Efficiency and Travel Agencies: Bayesian Structural Equation Model

Efficiency and Travel Agencies: Bayesian Structural Equation Model

Dejan Dragan (University of Maribor, Slovenia), Tomaž Kramberger (University of Maribor, Slovenia) and Darja Topolšek (University of Maribor, Slovenia)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 25
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0001-8.ch010
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Abstract

The chapter deals with Bayesian structural equation modeling (SEM) for the case of travel agencies. The focus of research is the investigation of possible impacts of external integration with transport suppliers on the efficiency of travel agencies. In order to calculate the efficiency, the data envelopment analysis was used. For the construction of the measurement part of the model, the confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was conducted, while its structural part was developed by the means of SEM procedure. When conducting the CFA and SEM procedures, the Bayesian estimation method was employed. Its performance was also compared with the maximum likelihood method and the fit indices of both methods were inspected. The results show that the derived model fits well to the real data. The study confirms certain positive effects of the external integration on the efficiency. This finding could represent an important guideline for the managers of the travel agencies.
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Introduction

The tourism industry is important for every national economy and is becoming one of the most important industries worldwide since its share has significantly increased during the past 30 years (Walker, 2009). The tourism supply chains are based on business relationships between all involved members while the management can contribute significantly to performance improvements. Besides financial performance, the particular attention must be dedicated to the improvement of business operations of each supplier in the supply chain (Tapper & Font, 2004).

Business relations between members of the tourism supply chains are very important for firm performance, and those relations are usually described with so-called ‘external integration (EI)’ of the firm. There have been many definitions introduced for the term ‘external integration in the supply chains’. Our opinion is that maybe the definition proposed by the authors Flynn, Huo, and Zhao (2010) is the most appropriate for the general supply chains. These authors define that the supply chain integration represents a certain level of strategic collaboration of individual supply chain member with its partners within the framework of organizational process management in the supply chain.

For the general supply chains in the manufactory and other industries, it has been shown that the formation of good external integration is an essential factor for better performance, including the efficiency, quality, delivery and flexibility (Danese, 2013). On the other side, concerning the tourism supply chains, there are only several researches devoted to the interactions between the external integration and the performance of the members of supply chains. Sadly, these studies are mostly restricted to the specific tourism sector, for example to the hotel sector (Enz, Canina, & Walsh, 2001; Atkinson & Brown, 2001; Mia & Patiar, 2001). Besides this, they mostly treat the firms’ performance without any particular concerns about their efficiency.

One of the fundamental entities of the tourism supply chains are also the travel agencies (TA), whose the primary objective is the selling of specific holiday packages to their customers. Concerning their efficiency, it is quite important to the creditors, investors, and business partners (Köksal & Aksu, 2007). So there is a great necessity for the travel agencies and the other organizations in the tourism industry to work together in order to increase the overall efficiency and timely deliver the quality products and services to the customer (Yilmaz & Bititci, 2006). This fact also includes the transport suppliers (TS), which should beneficially collaborate with the travel agencies in the largest possible way.

Surprisingly, the careful inspection of existing researches revealed a relatively big hole in the literature about any kind of analysis of interrelations between the external integration of travel agencies and the efficiency of travel agencies. Some studies have examined this area in the case of cooperation with different transport suppliers (Alamdari, 2002; Medina-Muñoz & García-Falcón, 2000; Bastakis, Buhalis & Butler, 2004; Topolšek, Mrnjavac, & Kovačić, 2014). The conclusions of these studies have advocated that the working staffs in agencies should communicate more timely and accurately in order to reach better synchronization between the agencies and the transport suppliers (water, air, bus and rail suppliers).

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