Preface to the Second Edition

Tourism firms are at a crossroads when it comes to creating value. The dramatic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and destabilizing geopolitical events in Eastern Europe have not only significantly damaged the ability of tourism firms to sustain value creation, but their potential to emerge stronger from crises raises serious questions, especially for small and medium-sized businesses. The world is not going to be the same again and the advent of smart technologies also has a lot to do with it. Everything around us seems to have become smarter: our phone is getting smarter, our TV, our running shoes, and even our home is now smarter. Consumers are accustomed to things, products, services and even experiences becoming “smart”, which means that humans are starting to be replaced when we buy something or order a service in favor of machines and “intelligence” embedded in things. Smart technologies have become the perfect allies for consumers when they travel to a destination for the first time, from which they obtain tailored information, access personalized services, and are in contact with other users and friends. Up to this point there is nothing wrong. After all, we like to be treated in a personalized way and to make our lives easier.

However, solving the equation of value creation in an environment as complex and competitive as that of today’s tourism is a great challenge for all organizations. From the perspective of the owner and manager of the tourism firm, this requires, first of all, putting together the pieces of the puzzle to begin to understand the true dimension of the moment in which we live. Of course, this is not the first time that consumers and firms have experienced disruption, where ways of thinking and acting stop making sense. Let us simply remember what tourism experienced with the internet revolution and when all started to go digital. What is different this time is that the speed, depth, and scope of the opportunities offered by the Smart Revolution are of a magnitude never seen before. And this makes a huge difference!

For the most daring firms, the Smart Revolution offers enormous opportunities to create long-standing sustainable competitive advantages. For all the others, the probability of falling behind and dying is equally enormous. Addressing the Smart Revolution requires starting to think and behave differently at all levels of the organization and embracing new ways of managing and leading organizations that traditional firms may not be used to. Above all, it means raising data to the category of critical asset of the organization on which to build a new agile and flexible work culture capable of responding to the challenges of the environment with speed and precision. And here is where this book comes in.

The book is divided into four main parts and contains 23 chapters that shed light on the challenges that the Smart Revolution brings to tourism firms in two ways. On the one hand, it provides updated knowledge obtained from the literature and state-of-the-art research about the critical variables that frame the phenomenon of the Smart Revolution and the impact on the tourism firm. This knowledge is essential to be able to operate technically and functionally in the world of smartization. On the other hand, the book aims to guide business leaders, and those who want to become one soon, on how to get it right when making their decisions about smart transformation.

Ultimately, the owners and managers of tourism firms have at their fingertips with this book an orderly, systematic, but never complete or exhaustive framework of some of the latest and most relevant advances in the field of smart transformation that can be put into practice to continue creating value in the years to come.