure that online reservations can handle a high volume of traffic.

    In addition to load tests, the implementation of non-regression testing is becoming an essential practice for preventing unexpected system regression and guaranteeing an optimal user experience.


    Mr Suricate - QA testing for players in the tourism sector

    To succeed in the digital age as a business in the tourism and leisure sector, it's essential to ensure that user journeys meet the requirements of modern consumers.

    The no-code SaaS solution Mr Suricate solution covers a wide range of automated tests in order to control your testing and provide your users with the best possible experience.

    Take control of your applications and detect bugs in real time on your websites, applications and APIs by reproducing your user paths at regular intervals.


    Request a demo


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