Handbook of Consumer Behavior, Tourism and the Internet

Article excerpt

Handbook of Consumer Behavior, Tourism and the Internet By J E Mills and R LOW (Eds) The Haworth Hospitality Press, Birmingham, New York, 2004; Pages: 314; Price: US$ 39.95; ISBN:978-0-7890-2599-9

The Internet has been, and will be, an increasingly valuable tool, whether it is used for academic research, industrial applications or for consumer purchases. The tourism industry is no exception since the Internet has an increasingly significant role to play for consumers to make their travel decisions.

This book serves as a valuable resource for academicians, students, and practitioners alike in understanding the consumer behavior pertaining to tourism, travel and hospitality industries.

All the authors have focused on different aspects relating to the subject and have been successful in comprehensively covering all the issues pertaining to the same.

The book is methodically divided into six sections, with each section covering a different sub-theme on the subject.

Section 1 of the book deals with the issues in "Online travel consumer search behavior".

Paper 1 of the section titled, "Consumer objectives and the amount of search in electronic travel and tourism markets", examines the effects of Internet-based travel and tourism markets on pre-purchase consumer search. The findings suggest that Internet-based leisure travel markets have, so far, affected pre-purchase consumer search less than has been expected.

In Paper 2, "Information search behavior and tourist characteristics: The Internet vis-à-vis other information sources", the authors examine the relationships between tourists' use of Internet vs. other information sources and their characteristics. The study's implications are discussed in the context of destination marketing.

Paper 3, "Barriers to online booking of scheduled airline tickets" discusses reasons for the slow adoption of online booking. The analyses are based on two experiments conducted in 1999 and 2002. The negative effects of the underlying market structure and the product complexity in the adoption of online booking are also discussed.

Paper 4, "The past, present and future research of online information search", briefly reviews (a) traditional views of information search, (b) the distinct features of online information search, (c) online benefits to travelers and marketers, and (d) online concerns and opportunities. In addition, potential issues of future research are suggested.

Section 2 of the book deals with the topic "Travel website user characteristics".

Paper 1 in this section, "Buyer characteristics among users of various travel intermediaries", brings out the results of the survey conducted to identify travelers' selection criteria and expectations of traditional travel agents. The conclusions identify the strategies for travel intermediaries to attract and retain clientele.

Paper 2, "Utilitarian value in the Internet: Differences between broad band and narrow band users", evaluates the differences in perceptions of utilitarian and social values on the Internet between broad band and narrow band users.

Paper 3, "Online travel planning and college students: The spring break experience", investigates college students' online travel behavior in vacation planning through selected travel websites. The study finds that the respondents generally lean toward satisfaction with their online travel planning experiences.

Paper 4 is titled as "Reviewing the profile and behavior of Internet users: Research directions and opportunities in tourism and hospitality". This paper aims to identify and discuss future research opportunities and directions with the objective of further examining the Internet users and their behavior.

Section 3 of the book concentrates on issues pertaining to "Perception and quality of online lodging and travel brands".

Paper 1, in this section, "Comparison of web services quality between online travel agencies and online travel suppliers", identifies the underlying dimensions of web service quality between online travel agencies and online travel suppliers in explaining the overall level of customer satisfaction. …