Openly collaborative, organized, and functional service process ecosystem paving the way to success in Finnish medical tourism

Keywords: medical tourism, ecosystem, tourism supply chain, tourism service process, service process ecosystem, collaboration in tourism.

Medical tourism- tourism or just a health care intervention abroad?

Medical tourism is originally derived from health tourism that include travelling outside one’s native health care administrative region for the reconstruction or strengthening of personal health by the means of medical interventions and wellness 1. The distinction between the terms health tourism, medical tourism and wellness tourism, are many times misleadingly used synonymously, by specifying that health tourism can be divided to two branches: medical tourism and wellness tourism 2. Still, a medical tourist may include elements from wellness tourism into their experience.

Phenomenon of traveling outside own home country for medical care has been existing long in history and during the last few centuries affluent individuals from less developed regions have travelled to more developed countries to get treatments in more advanced facilities by skilful and well-trained medical staff 3. Although the patient movement across borders is not a new phenomenon, social and economic changes of the recent years have accelerated the transnational demand and supply of health care bringing medical tourism at the crossroad of tourism and medical care activities 4. Along with globalization, the growing numbers of patients and medical professionals travelling across borders, enhancements in health technology, funding and governmental regimes across country borders has brought about unforeseen forms of consumption as well as production of medical services. Seeking medical treatment abroad is preferred by people who attempt to integrate treatment with a touristic holiday with activities and attractions 4,5.

Customer personas- from functionally healthy to terminally ill

Depending on the health status, it is likely that for some medical tourists the holiday and recuperative functions are less topical while for other medical tourists the leisure aspect could have a more important impact on how the medical service purchasing decision is made. Still, the majority of people traveling for medical purposes need at least the basic hospitality services such as accommodation, transportation and restaurant services. Also, accompanying family members may be interested in different services provided by tourism industry.

When a potential medical tourist is searching and selecting providers the most important factors are their personal networks, recommendations from acquaintances, and online search engines. Hence, medical travel incorporates the development towards more individualized health culture with tailor-made service offerings. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge customer motivations and needs in the customer process when developing service processes in medical tourism. The customer, the medical tourist, is in the center focus when these processes and collaboration is planned and aligned.

In general, receiving medical care and being treated at home by carers speaking their own language, being close to relatives, in a system that is recognizable is preferred. Therefore, proximity to home, geographically and/or culturally, is seen as an important factor but there is a willingness, ability, and preparedness to travel longer distances for medical care if it offers some advantages 5, 6. Common factors contributing to seeking medical care abroad are affordable costs, shorter or non-existing waiting times, availability of treatments, i.e. accessibility with issues regarding bioethical legality and insurance coverage, modern medical facilities, equipment and technology, perceived quality of care, including reputation of superior and more advanced skill level of medical personnel and methods, and familiarity, including feeling comfortable with the system, trusting the carers and importantly being able to communicate in own language 3,5,6,7,8,9.

The image of the destination country may have a major impact on the decision-making process. Here Finland has an advantage with its unique set of qualities that can only be found in the Nordic countries. It is emphasized that trustworthiness is a key element, also reflected in transparency in pricing and humane values that are important and prevalent qualities in Finnish medical tourism. Finland should be able to communicate its offering and the good qualities the medical tourism field has to offer compared to global competition.

Glimpse of the Finnish market

Global estimates of the annual amount of people travelling outside their domiciles for medical interventions and the global market evaluation vary; Medical Tourism Association (MTA), a global non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of the industry, has evaluated the number of people to around 14 million with a global market size to USD 4 billion in 2021 10,11. In Finland, treating foreign patients is still small scale and medical tourism as an industry is still in its infancy. Medical tourism growth potential is significant, and Finland as a technologically advanced country, along with long established health technology export, is well prepared to meet growing demand by offering high quality medical services in clean and safe environment 8. A vision set for 2023 by the Medical Tourism Association of Finland is that Finland would be a leading medical tourism destination in the Nordic countries and one of the most popular in Europe with 100 MEUR turnover and 5 MEUR investment 12.  In 2022 the total turnover produced by medical tourists in Finnish market was EUR 8,3 million whilst the corresponding annual turnover before the Covid-19 pandemic was ca. EUR 10-15 million and the annual number of medical tourists between the years 2019 and 2022 has been 630 to 380013. There are medical services offered from different medical fields, e.g., oncology, orthopaedics, neurology, and other specialized medical fields such as vascular diseases and obstetrics, as well as rehabilitation and medical check-ups.

Competition in the global market is fierce, which emphasizes the need for more close collaboration among stakeholders, a variety of actors such as hospitals and clinics, medical tourism facilitators, also called patient broker agencies or butler service providers, travel agencies, hotels, airlines, restaurants, and transport companies. At the moment there are only a few companies operating within the medical tourism field in Finland which collaborate with each other, and most are organized in an association. Medical tourism as an industry in Finland is in a phase of a new beginning where the focal actors, the medical service providers, and the facilitators, are starting to mould their operations, push forward the niche market and align their collaborative ecosystems accordingly. Recognizing and bringing together various stakeholders and investing in establishing good relations among the stakeholders is imperative. Agreeing and abiding to the individual roles and tasks in a long-term basis is a mission for all the stakeholders in the ecosystem and a premise for its successful implementation.

Medical tourism ecosystem – a platform for collaboration

Collaborative business ecosystems are characterized by information sharing and joint action among complementors 14. Ecosystem value chain thinking has evolved from supply chain management, which is the practice of coordinating the flow of goods, services, information, and finances as they move from raw materials to parts, supplier to manufacturer, to wholesaler to retailer to consumer 15. Coordination is a decision-making procedure that aims to perform functions to accomplish supply chain targets through predetermined arrangements. However, coordination is considered to be decision-making that does not extensively take into consideration the impact of these decisions to the other stakeholders and the relationship is not considered to be fully integrated with common objectives 16. Whereas an ecosystem approach takes into consideration the stakeholders and the environment in a more thorough, dynamic, less hierarchical and broader manner serving today ´s industry needs better. The ecosystem term is aimed at capturing the connection linking the core service/product, its main elements, and its complementary services/products, which together increase value for customers17.

As with any business field, there are socio-economic opportunities, risks, and concerns regarding medical tourism. However, the main critical concern about the financial benefit and general feasibility and success of medical tourism is how the foreign patient service process chain regarding the treatment and the whole customer process is organized 18, 19. Businesses design and create their own service process ecosystems and may then expand collaborative targets within the industry specific service process ecosystem. Through organizing collaboration and service process functions in the medical tourism service process ecosystem, created specifically to suit the needs of medical tourism businesses in Finland, the ultimate goal of medical tourism, medical tourist satisfaction, can be achieved.


Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration

There are over twenty different identified stakeholders connected to Finnish medical tourism. This indicates unique diversity in the collaborative business environment in medical tourism industry as it is a totally different service industry compared to tourism and leisure since there are stakeholders involved from tourism, health, medical and public sectors. The multitude of stakeholders means the existing collaboration in medical tourism is intricate and complex.

The extent and forms of collaboration among medical tourism actors in Finland vary considerably, and they are connected to the business strategy and mirror the states and operational aims of the companies. Some have established extensive collaborative networks while others have more sporadic collaboration patterns. Some uncertainty can be seen as to with whom to collaborate with, and what sort of collaboration would be useful and needed. However, there is a common disposition among the stakeholders to harmonize the collaboration so that Finnish inbound medical tourism could be increased.

The prerequisites, in terms of collaboration, for Finland to become a well-known medical tourism destination is the understanding and open-mindedness at governmental level that the whole nation must be invested in it.  As a result, the common mission and elevated brand awareness would open more collaboration and business opportunities. In medical tourism collaboration, one stumbling block may in fact be a certain inability or disinclination on behalf of the medical service provider to look at the customer not only as a patient having the medical procedure but also at the same time an oversees tourist possibly willing to purchase other tourism related experiences. This would deepen and diversify the customer experience and strengthen the economic impact of an individual customer by activating various stakeholders in the medical tourism service process ecosystem. On the other hand, medical tourism might be looked at only as a part of tourism industry in the mind sets of public medical service providers and not seeing it as their task to promote a separate private industry that is experienced burdening and/or irrelevant to theirs. The institutional characteristics and sentiments of the public health care sector largely define the frames for possible collaboration and the extent to which these can be influenced may be limited.

If the nationwide economic potential and benefits brought by medical tourism are recognized it would most likely mean that there would be more collaboration, hence more business opportunities, between the medical tourism facilitators and medical service providers in both private and public health care sectors. The feasibility with a socio-economic harm-benefit analysis of treating medical tourists should be looked at of course critically but most importantly with an open mind looking at it as an opportunity. This would also alleviate the lack of (mis)information regarding the possible impacts of medical tourism. If a well-thought process for medical tourism is executed correctly the potential revenue earned by treating foreign patients in the public arena would increase the effectiveness of the public health care sector in the long run. The revenue could be used to invest in public sector facilities and resources such as staff and this way medical tourism could be harnessed to bring positive effects to public health care sector and, in larger scale, the national economy. In a situation where the public sector medical service providers simply do not have will or resources to treat foreign patients the medical tourism industry must function within the private sector. After all, for collaboration to happen one must seek collaboration with the ones who are willing and able to collaborate.

Recommendations to actors in medical tourism industry in Finland

-Improving market status by increasing understanding of the importance of nationwide collaboration. Active networking, building, and looking for possible partnerships locally and globally.

-Tailoring services into more purposeful, unique, and unforgettable experiences, towards gaining a competitive edge in competitive international markets.

– Joining forces with key stakeholders to create country specific medical tourism ecosystem with a customer path that enables that experience and promotes Finland as one of the leading medical tourism destinations.


This blog text is based on the Master´s thesis of the author: The role of collaboration in the development of tourism service process ecosystem- case Finnish medical tourism. Salminen, Ulla E.


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(2) Gabor, M.R.& Oltean, F.D. (2019). Babymoon tourism between emotional well-being service for medical tourism and niche tourism. Development and awareness on Romanian educated women. Tourism Management, 70, 170-175. DOI:

(3) Uchida, Y. (2015). Medical Tourism or `Medical Examination and Treatment Abroad’: An Economic. Study of the Phenomenon. In Hieda, M., Vafadari, K., & Cooper, M. (Eds) Current Issues and Emerging Trends in Medical Tourism IGI Global. DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8574-1.

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(5) Carrera, P.& Lunt, N. (2010). A European Perspective on Medical Tourism: The Need for a Knowledge Base. International Journal of Health Services, 40(3), 469-484.DOI:

(6) Glinos, I. A., Baeten, R., & Boffin, N. (2006). Cross-border contracted care in Belgium hospitals. In Rossenmöller,M., McKee, M.& Baeten,R.(Eds.) Patient Mobility in the European Union: Learning from Experience, (97–118). European Observatoryon Health Systems and Policies, Copenhagen, 2006.

(7) Fernando, Y.& Lee, H.K. (2015). Dive with the Sharks: A content analysis of the medical tourism supply chain. In Hieda, M., Vafadari, K., & Cooper, M. (Eds) Current Issues and Emerging Trends in Medical Tourism (31-43). DOI:

(8) Hartman, S. & Kahri, P. (2011). Hoito- ja hoivapalvelujen kansainvälistyminen ja vienti – mahdollisuudet sekä työryhmän ehdotukset strategisiksi linjauksiksi. Ministry of Employment and the Economy. MEE Publications Concern 2/2011. Available at: Accessed 04.12.2022.

(9) Österle, A., Diesenreiter, C., Glinsner, B. and Reichel, E. (2021). Inbound and outbound medical travel in Austria. Journal of Health Organization and Management, 35(9), 34-49. Emerald Publishing Limited 1477-7266. DOI 10.1108/JHOM-04-2020-0129.

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(16) Zhang, X., Song, H. & Huang, G.Q. (2009). Tourism supply chain management: A new research agenda. Tourism Management, 30(3), 345–358. DOI: 10.1016/j.tourman.2008.12.010.

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Research: Adaptation and resilience of the key organizations in the Lappeenranta region after losing their main international customer segment

Introduction of the study

The aim of this master’s thesis was to investigate how organizations in the Lappeenranta region have managed the recent crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Both of these crises have tested the resilience of the destination and its organizations as they have caused the loss of Russian visitors. Russians used to be the main customer segment of the region.

Eight semi-structured thematic interviews were conducted to reach the aim of the study. The interviewees were key actors in the Lappeenranta region. They were most likely affected by the existing circumstances and had experience and insights into the matter. The types of organizations the interviewees represented were regional development, tourism development, transportation, retail, tour operator and accommodation. The data collection took place in January and February of 2023. A thematic analysis brought forward four main themes: Visitors of the Lappeenranta region, Outcomes from recent crises, Adaptation in times of crises and Possibilities from the destination.

Photo: Author
Negative impacts of the situation

The findings indicated that the uncertainty is still challenging the region. The negative impacts of the situation include for instance increased expenses, decreased revenue and changed customer flows. There has not been much time to recover after the pandemic before the next crisis hit in the form of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Additionally, seasonality, lack of resources, need for more attraction elements, changes in consumption habits and products directed to Russians only were mentioned as vulnerability factors in the region.

New possibilities

However, some new possibilities are looked for. Factors such as food, sustainability, nature, safety, pureness and cooperation provide opportunities that could further be developed. New markets are looked for among domestic visitors as well as from Italy, DACH, Benelux, Sweden and Estonia. Mass tourism is not desired. Nevertheless, interviewees agreed that Russian visitors cannot be replaced.

Photo: Author

Organizations should have active management on the matter and look for new opportunities instead of waiting for the circumstances to return to the pre-crisis state as it is uncertain to happen. There is a lot of will in the area to develop but the means might not still be known.

This study contributes to existing research by bringing information on the current circumstances in the Lappeenranta region that have had a major effect on the tourism field in Eastern Finland. It explores the use of crisis management and adaptive strategies as well as possibilities to aim for resilience. At the time of the research, the circumstances were still ongoing. The findings are based on the current insights of the interviewees and might not illustrate long-term perspectives. Therefore, further research is needed to repeat the same study later on or to investigate the process of recovery in organizations and the beneficial novel actions in the region.

Text: Ella Könönen

How overtourism could be prevented via green digital advertising?

Have you visited a destination that has “lost its magic” due to the crowds there? Authenticity as well as the quality of life of residents has been in danger since overtourism started to eat capacities of the destinations. Overtourism is referred to as “loving places to death”²Three decades ago, Venice was home to over 120 000 people¹⁶. The number of residents is decreasing. A couple of years ago before the pandemic, there were about 55 000 residents left in the historical center of Venice¹⁶. This means that the population is about 54% less than it was before. This is because of overtourism. 

Overtourism was a current issue before the COVID-19. However, the demand for tourism still exists and overtourism can be an issue once more. Therefore, strategies should be created already to prevent it from happening again.

The examined question is conflicting, and that is exactly why it is interesting. Is it that digital advertising was the factor that caused overtourism? Maybe digital advertising could be the one that could prevent overtourism, but would it be against the principles of the original idea of advertising?  What is the Golden mean, where overtourism could be prevented but all the tourists would not be lost? So many questions. Let’s get into the question a bit more closely by opening it up.


Overtourism is googled in 2006 for the first time but is considered an older issue in another context². Overtourism is defined as the excessive increase in the number of tourists that causes overcrowding in locations, when locals face the negative effects of seasonal tourism peaks, forcing inhabitants to make permanent changes to their lives, access to amenities, and general well-being². Overtourism has a negative impact on the quality of life of residents, due to a rowdy and crowdy environment that loses its authenticity and amenity². There are strains on infrastructure, and inappropriate behaviour by tourists, but also decreased enjoyment of experiences by tourists². Residents who live in a tourism center and are vulnerable to the negative impacts are less supportive of tourism compared to those living away from the tourism center¹². 

According to the study that examined the community’s trust in government and the levels of community involvement and participation in Ecotourism, the levels of community involvement and participation in ecotourism were low. However, the community’s perceptions of trust in the government were quite positive. On the other hand, there are still actions toward overtourism. The term “tourismphobia” first appeared in 2008³. The term has been used to label anti-tourism protests, which are held in different cities like Barcelona and Venice³. 

People holding their hands on a tree
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There is also social responsibility (SR) which is a multidimensional concept that is about respecting people, places, and things, recognizing the connection between others as well as the environment and appreciating it¹³. In the 1980s SR became part of advertising as a creative strategy¹³. According to Jerry Welsh (1985) social responsibility is a good marketing hook¹³. 


Now, that we have investigated overtourism as a phenomenon, let’s move forward to advertising itself. Advertising is a crucial tool in our economy and society¹⁵. It is a marketing tactic and is any paid message that is delivered to consumers as meaning to make the offer more attractive to them¹⁵. Digital advertising, in turn, is advertising that involves computational networks¹¹. As considered earlier, would the opposite goal for advertising, decreasing the number of tourists, be against the principles of the original idea of advertising?  Advertising is also about giving information to customers¹³. Therefore, the original principles could be applied by giving information about the destination’s real situation, as actually, has been done already. 

To advertise a destination, technology is needed – the smarter, the better. Destination smartness can be about “taking advantage of smart technology in creating, managing, and delivering intelligent touristic services/experiences”¹. Destination smartness may be conceptualized based on how smart technologies are used to execute certain behaviors¹. Today, new technologies include hyper-personalized algorithms which help collect data, for example, of peoples’ lifestyles¹⁷. AI (artificial intelligence) could be utilized when targeting the advertising of overtourism to sub-target groups. 

Virtual reality (VR) could be applied when combining technology with the tourism business. Along with the technological revolution, the accessibility of devices will become more probable. This is an opportunity to have better access to devices that are necessary regarding, for example, virtual reality. If people had VR headsets, virtual reality could be utilized better. Travel agencies and transport companies could invest in virtual reality for potential customers to see destinations during different seasons. The customer could see if there is a crowd at the chosen season and could decide better whether wants to go there at that time of the year. This would influence the purchase decision. Therefore, the one purchasing a trip, as well as the overtourism destination, would benefit from this. 

According to the study that aimed to determine tourists’ willingness to pay taxes and public fees to improve sustainability and experience at the destination, one out of every four tourists said to reject paying any tax and/or public fee set by the tourism activity⁵. The least willing ones for payments were either retired or younger individuals with low incomes. Using this study as the base, the people with better incomes could be primarily targeted when advertising overtourism, and for example, a donation campaign could be organized. The campaign could inform the destinations which have suffered from overtourism the most. It could encourage tourists that are planning to travel to one of those destinations to donate money to the destination for resourcing the infrastructure there. Instructions for how to donate would be provided in the campaign. 

Green advertising is a valid aspect to utilize. The information given is from the study “Green Advertising on Social Media: Brand Authenticity Mediates the Effect of Different Appeals on Purchase Intent and Digital Engagement”¹⁴. Green advertising is defined as an ad that addresses the relationship between a product/service and the biophysical environment, promotes a green lifestyle, or presents a corporate image of environmental responsibility. It can include ads that promote a sustainable lifestyle with or without highlighting products or services. Green advertising share opinions, some agree, and some perceive it as misleading advertising. Nowadays, there are many with “climate anxiety” – guilt about their lifestyles because of its effect on the ecosystem and future generations. There can be indirect risks experienced due to social pressures or even accepted social norms of environmental sustainability behavior. This could be the key factor in changing a certain behavior. Social norms theory (SNT) is usually applied in this. Perkins and Berkowitz (1986) define the theory as the situation of an individual making decisions based on socially acceptable behaviors or beliefs. As a cause-and-effect relationship, brands utilize this social norm by making their products eco-friendly. 

What about our buying behavior? According to Crompton (1979), the tourist industry should pay greater attention to socio-psychological motives rather than cultural motives when developing product and promotion strategies. Also, the facilities of the destination do not matter that much in the destination decision. It is more about the push factors than the pull factors regarding the decision. This is a good sign from an overtourism perspective. If an individual wants to relax and it is the primary motive behind the destination decision, it is not concerning only one or two destinations in the world. Cooperation with influencers could be applied here.  

A phone on a table with social media icons shown on a screen and the phone is next to a coffee
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Social media influencers (SMI) are part of today’s marketing. There is the study that identifies consumer motivations to follow SMIs on Instagram and its association with consumer behaviour outcomes. The results were authenticity, consumerism, creative inspiration, and envy. Influencers are more likely to be followed if they are genuine, open, and relatable. Social media influencers could for example say in their travel vlogs that they chose another destination over the other suffering from overtourism, if this is the case. Those following them would start to think about their destination decisions from a different perspective. Influencers could also do live-streaming videos of the overtourism destinations, with the message of the negative impacts. One study examined the tourism live-streaming viewers’ immediate purchase decisions¹⁰. According to the results, informativity, entertainment, and interactivity positively influenced immersion and, in turn, viewers’ interest in tourism products and live streaming and therefore, buying desire. In this case, the study would be used with the opposite goal of not buying the trip to overtourism destination, by influencing buying desire. 

It is predicted that advertising using traditional media will become the dominant form of advertising. This could be the solution for consumers not taking the advertising of overtourism offensively due to the advertising would be targeted, for example, to all watching a TV. Newspapers and different documents have been used already in this matter of overtourism. Why has this not influenced consumers? Is prioritizing self-oriented needs and motives just humane and therefore hard to resist? Maybe. It might be that there is not even a direct solution for preventing overtourism through advertising.  


When the aim of advertising is to prevent overtourism, affecting customers’ emotions could be the main goal. Showing all the negative impacts it has caused from an environmental and social point of view. Tourist destinations could do green advertising – social responsibility and norms as the base for it. Of course, by not being aggressive and using strategy, the consumer would not identify directly the social values and beliefs used behind the advertising affecting consumer behavior. The Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) could be applied here. TRA is about understanding the relationships between attitudes, intentions, and behaviors. Normative beliefs in TRA could be that others are considered to evaluate how sustainable you are. Therefore, motivation to comply would be sustainable behavior.  

There is always an issue existing when advertising the negative impacts of overtourism in a certain destination. If people would not want to go to the destination anymore due to the feeling that they are not welcome there, would there be total tourist loss? This would have a negative impact on the destination from an economic point of view. What is the Golden mean?



¹Au, W.C.W., & Tsang, N.K.F. (2022). What makes a destination smart? an intelligence-oriented approach to conceptualizing destination smartness. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 39(4), 448-464. 

²Butler, R., & Dodds, R. (2019). Overtourism : issues, realities and solutions. Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter Oldenbourg. 

³Celata, F., & Romano, A. (2022). Overtourism and online short-term rental platforms in Italian cities. Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 30(5), 1020-1039. 

Crompton, J.L. (1979). Motivations for pleasure vacation. Annals of Tourism Research, 6(4), 408-424. 

Durán-Román, J.L., Cárdenas-García, P.J., & Pulido-Fernández, J.I. (2021). Tourists’ willingness to pay to improve sustainability and experience at destination. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 19 (100540). 

⁶Harilal, V., Tichaawa, T., & Saarinen, J. (2022). Ecotourism and Community Development in Cameroon: The Nexus Between Local Participation and Trust in Government. Tourism Planning & Development, 19(2), 164-185. 

Kamata, H. (2022). Tourist destination residents’ attitudes towards tourism during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Current Issues in Tourism, 25(1), 134-149. 

Koslow, S., & Stewart, D.W. (2022). Message and media: the future of advertising research and practice in a digital environment. International Journal of Advertising, 41(5), 827-849. 

Lee, J.A., Sudarshan, S., Sussman, K.L., Bright, L.F., & Eastin, M.S. (2022). Why are consumers following social media influencers on Instagram? Exploration of consumers’ motives for following influencers and the role of materialism. International Journal of Advertising, 41(1), 78-100. 

¹⁰Lv, X., Zhang, R., Su, Y., & Yang, Y. (2022). Exploring how live streaming affects immediate buying behavior and continuous watching intention: A multigroup analysis. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 39(1), 109-135. 

¹¹McStay, A.J. (2016). Digital Advertising. Second Edition. Palgrave. 

¹²Nguyen, V.H. (2022). Segmenting local residents by perceptions of tourism impacts in Sapa, Vietnam: a cluster analysis. International Journal of Tourism Cities, 8(1), 153-167. 

¹³Pardun, C.J. (2013). Advertising and Society : An Introduction. John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated. 

¹⁴Pittman, M., Oeldorf-Hirsch, A., & Brannan, A. (2022). Green Advertising on Social Media: Brand Authenticity Mediates the Effect of Different Appeals on Purchase Intent and Digital Engagement. Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising, 43(1), 106-121. 

¹⁵Tellis, G. J. (2004). Effective advertising : understanding when, how, and why advertising works. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications.

¹⁶Welsh Joint Education Committee Eduqas. (n.d.). Overtourism. Retrieved from

¹⁷Yoon, S. (2022). Introduction to the special issue on the future of advertising. International Journal of Advertising, 41(5), 823-826. 

Does Virtual Reality (VR) Travel have the potential to be more?

Does Virtual Reality (VR) Travel have the potential to be more? 

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Due to the pandemic, the global tourism industry had to come to a sudden halt. Even as lockdowns were slowly lifted, travelers were skeptical, and the threat of the virus is still very real. Recently, a second wave has swept across the world which has led to a second lockdown. Until a vaccine is in place, it will be quite difficult for the tourism industry to recover from its losses and reach the pre-pandemic tourist numbers. The tourism industry is constantly innovating and doing its best to get back on its feet. The role of modern technologies in tourism is changing rapidly, leading to customer relationships developing through virtual reality in the marketing of tourist destinations. In addition to focusing on the influence of travel intentions that has prevailed in practice so far, the use of VR is expected to have an impact on the travel experience on the spot. VR has existed for some time now but using it in the travel industry was not extremely popular. But the pandemic has boosted this trend and travelers that were once skeptical and found it pointless are turning to this technology for some solace. Tourism boards, airlines, hotels, destination management companies are making use of this tech to stay relevant in their travelers’ minds and to meet the demand temporarily if not physically. 

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) said that international traffic “has all but disappeared”, with airlines carrying only about 10% of normal levels. By Iata’s estimate, Covid caused disruptions to put more than 41 million jobs at risk across the travel and tourism sector. Iata predicts that travel will not resume to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. 

Steve Perillo is boss of Travel World VR, a US-based VR and 360-degree video marketing and production company. He says the pandemic has been a “shot of adrenaline” for a technology that to date had “not yet really arrived”. Now he says VR can whet a potential audience’s appetite. “The momentum has really picked up. It’s really launched the concept of travelling remotely.” 


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VR acceleration? 

 The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have had a lasting influence on tourism and will shape travel and booking behavior for generations. Undoubtedly, the desire to travel is uninterrupted, but financial and health fears and worries have made some people confused. However, every crisis can produce some positive outcomes, as difficulties stimulate new innovative ideas. Such a need creates the courage to change and that may include trust in social media marketing and distance tourism. As a result, tourists are more mobile than ever, and their information needs are constantly growing; almost no travel decision is made without prior virtual inspiration or internet research. In addition to the technical requirements of Web 2.0, there has been a change in the virtualization of social networks with much deeper consequences.  

The annual travel report by Euromonitor International Accelerating Travel Innovation after Coronavirus examined innovative concepts designed to accelerate recovery to survive, sharing best practices from the most technologically advanced to the simplest solutions, in four categories:  

  • Digital (virtual experiences, artificial intelligence and automation, biometrics, and digital identification, and 5G)  
  • Sustainability (domestic tourism, social impact, own resources, transparency in terms of carbon emissions, and new sustainable business models)  
  • Health (people first, safety and hygiene, social distance, diversification, and data analysis)  
  • Guests (offers, real-time information, flexibility, personalization, and affordable luxury) 

There are, however, several limitations that are currently holding the technology back, including large, unwieldy headsets and excessive costs. The most important limitation, according to Miguel Flecha, is that there has yet to be a trusted global brand to place its bets on VR. “The industry needs to believe in the technology,” he says. That may have begun to change with the launch in the US of Amazon Explore, a platform that gives access to one-on-one virtual experiences with tour guides and local residents in countries around the world. Experiences offered on the high-tech giant’s public beta version range from tours of Kyoto neighborhoods in Japan to artisan shopping in Costa Rica and fish taco cooking lessons in Mexico. As Mr. Flecha sees it, Amazon Explore may foretell the success or failure of VR in the travel industry. Serious investment by a high-tech giant and a trusted brand – Apple and Samsung are also looking into virtual reality – could, he believes, be the “great accelerator” needed. 

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 VR a blessing? 

 Necessity is the mother of invention, so although we had the digital tools available for us, but it is this pandemic which brought out their significance and advantage of shrinking the world and making it accessible for people to satiate their sense of exploration and discover destinations and cultures which exist around the world. One pitfall that keeps arising is that technology is hugely dependent on internet access, which sometimes can be a challenge. One major benefit of this tech is that it offers an eco-friendly alternative to the rising problem of over-tourism. 

Virtual reality simulations must be created by people. Like most technologies, this means that the people responsible for creating virtual travel packages have a lot of control over how vacation destinations are represented to virtual tourists. One of the important benefits of tourism is that the tourist is usually forced to engage with native populations on their own terms (cruise ships and tropical all-inclusive resorts may be the exemption to the rule). This means that tourists can often learn that their preconceived notions of what other peoples or nations are like were wrong. With VR travel, this isn’t possible. 

Ralph Hollister explained that VR has historically remained a niche concern. “When the technology was first released to global consumers the technology was hampered by technical drawbacks and unrealistic expectations. VR is incredibly hard to love unless you are experiencing high-quality VR with a high-quality VR headset. Sets such as Google cardboard provide affordability but often a sub-par experience, which may be negative for VR’s overall reputation. Travel and tourism is incredibly tangible, which is something VR cannot fully provide. It may provide a temporary fix for travelers with current wanderlust during COVID-19, but it could still be disregarded when restrictions are lifted as it can’t meet other sensory needs, such as taste or smell.” 

In my opinion, I somewhat agree with Hollister (Travel and tourism is incredibly tangible, which is something VR cannot fully provide) as Virtual Travel does not offer the sensations of travel, touch smell, the environment therefore it cannot be considered as an alternative. Future tourism as we imagine it, entirely robotic, is not desirable. Humans are social beings, they need contact. A dimension that the VR cannot (yet) offer. Therefore, the consumer needs someone to accompany in their reflections and decisions. If a tour operator is not supposed to indicate which place is better than another in terms of its offers, the adviser will naturally do so, by expressing his or her opinion. Information that a robot or a virtual experiment will never be able to provide in the same way. 

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 Replacement for Physical Travel? 

A global survey by Italy4Real had found that VR travel will not replace real-life travel experiences. The following are some insights from the survey: 

  • 81 percent do not think virtual reality could ever replace real-life travel 
  • 90 percent say they would miss the full sensory experience of travelling 
  • 77 percent claim that the lack of local food and drinks would be a downside of VR travel, while 69 percent would miss meeting the locals and interacting with new people 
  • 52 percent say travel agents could be replaced by AI (Artificial Intelligence), but the majority agree that tour guides and hotel staff need a delicate touch 

What are the benefits of Virtual Tourism? 

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Even VR travel may not replace physical travel, but it has handful of benefits for tourism.  Because viewers can experience activities, locations, and destinations from the comfort of their own homes, there are many clear benefits to virtual tourism. The most obvious of these benefits is that viewers can see and experience a destination without traveling to it, which means they aren’t limited by available flights, travel logistics, safety concerns, and whether destinations are open. They don’t even have to think about time zones or weather conditions. The other huge benefit for viewers is cost. Virtual tourism makes destinations accessible to millions of people who may otherwise not be able to afford to travel to them. Viewers are embracing the rise in virtual tourism destinations and the increasing quality and availability of virtual reality technology to see and experience things they never thought possible. 

For the travel industry, virtual reality can be used in tourism marketing to enhance travel experience and shape the behavior of travel consumers. What technology can do today is absolutely remarkable. For Tourism, the clear benefit is the ability to stay top-of-mind with potential customers and to highlight a location, amenities, and offerings. Viewers who have experienced a hotel or location through virtual tourism are more likely to book a future stay and will eagerly anticipate experiencing the activity in the real world. There are also great marketing opportunities offered by virtual tourism technology. Potential guests can see a 360-degree view of a property and its amenities, rather than the flat images on a brochure or website. Experiencing a property this way increases the chances that viewers will want to visit in the future and means that they can easily share the virtual offerings with their friends and family. VR in the travel industry also helps specific brands stand out from the rest. VR’s success, like any other outlet, depends on the quality and creativity of the experience. Designing the right things in VR and investing in its quality will guarantee the best customer engagement. This fact has always translated into revenue. 

The most notable benefits of virtual reality in tourism go as follows: 

  • Attract more visitors by enabling them to experience the destination firsthand before even booking it; 
  • Showcase realistic 360-degree views of any destination or hotel in high resolution; 
  • Mesmerize travelers by allowing them to explore destinations on their own from the convenience of their home; 
  • Improve brand image by delivering unique brand engagement; 
  • Gain competitive advantage by offering unique, unforgettable experiences; 
  • Helping travelers worldwide become more comfortable using VR to explore travel destinations; 
  • Virtual reality is a fantastic way to advertise on social media. 

Potential for VR in Tourism 

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Virtual reality manages to fool the tourist’s senses into believing they are in the real world in their chosen destination. Through this reality, they can interact with fictional worlds that they could not explore in real life or with worlds that they could only visit with great effort. 

Nevertheless, while the virtual reality vacation is not necessarily destined to replace tomorrow’s travel, it does have features that could revolutionize the industry. Virtual reality could become tomorrow’s travel catalogue. A helmet and 360-degree immersion to help customers discover the destinations offered by tour operators would then replace the brochures on the counters. It is the perfect tool for preparing a trip without revealing everything, it would give a real foretaste and allow tourists to better target their preferred trip. Perhaps it could be even more useful. Without replacing travel, VR could make accessible destinations that are out of reach. It would help to relieve congestion at certain sites, which would be temporarily closed to allow them to regenerate in an eco-responsible manner. Consumers could also go to inaccessible places like space, for example. Or even change times. How? By reconstructing places on an archaeological site, a godsend for history fans eager for knowledge. Once on-site, the tour operator will offer an immersive and educational experience. To a small extent, of course, you don’t visit a place to have glasses on your head. Reliving Pompeii before it was destroyed, for example, like the exhibition currently on show at the Grand Palais in Paris. “Eventually, virtual reality will bring a new form of entertainment to the tourism industry,” imagines Erik Champion. It could appear in the main sites of major tourist destinations, but also as a pastime in airports.” No doubt a revolution is underway. 

The future of VR in tourism is bright and believe it or not with the help of this technology, the tourism industry is going to change. The immersive and interactive virtual reality (VR) is a great opportunity for tourism and travel businesses to offer a unique and memorable experience to their customers. VR technologies will surely continue to advance, and as such, the opportunities in the tourism sector will grow exponentially. Regardless of the direction in which these advancements and developments take place, immediate applications and trends are identified and used within the tourism industry already. VR can and probably will fundamentally change the way in which tourists’ experiences and requirements are managed entirely. Virtual reality will likely enable us to impressively share our experiences with friends and family in a way that brings these destinations to life like no slide show ever could. Many companies in the tourism industry have their sights set towards the future, and some even go so far and publish reports about their expected future developments. As an example, in the 2014 Skyscanner report ‘The Future of Travel 2024’, published by the company which is mostly known for offering a global travel search engine, they envision VR as a major influence on touristic experiences. They predict VR to “become a new form of show rooming, an incredible 3D taste of a destination that will make travelers long to experience the real thing.” (Skyscanner, 2014, p.24). 

 The future of VR in tourism is already here, despite how far it seems away. With the most recent developments in virtual reality (VR), it doesn’t seem like that will be changing anytime soon. VR is constantly gaining traction in the travel industry, and with good reason. VR makes it easy to create an immersive travel experience for anyone, anywhere. VR allows users to be transported to anywhere in the world, which means they’ll be able to experience the world in a way they never could before. VR allows users to feel like they are in the middle of the action, which is what makes it so appealing. VR is the wave of the future in tourism, and it’s not just about experiencing another place in real time.Thus, I think VR has the potential to replace the real world with a digital one. 


Arbulú, I.; Razumova, M.; Rey-Maquieira, J.; Sastre, F. Measuring risks and vulnerability of tourism to the COVID-19 crisis in the context of extreme uncertainty: The case of the Balearic IslandsTour. Manag. Perspect. 2021 

Ralph, Hollister.; VR travel industry 

Rončák, M.; Scholz, P.; Linderová, I. Safety Concerns and Travel Behavior of Generation Z: Case Study from the Czech Republic. Sustainability 2021Gössling, S.; Scott, D.; Hall, C.M. Pandemics, tourism and global change: A rapid assessment of COVID-19. J. Sustain. Tour. 2020  

Rosário, A.; Raimundo, R. Consumer Marketing Strategy and E-Commerce in the Last Decade: A Literature Review. J. Theor.Appl. Electron. Commer. Res. 2021. 

Denise Chen.; Virtual Reality Vacation Offers New Kind of Entertainment, 2020 

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Graham, L. 2016. Virtual reality devices could transform the tourism experience.






Enhancing customer experience with smart hotel technologies

Have you checked into a hotel using a mobile app? Or maybe the light in your hotel room switched off automatically when you opened the door to leave? These features are only the tip of the iceberg in smart hotels.


What are smart hotels?

According to Dalgic and Birdir 1, a smart hotel adopts a variety of cutting-edge technologies to provide guests with novel and tech-focused experiences. These hotels demonstrate a rise in smart services, defined as the incorporation of data and connected technologies that anticipate customers’ requirements and permit adaptation in response to any changes in settings or circumstances.2

Smart hotels go beyond a single concept or the straightforward application of technology. Instead, they involve gathering, integrating, analyzing, and concerted use of both general and specific client data via connected and synchronized technologies to enhance and personalize the customer experience.3

Usage of smart hotel technologies

DiPietro and Wang 4 distinguished four key areas that reflect the main effects of ICTs on hotel management—strategic planning and revenue management, operations, marketing, distribution and communication, as well as customer service and relationship management. This paragraph includes some examples of most hotels implement smart technologies nowadays.

Behind-the-scenes operations management technology indirectly improves client happiness by assisting executives in managing hotel operations more effectively and efficiently. Due to its ability to streamline the maintenance of rooms and guests’ requests, software like “Opera” or “CloudBeds” aids hoteliers in providing better client services. It is a property management system that is employed in hotels for the creation of reports as well as for reservations, rate administration, guest profile upkeep, and profit management.5

The cost of a hotel room may be one of the major deciding factors for travellers to choose a hotel, but social media and user review websites’ credibility and content might influence travellers’ booking intentions 6. Because so many individuals use social media to choose their holiday destination, share their experiences, and write reviews about the places they have visited, social media has emerged as a tool of essential relevance for the hotel sector.

In addition to social media, hotels realise that they need to employ technology to develop more cutting-edge services to boost client interaction.

How to create a smart hotel experience?

People love innovative experiences, especially they are open to trying something new when travelling. A stream of research has concluded that one of the keys to a company’s success is to offer a unique client experience. Can you imagine checking into a Marriott International hotel and having smart shower doors? What are those? you might ask.  These doors are made so guests can write down their thoughts while in the shower and subsequently send the image to their personal email. 8

Consumers are increasingly more interested in purchasing experiences, instead of buying goods and products, according to Neuhofer et al. Any successful business should prioritize determining and comprehending consumer demands and desires to improve their customer experience.

Luo & Pan 10 identified five aspects of the smart hotel experience—interactivity, personalisation, accessibility, informativeness, and privacy safety. Interactivity means technologies are easy and fun to use. Personalization means that tourists’ demands are met through customized services, which also enhance their travel enjoyment and make smart tourism hotels more appealing to them. Accessibility refers to how simple it is for a person to access and utilize the information provided. Credibility and information quality are important variables that can majorly impact visitors’ experiences. Last but not least is privacy safety, a necessary component of the technology-mediated environment is the protection and security of personal and private information.

These five dimensions are crucial to create a safe and unforgettable smart hotel experience for customers when designing an innovative experience.

Future of smart hotels

A framework for connectivity and interconnection is being adopted by the hospitality sector as an intelligence system that will revolutionize the sector. A fully integrated smart network should be capable of dynamic data sensing, storing, analysis, and interpretation. The capabilities of IoT and sensors allow for the monitoring and extraction of data from the outside world. Three domains are involved in connecting smart IoT networks: network-centric, cloud-centric, and data-centric. 11


Challenges of implementing smart hotel technologies

Even though smart hotel technologies have various advantages for consumers, hotel employees, and hotel owners, there are always questionable points in every technology use.  Some of them are discussed below.


Hotel owners hope that technologies may assist staff in daily tasks, cut financial costs, and improve the customer journey of hotel guests. However, to support management strategic planning and decisions, modern hotel management needs a vast amount of data – hotels have to do a great amount of research.


Smart services can meet client needs even before the customer is aware of them. For instance, without consumer involvement, the room temperature in a hotel room is changed to suit an individual’s demands. However, there is always a chance that the algorithm incorrectly calculated it or that the consumer would like the room to be less hot at that moment. Smart services must therefore give the consumer the option to customize the experience. How many settings or options are required to meet each customer’s unique tastes and provide them control?


Many hotel customers are hesitant to provide or disclose their data to hotel employees because they are concerned about their privacy. Furthermore, individuals might not feel safe if they realize that service providers are gathering, storing, and using their data behind their backs. Because of these privacy concerns, some guests, for instance, could complain if a hotel records everything they do, such as what they watch on TV or what they eat or drink while they are accommodated.

Technologies vs. human interactions

While technological advancements are crucial nowadays, many travellers could concur that they alone do not produce great and memorable experiences. Therefore, for many, these experiences are created through encounters with locals, other visitors, and employees. However, many smart services use technology and machines to replace guest-staff interactions, which can occasionally be expensive and time-consuming. However, certain smart services and technologies also have the potential to improve human contact.12 The difficulty lies in creating and implementing smart technologies that enhance existing processes in hotels while maintaining the necessary amount of human involvement.

Source: Author

The mind map above wraps up this blog post and gives food for thought on how to create a customer experience using smart hotel technologies. To conclude, it can be stated that the development, adoption, and implementation of cutting-edge technology across all areas of hotels will result in growth and sustained competitive advantage, therefore enhancing guests’ experiences. Smart hotels should focus on involving consumers in experiences and experiences production. However, each hotel must strike a balance between what it can provide given its resources and what its clients are expecting.


1 Dalgic, A., & 1 Birdir, K. (2020). Smart hotels and technological applications. In Handbook of research on smart technology applications in the tourism industry (pp. 323-343). IGI Global.

2 Kabadayi, S., Ali, F., Choi, H., Joosten, H., & Lu, C. (2019). Smart service experience in hospitality and tourism services: A conceptualization and future research agenda. Journal of Service Management30(3), 326-348.

3 Gretzel, U., Koo, C., Sigala, M., & Xiang, Z. (2015). Special issue on smart tourism: convergence of information technologies, experiences, and theories. Electronic Markets25(3), 175-177.

4 DiPietro, R. B., & Wang, Y. R. (2010). Key issues for ICT applications: impacts and implications for hospitality operations. Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes.

5 Law, R., Leung, R., Lo, A., Leung, D., & Fong, L. H. N. (2015). Distribution channel in hospitality and tourism: Revisiting disintermediation from the perspectives of hotels and travel agencies. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management27(3), 431-452.

6 Noone, B. M., & McGuire, K. A. (2013). Pricing in a social world: The influence of non-price information on hotel choice. Journal of Revenue and Pricing Management12(5), 385-401.

7 Kim, H., & Choi, B. (2013). The influence of customer experience quality on customers’ behavioural intentions. Services Marketing Quarterly34(4), 322-338.

8 Morgan, B. (2020). 10 Examples Of Customer Experience Innovation In Hospitality. Forbes.

9 Neuhofer, B., Buhalis, D., & Ladkin, A. (2015). Smart technologies for personalized experiences: a case study in the hospitality domain. Electronic Markets25(3), 243-254.

10 Luo, X., & Pan, Y. (2021). A Study on customer experience design through analyzing smart hotels in China. Journal of the Korea Convergence Society12(3), 115-124.

11 Jin, J., Gubbi, J., Marusic, S., & Palaniswami, M. (2014). An information framework for creating a smart city through the internet of things. IEEE Internet of Things Journal1(2), 112-121.

12 Sharma, D. (2016). Enhancing customer experience using technological innovations: A study of the Indian hotel industry. Worldwide Hospitality and Tourism Themes.


How digital nomads are shaping the travel industry?

How are digital nomads shaping the travel industry?

Who are digital nomads?

Technology is enabling a new, dynamic remote workforce called Digital Nomads. Digital Nomads are a population of independent workers who choose to embrace a location-independent, technology-enabled lifestyle that allows them to travel and work remotely, anywhere in the world. Our research finds that 4.8 million independent workers currently describe themselves as digital nomads, and many more, 17 million, aspire to someday become nomadic.

Much like independents themselves, nomads are a diverse group, made up of no single generation, profession, or socio-economic class. While they skew young and male, one-third are female and 54 percent are over the age of 38. Creative professions dominate, but IT and marketing are also strong participants in the movement. One in six earn more than $75,000 annually,  although they are split relatively evenly between full- and part-time workers (54 to 46 percent).

As technology evolves and companies grow more comfortable with a distributed and remote workforce, we predict a rise in the interest in and joining of the digital nomad movement for various reasons, including work/life balance, Baby Boomers “unretiring” and more.

Digital nomads and travel industry

Post-modernism, lifestyle and technological advances have a major influence on the activities of the global travel and tourism industry. Today more and more people are looking for independence, traveling for a variety of good reasons for things that are very important to meet personal curiosity and hedonistic desires (Richard 2015, Muller 2016). This was also emphasized by Mouratidis (2018). He explained that the evolution of work, technology and nomadic work styles in synergy has broadened the choices of workers who have certain specializations to carry out their professional activities anywhere in the world.

According to Mouratidis (2018), the term of digital nomad comes from “digital” which means to involve or relate to the use of computer technology and “nomad” which refers to members who wander from one place to another without limits.

Regardless of the destination or the job they do, digital nomads have one thing in common: a passion for travel and freedom. It is a growing trend. In the United States alone, digital nomads tripled between 2018 and 2021, going from 4.8 million to 15.5 million people.

A report by MBO Partners revealed that in 2019 there were 7.3 million Americans who identified themselves as digital nomads; however, between 2019 and 2020, this figure increased astonishingly – driven by the pandemic – as it grew 49% to 10.9 million people. In 2021, digital nomads in the US grew again to 15.5 million.

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This behavior has been driven by a combination of greater labor flexibility, better salary expectations and – of course – the freedom to work from anywhere. Perhaps for this reason, the trend of digital nomads will continue to grow. MBO predicts that by 2035 there will be a whopping 1 billion digital nomads around the world.

Introducing travel bloggers, place and digital nomadism

Digital nomads are portrayed as young professionals working solely in an online environment while leading a location independent and often travel reliant lifestyle where the boundaries between work, leisure and travel appear blurred. This paper aims to conceptualize the digital nomad phenomenon by establishing a definition of digital nomads. Further, it explores their motivations for adapting this lifestyle and how these are addressed in practice, and examines how work, leisure and travel are interpreted. Digital nomads aim to create a holistic lifestyle characterized by comprehensive freedom where both areas of life are regarded as equally enjoyable and do so through professional, spatial and personal freedom. Ideally, digital nomads perceive work not as an imposed obligation but regard it – much as their leisure activities – as intrinsically motivated and fulfilling. Although crucial for a positive perception of this lifestyle, travel comes with personal challenges that are considered a different type of work.

Through communications technology, travellers can now keep in almost constant contact with friends, work and fellow travellers remaining co-present in their social, home and work life (Mascheroni 2007). Technologies such as social networking sites and blogs, are allowing individuals to shift between these multiple networks instantaneously wherever they are in the world (Paris 2012). As a result of these digital technologies and the networked connections they facilitate, new forms of multi-location work are rising. In particular, the affordance of these technologies has facilitated a huge rise in the location-independent workers termed ‘digital nomads’ (Muller 2016). Defined by Nash et al. (2018, p 1) as individuals who are ‘pursuing employment that allows for global travel, flexibility in work hours and a departure from the traditional office environment’; digital nomadism was initially coined as a term to describe a geography of work, where the location that the work was done in did not matter.

One intriguing example of a digitally nomadic worker who has not yet achieved widespread academic focus is the travel blogger. The growth of social and participatory media has led to an increase in online travel writing and has resulted in publishers, authors and readers all now becoming players in the production of travel information. Blaer et al. (2020, p 2) note how travel blogs in particular, have proliferated in the last 20 years, facilitating ‘the rise of the modern amateur travel writer’. Puhringer and Taylor (2008, p 179) define travel blogs as ‘the equivalent of personal online diaries and are made up from one or more individual entries strung together by a common theme (for example a trip itinerary)’. Travel bloggers are therefore the individuals who create and maintain these blogs. Within their travel blogs, individuals attempt to generate income through means such as paid partnerships, guest posts, sponsored posts, advertising and affiliate links. Travel bloggers may also undertake offline work related to their blog such as running ‘how to blog’ courses or completing speaking engagements. Many travel bloggers may also undertake gig work, typically in the form of freelance writing or copyrighting tasks, in order to supplement the income they make from blogging (Azariah 2016a).

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The Digital Nomad Lifestyle: A Growing Trend?

By 2025, 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely — an 87% increase from pre-pandemic numbers — according to Upwork’s “Future Workforce Pulse Report.” In fact, managers believe that 26.7% of the workforce will still be fully remote in 2021. Remote job board suggests that, while most remote jobs require people to live in specific geographic areas, work-from-anywhere jobs are cropping up for everyone from developers and designers to customer support professionals and marketing managers.

What do all these digital nomads have in common? They seek an independent lifestyle replete with adventure and reliable Wi-Fi access. For them, traveling is not vacationing; rather, traveling is a lifestyle.

Take, for example, the story of Diego Bejarano Gerke, cofounder of Wifi Tribe, a community of more than 800 members from 60-plus countries who live and work together around the world. Like many digital nomads, Gerke wanted to travel with like-minded people without forgoing his career.

Are there any challenges to digital nomads life?

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As a digital nomad, one of the most crucial things to ensure is that you have the proper paperwork and you are aware of your legal responsibilities. This is one of the most important things when you decide to live and work on the road, if not so, you might face some major difficulties. Combined with employment and residence, it all creates stressful and often unknown challenges for newbie digital nomads. When you are always on the road, you’re either focused on your work managing to meet all the deadlines, or you are making sure you have enough projects to work on, in order to survive financially. For digital nomads, sometimes it feels guilty to take time off and just relax to explore the country they are traveling in. Another big challenge for digital nomads is that when it comes to finding a work-life balance, they frequently find themselves torn between doing too much or not doing enough for their projects. It is obvious that at some point digital nomads will need some help to deal with the issues they face on the road. Problems might include diseases, accommodation issues, malfunctioning hardware, financial difficulties, mental health and even loneliness.  Freelancing abroad may look glamorous, but it may stress you seriously if you do not have a supportive network of family and friends to lean on. Digital nomads are fully dependent on technology. For this reason, they need perfectly functioning smartphones, chargers, laptops and etc. Wherever they go, they’ll either need to bring all this hardware with them or leave it somewhere really secure and safe. And at last, digital nomads need to purchase their own medical insurance plans, which can cost up to $80 per month. However, if you want to stay in a certain location for a lengthy period of time, in this case, it is usually cheaper to acquire a medical insurance plan.

Are there any Digital Nomad Communities?

While remote professionals are free to travel solo, many choose to plug themselves into local communities and hostels. However, constantly introducing yourself can burn out even the most extroverted travelers. Wifi Tribe is a consistent community where curious, open-minded professionals can seek adventure without sacrificing social stability. Moreover, Wifi Tribe gives these travelers the chance to explore places that don’t necessarily have the infrastructure to support digital nomads or where there aren’t already many like-minded professionals.

“A lot of people start with interest in Bali; Medellin, Colombia; or Playa del Carmen, Mexico,” he said. “But, as soon as people have been traveling like this for a while, they start looking at Oman or Japan — the kinds of places that aren’t typically on that digital nomad road.”

In 2018 there were around 5 million Americans that identified as a digital nomad. That number has now doubled to over 10.9 million digital nomads in the US alone, resulting in an increase of 50% in just those two years. 

Millennials are a great example of aspiring digital nomads, as remote working becomes more utilized by companies. Because of this, HR managers may now need to adapt their Employee Value Proposals to fit the life-style of a future digital nomad, and offer more benefits to achieve work-life balance and ensure talent retention.

What are the some of the ways countries can attract digital nomads?

  • Provide a temporary worker visa
  • Create more affordable housing amongst local communities
  • Supply high speed internet throughout the country
  • Have good public transportation.
  • Availability of suitable amenities
  • Friendly communities
  • Arranging various weekly events

The future of the travel industry is shifting as digital nomads are growing. Due to this, some changes will be made, the first one being the creation of digital nomad work visas. Some countries have already adopted this similar type of visa, including Antigua, Dominica, and Portugal, allowing digital nomads to work abroad. Hotels will also face a shift from perhaps a simple hotel room to a more apartment style offering, since digital nomads stay for long periods of time. Lastly, round trip flights may have less value as digital nomads do not wish to return from where they came from but continue their journey to a different destination.

Are you open to explore as a digital nomad?

I would open up to explore as a digital nomads as it brings more freedom to exploring new opportunities while exploring new countries, experiencing new culture and meeting unique people round the world. Being free to travel and work when and where you want is dream come true moment. The finest aspects of being a digital nomad vary from person to person, but this nomadic lifestyle has numerous advantages and benefits that can improve people’s lives, personal growth, financial security, and general pleasure. More people are discovering new ways to live and work as the world of remote employment expands. One of these is digital nomad lifestyle, which involves working remotely and living in various locations around the globe.


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Sutherland, W. and Jarrahi, M.H., 2017. The gig economy and information infrastructure: The case of the digital nomad community. Proceedings of the ACM on human-computer interaction1(CSCW), pp.1-24.

Thompson, B.Y., 2019. The digital nomad lifestyle:(remote) work/leisure balance, privilege, and constructed community. International Journal of the Sociology of Leisure2(1), pp.27-42.

Chevtaeva, E., 2021. Coworking and coliving: the attraction for digital nomad tourists. In Information and communication technologies in tourism 2021 (pp. 202-209). Springer, Cham.

Nash, C., Jarrahi, M.H., Sutherland, W. and Phillips, G., 2018, March. Digital nomads beyond the buzzword: Defining digital nomadic work and use of digital technologies. In International Conference on Information (pp. 207-217). Springer, Cham.

Mouratidis, G., 2018. Digital nomads: travel, remote work and alternative lifestyles.






How to Improve Online Presence of Small Tourism Businesses?

Online information search is a crucial and often overlooked part of today’s consumers’ decision-making, and most of it is done through search engines or social media. The searches on search engines and social media platforms correlate with the visits in destinations[1]. Here I have a look at different research papers considering these subjects, in order to get a basic idea on how small and medium-sized tourism companies could be more active about their online presence in order to perform better also in real life.

Information gained from these channels is generally relevant and critical, giving voice to the customers and their options [2]. The holistic experience of the customer shows as a positive review online, making it easier for future potential customers to select the service provider.

Customer’s Search Process

Better business performance can be gained through investing in online marketing to get a little better spot on the search website. Consumers feel stronger value for their money and are less afraid of a fraud when they make the booking through reliable customer review site, like TripAdvisor [3]. Customers are more critical towards the actual advertisements of travel businesses and likes to rely more on consumers turned to producers, who publish their own reviews of destinations and tourism businesses [4]. Companies should always remind customers to send the reviews of their experience to keep the company visible and encouraging future customers’ interest in their products and services.

National DMOs need to make sure their presence in social media is active and relevant, and potential tourists feel easy making contact with them online [5]. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, the destinations improved their presence in YouTube, for example, to keep future travelers intrigued and invested in travelling to their destinations after lockdowns end and borders re-open [6]. Even after the lockdowns travelling hasn’t been back to normal yet, because of all the economic and safety reasons, but the destinations kept their hopes up and reminding visitors that once it’s safe again, they are welcome to visit.

It is crucial that companies understand the customers’ search engine usage, and behavioral patterns when looking for the information and making plans [7]. When it comes to online visibility through search engines, companies and destinations need to consider the keywords they want to be found with [8]. Consumers like the search process to be smooth and easy, and they will not spend too much time looking for all the possible results, just focusing on the ones showing up first, and if the company hasn’t succeeded with being associated with the correct keywords, it will be missed among the more relevant results.

Most of the searches are made with up to 3-word questions, and 80 % of customers stop looking after the first page of results [9]. A good spot on the top of the list of search results isn’t enough, though. The snippet of the text needs to be attractive and informative enough to make the customer click it [10]. Companies should really put some thought on how they wish to be seen online, before customer enters their website or their own social media page.

Small and Medium-sized Companies

Small and medium sized hotels tend to rely on some distribution partners in order to improve the visibility, even if it leads on some adjusting on partners’ terms and ways of conduction [11]. According to Murphy & Kielgast, small and medium-sized hotels may not have the most recent and relevant IT skills, so their understanding of search engine marketing and optimization is not among the top of their skillset. Making sure that whoever is in charge of marketing of the company has basic skills in SEO, would do a major improvement on the general visibility and give the company some control over their web presence.

As small tourism companies usually run on quite low resources and few people, I understand that diving into analytics probably isn’t the top priority, no matter how useful data they could embrace there. Even if it’s not someone’s everyday job to keep an eye out of their performance on Google and other search engines, just checking and reacting to the numbers every now and then between other work tasks, could make a difference, if the data is used correctly.

Conclusions and Thoughts

Based on the research papers I read for this post, I have started to think about some small tourism business companies which I think could really improve their online presence. The number of visits at the website or social media profile can also be used as an indicator when thinking about the upcoming seasons and booking levels there. I do believe that most companies understand the significance of this, but just may be short-handed about the concrete actions they could do to make it smoother.

I think that DMOs and such could make this easier by providing some education and materials to local companies and organizations. Tourism business is competitive and co-operative at the same time and support between different operators will benefit everyone. DMOs could play big part in this by involving the local operators and possibly having someone with the skillset provide the consultation services among all the companies in the area.

I am looking forward to get more familiar with this subject, do some more research and maybe someday use my knowledge to help some small businesses’ performance improve.


[1]Mi Kyung Lee, Ho Young Yoon & Han Woo Park: From Online via Offline to Online: How Online Visibility of Tourism Information Shapes and Is Shaped by Offline Visits. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, Vol. 34, Issue 9, p. 1143 – 1154.

[2]Antonio J. D. V. T. Melo, Rosa M. Hernandez-Maestro & Pablo A. Muñoz-Gallego: Service Quality Perceptions, Online Visibility, and Business Performance in Rural Lodging Establishments. Journal of Travel Research, Vol. 56, Issue 2.

[3]Markus Schuckert, Xianwei Liu & Rob Law: Hospitality and Tourism Online Reviews: Recent Trends and Future Directions. Journal of Travel and Tourism Marketing, Vol. 32, Issue 5, p. 608 – 621.

[4]Eric Horster & Carsten Gottschalk: Computer-assisted Webnography: A New Approach to Online Reputation Management in Tourism. Journal of Vacation Marketing, Vol. 18, Issue 3.

[5]Vitor Roque & Rui Raposo: Social Media as a Communication and Marketing Tool in Tourism: An Analysis of Online Activities from International Key Player DMO. Anatolia, An International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 27, Issue 1, p. 58 – 70.

[6] Eran Ketter & Eli Avraham: #StayHome Today So We Can #TravelTomorrow: Tourism Destinations’ Digital Marketing Strategies During the Covid-19 Pandemic. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, Vol.38, Issue 8, p. 819 – 832.

[7]Zhen Xiang & Bing Pan: Travel Queries on Cities in the United States: Implications for Search Engine Marketing for Tourist Destinations. Tourism Management, Vol. 32, Issue 1, 2011, p. 88 – 97.

[8]Chaitanya Vyas: Evaluating State Tourism Websites Using Search Engine Optimization Tools. Tourism Management, Vol. 73, 2019, p. 64 – 70.

[9]Alexandros Paraskevas & Ioannis Katsogridakis: Search Engine Marketing: Transforming Search Engines into Hotel Distribution Channels. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, Vol. 52, Issue 2.

[10]Bing Pan: The Power of Search Engine Ranking for Tourist Destinations. Tourism Management, Vol. 47, 2015, p. 79 – 87.

[11]Hilary Catherine Murphy & Christian D. Kielgast: Do Small and Medium-Sized Hotels Exploit Search Engine Marketing? International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, Vol. 20, Issue 1.

How content producers can use AI in digital marketing

Do you want to use AI to create better content? There’s no doubt that content production is getting more complex every day. It’s getting hard to get noticed on social media. Your inbox is packed with repetitive messages, and you must fight against a massive crowd to get people to read your content. And then there’s the problem of creating high-value content—it takes time and effort that many content producers and social media managers don’t have. Wouldn’t it be great if AI could help you?

Yes, it would! Today I’ll dive into how AI can produce better content for you than any human could ever do.

Use AI to create better text content


Fun fact – The text above was created for me in under 2 minutes using Copy.AI. All I had to do was explain what I wanted to write and what information the introduction should contain. 



Original text:
Topic of the blog post: How can content producers use AI in marketing?
A few key points:
Common problem: It’s getting harder to get noticed on social media. The content needs to be engaging, informative and stand out from the massive crowd. Creating high-value content takes time and effort that many content producers and social. media managers don’t have.
What to expect from the blog post: An introduction to how you can use AI to create better content.
Ask: Do you think AI can produce better content than you?

Impressive, right?

But what is AI? 

Artificial intelligence can be used by businesses to, for example, inform customers about their products, provide personalized alternatives, and understand their customers better.¹ Businesses and content creators also use Ai when creating content for campaigns and digital marketing, such as copywriting (, graphic design ( and even photography (dall-e 2). 

And why is high-value content important?

Creating content is time-consuming but necessary to maintain connections online. A study by Kenzie Burchell² shows that social media users feel disconnected from people who use the same social media platform but for different reasons than themselves. And a study by Stina Bengtsson and Sofia Johansson³ shows that young social media users in Sweden “unfollow” other social media users to whom they don’t feel connected. They “unfollow” users that they are not inspired by, and users make them feel “the wrong thing”.

A study by Nicolas Hamelin, Sameh Ai-Shihabi, Sara Quach and Park Thaichon in 2022⁴ showed that the company logo and brand name aren’t as important as the photographs and information used in advertisements. According to the study, we can assume that it is more important now than ever to create high-value content offline and online. With 96% of 20 to 30-year-old Swedes using social media daily³, this is also very important online. Businesses should focus on creating lively entertainment to strengthen their relationships on social media. ⁵ By using pictures and text to evoke emotions, you affect how your customers receive your content. How successful you are in evoking emotions in your customers can be measured with, for example, likes and engagement rates.

It’s time to embrace AI
– Nobert Wirth

How can you use AI in content creation?

Artificial Intelligence can help digital marketers achieve big things. ⁶ New AI applications are appearing on the market constantly. An AI application should be able to learn, reason, predict and plan. With this, you can use AI to create better content, for example, text production, image editing⁷ and video production. AI solutions are already replacing human knowledge in online targeting and dynamic attribution. ⁷ 

Here are four different ways you can use AI to create better content:

  1. Copywriting.
    1. AI can be used to create simple text but also more complicated ones. You can use AI to write text for your Instagram och blog post, create content for your website and even write difficult e-mails.
  2. Proofread your content
    1. You can also use AI to proofread the content that you have created. Having AI proofread your text is an easy and fast way to check your grammar and even get suggestions on making your text easier to read. Another fun fact; this text was proofread by Grammarly, which helped me make the text easier to read = better SEO points, YEY!


  3. Edit your photos

    You can use AI to get beautiful and professional-looking results quickly. Some apps can edit the light and colours and even delete unwanted things from the photo. Using Dall-e 2 you can create an image from scratch without leaving your home.

    Use Ai to create a photo of a dog in a hotel bed

  4. Edit videos

You can use AI to create new videos and edit your own. Ai can, for example, be used to match the colours of your video clips and cut your video clips so that the transitions are smoother. And just like photos, Ai can create new videos from scratch (more on the negative aspects of this later).

So… Should you use it?

Social media can negatively impact entrepreneurs⁸ and social media and marketing managers. Social media is becoming a big part of our lives, and social media connections require more time and attention than ever before⁸. A study on by Fakhar Shahzad, Adnan Fateh, Raja Suzana, Raja Kasim, Kashif Akram & Sheikh Farhan Ashraf showed that entrepreneurs with many social media followers are spending more and more time maintaining their connections. According to the study, female entrepreneurs feel stressed when they cannot keep their social media at the required level. Also, a study by Faseeh Amin and Mohammad Furqan Khan⁹ shows that people who are concerned about their number of likes and followers on social media are more stressed due to social media. It also shows that people who are dependent on social media platforms are more likely to feel stressed than others.

From the studies mentioned above, we can conclude that social media managers and marketers feel stressed when they have less time to create content and maintain relationships with their customers on social media. By using AI to help you write engaging Instagram captions and create eye-catching graphics, you’ll have more time to engage with your followers, build relationships and drive traffic to your social media accounts. And since social media platforms work best when used as a tool to communicate with your customers¹⁰, you should use more time to engage and communicate instead of just creating the content.

What can be the negative impacts of AI-produced content?

Remembering the negative impacts AI can have on content production is crucial. You can even create fake videos and photos of people doing things that they haven’t done¹ which, in my opinion, isn’t ethical at all. It can be challenging to notice if an AI-made video is fake, and it can be very dangerous. Fake videos made by AI are used in, for example, political campaigns.

Leave your opinion in the comments!

In my opinion, AI applications like Grammarly, Copy.Ai, and Adobe Sensei are great additions to a content producer’s toolbox. In my experience, content production can be highly time-consuming. Creating engaging content for over five social media accounts daily can be challenging. Having the chance to use AI to create better content is always welcome. With that said, it is essential to use them ethically. For example, I don’t think creating false pictures of a destination or business is ethical. My question is… If you use AI when creating content, does it mean that the content is no longer yours, or are these just more tools for the content producer’s toolbox to make even better content?

So what do you think? Is AI something you consider using when creating content for your next marketing campaign?


¹ Patrick Van Esch and J. Stewart Black (2021), Artificial Intelligence (AI): Revolutionizing Digital Marketing 

² Kenzie Burchell (2017), Everyday communication management and perceptions of use: How media users limit and shape their social world 

³Stina Bengtsson and Sofia Johansson (2022), The Meanings of Social Media Use in Everyday Life: Filling Empty Slots, Everyday Transformations, and Mood Management 

⁴Nicolas Hamelin, Sameh Al-Shihabi, Sara Quach and Park Thaichon (2022), Forecasting Advertisement Effectiveness: Neuroscience and Data Envelopment Analysis 

⁵Xi Chen, Chunlan Jiao, Ran Ji and You Li (2021), Examining Customer Motivation and Its Impact on Customer Engagement Behavior in Social Media: The Mediating Effect of Brand Experience 

⁶Mithun S. Ullal, Iqbal Thonse Hawaldar, Rashmi Soni and Mohammed Nadeem (2021), The Role of Machine Learning in Digital Marketing 

⁷Nobert Wirth (2018), Hello marketing, what can artificial intelligence help you with? 

⁸Fakhar Shahzad, Adnan Fateh, Raja Suzana Kasim, Kashif Akram and Sheikh Farhan Ashraf (2021), Late-Night Use of Social Media and Cognitive Engagement of Female Entrepreneurs: A Stressor–Strain–Outcome Perspective

⁹Faseeh Amin and Mohammad Furqan Khan (2020), Online Reputation and Stress: Discovering the Dark Side of Social Media

¹⁰Amir Zaib Abbasi, Raouf Ahmad Rather, Ding Hooi Ting, Saima Nasir, Khalil Hussain, Muddasar Ghani Khwaja and Amjad Shamin (2022), Exploring tourism-generated social media communication, brand equity, satisfaction, and loyalty: A PLS-SEM-based multi-sequential approach 

How can AR (Augmented Reality) be used to improve the customer experiences in Spas?

The tourism industry is changing significantly as information technology is becoming more and more part of it. Information technology has a critical influence on making tourism businesses more competitive, as it provides the tools that a tourism business needs to improve their marketing and management (Buhalis, O´Connor, 2005.). Information technology has changed the way tourism businesses work as it has improved the efficiency of tourism organizations, the marketplace and how the consumers interact with the organizations (Buhalis, Law, 2008).  

What is Augmented Reality?  

Augmented Reality (AR) is an enhanced version of the real world that is achieved using digital visual elements, sounds and other sensory stimuli delivered by technology (Hayes, 2022). It was invented by researcher Tom Caudell from Boeing in 1990 (Mekni, Lemieux, 2014). Carmignini and Fuhrt (2011, p. 3) define AR as a “real-time direct or indirect view of physical real-world environment that has been augmented by adding virtual computer-generated information”. According to Azuma (1997)  AR enables users to see the real world, with virtual objects composited with the real world. AR is currently used in many different technology fields, such as medicine, education, and simulated training (Kounavis, Kasimati, 2012).  

As AR seems to enhance the customer experience in a unique way, it also brings some concerns and suspicions with it. AR has been seen to have some negative psychological effects for its users, since it can be addictive and even seen to cause violence. People who play violent games through AR can have behavioral issues and distorted images of violence in real-life. In addition to the psychological effects, AR is also expensive. Because of this, not all companies are capable of investing in this kind of technology and only large organizations have the upper hand (Acharya, 2021.).  

Augmented Reality in the Tourism Industry  

AR is used in the tourism industry to improve the customer experience. AR can enhance the tourists to access valuable information and improve their knowledge on the tourist attraction or destination, while making the customer experience more memorable. AR provides more personal and tailored content for the users to experience while traveling (Kounavis, Kasimati, 2012.). The increase in these technologies has changed the tourist and travel behavior by reforming the way tourists search for information, make decisions, buy products and services and explore reviews (Granmer, Dieck, Fountoulaki, 2020). 

AR provides endless possibilities and activities for tourists. It enables visitors to get information about the place, its monuments, buildings, museums, among other options through technology (Romero, 2022). AR can be used through smartphones easily. You just download an app to your smartphone, and you are set to experience the augmented reality through your camera. With AR tourists can visualize virtual elements on top of the real elements, moving to mixed reality (Romero, 2022.). Even though AR is digital information added to the real- world environment, it can also arouse different senses like sound, smell, taste, and touch (Loijens, Brohm, Domurath, 2017).  

AR has also benefits for the companies using it. AR has been proven to enhance the customer experience, and it creates business benefits such as secure additional source of revenue and decreases in seasonality (Granmerk, Dieck, Fountoulaki, 2020). The main potential in AR according to Granmer, Dieck and Fountoulaki (2020) is seen in the pre-booking, information gathering and on-site experience.  

How is AR utilized in different tourism businesses  

As I have noted, AR is an important tool in the tourism industry. It enables tourists to experience a destination in a completely new way. The application of AR can maximize the experience and level of entertainment a tourist experiences. It also maximizes the information and knowledge a tourist can get from a destination (Cranmer, Dieck, Fountoulaki, 2022.). According to Faizan (2022) previous studies done about AR is mostly focused on the technology and adaptation itself, rather than focusing on the way it enhances the customer experience. As a matter of fact, that is something I wanted to focus on in this post, as AR is a new technology used in the tourism industry and I believe it has great potential.  

Now, to talk about the utilization of AR in tourism businesses. AR is not commonly used in the spa and wellness concept, but it has been used in different tourism fields, such as museums and restaurants. Different museums use AR as part of their experience. Museums use AR to give more information about the pieces they are examining with the help of AR. In June 2021, the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle located in Paris, created an AR experience for their customers. This experience lets visitors to come face-to-face with animals that are extinct in the real-world. Also, In the National Museum of Singapore has been presented an exhibition that provides historical drawings in 3D that customers can interact with. The visitors only download an app and use their own smartphone to explore the 3D- drawings (Coates, 2022.). 

In restaurants AR is also used to enhance the customer experience. For example, with the help of AR restaurants can make virtual menus for customers. AR enables the menu to come to life when scanned with a smartphone. A Mexican restaurant group Wahaca was the first company to use AR menus in their services. Wahaca replaced their paper menus to virtual menus that can be opened with a QR- Code what triggers an AR experience. AR can also be used without a smartphone. La Petite Chef– is an experience that has entertained visitors worldwide. The experience uses a thumb-sized chef that prepares food through 3D projection mapping. You can watch the tiny virtual chef make food for you (Ferrandez, 2021.). 

Technology human touch background, modern remake of The Creation of Adam

As can be seen, AR seems to enhance the customer experience in different tourism companies. It makes me wonder why it is not used in the spa and wellness businesses? I believe that it has great potential, that should be utilized in spas also. For example, in the future a spa experience could be held in a completely blank room, where customers could open a view/environment they desire through AR. If a customer wishes to be in a forestry environment, they can open the forest in front of them with the help of AR and at the same time enjoy the relaxing spa experience. This would arouse customers’ different senses and enable them to experience relaxation on a completely new level. This same technology is used in the other fields, so why not utilize it in spas also. 

According to Spa Executive (2021), Vilmorin (2022) and Nelson (2022) technology will be a significant factor in the future of spa development. Technology will continue to change the way customers experience and view spa services. Dauverne (2018) argues that augmented reality could reduce the need to travel abroad, and this way reduce individuals carbon footprint. In 10 years’ time, the spa experience will be very different to what it is today, and technology will be one of the main factors paving the way for change and I am here for it.  


Achayra, A. 2021. Pros and cons of augmented reality.

Andersen, C. 2022. What is the difference between AR and VR?

Azuma, R. 1997. A Survey of Augmented Reality.

Buhalis, D. & O`Connor, P. 2005. Information Communication Technology Revoluionizing.

Buhalis, D. & Law, R. 2008. Progress in Information Technology and Tourism Management.

Carmigniani, J. & Furht, B. 2011. Augmented Reality: An Overview.

Coates, C. 2022. How Museums are using Augmented Reality.

Cranmer, E., Dieck, T. & Fountoulaki, P. 2020. Exploring the value of augmented reality for tourism.

Dauverne, A. 2018. Impact of new technologies on the Spa and Wellness Industry.

Faizan, A. 2022. Augmented Reality enhanced experiences in restaurants: Scale development and validation.

Ferrandez, C. 2021. Augmented reality restaurant experiences.

Hayes, A. 2022. Augemented Reality Defined, with Examples and Uses.

Kounavis, C. & Kasimati, A. 2012. Enhancing the tourism experience through mobile augmented reality: challenges and prospects.

Loijens, L., Brohm, D., & Domurath, N. 2017. Augemented reality for food marketers and consumers.

Mekni, M. & Lemieux, A. 2014. Augmented Reality: Applications, challenges and future trends.

Nelson, C. 2022. What does the future of the spa look like?

Rogers, S. 2019. Virtual Reality- A turning point for the spa and wellness industries.

Spa Executive. 2021. Seven Wellness trends for 2022.

Tulane University. 2022. What is the difference between AR and VR?,be%20accessed%20with%20a%20smartphone

Vilmorin, L. 2022. Top 10 global spa trends for 2022 designed to heal mind, body and soul.


Can we promote sustainable management in tourism field with the help of technology?

Sustainability is a trend that has been arising over the years. It is almost already overused term but especially when talking about traveling sustainability is a thing to consider in multiple perspectives. Another trend that has been arising in tourism field is information technology. People use it for almost everything, for example when buying travel related products or services, checking the weather forecasts of the destination or when wanted to be advised in some cases¹. Information technology and tourism are two very dynamic and growing industries in the world ³. Tourism in 2021 accounted 5,5% of global Gross Domestic Product and 272 million jobs in 2019⁵. These positive numbers also bring the aspect of necessity of responsibility for the stakeholders.

Sustainability is a wide term, and it is usually divided into social, environmental, and economic, which all cover a lot of different subcategories. The question of this blog post is how could information technology help to make tourism businesses work even more sustainable?

Dimensions of sustainability

In the past sustainability was seen as an image booster for a company if they utilised the term in their marketing plan. Nowadays it is a crucial part of both internal and external impacts of the company. The environmental aspect is usually the first one to come up when discussing the matter, and it is also the perspective of which majority of research papers have been conducted (10). However, sustainability can be divided into three sections and utilised from the stakeholders’ perspective:

  • Social sustainability can mean for example job opportunities, health and safety, training and learning or interaction with the local community⁴.
  • Environmental sustainability may include for example waste minimization and recycling, pollution prevention by reducing emissions or choosing sustainable transportation options (9).
  • Economical sustainability can mean that the company is making profit and staying lucrative.

It is suggested that economic and environmental aspects of an organisation are at the end driven by social elements like equality, health, and education⁴.

Technology in the help of management tourism services

Technology can for example provide innovative information system processes, creative ways of structuring and qualifying the offer and managing payment systems in the tourism sector7. Thus, it can ease the workload of the stakeholders at some duties so that they can focus on other aspects instead.

IT can help to build closer relationships with suppliers and customers² . IT can also help to gain competitive advantage by lowering costs or improving customers’ satisfaction and offering them differentiating products or services² . The destinations and businesses are much harder to be found by the potential customer if they are not utilising technology, for example search engine marketing. That makes businesses basically increasingly dependent on IT if they prefer being sustainable also economically.

IT enable travellers to access reliable and accurate information as well as to undertake reservations basically anywhere and anytime. IT has improved the service quality and contributed to higher customer satisfaction² . Technology can help gathering data about the tourists for the destination (8). That can help the stakeholders prevent potential negative effects beforehand.

IT, tourism, and sustainability

Social media can enhance the tourist-tourist relationship which can increase social capital through reciprocity and cooperation⁸. This kind of real time interaction enables them to share value and knowledge before, during and after their travels.

Technology can influence positively but it is dependent on the people using it and their knowledge and intentions⁴. Managerial capabilities are on a key role for succeeding. The professionals in the tourism field are the key point but at the same time average tourism-related degrees are among the lowest (4). The study has shown that the gender of the employee might have an influence. Being a woman has a positive impact on the ability to use of technology to achieve sustainability. In a higher level of managerial capabilities, the gender didn’t have an effect anymore. ⁴

It is believed that future tourism depends on matching sustainability and resilience successfully. HAV, referring to hyperplace augmented reality, has been seen as a creative formula enhancing the sustainability of cultural tourism using technology.⁶ Also, blockchain, as an information technology, is capable of supporting to improve sustainability in tourism field (11).

Making sustainable choices, like investing in automated lights in the hotel rooms, can have cost saving impact for the tourist companies in the long run9. Communicating about them transparently can also be a sales appeal in the perspective of many tourists. The information the stakeholders share in digital media can help recipients to promote their social and environmental behaviours9. In other words, the message companies share in their social media or marketing distributions has an effect. Being and staying sustainable might need creation and innovation from the companies sometimes. Only those who can manage with these matters are able to survive in competition².


  1. Gössling, S. 2017. Tourism, information technologies and sustainability: an exploratory review.
  2. Buhalis, D. 1998. Strategic use of information technologies in the tourism industry.
  3. Liburd, J. 2005. Sustainable tourism and innovation in mobile tourism services.
  4. Broto, O., Puig-Denia, A. & Lapiedra R. 2021. How to Enhance Sustainability through Technology Usage: An Analysis of Managerial Capabilities and Gender in the Tourism Sector.
  5. World Travel & Tourism Council 2021.
  6. Marques da Silva, A. 2021. In Quest of a New AR Technology Application to Enhance the Sustainability of Cultural Tourism: The Olive Heritage in Madeira Through the Looking Glass of a ‘Sandbox’ Approach.
  7. Cantino, V., Giacosa, E., Alfiero, S., Riad Shams, S. M. & Ferraris, A. 2019. Introduction: Smart Tourism Business (Sustainability, measurability, awareness, recognition & technology).
  8. Dongwook, K. & Sungbum, K. 2017. The Role of Mobile Technology in Tourism: Patents, Articles, New, and Mobile Tour App Reviews.
  9. Camilleri, M. 2017. The Promotion of Responsible Tourism Management Through Digital Media.
  10. Tölkes, C. 2018. Sustainability communication in tourism – A literature review.
    11. Erol, I., Neuhofer, I., Dogru, T., Oztel, A., Searcy, C. & Yorulmaz, A. Improving sustainability in the tourism industry through blockchain technology: Challenges and opportunities.