Digital Innovation in Tourism

Work Team


The Digital Innovation in Tourism Observatory was formed in 2014 to study and gain an understanding of one of the most important economic sectors in Italy: Tourism. Competition in the sector is increasingly being influenced by digital technology that affects the process of managing tourist relationships and the internal handling of tourism services. We are particularly interested in studying the new “tourist figure” that is now emerging and the very different methods through which players in the tourism chain interact. The aim of the Observatory is, therefore, to guide Italian companies, helping them to understand the new digital solutions arising in this sector and to identify the opportunities that these tools can bring to their company’s strategies.


The Observatory’s work consists of:

  • writing a report to help readers understand the current status of digital tools in the field of tourism, outlining the main digital scenarios in the sector and monitoring the frontiers of digital innovation in tourism, etc.;
  • organising a closing conference held at TTG Incontri (a major international fair on B2B tourism), Rimini Fiera, to report on and spread the results of our research;
  • organising specialist workshops for Observatory partners on a particular topic (for example, the Digital Tourist Journey or business travel);
  • writing a concluding report with the main findings of the research distributed in both paper and electronic format;
  • having a continuous media presence and interact with generalist and sector-specific media, to strengthen the cultural effect of research results and open the doors to further opportunities;


The focus of our work is to measure the impact that various digital tools have for major players in the tourism chain, for example:

  • hospitality facilities;
  • travel agencies and tour operators;
  • catering
  • destinations and local authorities;


This work will help the players involved to prepare for forthcoming challenges.


The Observatory’s research addresses five topical objectives:

  • analyse the adoption of digital tools within the tourism sector in Italy;
  • evaluate analytically the impact (benefits, costs and critical issues) of services that affect the identified players most significantly;
  • monitor the frontiers of innovation, looking in particular at national and international start-ups;/li>
  • outline the main factors that influence the “digital future” of tourism;
  • conduct continuous and structured comparisons with international happenings in the sector.


Various methodologies are employed so that the matters being investigated can be analysed with precision in the research.


The analysis on the adoption of digital tools consists of:

  • measuring the turnover generated through digital channels by Italian tourists, in Italy and abroad, and by foreign tourists vising Italy;
  • four surveys extended to the players being investigated (hospitality facilities, travel agencies and travel managers);
  • the segmentation of "digital tourists" according to their behavior;
  • the construction and the analysis of a database of the sector top Startups;
  • Case Study in Business Travel to deepen the impacts (cost, benefits, critical issues) of the adoption of digital mission management tools in a company


Impact is evaluated through original analytic and quantitative models designed by the School of Management of Politecnico di Milano and applied to real business cases in Italy.


Sponsorship opportunities

Every year more than 300 companies join the Digital Innovation Observatories activities, getting in touch with the corporate, institutional and academic decision makers

More Details

Partners and Sponsors

For further information, collaboration and support requests for the other researches of the Digital Innovation in Tourism Observatory, please contact Filippo Renga(email: filippo.renga@polimi.it).