ArticlePublisher preview available

A review of audio guides in the era of smart tourism

To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract and Figures

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.
This content is subject to copyright. Terms and conditions apply.
A review of audio guides in the era of smart tourism
Seung Jae Lee
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
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.
... With this in mind, it is undeniable that SNs have expanded our horizons, the ways in which we socialize and, of course, the way that we purchase all kinds of products [3]. Moreover, SNs have reimagined the possibilities of tourism; tourism-based businesses have had no option but to evolve towards new methods of promoting their products using digital marketing [4]. ...
... Valuations of brands through SNs used by travelers. Knowledge of tourists [4] Analyze the intelligent experience and the intelligent destination. ...
Full-text available
In this study, the presence and management of the social networks of 78 tourist destinations were analyzed for the development of sustainable tourism, with particular attention being paid to Spanish smart destinations. The variables for the empirical analysis were determined from a literature review, and it was concluded from a descriptive analysis, correlation analysis and an analysis of variance, that although the presence of tourist destinations on the internet and on social networks was notable, their management was inadequate for the development of sustainable tourist destinations. It was shown that there is a direct relationship between the number of visitors at a tourist destination and its presence on social networks. However, our analyses found that this correlation was not related to social network management; a greater number of visitors were not related to the effective management of social networks. It was concluded that smart destinations, despite having a technological advantage, did not stand out for their presence and management on social networks. The manuscript ends with some recommendations for the future
... Seyahat acentelerine benzer olarak, müze ve galerilerde de bilgi ve işlem büfeleri, sesli rehberler, mobil aplikasyonlar gibi servis otomasyon uygulamaları ziyaretçi deneyimini hızlandırmak ve kolaylaştırmak adına tercih edilen yöntemlerdir (Lee, 2017). Öte yandan, Japonya ve Güney Kore'de bulunan bilim müzesi örneklerinde olduğu gibi robotların rehberlik, satış işlemler, temizlik gibi aktivitelerde kullanıldığı veya robotların doğrudan müzenin temasını oluşturduğu örnekler de bulunmaktadır (Demetriou, 2014). ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Industry 4.0, which has made great progress in the 21st century, has both spatial and socioeconomic effects on various sectors such as industry, logistics, health, education, and agriculture, as well as the tourism sector at different scales. Considering the rapid development of digital and mobile technologies over the past 20 years, it is clear that this process, which started in the early 2000s, will have an exponential increase in its positive and negative effects on the industry. The most important reflections of Industry 4.0 in the sector are the use of new technologies such as virtual and augmented reality, multidimensional printers, robots and automation, hologram, especially in the workforce and in the sub-sectors of tourism. Among these different technologies, the use of robot technology in the tourism and accommodation sector has gained popularity in recent years as it provides efficiency in the workforce and increases the attractiveness of the tourism destination. In this direction, within the scope of the study, the current situation of robot technology in the tourism sector, its multidimensional effects at different scales, and the development trend for the future are discussed through national and international sources in the literature. In order to support this discussion, the current usage of robot technology in sub-sectors such as hotels, travel agencies, restaurants, airports, museums, and guidance services in the tourism sector has been examined through different examples around the world. The last part of the study, the trends for the future of robot technology in the tourism sector were determined, taking into account the current situation in the tourism sector, and in line with these trends, the main discussion and research topics for the future of the sector were presented.
... VR is also being used in tourism, where restauranteurs, hoteliers, and managers of tourist sites can provide potential guests with an opportunity to preview their experience before visiting (Guttentag, 2010) or enhance their experience at tourist sites (S. J. Lee, 2017). VR may sometimes act as a substitute for real-world tourism, but increasingly VR has its own purpose and its own distinct benefits (Cheong, 1995;Mura et al., 2017). ...
Full-text available
Virtual Reality (VR) is becoming an increasingly important technology in a host of industries, including tourism. VR can provide virtual experiences before, during, or in lieu of real-world visits to tourism sites. Hence, providing authentic experiences is essential to satisfy guests with the site and technology. This study analyzes survey data using PLS to identify the determinants of satisfaction with non-immersive VR experiences of heritage and non-heritage tourism sites. Results from 193 subjects reveal the linkages between system quality, object-related authenticity, activity-related authenticity, and presence, as well their relationship with satisfaction.
... The smart tourist wants to have a super connected experience, relating the sharing of different types of information with different stakeholders in the destination, in search of also personalized experiences (Femenia-Serra et al. 2019), not just consuming the service, but still co-creating it (Aktaş & Kurgun, 2019). As a reflection, smart tourism provides these tourists with personalized travel services (Lee, 2017), which meet the preferences of users at the right time (Buhalis & Amaranggana, 2015) and create a tourist offer that is more adequate to the needs of tourists (Del Vecchio et al., 2018). ...
Full-text available
Smart tourism is seen as a revolution in the tourism industry, involving innovative and transformative theoretical-practical approaches for the sector. As a result of its application in the tourist context, benefits can be seen such as more sustainable practices, greater mobility and better accessibility in destinations, evolution of processes and experiences of tourists. Much of this is achieved through the support of technological solutions. However, despite the immense expectations, and the many researches carried out on it, a literature summary regarding the dimensions that can be observed in each application of this smart tourism has not yet been proposed. Therefore, supported by the PRISMA recommendation, this research proposed to carry out an integrative review of the literature on smart tourism (in its different levels of application, such as the city, the destination and the smart tourism region), with the objective of mapping the dimensions that underlie it. Thus, from an initial scope of 833 intellectual productions obtained, inputs were found for the dimensions in 363 of them after a thorough analysis. The compilation of data obtained from these productions supported the proposition of 14 operational dimensions of smart tourism, namely: collaboration, technology, sustainability, experience, accessibility, knowledge management, innovation management, human capital, marketing, customized services, transparency, safety, governance and mobility. With this set of dimensions, it is envisaged that the implementation of smart tourism projects can present more comprehensive and assertive results. In addition, shortcomings and opportunities for new research that support the evolution of the theory and practice of smart tourism are highlighted.
This paper identifies the motivators and inhibitors for using mobile tour guiding apps from the perspective of tour guides and customers. The study provides insights into the challenges of designing and developing apps through the evaluation of an existing tour guiding app and makes recommendations for further improvement. In-depth interviews were undertaken with tour guides from the WeGoTrip App as well as a sample of their customers. This study has important implications for app designers in terms of usability of such apps. It provides insights into the readiness of guides to adopt and promote such new developments, as well as the experiences of potential customers. The paper contributes to technology acceptance literature in the under-researched area of mobile app technology acceptance. The focus is on the motivators/inhibitors of guides and tourists to use/re-use mobile apps in the context of guided tours.
QR codes provide potential opportunities to improve interaction in different areas of application. Even so, this technology has been utilised in punctual and specific standalone applications, being barely applied to broader contexts, such as the educational one, where different scenarios can be considered to take advantage of the same QR-code approach. In this paper, key issues for the development of applications that utilise QR codes to improve sharing and availability of resources are presented, specifically focusing on improving interaction and acceptance. In this way, a holistic approach has been developed where the system is aimed at improving the interaction between educators and students. On the one hand, educators use a web interface to manage educational resources and announcements and automatically generate QR codes. On the other hand, students scan those QR codes using a mobile device, obtaining updated information related to their lectures. This scenario has been evaluated by educators and students, obtaining good results in terms of acceptance, cognitive burden, and overall usability. The approach provides development clues and the evaluation method that can be applied to different contexts, thus representing a generalisable solution.
Full-text available
Accessible tourism is among the issues that have been emphasized in recent years. Smart technologies which have developed and become widespread nowadays are seen as an important tool in ensuring accessibility in destinations. Today, destinations are trying to improve the tourism experiences of individuals with some form of disability by using smart technologies. This study aims to reveal the current accessible tourism applications in smart destinations with the example of the city of Breda. Data were obtained using the document analysis technique, which is one of the qualitative data collection methods. As a result of the data analysis, it has been determined that technologies such as destination websites, mobile applications, virtual reality are used extensively for accessible transportation and information about the destination in Breda.
Full-text available
Smart tourism technologies are becoming ever more pervasive and an increasing number of destinations and hospitality establishments are investing in smart tourism initiatives. However, while governments and businesses around the world are aggressively pushing the smart tourism agenda forward, smart tourism research initiatives are still in their infancy and seem to not fully cover the whole spectrum of smart tourism-related issues and questions. This paper conducts a systematic review of existing smart tourism literature to determine the status quo of smart tourism research and to identify research gaps. Considering the steep growth of smart tourism initiatives starting at the beginning of this decade, this paper reviews publications on smart tourism over the last 8 years. All publications for which the keyword "smart tourism" appears in the title, keywords or abstract were included in the sample.
This case study is intended to analyze, through a longitudinal analysis, the radical business model innovation experienced a Cantabrian tourism company that exploits a protected cultural property called “El Capricho de Gaudí.” More specifically, this chapter focuses on the manager attitudes toward risk and their influence on response strategies implemented to redefine and renew this business model for competitiveness and survival. The results of the analysis contribute to generate knowledge about how a solid and well-established small experienced cultural-based tourism enterprise reformulates its business model to survive in time of crisis.
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Tourist guiding has an important and multifaceted role in contemporary tourism. A safe and quality experience offered by a guided tour involves the guide, tourists and the environment, and is fulfilled when all the three components interact at the same point in space and time. The role of guides in the tourism system distinguishes itself by its potential to manage and orchestrate tourist experiences, enhance destination image and implement the goals of responsible tourism. What guides present and interpret takes effect on the way in which their customers experience a place or attraction, understand local culture, engage in local activities and how they behave on the spot. As front-line professionals, information-givers and interpreters, the guides act as destination's representatives and "ambassadors" in the eyes of tourists. Tourist guiding is one of the important factors of successful presentation of destinations in contemporary tourism, affecting the resulting economic and social benefits.
Full-text available
This study aims to investigate the impact of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) on the overall visitor experience in the context of museum. In tourism research, few attempts have been made to examine factors which enhance visitor experience using new and emerging technologies such as VR & AR respectively, however research on visitor experience in the mixed environment by combining both VR & AR is scarce. In particular, this study examined the impact of social presence on visitor experience in the mixed (VR & AR) environment by applying social presence theory and experience economy theory. Questionnaires administered to 163 museum visitors revealed that social presence in mixed (VR & AR) environments is a strong predictor of four realms of experience economy. Furthermore, all aspects of experience economy, except for esthetic experience, have a significant influence on visitor experience, which consequently induce the tourists’ intention to revisit Geevor museum. The results of this study provide theoretical and managerial implications for adoption of VR & AR technologies in museum.
This book deals with the phenomena of cultural tourism within different global contexts, offering insight into contemporary research and case studies that in their cross-cutting themes consider different approaches to the management of cultural tourism within diverse cultural contexts. In providing cultural insights from various perspectives, the volume incorporates a range of multicultural perspectives and examples of both material and immaterial culture. The book has 19 chapters and a subject index.
The goal of this study was to develop an in-depth understanding of the use of smartphones and their impact on the travel experience. The results indicate that the use of smartphones can significantly transform the travel experience by changing travel planning, constructing and destructing one’s sense of tourism, and reconfiguring the relationships among tourists, places, and others. Importantly, the findings establish a strong foundation for reconceptualising the travel experience within the context of mobile technology, and in turn, provide practical implications for mobile marketing and destination marketing.