Smart Tourist Experiences: Impacts of Smartphones on Leisure Travels

Smart Tourist Experiences: Impacts of Smartphones on Leisure Travels

Natalia Menezes (University of Aveiro, Portugal), Belem Barbosa (University of Porto, Portugal), Carolina Barrios Laborda (Universidad Tecnológica de Bolivar, Colombia) and Dayana R Pinzón Callejas (Universidad Tecnológica de Bolivar, Colombia)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7885-7.ch016
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After a comprehensive review on mobile tourism experience, the authors have identified the benefits and impacts of mobile use to tourists and their experiences. Besides locating similarities and differences in using mobile for tourism, the authors have confirmed that mobile empowers tourists to get more from their vacations and to have more flexible planning, resulting in satisfaction and accomplishment. This chapter enlightens tourism operators, among other stakeholders, on the opportunities for contextualized mobile advertising, which would attract and convert tourists into potential customers.
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Technology is acknowledged by managers, scholars, and consumers alike for its unavoidable impact on the tourism sector in recent years. Its influence is clear when observing tourists' behavior and experience, and the consequent adaptation of tourism operators that reinvent the use of the internet to better serve, attract, and satisfy prospects and customers. Tourists are increasingly technology savvy, they are connected, and they naturally use technology to improve their tourism experience, gaining in ubiquity, personalization, flexibility, and unlimited access to information. Therefore, they may be seen as smart and empowered tourists that require the delivery of complete, relevant and timely information, during their travels (Dickinson, Ghali, Cherrett, Speed, Davies & Norgate, 2014). In this context, several authors (e.g., Gretzel & Jamal, 2009; Hannam, Butler & Paris, 2014; Lamsfus, Wang, Alzua-Sorzabal & Xiang, 2015; Liang, Schuckert, Law & Masiero, 2017) have discussed mobile tourism and suggest that there is a new class of tourists that construct personalized traveling experiences relying mainly on their smartphones.

Further, smartphones influence tourists' decision processes before and during the trip, playing an essential role as facilitators of the tourism experience, not only for communication purposes but also for information search, entertainment and purchase. In fact, tourists use smartphones for different utilitarian and entertainment functions, and its usage depends on several factors, including patterns of use in their daily life (Wang, Xiang & Fesenmaier, 2016).

Based on the most relevant contributions in the literature on mobile tourism and the results of a qualitative exploratory study comprising 20 semi-structured interviews, this chapter addresses the impact of smartphones on tourist consumer behavior during leisure trips. The research objectives include understanding the impact of using smartphones on leisure travel experiences, explaining differences in the patterns of use during leisure travel and everyday life, and providing relevant cues for tourism sector managers so that they may include them strategically in destination management in order to enhance tourists’ travel experience.

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