Digital Imaging Trek: A Practical Model for Managing the Demand of the Digitally Enabled Traveller

Digital Imaging Trek: A Practical Model for Managing the Demand of the Digitally Enabled Traveller

Stephen C. Andrade (Johnson & Wales University, USA) and Hilary Mason (Johnson & Wales University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 24
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-088-2.ch027

Abstract

This chapter introduces the concept and activities of the digitally enabled tourist and the impact such as tourist has on the travel and tourism industry. It summarizes the existing and emerging technical environments that encourage the use of hand held digital recording devices and personal Internet communications. Additionally, it looks at ways tourists publish and exhibit digital visual and written artifacts of their travel experience. The chapter introduces general types of digital communication infrastructure to be considered by the industry to create an experience to support this type of tourism. The authors hope that further understanding of the digitally enabled tourist will inform travel professionals to better facilitate commerce and practice in the industry.
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Background

Since the wide spread use of the telephone in the 1920s, information and communications technologies (ICT) have had a great influence on the industry of tourism. In the 1990s, the wide spread use of powerful desktop computers, enterprise wide systems, and the World Wide Web (WWW) continued to transform the way business was conducted in all facets of the travel and tourism. While ICTs have had a dramatic impact on the mechanics of tourism business practices, the virtual explosion of new inexpensive digital communication technologies is transforming the experience of tourism from the traveler’s point of view.

The new generation of hand held mobile technologies, the expansion of wireless (WiFi) networks and the surge in digitally hosted social interchange services present new opportunities for engaging all sectors of the tourism industry. This new generation of technologies also presents new challenges to the industry to structure services with the digital service users in mind.

New services that provide online collaborative and social interaction through the World Wide Web now shape and influence vast communities of millions of online customers. Traveler-centered mobile technologies are increasingly used for many activities embedded in the tourist and traveler experience. This chapter will explore the model of the digital imaging trek and the digitally enabled traveler as a way to structure experiences to satisfy the demand of the technically savvy traveler in a world of advancing mobile technologies and online services. It also will provide basic technical background about the devices and infrastructure that drives these technological innovations.

Understanding the use of advanced hand held devices from the traveler’s point of view is becoming more critical to tourism industry providers. Both new and veteran professionals in the tourism industry need to think about how these technologies influence the customers’ choices, activities and ultimately their economic decisions about tourism. Customers have eagerly adopted the cheap and easy to use digital technologies. Tourism professionals need to understand the role mobile digital technologies play in the expanding global tourism field. For customers, mobile digital technologies are helping to shape the experience of tourism from initial research of a destination, through the reservation process to the final visual record of the experience.

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