The tourism race towards digitalization
is on

Redazione
12/10/2022
In brief
Sustainability, territory, know-how, culture, competitiveness and innovation – these are the keywords for the revival of tourism in Italy. The common denominator? Digitalization.
Also moving in this direction is the National Agency for Tourism (ENIT) which in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and as part of the initiatives contained in the Strategic Tourism Plan 2017-2022 “has provided for the granting of funding amounting to €9mn to companies and communication agencies experienced in the digital world.

Sustainability, territory, know-how, culture, competitiveness and innovation – these are the keywords for the revival of tourism in Italy. The common denominator? Digitalization.

Charting the course for the sector – which in recent years had to deal with the global health crisis that has had a deep impact on travel and stays – is the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP), which framed within Mission 1 has the goal of digitalizing the tourism industry with the allocation of €2.4 billion. The aim is precisely to support a strategy for the recovery of a fundamental sector for the Italian economy and which involves targeted interventions such as the creation of a digital tourism hub over the five-year period 2021-2026.

Also moving in this direction is the National Agency for Tourism (ENIT) which in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism and as part of the initiatives contained in the Strategic Tourism Plan 2017-2022 “has provided for the granting of funding amounting to €9mn to companies and communication agencies experienced in the digital world to develop new processes and interventions in tourism promotion” (.

Tourism and digital transformation: Retex solutions
From the virtual wallet with which to make purchases even under the sun umbrella, to the integration and digitalization of access control in the facility, are the solutions that Retex provides its clients throughout Italy with the aim to support hospitality businesses by drastically reducing:

  • all those manual activities that tend to take time away from staff and customers, ensuring secure processes (order management, warehouse management, cash operations, data monitoring and recording);
  • the use of cash, improving internal workflows and the customer experience from arrival to stay to departure (cashless payments, h24 top-ups, digital wallets, avoided queues at reception).

Retex solutions also improve the experience of the end-customers, who through digital tools, such as a webapp on their smartphone, can order at the hotel restaurants or reserve an umbrella at the pool, or even, using their room keycard, pay for extras and consume meals included in their full board package.

These are just a few examples of the projects Retex implements to accompany its clients on their digital transformation journey, supporting them to remain competitive with innovative and enhanced customer engagement solutions for the customer experience.

Some numbers
According to data from the eighth edition of the Osservatorio Innovazione Digitale nel Turismo (Digital Innovation in Tourism Observatory) of the School of Management of the Polytechnic University of Milan, in Italy the overall travel market (online and offline) has grown both in the hospitality component (€9.5bn, +73pc over 2020 and close to the €10.3bn of 2019) and in the transport component (€8.5bn, +33pc over 2020 but still far from the €18bn pre-COVID). In this scenario, digital transactions have also shown a marked improvement, reaching €11.1bn (+55pc over 2020). “Today”, explains the Observatory, “88 percent of Italian hospitality facilities involved in the research use at least one digital tool for process management”.

Without forgetting sustainability
But what does digital tourism really mean? And how can digitalization help the sector to be sustainable?

First of all, it should be made clear that digitalizing an industry like tourism is a wide-ranging qualification that does not stop at the surface or the first habits that may come to mind (for example the digital booking experience of a trip), but revolutionizes deep down all processes for the customer and for the accommodation facilities themselves.

To imagine the magnitude of a change that looks at digitalization as a driver for the revitalization of the industry, it would be enough to think of how the drastic reduction in the use of cash could facilitate the customer experience as well as the working model of facilities (and staff) in hospitality and thereby fostering practices respectful of the environment.