The factors impacting upon the needs of the traveller/tourist in the 21st Century

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This essay aims to discuss the factors that have had an impact on the needs of the traveller and tourist in the 21st century, the author will discuss what technology changes have taken place and how they have changed to affect the traveller and will also consider how the view of globalisation has changed. The discussion starts by informing the reader of the way in which organisations work, Henry Ford had a great effect on businesses.

Henry Ford established the Ford Motor Company in 1903 and in 1908 the company started the manufacturing of the model-T which was the first to be made by a new kind of production, Fordism contains the mass-production of customer durables which are made on moving assembly line techniques functioned with the semi-skilled labour of the mass-worker. This procedure was given the name of Fordism. The production was an innovative way of thinking and doing, helped made possible by new advances in machinery.

This could relate to what is happening in the 21st century, with the advances that have been made in technology, new and innovative ways of producing and buying are coming about, this is relates to Post-Fordism as the introduction of information technologies transferred employment from the manufacturing industries towards the service sector and as a result, assembly-line workers are replaced by specialists. With the introduction of ‘Just in time’ manufacturing in the early ’70s, the old Fordist ‘just in case’ manufacturing system where parts and spare components were stored, became outdated.

The rule of JIT is to reduce inventory at every phase of the manufacturing process as excess stock represents unrealised profits, the JIT rule required that parts get there “just in time” to be used in the production process. The post-Fordist period also saw the appearance of improved pay for trained staff. As machines and automated robots gradually took over the positions until that time held by people, trained staffs were again employed to plan, administer, construct and look after them. (Essay Bank, 2003)

According to Amin, A. (1994): The ‘post-Fordist’ debate concerns the nature and direction of such epoch-making change. It is a debate about the putative transition from one dominant phase of capitalist development in the post-war period to another thirty to fifty year cycle of development based upon very different economic, societal and political norms. It seeks to identify the driving forces in each historical phase and, through this process, to elaborate how these forces constitute a paradigm or system capable of securing relative economic stability over the long term. ” (Amin, A. 1994:3)

Post-Fordism has had an adverse affect most industries including the travel industry. According to Page (2001), the terms travel and tourism are frequently interchanged; however they are on the whole intended to include: “the field of research on human and business activities associated with one or more aspects of the temporary movement of persons away from their immediate home communities and daily work environments for business, pleasure and personal reasons” (Chadwick 1994:65) as cited in (Page, S et al. 2001:11).

The WTO (1991) as cited in (Page, S et al. 001:13), recommended that an international tourist be defined as: “a visitor who travel to a country other than that in which he/she has his/her usual residence for at least one night but not more than one year, and whose main purpose of visit is other than the exercise of an activity remunerated from within the country visited. ” (Page, S et al. 2001:13), The Traveller has seen many changes over the past 20 years travelling abroad has become more accessible and affordable to everyone, it is no longer such a luxury, and is fast becoming a necessity in the 21st century.

It is not unusual for a family to take a holiday once a year and it is becoming increasingly more popular to take two holidays a year as consumers see an increase in their leisure time. The travel and tourism market, worldwide, is in the course of a vast transformation, in terms of: the demands for original forms of tourism product, the renewal of traditional types of tourism, converting in the method of purchase for a tourism product and the increase of outbound tourism from countries that in the past have produced little international tourist trips.

At the beginning of package tourism, the all-inclusive package was typical as it offered a sense of security to travellers who were new to travelling to foreign countries. In recent years however, there has been a movement to new flexible packages which let tourists purchase meals outside the hotel, and to arrange their own trips. (Swarbrooke and Horner. 1999:225) Thirteen major emerging markets and changes in demand Source: (Swarbrooke and Horner. 1999:226) The tourism industry is also affected by the technological development.

Both tourism destinations and businesses, more and more must adopt innovative methods in order to improve their competitiveness. (Buhalis, D. 1998:409) Today’s immense tourism industry has been determined by a number of issues including: an increase in real incomes, the progress in personal wealth, increases in free time, peace among countries, freedom from administrative restraints on international travel, freedoms within international currency markets and expansion of prompt, capable and extensively reasonably priced public transport, together with broad access to private transport. Lockwood and Medik, 2001:4-5) In the past decade, the tourism industry prospered, although it battled to deal with complicated challenges.

Lockwood and Medik (2001), states that “in the years ahead, the global population will continue to grow and change, science and technology will tighten their hold on business and society, and the world will knit itself ever more tightly into a single market. Global travel will continue to grow rapidly for at least the next 20 years. Worldwide international arrivals are growing from 660 million in 1999 to an estimated 700 million in 2000, 1 billion by 2010 and 1. billion by 2020. Improving balance of trade means more business for European and Asian tourist destinations. Europe will remain the strongest magnet for tourism, with arrivals growth holding between 3% and 4% annually. ” (Lockwood and Medik, 2001:18-20) The increase of technologies such as the Internet, smart cards and Multi-media systems has made direct booking easier for both tourist and the industry. For the customer, direct booking embraces the view of lower prices as there is no travel agency commission and or enhanced service.

Numerous tour operators have created their own direct booking products such as Thomson’s Portland Holidays in the UK and more and more airlines and ferry companies are offering direct booking links for clients. Within the hotel sector, key chains have set up central reservations systems to provide clients direct contact with every one of their hotels, anywhere in the world. The increase in small specialist tour operators has stimulated the increase of direct booking; these small specialists cannot promise a sufficient amount of sales to interest most travel agents.

Therefore they have to sell direct to their customers. Direct sell is better in various ways as it should ensure that the tourist obtains additional in depth information regarding the product. It furthermore allows the organisation to obtain direct feedback concerning its products and their appeal, from potential customers. The direct booking phenomenon looks set to increase with individuals being capable to use the Internet to not only gain information but to also make bookings. (Swarbrooke and Horner. 1999:230) Developments in Information Technology’s (IT’s) revolutionize both economies and enterprises.

ITs are defined as: “the collective term given to most recent developments in the mode (electronic) and the mechanisms computers and communication technologies used for the acquisition, processing analysis, storage, retrieval, dissemination and application of information. ” (Buhalis, D. 1998:409) Innovative technologies will persist in changing the method in which tourism products are bought due to the progress of the Internet and interactive television which will encourage the increase of direct marketing and direct booking.

The increase of yet more sophisticated global distribution systems (GDS) will assist tourists in putting together individual, tailor-made itineraries, by allowing them access to the detailed product information they need. Smart card technologies will bring with them the benefits of ticket-less travel which will encourage growth of last-minute purchases of tourism products. Progress in technology such as multi-media systems and the Internet are distorting the dividing line between promotion and distribution in tourism.

There is a likelihood that in the future in terms of which the customer purchases holidays from as the role of the travel agents decreases and other organisations move in. These can contain high street retailers who will merge the sale of goods required by a tourist; ‘tele-shopping’ networks that could include holidays to the portfolio of products they sell; banks who supply loans for holidays and sell currency, may go on to sell the holidays and telecommunications companies which may become involved in selling holidays as their systems play more and more of a role in the supply of the tourism product. Swarbrooke and Horner. 1999:261-262) Technological innovations will be one basis for the progress of new kinds of tourism products.

According to Swarbrooke and Horner (1999) one of the key current debates in tourism revolves around Virtual Reality technologies, and the facility to generate synthetic substitutes for authentic tourism experiences. The issue is, “will Virtual Reality (VR) reduce demand for conventional tourism or increase it by stimulating even more people to want to take particular trips. (Swarbrooke and Horner. 1999:259) The possible function of VR in tourism is practically limitless. People could: feel the sun on their body, listen to waves splashing on the beach, as they laze on an isolated beach on a Pacific Island, in their own house; experience a trip to the greatest of the Pyramids in Egypt, with no fear of terrorist activities, stomach upsets or overbooked flights, as they do not need to leave home.

Virtual Reality technologies, and other technological innovations, may well also assist in the development of new kinds of escapist tourism, by letting people live out their fantasies. The advancement of VR and associated technologies may well permit the formation of new fantasy-based resorts completely themed resorts may perhaps be created where tourists can completely immerse themselves in a fantasy wild west with gunslinger or a Chicago gangster. Tourists would take pleasure in playing risky roles in a secure location. (Swarbrooke and Horner. 1999:259)

Technology is an essential part of the travel and tourism industry and its role will have an increasing power over the promotion and selling of these products, a major development in the 1990’s was to connect everyone to everything, from interactive television to personal digital assistants. There is a demand for connectivity and companies are certain that this movement is set to persist and are investing billions to bring superior interactive communications. Telecommunications are also being revolutionised by shifting from analogue to ‘digital network technologies. The change from voice transmission systems to digital transmission technologies will let information in the form of discrete pulses to be sent out with a considerably higher transmission speed, and the movement of larger amounts of information, greater economy and much lower fault rates than analogue systems. It will allow communication in different forms such as data, voice and video on the same circuits. (O’Brien, 1998:pp174-175)

Expert systems have also had a significant impact on the travel and tourism industry and are defined by O’Brien (1998) as: Expert Systems are knowledge-based systems that provide expert advice and act as expert consultants to users” (O’Brien, 1998:31) Post-modernism looks at systems, and Jackson, (1991) stresses that: “Modernism takes on two forms the first sees hard and cybernetic approaches are found to be systematic modernist in orientation, soft systems thinking is revealed as an underdeveloped form of critical modernism and critical systems thinking shown to be a highly advanced form of modernism in which some systemic aspects are subordinated to critical presuppositions.

Each form of systems thinking is made the subject of a critique on the basis of its research relevant to the functioning of complex, large-scale systems is financed, and only results which contribute to improving the input-output equation are recognised. The second form of modernism is ‘critical modernism. ‘ Critical modernism is based upon Kant’s programme of enlightment. It rests upon what Lyotard calls the power of ‘grand narratives’ which seek to explain history in terms of progress.

Looking at the two kinds of modernism, Lyotard is convinced that systemic modernism is much the most powerful. ” (Jackson, M. 1991:pp289-290) As technology binds the world into one electronic marketplace, business travel is not set to decline, but instead will grow quickly. In a futuristic world, executives ever more require the ‘high-touch’ comfort of personal relationships with their colleagues. The Internet changes the method customers buy goods and services. Cashless credit/debit systems of payment will carry on growing.

Expect the use of ‘smart cards’ to provide comprehensive customer information to utilise more resourceful target marketing. Resorts, conference centres and other destinations are finding it ever more easy to market themselves directly to customers, rather that relying on intermediaries, as will air charter services and other transportation providers. Travellers are furthermore buying their airline seats and hotel rooms on the Internet, sometimes bidding for them through online auction services such as priceline. om. (Lockwood and Medik, 2001:21) In the 1980’s, there was substantial progress and applications of computer-based techniques in business. The progress allowed businesses to become more sophisticated in their operations. The strategic use of information technology is today a key determinant of competitive advantage in particular within the travel and tourism industry. Within the travel and tourism industry, the nature of conventional computer applications can be separated into external and internal functions.

Expert functions are linked straight to the customer such as computer reservation systems (CRS) and internal functions are linked to the efficient operation of the property and have gained from the use of management information and decision support systems; these are decision making tools. CRS’s are used by the airline industry, such as Galileo, Amadeus, Sabre and Pars. The computer has allowed the tourism management information system to function as an internal information, external intelligence, management research and management science system.

IT allows decision making by non-experts. (Galliers, F and Leidner, D. 2003:19) Adding to the technological progress of recent decades and the trend towards globalisation with regards to business and IT, has came the prospective for increasingly standardisation and homogeneity of IT products and services. However, alongside this trend is additional literature which debates that diversity persists in the ways that the local cultures of individual organisations around the globe adapt standard practices, rules, and technologies.

Such innovations in technology have caused global shrinkage, (McHale 1969) with reduced journey times, cost savings and enhanced capacity, Wackermann (1997:35) stresses that the transformations have came about as a consequence of this economic opening-up (and globalisation) of the recreational sector, assisted by high-performance forms of transport of the recreational sector, have made societies less reliant on natural resources and the boundaries of distance or of time. As cited in Page, 1999:5) The globalization of competition has developed into the rule rather than the exception for a number of industries in today’s society. To compete successfully, at home or globally, firms frequently manage their activities on a global basis. Although numerous global firms boast an explicit global business strategy, only some have global information technology architectures.

A global information management strategy is required as a consequence of industry globalization: the increasing globalization development in numerous industries and the related dependence on information technologies for management and operation and national competitive posture: the aggregation of separate domestic strategies in individual countries that may contend with coordination. (Galliers and Leidner, 2003:89) Technology will enable companies to gain competitive advantage however this may only be temporary as many competitors can imitate the competitive advantage easily as technology becomes more available and affordable.

Therefore businesses must come up with innovative new ways of exploiting the technology that they have. Technology is changing the ways in which traveller’s purchase products and this comes at a time where travellers are becoming more experienced and are experimenting more with their holidays. The more experienced and more confident traveller is not looking for an all-inclusive holiday, they want to tailor make their own holiday to suit their individual requirements.

This is where the changes in technology can lend a helping hand to travel companies who sell these products as it offers them the opportunity of offering customers a more individual package. Travel and tourism businesses must exploit the current advances in technology in order to compete successfully and enable their customers to receive the best service possible when buying products. Technology will introduce new intermediaries such as the Internet which by far will have the greatest effect on consumers as they chose to book online and receive more information, save time and save money.

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