How Information Technology affects tourism in East Africa

Information technology (IT) plays a crucial role in the tourism and hospitality sector. It not only facilitates the access to information from anywhere around the globe but also simplifies the booking and check-in/check-out processes.

Travel companies, airlines, and hotels have widely embraced IT to improve their operational efficiency, minimize costs, and most importantly enhance the quality of service along with customer experience.

The evolution of Smartphones, the internet, and other forms of technologies has seen tourists and travellers enjoy significant savings and convenience. Today’s consumers have access to wide-ranging resources that can help them make well-informed decisions about their travels. On the other hand, service providers can convey information about their services and promotions through apps and websites.

This article highlights how information technology influences the tourism and hospitality industry in East Africa.

The internet has revolutionized the way we do things, starting with research, communication, business, lifestyle, etc., and tourism is no different. Today, the internet serves as a powerful tool for travel companies as it helps them highlight the kinds of experiences they have in store for diverse types of clients through their websites. Similarly, it allows those who are planning to travel to different regions to have a feel of what they are going to experience even before they set out for the journey.

Now it is easier for someone in Canada to learn about the different types of safaris in East Africa from the comfort of their living room. It is also possible for them to read about the experiences of other people, which help clear out any uncertainties about the destination of choice.

Today, travellers do not need to drive down to offices to make a reservation for anything, whether it’s flights, hotels or tours, and travel company. All they need to do is go online, search for the company’s platform and make payments. Better yet, they can install the company’s mobile application (if available) and complete the process there and then. A while back, this wasn’t possible, and it was even harder if one was planning to travel to Africa.

The world is a global village; in this technological age, a person in the UK can pick up their phone and call a travel company in Kenya to enquire about a service or ask for clarification on any matter. It’s also easier for companies to call, email or text their clients about offers, delays or even advertising.

Besides, according to one study by Reuters, safety is a top priority for most tourists and carrying mobile devices that facilitate communication allows them to relax knowing they can call for help in case something goes wrong.

Lastly, tourists want the assurance that they can still communicate with their friends and loved ones back at home. The improving network systems in East Africa allow them to do this.

A while back, many were sceptical about traveling to Africa because they couldn’t do business due to lack of internet connectivity. But that’s not the case today; almost all hotels, lodges and restaurants offer Wi-Fi amenities to enhance the experiences of their guests. They even integrate customized applications to access room service options through e-dining internet sites or online.

Innovation in technology has largely increased how tours and travels companies communicate, not just with clients, but also with sponsors, partners, and business connections. The high-speed internet enables real-time video or audio conferencing with people from all corners of the globe; it is faster, cheaper, and convenient than the traditional methods.

Other than communication, it is also easier for agencies to send data to hotels, airlines or other service providers and get back to clients without any delays. This enhances the booking and coordination process that would otherwise take some few hours and even days to be processed.

Computers have played an incredible role in the organisation of documents as well as information. This has not only brought order in the offices, but also a golden chance for agencies to collect substantial information that they can use to enhance their solutions.

Since agencies can collect and store wide-ranging information around their services – including reservations time, dates and seasons, pricing, customer satisfaction rates and response, inquiries, questions, etc., it is easier for them to plan for future success. They can leverage the data collected to analyse their strengths, weakness, organization and come up with laser-focused strategies to provide better services. They also can use the customer information to help in innovation and planning.

Self-service booking is one of the areas where technology has influenced the level of service that travel companies offer. Today, clients looking to reserve a safari no longer have to go to the agency’s physical location (or send someone down). All they need to do is pull out their devices – laptop, mobile phone, or tablet – and log on to a platform, and make payments. The best part is, they can book just about every service online, whether its airline, hotels, safaris, etc.

The technological advancement has positively influenced the tourism and hospitality industry. Today, someone can get everything they want from the comfort of their homes or offices – right from research and consultation through to reservation and travel.

Hotels and lodges too, have benefited, thanks to the evolution of recordkeeping, from papers to computerized systems. This advancement has seen them reap profits and provide even better services to their clients.

Tour agencies now have a chance to display and advertise their solutions online, through interactive websites. They also can take clients through virtual tours, to give them an impression of what to expect when they visit.