Perspectives of the Adoption of Cloud Computing in the Tourism Sector

Perspectives of the Adoption of Cloud Computing in the Tourism Sector

Pedro R. Palos-Sanchez (University of Extremadura, Spain) and Marisol B. Correia (ESGHT, University of Algarve, Portugal & CEG-IST, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2927-9.ch018
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This chapter aims to expose the current situation of the adoption of cloud computing in companies in general and in enterprises of the tourism sector in particular. For this, a review of the literature has been carried out to establish the conceptual framework of technology and of the new economic model that underlies its adoption. Cloud computing is one of the technologies less known to many organizations and especially users, as it is a new technology based on the Internet, through which information is stored on servers, is provided as a service and on clients' demand. Therefore, the main theories of adoption that have been used to explain the different adoption models are presented, as well as, the different solutions that are being used in the tourist industry.
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Information and Communication Technologies, also known as Information Technology (IT) have been widely adopted by the society, but especially by the enterprises. These technologies have been widely adopted under the concept of solutions that are provided through IT services. This solution provides effective low-cost communication tools for customers (Tan & Teo, 1998). This is something to be considered for the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME), which adopts IT in a gradual and precise way, not having the need to make large investments, distributing the effort for years.

The adoption of Internet-based IT has made it possible to develop the paradigm of everything as a service, where the user pays only for the use made of the service. These services can range from software applications (Application Service Provider or ASP and Software as a Services or SaaS) to systems infrastructure (Infrastructure as a Service or IaaS). This formula is intuited as a good solution for small and medium enterprises SME, in the line of jumping the barriers that prevented them to take advantage of IT. In the following section, as well as throughout the whole chapter, this concept will be expanded.

Heart and Pliskin (2002) defined this concept as “eRent” of Information Systems (IS), made through the Internet and thanks to an ASP. They say that for SMEs, the IS through “eRental” could be an attractive solution to the expensive and complex acquisitions and implementations of traditional IT.

Johansson (2004) also states that the main reason for SMEs to adopt IT by contracting an ASP is that they allow full control cost and a lower cost when adopting and maintaining them. In spite of this, it assures that if this decision is examined in detail, it is observed that the customers do not emphasize these reasons, and it induces to think that the perspective of the cost is secondary for the SME.

In this way it identifies the three main reasons why ASP clients hire their services. The main reason is that the company is looking to outsource everything that is not basic competencies of its business, which most usually meet the IS. The other two reasons are the lack of qualified personnel and the overall strategy of the organization.

The adoption of IT in the tourism sector is evolving with changes of habits of the travelers, driven by the adaptation of IT as the Internet of Things (IoT), which consists of an automated connection through the Internet of the information generated by the devices and systems. IoT can be defined as a set of interconnected things over the Internet, which have the ability to measure, communicate and act all over the world. The key idea of the IoT is to obtain information about the environment to understand and control and act on it (Díaz, Martín, & Rubio, 2016). According to these authors, the cloud computing and IoT integration, known as Cloud of Things, solves such problems as IoT's limitations, data access, computing, data analysis, and can create new opportunities.

Another adoption of IT in the tourism sector is SoLoMo (Social, Local and Mobile), which reflects consumers' preferences for sharing content and habits through the social web (social purchase, recommendations, etc.), only to say some examples (Junta de Andalucía, 2012).

Thus, travelers or tourists increasingly use different devices connected to the internet to find information, locate offers, book all services related to travel or make purchases at destination, which has resulted in the explosion of travel agencies (Online Travel Agencies), internet portals that intermediate in the booking of tourism products at worldwide level, the sale of second-hand travel through Internet, offering huge discounts through online outlet portals, or the emergence of new typologies of solutions to optimize the management of these channels and the presence based on solutions such as the Central Reservation System, Channel Managers (Channel Manager System) or online communication systems (Online Reputation, Social Networks, etc.).

Key Terms in this Chapter

IaaS: Offers to customers a comprehensive set of IT resources, as for example virtual machines to provide a computing infrastructure to customers via the Internet. IaaS is aimed at IT companies and software developers to allow them to increase or decrease the number of virtual machines in operation, depending on their workload to promote efficiency in the use of IT resources.

Smart Tourism: Describe the increasing reliance of tourism destinations, their industries and their tourists on emerging forms of IT that allow for massive amounts of data to be transformed into value propositions.

SaaS: Model of software distribution, also considered as a service that is accessed, via the Internet, through a web browser, under the user's own demand.

Cloud Computing: Model for enabling ubiquitous, convenient, on-demand and scalable networks access to a pool of configurable computing resources that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction.

PaaS: Provides a full or partial application development environment that allows developers to access resources for application development and collaborate online with others.

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