Selling rooms online: The use of social media and online travel agents

ArticleinInternational Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 26(2) · February 2014with 302 Reads
Abstract
Purpose ‐ This paper aims to focus on the reason why hoteliers choose to be present in online travel agent (OTA) and social media web sites for sales purposes. It also investigates the technological and human factors related to these two practices. Design/methodology/approach ‐ The research is based on a survey sent to a wide range of hotels in a Swiss touristic region. The empirical analysis involves the specification of two ordered logit models exploring the importance (in terms of online sales) of both social media and the online travel agent, Booking.com. Findings ‐ Findings highlight the constant tension between visibility and online sales in the web arena, as well as a clear distinction in social media and OTA web site adoption between hospitality structures using online management tools and employing personnel with specific skills. Practical implications ‐ The research highlights the need for the hospitality industry to maintain an effective presence on social media and OTAs in order to move towards the creation of a new form of social booking technologies to increase their visibility and sales. Originality/value ‐ This research contributes to understanding the major role played by OTAs and social media in the hospitality industry while underlining the possibility of a major interplay between the two.
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  • Purpose The aim of this paper is twofold. First, clustering patterns of urban hotels are explored, and, second, clustering effects on performance for upscale urban hotels are estimated. Design/methodology/approach Local indicators of spatial association (LISA) were computed using geographic information system (GIS) techniques. Clustering for the entire population of hotels in Madrid was explored visualizing LISA statistics. Then, a system generalized method of moments regression was applied to test a set of hypotheses about the performance effects of LISA statistics for a sample of upscale urban hotels. Findings Two significantly distinct types of clusters are identified: dense “cold spots” or clusters containing many low-priced hotels and quiet “hot spots” or clusters only containing a few high-priced hotels. And, estimates confirmed two important results: evidence of adverse selection when clustering and evidence of positive location economies for upscale hotels. Practical implications This study has a number of relevant implications for making better hotel location decisions. Specifically, the paper shows the applicability of GIS to find statistically significant clustering in the data. In the hotel sector, knowing exactly where hotel clustering occurs and of what type is of vital importance. Originality/value This paper’s novel application of LISA based on GIS techniques for hotel clustering sheds light on the effects of clustering on performance to convey the subtle nuances of the relationship for upscale urban hotels.
  • Article
    Past literature has documented on various sources of information for national parks used by tourists in travel and tourism. However, updated research on best sources of information for national parks to tourists is crucial in order for the tourism industry in Africa to stay competitive by providing information about national parks to attract tourists. In Tanzania, there are limited studies on sources of information for national parks related to tourism by domestic tourists who contribute 40.5% of visitors to national parks. Although domestic tourism is an alternative engine for economic development, there is inadequate literature on sources of information and income groups for domestic tourists visiting national parks. Tourism stakeholders use various sources of information including social media and television to provide information about national parks. Inadequate research on sources of information and income groups for domestic tourists is a challenge in tourism for purposes of increasing domestic tourist arrivals. Therefore, this study aimed at analyzing the relationship of sources of information and income groups of domestic tourists visiting national parks. The first specific objective was to identify sources of information used by domestic tourists and profile the income groups of domestic tourists. The second objective established the relationship between television as a source of information and income groups of domestic tourists. The third objective established the relationship between social media as a source of information and income groups of domestic tourists. Economics of Information Theory is used as the theoretical framework in this paper. The study area was Udzungwa Mountains National Park in Tanzania which is endowed with mountain fauna and flora biodiversity as well as waterfalls. Quantitative data collection approach was applied and semi structured survey questionnaires were given to a total sample size of 107 domestic tourists. Data analysis was done using descriptive statistics and Pearson Chi-square test. Findings indicated that television is used more as a source of information than social media. Majority of respondents are categorized as having monthly income above TZS 300,000. Results also showed that there is a statistically significant relationship between television as a source of information and income groups of domestic tourists (p=0.027). However, there was no statistically significant relationship between social media as source of information and income groups of domestic tourists (p=0.521). These results suggest that most domestic tourists who visited Udzungwa Mountains National Park use television more, and social media less. Hence this study can conclude that there is a relationship between television as a source of information and income groups of domestic tourists who visited Udzungwa Mountains National Park. The outcome of this study is valuable to policy and decision makers in the tourism sector to maintain the use of television as the major source of information about Udzungwa Mountains National Park.
  • Article
    This study examines the relationships between motivations, modes of participation and loyalty intentions of consumers of tourism brand pages on Facebook (TBPF). The study introduces an integrative theoretical and exploratory model that describes the impact of motivation on online consumer behavior (extent of participation and degree of active contribution) and attitudes toward particular brands (repurchase and recommendation intention). A digital survey posted on TBPF elicited 903 responses. Four factors of motives for participation were identified—functional, social-psychological, hedonistic, and incentive motives—with varying levels of importance. Social-psychological motives were the main predictors for “active-participation” in TBPF. There was a positive significant correlation between all the modes of participation and consumers’ loyalty intentions. The findings were significantly different from previous studies of online tourism communities with regard to the impact of social-psychological motives on consumer’s electronic word-of-mouth participation and loyalty intentions. The implications for the theory and marketing management are discussed, as is the study’s contribution to effective marketing management of TBPF.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Digital marketing is the promotion of products or brands through online. In recent days the demand of digital marketing in hotels has become increasingly high with Social Media Marketing (SMM) which works with social networking sites and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) making the website to appear in search results with advertisement on Google and online magazines by search engine marketing (SEM), video marketing through you tube and websites are types of digital marketing. Searching hotels through online by computers and mobile with the hotel websites is the new trend of digital marketing and it makes the possibilities to enhance the local search on hotels by giving required content, User profiles, managing citations and in search results. The aim is to study the role of digital marketing in hotel industry. This article is also focused to identify which type of digital marketing will work best with hotel industry.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Purpose: This paper aims to investigate antecedents of using non-travel-specific social media (specifically Facebook) for travel decision-making before a leisure trip. Design/methodology/approach: Based on an online survey of 426 young travel consumers from Italy and Sweden, this work applies structural equation modeling and multi-group analysis. Findings: The study finds support for most of the conventional TAM-related constructs: perceived usefulness, perceived enjoyment and intention, while ease of use is not found relevant in this context. Research limitations/implications: Results shed light on the antecedents of using non-travel specific social media in two countries. Future research might focus on validating the factors identified and add others that might shape usage in the selected countries. Future studies could further investigate possible differences arising from culture, country of origin and age. The analysis can also be extended to other countries. Practical implications: The analysis might help managers in the hospitality and tourism sector by providing an understanding of the cognitive factors which determine travelers’ decision to use Facebook for trip planning. Thus, managers should get to know these factors in their effort to influence social media in hospitality and tourism settings. Originality/value: The findings offer interesting perspectives on the applicability of conventional models to the context of non-travel-specific social media platforms. The exploration of cross-cultural differences also adds to the extant body of knowledge.
  • Conference Paper
    Full-text available
    Amacı: Sosyal medya kullanımının konaklama işletmeleri üzerindeki işlevinin araştırıldığı bu çalışmada Hatay ilinde faaliyet gösteren altmış altı konaklama tesisi yöneticisiyle mülakat görüşmesi yapılmıştır. Sektörler bazında turizm sektörünün sosyal medyadan en çok etkilenen sektörlerin başında geldiği düşünülmektedir. Sosyal medyanın işletmelerin hizmet kalitelerine olan etkisi ve işletmelerin davranışlarının bu yönde değişimi araştırmanın amacını teşkil etmektedir. Yöntemi: İşletmelere sosyal medya konusunda on yedi kriterden oluşan sorular yöneltilerek yarı yapılandırılmış mülakat tekniği uygulanmıştır. Bulgular: Çalışmada işletmelerin sosyal medyaya konum ve mevsimsellik özellikleri itibariyle farklı boyutlarda baktıkları tespit edilmiştir. Sonuç ve Öneriler: Sosyal medyanın pazarlama dağıtım kanallarına olan etkisinin önemli olduğu çalışmanın önemli bir sonucudur. Çalışmanın benzerinin rekabetin daha yoğun olduğu otel sayısı daha fazla olan şehirlerde de yapılması önerilmektedir. Orijinalliği/Değeri: Araştırma kapsamında elde edilen sonuçlar hem akademik hem de sektörel camiada sosyal medyanın etkilerinin işletmeler cephesindeki etkileşimini anlamada yarar sağlayabilecek niteliktedir. Anahtar Kelimeler: Konaklama işletmeleri, sosyal ağlar, turizm firmaları
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This paper analyses the use of the main e-tourism platforms by European tourists. A computer-aided Web interview (CAWI) was used to conduct the research in 19 European countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, Finland, France, Holland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Czech Republic, and the United Kingdom. The fnal sample consisted of 13,243 tourists. Through the methodology of Social Network Analysis (SNA), the study focuses on detecting key network players (social media, OTAs, etc.) in the e-tourism ecosystem. The network analysis reveals the structural characteristics of the network of networks in the European e-tourism ecosystem: number of platforms (473), centrality degree and betweenness, and the specifc characteristics of the networks by country. The results show an e-tourism network of platforms following a pattern known as core-periphery. Four platforms show a predominant role: Facebook, TripAdvisor, Google, and Booking. These ‘big four’ ego-networks are graphically represented to better understand the e-tourism network. The results also show that diferent networks are formed by country according to the use of e-tourism platforms. This study helps understand in a novel way the behaviour of European tourists when using e-tourism platforms to choose their travel destination. The results obtained are useful for companies and Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs), understanding how e-tourism platforms are connected in order to design their segmentation and promotion strategy through e-tourism platforms in the European market.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    In recent years with the development of information communication technologies and social media sites, word of mouth(WOM) takes place not just face to face but in the internet, social networking sites, blogs…etc. Due to the intangibility of the tourism product and difficulty in try it out before purchasing, consumers rely on word from an experienced source to reduce the uncertainty and perceived risks. Therefore electronic word of mouth (eWOM) has become more important in terms of hospitality industry. In this study, articles related to tourism published in six recognized journals between the year 2010-2014 have been reviewed and the impact of eWOM has been analyzed from the perspective of consumers and hospitality industry. As a results of this review, eWOM affect the decision making process of potential tourists in consumer-based studies. Also it has been observed that eWOM has been important to development of the hotel performance and improvement of the business.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    In recent years with the development of information communication technologies and social media sites, word of mouth(WOM) takes place not just face to face but in the internet, social networking sites, blogs…etc. Due to the intangibility of the tourism product and difficulty in try it out before purchasing, consumers rely on word from an experienced source to reduce the uncertainty and perceived risks. Therefore electronic word of mouth (eWOM) has become more important in terms of hospitality industry. In this study, articles related to tourism published in six recognized journals between the year 2010-2014 have been reviewed and the impact of eWOM has been analyzed from the perspective of consumers and hospitality industry. As a results of this review, eWOM affect the decision making process of potential tourists in consumer-based studies. Also it has been observed that eWOM has been important to development of the hotel performance and improvement of the business.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The aim of this article was assess the visibility of the three cities of Abu Dhabi, Doha and Dubai on the internet on the basis of data collected from a booking platform. The internet has revolutionised the way humans and machines interact, the way humans advertise and market their goods and services including tourism products. This article focuses on the accommodation sub-sector. The article was compiled using primarily secondary data available on the internet. No primary data was collected. The findings reveal that Dubai is relatively stronger as compared to the other two cities, purely on the basis of available accommodation facilities in which it showed preponderance on the basis of available rooms. It emerged as a city strong in architecture, shopping and entertainment as well as desert safaris. While closer to Doha on the parameters investigated, Abu Dhabi finds itself in the middle between the other two cities in relation to accommodation. It is strong in respect to highprofile sporting events, and emerges as an excellent cultural/entertainment city. Doha came out in the findings as a city ideal for relaxation and beachfront activities. The article suggests that destination entities like tourism authorities must find ways to use Online Travel Agents (OTAs) such as Booking.com to popularise their facilities and destination for visibility.
  • Article
    This study investigates the impacts of perceived security and consumer innovativeness on online travel shopping. A survey questionnaire was used to collect data and a total of 283 questionnaires were used for data analysis. The mechanism of perceived security and consumer innovativeness was then identified. The study results indicate that: (1) higher perceived security increases the perception of website image and trust; (2) consumers with a higher level of innovativeness tend to trust travel websites; (3) website image has a mediating effect between perceived security and trust; and (4) trust has a mediating effect between website image and e-loyalty.
  • Conference Paper
    Technological advances have resulted in growing competition in the online tourism industry and distribution channels and have an impact on company structures, as companies are being pushed towards disintermediation, re-intermediation and collaborations. In this digital context, this paper takes a business perspective with the aim to analyse the changes brought about by the technological advances in the field of distribution channels. The specific objectives are threefold: (i) to explore the role of online intermediaries as a distribution channel; (ii) to analyse the main trends and features in the online distribution; and (iii) to highlight the co-existence of disintermediation and re-intermediation. The paper is completed by suggesting a series of marketing strategies for hospitality businesses. Key words: Electronic travel trade, distribution channels, hospitality industry, tourism e-mediaries (TEMs), disintermediation, re-intermediation.
  • Article
    One hundred and five articles on social media in hospitality and tourism during 2004–2014 were identified from three databases and seven journals. Seven dimensions were used for analysis. Results indicated that social media research in hospitality and tourism is in its early stages with two turning points. The number of articles rose dramatically in 2010 and unexpectedly dropped in 2014. Research gaps are apparent in several industry sectors in topics beyond online reviews and in research methods, where literature reviews suffer from small numbers and few prominent researchers. Implications and future research directions are also discussed.
  • Purpose Encouraging travelers to create value that benefits firms is of great relevance for companies that operate in online contexts. The purpose of this study is to investigate, focusing on online travel agencies, how monetary promotions (i.e. economic incentives) and non-monetary promotions (i.e. draws and contests) conducted through social media enhance customers’ voluntary behaviors (i.e. suggestions, word of mouth, and social media interactions) that go beyond brand choice, which may provide benefit to firms. Design/methodology/approach The research model draws on the social exchange theory, equity theory and the concept of perceived support – how customers perceive that companies care about their well-being. The authors collect information from 491 users of online travel agencies in Spain and test their hypotheses using partial least squares. They also evaluate the existence of indirect effects. Findings Promotions developed by companies make customers more likely to perform, voluntarily, the helping behaviors of suggestions, word of mouth and social media interactions, through the influence of perceived support. Research limitations/implications Use of a single survey to collect measures and restriction of the sample to Spanish-speaking travelers suggests caution in generalizing the results. Future research could investigate other company-initiated actions and other value-creating behaviors of travelers. Practical implications Promotions help develop perceived support for customers, which leads to voluntary, valuable traveler behaviors. Promotions may be also sufficient to trigger some customer behaviors, such as word-of-mouth. Originality/value Based on the social exchange and equity theories, this paper investigates the influence of social media promotions on customers’ voluntary behaviors via perceived support.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to investigate potential barriers to deployment of information technology (IT) projects and evaluate strategies to overcome them in hotel companies. Design/methodology/approach: Empirical data were collected through a series of in-depth semi-structured interviews from IT managers, chief information officers, and hotel general managers. Findings: The research findings demonstrate that barriers to IT implementation occur in three different stages. They are pre-implementation (cost and return on investment, resistance by owners/executives); during the implementation (integration, time delays, vendor communication problems, and resistance by employees); and post-implementation (inadequate training and resistance from customers). Research limitations/implications: The research findings suggest a contingency approach where organizations should employ various specific strategies depending on the situation to overcome these barriers. Multiple theoretical perspectives should be utilized to evaluate potential barriers to IT projects and utilize specific strategies to overcome them. Originality/value: This is one of the first empirical studies which provide specific theoretical and practical implications on barriers when implementing IT projects in hotels.
  • Purpose The purpose of this paper is to assess whether travel agencies that implement comprehensive marketing performance assessment systems (MPASs) enjoy superior overall performance. Drawing on the knowledge-based view, the authors propose and test a model demonstrating that the relationship between MPASs and overall performance is fully mediated by the depth of market-related knowledge absorbed by the travel agency. Design/methodology/approach A survey was administered to a sample of Italian travel agencies; 171 complete questionnaires were received. The suggested relationships were assessed using a covariance-based structural equation modeling approach, including the estimation of both the measurement model and the structural model. Findings The findings indicate that the implementation of sophisticated MPASs has a significant and positive effect on performance and that this relationship is fully mediated by the depth of market-related knowledge absorbed by the travel agency. In addition, the results highlight that the number of marketing metrics monitored by the travel agency has no effect on its performance. Research limitations/implications The specific features of the travel agency sector in Italy include a remarkable level of fragmentation. The cross-sectional design does not permit an assessment of the medium-term effects of the adoption of an MPAS. Practical implications Travel agencies selecting proactive marketing strategies can particularly benefit from the adoption of sophisticated MPASs. Suggestions are provided to assist managers in designing their MPAS. Originality/value This study enriches the field’s knowledge about marketing performance measurement and proactive marketing strategies, and indicates that the implementation of well-designed MPASs improves a firm’s overall performance. It also explains the knowledge-related processes that produce this positive effect.
  • Article
    This research aims to develop and test a theory-based model that empirically investigates the antecedents of consumers’ continued usage behavior intentions toward mobile hotel booking (MHB) technology. The proposed model was tested via structural equation modeling (SEM) by using data collected from 396 MHB users. Among the investigated factors, utilitarian and hedonic value had significant impacts on users’ continued usage intentions. Furthermore, perceived risk, subjective norm and innovativeness significantly influenced utilitarian and hedonic value; also, perceived ease of use had a significant impact on utilitarian value. This study offers important theoretical contributions, as it provides valuable information to researchers in developing and testing related theories. In addition, the study brings clear practical implications to hotel operators, online travel agencies (OTAs), and hospitality technology vendors in developing effective marketing strategies to increase the continued usage level of MHB users.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to identify and evaluate the practices hoteliers use to design their hotel web sites. It argues that hoteliers provide groups of relative information services, they provide them in different degrees of occurrence, and some of them being significant are not provided to meet the customers' demands, while others are provided regardless of their low perceived significance. Design/methodology/approach – This work distinguishes groups of information services according to their occurrence and significance. The content of 798 Greek hotel web sites is recorded using the frequencies of 66 information features. Also a sample of 17 users provides the significance ratings of the information features. Findings – Greek hotel web sites are primarily designed to serve as electronic brochures and, while they generally satisfy most of the users' needs, they partly serve as online transactions media, a function considered significant. Practical implications – Identifies and rates the rendered groups of related information services at hotel web sites. Originality/value – Enables hoteliers and web designers to evaluate significant web sites' characteristics.
  • Book
    This collection of papers presented at the ENTER 2008 Conference represents cutting-edge research on the topic of “eTourism: The View from the Future”. This year's 50 full research papers cover topics such as: user-generated content, dynamic packaging, mobile applications, context-aware systems, technology adoption, and recommender systems. All papers have undergone a double blind peer review process; therefore, the proceedings represent once more the state of the art of IT and Tourism research.
  • The traditional channels of distribution for overnight accommodations are rapidly being displaced by website scripting, online intermediaries, and specialty brokers. Businesses that pioneered Internet usage relied on it as a sales and marketing alternative to predecessor product distribution channels. As such, websites replace the traditional trading model to the Internet. Web-enabled companies are popular because the medium renders the process faster, less costly, highly reliable, and secure. Auction-based models impact business models by converting the price setting mechanism from supplier-centric to market-centric and transforming the trading model from “one to many” to “many to many.” Historically, pricing was based on the cost of production plus a margin of profit. Traditionally, as products and services move through the supply chain, from the producer to the consumer, various intermediaries added their share of profit to the price. As Internet based mediums of distribution become more prevalent, traditional pricing models are being supplanted with dynamic pricing. A dynamic pricing model represents a flexible system that changes prices not only from product to product, but also from customer to customer and transaction to transaction. Many industry leaders are skeptical of the long run impact of online auctions on lodging industry profit margins, despite the fact pricing theory suggests that an increase in the flow of information results in efficient market pricing. The future of such endeavors remains promising, but controversial.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Online reviews (ORs) are continuing to foster a renewed spread of word-of-mouth in the travel industry. Travelers are increasingly using ORs to inform them about accommodations and other tourism-related products. As such, it is important to improve our understanding of the behavioral consequences of e-word-of-mouth. In this article, we adopt the elaboration likelihood model to identify what influences travelers to adopt information from ORs in their decision making. We measure the influence of six dimensions of information quality that are part of the central route and two dimensions that are associated with the peripheral route of persuasion. The results of this study reveal that product ranking, information accuracy, information value-added, information relevance, and information timeliness are strong predictors of travelers' adoption of information from ORs on accommodations. These results imply that high-involvement travelers adopt both central (information quality) and peripheral (product ranking) routes when they process information from ORs.
  • Chapter
    Full-text available
    This research investigates how the hospitality sector in Switzerland has embraced the new world of (online) distribution. It analyses the role of existing distribution channels, and gives insights into channel management methods used. Data is gathered through an online survey among Swiss hotels resulting in 196 usable questionnaires. Findings show that direct booking channels remain the dominant sales tools in Switzerland, although their proportion in the distribution mix has been decreasing steadily in the last years. The Internet Distribution System channel reaches 16.4 % and thus is the channel with the highest growth rate in 2011. A cluster analysis on multi-channel distribution strategies results in four groups: multi-channel distributors, electronic distributors, real time distributors, and traditional distributors. Further, it is shown that more than half of the hotels manage rates and availabilities manually and only one out of four hotels has implemented a channel manager able to manage different channels.
  • Article
    Although traditional travel agents have played an important role as proxies enabling travelers to make connections with hotels, the emergence of the internet has changed the traditional relationship between hotels and travel agents. Instead of a traditional agent-principal relationship, online travel agents (OTAs) seem to act as more than just intermediaries and more as business partners or vendors. Scholars have previously observed troubled, if not hostile, relationships between hotels and OTAs. This article reports a case study analyzing online comments on the 2009 feud between Choice Hotels International and Expedia.com. This analysis identified eight themes in three overall categories: the background to the feud (i.e., characteristics of the hotel industry, current business environment, Expedia's business practices), the perspectives of hospitality industry professionals on the feud (i.e., wake-up call for hoteliers, Choice Hotels' decision), and expectations concerning the nature of the relationship between hotels and OTAs (i.e., a symbiotic relationship between hotels and OTAs, experience of dealing with guests who book through OTAs and Expedia, and recommendations for hotels). Chief among the study's conclusions is that hotels must find ways to make the most effective possible use of available technology and distribution channels, and perhaps even form consortia to share information about third-party distribution channels.
  • Article
    Taiwan hotels need to focus on international eMarketing because these cater to international travelers, especially with leisure travelers expected to increase in the coming years. Facebook offers a wide range of opportunities for the international eMarketing of hotels. Investigation of the current use of Facebook, as an international eMarketing tool, by six large hotels in Taiwan showed presence in Facebook and use of basic features. However, the use of different Facebook features varied. While the hotels were able to connect with international leisure travelers via Facebook for the communication of marketing messages, the reach is limited to Chinese-speaking users using Chinese as the primary language, even for hotel pages accessible through English accounts. Language use also limited interaction in spreading the message virally to the wider international leisure travelers. Employing options to accommodate English and even other languages by selecting from available language support options can enhance international eMarketing via Facebook of hotels.
  • Article
    The websites of many hotels are beginning to incorporate new online tools such as social media in order to maintain closer relationships with clients and, possibly, investors. The objectives of this study are to identify the strategies pursued by Spanish hotel websites and to analyze the relationship between the size of the hotel and website strategy. The results show that Spanish hotel websites are primarily built for customers and that the information oriented toward investors is relatively scarce. Further, there is a significant positive relationship between the size of the hotel and the information provided in two of the perspectives studied, those of the investor and presence on social media. Lastly, significant relationships were identified between the customer, marketing, Web 2.0 and social media categories. However, significant relationships were not identified between the investor perspective and any of the other four categories investigated.
  • Article
    Web content has been identified as one of the main factors contributing to repeat visits. As content on the web includes text, pictures, graphics, layout, sound, motion and, someday, even smell, making the right web content decisions are critical to effective web design. While an understanding of marketing strategies that attract visitors to websites is beginning to emerge, how to convert web surfers to repeat visitors is a less well-understood phenomenon. Through an empirical study, the authors develop the Website Preference Scale (WSPS) based upon the work in environmental psychology of Rachel Kaplan and Stephen Kaplan. The results identify underlying dimensions of effective website design and provide insight into site design characteristics, which may lead to a higher likelihood of revisit.
  • Article
    Hotels have a variety of internet distribution channels to help them sell rooms, including sites that have come to be called online travel agents (OTAs), or third-party websites, but the cost of using these intermediaries is considerable. This article examines how hotels can sell room inventory while maximizing net room revenues—chiefly, by steering customers to their own sites, rather than to the OTAs. Even though hotels want to sell rooms via their own channels, the hotel industry relies heavily on efficient and convenient OTAs to sell rooms. Based on eleven interviews (nine hotels, one third-party website, and one airline), we recommend the following ways to strengthen sales on hotels’ websites: maintain a best-rate guarantee, optimize the website for search engines, mine data from customer profiles to provide custom offers, retain premium rooms for sale on the hotel website, offer discounts or other promotions to customers who book on the hotel website, offer incentives for returning guests who book on the hotel website, avoid giving loyalty points for OTA bookings, and enrich the hotel’s website with information. Because the ability to offer low prices is a chief advantage of OTAs, many hotels have promoted price parity as one strategy for attracting customers. The results of tracking room rates of 13 hotels posted by third-party websites and hotels over a 17-week period demonstrated, however, that room rate parity is rare, even though all selling parties espouse such parity. Parity generally was found only for smaller hotels. The study also found that room rates fall as the date of arrival approaches, and it became clear that individual properties in a hotel chain follow the chain’s overall pricing strategy.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    This article reviews the hospitality marketing research published in four top hospitality journals from 2008 to 2010 for the purposes of identifying significant trends and gaps in the literature. A total of 274 articles are reviewed and classified based on research topic, industry focus, and analysis technique as well as on a number of other methodological criteria. Significant topical and methodological trends are discussed. Important topical trends are synthesized and specific directions for future research are proposed. We conclude with the presentation and discussion of an organizational framework for future hospitality marketing research.
  • Article
    Price bundling is one of the most prevalent marketing practices in many industries, including hospitality and travel. Virtually all types of firms in the hospitality and travel industry, from suppliers such as hotels and airlines to intermediaries such as travel agents, are encouraging customers to purchase travel “packages” rather than a single component of travel to save money and streamline the purchasing process. The purpose of this research is to determine whether the practice of price bundling by online travel agents results in actual monetary savings for consumers (i.e., lower prices) relative to the prices charged by individual service providers (i.e., hotels and airlines) through their own online Web sites. The results indicate that there are monetary savings in the form of lower prices realized by consumers who purchase bundled offerings from online travel agents, and there is an interaction effect between channel and hotel class.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    The continuing rise of the internet as a communications tool for travel and tourism presents challenges for destination marketing organizations and tourism enterprises. Previous research has suggested that the internet contributes to five key functions — promotion, product distribution, communication, management and research. This paper examines how Web 2.0 applications, and specifically the increasing number of travel blogs, might influence these functions. The research reviewed the published literature and real-life examples of destination marketing organizations and tourism enterprises using blogs as part of their business strategy. Some interesting examples were found for each of the functions, which may point the way to more effective use of user generated content by the tourism industry, while also revealing challenges to achieving this.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Purpose – The internet has significantly changed the ways hotels distribute and price their products. The imminent success of online intermediaries caused financial problems for hotel chains since online travel agencies offered better prices than the hotel brand websites. The existing literature on hotel online distribution has focused on pricing strategies and room availability issues for different segments of hotels. This paper, however, aims to compare online room prices of global hotel chains across online distribution channels and their own brand websites. Design/methodology/approach – By using only the internet, 2,800 room rates were collected and analyzed. Descriptive statistics such as means and percentage were used to answer the research questions. Personal interviews with a CEO of an e-business company and an area revenue director of a global hotel chain were conducted to confirm our findings and to gain additional insights in the related issues. Findings – Descriptive statistics indicated that US properties are doing a much better job than their international partners in regards to “best rate guarantee,” “rate parity,” and room availability across online channels. Rate consistency still remains a problem within US properties. Research limitations/implications – A limitation of this study is the use of convenience sampling methods, sample size, and currency conversion instruments. Originality/value – Findings of this study would benefit revenue managers, general managers, hotel owners, and corporate brand managers to make decisions and to formulate new policies concerning their online distribution, revenue, and brand optimization strategies.
  • Article
    Travel and tourism-related products and services are highly compatible with the internet with the result that travel and tourism is one of the highest revenue-generating sectors of the internet. The rapid growth of the internet is having an impact on the distribution of travel services and has heightened speculation about the potential for disintermediation of the travel agent. This research investigates the impact of the internet on the distribution of travel services and the extent to which it has influenced travel agencies by focusing on Taiwan, a technologically advanced country and one which has witnessed rapid growth of the internet. Employing a combination of a quantitative questionnaire administered to 438 travel agencies and personal in-depth interviews, the research found that travel agencies in Taiwan generally regard the internet as an effective tool for their business. Most agencies have adopted the internet in their daily operations and some have provided e-commerce services on the internet. Although travel agencies are affected by e-commerce services, the effect is not found to be significant. Equally, no significant difference was apparent between company size and classification in terms of the effect of ecommerce travel services on travel agents. Travel agencies agreed that commission cutting by suppliers was a threat but disagreed that disintermediation would occur, although booking offices were seen to be at risk. The research identified two principal future roles for travel agents: first, the need for them to reposition themselves as travel consultants and secondly, the need for them to become more technologically orientated. Finally, seven key strategies were suggested for Taiwan's travel agencies to ensure survival.
  • Article
    Multichannel customer management is “the design, deployment, and evaluation of channels to enhance customer value through effective customer acquisition, retention, and development” (Neslin, Scott A., D. Grewal, R. Leghorn, V. Shankar, M. L. Teerling, J. S. Thomas, P. C. Verhoef (2006), Challenges and Opportunities in Multichannel Management. Journal of Service Research 9(2) 95–113). Channels typically include the store, the Web, catalog, sales force, third party agency, call center and the like. In recent years, multichannel marketing has grown tremendously and is anticipated to grow even further. While we have developed a good understanding of certain issues such as the relative value of a multichannel customer over a single channel customer, several research and managerial questions still remain. We offer an overview of these emerging issues, present our future outlook, and suggest important avenues for future research.
  • Article
    The rise of internet-based room reservation presents hoteliers with a strategic challenge of controlling their distribution, while also working with intermediaries that can hlp sell rooms.
  • Article
    We know that the internet has become a key distribution point for hotels, but that only makes a hotel's CRS even more important.
  • Article
    Survey research has reached an era when the Internet is commonly used as a research tool in different fields of study. Yet, the use of this method in tourism and hospitality research has not been fully explored. This study provides a state-of-the-art assessment of journal publications in the past ten years to reveal how the Internet has been incorporated into tourism and hospitality research. Various aspects of online research in tourism and hospitality are identified via reviewing relevant articles retrieved from the EBSCOhost.
  • Article
    In today's digital world, airlines typically distribute tickets both via their own websites and through online travel agency (OTA) platforms such as Expedia and Travelocity. Although associated with higher distribution costs, selling tickets through the platforms offers airlines exposure to a broader consumer base, and potentially higher sales than selling tickets solely through their own websites. While most airlines have adopted a multi-channel approach by selling tickets through OTA platforms and their websites, some (e.g., Southwest Airlines, easyJet and Ryanair) sell only via the latter. Is one approach better than the other, and if so, under what circumstances? This study analyzes factors that affect an airline's distribution strategy by developing a decision support model. We find that airlines are less likely to use OTA platforms if they have a large loyal consumer base or if the OTA platform is highly competitive.
  • Article
    Internet with current and emerging multimedia features provides ample opportunities and particularly useful for dealing with intangible nature of the service, and transforming marketing mix variables to capitalize on the informational and transactional potential of the Internet, and to gain a competitive advantage. This study utilizes content analysis to analyze the websites of a select group (4- and 5-star) of hotels in Turkey in terms of site design characteristics (interactivity, navigation, and functionality) and site marketing practices on the Internet. This study also investigates variations in design and use of marketing elements on the Internet based on hotel type (4- and 5-star resort and transient hotels). The findings showed that the hotels in Turkey are not utilizing the Internet to its full potential and effectively e-marketing their hotels regardless of the hotel type.
  • Article
    In spite of the general agreement on the importance of online pricing practices to the hotel industry, there are a very limited number of published articles investigating the hotel room rates offered on different online distribution channels. This research note reports on a study that examined the room rates of 45 hotels in Hong Kong in the third and fourth quarters of 2003, offered seven direct and indirect distribution channels. Adopting the rating system of hotels.com, 15 hotels in each of the three-, four-, and five-star categories were selected from the member list of the Hong Kong Hotels Association for examination. Thirty room rates were collected for each hotel on every selected channel. A comparative analysis revealed significant differences in average room rates among different channels. The empirical results indicated that the website of a local travel agent offered the lowest rates on all distribution channels and for all hotel categories.
  • Article
    The trend of massive disintermediation is threatening the livelihood of travel agents. This paper investigates the disintermediation of travel agents in the hospitality industry when hotels take distribution back into their own hands by setting up websites that allow guests to make bookings online. We analyze the factors affecting an agent's possible responses to a hotel's destructive acts, and put forward suggestions to agents to fight against the trend of disintermediation. We also point out what hotels can do to improve the quality of their relationship with their agents should they decide to launch their online channel.
  • Article
    Despite hospitality and tourism researchers’ recent attempts on examining different aspects of online word-of-mouth [WOM], its impact on hotel sales remains largely unknown in the existing literature. To fill this void, we conduct a study to empirically investigate the impact of online consumer-generated reviews on hotel room sales. Utilizing data collected from the largest travel website in China, we develop a fixed effect log-linear regression model to assess the influence of online reviews on the number of hotel room bookings. Our results indicate a significant relationship between online consumer reviews and business performance of hotels.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Social media platforms are increasingly becoming popular with consumers and businesses alike. The objective of this research is to determine the extent of the use of social media by national tourism organizations (NTOs). The methodology of this research is interpretive. This exploratory work relied heavily on searching for information on the Internet. Out of the 195 countries investigated not all have a NTO website. Social media use by the NTOs is becoming common across the globe. Even though a wide variety of social media platforms like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Youtube, Hi5, Blogs, Flickr, WAYN, Scribd, Bebo, etc., are used, the most popular platforms are Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Flickr, in that order. The issues for future research are discussed.
  • Purpose – This study aims to examine online room rates in Hong Kong hotels. It focuses on comparing and contrasting the lowest hotel room rates that are available to customers. Design/methodology/approach – Eight distribution channels and 45 hotels in Hong Kong were examined for online room rates in a 13-month period from 2005 to 2006. The eight distribution channels represented different nature of operations including both indirect and direct distribution channels. Findings – Empirical findings showed the web sites of local travel agents and local reservation agents offered the lowest online room rates, and that indirect distribution channels offered lower room rates than direct distribution channels. Research limitations/implications – A major limitation of this study is the geographic limitation of hotel selection. Originality/value – Findings of the study are expected to provide insights for hoteliers to refine their online room rate strategy.
  • Article
    This research note addresses two limitations of Internet diffusion studies by highlighting the importance of multivariate statistical analysis and including the element of time. The results support findings on the positive relationship between two hotel characteristics – affiliation and category – with Internet adoption, but question findings on the relationship between hotel size and Internet adoption.
  • Article
    The recent introduction of Internet technology to general business has led to its wide-scale application in the hotel industry. Consumers have been increasingly using the Internet to search for accommodation-related information on hotel Websites. To facilitate a better understanding of e-commerce, hospitality and tourism researchers have shown the impor-tance of establishing content-rich and user-friendly Websites. The existing hospitality literature, however, has a very limited number of published articles that investigated the perceptions of hotel Website users on the importance of specific features on hotel Websites. The absence of prior studies on assessing the importance of hotel Website dimensions and attributes is particularly true in the comparison of online browsers who only search for information and online purchasers who have made online bookings. This article reports on a study that examined these two groups of international hotel Website users on their perceived importance level of specific dimensions and attributes on hotel Websites. Empirical evidence indicates that there was no significant difference in most of the included dimensions and attributes between these two groups of users. In addition, the respondents viewed that the included dimensions and attributes are important on Websites of 3-star or above hotels. Ever since the relaxation of the official requirement of government support for joining the Internet in the early 1990s, coupled with the continuous technical improvement and lower cost of acquiring computers, the number of Internet users has been growing at an exponential rate in most, if not all, regions of the world. The travel and tourism industry is indeed one of the largest application areas on the Internet. Cox (2002) stated that travel spending is the number one growth driver for e-commerce as a whole. In the hotel context, Greenspan (2003)
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Purpose – This study aims to examine web site heuristics and their influence on the likelihood to purchase. Design/methodology/approach – A convenience sample of 28 participants was assigned a list of 30 hotel web sites to evaluate according to predetermined criteria and open-ended questions. Findings – Results indicated that booking decisions are positively related to a web site's aesthetic appeal. The study found the presence of photographs on a hotel web site was the most significant factor impacting site appeal and influencing the booking decision. Other features affecting purchase decisions included ease of use, color, link availability, lack of web site clutter, and sites unique in appearance. Research limitations/implications – Research limitations included the size and composition of the sample. Respondents were college students, thus they represented a younger demographic and one which may be more tech-savvy than other age groups. Also, the hotel web sites which were evaluated were located in one popular US tourist destination, meaning generalization to a larger population or to another industry may be limited. Practical implications – Results showed four variables; pictures, ease of use, neat/uncluttered and plain/boring; were most significant on both site appeal and site influence. Practitioners would be well served to improve these web site elements to better accommodate customers and realize the greatest return on investment. Originality/value – The paper investigates heuristics of hotel web sites. Findings identified areas for improvement by practitioners as well as areas for future research.
  • Purpose – The purpose of this research is to investigate online buyers' views for and against disintermediation of hotel reservation. Design/methodology/approach – A structured questionnaire was developed and a telephone survey was conducted in Hong Kong in March 2008. Findings – Empirical findings of 283 Hong Kong residents who had previously booked hotel rooms online showed that experienced online buyers were more positive towards technology-assisted hotel room reservations and less positive towards travel agents than their less experienced peers. Practical implications – Hoteliers should ensure that their rooms are marketed appropriately in different types of online and offline channels. Originality – The study demonstrates the existence of significantly different views among different groups of online buyers based on their online purchase experiences. With the increasing popularity of internet applications, hotel managers and travel agents should set practical plans to meet the needs of online buyers.
  • Article
    Draws together a number of themes from mainstream strategy literature and synthesizes them into a new model of the comprehensively competent organization. Argues that it is a key role of the strategic leader to ensure that his/her organization possesses a wide range of generic competences (to an appropriate degree in each case) in order that the organization can develop and sustain more specific competences in learning, change management and product/service competitive competency. These “layers of competence” are illustrated in the form of an integrated web. While it is content competences which ultimately produce successful competitive outcomes, other competences in learning and change management are needed to support this. The competence implications of modern environments are discussed and, towards the end of the article, the generic competence argument is applied to the literature on business failure.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Purpose – Information technology (IT) applications in the hotel industry have largely been devoted to the handling of the routine operational problems that crop up while running a hotel. Previously, the hotel industry has been criticised as reluctant to make full use of IT. This paper reports and analyses the findings of a recent survey on IT applications in Hong Kong hotels. Design/methodology/approach – Through personal interviews with 21 managers of hotel electronic data processing/management information systems (EDP/MIS) in 2003, different technical and behavioural aspects of IT were examined. Findings – Compared with a similar study performed in 1997, the empirical findings in 2003 showed that IT was used not merely to replace the existing paper system but also to improve customer services and to enhance operational effectiveness. Unfortunately, the empirical findings also indicated that hotel decision makers did not seem to realise the importance of IT for the purpose of developing business strategies and, therefore, IT was generally not used in hotels for high-level business decision-making. Research limitations/implications – A limitation of this study was the fairly low participation rate of hotel managers. Practical implications – The study does offer useful insights for hoteliers to realistically analyse the potential benefits of IT applications to their business. Originality/value – This paper will contribute to help raise the awareness of IT involvement at all levels of hotel business processes, and facilitate hoteliers to proactively incorporate IT into their efforts to remain competitive in the industry.
  • Article
    User-generated content is rapidly gaining traction as an input into the consumer purchase decision making process. After examining the implications of the developing Web 2.0 phenomenon for travel businesses, this article focuses on TripAdvisor (http://www.tripadvisor.com), the largest online network of travel consumers. Using a sample of 100 hotels randomly selected from the London market, it shows that TripAdvisor displays detailed rich data that can be used in travel planning. Content analysis was used to identify common causes of satisfaction and dissatisfaction among reviewers. It was also discovered that few hotels are actively managing their reputation on the TripAdvisor site. Despite a facility to respond to criticism, few hotels used this option, calling into question how seriously hotels are managing user-generated content. Analyses also suggested that the belief that user-generated content sites have been compromised by false reviews is unfounded, with little evidence being found of reviews with characteristics that typify false postings.
  • Article
    The purpose of this study is to investigate the extent to which social media marketing is being utilized in the Hong Kong hotel industry. Marketing performance of 67 hotels in Hong Kong on 23 social media sites was evaluated according to 18 criteria adapted from past studies. The results indicate that hotels generally have a poor performance in using social media to learn about customers. Major problems regarding the hotels' social media marketing efforts are identified. Implications behind these problems and recommendations for improvement are made accordingly.
  • Article
    With the growing importance of the Internet for travel planning, understanding the online domain of tourism is vital in order to identify the challenges and potential solutions for effectively marketing travel destinations. This study focuses attention on understanding the representation of the tourism domain on the Internet. Analyses of search results from a major search engine were conducted in order to assess: 1) the visibility of destination-related information; 2) the visibility of various industry sectors within destinations; and 3) the power structure of websites that represent a specific destination. The results show that although there is a huge amount of information indexed, travelers can only access a tiny fraction of the domain. Also, there are a relatively small number of websites dominating the search results. This study provides a number of important insights into the challenges facing the tourism industry with respect to representing a destination online.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the evolution and transformation of tourism distribution channels, focusing on the role the internet has played in such a process. It attempts to graphically illustrate, in a temporal manner, the evolving complexity of the tourism distribution systems. Design/methodology/approach – This paper provides insights into the change of the structure of tourism distribution that has not been extensively explored. Indeed, the complexity of the tourism distribution structure has been diagrammatically depicted multiple times by previous researchers and each depiction has contributed to a fuller understanding of the body of knowledge by focusing on different aspects of that structure. This paper builds upon those valuable knowledge contributions by focusing on the evolution of the structure over time, systematically and diagrammatically revealing the progressively larger number of intermediation layers, in spite of concurrent disintermediation and reintermediation activity. This paper does not focus on every action of every participant in detail, but rather focuses on categories of intermediaries, looking at pioneering examples of each. Likewise, the comparative rates of technology adoption in different regions of the world are not investigated. Findings – The complex network proposed in this paper indicates that the advance of information and communication technology has not reduced the number of intermediaries in the distribution channel, but rather resulted in an increasingly complex array of intermediaries. The structure of the tourism industry has taken the form of a complex global network. In the struggle to prosper in this environment, participants at various levels will continue to compete, cooperate, merge, form partnerships, and change relationships on a regular basis. Originality/value – The extant literature has covered many aspects of intermediation, disintermediation, and reintermediation, albeit with differing terminologies. Most of these studies have adopted a static and cross‐sectional approach in examining the structure and use of tourism distribution channels. This paper examines the historical evolution and progression of tourism distribution channels which is not only important in understanding where we are now as an industry, but also where we came from and where we are heading to.
  • Article
    The human element of enterprise is argued to be a vital resource for strategy execution. We show in a study of Korean businesses how an organization’s commitment to its employees’ well-being (OCE) can aid in the profitable execution of its positioning strategies. We found that OCE, by itself, sometimes has a weakly positive association with return on assets (ROA). But far more important, we found that ROA is strongly and positively influenced by the interaction between OCE and the dedicated pursuit of Porter’s (1980) strategies for achieving competitive advantage: these are cost leadership, marketing differentiation and innovative differentiation. In short, dedicated positioning strategies appear to be executed more effectively where organizations exhibit a high level of commitment to their employees; and conversely, OCE is apt to have a strong impact on ROA only in the context of a dedicated, that is intensive and thorough, positioning strategy. Copyright © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Word of mouth (WOM) communication is a major part of online consumerinteractions, particularly within the environment of online communities.-Nevertheless, existing (offline) theory may be inappropriate to describe online WOM and its influence on evaluation and purchase. The authors report the results of a two-stage study aimed at investigating online WOM: a set of in-depth qualitative interviews followed by a social network analysis of a single online community. Combined, the results provide strong evidence that individuals behave as if Web sites themselves are primary “actors” in online social networks and that online communities can act as a social proxy for individual identification. The authors offer a conceptualization of online social networks which takes the Web site into account as an actor, an initial exploration of the concept of a consumer–Web site relationship, and a conceptual model of the online interaction and information evaluation process.
  • Article
    This research note presents an information quality evaluation model for measuring the performance of hotel websites. The model is developed on the basis of a conceptual framework which consists of five major hotel website dimensions, including facilities information, customer contact information, reservations information, surrounding area information, and management of websites. The dimensions and their associated attributes were obtained and modified from published articles in the hospitality and tourism literature. A preliminary study was performed with Hong Kong hotel managers to rate the level of importance of the dimensions and attributes. The model was then applied to initially measure the performance of the websites of Hong Kong hotels. The performance result of a website is expressed by the total performance score of the site. Experimental findings show significant differences in performance scores for all dimensions among the luxurious, mid-priced, and budget hotel websites. This research should be of interest to hotel practitioners and researchers as the findings shed light on the further development of quantitative measurements for hotel websites.
  • Article
    Full-text available
    Technology is an important strategic asset for hospitality organizations to improve organizational performance and strategic competitiveness. However, adoption and diffusion of technology are complex processes, which are affected by a number of internal and external factors. As a result, understanding the factors affecting a hospitality organization's technology adoption behavior is of paramount importance to both practitioners and academia. This study proposes a model that describes the process of technology adoption in hospitality organizations. Specifically, two modifications of the existing Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) have been proposed in order to capture the adoption behavior at the organizational level.
  • Article
    The paper provides empirical evidence on technological activity in the Spanish service sector, in particular for the tourist accommodation in the Balearics. The study wants to fulfil the lack of analyses in the field of tourism. Commonly, the study of innovation activity has been carried out from a manufacture perspective, for that reason the paper discusses the precise definition of innovation in accommodation services. The data refer to a large representative sample of hotels in Balearic Islands (Spain), providing a homogeneous set of information. The results show as higher-categories hotels are more innovative than lower-categories hotels; an aggregated measure of technological innovation presents a rate over the average for hotels that belong to a chain, and that for hotels under management contract. Half of innovative companies adjust the human capital skills and abilities. The hotel industry is a supplier-driven sector that innovates introducing R&D embodied technology rather than undertaking internal R&D activities.
  • Article
    Hotels are increasingly taking advantage of the Internet as a marketing tool able to provide direct contact with customers, but is the full potential of this tool being exploited? This article constructs and validates an instrument for the measurement of website characteristics and relates those characteristics to website performance, using structural equation modeling. The results indicate that small and medium size hotels in the Balearic Islands in Spain, a developed tourist destination, and in the South of Brazil, a developing destination, are using their websites as mass media tools; ignoring the potential for interactivity and one-to-one communication. It is suggested that hoteliers should adopt a more strategic approach to the Internet, preparing the ground for direct contact with customers.
  • Article
    Many consumers consult online reviews before making (online) travel arrangements. Yet, little is known about the impact of these reviews on consumer decision making. This research applies consideration set theory to model the impact of online hotel reviews on consumer choice. An experimental study (N = 168) that includes review valence (positive vs. negative reviews), hotel familiarity (well-known vs. lesser-known hotels), and reviewer expertise (expert vs. non-expert reviewers) as independent factors shows that on average, exposure to online reviews enhances hotel consideration in consumers. This is because positive as well as negative reviews increase consumer awareness of hotels, whereas positive reviews, in addition, improve attitudes toward hotels. These effects are stronger for lesser-known hotels. Reviewer expertise has only a minor – positive – influence on review impact.
  • Article
    Although prior studies have achieved a certain degree of success in understanding the behaviour of e-consumers with regard to specific website dimensions and attributes, how users of hotel websites view the overall quality of the websites of different classes of hotels remains largely unknown. This research note reports on a study that surveyed the perceptions of e-buyers and e-lookers of hotel websites. The empirical findings showed that the level of perceived importance increases with the class of hotel, and that there was no significant difference in perception between e-buyers and e-lookers in all but one of the hotel classes. This research note should be of interest to managers of different classes of hotels with a presence on the Internet for online reservations.
  • Article
    This paper reviews the published articles on eTourism in the past 20 years. Using a wide variety of sources, mainly in the tourism literature, this paper comprehensively reviews and analyses prior studies in the context of Internet applications to tourism. The paper also projects future developments in eTourism and demonstrates critical changes that will influence the tourism industry structure. A major contribution of this paper is its overview of the research and development efforts that have been endeavoured in the field, and the challenges that tourism researchers are, and will be, facing.
  • Article
    Previous research has demonstrated that computer experience has a positive impact on computer self-efficacy. However, little or no research has investigated the unique influence of specific types of computer experiences or knowledge on computer self-efficacy beliefs. This study examines the influence of eight types of computer experiences on computer self-efficacy. The results indicate that experience with computer programming and graphics applications have strong and significant effects on computer self-efficacy beliefs, whereas experience with spreadsheet and database applications demonstrated weak effects. The results offer useful insights into designing training courses and educational programs to enhance computer self-efficacy beliefs.
  • Article
    The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of perceived IT beliefs, task-technology fit, attitude, self-efficacy, and subjective norm on behavioral intention of adopting information technology in hotels in Hangzhou, China. A number of 458 usable self-administered questionnaires were collected. Results show that attitude, self-efficacy, and subjective norm are positively related to behavioral intention. Perceived IT beliefs had influence on the intention through attitude formation. Task-technology fit appears to interact with perceived IT beliefs towards attitude formation. Suggestions were provide for hotel practitioners to enhance employees’ intention of adopting new information technologies.
  • Article
    Web content has been identified as one of the main factors contributing to repeat visits. As content on the web includes text, pictures, graphics, layout, sound, motion and, someday, even smell, making the right web content decisions are critical to effective web design. While an understanding of marketing strategies that attract visitors to websites is beginning to emerge, how to convert web surfers to repeat visitors is a less well-understood phenomenon. Through an empirical study, the authors develop the Website Preference Scale (WSPS) based upon the work in environmental psychology of Rachel Kaplan and Stephen Kaplan. The results identify underlying dimensions of effective website design and provide insight into site design characteristics, which may lead to a higher likelihood of revisit.
  • Article
    Building on the technology acceptance model (TAM), this study examined users’ perceptions of reservation Web sites: hotel-owned and third-party. As an experimental study, this study tested whether a modified variant of the TAM could be used to evaluate users’ perceptions of two different channels for hotel online reservations. Perceived usefulness was a key predictor of users’ attitudes toward using hotel-owned Web sites, while perceived ease of use was a key predictor of users’ attitudes toward using third-party Web sites. Both perceived playfulness and attitudes were two key predictors of users’ intentions to use hotel reservation Web sites. However, no significant differences in users’ perceptions were found between the two types of Web sites. Overall, users had more favorable attitudes and higher intentions to revisit third-party Web sites than hotel-owned Web sites.