The current global industrial revolution is on the move of transforming every sector of the economy. The travel industry is one of the most positively affected sectors in the world. It is believed that only in August 2017 around 3.5 million travelers went through South Africa. That has indeed boosted the country’s economy. The question is what if the country never stayed to date with the technology developments? The answer is obvious that few individuals would have used the route to their preferred destinations.
The growth of mobile technology in the whole of Africa has increased the number of consumers who are connected and able to receive information irrespective of their location and the device they are using. The mobile services and technology are expected record above $210 billion of continents economic value by 2020. Technology has changed how the youths interact and engage when it comes to using different sites to book flights and hotels, carry out online check-ins, upgrade their seats and finally write reviews. South Africa is one of the countries in Africa that is embracing the technology improvements in its traveling industry.
Digital traveling gives the consumers a chance to have control of what they want to experience fully. What has been boosting the digital transformation is the consumer’s urge to make booking anywhere they are without necessarily traveling to the traveling agencies offices. This has helped to save time and cut the high costs that are imposed on customers by the middlemen. The absence of the digital travel operators lead to missing of accommodations, not able to book a seat before reaching the airport and this will make the check-in process more tiresome.
Given the high number of competitors in the traveling industry, the consumer will only jump to another travel services that can offer online services. It now calls for the traveling industry stakeholders to ensure that there are a reliable data and digital services as the backbone of retaining their customers. The importance of being more digital oriented is seen by looking at developments in the travel industry on the continent. Recently, AirBnB announced that it would invest $1 million through 2020 to promote and support community-led tourism projects in Africa.
In 2016 AirBnB welcomed 1.2 million guests to the continent while earning a combined $139 million in lost income. AirBnB is on the course to accommodate more than 100 million leisure and business guests in 2017 globally, up from 80 million in 2016. While that is still small compared to the $550 billion global hotel industry, it is amazing for a business that began in 2014. According to Travelport research, 86 percent of South African travelers use travel booking sites while 82 percent consult review sites to help with ideas on which destinations to visit next. It also indicates that mobile is a growing part of the booking experience with 35 percent of users using a smartphone and 38 percent a tablet to make their bookings.