Table of Contents
|Figure 1 – Number of digital buyers worldwide from 2014 to 2019 (in billions)||9|
|Figure 2 – Share of internet users who have ever purchased products online as of November 2016, by category||10|
|Figure 3 – Share of travelers using meta-search when travel planning online as of April 2014, by generation||12|
|Figure 4 – Selling and marketing expenses of Expedia, Inc. worldwide from 2009 to 2016 (in billion U.S dollars)||13|
|Figure 5 – Advertising, sales and marketing expenses of Priceline Group Worldwide from 2010 to 2016 (in billion US dollars)||13|
|Figure 6: Socio-Economic status of consumer of online shopping||16|
|Figure 7 – Total number of internet users across the world during the period of 2005 to 2017)||20|
|Figure 8 – Global digital population as of August 2017 (in Millions)||21|
|Figure 9 – Most famous social network sites worldwide as of August 2017, ranked by number of active users (in millions)||22|
|Figure 10 – Number of monthly active Instagram users from January 2013 to April 2017 (in millions)||23|
|Figure 11 – The most important social platforms for hoteliers-to-be on||24|
|Figure 12 – Average daily time spent online via mobile by internet users worldwide as of 2nd quarter 2016, by generation (in minutes)||26|
|Figure 13 – Mobile share of total digital minutes in leading online markets as of January 2017||26|
|Figure 14 – Worldwide internet usage via mobile v/s desktop||27|
|Figure 15 – Mobile v Desktop in the UK||28|
|Figure 16 – Internet usage in the United States (October 2009 to October 2016)||28|
|Figure 17 – Share of online bookings by device type||30|
|Figure 18 – Likelihood of travel booking by device type||31|
|Figure 19 – Share of online bookings by device type v/s length of stay (in number of nights)||31|
|Figure 20 – Smartphone share of online travel bookings||32|
|Figure 21 – Smartphone share of online bookings by country||33|
|Figure 22 – Expected growth rates for booking, check-in, boarding pass in 2016||34|
|Figure 23 – Level of fear according to different type of risks when consumers do online shopping/booking||40|
|Figure 24: Summary of previous researches on dimensions of perceived risks in online shopping, between 2003 and 2012||41|
|Figure 25 – % Increase in page abandonment v/s Change in page response time||45|
|Figure 26 – Responsive design improves annual performance results||47|
|Figure 27 – CRM systems are known to improve customer retention by as much as 27%||50|
|Figure 28 – 3 out of 4 consumers say they spent more money with a company because of a positive customer experience||51|
|Figure 29 – The first bundle is likely the entry-level room. The second is another category of room within the same property. The third is a premium package including the base room and add-ons like breakfasts or late check-out||54|
Chapter 1 – Introduction
This chapter gives an overview of the chosen topic and outlines the reasons for my choice of this particular subject, as well as the goal and objectives of the research work.
Chapter 2 – Literature Review
This section provides a review of the literature related to the topic. The current study is supported by previous researches that have been conducted. Literature review is a secondary source and the goal of presenting past and genuine researches is to allow the reader to understand and analyze the subject better.
Chapter 3 – Research Methodology
The methods that have been used to collect data and to assess the strengths and limitations related to the study are exposed here. The chapter also presents the web-based survey questionnaire that has been shared with a number of persons and provides reliable analysis of the collected data.
Chapter 4 – Findings, Analysis and Discussions
In this section, the findings from the investigations and survey conducted are presented. When analyzing data, both an interpretation and a summarization of the collected data have been necessary. Consequently, various solutions can be proposed and a conclusion derived.
Chapter 5 – Recommendations
Based on the results obtained from the data analysis, recommendations are put forward so as to tackle the different problems or weaknesses that are found.
Chapter 6 – Conclusion
This last chapter is a brief summary on the topic selected and is useful to provide evidence to the solutions for the issue.
Internet technology has been the revelation of the past decades. It has completely transformed the method of conducting business and is considered as the most used tool by travellers for the online purchase of tourism products and services (Nunkoo & Ramkisoon, 2012).
Travel-related products and services are ranked among the top three most prevalent online shopping categories around the world, with an online purchase rate of 55% globally. According to Statista, the number of digital shoppers in the US, for example, has been growing constantly and in 2016, 211.1 million US citizens were online shoppers and had browsed products, compared prices or proceeded with an online purchase at least once (Statista, 2017).
Jin Lim et al. (2016) stated that with the implementation and operation of internet technology resulting in the consequent success of powerhouses like Alibaba, Amazon or Ebay, hotels and online travel agencies had to shift their style of business from ‘brick-and-mortar to brick-and-click’. Chen Tan (2015) suggested that it is a must for hotels and travel agencies to have their own website so that potential customers can benefit from a better communication and this would facilitate the promotion of tourism products and services. Furthermore, according to Bakar & Hashim (2008), it is crucial for hoteliers to use electronic distribution channels since past studies showed that most rooms that were booked online did not come from the existing customer databases. These electronic distribution channels, therefore, contribute in attracting new market segments.
Consumers, on the other hand, get more deals, can compare between products and preview those of better value. Tan (2015) and Hasslinger, Hodzic & Opazo (2007) mentioned that customers are no longer limited to opening hours or specific locations since they can purchase any product or service from any place at any time.
However, according to Cho (2006) and Nunkoo & Ramkisoon (2012), despite the availability of necessary infrastructure for online transactions and the growing number of Internet users, this does not necessarily mean a rise in the volume of online shopping since there are other factors that make consumers hesitant to get involved in online transactions.
My interest in this particular topic developed mainly during my internship at Hospitality Plus Ltd, a company actively engaged in providing a menu of digital solutions to the hospitality industry with the aim of sustainably improving hotel profitability. I was granted the opportunity to be an intern in this organization during my fourth year of study at Vatel International Business School, Hotel & Tourism Management of Mauritius. During my brief time there, I learnt a lot about how the digital world of hotels operates and how online bookings and shopping can help in maximizing sales.
This study aims at understanding the factors which influence the decision-making of an Internet user in connection with online booking. It analyzes customer behaviors (personal, psychological, social and cultural characteristics), Internet and social media usage behaviors (e-commerce experience and hours of Internet use), website and convenience (information quality, security, website responsiveness and customer relationships) and price and promotion and, consequently, determines how these affect consumers’ attitude towards online booking. In the light of the findings, recommendations are proposed for hotels to adjust to consumers’ behaviours, satisfy their needs and thus, improve sales.
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