Many players in the local tourism trade congregated on Thursday at the Renaissance Convention Center for an event titled Tourism & Digital Transformation, how it impacts our lives.
Ronella Tjin Asjoe Croes was the first speaker. She gave an excellent address stating that the travel and tourism industry has always been an early-adopter of new technologies and platforms.
As I listened to her it dawned on me how right that statement was because during a recent trip I was a bit paranoid about my iPhone, my most precious possession on the road, and possibly in life, trying to remember to ALWAYS place it back in the same place, in my giant travel bag so I don’t have to franticaly look for it every time I call Uber, talk Google Maps or book tickets for the Acropolis museum, umpteen times a day.
According to Ronella: “Travel is where the largest consumer and tech trends first meet and much of it is in play already or currently being tested…such as connected rooms, butler service by voice recognition, keyless room entry and therefore no check-in, facial recognition, even wearables that allow you to explore, browse, shop and book whatever you want while on vacation – think cruise ship or amusement park.
She then went on to state that with digital technology poised to transform every aspect of the travel experience, Aruba is taking steps to transform its tourism industry in the face of a rapidly evolving digital environment. She also described how far along the island is, as a tourism destination in the process of transforming and integrating countless digital tools into its strategy.
“Aruba’s tourism industry,” she added, “is as a mature product, and finds itself at a critical stage of its product life cycle, which demands even more attention than ever before, considering this current era of digitization called the 4th Industrial Revolution, or in other words Uberization.”
Very challenging indeed.
The ATA CEO pledged her organization’s commitment to keeping up with the Joneses, and formulating the required strategy to stay in the race. I will go back to her interesting strategies on another day.
Two invited speakers then took over the stage, both enlightening and entertaining.
Daniel Newman, a digital transformation expert and Sam Sheffer, a content producer on YouTube.
Newman’s mantra: “Mobile Integration, Mobile first, Mobile only,” confirmed that my cell phone is indeed the most important possession in my life thanks to its contribution to the ease and comfort of living. We should be able to check in, and check out, he said, make spa appointments, order room service, book excursions and communicate with the air-conditioning unit in our room, directly via our mobile device.
IN FACT, HE SUGGESTED OUT GOAL SHOULD BE A FULLY DIGITAL TOURIST EXPERIENCE WITHOUT THE NEED TO EVER TALK TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING DURING STAYS ON THE ISLAND.
Talk should be an option, not a must, he said. Our mobile devices should be able to do everything for us. Can you imagine cuddling and spooning with an iPhone?
Sheffer confirmed that the world is getting silly. He creates digital content for a sizeable audience of followers with his cap worn backwards, roaming NYC on his Boosted Board, a motorized skateboard, recording the sights via his spectacles and his DJI OSMO, which helps keep his camera flat. At the end of his presentation he assured us that UBER in the sky, is in the pipeline. A helicopter service, designed to ease city commute.
I guess a university education should remain an option, not a must. Digital gadgets, social media and AI, should be able to do everything for us.