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A review of audio guides in the era of smart tourism

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The tourism industry is intimately related to the development of technology. Currently, technology-integrated “smart tourism” provides convenience and interactivity, and offers personalized services to tourists. However, the use of the technology-mediated audio guides among tourists in cultural heritage sites is not as active as expected. The underutilization of the audio guides in palaces is confirmed by a survey at Gyeongbok-gung palace, and the underlying reasons are examined by interviewing visitors to Chateau de Versailles. This paper analyzes the low usage of audio guides as a case-study, utilizing Cohen’s basic concepts of tour guides, Dann’s tourist motivation theory and the museum ecology of Bell. Consequently, this paper confirms the multifunctional complexity of audio guides, and suggests improvement of them in functionality (user-friendliness, usability, interactivity and social functions) for program developers, and the strategic use of ICT in promotion of palaces as smart tourism destination in cultural heritage management.
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A review of audio guides in the era of smart tourism
Seung Jae Lee
1
Published online: 5 July 2016
#Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016
Abstract The tourism industry is intimately related to the devel-
opment of technology. Currently, technology-integrated Bsmart
tourism^provides convenience and interactivity, and offers per-
sonalized services to tourists. However, the use of the technology-
mediated audio guides among tourists in cultural heritage sites is
not as active as expected. The underutilization of the audio guides
in palaces is confirmed by a survey at Gyeongbok-gung palace,
and the underlying reasons are examined by interviewing visitors
to Chateau de Versailles. This paper analyzes the low usage of
audio guides as a case-study, utilizing Cohens basic concepts of
tour guides, Danns tourist motivation theory and the museum
ecology of Bell. Consequently,this paper confirms the multifunc-
tional complexity of audio guides, and suggests improvement of
them in functionality (user-friendliness, usability, interactivity
and social functions) for program developers, and the strategic
use of ICT in promotion of palaces as smart tourismdestination in
cultural heritage management.
Keywords Audio guide .Underutilization of audio guides .
Cultural heritage sites .Cohens basic concepts of tour guides .
Smart tourism destination
1 Introduction
What we call Bsmart tourism^is a Btotal activity for the tour-
ists applying new technologies to the tourism-related sectors
and experiencing platform services or apps for lodging, trans-
portation, and restaurants,^or a Bsocial phenomenon in which
the existing hospitality industry and the tourism industry are
integrated for the smart use of Information Communication
Technology^(Koo et al. 2014; Gretzel et al. 2015; Hunter
et al. 2015). This definition of smart tourism suggests two
basic concepts; one is the touristsuse of technology for the
convenience of their travel experience, and the other is the
industrial upheaval of the tourism and hospitality fields to-
wards efficiency and autonomy. Audio guides in cultural her-
itage sites such as palaces or museums can be a means of
information communication, of which its main function is to
conveniently deliver cultural information to the visitor and can
often replace on-site heritage interpreters.
If smart tourism is the tourists use of technology satisfying
his or her needs, then the use of audio guides in cultural her-
itage sites, which is relatively low-tech,istheuseoftech-
nology for the tourists own convenience and satisfaction.
Therefore the technology-mediated tourism experiences in
using audio guides should be positively considered as a smart
experiencein the cultural heritage sites, although it can be
perceived as being low-tech compared with the application-
based mobile tour guides (Lai 2015) or Smart Travel Guides,
because there are still many tourist attractions that have not
been fully equipped with new high-tech equipment.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)
have had a profound impact on tourism (Buhalis 2003;
Lassnig and Reich 2009; Koo et al. 2015), and the
technology-mediated interpretation of the audio guides has
been developed in cultural heritage sites e.g. museums and
palaces. Since the prototype of audio guides was firstly used at
Amsterdam Museum in 1952 (Othman et al. 2013), the devel-
opment of advanced technologies has reduced the size and
weight to become portable on the one hand, and increased
functionalities and usability on the other hand. Finally, the
*Seung Jae Lee
sjleeth@khu.ac.kr
1
College of Hotel Management, Kyung Hee University,
Seoul, Republic of Korea
Inf Syst Front (2017) 19:705715
DOI 10.1007/s10796-016-9666-6
Content courtesy of Springer Nature, terms of use apply. Rights reserved.
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