February 2019

Digital Travelers, Experiences and Places: Everything you Need to Know

Mobile strategy
NearIT and digital travelers

Imagination, as well as emotions, guide digital travelers’ choices. They have more opportunities to discover something new and express who they are and who they would like to become.

Vacation or travel?

In recent years the Travel Experience has changed considerably in its form and substance, consequently also the way in which people describe it: less and less vacation, more and more travel. By comparing the meaning of the words “vacation” and “travel”, it is curious to note that this tendency also corresponds from a semantic point of view.

While the first describes “an interruption of ordinary occupations for a period of several days for the purpose of rest, relaxation or leisure”, the second one means “tour through places or countries other than one’s own, with longer or shorter stays, done in order to know, educate, develop or consolidate relationships, and have fun”.

NearIT and digital travelers

Tourism in the smartphone era

Before digital transformation and smartphones, agencies and tour operators, as well as catalogs, were the exclusive points of reference for organizing trips, the main source of information to discover and know the destinations available.  

Today, however, people are increasingly moving often choosing solutions, activities, facilities, and their means of transport online, preferably through their mobile devices.

In 2018, 50 million orders were placed between transport tickets, holiday, hotel bookings, also car insurance, event tickets, and telephone top-ups, tourism has effectively been confirmed as the first e-commerce sector in Italy with regards to services.
(Source: Osservatorio Ecommerce B2C promoted by the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano and Netcomm)

Who are digital travelers?

Faced with these changes in the way of thinking, organizing and experiencing the journey, the question for those working in the Travel sector is not whether to reach or engage their users through the smartphone, but how, when, and why should it be done.

If it is true that italian people spend an average of three hours on the smartphone a day, 50% more than in 2016, it is also true that everyone does it according to their habits. The digital travelers act in an increasingly complex phygital ecosystem, where physical contact points (agencies, info points, advisors and tour operators) and digital (portals, platforms, assistance chatbots) alternate, accompanying them through different phases of their research up to the final choice.

NearIT and digital travelers

A new role for Travel Operators

Tour operators are redefining the role they play in the decision-making process of their customers, then reformulating the manner through which destinations are proposed, even in the way they are being told. Being innovative is, in fact, a matter that concerns both the offer of an experience and the communication and promotion of the same experience.

In this sense, technology must continuously be more intuitive, as well, a much-needed ally for operators in the sector, required to enhance their services in a mobile perspective to engage tourists throughout their digital journey through a more conscious and firm relationship of trust. A relation that can be enhanced by tools, such as apps and web platforms, that work in the proximity and allow you to accompany users, in the right place and at the right time for them.

NearIT and digital travelers

How to create a Smart Destination

It is in this scenario Contextual Mobile Engagement comes in, that is the user’s involvement through the smartphone, whereby in certain situations and close to strategic points of interests in their itinerary: such as airport or station, a historical square, a local shop or why not, a gourmet restaurant.

Harnessing the functionality of mobile technologies working in proximity, it is possible to profile users, customize their experience based on their interests and their geographical location, and at the same time enhance the territory as a Smart destination where economy, tourism, public service, and culture converge in a more integrated and sustainable urban context.

Through dynamic targeted and contextual communication, a perfect circle is created that favors:


  • operators and local governance, who want to give visibility to cities and places in a mobile perspective, using innovative technologies with which they interact in a new way with their users;
  • local businesses, who want to be known and want, in turn, to know their users, promote products and services tailored to their real interests and behaviors;
  • citizens, who can benefit from more targeted and effective information on the services present on the territory;
  • tourists and visitors, looking for exclusive experiences that tell the values ​​of places, using tools that are non intrusive, but enrich their space and time in an original way.

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