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Technology in tourism marketing

Innovative technology application in tourism marketing

Azizul Hassan and Célia M. O. Ramos


Technological gadgets are transformed to have capacities in influencing the interaction that consumers make with digital information, content, media, feedback, intelligence and product or service offers to experience tourism, to contribute to involvement and create memories associated with the trip (Bilgihan et al., 2016). Tourism is established as one of the world’s capable economic industries where the application of innovative technologies is playing crucial roles, which triggered the redesign of the tourist distribution chain across the globe. In tourism marketing, consumers are prioritized in terms of their requirements and the capacity to meet those requirements, to achieve the aims of increased sales and loyalty. Innovative technologies become powerful and indispensable elements to manage, distribute and market tourism (Benckendorff ct al., 2019). The application of augmented reality (AR) can make the tourists able to add value travel experiences and engage in local culture and values more deeply. The service generated from AR application can also be extended to online visa processing, flight booking, online check in, issuing boarding passes on their smartphones, passing through the automated clearance gates and even electronically validating their boarding passes for boarding the plane. All of these jointly can improve the facilitation of travel, ensuring maximum security, quality products and services and accessibility as well as the elimination of mobility issues, while increasing the flow of how business transaction data is performed (Kazmer et al., 2018). An innovative technology like AR can possibly persuade consumers of tourism products and services. This research analyses the attachment of an innovative technology' as AR with tourism from the postmodernism context emphasizing how digital marketing can be applied in this context.

Innovation technology' example: augmented reality'

AR application in tourism as an element of postmodern and digital marketing has been described as follows:

Augmented reality “augments” the viewer’s surroundings with new digital imagery and information. ... To that extent, AR may or may not mean much to the average consumer - a cool image is great, but it doesn’t create a connection. Thus, augmented reality in and of itself usually isn’t the goal of any marketing campaign; the goal is to use AR in such a way that it creates an interactive experience, engaging the customer through a rich and rewarding experience.

(Vong, 2015, p. 1)

Buchholz (2014, p. 2) explains AR in a more expressive way:

By Augmented Reality, abbreviated to AR, we understand the computer assisted augmenting of perception by means of additional interactive information levels in real time. The distinction between AR and Virtual Reality: in the case of Virtual Reality, the user is totally immersed in a virtual world that has no connection with reality.

One of the latest digital technology trends is AR, which is incorporated in tourism marketing and advertising strategies. AR superimposes information of a real-world image and offers added content when viewing an object (Nayyar et al.,

  • 2018) . Thus, AR is able to offer its users with unique and complete experiences that combine “real” and virtual elements. In AR, users can interact in real time using their smartphone, laptop or tablet computer. The advantages generated from the incorporation of AR into digital marketing strategy include first, tourism product or service brand awareness enhancement (Yung and Khoo-Lattimore,
  • 2019) . AR campaigns support increased awareness of a specific tourism brand or product through the cultivation of a “wow” factor encouraging both the media and the tourists talking about the brand. AR is specifically effective for awareness raising as the technology is rather new and the interaction experience with a brand through AR still stays as a unique experience for most tourists. The use of AR differentiates a particular tourism brand from the competitors by applying innovative techniques and generating expectation for promoting a tourism product or service. Second, AR helps increase user engagement, because when tourists receive a new experience, they tend to get attracted to the tourism brand (Rauschnabel et al., 2019). A useful link between that specific brand and tourists is established and the brand memory gets reinforced. This is important mainly for the saturation of advertising to which a tourist becomes exposed. The integration of AR with specific tourism product or service marketing campaigns can possibly lead to improved experience: when tourists have more information at their disposal, it deepens their knowledge of what they are experiencing. Tourists with the support of AR can make relatively quicker choices and complete transactions at a greater speed, once they are more knowledgeable about the product they can get. Third, AR supports bringing digital technology to the real world. One of the key advantages that AR can provide is the capacity to create a link between the digital marketing campaign to the tourists’ physical experience in more innovative, new and inventive ways (Chaftey and Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). AR links the conventional marketing channels with the digital that allows tourism product and service marketers to turn a brochure or static physical advert

Innovative technology application 145 into a digital experience that can have easier linkage with a digital marketing campaign. Fourth, AR transforms the tourism B2B vendor/customer experience in many different ways. Sales processes in such a business type have been typically challenging on the context of tourist expectations and the restrictions of tourist product or service providers in terms of the actual capacity. AR is believed to have the potential for creating a crucial improvement in the complete sales process chain. AR significantly improves the creation of lively materials for sales promotion, which when complemented with technological devices that awaken the senses of the human being, contribute to the increase of personal satisfaction and well-being.

Digital marketing

In general, digital marketing refers to the type of marketing that relies on technology use as the most basic way to reach and interact with target consumer bases (Ryan, 2014). Digital marketing relies on technology application and deals with marketing in technology-backed market settings. This marketing demands technology use as a valid requirement for its application in a business system. Perhaps digital marketing is feasible in changed market situations where the dynamism and efficiency of marketers requires enhanced capacities to interact with target consumer bases. Such assumptions are particularly more generalisable in market settings with advanced technology use. Digital marketing in certain cases can appear as a common solution to overcome identified issues related to restricted geographical market.

The use of the Internet is seen as more effective to reach diverse consumer segments and thus to persuade them to get access or purchase available offers, services or products (Chaffey and Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). Also, the Internet is the generic platform for digital marketing while television, radio, smartphones and computing devices are tools or means to serve customized and personal purposes. Tools used in digital marketing can be diverse. Also, these tools are used in certain perspectives followed by careful understanding of market demand. Different consumers can use different marketing tools aiming to communicate with certain interests and persuade people to purchase. Basically, digital marketing is divided into two types: pull digital marketing and push digital marketing.

Pull digital marketing

Pull digital marketing is the type of marketing where consumers actively search for marketing contents. Examples include e-mail marketing as the most common and conventional pull digital marketing tool, where target consumers are sent emails with details of the offered products or services. Website marketing is one of the most recent tools of digital marketing, which helps to deepen the relationship between the customer and the brand or product and consequently increase their loyalty (Buss and Foley, 2019).

Blog marketing is a widely used pull digital marketing tool and typically comes with descriptive features of a certain product or service. These descriptions are posted on different blogs to attract the attention of general consumers. With the help of these blogs, consumers then search for more in-depth information to reach a purchase decision for a particular product or service, which results in increased sales and brand awareness.

Push digital marketing

On the other side, push digital marketing is the form of marketing where marketers send messages to consumers with detailed contents of a particular product or service, without considering what they are searching for (Chaffey and Ellis-Chadwick, 2019). This type of marketing tool most prominently includes social media marketing.

Social media marketing is a form of marketing using social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Linkcdln and so on. The unprecedented popularity and growth of social networks have helped to widen the scope of such marketing and to transform communication between brands and consumers. Augmented reality is the other tool of such marketing that is viewed as having promise in coming decades (Bjork and Guss, 1999). This type of marketing blends technology with reality to create interest among consumers, while increasing brand awareness and presentation of associated products.

Keyword marketing is sometimes called search engine marketing and focuses on advertisement on search engines relating to a specific product or service promotion (Yamamoto, 2018). The very basic and popular concept of this kind of marketing is pay-pcr-click marketing that attaches clicks by customer.

Neuromarketing is a relatively complex marketing tool that necessitates high expertise and skills in analysing neurology-associated marketing behaviour of a consumer. This is involved with studying affective and cognitive responses and sensorimotor of a potential consumer that stimulates marketing behaviour.

Other common push digital marketing tools include the following (Chaffey and Ellis-Chadwick, 2019): Inbound marketing is a sort of marketing that depends on making and sharing important information to attract a large number of consumer groups; content marketing includes infographics, articles, videos or podcasts to attract potential consumer bases; article marketing is the posting of certain products or services on different websites that is quite similar to blog marketing; affiliate marketing is marketing associated with a third party “affiliate”. This is a form of referral marketing. Video marketing is a form of video streaming on the Internet where a consumer can get a clear view of a product or service. This does not necessarily involve a full-length video of an exact product or service. Rather, videos are mostly posted on media like YouTube.

Five distinct roles of interactive technology are identified by Deighton and Kornfeld (2009): thought tracing, activity tracing, property exchanges, social exchanges and cultural exchanges. However, a changing shift is largely influenced by technology-powered capacity enhancements of consumers leading to

Innovative technology application 147 improved communications and information search. The availability of applicable technologies is one of the reasons for such a shift. In addition, technology supports consumers to get more information on selected products and services that can influence their purchase decisions. It is obvious that consumers behold stronger capacities and amenities for digital marketing. Their abilities to adapt with updated technologies are also developed by the acquisition of more operational skills as an outcome of innovative technologies. Thus, the shift outlines both similarities and dissimilarities between traditional and updated concepts and frameworks in digital marketing. Such a shift allows newer theories or models in relation to technology adoption and purchase decision making by consumers.

The application of traditional theories in digital marketing is interesting when marketing dynamics are seen as inconsistent. Generational theory is relevant to digital marketing where each generation communicates on online platforms to allow marketers to reach them. This theory accepts that consumer behaviours and attitudes arc general focusing mainly on shared experiences. These consumers are born in a same generation. They manipulate their early days followed by their worldviews. Millennials (24-39 age group) arc the wisest users of the Internet, Generation X (40-55 age group) is more active than the earlier group in areas of financial research while prc-Baby Boomers are becoming the fastest user of social networks as supported by smartphone gadgets (Pew Internet Generation, 2015). For all age groups, general activities include shopping, travel arrangements, health information searches or podcast downloading.

Game theory is a mathematical concept. This analyses strategic relations between individuals and agents to be generated on the basis of agent’s preference. Supposedly, the agents can have contradictory precedence. The realistic application of this theory is outlined by gamification. The use of gamification in market research is evidenced by Pepsi-Cola particularly, for studying vending sales. With a specially designed game, Pepsi-Cola managed to receive consumer reactions on vending machine placement as well as the required number of machines in a building (Marketing Society, 2019).

Collective intelligence theory argues that age groups are relatively more creative than simply collecting their requirements. Crowd sourcing is an advanced phenomenon of the Internet that performs on the basis of collective intelligence. In crowd sourcing, projects are broken down into smaller assignments and distributed among individuals to reach completion. A popular mid-Atlantic resort town. Ocean City in Maryland, employs crowd sourcing for promoting special events on Facebook (Small Business, 2015).

Network theory is concerned with all types of relationships including both subjective and objective knowledge. Social network analysis as a learning tool is involved in outlining inter-societal networks as well as behaviour influences. Digital marketing channels as Groupon, Foursquare, Facebook or Twitter are changing as networking platforms between consumers and marketers listen to consumer opinions and allow marketers to spread messages within their networks. Networking becomes influential; recent research reveals that the success of entertainment products is not only the outcome of acting power or storybur the influence of consumer decisions (Harvard Business Review, 2012). In digital marketing, theorists apply diverse approaches of both a scientific and non-scientific nature to clarify consumer purchase decision making (Karimi, 2013). Conventional understanding about consumers gets changed in contexts where more functions are added with the support of technology use than simply product or service purchase.

On the basis of postmodernism and digital marketing, an innovative technology application like AR in tourism can be valid, once the leveraging of business and experience stirs a new disruption in tourism. The interaction between technology and product or service consumers becomes functional, and such interactivity is a required element of digital marketing. Consumers in tourism use technology to get informed and communicate about a target product or service. For tourism, digital marketing offers numerous usable tools to meet consumer demands (Weber and Roehl, 1999) and contribute to reach their preferences. For tourism, digital marketing appears in forms like brand marketing, B2B marketing, referral marketing, mobile marketing, digital marketing and many more (Bennett and Radburn, 1991). This classification signifies that any other marketing tool like AR can be experimental and subject of intensive research, justifying validity of this study and that will be essential for the activity.

AR and digital marketing

The expectations of tourists and global trends are continually pushing the tourism industry to adopt digitalization. This adoption can offer better performances that are both economically and socially sustainable, plus environment-friendly marketing strategies followed by the satisfaction of tourists. This is one of the reasons the tourism industry needs to innovate and adopt a workable and better digital transformation process. All of the beneficiaries and stakeholders need to collaborate to enhance the capacity of the tourism industry for facing global market competition and challenges (Kasliwal and Agarwal, 2019).

As a transversal economic sector, tourism can have relevancy in technology applications. The impact generated from digitalization comes with innovations in tourism product or service manufacturing and resource management followed by effective marketing on digital platforms. Technologies have become a powerfid and indispensable tool for tourism resource management, distribution and marketing. The harnessing of digital and innovation advances offers the tourism industry opportunities for improving community empowerment, inclusiveness and efficient resource management and a sustainable development agenda. As a result, tourism needs to adopt technological innovation for realizing its potential contributors. Technological innovations have made changes when AR can ensure smart travel facilitation through offering experience sharing that is rather unique and exclusive (Yung and Khoo-Lattimore, 2019).

The common efforts of digital platforms, feedback, information content, intelligence, media and tourism services can possibly make the tourists plan their travel and experience tourism in more meaningful ways. The use of personal computing

Innovative technology application 149 devices, smartphones, the Internet and wireless technologies have put tourism in a position to adopt any innovative technologies. In general, tourists seek to have experiences than merely visiting an attraction. Tourist destinations have always been a subject of enjoyment for the tourists. With the application of AR, these tourists will be able to enjoy their desired destination digitally. The digitalization of tourism marketing has theoretically transformed the decision-making process to purchase tourism products or services as well as the planning of travel, booking the hotel, confirming tickets or even managing tourism activities (Yung and Khoo-Lattimore, 2019).

The benefits generated from the application of AR for tourism marketing need to spread over the relevant investors, stakeholders and the governmental agencies. Thus, digital transformation can provide benefits to the tourists also. The application of AR has connected the tourists on an international level helping the most vulnerable tourist segments. A tourism destination that is smart with the support of AR can transform the tourism industry as a whole (Hsu et al., 2018). An AR-supported smart destination adopts innovative technologies, accepts innovation, creates accessibility and ensures sustainability and inclusivity throughout the complete travel cycle including the pre-, during and post-travel phases. AR technology-applied smart destinations can turn conventional tourism marketing more inclusive with the inclusion of entities for tourist communication or tourist retention.

AR marketing for the Bangladesh tourism industry

For many countries in the world including Bangladesh, tourism is the key industry in their economy. In a competitive tourism business industry, innovative technologies application remains important for meeting the demand of time and consumers. Thus, the tourism industry in Bangladesh has to be able to adopt new and innovative technologies as its foremost concern. In the present as well as in the upcoming years, millennials largely dominate the tourism industry and AR has huge potential for enhancing tourists’ experiences. The newer types of AR mobile apps offer beneficial data and information, guides, navigation, translation and many other features. In Bangladesh, in particular, the tourism industry stays on four specific service offers: transportation, accommodation, catering and tourist attractions. AR has the capacity to assist and improve each of these service offers (Dimjsoy, 2020; Gottlieb, 2018).


In terms of accommodation in Bangladesh, the hospitality sector was the pioneer in implementing AR. The ways through which AR can support a hotel is amazing that offers a range of offers in different areas of operation. For accommodation, AR can support with information and advertising. The application of AR for creating all-around room tours with details of accommodation, prices and relevant information are useful. This is an effective way for advertising the hotel and forengaging tourists for trying out a wide range of services of the hotel. The application of AR can possibly turn one-time guests into loyal and regular guests.

More convenient and reliable data and information about the accommodation service offers can be possible from using AR. Tourists require solid information about the housekeeping, services, sightseeing, food and so on. Getting reliable and good data and information has never been easy. However, times have changed and tourists now with the use of smartphones or tablets can open the specific hotel app, point to a particular marker and find all of the relevant information and data. AR has turned this simple and easy. Hotels in Bangladesh can have interactive wall maps in all rooms, the tourists can point their phone at and are thus able to check local tourist attractions nearby.

Tourists in these days are technology savvy. They do not tend to and arc unwilling to observe things that they used to do even a few years early. Tourists using AR have different ways for observing issues. Tourists in these days do not necessarily pay attention to pamphlets that are simple. AR makes it possible to discover information on a relatively new level by getting 3D animations from printed flyers. Hotels in Bangladesh can collaborate with AR service providers for producing such interactive advertisements in their magazines. Also, hotel app users can scan the advertisements for unlocking a presentation video.

AR can turn a simple hotel into an interactive one. The success of AR has motivated and inspired many businesses for utilizing AR that includes the hospitality’ industry’ also. Young millennials are keener to stay in particular hotels having AR access. Bangladesh can have hotels that display each site of their hotels with added AR objects and offer rewards to the competition winners.


Moving to a city' and transport from one place to another by’ car, train or bus can be seriously difficult for tourists in most cases because the place is unfamiliar to them. In such situations, tourists also wonder and become confused how to travel and where to travel. However, travelling with an AR app can help and guide tourists to get route, direction, next stop and even show the places of interest. Tourists from other countries can enjoy’ the AR app as this can meet their demands. Bangladesh can have AR apps for tourists that turn a bus or metro map or other similar items into an attractive guide with multiple languages. Cities in Bangladesh can have the example of New York with Tunnel Vision. The application of AR can certainly’ help change a city's look by engaging them to AR apps.

Restaurants / catering

Restaurants, diners, bars and relevant other catering facilities can apply' AR to benefit their business. This can be performed in many’ ways, for example a brand new restaurant menu can have an interactive 360-degree view of each dish, ingredients and accurate portion size. These are currently’ performed by AR application Kabaq (Kabaq, 2019). Tourists can enjoy’ AR games in restaurants while

Innovative technology application 151 their order is being served. These AR games can attract tourists in an easy way. Navigation help can be offered with the special mobile apps that use AR for providing data and information about the cafes, restaurants and bars nearby.


Tourists mostly travel to explore tourist attractions, which the use of AR can help. This can transform a good city into an extraordinary one. With the support of AR, tourists can view the evolution of landmark buildings in the time context. Tourists can also enjoy 3D place models, get fun tour guides and so on. Cities in Bangladesh can surely adopt AR for this purpose. AR can be applied in tourism for serving many other purposes (Hassan et al., 2018; Jomsri, 2019), as discussed next.


In Bangladesh, almost all of the agencies engaged in tourism business use paper catalogues and brochures weighing to tons. The potential of AR with print media is abundant in the virtual world. The access of animated visualization can attract tourists in an increased number where AR marketing in Bangladesh can of course offer more and better data and information and thus persuade tourists to take quicker decisions.


The foremost purpose of tourists while travelling is to discover destinations and sights that are new. This can be highly challenging and almost impossible in unknown places. In such situations, AR apps or maps with AR access to navigate turn this job easier and accessible.

Language barriers

AR can eliminate the trouble and barrier of language in an unfamiliar place. A tourist would definitely be keen to learn a language or signs that are local. AR apps with innovative features like Google Translate can help avoid miscommunication or misunderstanding by availing prompt translation service to the tourists’ native language.

In almost all cases, tourism brings new experiences. AR can obviously add experiences to tourists in far more useful way than ever imagined. AR is a useful technology for tourists in terms of hotel booking and tours, accessible travel information, eliminating language barriers and advanced navigation.

In Bangladesh, the application of AR in the tourism industry is a possibility. This application can be critical and challenging at the same time due to the lack of knowledge and institutional capacities. For the application of AR for marketing to become possible, both the public and private institutions need to be involved,

including the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, Bangladesh Tourism Board, Bangladesh Parjatan Corporation, experts from the relevant academic institutions and other private and public organizations. Their effective and efficient participation can make the application of AR for tourism marketing in Bangladesh possible. This is one of the reasons the World Tourism Day theme was chosen as “Tourism and the Digital Transformation”. This is one of the most important aspects of tourism that innovative technologies are adopted for: marketing aimed at making changes and supporting digital development trends. Observing this day with the theme would only be able to bring changes in the Bangladesh tourism industry when the relevant authorities, beneficiaries and stakeholders can offer new and innovative ideas, projecting them within the observance of this day, and adopt the digital transformation that is better and workable. Furthermore, that digital transformation will help to support and provide the means to ensure the conditions for tourist destinations to meet the challenges associated with the sustainable development goals proposed by the United Nations.


A better way to interact with consumers can be digital platforms, which are relatively easier for communication, information exchange, transaction execution and presenting messages fast and at low cost, and that can be accessed anywhere and anytime. An innovative technology like AR can help promote tourism activities in a destination to both local and foreign tourists. A tourism industry that is technologically advanced can also benefit the development of tourism entrepreneurs, the enhancement of community interests and the management of tourism resources efficiently. In line with the sustainable development goals, innovative technologies can ensue the rapid, continued and inclusive growth of tourism, while contributing to reducing poverty, improving quality of life and health services, reducing inequality and improving access to education, among other things, whose main beneficiaries are the local population.

This innovative technology has connected tourists to global digital platforms and some important allies to ensure sustainable tourism development. This is the reason for which a technology as AR will be able to bring a momentum for the economy and the society of Bangladesh. Thus, the potential of an innovative technology like AR can advance the demand of soft skills in effective planning and managing the resources. The massive and enormous effects of AR on tourism marketing will have positive effects on the tourism workforce.


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