Key Issues in Implementing Destination Management Systems

Key Issues in Implementing Destination Management Systems

Catarina Antónia Martins (Escola Superior de Comunicação Administração e Turismo, Instituto Politécnico de Bragança, Mirandela, Portugal), Carlos Manuel Martins da Costa (Departamento de Economia, Gestão e Engenharia Industrial, Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal) and Osvaldo Rocha Pacheco (Departamento de Eletrónica, Telecomunicações e Informática, Universidade de Aveiro, Aveiro, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/ijamse.2014070103
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Abstract

Destination management systems have been referred in recent years as the ICT infrastructure of a destination management organization (World Tourism Organization, 2001). It is not yet clear on literature what are the success factors underlying the implementation of these systems and if traditionally the destination management systems have failed to achieve the initially expected benefits (Buhalis & Spada, 2000) today some successful cases can be identified (Buhalis & Egger, 2008). This study aims to present the conceptual framework of an investigation intended to define the main factors behind the success of these systems. The research model is based on the assumption that these success factors fit in three spheres of action: the dynamics of the system implementation within a destination management organization, the very specific features of those destination management systems and the organizational environment in the destination.
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Introduction

Information and communication technologies (ICT) along with the advent of Internet are at the base of significant changes that have been registered within the tourism industry. Tourism is the economic activity where e-business is most used not only in terms of information search but also for the acquisition of services (Águas, Rita, & Costa, 2004; Werthner & Ricci, 2004; World Tourism Organization, 2001). It is especially at the destination level that information technologies allow for local collaboration and use of Destination Management Systems (DMS) to represent the different actors in global markets (Buhalis & Spada, 2000). DMS have been referred in recent years as the ICT infrastructure of Destination Management Organizations (DMO) (World Tourism Organization, 2001). Increasingly these systems have been supporting multiple functions drawing on central product and customer databases (Carter & Bédard, 2001). One of the main benefits of having an e-business strategy and a DMS in place is reducing dependence on intermediaries for the distribution of tourism products. As a result, tourism suppliers are able to improve their negotiating power with large tour operators and are able to develop a healthier distribution mix. This is particularly important for remote, peripheral and island destinations where tourism is an important economic activity base.

It is not yet clear on literature what are the success factors underlying the implementation of these systems and if traditionally DMS have failed to achieve the initially expected benefits (Buhalis & Spada, 2000) today some successful cases can be identified (Buhalis & Egger, 2008). The present study aims to present the conceptual framework of an investigation intended to define the main factors behind the success of these systems. The research model is based on the assumption that these success factors fit in three spheres of action: the dynamics of the system implementation within a destination management organization, the very specific features of those destination management systems and the organizational environment in the destination. These three spheres of action are the issues that are going to be the subject of this study. In the first section the interconnectivity between DMO, e-business and DMS will be explained. DMOs assume the function of building the tourism product, presenting the offer, committing stakeholders and marketing in order to achieve long term competitiveness as a strategic objective. Typologies and the role of DMO are then discussed as well as the reasons why these organizations should lead the process of e-business adoption. Interconnectivity will be explained as we discuss how e-business and DMS can help DMO improve ICT contribution to more successful destination management. In the second section of this paper the main obstacles to the implementation of a DMS will be presented. We will argue that barriers to successful DMS implementation can be identified both on SME and on DMO side.

In addition to the importance of the DMO role in implementing a DMS and the incorporation of the latest technology tools to be made available through the DMS, we argue that the success factors inherent to DMS implementation are also based on the premises that underlie the development and prosperity of a region in what concerns tourism. The question that then arises is what promotes growth and development of a region and this will be thoroughly presented in the final section. The paper concludes with a conceptual framework of an investigation where we intend to define the main factors underlying the successful implementation of a DMS.

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