Web-based business positioning : an investigation in the tourism industry
Thesis (MBA) -- Stellenbosch University, 2011.
The use of the web-based technology to conduct business has been growing in many industries globally, this has been the case in the tourism industry. The growing popularity of the web-based technology can be attributed to the benefits it brings to the tourism industry. The study has look into the overall benefits brought by the web-based technology in the tourism industry and how it can be further exploited to benefit the organizations. The application of the web-based technology has included the introduction of the website. The website has given companies exposure to the global market and has been a platform for conducting marketing activities. The website has been used extensively in the tourism industry as a source of information. The website has enabled travel consumers purchase tourism products and services. Having a website may not be sufficient in meeting an organisation’s intended objectives. Many companies in the tourism industry are making use of the website, hence the use of website in search engines has become competitive. Companies need to implement website optimisation techniques to benefit both the travel suppliers and travel consumers. To conduct the organisations marketing activities successfully, the websites needs maximum exposure to the target audience. This can be achieved through the website design aimed at ensuring that the website is highly ranked by search engines. Added features like video, up to date information and photos add value to travel consumers. Through these features travel consumers are able to understand tourism products and services, and hence make informed decisions. The study has looked at the application of the web-based technology in four sectors of the tourism industry in South Africa. These are attraction, accommodation, tour operators and transport. Suppliers in each sector were selected for analysis and they are: - in attraction, Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe Game Reserve; - in accommodation, Hilton hotel and Southern Sun hotel; - in tour operator, Thompson Holiday and Tourvest; and - in transport, Kulula, South African Airways, Avis and Europcar. Suppliers in the tourism industry in South Africa were found to use the website for the following reasons: - Provides information about the organisation and its products and services. - Used as a marketing tool: The website is used to facilitate communication between the travel supplier and the travel consumer. It is also a platform to sell tourism products and services. - Used to enhance collaboration in the industry. Collaboration through websites has resulted in a better supply chain. Customers have been able to buy one package including the airline ticket, accommodation and car hire using one website. - Used to conduct business transactions: Customers have been able to make bookings and reservations and payments through the website. - Used to attract customers to the organisation’s products and services. Attractive features such as photos and videos have been included in the website. The Safari Company is a tour operator in South Africa. Using web-based technology; the company has changed its business model to be able to serve its customers better. The company has developed a new website that adds value to both travel suppliers and travel consumers. Travel suppliers are able to market their services and products through the website. The website provides travel consumers with the latest information and expert advice in tourism products in the Southern and Eastern Africa. The Safari Company website has been a platform for the company to communicate its social responsibility with the global community. The Safari Company donates 10% of its revenue to an organization called Touch the Land. Touch the Land is a foundation that implements projects in Southern and Eastern Africa aimed at poverty alleviation.