The Evolving Value of eTourism for Suppliers and Visitors

The Evolving Value of eTourism for Suppliers and Visitors

João V. Estêvão (Polytechnic Institute of Guarda, Portugal), Maria João Carneiro (University of Aveiro, Portugal & Governance, Competitiveness and Public Policies (GOVCOPP) Research Unit, Portugal) and Leonor Teixeira (University of Aveiro, Portugal & Institute of Electronics and Telematics Engineering of Aveiro (IEETA), Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4373-4.ch026
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Abstract

The tourism industry is known to have an extensive use of the Internet, both on the supply and on the demand side. The steady and fast emergence of the Internet has dramatically changed the business processes within the sector, forcing suppliers and intermediaries to adapt to a scenario in which visitors have multiple and more flexible choices regarding the search, planning, booking, and purchase of tourism services and products. This chapter explores the main impacts and trends that the dynamic use of the Internet within the tourism sector—the so-called eTourism—has originated in each of the sector’s main stakeholders, including suppliers, intermediaries, destination management organizations, and tourists.
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Background

Regarding the conceptual framework required to analyze the ideas conveyed in this chapter, it was considered adequate to start by approaching the concept of tourism system and, in a second moment, to illustrate the role of eTourism as an enhancer of tourism’s Supply Chain Management (SCM).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Travel 2.0: The whole array of Web 2.0 tools specifically used within the tourism and travel industry.

Web 2.0: Set of tools of mass collaboration enabling and empowering Internet users to actively and simultaneously interact with their peers for producing, consuming and diffusing Internet-based information and applications. Web 2.0 fosters both UGC and social media.

eTourism: The set of digitization of procedures in the tourism sector, including both the tactical and strategic adoption of ICT applications, such as the World Wide Web.

Global Distribution System (GDS): Centrally managed global computerized reservation network used by travel agents, tour operators and online travel portals in order to book airline tickets, hotels rooms or car rentals, among other tourism and travel related services.

Tourism Infomediaries: The recently emerged generation of online-based intermediaries within the tourism industry.

Destination Management System (DMS): Official destination Web application aimed at fostering B2B cohesion levels within destination-based stakeholders, providing tourist a one-stop-only platform in which it is possible to search, plan, book and purchase individual services or packaged tours.

eReadiness: The level of preparation and competences that a single person, an organization or a society possesses in terms of a specific type of ICT usage.

Supply Chain Management (SCM): Set of managerial philosophies and processes which effectively align firms through the establishment of linkages between organizations aiming at bringing products and services to the market capable of producing added value to the consumer.

User-Generated-Content (UGC): The possibility that Websites’ Web 2.0 functionalities give to Internet users to insert contents—under the form of text, ratings, podcasting, among others—that will later be available to other users.

Destination Management Organization (DMO): Public or public-private entity whose aim is to foster, plan and coordinate the tourism development of a destination as a whole.

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