Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

Using Website as an Interactive Marketing Tool and Its Implication on Hotel E-Sales in Egypt

Academic journal article Journal of Tourism Challenges and Trends

Using Website as an Interactive Marketing Tool and Its Implication on Hotel E-Sales in Egypt

Article excerpt

Introduction

The Internet with its rapid growing population and developing applications has technologies which provide the hotels with an unprecedented level of connectivity and the ability to communicate efficiently and effectively directly with customers anywhere and anytime, and build better relationships with them than has been possible with traditional marketing methods such as direct mailing (Maswera et al. 2009; Bose & Chen 2009).

Today hotel's website goes beyond simply promoting hospitality services, and becomes matters of survival for hospitality businesses. Such Websites could help as interactive marketing and direct marketing channels (e-mail marketing, electronic catalog marketing), distribution channels for selling services, online reservation platform, web advertising medium, supporting relationships with customers, and generate additional revenue by reaching markets couldn't access using the traditional systems (e.g. Ye et al. 2009; Vermeulen & Seegers 2009; Rong et al. 2009).

According to Kim et al. (2006) the application of the Internet has stimulated sweeping changes in hotel services. At the same time, the Internet is moving the hospitality business from a reactive to a proactive position with regard to meeting customers' needs. Considering the nature of tourism products and services (e.g. intangibility, complexity, diversity, and interdependence), consumers are more eager than ever for product-related information in order to minimize their purchase risk and close the gap between their expectations and the actual travel experience.

Much of the supporting arguments tend to be found in other works, for example Litvin et al. (2008) and Rong et al. (2009) believed that websites have presented tourism marketers with new avenues to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of communication, and new approaches for the acquisition and retention of customers, as hospitality and tourism industry is intensely competitive, suggesting that the use of online services may provide important competitive advantages.

Research Problem, Objectives and Plan

Despite the growing body of literature dealing with online hospitality services, previous research has focused on Western markets and cultures rather than upon developing markets such as Egypt, however, existing hospitality literature contains a very limited number of empirical works (Rong et al. 2009; Kim et al. 2006).

This makes it difficult to obtain reliable and valid dataset, to examine the Hotel's adoption behavior regarding utilizing their websites as marketing tools. Thus, it seems reasonable to examine the phenomena empirically, specifically in different context.

In addition, relevant studies indicated that with the exception of large hotel chains, most hotel websites have a limited range of functions, such as promotion. Only a few of them are exploring other potentialities, as mentioned previously. Thus, it appears that hotels are missing out on the opportunity to use the web as an effective marketing tool (Schmidt et al. 2009).

Here, the research carried out by this study attempted to achieve the following objectives: (a) to provide further exploration about the marketing practices of hotel websites at the Egyptian market and their implication on hotels e-sales (b) to determine the construct factors influencing the managerial intention of hotels to use their website as a marketing tool, (c) to test the significance of its structural relationships (d) to develop a mathematical model that can quantitatively predict the probability of using hotel website as an electronic marketing tool.

Given that a significant body of research supports the view that the use of any specific technological application is determined by Intention to use it, and this Intention differ according to how marketers perceive value from using such application (e.g. Komulainen et al. 2007). …

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