Digital tourism: this year’s Christmas trends according to Octorate

Fabio Di Dio Rosso, Marketing & Communication Manager at Octorate | December 14th, 2016

Just in Italy, digital tourism is worth 10.3 billion Euros. This is an important share of the Italian travel industry, which at the end of the year will generate revenues for more than 52 billion Euros and mark a 3% increase over 2015 – for which much credit goes to digital tools, that make an 8% leap over the previous year.

When it comes to travelling, the increasingly digital habits of the Italian people follow closely those of the rest of the world: according to the Booking.com travel trends for 2017, ranked first among the needs of the contemporary traveller is the need to stay connected and be able to use technology when travelling from one place to the other. Modern travellers are increasingly demanding and impatient, and in the 44% of cases they expect to plan their holiday from their smartphones and use travel apps (52%) from reservation to the moment they go back home.

Needless to say, if hotels and accommodation facilities want to be competitive, they have to adapt to these digital needs and offer new technological services and assistance, implementing tools that can be accessible anywhere, anytime.

The impact of technology in the modern travel experience is extensive, pervasive, and persistent – it starts when looking for a destination and stops at the very end of the holiday or, sometimes, later. Nevertheless, the human element continues to play a key role in the choices of travellers from around the world. In fact, bed&breakfasts and ryokans are among the preferred types of accommodation, and 42% of tourists say they are not willing to stay in a structure with an unpleasant or unhelpful staff. However, this very human problem can be overcome thanks to technology. Just think of chat bots, the programs that simulate conversations between robots and human beings: if developed in the right direction, chat bots will be one of the innovations aimed at ensuring guests’ satisfaction in their need for contact, interaction and travel experience personalization.

Such a technological advancement, though, is far from the actual Italian travel industry situation, where transport still has the leading role, representing 72% of the market (with 9% gain in value), followed by facilities with their 16% (+ 6%) and holiday packages, 12% (+ 10%). In short, the Italian people are ready to book a flight online, but have not enough choice when it comes to selecting hotels or all-encompassing solutions. However, things are changing: Octorate was developed to overcome this problem, since it offers hotels, b&b and other kinds of accommodation facilities an integrated solution that helps them manage their online bookings on over 100 international platforms, ensuring the autonomy of hoteliers when selecting the most efficient and profitable booking channel.

Thanks to digital tools, we can now easily collect data relating to travel destinations and analyse them in advance. For example, we can sketch this Christmas travel trends: Octorate data show that there is a tendency to prefer big cities and warm destinations. Our ranking sees Rome, Barcelona, Paris and Istanbul as the preferred European destinations. For those who love a warm Christmas, North Africa is the favourite place to go, especially Marrakech. To find the perfect Christmas atmosphere, surely the favourite cities are those where you can find seasonal markets: the most popular are Prague (November 20 to January 3), Bethlehem in the US (November 21 to December 21), the Tivoli Gardens in Copenhagen (November 15 to January 3) and WinterFest markets in Hong Kong (November 29 to January 1).