Fragmented landscape and lack of discoverability
Providing a smooth, professional and holistic experience to touring individuals or groups requires concerted interaction of different services: guides, itineraries, logistics providers, accommodations, ticketing, restaurant guides. In the old days, travel companies cared for this coordination providing “all-inclusive” packages to travelers.
Out of hands of traditional travel businesses, today’s independent tourists have to cope with a multitude of services by freelancers, companies, platforms, all highly fragmented along national, language, and service level boundaries. The flip side of the hailed today individual tourism is that travelers spend a significant amount of time coping with this diverse ecosystem, often feeling lost in the maze of websites, apps, and platforms. Travel service providers are experiencing no less problems, forced to spread and manage their offers on dozens of platforms. This eats up huge resources that would be better spent on improving their service
Unbalanced platforms lead to overtourism and lost opportunities
In this fragmented landscape, two services needed by any tourist stood out thanks to their reliance on easily structured data and the relatively high cost (as part of the whole package): air travel and accommodation. For these two, platforms quickly became dominant players, leading to a radical lack of balance: today, a large proportion of tourists quickly find tickets and accommodation without other traditional complementary services. The result is two-sided: on the one hand, overtourism is experienced by popular destinations when the city capacity can’t cope with large numbers of tourists, leading to crowds, frustration by locals, and poor service. On the other hand, regions and neighbourhoods away from the platforms’ radar suffer from negligence, lack of income from tourists and, often, lack of support by authorities.
At the same time, thousands of professionals are ready to provide local knowledge: itinerary planning, storytelling, and other kinds of guidance. They have to cope with different local and global platforms, oftentimes with overlapping functionality
Web 3.0: Back to Balance
To get the touristic market back to normal, a fundamental rebalancing is necessary. When local providers and hotels will publish their services at source, all the platforms will have access to the same information. They will start competing over the best functionality and service they can offer using this information. Providers will spend less time on managing and marketing their services while tourists will use the platforms of their choice giving them access to any service provider. Innovation will be directed towards offering better services using all available information