Quality Enhancement in Designing E-Tourism Service Systems

Quality Enhancement in Designing E-Tourism Service Systems

Ye Wang (Zhejiang Gongshang University, China) and Jie Sun (Ningbo Institute of Technology, China)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8577-2.ch003
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Abstract

With many e-tourism businesses providing same or similar services, quality has become an important indicator for good e-tourism services. Yet, Quality of Tourism Service (QoTS) is usually difficult to handle due to a set of characteristics. In this chapter, the authors have identified a core set of common QoTSs such as performance, reliability and security through the investigation of several e-tourism systems. This chapter will first give precise definitions to a set of QoTSs and then present detailed metrics for these QoTSs. Besides, this chapter will provide a way to quantitative analysis of different QoTSs and finally introduce how to use a partition-based architecture to improve the performance and reliability of tourism services.
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Background

Service-oriented computing (SOC) paradigm plays an increasingly crucial role in modern world industries. Even in cloud computing, services are irreplaceable elements for a software delivery model called “software as a service” (SaaS). Services have become fundamental elements for most enterprises. A service-oriented system (SoS) is a distributed software system based on the SaaS model. Tourism is a dynamically expanding economic sector, which has a considerable impact on basic economic indicators and plays an important role in information intensive industry. Over the past decade, a large number of SoSs have been developed to aid a wide range of real-world applications in the area of e-tourism. For example, Visit California (www.qunar.com), a popular e-tourism service system in China, have been used by a lot of Chinese travelers to plan their trip and inquire the flight and hotel information and so on.

A lot of definitions have been provided for e-tourism service system. For example, Sebastia et al. (2008) defines e-tourism as “a tourist recommendation and planning application to assist users on the organization of a leisure and tourist agenda”. The recommender sub-system is responsible for providing the user a list of city places which usually takes the user demographic classification and the user preferences into consideration; whereas the planning sub-system schedules the list of recommended places according to their temporal characteristics as well as the user restrictions. Another definition is given by Buhalis, which broadly defines e-tourism service system as “the digitization of all the processes and value chains in the tourism, hospitality, travel and catering industries that enable organizations to maximize their effectiveness and efficiency” (Buhalis, 2003). E-tourism service systems provide its users the ability of querying and scheduling in a time-saving manner by taking advantage of extranets for developing transactions with trusted partners.

Software quality is defined as “the degree to which software possesses a desired combination of attributes (e.g., reliability, interoperability)” (IEEE, 1992). Quality attributes are non-functional requirements (NFRs), as they delineate “how well” a software system performs its functionality, as opposed to the functional requirements, which define “what” functionality the software system performs (Paech & Kerkow, 2004). Quality of service (QoS) is an overarching concept that encompasses a set of quality attributes that collectively delineate “how well” a SoS delivers its service.

With many e-tourism businesses providing same or similar services, quality has become an important indicator for good e-tourism services (Ho & Lee, 2007). Yet, Quality of Tourism Service (QoTS) is usually difficult to handle, due to the following common characteristics existing in all types of QoS (Yang et al., 2011): first, QoTS requirements are system-level requirements which cannot be assigned directly to individual system components; instead, they need to be planned at the infrastructure-level as a whole, with their design aspects then entrusted to system components. Second, QoTSs are often interconnected and their realization in a system requires a collective and coordinated behavior of the system components and a system-level design strategy. Third, QoTSs are application-specific and their fulfillment necessarily requires a specific design approach germane to their applications. Finally, QoTS is not only a design time concern, but most crucially a runtime concern. Enhancing QoTS means designing runtime mechanisms that can maintain the system’s QoTS throughout the execution time.

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