Expert Article

Smarter Strategies for a Smarter Tourism Experience, by Nuno Fernandes

Smarter Strategies for a Smarter Tourism Experience, by Nuno Fernandes

Smarter Strategies for a Smarter Tourism Experience

Nuno Fernandes, CEO at DIG-IN

This content is available in Portuguese.


Tourism is getting smarter. This is not a hunch, or a catch phrase, it’s a statement!

Regardless of any technological hype one can safely say that technology is now the most meaningful vehicle to create a better, more sustainable, more inclusive and, as a whole together, a richer tourism experience.

A decade ago most of technology’s value proposition in the Tourism sector would sit on the ability to provide search and discover options to prepare for the experience before-hand with also some very decent attempts to fully or partially recreate and sometimes even replace the physical experience.

We can now safely say the sector followed a different path. One where technology enhances and seamlessly integrates with the overarching tourism experience in all the different segments of the tourist journey.

Let’s jump to specific examples, starting with the gastronomic side of the tourist journey for the simple fact that it’s closer to my personal and professional experience.

Nowadays you can not only search and discover the best places in a given location but also use technology to book, communicate, access and translate menus, get recommendations, pay, tip, reward and share your feedback on multiple formats.

This entire flow largely exceeds the promise we had a decade ago and it also leaves behind a rich digital footprint that can be fed back to allow for better decision making mechanisms which will continuously create more elements for a great tourism experience.

The journey I mentioned above should be easy to relate with for most readers, but how does it translate to the operators working this value chain to offer the best possible experience? Is it removing authenticity or adding efficiency?

My answer on this one is clear: it’s adding efficiency to such an extent that operators these days need more tools, guidance and training to keep the level of authenticity.

Let’s again start work on an example from a restaurant but cover some of the aspects that are more “sector agnostic”.


Booking Management

Online Bookings are a reality and they are growing and expanding into other sectors. Hotels, restaurants, beauty services and even other experiences can now be booked conveniently.

The latest data on this shows that when faced with the choice between a phone call and booking button, placed equally at a service page the user is, is 71% more likely, on average to to interact through the booking button. And to add to this, pages that don’t show immediate availability and confirmation of a given service, are 22% less likely to generate a booking.

And if we think this brings convenience to our user journey, let’s just cover rapidly what it means to a restaurant. Through the use of one or a combination of booking systems the restaurant can manage its daily operation, reduce the number of errors, do smarter forecasts for the future which will also allow for better stock management and to dramatically reduce waste.

And let’s not forget that most bookings happen either during periods of the day when the restaurant is either not open or with serious constraints caused by a busy shift. And for the cherry on top, the restaurant can use this service to get to know the client in more detail and to deliver an even better and more personalized experience.

One can argue that this could be taking away the authenticity of talking to a person over phone call and creating a more profound connection. But most restaurants can use technology to help on these specific operational matters so that more time and effort can be applied on the unique experience they provide.

And this is just one of the many tech based solutions now being widely used in the tourism sector. Similar examples could be taken from the discovery, ordering, payment, safety and many other different aspects that are making tourism, as whole, a smarter, more personalized and integrated solution.


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Startup Portugal Team • June 26, 2024