Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2014
Rodolfo Baggio Marianna Sigala Alessandro Inversini Juho Pesonen
Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2014
eProceedings of the ENTER 2014 PhD Workshop in Dublin, Ireland.
January 21, 2014
The advent of Information and communication technology (ICT) has had a paramount impact on tourism. The effects of this revolution continue to change the nature of contemporary tourism on a day-to-day base. The globalization of information, open innovation, better access, collaboration in a generation of information and technological convergence, have all contributed to the design of a new scientific paradigm. Thanks to our passion for research and to the continuous advancements in the technological ecosystem as well as the possibility of better understanding human activity and behavior we are on the threshold of a new era of the social science of tourism. This new social and technological paradigm affects tourism and human mobility in a way that gives the research process unheard-of possibilities. The current level of technological development allows for the construction of objects that are smaller, more intelligent and embedded in the environment and even wearable. These objects, which record and learn our habits are connected to the Internet and they have computing capabilities. They can also be interconnected and generate large quantities of information to benefit the environment in which they are located as well as the travellers that possess them. This gives rise to a new world of interconnected personal machines. This new world involves a convergence among what is physical, what is social and what is digital. Within this context, research assumes the principal role to guide evolution, transferring knowledge to the industry. Relevant academic research is more necessary than ever before in order to explore how ICT in tourism can contribute to face the challenges of the travel and tourism industries of the next 20 years. This electronic volume collects the contributions presented at the ENTER2014 PhD Workshop. The published PhD proposals features in this volume have been selected out of a large number of high quality submissions covering a wide spectrum of topics related to ICTand travel, hospitality and tourism. The quality of the PhD research proposals presented in these proceedings evidences the
existence of a critical mass of young researchers that will contribute to increase the existing body of knowledge in the field of ICT and Tourism. We hope you will enjoy reading this volume and that the proposals will provide you useful food for thought for your research. Rodolfo Baggio Marianna Sigala Alessandro Inversini Juho Pesonen
Location Based Transmedia Storytelling: Enhancing the Tourism Experience
Soraia Ferreiraa, Artur Pimenta Alvesa, and Célia Quico.b INESC TEC/ INESC Porto and University of Porto, Portugal firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com b Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias, Portugal firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract Consumer habits have radically changed with new technology, namely the travel consumption habits and the search of information. Storytelling is an intrinsic part of human existence. It allows us to make sense of our environment. It also enables us to pass on information, culture and values. Native transmedia storytelling projects are a natural evolution from the traditional story projects and have been applied successfully in industries like entertainment and marketing. However the results of this type of projects remains to be studied within the tourism industry. The overall goal of this research is to understand the impact of the use of transmedia storytelling techniques in the tourism sector worldwide, particularly in Porto’s tourism industry and at the same time to develop a technological product that can be adapted to tourism in other parts of the world. Problem Definition The tourist’s behaviour has suffered a big transformation. Although transmedia storytelling techniques are considered to be at the heart of future communications, the study of these practices within tourism is practically non-existent. Therefore to study their impact can prove to be extremely relevant for the future of tourism communication and marketing strategies. Literature Review Storytelling is central to the human condition (Gottschall, 2012:xiv). Stories are how humans make sense of events and share information with others. They are the most powerful form of communication carrying not only information but also emotion (Rose, 2011:1). Recently storytelling has been gaining attention in the
tourism industry (Mossberg et al, 2010). The introduction of new technologies has created a new type of consumer behaviour (Red Bee, 2011), changing the way tourists search and find information about their destinations (Gretzel et al, 2012). Google described this new type of consumers as multi-screeners since they spend most of their media time in front of a screen such as a computer, a smartphone, a tablet or a TV (Google, 2012). Transmedia storytelling projects can result in a “consumer desire to share the experience and substantially increased revenue” (Gomez, 2010). These two results are in line with the tourism industry objectives. Conceptual Development In this research we aim to understand the impact of the use of location based transmedia storytelling techniques in tourism, particularly the advantages, disadvantages and best practices. We’ll be looking at questions such as: • Can transmedia storytelling transform touristic visits into more engaging experiences? • How do tourists behave across the different platforms? • What content do tourists create, share and how frequently? • Which are the best analytic tools? Proposed Methodology In 2012, we proposed the term location based transmedia storytelling has “the art of telling stories based on a specific location through multiple-media platforms with audience participation, where each storyline makes a valuable and distinctive contribution to the story (Ferreira et al, 2012). To examine the location based transmedia storytelling practices applied to tourism, we have divided our mixed data collection methods in three stages as depicted in the figure bellow.
! Objective! Capture tourists’ behaviours across different platforms and which content they created, shared and how frequently! ! Tools
• Qualitative data: online questionnaires, interviews to foreign tourists at a Porto hostel and written interviews to Portuguese university students
• Quantitavive data: Google analytics, Facebook insights, YouTube analytics, Twitter and Tweet Reach, Pinterest and PinReach, Menus and Print Maps!
! Objective! Describe tourists’ practices, their needs and behaviours! ! Tools! • Participant observation
• Case studies! • Exploratory interviews!
Analyse the results of TravelPlot Porto and other worldwide case studies!
Fig. 1. Data collection stages and tools The data gathered from the first stage of data collection offered the basis for the construction of a pilot location based transmedia storytelling project – TravelPlot Porto.
Fig. 2. TravelPlot Porto Poster TravelPlot Porto is a transmedia storytelling tour guide. It was launched in Porto, on June 2012. For three months, tourists had the opportunity to join Porto’s
treasure hunt. The story was divided into nine historical chapters and forty-two locations. Different pieces of the story could be found in the projects different platforms: iPhone/Android app, website, map, live events (gastronomy, wine tasting, Douro cruise and souvenirs) and social networks (Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube and Facebook).
Fig. 3. TravelPlot Porto story architecture, different platforms and their release date Besides examining TravelPlot Porto data, we will analyse particular case studies, namely their genre, story, platforms used, duration of the project, audience engagement and overall results. Anticipated Results Currently we are at the third stage of the mixed data collection. This research expects to contribute to the research fields of locative media as well as content marketing. It also aims to provide insights into the emerging theoretical understanding of location based transmedia storytelling techniques, which can
support new initiatives in this field of research and add to our understanding of why storytelling will be commercially important to tourism. It also intents to provide the industry with some of the best practices examples of location based transmedia storytelling products as well as a technological product that can be adapted to tourism in other parts of the world. Acknowledgments We would like to thank all partners of TravelPlot Porto: University of Porto; Engineering Faculty of the University of Porto; INESC TEC/ INESC Porto; Foundation for Science and Technology; UT AustinIPortugal Program International Collaboratory for Emerging Technologies (CoLab); Turismo de Porto e Norte de Portugal; Oportonity City; Câmara Municipal do Porto – Pelouro do Conhecimento e Coesão Social; Douro Valley; Cálem; DouroAzul; Vinhas d’Alho; Porto com Arte; Yellow Pictures; Light Films; Rádio Televisão Portuguesa; Escola Superior Artística do Porto; Webcomum; NextPower Norte and Project "A place for Joãozinho”. References Ferreira, S., Alves, A. & Quico, C. (2012). Location based transmedia storytelling: The TravelPlot Porto Experience Design. Journal of Tourism and Development [Revista Turismo & Desenvolvimento], n.º 17/18 – Volume 4, pp. 95-99, electronic edition, ISSN: 2182-1453 Gomez, J. (2010). The Pixel Lab 2010 - Jeff Gomez of Starlight Runner Entertainment - Creating Blockbuster Worlds & Transmedia Production. SlideShare. Retrieved from: http://www.slideshare.net/tishna/the-pixel-lab2010-jeff-gomez-of-starlight-runner-entertainment-creating-blockbusterworlds-transmedia-production Google (2012). The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-plataform Consumer Behavior. Google, August. Retrieved from: http://services.google.com/fh/files/misc/multiscreenworld_final.pdf Gottschall, J. (2012). The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company Gretzel, U., Sigala, M. & Christou, E. (2012). Social Media Change the Name of the Game in the Tourism and Hospitality Industries. The European Financial Review, 20 October. Retrieved from: http://www.europeanfinancialreview.com/?p=5648 Mossberg, L., Therkelsen, A., Huijbens, E., Björk, P. & Olsson, A. (2010). Storytelling and Destination Development. Nordic Innovation Center, December. Retrieved from:http://www.nordicinnovation.org/Global/_Publications/Reports/2010/ 201012_StorytellingAndDestinationDevelopment_report.pdf
Red Bee (2011). Exploring the Future of Media Consumption. Red Bee Media’s Tomorrow Calling Programme, November. Retrieved from: http://www.redbeemedia.com/download_form?download=tv_search Rose, F. (2011). The Art of Immersion – How the digital generation is remaking Hollywood, Madison Avenue, and the way we tell stories. W. W. Norton & Company
Tourism Marketing Communications on a Chinese Social Media Platform
Jing Ge University of Wollongong, Australia email@example.com Social media have become important communicative platforms for tourism marketers but it is not clear if and how the communicative language of marketerto-consumer is different from consumer-to-consumer. Given the enormous growth of both tourism and social media in China, this paper focuses on patterns in language use by the Chinese tourism marketers on Weibo. Using systemic semiotic approach, it selects and investigates two corpora of communication on Weibo – tourism to consumer and consumer to consumer. This study expects to provide the firm understanding and categorize the patterns in the language used by Chinese social media marketers so that differences to consumer language can be identified and tourism marketers can learn about language conventions apparent in these social media. Key words: social media marketing; communicative language; Weibo; conversational routines; tourism Introduction Tourism is an information intensive industry (Cox et al. 2009). Organizations rely on the communication with tourists through various channels to market their products and build customer relationships (Poon, 1993). Indeed, social media have grown to be one of the most effective means for tourists to seek information and share travelling experiences (Cox et al. 2009; Gretzel 2006; Yoo & Gretzel 2008). Given the prevalence of social media use among tourists, social media become indispensable platforms for tourism marketers (Pantelidis, 2010; Chan & Denizci, 2011; Huang, 2011; Munar, 2010; Xiang & Gretzel 2010). Within tourism marketing, several studies have looked at the use of social media as communicative tools for promoting products or services (Kasavana, Nusair & Teodosic,2010; Lanz, Fischhof & Lee, 2010), creating interactive conversations and building customer relationships (Pantelidis, 2010; Schmallegger & Carson, 2008). Furthermore, early research has suggested that people use a surprisingly large number of different words to describe the same concept, which makes it difficult to accommodate these varied representations in a system (Furnas et al. 1987). These studies apparently indicate that the language used by marketers and tourism is more than a word. Rather, the semantic content and linguistic style play
substantially important role in increasing conversion rate, indentifying and promoting the most influential product reviews, and stimulating consumers to write powerful reviews (Luewig et al. 2013). Unfortunately, what is missing from the tourism literature is a firm understanding of the language used by marketers as well as by consumers on social media platforms. When discussing the importance of social media in tourism, China cannot be ignored. China’s domestic tourism as well as outbound tourism has been experiencing a rapid growth. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of China (2013), by the end of 2012, the number of domestic tourists reached 2.96 billion, up 12.1% over the previous year. As for outbound travelling, in 2012, Chinese travelers spent $102 billion on overseas travel, more than tourists from any other country (UN World Travel organization, 2013). While preparing travel plans, an increasing number of Chinese tourists rely on social media platforms (Nelson, 2013). By the end of 2012, Weibo gained over 500 million users, up by 50% compared to the same period the previous year (China Internet Watch, 2012). Weibo’s great market penetration and high growth suggest tourism marketers need to understand how to build effective and sustainable communications on Chinese social media platform. Against this backdrop, the goal of this proposed research is to understand and categorize patterns in the language used by Chinese social media marketers so that differences to consumer language can be identified and tourism marketers can learn about language conventions apparent in these social media. Problem definition Previous studies suggest that a study of convention of communication requires to look at formulaic expressions or conversational routines (Aijmer, 1996). A great deal of attention has been paid to formulaic expressions in language acquisition and language development. The one focusing on marketing communication in tourism remains nascent area. Moreover, previous studies have discussed conventional routines in terms of both spoken and written language. Online communications on social media show that the boundaries between spoken and written interaction are getting blurred (Herring, 1996), making it difficult to
analyze in terms of spoken and writing (Aijmer & Stenstrom, 2005). Lack of simultaneous feedback, missing reaction signals and multiple conversations suggest the ‘electronic revolution’ will bring about a ‘linguistic revolution’ (Crystal, 2001). To deal with the foregoing research problems, the following research questions are identified. Q1: What are the linguistic patterns of marketing communication on social media that are distinct from those have been established for conventional media? Q2: What are the characteristics of linguistic patterns of marketing communication on social media? Q3: Are linguistic patterns of marketer-to-consumer communication distinctively different from consumer-to-consumer communication on social media? Literature review 3.1 Social media marketing Social media marketing – using a variety of social media channels to promote a company and its products (Barefoot & Zhao, 2010) – has become indispensable to an organization’s marketing plan (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). As Yoo and Gretzel (2010) pointed out, it spans all aspects of marketing, including marketing mix (4Ps), customer relationships, marketing research and performance measurement. Engagement with consumers on social media is driven by word of mouth among consumers, in an electronically facilitated extension of traditional word of mouth (Mangold & Faulds, 2009). Further, consumers not only have greater access to information and greater command over information consumption than ever before, but can themselves actively create marketing content (Evans, 2008). Marketer cannot dictate communication on social media; instead, they have to engage consumers’ interest and participation. Successful marketing in this new conversation space calls for innovative strategies. An engaging conversation on social media requires marketers to understand who is taking to whom – not only markers to consumers, but consumers to each other – and what they are talking about (Gretzel & Yoo, 2013). Though extant literature has discussed the importance and differences of social media marketing, very few marketers have a clear idea how to engage consumers and influence conversations on social media
(Divol, Edel & Sarrazin, 2012). These gaps suggest that marketing literature needs to provide fundamental knowledge about social media marketing, which can serve as guidance for marketers. 3.2 Conversations social media marketing Description of posts and comments on social media shows that it is a form of ‘conversational exchange’ (Honeycutt & Herring, 2009). Individuals can witness diverse conversations (Yardi & Boyd, 2010), and they may be clearly singled out and engaged in a conversation (Grosseck & Holotescu, 2009). This interpersonal conversations afforded by social media has placed new and interesting semiotic pressure on language, and most studies do not offer a theoretical basis for the description of social media communication as a form of conversation (Zappavigna, 2012). From marketing perspective, relevant research in analysing conversations has been focusing on macro-level analysis, such as online review, information search and online forum engagement (Fayard & DeSanctis, 2010; Quenti, Ravid & Rafaeli, 2004; Ludwig et al. 2013; Pan& Fesenmaier, 2006). Ludwig et al. (2013) employ text mining to extract changes in affective content and linguistic style properties of customer book reviews on Amazon.com, indicating the essential role of language in marketer-to-consumer communications. Fayard and DeSanctis (2010) use Wittgenstein’s concept of language games to examine how participants of two online forums construct collective identity and culture through their discursive practices, which highlight the consumer-to-consumer communication. In tourism, Pan and Fesenmaier (2006) compared Semantic Models of Tourists and Information Space. Findings show that the languages used by consumers differ substantially from those found on websites employed for their vacation planning. 3.3 Conversational routines on social media Conversational routines (CRs) - patterned phrases which are frequently used in a specific situation and with certain participants (Aijmer, 1996) - have been studied on traditional media. The use of social media indicates that communication patterns have shifted from primarily traditional media to significant use of online computer-mediated communication (Zappavigna, 2012). Posts, comments and status update may be used like a real-time conversation, a question inviting a
response or a simply statement to keep individual’s network alive (Crawford, 2010). The role of social media profiles as an ongoing conversation in multiple modalities (Boyd & Heer, 2006), which can be generated and influenced by unfolding linguistic patterns. As opposed to CRs that have established on traditional media, a conversation on social media marketing has a number of typical features: (1) it is interactive; (2) it is collaborative; (3) it focuses on written context; (4) more participants (including marketers and consumers) can involve in the same conversation and (5) it is a continuous process. To date, the field of research has primarily studied the communication patterns on social media from computational linguistic perspective. In particular, machine learning has been used for stylistic text classification to distinguish texts on social media. This automated analysis of conversations on social media poses difficulties for human linguistics (Zappavigna, 2012). Given the complexity of conversations on social media, a fine-grained study is needed to look at their specific communication patterns. Conceptual framework This study will adopt Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL). SFL is described as a functional-semantic approach to language which investigates two essential issues: 1, how people use language in a variety of context; 2, how language is structured for use as a semiotic system (Halliday, 1994). Slade and Eggins (2004) have pointed out two advantages of SFL for conversational analysis. (1) SFL provides researchers an integrated and comprehensive model of language which allows language patterns to be described in different degree of detail. (2) SFL offers a theory to study how people use language in their social life. More specifically, conversations can be analysed as involving different linguistic patterns which underline interpersonal relations. It is fairly to say that these advantages of SFL respond to the features of marketing language on social media: (1) it addresses social dimension; (2) it highlights speech roles, contact and sheerness between interactants. Methodology This study will use speech function approach to analyse the communication patterns on social media. Conversations between marketers and consumers on
social media entail the nature of being interactive, collaborative and continuous. The speech function method is a subsystem within SFL and it deals with the grammar of interaction from a semantic perspective (Halliday, 1994). Speech function approach is a comprehensive method to study conversation, and it provides evidence to look at how language has been used. It stresses all kind of conversations must entail certain moves, which are statement, question, offer and command. Further, speech role and commodity choice are focal points of speech function theory. Speech role consists of giving (e.g. would you like borrow my book?) and demanding (e.g. can I borrow your book?). Commodity choice comprises exchanging information. For instance, “who cleaned the house?” “Tom did”. It also includes exchanging goods or services. For example, “can I borrow your computer?” “of course, here you are”. The use speech function approach allows this study to identify and categorize patterns in the language used by Chinese social media marketers. In terms of sample, this study will choose two corpora, business to consumer and consumer to consumer communications on Weibo – the largest social media platform in China. Expected outcomes, contributions and implications This study is expected to identify the communication patterns of marker-toconsumer and consumer-to-consumer. It is believed that the results will help tourism marketers to learn about language conventions apparent in Chinese social media landscape. Furthermore, this study may make following contributions: 1, shed light on the increased e-presence in Chinese internet language; 2, provide tourism marketers a firm understanding regarding the social media landscape in China; 3, advance the theory of Systemic Functional Linguistics or SFL; 4, adding knowledge of methodological approach in studying pragmatic linguistics on social media platform. From industrial perspective, this study will be able to provide insights about how to fully leverage language and culture to expend tourism market overseas. References Aijmer, K. (1996). Conversational routines in English: Convention and Creativity. Longman. New York.
Barefoot, D. & Szabo, J. (2010). Friends with benefits: A social media marketing handbook. San Francisco, CA: No Starch Press. Boyd, D. and Heer, J. (2006). Profiles as conversation: Networked identity performance on Friendster. In Proceedings of Hawaii International Conference on System Science (HICSS-39). Kauai, HI: IEEE Computer Society. Chan, N. L., & Denizci G. B. (2011). Investigation of social media marketing: How does the hotel industry in Hong Kong perform in marketing on social media websites? Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing, 28(4), 345–368. China Internet Watch a. (2012). Weibo Penetration Rate Among Chinese Netizens. Retrieved July 24 2013 from http://www.chinainternetwatch.com/1760/chinese-weibo-users-proportionon-different-platforms/ Cox, C., Burgess, S., Sellito, C., & Buultjens, J. (2009). The role of user generated content in tourists’ travel planning behaviour. Journal of Hospitality Marketing and Management, 18(8), 743-764. Crawford, K. (2009). Following you. Disciplines of listennin gon social media. Continuum: Journal of media and Cultural Studies. 23 (4): 525-535. Crystal, D. (2001). Language and the Internet. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Divol, R., Edelman, D. & Sarrazin, H. (2012). Demystifying social media. McKinsey Quarterly. Retrieved on 22 September from http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/marketing_sales/demystifying_social_ media Eggins, S. (2004). An Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics. (2nd ed). Continuum. New York. Eggins, S. & Slade, D. (2004). Analysing Casual Conversations. Equinox, UK. Evans, D. (2008). Social Media Marketing: An Hour a Day. Indianapolis, IN: John Wiley & Sons. Fayard, A.L. & DeSanctis, G. (2010). Enacting Language Games: The Development of a Sense of 'We-ness' in Online Forums. Information Systems Journal, 20 (4), 383-416. Furnas, G., T., Gomez, L.L. & Dumais, S. (1987). The Vocabulary Problem in Human-System Communication. Communications of the ACM. 30, 964– 971. Gretzel, U. (2006). Consumer generated content – trends and implications for branding. e-Review of Tourism Research, 4(3), 9–11. Grosseck, G. and Holotescu, C. (2009). Indicators for analysis of learning and practise communities from the perspective thof microblogging as a provocative sociolect in virtual space. In 5 International Scientific Conference eLSE – eLearning and Software for Education. Bucharest. Halliday, M.A.K. (1994). An Introduction to Functional Grammar, (2nd ed). Edward Arnold, London. Herring, S. (1996). Computer-Mediated Communication: Linguistic, Social and Cross-Cultural Perspectives. Benjamins, Amsterdam. Honeycutt, C. and Herring, S. (2009). Beyond Microblogging: Conversation and Collaboration in Twitter. Paper read at the Proceedings of the Forty-Second
Hawaii International Conference on System Science (HICSS-42), at Los Alamitos, California. Huang, L. (2011). Social media as a new play in a marketing channel strategy: Evidence from Taiwan travel agencies’ blogs. Asia Pacific Journal of Tourism Research, 17, 615–634. Kasavana, M. L., Nusair, K., & Teodosic, K. (2010). Online social networking: Redefining the human web. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, 1(1), 68–82. Khang. H., Ki. E.J. & Ye, L. (2012). Social media research in advertising, communication, marketing, and public relationships, 1997-2010. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly. 89 (2). 279-298. Lanz, L., Fischhof, B., & Lee, R. (2010). How are hotels embracing social media in 2010? Examples of How to Start Engaging. New York: HVS Sales and Marketing Services. Ludwig, S., de Ruyter, K., Friedman, M., Bruggen, E.C., Wetzels, M. & Pfann, G. (2013). More than words: The influence of affective content and linguistic style matches in online reviews on conversation rates. Journal of Marketing. 77, 87-103 Mangold, W. G. & Faulds, D.J. (2009). Social media: The new hybrid element of promotional mix. Business Horizons, 59. 357-365. Munar, A. M. (2010). Tourist-created content: Rethinking destination branding. International Journal of Culture, Tourism and Hospitality Research, 5(3), 291–305 National Bureau of Statistics of China (2013). Statistical Communiqué of the People's Republic of China on the 2012 National Economic and Social Development. Retrieved 15 September 2013 from http://www.stats.gov.cn/english/newsandcomingevents/t20130222_402874 607.htm Nelson, C. (2013). Destinations Target Chinese Tourists On Weibo. China Business Review. Retrieved 13 August 2013 from http://www.chinabusinessreview.com/destinations-target-chinese-touristson-weibo/ Pan, B. & Fesenmaier, D. R. (2006). Online information search: vacation planning process. Annals of Tourism Research. 33 (3). 809-832. Poon, A. (1993). Tourism, Technology and Competitive Strategies. Oxon: CAB International. Quentin, J., Ravid, G. & Rafaeli, S. (2004). Information Overload and the Message Dynamics of Online Interaction Spaces: A Theoretical Model and Empirical Exploration. Information Systems Research.15 (2), 194-210. Schmallegger, D., & Carson, D. (2008). Blogs in tourism: Changing approaches to information exchange. Journal of Vacation Marketing, 14(2), 99-110. UN World Tourism Organization. (2013). China – the new number one tourism source in the world. Retrieved 13 August 2013 from http://media.unwto.org/en/press-release/2013-04-04/china-new-numberone-tourism-source-market-world Yardi, S. and Boyd, D. (2010). Dynamic Debates: An analysis of group population over time on Twitter. Bulletin of Science, Technology and Society. 30 (5): 316-327.
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Tourists Co-creation Experiences Onsite-Enabled by Mobile Devices
Authors: Roland Atembe and Bilal Akbar
1. Problem Statement Tourists experience has been playing a vital role for the tourism product thereby requiring practitioners to focus on designing and staging of memorable experiences (Imdorf, 2013).Being better educated, as well as enjoying higher levels of disposable income, tourists tend to look for more sophisticated sites and places of interest. The reason is that the tourists’ demand for experiences is highly increasing (Pine and Gilmore, 1999). Moreover, Prahalad & Ramaswamy(2004), cited that tourist experience is becoming a very complex phenomenon in the tourism industry because tourists are striving to be part of the experience creation. And Gretzel et al., 2006, Andersson (2007), added that tourists are taking active part in the experience creation as “prosumers”.While tourists are co-creating their own experiences, Lis (2008), noted that information and communication technologies “ICT’s” are mediating tourists experiences. And according to Clemens (2012), the use of technologies such as mobile devices is rapidly increasing. Hence, the application of social Local Mobile “SoLoMo”and the possibility of media convergence through mobile technologies have facilitated tourists in bringing their own devices onsite (Clemens, 2012).Moreover, Gartner emerging technologies Hype Cycle for 2012 depicts that bring your own device “BYOD” will reach it plateau within two to five years. Considering that co-creation of experience is the main builder for value creation and coupled with the fact that mobile devices are widely used by tourist’s onsite; there is limited research on co-creation tourist experience with mobile technology and mobile devices. These have necessitated the need to contribute to the literature of tourist co-creation experiences with technology. Therefore, this study explores how the application of mobile devices can enable the co-creation of tourist experiences on site.
2. Literature Review Over the last decades Tourists experience have gained much attention, as the main focus for creating the value of the tourism products. The reason is based on the notion that the tourism product is intangible, perishable, and seasonal (St. Hilaire, 2009). The idea is that the tourism product is intangible; as such, it is the experience that the tourists gain during consumption (Raakish, 2009). Hence, the designing and staging of memorable experiences is of high importance (Imdorf, 2013). As the world continues to change rapidly, the tourists’ demands become more sophisticated and complex. And this is directing competitive tension on the tourism industry and thereby advocating deviation from tourism facility orientation to the customization of experiences (Knutson, Beck, Kim & Cha, 2006). Another major challenge facing tourism service providers is that tourists these days seek to be involved in the value chain to create their own experiences (Prahalad & Ramaswamy, 2004). This seems to agree with Pine and Gilmore (1999), who coined the concept of the experience economy which propounded that experience creation, is the cardinal point of any business. The reason is because a simple product and service offers are interchanging. For this reason, it is crucial for companies to deliver experiences that would unveil unique emotions and create retentive memories to consumers (Pine & Gilmore, 1999). Furthermore, it should be noted that tourists’ experiences are socially constructed in the tourists’ interactions and experiences. Moreover, experiences are associated with different social and environmental components of the visited destination (Lis et. al, 2008). Adding to that, Neuhofer, Buhalis, and Ladkin (2012), argue that the creation of experiences is shifting from the suppliers’ side, to involve the consumers. As a result, transforming how it is being created in a destination. This view coincide with Morgan et al., (2010), which depicts that consumers no longer purchase services but rather seek experiences gained through the consumption of products and services. Tourists are co-creating their own experiences, therefore the outcome for not recognizing this shift can showcase a great impact on the tourism service providers (Neuhofer, Buhalis, and Ladkin, 2013).
2.1. Co-creation Tourist Experience According to Prahalad & Ramaswamy (2004), co-creation is a “form of market or business strategy that emphasizes the generation and ongoing realization of mutual firm-customer value”. Whereas Neuhofer, Buhalis, & Ladkin (2013), state that co-creation tourist experience are “experiences that are not only passively staged but rather actively shaped and created by the tourist consumer in conjunction with the company”. Moreover, Copenhagen Co-creation Ltd (2009), claimed co-creation as a process that changes the game of innovation from designing for people to designing with people”. Co-creation experiences refer to an inclination involving tourists to develop products and service. This thereby creates new remarkable and beneficiary experience to them. The co-creation experience is “the next practice in value creation” (Prahalad and Ramaswamy, 2004). It increases value to the overall experience of tourists through the acceleration of tourist involvement from the pre-travel, onsite, as well as the posttravel phases and it can be extended to the virtual world (Neuhofer, Buhalis, & Ladkin, 2013). The co-creation process begins from the inspiration or the heart desire of individuals. What the individual would like to experience the most. The co-creation process connects closely with active participation; the inner alignment of an individual with positive motive to co-create what he or she wants (The Travel Soul Therapy, 2013). However, the experience environment should be of evoking interest so that consumers can take on a life of active participation. As a result, become directly involved in the co-creation of their individual experiences (Binkhorst, 2006).Meanwhile Buhalis and Law (2008), cited that, the rapid growth of information and communication technologies ‘ICT’ facilitates the tourists with more valuable information; and enhances tourists’ experiences (Neuhofer and Buhalis, 2012). Therefore, the co-creation environment must be admissible to the potentials enabled by emerging information and communication technologies (Van Limburg, 2012). 2.2. Mobile Technology and Tourism Gretzel and Jamal (2009), pointed out that in addition to occupying the role of functional devices, ICT’s have become essential features of the creative lifestyle and experiences of contemporary tourist consumers on site. Technologies such as
mobile devices, are seen these days as transportable smart computers, and have become part of our life styles (Wang et al, 2012). Conceding to this fact, Clemens (2012), cited that the application of social local mobile (SoLoMo) has triggered the practice of tourists bringing own mobile devices onsite and engaging in mobloging. Furthermore, Neuhofer (2013), notes that, the key trend indicates that technology co-creates and enhances tourist’s experiences. And in the very near future these mobile devices technology will create a whole range of new tourists’ experiences (Gretzel and Jamal 2009). Although other researchers have published papers on co-creation tourists experiences as well as technology enhanced experiences in the past years, (Binkhorst, 2006; and Neuhofer, 2013), advocates that there is no extensive literature in this area of research This paper proposes a conceptual structure shown in fig 1, to understand how mobile devices can cocreate tourists experiences on site, and the extent of co-creation. The purpose of this study therefore, is to explore how the application of mobile devices can enable the co-creation of tourist experiences on site. 3. Conceptual Development Building on the literature review on tourists experience and technology in tourism, this study is set into the context of co-creation tourist’s experience. It is focus on understanding how tourists engage with their mobile devices to co-create their experiences onsite. The study strive to contribute to the literature of cocreation tourists’ experiences on one hand, and to provide a better understanding for tourism professionals on how to strategically involve tourists in the value creation onsite, through the application of mobile devices. Considering that limited research exists on co-creation tourist experience with mobile technology and mobile devices, the proposed model draws together the existing literature from tourists’ experiences and the success of mobile devices usage onsite. Based on previous research, it can be argued that technology endures and augments tourists’ experiences (Neuhofer and Buhalis, 2012). The reason is that the convergence of social local and mobile technologies facilitates consumption of media content in several locations at whatever chosen time. And the interaction between tourists’ onsite and their mobile devices is the center point of experience co-creation. Therefore as Clemens (2012) cited, it may be reasonable to contend
that location-based engagement enables active interactions and creates value to tourists’ onsite.
Fig. 1: Conceptual model Mobile enabled co-creations Tourism Experiences Source: Adapted from Prahalad & Ramaswamy (2004). 4. Proposed Methodology In order to explore how the application of mobile devices can enable the cocreation of tourists’ experiences on site, a quantitative approach is adopted. The first step of this study was the review of extensive literature on the topic of cocreation tourists’ experience, the impact of mobile device technologies in tourism and it constructed experiences. Then the functionality of mobile devices and the activities performed onsite with these devices was examined. Based on the results of the literature review, a survey will be employed in order to evaluate and measure the level of experience co-creation enabled by mobile devices. After that a focus group interview will also be applied in order to validate the findings. Prior to administering a mass survey, a pilot test will be carried out to test the validity and reliability of measurement instrument. In order to avoid selection bias some screening questions will be adopted to ensure the eligibility of the respondents:
where is your country or city of residence? For how long are you visiting? And did you come with your own mobile device? 5. Anticipated Results The expected results of this study is that the posited manner and level in which mobile devices enable the co-creation of tourists’ experiences onsite will be confirmed. Furthermore, the specific activities that contribute to tourists’ perceived value of co-creation experience onsite, through the applications of mobile devices will also be outlined. Based on the findings, tourism practitioners will be alert about various mobile apps that they should emphasis in their onsite mobile application or strategies. On the other hand, it is expected that the outcome of this study will also contribute to the literature on tourists co-creation experiences enabled through the application of mobile device technology. It is expected that both academicians and practitioners in tourism can adopt the recommendations as basis to understand tourists’ co-creation experiences enabled by mobile devices technology. 6. References Andersson, T. D. (2007). The Tourist in the Experience Economy. Scandinavian Journal of Hospitality and Tourism 7(1): 46-58. Binkhorst, E. (2006). The co-creation tourism experience Paper presented at the XV International Tourism and Leisure Symposium, Barcelona. Buhalis, D., & Law, R. (2008). Progress in information technology and tourism management: 20 years on and 10 years after the Internet The state of eTourism research. Tourism Management, 29(4), 609– 623. Clemens, C. (2012). SoLoMo: Buzzword, or Real Evidence of a Post-PC Era?. Retrieved 08th June 2013 from http://www.cctadvertising.com/solomobuzzword-or-real-evidence-of-a-post-pc-era/ Copenhagen co-creation. (2009). Co-creation changes the game of innova-tion from designing for people to design-ing WITH people Retrieved 16th April 2013 from http://copenhagencocreation.com/about Gretzel, U., Fesenmaier, D. R. & O'Leary, J. T. (2006). The Transformation of consumer behaviour. In: Buhalis, D. & Costa, C. (eds.) Tourism business frontiers: Consumers, Products and Industry. Oxford: Elsevier,9-18. Gretzel, U. & Jamal, T. (2009). Conceptualizing the creative tourist class: Technology, mobility, and Tourism experiences. Tourism Analysis, 14(4): 471-481.
Imdorf, M. (2013). Innovative Imagineering Case Studies- from Module. Salzburg University of Applied Sciences, Austria. Retrieved 21st May, 2013 from Blackboard. Knutson, B. J. and J. A. Beck (2003). Identifying the dimensions of the experience construct:development of the model. New York, Haworth Press. Lis, P.T. (2008). Destination Visual Image and Expectation of Experiences. Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing 02/2011; 28:129-144 Morgan, M., Lugosi, P. & Ritchie, J.R.B. (2010). The tourism and leisure experience: consumer and managerial perspectives. Bristol: Channel View. Neuhofer, B. (2013). Revisiting the Tourist Experience:A conceptualisation of Technology Enhanced Tourist Experiences. ENTER2013 PhD Workshop Research Neuhofer, B., Buhalis, D., and Ladkin, A. (2013). Expereinces, Co-creation and Technology: A Conceptual Approach to Enhance Tourism Experiences. Tourism and Global Change: On the Edge of Something On the Edge of Something Big.CAUTHE 2013 Conference Proceedings Neuhofer, B., Buhalis, D. (2012). Understanding and Managing TechnologyEnhanced Tourist experiences. 2nd Advances in Hospitality and Tourism Marketing & Management Conference Proceedings Pine, J. B. & Gilmore, J.H. (1999). The experience economy: Work is a theatre and every business a stage Cambridge: Harvard Business School. Prahalad, C.K. & Ramaswamy, V. (2004). Co-creation experiences: The next practice in value creation. Journal of Interactive Marketing, 18(3): 5-14. Raakish, M. (2009). Menu Planning and merchandising - Module platform Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute. Retrieved 5th December 1012, from http://www.tourismcareerstnt.com/moodle St. Hilaire, A. (2009). Hospitality and Tourism marketing – Module platform Trinidad and Tobago Hospitality and Tourism Institute Retrieved 10th November 1012, from http://www.tourismcareerstnt.com/moodle Travel Soul Therapy. (2013). How to engage Co-creation Process. Retrieved 20th May 2013 from http://www.travel-soul-therapy.com/cocreation_process.html Van Limburg, B. (2012). Visiting suriname, using dart to analyze a visitor's perspective in a co-creation environment. Information Technology and Tourism, 13(2): 119-132.
Do Smart Phones Bring Us Closer? A family life and vacation perspective
Heather Kennedy-Eden University of Wollongong, Australia HLKE897@uow.edu.au Abstract Relationships developed in families are crucial because these bonds play an integral part in learning how to function and interact in society. In the past, these bonds were strengthened by spending leisure time together as a family but now smart phone technology provides opportunities for individual entertainment, connecting on social media, and spending time physically together while being emotionally separated. This research looks at this issue from a systems theory perspective, conceptualizing families as open, self-regulating social systems with the smart phone being a technical system within the family system. The smart phone acts as a conduit between immediate family members and to friends, family, and social networks and information beyond. The main research question relates to analysing interactions within such a socio-technical family system. A secondary question entails how the interactions with smart phones play out in two different environments, the everyday family life and the family vacation. Problem Definition Technology is changing the way families communicate and spend time together. Many families now have smart phones which offer a hand held portal to entertainment, social networks and other distractions. Some say that these technologies are pulling families apart (Turkle, 2011) but others contend that this new medium has become an integral part of the mainstream family and aids in staying connected and with scheduling (Padilla-Walker, Coyne, & Fraser, 2012). Although technology has changed the way families are communicating, it has not lessened the importance of family ties. Attachment and socialization skills are nurtured through continuous family interaction (Belcher, Peckuonis, & Deforge, 2011). However, families in contemporary Western societies are spending more time apart on a day-to-day basis because of dual careers and shift work (Valentine, 2006), so time spent together is important, especially while on vacation. The family vacation is a long standing tradition. It is an opportunity to spend time together, bond as a family, travel to new destinations, and create memories (Hilbrecht, Shaw, Delamere, & Havitz, 2008). The goal of this research is to gain an understanding of how families are mediating the use of
smart phone technology so that it does not interfere with family bonding in everyday life and especially on vacation. Literature Review Family bonding is defined as the amount of attachment, connection, or emotional closeness that family members feel towards each other (Bahr, Maughan, Marcos, & Li, 1998). Family vacations are important for family bonding because they provide a break in the normal day-to-day routine of family life and offer the opportunity to spend time together. Family vacations provide balance in families, they strengthen relationships and offer opportunities to problem solve as a family (Agate, Zabriskie, Agate, & TaylorPoff, 2009). Research on family bonding primarily deals with families in regular leisure settings; therefore further insight is needed for family vacations. Family groups are staying connected with mobile technology because they offer flexibility and reassurance. Smart phones are growing in popularity because they combine social media, internet, email, texting, and mobile applications (apps) into one device and have quickly integrated into the fabric of everyday family life (Green, 2002). This everyday use has spilled over into the vacation setting as smart phones offer access to Web 2.0 applications, like travel review sites and blogs, which provide an endless supply of sharing opportunities and information while travelling (Gretzel, Fesenmaier, Lee, & Tussyadiah, 2011). Smart phone use blurs the boundaries between the physically and technologically present and creates new avenues for people to communicate while they are travelling (Jansson, 2007). The instant communication that is offered by these devices alters the previous ideas of time and space, which provide the structure for human experience. It can be assumed that vacation experiences are being fundamentally affected by these changes (Gretzel & Jamal, 2009) and that families need to negotiate technology use on vacation so that it does not deter from the family experience and bonding. Conceptual Development The aim of this research is to understand the effect that smart phones are having on family bonding using a family systems perspective as the theoretical lens. Family systems theory suggests that members of the family are all interdependent and interactions between them create an open and continuous system that is always being influenced by the environment (Hill, 1971). Family systems are self-regulating, open systems and the added technological component converts inputs and outputs from the family members and plays a major role in self-
regulating within the system (Trist, 1981). In this case, the smart phone is a technological system inside the family system and interactions with each other and the smart phone will be discussed and observed. Therefore, the first research objective is to discover if and how families negotiate and/or regulate smart phone use within the family system. Family Systems Theory is based on General System Theory (von Bertalanffy, 1968) which has some core assumptions applicable to all systems. These assumptions include that a system must be comprehended as a whole rather than individual parts and that human systems are distinctive in their ability to have self-reflexivity. Hill (1971) further states that the family unit is usually a task performing and adaptive group. This adaptability indicates that families tend to seek successful solutions to problems and then adapt those solutions to become normative behaviour (Cheal, 1991). Ackoff & Emery (1972) believe that purposeful systems have environments that affect the system, therefore each system can be considered to be a system within a greater supra-system. As a consequence, adaptive system behaviour within families will be analysed in reference to their smart phone use in two different environments, daily life and vacation, to see how they mediate this technology use within the family and if the environment of the family vacation acts as a catalyst for change in behaviour. Proposed Methodology This is a qualitative research project based on individual interviews and family group discussions. Due to the interdependent nature of families and family dynamics, a philosophical hermeneutic approach (Gadamer, 1977) is being used in an effort to understand both individual and global issues within the family group (Geertz, 1979). The hermeneutic approach, as a means to achieve an ethnographic understanding, can be explained as the circle of continuous tacking between the most minute details and global details to bring both into light concurrently (Geertz, 1979). With this approach, one must understand the whole of the intentions, beliefs, and context in order to understand the sentence, utterance, or act (Denzin & Lincoln, 2000). This form of research leads to thick descriptions, which Geertz (1979) describes as a multiplicity of complex structures which are knotted into one another. The family today refers to a complex social reality (Popenoe, 2012) with different structures and cultural norms. This research will specifically look at family groups that have a traditional family at the core, with a mother and father and at least one child. The families will live in Australia or the USA, have a smart phone in the family and have vacationed within the last year.
The first stage of this study includes one-on-one interviews conducted face to face with family members aged six and above because children older than 5 can generally express their feelings and understand basic smart phone functions. These interviews will be semi-structured and have open ended questions to allow for flexibility. Questions will revolve around the topic of mobile technology use in their daily life, technology use among family and friends, and their feelings and emotions regarding smart phone technology use and behaviour. These interviews will be audio-recorded and verbatim transcribed by the researcher. The second and third part of the research will be family group discussions held in their home. Since this research is grounded in family systems, the family interview setting is important to view the interactions of the family members and gain some understanding of how they socialize and work together in their natural environment. These interviews will be unstructured discussions with the topic being introduced at the beginning and the family encouraged to talk about how they use smart phones and other mobile technologies within their family and their feelings involving that use. The moderator will let the family discuss their feelings and then refer them back to different aspects of the topic for further discussion. Both topics will involve daily smart phone use in the family, how it is used, when and for what purpose, and who uses the smart phone, the difference being the context of their everyday life or family vacation. These group discussions will be recorded using a digital video camera then verbatim transcribed. The researcher will also employ a research journal, to write down any reflections, observations, and recurring themes immediately after the interviews are completed. Verbatim transcription will be done by the researcher along with notations about gestures, emotions, interactions, and other contextual elements of the interview. Since a thick description of these families is being sought, external cues and undertones will be noted to help to create a deeper understanding of the family dynamics. This study is a longitudinal study occurring over a year’s time so the researcher will also seek out other times of observation of the family. The recordings will be transcribed in Transana software, annotated and coded for themes. The analysis process is continuously dynamic as the researcher continues to refine the ideas and thoughts into themes. As themes are established, previous interviews will be reanalysed to look for similar themes that may have been undetected in the initial analyses.
Preliminary results The initial stages of this research have been conducted and preliminary findings show that individuals are creating thresholds for their technology use. Depending on the situation, individuals have created boundaries for themselves for when it is okay to use technology, when it should be restricted or on silent and when it should be off or left at home. These results are also reflected in families, as families are creating boundaries for technology use within their home and daily lives. For example, the time spent around the dining table for nightly meals is a time when most families are choosing to not allow technology to interfere. Also, many parents set up restrictions on times of day or locations within the house that technology use can take place. While on vacation, technology use is dependent on the type of vacation. Many individuals and families are using camping as a way to leave technology behind and focus on their family. Conversely, when in the city, the smart phone is utilized as a dynamic tool for finding accommodation, navigation, information/activity searching and recommendations. The results so far suggest that families are trying to mitigate potentially negative effects of smart phone use in the family system by creating boundaries for use that are sensitive to time, location and type of family event. These boundaries are creating pockets of time that are allowing for uninterrupted family time and opportunities for bonding both in everyday life and on vacation. References Ackoff, R. L., & Emery, F. E. (1972). On purposeful systems. Chicago: AldineAtherton. Agate, J. R., Zabriskie, R. B., Agate, S., & TaylorPoff, R. (2009). Family Leisure Satisfaction and Satisfaction with Family Life. Journal of leisure research, 41(2), 205-223. Bahr, S. J., Maughan, S. L., Marcos, A. C., & Li, B. (1998). Family, Religiosity, and the Risk of Adolescent Drug Use. Journal of Marriage and Family, 60(4), 979-992. Belcher, J. R., Peckuonis, E. V., & Deforge, B. R. (2011). Family Capital: Implications for Interventions with Families. Journal of Family Social Work, 14(1), 68-85. Cheal, D. J. (1991). Family and the state of theory. New York: Harvester Wheatsheaf. Denzin, N. K., & Lincoln, Y. S. (2000). The handbook of qualitative research. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Publications. Gadamer, H.-G. (1977). Theory, Technology, Practice: The Task of the Science of Man. Social Research, 44, 529-561. Geertz, C. (1979). On the Nature of Anthropological Understanding. In P. Rainbow & W. M. Sullivan (Eds.), Interpresive Social Science: A Reader (pp. 225-241). Berkley: University of California Press.
Green, N. (2002). On the Move: Technology, Mobility, and the Mediation of Social Time and Space. The Information Society, 18(4), 281-292. Gretzel, U., Fesenmaier, D. R., Lee, Y.-J., & Tussyadiah, I. (2011). Narrating Travel Experiences: The role of new media. In R. Sharpley & P. Stone (Eds.), Touriist Experiences: Contemporary Perspectives (pp. 171-182). New York: Routledge. Gretzel, U., & Jamal, T. (2009). Conceptualizing the Creative Tourist Class: Technology, Mobility, and Tourism Experiences. Tourism Analysis, 14, 471-481. Hilbrecht, M., Shaw, S. M., Delamere, F. M., & Havitz, M. E. (2008). Experiences, Perspectives, and Meanings of Family Vacations for Children. Leisure : Journal of the Canadian Association for Leisure, 32(2), 541. Hill, R. (1971). Modern systems theory and the family : A confrontation. Social Science Information, 10(5), 7-26. Jansson, A. (2007). A sense of tourism: new media and the dialectic of encapsulation/decapsulation. Tourist Studies, 7(1), 5-24. Padilla-Walker, L. M., Coyne, S. M., & Fraser, A. M. (2012). Getting a HighSpeed Family Connection: Associations Between Family Media Use and Family Connection. Family Relations, 61(3), 426-440. Popenoe, D. (2012). Disturbing the nest: Family Change and Decline in Modern Societies. New Brusnwick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. Trist, E. (1981). The Evolution of Socio-technical Systems, a conceptual framework and an action research program . In A. H. Van de Ven and W.F. Joyce (Eds), Perspectives on Organization Design and Behaviour (pp. 19-42). New York: John Wiley & Sons. Turkle, S. (2011). Alone Together: Why we experience more from technology and less from each other. New York: Basic Books. Valentine, G. (2006). Globalizing Intimacy: The Role of Information and Communication Technologies in Maintaining and Creating Relationships. Women's Studies Quarterly, 34(1/2), 365-393. von Bertalanffy, L. (1968). General system theory: foundations, development, applications. New York: Braziller.
An investigation into the digital market research habits of Welsh tourism micro-enterprises
Hélène Grousset-Rees Cardiff Metropolitan University, Wales firstname.lastname@example.org Abstract Current research identifies Welsh tourism micro-enterprises (WTMEs) as failing to compete on the digital marketing stage as a whole. The researcher is in the early stages of investigating the adoption of digital market research tools by WTMEs in Wales. The literature review focuses on technology adoption, digital market research knowledge, heterodoxy and facilitating factors. Recent conversations with WTMEs reveal methodological and sampling implications for the survey stage of the project. It is anticipated that WTMEs’ digital market research use will reflect that of digital marketing overall in Wales, with some differences that could help provide specific and relevant support. Problem definition 1.1 Background The Internet and its applications have become ubiquitous. In this competitive environment, finding and holding onto customers is critical to business success. The key to developing lasting customer relationships is understanding customer behaviour online (Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick, 2012). Businesses must grasp these factors to help customers through their decision-making processes and increase the likelihood of buying their services. Doing this well should improve customer service, loyalty, satisfaction and trust. Evidence points to Welsh tourism microenterprises (WTMEs) in Wales lagging behind in rising to the digital marketing challenge and Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) has stated a clear commitment to supporting WTMEs’ adoption of ICT and online marketing in general (Welsh Assembly Government [WAG], 2012) due to their prominence in the Welsh tourism industry landscape. However the literature reveals limited research is available to date about online market research and small businesses in tourism, both globally and in Wales. The author is investigating this research gap, an aspect of digital marketing that is fundamental to the improvement, competitiveness and survival prospects of WTMEs.
1.2 Research question The central question concerns the foundations of effective digital market research for WTMEs: If these businesses are underperforming in terms of ICT adoption and online marketing in general, how do they fare in relation to researching and understanding their existing and potential customers? What digital tools are they using to source this information? How effective is their implementation? How might policy makers and support services respond as a result? 1.3 Aim and objectives The purpose of this study is to investigate the adoption of digital market research tools by WTMEs. To achieve this, four objectives have been identified, namely to: • Critically review the literature surrounding key theories on technology adoption, heterodoxy in the tourism industry, digital market research knowledge and facilitating factors within and for WTMEs. • Explore whether, and how effectively, WTMEs use digital market research tools to support their marketing activities. • Develop a preliminary framework of WTME profiles relating to typologies of ICT adoption and knowledge acquisition in relation to digital market research. • Relate primary research findings back to the literature and develop a best practice model for the effective provision of WTME support for digital market research. Literature review Heterodoxy in Tourism Heterodox economics is an area of study that rejects mainstream economics and management theories (Jo & Schmidt, 2012, online; Mudoud, Bina & Mason, 2012; Heinrich; 2013). The researcher will explore how hetrodox approaches apply to tourism and ICT, as a limited number of authors have ventured, implicitly or explicitly, into this area (e.g. Jones & Haven-Tang, 2005; Peters, Fehse & Buhalis, 2009; Thomas, Shaw & Page, 2011). These authors highlight WTME’s characteristics and distinctiveness (heterodoxy) from other sectors, as well as the need to manage them differently. This is supported by Wang & Qualls
(2007), who recognise the heterodoxy of hospitality organisations and how they adopt ICT. This, applied to WTMEs in Wales, will help provide a model of tourism heterodoxy that will contribute to a better understanding of the barriers to this particular aspect of ICT adoption. Technology adoption, diffusion and digital divide ICT adoption for general management is widely-researched. Rogers (1995) pioneers this field with his Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT). Whilst insightful, the very generalisability of IDT leads to the need for more specific theories (e.g. Straub, 2009). When applying these theories to tourism, Minghetti and Buhalis (2010) also use IDT to explain the digital divide that exists on many levels in tourism and have developed a complex model to illustrate it. Venkatesh, Morris, Davis and Davis (2003) review the key technology adoption theories comprehensively to develop the Unified Theory of Acceptance and Use [UTAUT]. Wang and Qualls (2007) offer a technology adoption model suitable for small and medium hospitality businesses, a useful benchmark in terms of identifying which aspects of it also apply to other WTMEs. Other academics apply ICT adoption models (e.g. Nassar, 2002; Buhalis & Deimezi, 2004; Lim, 2009; El-Gohary, 2012; Spencer, Buhalis & Moital, 2012) to case studies, looking at both specific tourism business types and countries. Their applicability to this case study and aspect of ICT will also be evaluated. Digital marketing, market research and WTMEs Academics have published extensively about digital marketing as a whole. Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick (2012) discuss consumer behaviour, consumer data types and collection techniques and their importance for effective marketing. Dann and Dann (2011) provide a pragmatic procedure for online market research as part of business planning processes. Minghetti and Buhalis (2010, p. 271) emphasise the importance of "how tourists and businesses develop their ICT skills and how are they able to use the available online resources." Whilst much has been written about digital marketing and understanding consumers’ online behaviour generally, comparatively little has been researched about WTMEs specifically.
Facilitating factors The author has found few frameworks relating to government support, ICT skills or training needs provision for WTMEs in the specific contexts of marketing or online market research. Braun and Hollick’s (2006) pilot study of online skilling and knowledge sharing in tourism will be examined as a possible theoretical, methodological and best practice benchmark for WTME support provision. Other studies have tended to be country and/or sector specific and focus on broader emarketing rather than on digital market research (Duan, Mullins, Hamblin, Stanek, Sroka, Machado & Aranjo, 2002). Further research is needed on this aspect of the project. Preliminary review of the literature has revealed a gap in current research specifically relating to ICT adoption of digital market research tools by WTMEs in Wales. The heterodoxy of WTMEs reveals a need to examine them distinctively from larger businesses. Conceptual development From preliminary readings, the researcher has developed a draft conceptual model (shown in Fig. 1 below). The model is fundamentally based on the UTAUT model discussed previously and incorporates a behavioural pyramid from Nassar’s (2002) hierarchy of considerations of which aspects of hotels’ websites support their brand development, and WAG’s (2012) business maturity ladder. The pyramid has in turn been adapted further to apply to the more specific digital marketing context by including both Dann and Dann’s (2011) and Chaffey and Ellis-Chadwick’s (2012) digital market research “tool boxes”. Proposed methodology A range of WTMEs by sector and their approach to online marketing are being identified. Through close collaboration with Capital Region Tourism (CRT) on their SME ICT diagnostics project, relevant businesses were selected for an initial sample. Four in-depth pilot interviews with owners were recently carried out. These focused on typical profiles, the relative importance of direct determinants and the extent and spectrum of online market research tools usage. Initial analysis reveals two broad findings: first, combinations of demographic factors (mainly gender and age) and business type may have a bearing on the likelihood of
adopting digital market research technologies. Second, interviewing WTMEs that have participated in the CRT diagnostics and similar programmes excludes businesses that may not have such an awareness of marketing or ICT needs. Paradoxically, participant WTMEs in such schemes may already be “doing the right thing”. Reaching non-participants of SME support schemes must be considered to investigate all representative businesses effectively. This will have methodological implications when sampling for the continuing phases 1 (qualitative) and 2 (quantitative). Phase 2 will test the preliminary typologies and themes developed from phase 1 and the factors influencing these with an extensive survey of WTMEs to identify their current digital market research practices and needs. Exploratory Factor Analysis will be used to evaluate the relationships between the key moderators and each element of the model. This will allow the refining of the conceptual framework towards a best practice model.
Fig. 1. Draft conceptual framework adapted from Nassar (2002), Venkatesh et al. (2003), Dann & Dann (2011), Chaffey & Ellis-Chadwick (2012). Anticipated results The researcher anticipates the project will reveal results that broadly reflect WAG’s report findings relating to WTMEs and digital marketing as a whole. Nevertheless she has already found some variations in relation to different WTMEs’ approaches to and understanding of digital market research as well as actual usage has already been found. In particular, different person-specific moderators relating to business owners, combined with the types of WTMEs involved, already appears to influence a WTME’s extent of online behaviour more than previously thought. Such distinctions could help identify specific and appropriate support needs for these WTMEs at a range of entry levels. References Braun, P. & Hollick, M. (2006). Tourism skills delivery: sharing tourism knowledge online. Education + Training, 48(8), 693-703. Buhalis, D., & Deimezi R., (2004). eTourism developments in Greece. International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, 5(2), 103-130. Chaffey, D. & Ellis-Chadwick, F. (2012). Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice. 5/E. London: Financial Times Press. Dann, S. & Dann, S. (2011). E-Marketing: Theory and Application. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. Duan, Y., Mullins, R., Hamblin, D., Stanek, S., Sroka, H., Machado, V., & Araujo, J. (2002). Addressing ICTs skill challenges in SMEs: insights from three country investigations. Journal of European Industrial Training. 26(9), pp. 430-441 El-Gohary, H. (2012). Factors affecting E-Marketing adoption and implementation in tourism firms: an empirical investigation of Egyptian small tourism organisations. Tourism Management, 33, 12561269. Heinrich, T. (2013). Technological Change and Network Effects in Growth Regimes: Exploring the Microfoundations of Economic Growth. London: Routledge. Jones. E. & Haven-Tang, C. (Eds.). (2005). Tourism SMEs, Service Quality and Destination Competitiveness. Wallingford: CABI. Jo, T., & Schmidt, T. (2012). Heterodox Economics Newsletter. Retrieved July 12, 2012, from http://www.heterodoxnews.com/HEN/home.html. Lim, W. (2009). Alternative models framing UK independent hoteliers' adoption of technology. International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 21 (5), 610-618.
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