The toughest months of the pandemic completely paralyzed tourism around the world. And even now the numbers in this sector are well below what they were before the Covid-19 crisis broke out. A very tough year, but one that many of those involved have taken advantage of to reinvent themselves. “It has been one of the industries most impacted by the current situation, but that is also why it is changing a lot”, explained the director of the Innovation Hub of the ESIC Institute of Innovation (ICEMD), María Albalá, during the presentation of the Innovation Series report: Tourism, prepared by the university.
Luxury tourism and shopping is one of the segments that is making the best use of this opportunity for transformation, according to the ESIC spokeswoman: "Those who are traveling the most now, moreover, are the people with the greatest purchasing power." Tourism with great potential, since it encourages higher quality travelers to arrive: the highest average ticket is in the Salamanca district of Madrid (1,011 euros), followed by Puerto Banús in Malaga (994 euros) and Diagonal ( 973 euros) and Paseo de Gracia (850 euros) in Barcelona.
However, with borders closed, shopping tourism has to find new ways to survive. One of them is known as live stream shopping (purchases broadcast in real time). They are live connections, where products that can be purchased at that very moment are promoted, as was the case with the teleshopping. This strategy is the one carried out by the Chinese chain of beauty products Forest Cabin, which had to close its 300 establishments in the country, but managed to increase its sales by 20% compared to the previous year. Alibaba's Taobao Live platform received seven times as many customers last February, while streams on the farmer app Pinduoduo increased fivefold from February to March. China is expected to see 526 million viewers on live streaming services this year, whether for socializing or shopping.
In this context the figure of the daigou emerges. “It's someone who visits different boutiques in the city and buys for you. With all the travel restrictions, there has been an uptick in this type of profiles,” Albala commented. According to the report, the expenses of these professionals can reach 40,000 euros a week and their earnings in Spain are around 1,000 euros a week by sending luxury items to China. Why would someone choose to hire this service instead of buying directly through the website? “It is part of the experience, a shopping gamification process. Even when travel resumes, you can buy what you want before arriving at the destination and receive it when you arrive. A way to travel light, ”said the ESIC spokesperson.
Technology is one of the cornerstones on which these changes are being built, but it should not be the main focus. “We have to think very carefully about what value this technology offers us as people. It should help, not generate more stress and make the experience more enjoyable”, continued Albalá. An idea agreed with by Room Mate's director of innovation, Pablo Gago, who insisted that the secret lies in personalized experiences. Although the data obtained through digital applications helps to know customers better, the human touch should not be lost. "Technology is great, it's a tool, but it's the people who must prepare this experience," said the Room Mate spokesperson.