3T Conference – How to Improve Tourism with Help of Technology

By 21 March 2018

Tourism and technology - just how can a closer relationship between these two T's result in the improvisation of the current system?

Yesterday was the day to hear all about the challenges of tourism and technology during the second 3T conference held in Zagreb, organised by Bug and Mreža IT magazines.

The event took place in the Kaptol Boutique cinema and brought together more than 200 local and foreign participants from numerous tourism and IT sectors.

These two sectors are definitely rapidly growing in Croatia, and they should work more closely, according to conference director, Oleg Maštruko. He thinks that by now, everyone should be aware of the importance of technology in everyday business processes. Both technology and the experiences involved with it should create a unique tourism story.

Maštruko stated that the aim is to connect the two most successful industries in Croatia – tourism, which holds 20% of Croatian GDP, and IT – a rapidly growing industry which contributes more and more to the country's overall economic growth. As the second edition of the conference saw more than 30% participants, it seems the topic fif well to attract the public.

The conference had two keynote speakers followed by a panel discussion on how to deal with the seasonality of tourism.

The first keynote speaker was Martin Reents, an entrepreneur and CEO from Munich, who highlighted importance of working in tourism with the support of technology solutions. He mentioned how more and more tourists use technology to travel - technology is there to book the accommodation, to buy tickets, and to discover new destinations. He said that tourism businesses should implement more technology in their processes – for example, the introduction of mobile check-ins and mobile keys would be a good idea, as well as to offer special and custom-made experiences, using the ''big data''. He compared businesses who invest in technology and those who don’t – and the result is that those who properly utilise technology achieve higher revenue.

The second keynote speaker was Monika Udovičić, who presented the new “Zakon o pružanju usluga u turizmu” (Law on the provision of services in tourism) to the audience, a law which has been valid from beginning of this year, and offered participants some explanations about the new law which offers more defined services and less regulations for tourism businesses.

After this, panellists took to the stage. With all of them specialising in different tourism and IT related fields, they offered solutions how to deal with the seasonality of Croatian tourism. Participants could hear how technology could help but still isn’t the only solution. Ivan Ilijašić from Orioly talked about this with Stjepko Varga, from MMC, Zoran Kasum, from Hotels and Destinations Consulting, Dean Muhoberac, from Combis, Goran Rihelj, from and Marko Mišulić, from Rentlio.

The important thing is to encourage local stakeholders and business owners to be attracted to sell new, different experiences and with this, attract more people to their destinations.

Participants mentioned plenty of technology solutions which can result in improvisation of the current systems. They talked about the international example of Disneyworld – years ago, they introduced electronic bands with which people get into the park and pay for services, rides, food and drink – with this, they not only simplify the payment process, but also collect data which provide an insight into the most visited places, and how to improve things for the future. Simple solutions like this can easily be used in tourism operations in Croatia too.

Goran Rihelj said that it is important to offer experiences to people, and they will come to the destination.

Participants noticed the lack of a bigger number of representatives from the Croatian National Tourist Board (HTZ) and the Ministry of Tourism – they concluded the fact that these institutions should be the first to attend conferences such as this one, in order to adjust legislation and adapt various regulations for the benefit and ease of tourism oriented businesses.

That afternoon saw a set of interesting marketing, technology and experience-based lectures, but among the most interesting was the presentation of Croatia's Team Tesla, on the Budapest to Bamako rally. This was the first time for an electric car to cross the Sahara Desert, and TCN covered it here. This exciting trip was presented during the conference by two participants – Oleg Maštruko and fellow entrepreneur Saša Cvetojević.

Maštruko said that being part of the rally was the adventure itself, and doing everything with a specific electric car was an upgrade to the entire experience.