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Innovation and Technology

Tourism businesses are under increasing pressure to continually reinvent themselves to meet the changing needs of the consumer. As a business develops and moves through it’s life cycle it will be influenced by trends in consumer demand, technological advancements, competition, economic and social changes and environmental imperatives. Innovation and the implementation of appropriate technology within a business can assist business managers in effectively responding to the changing environment and continuing to develop and grow.Read more
Tourism businesses are under increasing pressure to continually reinvent themselves to meet the changing needs of the consumer. As a business develops and moves through it’s life cycle it will be influenced by trends in consumer demand, technological advancements, competition, economic and social changes and environmental imperatives. Innovation and the implementation of appropriate technology within a business can assist business managers in effectively responding to the changing environment and continuing to develop and grow.

Business Operation Tip

The Australian Government has developed an ‘E-Business Guide’ to assist small businesses in understanding e-commerce and getting started in using the internet as a business tool.


Innovation

Innovation in tourism relates to the development and implementation of ideas or concepts that enhance the visitor experience, improve products or services or simplify operations. Innovation is not necessarily about creativity but more about problem solving, value-adding and identifying more efficient or unique ways of delivering a service or product. According to Tourism Victoria’s Tourism Excellence Modules there are three broad categories of innovation:

  • Product innovation – often high risk, involving substantial investment in people, time and money e.g. The development of wotif.com which was a market leader in online holiday booking systems in Australia;
  • Product improvement - improving current systems and products, which may only require minimal investment, but can result in substantial profit increase e.g. The Barossa Valley’s Penfolds that developed an interactive winemakers experience to further enhance the overall visitor experience; or
  • Process improvements - improvements in the way a business operates. This usually involves little or no risk e.g. The Royal Melbourne Zoo who introduced new animal management practices and developed new educational programs for visitors in order to improve sustainability and encourage public education.

Technology

Information communication technology is used in all tourism businesses to varying degrees. The business environment has been significantly influenced by the internet and new forms of e-commerce and communication technologies over the last decade. ICT can be used in a business for a variety of reasons including advertising and promotion, sales and distribution, customer management and operational efficiency. Key considerations for tourism businesses in implementing ICT within their business include:

  • Not all technologies are appropriate for every business. Businesses need to identify those technologies that are likely to make the most difference in the business and provide value for money;
  • The internet is a key tool for most businesses for marketing and sales and also communication with suppliers and customers;
  • In addition to the internet, tourism operators need to remain up-to-date with other technological systems such as banking and credit facilitation, e-commerce and computer-based management systems;
  • Successful implementation of technologies requires a good level of ICT skills either within the business or from an outsourced consultant, with regular review of the systems also warranted;
  • Development of a risk and recovery plan for the possible ICT failures is essential for all businesses.

For further information on the use of technology for marketing and sales please see the ‘Marketing’ section.


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