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Global Hospitality and

Tourism Management
Technologies

Patricia Ordez de Pablos


The University of Oviedo, Spain

Robert Tennyson
University of Minnesota, USA

Jingyuan Zhao
Harbin Institute of Technology, China
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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data


Global hospitality and tourism management technologies / Patricia Ordonez de Pablos, Robert Tennyson, and Jingyuan
Zhao, editors.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Summary: This book is a comprehensive source of information for those interested in tourism and hospitality manage-
ment, approaches, and trends, and, covers the emerging research topics that will define the future of IT and cultural
development in the 21st century--Provided by publisher.
ISBN 978-1-61350-041-5 (hardcover) -- ISBN 978-1-61350-042-2 (ebook) -- ISBN 978-1-61350-043-9 (print & perpetual
access) 1. Tourism--Management. 2. Hospitality industry. I. Ordsqez de Pablos, Patricia, 1975- II. Tennyson, Robert D. III.
Zhao, Jingyuan, 1968-
G155.A1G4877 2012
910.68--dc23
2011022136

British Cataloguing in Publication Data


A Cataloguing in Publication record for this book is available from the British Library.

All work contributed to this book is new, previously-unpublished material. The views expressed in this book are those of the
authors, but not necessarily of the publisher.
List of Reviewers
Patricia Ordez de Pablos, The University of Oviedo, Spain
Jingyuan Zhao, Harbin Institute of Technology, China
Robert D. Tennyson, University of Minnesota, USA
Aliana M W Leong, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macao SAR.
Ashleigh K. Shelton, University of Minnesota, USA
Carmine Sellitto, Centre for Tourism and Services Research, Australia
Chad Lin, Curtin University, Australia
Deepak Chhabra, Arizona State University, USA
Eleonora Pantano, Department of Linguistics, University of Calabria, Italy
Fabiana Lorenzi, Universidade Luterana do Brasil, Brazil
Jiaming Liu, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, China
John C. Crotts, College of Charleston, USA
Jose Emilio Labra Gayo, The University of Oviedo, Spain
Juan Manuel Cueva Lovelle, The University of Oviedo, Spain
Jiaming Liu, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, China
Miltiadis D. Lytras, American College in Greece, Greece
Murat etin, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Saudi Arabia
Neeta Baporikar, Salalah College of Applied Sciences, Sultanate of Oman
Rocco Servidio, Department of Linguistics, University of Calabria, Italy
Ruth Rios-Morales, University of Glion,Switzerland
Stan Karanasios, University of Leeds, UK
Stanley Loh, Universidade Catlica de Pelotas, Brazil
Stephen Burgess, Centre for Tourism and Services Research, Australia
Tao Chen, Harbin Institute of Technology, China
Tienan Wang, Harbin Institute of Technology, China
Xi Li, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macao SAR
Zhiming Zhu, Hohai University, China
Table of Contents

Preface.................................................................................................................................................... vi

Chapter 1
Virtual Tourism: Functions, Profit Modes and Practices in China........................................................... 1
Jingyuan Zhao, Harbin Institute of Technology, China
Patricia Ordez de Pablos, Universidad de Oviedo, Spain
Robert Tenysson, University of Minnesota, USA

Chapter 2
A Study on Tourist Management in China Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
Technology............................................................................................................................................. 12
Aliana M W Leong, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macao SAR
Xi Li, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macao SAR

Chapter 3
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management in the
Australian Hospitality and Tourism Sector............................................................................................ 27
Chad Lin, Curtin University, Australia

Chapter 4
Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour: The Case of Pervasive Environments....................... 52
Eleonora Pantano, University of Calabria, Italy
Rocco Servidio, University of Calabria, Italy

Chapter 5
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing........................................... 72
Jiaming Liu, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, China

Chapter 6
Two Tickets for Paradise: Gaming and Tourism.................................................................................... 91
Ashleigh K. Shelton, University of Minnesota, USA

Chapter 7
The Role of Architecture on Tourism Industry: The Problem of (Mis)use of Building Technology and
Language of Heritage........................................................................................................................... 102
Murat etin, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Saudi Arabia
Chapter 8
Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman.................................................................................. 116
Neeta Baporikar, Salalah College of Applied Sciences, Sultanate of Oman

Chapter 9
Sales Force Technology for the Hospitality Industry........................................................................... 136
Ruth Rios-Morales, University of Glion,Switzerland
John C. Crotts, College of Charleston, USA

Chapter 10
Tourism Revitalization of Historic District in Perspective of Tourist Experience:A Case Study
of San-Fang Qi-Xiang in Fuzhou City, China..................................................................................... 151
Jiaming Liu, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, China

Chapter 11
A Classification of Mobile Tourism Applications................................................................................ 165
Stan Karanasios, University of Leeds, UK
Stephen Burgess, Victoria University, Australia
Carmine Sellitto, Victoria University, Australia

Chapter 12
Personal Tour:A Multi-Agent Recommender System of Travel Packages.......................................... 178
Fabiana Lorenzi, Invenio Software Inteligente & Universidade Luterana do Brasil, Brazil
Stanley Loh, Invenio Software Inteligente & Universidade Luterana do Brasil & Universidade
Catlica de Pelotas, Brazil
Mara Abel, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

Chapter 13
Management of World Heritage Sites:An Integrated Sustainable Marketing Approach..................... 189
Deepak Chhabra, Arizona State University, USA

Chapter 14
Research Review of OWOM:Chinese Cases....................................................................................... 207
Tao Chen, Harbin Institute of Technology & Nanjing Normal University & SanJiang University,
China
Zhiming Zhu, Hohai University, China
Tienan Wang, Harbin Institute of Technology, China

Compilation of References................................................................................................................ 224

About the Contributors..................................................................................................................... 251

Index.................................................................................................................................................... 256
vi

Preface

Tourism is a dynamic part of our economy. The global hospitality and tourism industry, which blends
the lodging, food, attractions, cultural and travel industries, is the worlds largest industry with $4.5
trillion in expenditures generating 212 million jobs. The World Tourism Organization (WTO) currently
projects that by the year 2010, 338 million people will be employed in the industry that will grow to
$8.4 trillion in expenditures.
The main objective of the book is for dynamic market forces such as global competition, changing
customer expectations, and new communication technology combined with career challenges due
to ongoing industry consolidation and corporate restructuring mandate continuous learning and the
sharing of ideas. The book will facilitate this need by providing strategic information and clear insights
to the world-wide hospitality and tourism issues as well as the role of IT in these industries. It aims to
be the leading source of information for all those interested in Tourism and Hospitality Management,
Approaches, and Trends as well as to cover the emerging research topics which are going to define the
future of IT and cultural and creativity development in the 21st century.
The books strategy aims to be the reference edition for all those interested on the strategic role of
information technologies towards the achievement of a long term competitive advantage in the hospitality
and tourism industry (with main emphasis to be paid on practical aspects) as well as to be the reference
edition for all those (policy makers, government officers, academics and practitioners) interested in
understanding applications of IT for tourism and hospitality management and for people thirsty to know
on how to address challenges for IT and tourism and hospitality in the 21st century.
Global Hospitality and Tourism Management Technologies is organized into 14 chapters which
provide insight on global hospitality and tourism management as a whole.
Chapter 1 (Virtual tourism: functions, profit modes and practices in China) focuses on functions and
profit models as well discussions on the application of virtual tourism in China. Although the research
on virtual tourism made great progress in China, there is still a gap compared with international research
on virtual tourism. With the promotion of virtual reality technology and the development of tourism
industries, virtual tourism will effectively meet the needs of tourists
Chapter 2 (A Study on Tourist Management in China Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
Technology) indicates that with the help of high technology, improving the scenic RFID smart queuing
system will be the main function of queue management module.
Following the development of mass tourism, more and more scenic spots began to face the problem
of queue management; Fairness and effectiveness of queue management will directly affect the visitors
experience in the scenic area.
vii

Chapter 3 (Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management in


the Australian Hospitality and Tourism Sector) proposes that the hospitality and tourism sector is one of
fastest growing sectors in Australia and in the world. In order to become more efficient and effective in
delivering products and services to customers via the use of ICT, hospitality and tourism organizations
have to rethink the ways in which they build relationships with their customers by initiating electronic
customer relationship management (eCRM) projects. Inappropriate eCRM decision-making and imple-
mentation can result in multi-million dollar losses, which can translate into a loss of competitiveness.
Chapter 4 (Advanced technologies and tourism behaviour: the case of pervasive environments) pro-
vides an overview of the most advanced technologies for tourism sector, with emphasis on pervasive
environments, which represent innovative systems based on an efficient integration of virtual reality
and affective world. The aim is to show how tourism industry might exploit the current advances in
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), such as virtual reality, web-based technologies,
mobile devices, etc., to catch tourists attention and gain competitive advantages over competitors. In
particular, these technologies are capable of promoting touristic destination in a global perspective and
affect potential tourist decision-making process, by investigating the main characteristics and possible
integrations.
Chapter 5 (Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation areas in Peri-urban Beijing) aims to identify
the factors which will influence the spatial distribution of peri-urban recreation areas, by analyzing the
collected data from questionnaires, online survey, documentation and field investigations. In order to
achieve sound information, relevant data from different management departments, owners and land-use
types involved in the case study area is collected.
Chapter 6 (Two Tickets for Paradise: Gaming and Tourism) begins by identifying linkage points
between advergames, tourism and three major mass communication theories/approachesmedia de-
pendency theory, uncertainty reduction theory, and uses and gratifications theory . These will serve as
examples of how advergames and hospitality can be integrated into theories and models attempting to
explain the impact of information technologies. They will also provide a springboard for considering
the nature of advergames with regards to tourism.
Chapter 7 (The role of architecture on tourism industry; the problem of (mis)use of building technol-
ogy and language of heritage) argues that power of tourism industry has reached, under the pressure of
global economics, to a capacity to turn even daily architecture into instruments of touristic show. In this
context, technology is utilized as an instrument to produce such iconography only as a surface articula-
tion. Thus, architecture becomes a commodity of touristic consumption in this current socio-economic
and cultural context.
Chapter 8 (Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman) touches base on the trends found in the
tourism Industry in Oman. It is also the main source of income generation for countries like Mauritius,
Spain etc. Oman being the second largest country in the Middle East possessing wealth of natural re-
sources has everything to offer to the tourists. It has a long coastline with pristine beaches, beautiful
mountains, and worlds best deserts with rolling sand dunes.
Chapter 9 (Sales Force Technology for the Hospitality Industry) highlights where the changes in the
hotel sales business are occuring, why they are occuring, and what they mean to both buyers and sellers.
The intent of this overview is to inform hotel owners and investors who are considering such an invest-
ment as to the benefits that can potentially be derived from SFA. Furthermore, our intent is to provide
hospitality educators insights as to how SFA is changing the workplace of both meeting planners and
viii

hotel sales professionals so they can provide their students a realistic view of the software aids they may
need to master to be successful in their careers.
Chapter 10 (Tourism revitalization of historic district in perspective of tourist experience: A case
study of San-Fang Qi-Xiang in Fuzhou City, China) discusses the new thought of tourism revitaliza-
tion in historic district in perspective of tourist experience. Firstly, based on the deep analysis of tourist
experiences essential elements in historic districts, 6E experience mode is established to summarize
the tourist experience, which includes Estheticism and nostalgia, Education and culture, Entertainment
and leisure, Exchange and communication and Emotion sublimation. Meanwhile, how to build up and
enhance every single experience of 6E model in tourism revitalization of historic district is also explained.
Secondly, the application of 6E model is demonstrated elaborately in the case of Conceptual Planning of
Tourism Development in San-Fang Qi-Xiang Historic District in Fuzhou City. Considering the hierarchy
and comprehensibility of tourist experience and combined with site environment analysis, San-Fang
Qi-Xiang historic district is divided into four function divisions: Nanhou old street mall, Warmth and
leisure lane, Antai water-front zone and Residential blocks for minority customization.
Chapter 11 (A classification of mobile tourism applications) introduces mobile technology and
discusses its emergence in the tourism industry. As has been the case with other Information Commu-
nication Technologies (ICTs), tourism has manifested as one of the most well suited sectors to mobile
technology and mobile applications. In contrast to other ICTs in the tourism domain however, mobile
applications are capable of enhancing the tourist experience at the destination, creating a paradigm shift
in how information is accessed and digested, and transactions performed. Nonetheless, little is known
concerning how mobile technologies are changing the landscape of tourism and tourist behaviour and
the content offered by tourism applications.
Chapter 12 (Personal Tour: a multi-agent recommender system of travel packages) describes the
Personal Tour, a multi-agent recommender system designed to help users to find best travel packages
according to their preferences. Personal Tour is based on the collaboration of multiple agents exchanging
information stored in their local knowledge bases. Based on the paradigm of the Distributed Artificial
Intelligence, a user recommendation request is divided into partial recommendations handled by different
agents, each one maintaining incomplete information that may be useful to compose a recommendation.
Chapter 13 (Management of World Heritage Sites: An Integrated Sustainable Marketing Approach)
seeks to use an integrated sustainable marketing paradigm to determine if a predetermined set of im-
portant indicators from the model are visibly implemented by the world heritage sites (WHS). More
specifically, the aim is to suggest add-ons to the heritage conservation principles so that a holistic and
integrated sustainable paradigm of heritage tourism can be devised. In the recent decades, the global/
world form of heritage has received unprecedented attention in heritage tourism, more so because it
brings with it a celebrity UNESCO status to the heritage site.
Chapter 14 (Research Review of OWOM: Chinese Cases) defines OWOM (Online Word-of-Mouth)
and discusses the connotation, communication process and communication effect, and practical appli-
cation, and put forward some managerial suggestions. As online shopping is regarded as a fashion in
china, online word-of-mouth has significant influences on shopping and therefore becomes an important
internet communication tool.

Patricia Ordez de Pablos, Robert Tennyson, and Jingyuan Zhao


1

Chapter 1
Virtual Tourism:
Functions, Profit Modes and
Practices in China

Jingyuan Zhao
Harbin Institute of Technology, China

Patricia Ordez de Pablos


Universidad de Oviedo, Spain

Robert Tenysson
University of Minnesota, USA

ABSTRACT
Although the research on virtual tourism made great progress in China, there is still a gap compared
with international research on virtual tourism. With the promotion of virtual reality technology and the
development of tourism industries, virtual tourism will effectively meet the needs of tourists. This study
focuses on functions and profit models of virtual tourism in China, and also discusses on the application
of virtual tourism in China.

INTRODUCTION of Travelocity, Expedia, Yahoo Online and other


websites becomes much richer. A vast virtual travel
As the rapid development of information and In- market based on e-commerce and online travel
ternet technology, the industries of tourism, hotel purchase is promoting the industries of tourism and
and entertainment are constantly introducing the hospitality in the US with an increase of economic
content of experience economy (Cooper, 2003), scale from 180 billion US dollars in 2002 to 64
and the virtual tourism focusing on the attractions billion US dollars in 2007 (Law, Cheung, 2005).
comes into being. The content of travel channel Currently, more and more websites of travel have
been established to develop virtual tourism rapidly
(Frew, 2000; Lu, 2009).
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch001

Copyright 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Virtual Tourism

China Internet Network Information Center perspective and scope, while international scholars
(CNNIC) pointed out in the 23rd China Internet De- have paid a wide attention on virtual tourism from
velopment Report, that in the end of 2008, Chinas 1990s on (Xue, 2005). In addition, the study on
netizens had reached 298 million, and the coverage virtual tourism has the same problems as the other
had reached 22.6% beyond the global average; study on tourism, such as uniform definition of
the growth of Internet users was 88 million more concept, lack of systematic theoretical system,
than that in 2007 with an annual growth rate of less innovation, few case studies combined with
41.9%. The network permeates into the life, work practice, and so on. With the promotion of virtual
and leisure of people through a variety of ways. reality technology and the development of tour-
69.3% of Internet users think Internet saves the ism industries, related research is necessary to
time that people spend on visit in person, 59.1% explore theory and practice so that virtual tourism
of Internet users would be monotonous without effectively meets the needs of tourists.
the Internet, 82.5% of Internet users believe that This study focuses on the function and profit
Internet strengthens the ties with friends, 27.6% models of virtual tourism, and also discusses on
of Internet users believe that online transactions the application of virtual tourism in China.
are safe. In this context, the virtual technology,
which is a good media between tourism activities
and tourist, quickly joins the tourism field, and RESEARCH REVIEW
has a huge impact on tourism industries.
Yang, Chen (2010) claimed that virtual tour- Review of International Studies
ism of China is divided into two phases: the
initial period from 1999 to2004, and the period The current international research on virtual tour-
of rapid development from 2005 to present. From ism mainly focuses on three areas: definition and
1999 to 2004, the virtual reality technology was extension of virtual tourism levels, key factors
combined with the tourism industries, and virtual of virtual tourism and relationship between vari-
tourism emerged. Considering imperfect virtual ables, and interaction between impact variables
reality technology in China, the development of of virtual tourism.
virtual tourism is not in-depth studied, scholars
mainly focus on basic theories, construction of Definition and Extension of
virtual travel system, tourism planning. From Virtual Tourism Levels
2005 to now is the rapid development period of
virtual tourism in China. With the promotion of Law, Bai (2006) claimed that people concerned
Virtual Reality (VR) technology, more and more about not only the access to information from
tourism enterprises, government departments and travel websites, but also the construction of travel
universities begin to play the advantages of virtual websites because it impacts the experience of
technology to promote the development of tourism. virtual tourism, and the levels of virtual tourism
Although the research on virtual tourism made were defined from cognitive, functional, emotional
great progress in China, there is still a gap com- perspectives based on different degree of involve-
pared with the international research on virtual ment. First, from the perspective of information
tourism as well as the research on other tourism search and recommendations, Kim B. D., Kim
products (Za, 2005). Moreover, virtual tourism S.O. (2001), Barwise, Hammond, Elberse (2002)
is a new subject relatively, the study of domestic claimed that virtual tourism was linear and text-
scholars focuses on the application and imple- based, and it was a process of online browse and
mentation of virtual tourism from a rather narrow provision of travel information. Second, from the

2
Virtual Tourism

perspective of network reservation and functional including website content, service environment,
service, Oppenheim, Shelby (1999), Lewis, Ka- function of network transaction, and technology
luber (2002) and Maeda et al. (2004) proposed of virtual tourism.
that virtual tourism and web design should try to
improve the format of image display instead of text Review of Domestic Studies
so as to increase the service quality of online travel.
Third, from the spiritual experience perspective Yang, Chen (2010) made a systematic summary on
of virtual tourism, Siegal (1997), Senecal, Nantal virtual tourism of China, and claimed that the study
(2004), Hennig-Thurau et al. (2004), Blackshaw, of virtual tourism mainly focused on three areas:
Nazzaro (2005) claimed that images and visual technology systems of virtual tourism, sceneries
design should be integrated to provide complete of virtual tourism, and teaching of virtual tourism.
experience for virtual tourism through creative
design so that visitors have access to convenient Technology Systems of Virtual Tourism
site navigation, familiar environment, high-quality
information content, and product value. From the beginning of virtual tourism study to
present, scholars still pay attention to the relevant
Key Factors of Virtual Tourism and technology systems of virtual tourism because the
Relationship between Variables virtual tourism results from the rapid development
of information technology, the combination of
Lu (2009) summarized the features of virtual tourism and information technology results in
tourism, namely usability, playfulness, and com- a new form of tourism, and virtual tourism will
plexity. Law, Bai (2006) made use of involvement not exist with no information technology. Some
theory, and considered impact factors of virtual scholars discuss on how to build a reality system
tourism and key variables of evaluation under of virtual tourism from the perspective of key
circumstances of two cases - involvement and technologies and specific content (Xu, Wei, Yang,
non- involvement. Many scholars summarize the 2001; Feng, Su, 2001; Lu, Wang, Gou, Du, 2005;
critical factors that ensure the success of virtual Wang, Wei, 2005; Zhang, Liu, Mu, 2008). Regard-
tourism, and claim that the most important factors ing the construction of virtual sceneries and the
are convenience of websites, safety and perceived choice of roaming mode, scholars put forward
risk, price level, and friendly user interface. different views from different perspectives. Liu
and Jia (2008) discuss on the direction of virtual
Interaction between Impact tourism, and claim that the development of grid
Variables of Virtual Tourism computing provides an ideal solution for large-
scale virtual tour environment, the lightweight
Han, Mills (2007) claimed that virtual tourism modeling tools are also a key research direction
was impacted by the factors of push and pull, based on virtual landscape of images, and the in-
the former includes the price of virtual tourism, teractive mode between virtual guide and virtual
distribution channels, websites performance, tourist groups is more intelligent, which will be
promotions, direct mail and advertising; the lat- next research topic.
ter includes the differentiation of virtual tourism,
perceived value, and perceived quality. In addition, Sceneries of Virtual Tourism
Schegg, Steiner, Gherissi-Labben, Murphy(2006)
researched on the role elements of virtual tourism, Regarding the study of virtual sceneries, scholars
and emphasized on the promotion roles of elements focus on the changes brought by the application

3
Virtual Tourism

of virtual reality technology in the marketing and the application of virtual reality technology in the
planning of sceneries. Zhang, Li, Wang (2000) experiment teaching of tourism from three aspects:
claimed that virtual tourism of existing attrac- virtual systems of learning established by virtual
tions not only plays a role of pre-promotion, and reality technology, virtual experiment teaching
expand its influence and attraction to tourists, but systems, and teaching systems of virtual training.
also to a certain extent meet the needs of tourism Wei (2007) discussed on the support role of virtual
and aesthetic appreciation for people who have reality technology in the teaching of tourism from
never been to the sceneries or cannot visit in per- the perspective of practical teaching of tourism,
son. Yuan (2008) integrated sceneries into game and compared the effects in the teaching between
context by means of virtual reality technology, as virtual reality technology and multimedia. Zhang
a scene of network game, the impact of sceneries (2008) pointed out that conventional teaching
is increased through the spread of network game, methods that most teachers used had problems
thereby achieve the marketing of sceneries. Feng, between teachers and students, which could be
Su (2001) claimed that in tourism planning, virtual solved through virtual reality technology by
reality technology had more obvious advantages means of its acceptability, interaction, immersion
than traditional planning method, for example, it and sensibility that could meet the requirements
shows dynamical tourism planning and design to of teaching experiment, such as situated learn-
the life to give people a sense of immersion, so ing interface, and human-computer interaction,
that tourism planning and design can be modi- therefore virtual reality technology in practical
fied easily to stimulate creative inspiration and education systems of tourism would play a series
ideas, and make planning more innovative. Wang of roles to improve the experimental environment,
(2003) summarized the application of Cyberspace optimize the teaching process, enhance experi-
technology in the virtual tourism planning from mental results, and cultivate innovative talents.
four aspects, that is, provide virtual technology
platform for tour planning, design new virtual at-
tractions and tourism products, formulate market- FUNCTIONS OF VIRTUAL TOURISM
ing planning of virtual tour product, make policy
of virtual tourism planning, and build the security Comparison between Travel
system of Cyberspace. Wu, Wang (2004) proposed Experience and Mirror
the concept of GIServices based on the thinking Image Experience
of Geo-information services to deal with the net-
work data storage and sharing, establish virtual Travel experience is a versatile leisure activity
tourism planning program through independent including entertainment and learning (Li, 2008).
platform GeoEye3D, and achieve the roaming in Tourists gain travel experience through paths of
the virtual landscape through Java. realization, such as sightseeing, contact, imita-
tion and game (Xie, 2005). Travel experience
Teaching of Virtual Tourism is finished in the real travel while mirror image
experience is conducted in the virtual reality
Yan (2008) claimed that experiment systems of (Zheng, Ma, Li, 2010). Figure 1 shows the cor-
virtual reality improved teaching modes, enriched responding relationship between travel experience
teaching methods, broke the constraints of risk, and mirror image experience. The dotted line in
cost and time, and achieved the integration of the middle of Figure 1 likes a mirror that separates
teaching and test. Chen (2007; 2008) summarized the real world and virtual world of tourism, and

4
Virtual Tourism

also achieves the corresponding relationship of Features of Virtual Tourism


experience paths. Real tourism and virtual reality
have similar audio-visual senses, the formation of Virtual tourism has the following characteristics:
expression, by which tourists feel the contexts of
tourism, is same, both real tour and virtual attrac- Transcend Time and Space. Virtual tour-
tions can have psychological effects on tourists. ism can present the world beyond time and
Virtual tourism is present in a specific space- space for visitors whenever necessary.
time framework. In the world of virtual reality, Interactivity. In virtual tourism, the in-
visitors can have access to the similar experience teraction means communication between
as real travel does through audio-visual way. In people and computers. Virtual tourism uses a
addition, the social nature of human results in variety of sensors to interact with the multi-
tourists exchange with local residents and man- dimensional information space.
agement personnel of attractions. In the virtual High-Technology. Virtual tourism is based
world, the boundaries of social roles are elimi- on virtual reality technology and information
nated since the identities of people are virtual, so technology, which core is Internet. With no
that tourists have equal exchange and communi- high-technology, virtual tourism cannot be
cation with other online tourists. Zheng, Ma, Li generated.
(2010) claimed that travel experience and mirror Economy. Virtual tourism is out of objec-
image experience had the similarity in terms of tive constraints, it reduces costs, avoids the
realization paths and perception effects. Accord- constraints of a variety of force majeure,
ing to survey, most of consumers are satisfied to and makes travel cheaper.
virtual tour experience.

Figure 1. Comparison of travel experience and mirror image experience

5
Virtual Tourism

Multi-sensation. Virtual tour environment a service platform of network applications


can give visitors multi-sensation of image, to plan the itinerary.
sound, touch, experience and other percep- Travel e-Commerce. Virtual landscapes and
tion. virtual community is an important platform
of travel e-commerce for tourists to under-
Zhang, Ma, Zhang (2009) claimed that travel stand, purchase and book travel-related
demands of most people are difficult to meet fully goods and services.
because of objective factors, such as time, space, Virtual Travel Community. Virtual travel
economy, and so on. Virtual tourism character- community is a living space around the topic
ized by multi-dimensional interactive visualiza- of tour life through the Internet. Community
tion based on computer network is flexible and members widely communicate with each
convenient for people. other via text, voice and video, on the one
hand, they can share travel experiences with
Functional Structure of other members, on the other hand, they can
Virtual Tourism have access to a variety of tourism knowledge
to prepare for real travel.
Virtual tour website is an intelligent system that
integrates virtual travel experience, exchange
of visitors, tour information and online booking PROFIT MODES OF
service, and mainly includes following functional VIRTUAL TOURISM
modules:
Zhang, Ma, Zhang (2009) claimed that the virtual
Virtual Tour of Scenic Spots. Virtual tour world is an emerging field of Internet, how to
system represents scenarios in Network, achieve profits in the virtual tourism is still an
which is a core component of virtual tour- important issue to explore. Based on the basic
ism. With navigation module and electronic structure of virtual tourism system, at present profit
guide system, visitors can follow a preset models of virtual tourism are following sections.
route system to roam, also can select line,
not only can watch scenic spots through the Marketing of Tourism Destination. Virtual
display, but also can participate in game tour system plays a role of tangible show
plot, have dinner, and go shopping through for people before they have real travel of
gestures and password so as to understand destinations. In the mode of marketing,
the cultural and historical attractions and websites of virtual tourism can receive a lot
gain experience. of advertising. This is the main income of
Travel Information and Planning. The virtual tourism websites.
development of virtual tourism has definite Product Placement. When a website of vir-
relationship with real tourism, and virtual tual travel with high popularity and a certain
tourism often plays a role of pre- experience. scale of members, it can get advertising rev-
Therefore, virtual tourism becomes a chan- enue through commercial advertising, such
nel for potential tourists to obtain various as customer brand hotels, restaurants, tea
tourism-related information, and provides houses, shopping malls as well as corporate

6
Virtual Tourism

logo, mascot and product advertising board PRACTICES OF VIRTUAL TOURISM


in a virtual landscape of virtual system. IN CHINA
Virtual Currencies and Items for Sale.
Virtual tourism can be combined with online Tourism Websites of China
games to gain profits through sales of virtual
currencies and goods, and other ways in Chinas websites of tourism emerged in 1991,
the game. Tourists can induct transactions in addition, portal sites also have information
of virtual travel equipments through the about travel. These sites can provide more com-
exchange of virtual currencies, and create prehensive online counseling service including
own villa and hotel in the travel destination. tourism-related food, shelter, transportation,
Tourism Revenue-Sharing. By means travel, entertainment, shopping and other aspects
of functions of information services and (Li, Yao, Di, Li, 2009).
route planning, websites of virtual travel According to the statistics of Googles Page
not only can help visitors with design and Rank (PR), PR value of 60 tourist websites is
implementation of tourism projects, but also greater than or equal to 6, in which PR value of
can recommend customers to scenic spots, 3 websites is 8, namely official website of Bei-
hotels, travel agencies, airlines, car rental jing Tourism Administration, official website of
companies and other tourism enterprises, and National Tourism Administration, and eLong. PR
share tourism revenues with these tourism value of 7 websites is 7, PR value of 50 websites
enterprises. is 6. Among 60 websites, the number of local
Online Shopping and Booking. Virtual travel websites is 31 while the rest of websites is
tourism is closely related to real tourism. In involved in nationwide business.
the e-commerce of tourism, when visitors in Yu, Zheng (2009) divided domestic travel
virtual tourism have interest in correspond- websites into four categories: government-based
ing landscapes and articles, online shopping websites, store-based websites, network-based
and online reservation will generate profits. websites and comprehensive websites. Govern-
Collection of Subscriptions. In the virtual ment-based websites of travel are official websites
travel community, people form different of tourism bureaus focusing local tourism. Among
groups according to different interests of them, the National Tourism Administration is the
travel, obtain highly social identity through most authoritative website of travel. Store-based
interpersonal interaction, find the sense of websites of travel primarily rely on store to operate
attribution psychologically and emotionally, product marketing of tourism. Although they have
and design self-image and space environ- own e-commerce, but they dont pay attention
ment. Websites of virtual travel can charge to online sales. Wang (2008) claimed that China
membership fees, and develop advanced Travel Service and CYTS line are representatives
services for members. of this type. Network-based websites of travel
mainly rely on sales of tourism products through
The corresponding relationship between websites, including ticket booking, hotel booking
functional structure and profit modes of virtual service, such as Ctrip, eLong. Comprehensive
tourism is shown in Figure 2, which shows the travel websites cover the advantages of above two
sources of profits. travel websites, namely tourism marketing both
in stores and online, Shanghai Spring Travel is a
typical representative.

7
Virtual Tourism

Figure 2. Functional structure and profit modes of virtual tourism

Application of Virtual Tourism focuses on the introduction of government policies


on Websites of Travel on tourism and the status of development, and
text description with graphic display about travel
Yu (2008) summarizes five presentation ways of agencies, hotels, transportation, entertainment
virtual tour system: text, 2-D images, 2.5-D virtual to give tourists an platform of intuitive, graphic
scene, 3-D virtual scene and Multi-D virtual scene, information display.
which are the development path of virtual tourism, Ctrip and other business websites focus on
also the application paths of virtual technology in ticketing, hotel reservations, and have no break-
the field of tourism. through in terms of the application of virtual
Different types of travel websites have dif- technology.
ferent demands and applications in terms of China Panorama and Virtual Forbidden City
virtual tourism. This study selects samples of are at the highest level of the application of virtual
travel websites to introduce their applications of technology. China Panorama provides virtual
virtual tourism. First, the official website of the tourism of attractions around the country with 360
National Tourism Administration is selected as a degree 3-D realistic display of high definition. The
government-based website of tourism. Second, Palace Museum developed virtual Forbidden City,
the type of e-commerce websites, created by tour it officially started in October 10, 2008. This is
enterprises for marketing, will be represented by the first virtual world in China to show important
Ctrip. Third, the travel websites specializing in the historical and cultural attractions on the Internet.
introduction of attractions, are professional net- But China Panorama and Virtual Forbidden City
work of virtual tourism, such as China Panorama still dont focus on the role of direct business, but
network. Finally, a very representative website the role of potential tourists.
of virtual travel is Virtual Forbidden City, and is
described as a separate type.
As shown in Table 1, the government website CONCLUSION
is still in the lower level in terms of the application
of virtual tour technology, the government website The main conclusions of this study are as follows.

8
Virtual Tourism

Table 1. Typical applications of virtual tourism on websites

National Tourism Virtual Forbidden


Content Ctrip China Panorama
Administration City
Scenic spots Global assessment Choiceness Scenic spots view Single scenic spots
Hotel Global assessment Reservation system Hotel view -
Traffic - Reservation system Traffic view -
Entertainment - - Entertainment view Participatory project
Shopping - - - -
Others Government affairs Tips Pictures Freestyle exchange

Virtual tourism characterized by multi-di- Blackshaw, P., & Nazzaro, M. (2005). Consumer-
mensional interactive visualization based Generated Media(CGM)101:Word-of- Mouth in
on computer network is flexible and con- the Age of the Web-fortified Consumer(pp.299-315)
venient for people. Virtual tourism has the Intelliseek: White Paper.
following characteristics: transcend time
Chen D.(2007).Virtual reality technology in the
and space, interactivity, high-technology,
practical teaching system of tourism management.
economy and multi-sensation.
Data of Culture and Education(11), 31-33
The functions of virtual tourism websites
mainly include virtual tour of scenic spots, Chen D.(2008). Enhance experiment teaching
travel information and planning, travel e- quality of tourism management by the use of
commerce, and virtual travel community. virtual reality technology. Education Exploration,
At present virtual tourism profits mainly (3), 134-135.
through marketing of tourism destinations,
Cooper, C. (2003). Classic Reviews in Tourism (p.
product placement, virtual currencies and
264). Clevedon, UK: Channel View Publications.
items for sale, revenue sharing of tourism,
online shopping and booking, and collec- Feng, W., & Su, D. (2001). On the prospects of
tion of subscriptions. applications of virtual reality technology in tour-
In China, according to PR value, there are ism Planning. [Natural Science Edition]. Journal
60 tour websites with greater than or equal of Chongqing Normal University, 3, 5256.
6 PR value, and different travel websites
Frew, A. J. (2000). Information technology and
have different demands and applications in
tourism: A research agenda. Information Technol-
terms of virtual tourism.
ogy & Tourism, 3(2), 99110.
Han, J.-H., & Mills, J. E. (2007). Use of prob-
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7074.

11
12

Chapter 2
A Study on Tourist Management
in China Based on Radio
Frequency Identification
(RFID) Technology
Aliana M W Leong
Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau SAR

Xi Li
Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau SAR

ABSTRACT
In recent years, tourism in China developed into a massive industry. According to the statistics from the
National Tourism Administration of the Peoples Republic of China, the number of travelers has reached
16.1 billion in 2007 alone. On public holidays, most of the popular tourist attractions are filled to capacity,
receiving 100% or even reaching 300% capacity. This was reported during the celebration of the May 1
golden week in 2006. Another report said that Beijings Forbidden City accommodated more than twice
its maximum capacity on May 2, 2006. The Wutai Mountain, Jiuhua Mountain, Pingyao ancient town,
Tongli ancient town, Mo Kao Grotto at Dunhuang, the Potala Palace and other famous scenic spots
also peaked at 100% full capacity from May 2 to May 5 (Xinjing Newspaper, May 8, 2006). The huge
number of tourists resulted to a somewhat negative feedback as their quality of experience and interest
had substantially diminished because of overcrowding. In addition, tourist attractions faced a serious
challenge in service quality, security and sustainable usage of resources during high tourist season.

Faced with these challenges, a prediction system for tourist reception during high season has been
adopted by the National Tourism Administration of the Peoples Republic of China. The system is help-
ful for regulating the flow of tourists. However, from the microscopic point of view, it is necessary to
conduct management and instruction for travelers before and after their arrival. Recently, RFID (Radio
Frequency Identification) technology has been considered by tourist attraction managers.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch002

Copyright 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
A Study on Tourist Management in China Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is a non-contact, automatic identification technology. Through


its radio frequency signal, RFID offers automatic target recognition and access to relevant and without
human intervention identification of work is made. RFID can work in various environments. It can iden-
tify fast moving objects and is capable of identifying multiple tags, in a rapid and convenient operation.
Since the 1990s, RFID technology has been widely used in commercial, logistics, property management
and other fields, but interest towards potential application to the needs of the tourism industry only
began in recent years.

THE CONNOTATION OF TOURIST The Management of Traveler


MANAGEMENT Demand and Preference

A tourist attraction mainly targets travelers who Management of Traveler Demand and Prefer-
are its consumers. From the consumers point of ence refers to consumer preferences for particular
view, the behavior and needs of tourists should products and services of different tourists. Un-
be highly valued by tourist attraction managers. derstanding and analyzing the needs and prefer-
However, there is a feature that renders inseparable ences of tourists in different aspects will help in
the process of tourist production and consumption. the provision of appropriate services to tourists.
Travelers play not only the role of consumers but Consequently, tourist demands and preferences in
also the key point of tourist attraction service. the scenic area of product management and mar-
Thus, managers of tourist attractions should keting optimization, as well as tourism planning
pay attention on the role of travelers along with and tourism industry, were all of great significance
bringing travelers supervision into scenic spots (Bramwell,1998).
management. Scholars from other countries had conducted
In countries where a tourism economy is in-depth studies of this topic. Um S.(1992)studied
highly developed, traveler management is widely the decision process of tourism destination and
accepted. Traveler management mainly refers to believes there is a process of change passive to
trying to meet the needs of travelers on the premise active on tourists perceived needs. Stephen W.Li
of maintaining the sustainable environment and Win(2001)suggests that there are significant dif-
resource development, which use the manner of ferences in preferences between the first time
technology, education, economy, administration, travelers and returning costumers concerning
and law to manage travelers (Zhang Wen and Li the demand for tourism products. Noam Shoval
Na, 2007). (2004) analyzed the attraction preference towards
According to existing research, theories and travelers from different cities and found out that
practices are mainly focused on the following there is a distinct impact between the length of
six aspects of traveler management: demand and stay, the times of travel and consumer behavior.
preference, behavior, capacity, safety, experience Meanwhile, Alison J.McIntosh(2004) categorized
and impact. tourism product preferences into five types: seek
novelty, to understand the local lifestyle, cultural
authenticity, communication with locals and ex-
change pleasure of learning opportunities with
locals. All these research results are expected
to assist managers understand the law of tourist

13
A Study on Tourist Management in China Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

attractions and behavior patterns of consumption model of tourist resource. The theory of tourism
in order to further provide better services and resources conservation in accordance with the
products, thereby enhancing the quality of travel demand for travel is divided into the following
experience. six major types: the original area, no motor ve-
hicle traffic in half the original area, with motor
The Management of vehicle traffic in half the original area, with roads
Traveler Behavior in natural areas, rural and urban areas. Different
types of regions have their own characteristics of
In tourist behavior management, current major determining tourist capacity.
overseas research focuses on describing tourists
visiting the scenic spots in order to tap the law of The Management of Traveler Safety
tourists visiting. The common used research tech-
nology and method includes: GIS (A geographic Visitor safety management major deals with the
information system). H. Randy Gimblett (1998) safety of tourists in tourist areas regarding various
combined location map and GIS data to use the elements of response analysis and research, such as
techniques and methods to track visitor behavior natural disasters and accidents and tourism crimes.
monitoring and modeling to analyze tourist activi- On the aspect of safety factors in the identifica-
ties with the environment as well as the interactions tion, Mieczkowski (1995) divided safety-effect
between scenic spots and visitors. In addition, factors into two types: natural threats and human
Martin Opperman (1997) conducted a study on the threats. Tsaur, et al (1997) targeted traffic, public
behaviour difference between first-time travelers order and law, health care, housing, weather, at-
and returning customers which showed that the tractions and medical facilities, and analyzed the
stay period and travel scale is more focused for eight scenic spots of tourists safety. Furthermore,
returning travelers. in the face of worsening global terrorist attacks in
recent years, many scholars conducted studies on
The Management of terrorism and security issues of tourists. Further,
Traveler Capacity crime has also an important impact on the safety
of tourists. Although scholars have conducted
The contradiction between the capacity and limi- researches on this issue, details on this will not
tation of tourist attraction resource and the large be dealt with because these studies focus more
amount needed from travelers sparked peoples on specific areas of crime in tourism.
concern on the management capacity of tour-
ism attractions. In order to better coordinate the The Management of
relationship between travelers and scenic spots Traveler Experience
capacity, scholars conducted researches mainly
focused on traveler flow forecast and capacity Visitors experience is a subjective feeling in-
forecast. J. Alan Wagar et al(1964) and proposed volved in the tourism process. Tourism products
the improved Recreation Carrying Capacity and services based on tourists perception are
Theory (RCC). This theory proposes that the related to situational factors: personal character-
limitation of traveler capacity exists universally, istics, personality characteristics, surrounding
which includes ecological, social, philosophy environment, tourism (Graefe AR, 1987). There-
and management. Meanwhile, the United States fore, the existing studies on visitor management
National Forest proposed Recreation Opportunity experience involving some of the concerns of
Spectrum (ROS) Theory towards the application tourists are mainly towards psychological, so-

14
A Study on Tourist Management in China Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

ciological or anthropological point of view of CURRENT SITUATION AND


the tourist experience to enhance the quality of CHALLENGES OF CHINAS
visitor experience as references. M. S. Jackson TOURIST MANAGEMENT
(1996) studied the impact of visitors through the
experience of the factor structure. M. Goossen From the content and target point of view, Chinas
et al. (2000) divided the quality of recreational tourist attractions management can be divided into
experience into functional quality (Utilisation two types: one is tourist attractions of resource
Quality) and the perceived quality (Perception and environmental management-oriented form,
Quality). These studies provide useful references also commonly known as tourism object manage-
to understanding the visitor experience for further ment; the other is tourist attractions to tourists
enhancing the degree of tourists satisfaction. as the main focus of the form, therefore, also
known as the main tourism management (Xia&
The Management of Traveler Impact Chengzhao, 2006). China has long been focusing
attention on the management of resources and the
Tourism behaviour is one of the central issues on environmental tourism attractions, whereas visitor
tourism management studies. Current researches management is relatively insufficient.
focus on the scenic tourist behavior and the eco-
logical impacts of economic and social impact The Focal Point of Chinas
analysis and assessments. Impact of the ecological Tourist Management
environment for tourists, usually starts from the
behavioral characteristics of tourists and evaluates According to several researches conducted
the negative impact. Meiczkowski (1995) listed by Chinese scholars, China domestic tourism
the negative impact of tourism in the following management content is similar to those in other
areas: overcrowding, over-exploitation, no rules, countries, however, the target in each specific
recreation activities, waste pollution, car activities, case is slightly different. Liu Yanfeng, et al (2006)
and effects on soil and vegetation. and Guo Hongyan (2008) divided the focal point
However, the socio-economic impact, needs of Chinas Domestic Tourism Management into
anthropology and sociology with socio-economic seven aspects: quantity management, diversion
theory as the basis for analysis. Nicholas Haralam- measures, queue management, team management,
boulos, et al (1996) indicated that negative impacts complaint management, interpretation system
from visitors on economic and social aspect are construction and behavior management.
mainly: rising prices, drug abuse, damaged public Quantity management aims to control and run
facilities: noisier environment, sexual harassment the number of tourists. Flow diversion measure
and all kinds of crimes. In addition, scholars ana- is under temporal and spatial rules of conduct for
lyzed cultural integration and religion from the tourists sightseeing behavior to reduce traffic
perspective of the tourists on the negative social within local scenic spots in the temporal and spatial
impact of tourism destinations. concentration, as well as reduce the crowding of
It is obvious that the Western visitor manage- local attractions to tourists.
ment research has largely formed and established Queue management establishes queuing ef-
frameworks and systems and provides a good ficiency to reduce or avoid boring monotonous
platform for visitor management practice and environment, further improving the ultimate
innovation. service experience of tourist attractions.
Team management is about scenic spots in the
light of team interaction, the size of the team, and

15
A Study on Tourist Management in China Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

travel arrangements for the purpose of enhancing management, such as Huangshan, the Forbidden
the tourists experience. City, the Dunhuang Grottoes and many others
Complaint management is for the establish- have gradually established a visitor management
ment of effective channels to solve complaints system.
efficiently. The main purpose of interpretation
system is formed through various media to provide 2. Resource management, environmental pro-
information services at the same time, to divert tection as the main purpose of tourists.
visitors, safety tips, and behavior management tips.
A shift from direct management into indirect man- Tourists inevitably cause negative impact
agement undeniably reflects the characteristics on the environment. For this reason, Chinas
of visitor management services. Tourist behavior visitor management of tourist attractions mainly
management is a process that constrains visitors focuses on the protection of the environment and
code of conduct and management. resources, while trying to control the behavior
The above description of domestic tourism of visitors and manage to achieve its resource
management has some parallels to the aforemen- protection objectives. Due to the considerable
tioned Western visitors needs and preferences attention given to environmental protection, fac-
on management, behavior management, capacity ing the visitor management, visitor experience
management, security management, experience and environmental protection, most the tourist
management, and visitor impact management, but attractions choose to neglect the tourists scenic
also features Chinese management characteristics. environment experience.
The above-mentioned seven areas compose the
main content of the current China domestic tour- 3. Tourists behavior management is the main
ism management. aspect.

The Characteristic of Chinas Presently, the main form of China domestic


Tourist Management tourism management is behavior management,
such as coaching tourists on their environmental
China has successfully transformed tourism re- responsibility and the behavior of tourists on the
sources and environmental management as the appropriate constraints.
equally important models of visitor and manage- Wu Bihu (2001) classified Chinas tourist
ment, however, on the aspect of visitor manage- scenic spot management into two types: direct
ment, the improvement. Chinas domestic tourism management and indirect management. Directly
management embodies the following five features: management deals with the will and behavior
of tourists, such as restrictions on utilization
1. Protective tourism is the main implementa- and limiting certain types of activities. Indirect
tion of visitor management. management is affected by changes in the factors
that tourists will and act to change the behavior
The implementation of Chinas domestic tour- of their visitors, such as strengthening tourist
ism management resources and environmental promotion. Ma Yong, Li Xi (2006) divided the
protection in view of the natural and cultural current visitor management of scenic spots in
heritage tourist attractions and tourist resources Chinas into excitement-based management and
is relatively fragile (Fangyong, 2007). constraint management. The excitement-based
Highly popular and attractive international management is a flexible management, mainly
tourist attractions that particularly need better through communication and exchange, the full

16
A Study on Tourist Management in China Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

capacity to stimulate self-restraint of tourists, 5. The method of tourist management is


including education, demonstration and guidance; singular.
whereas constraint management is also known
as mandatory management conducted through Tourists management of China scenic spots
the development of relevant rules of behavior in specific manner is relatively singular. He
and using coercive power to protect the rule to Fangyong (2007) summarized China tourist at-
be observed. tractions management approach as two methods:
Therefore, active and passive visitor behavior soft and hard. The hard way includes restric-
management is the conventional method of the tions of visitors to certain parts of activities, such
current tourism attraction management. as closing or restricting the number of tourists
attractions or taking economic measures such as
4. Tourists Management Practice has strong charging high priced tickets. The soft method
time characteristics. includes marketing strategies, explanations, and
guidance of the planning and coordination of
Because of the unique vacations and travel measures.
consumption patterns in China, the number of In example of the rigid management method
tourist attractions shows obvious fluctuation char- is the every day reception at the Potala Palace
acteristics. For example, in 2009, Chinas annual where there is a 2300-person maximum limit; but
May 1, October 1, the Spring Festival and other a rapid growth in the number of visitors was seen
holiday period, the major number of tourists to since the opening of the Qinghai-Tibet railway.
scenic spots dramatically increased. For example, The Tibet Autonomous Region Cultural Relics
numerous tourist attractions are too overcrowded, Bureau adopted winter and summer tickets float-
such as receiving 100% accommodation or even ing system for unique winter visitors, and summer
reached over 300% tourists per day during the overcrowding conditions were imposed at the
May 1 golden week of 2006. Another report said Potala Palace (Cheng, 2010).
that the Beijing Forbidden City accommodation In the soft management method, the China
was more than twice its maximum capacity on National Tourism Administration and the mass
May 2, 2006. Wutai Mountain, Jiuhua Mountain, media established strategic partnership on
Pingyao ancient town, Tongli ancient town, Mo forecast of traveler numbers during the Golden
Kao Grotto at Dunhuang, the Potala Palace and Week holidays. The visitor forecast system in
other famous scenic spots showed full situations the accommodation informed the mass media of
from May 2 to May 5 (Xinjing Newspaper, May the numbers approaching the cordon. Through
8, 2006). The over-crowding has led to a negative the media, the public received tourists recep-
impact to travelers because of large numbers of tion conditions, and tourists also made decisions
tourists in one place. The quality of experience based on existing conditions, thus improving the
and interests declined because of serious over- efficiency and quality of the reception area of the
crowding. Consequently, tourist attractions faced scenic attraction.
a serious challenge in service quality, security and The management of Chinese tourists is rela-
sustainable usage of resources during high seasons. tively singular and lacks technical content. In the
Therefore, Chinas tourist attractions manage- future, tourists management of China should
ment reflects a relatively concentrated feature: make use of modern technology to increase the
the visitor management emphasis is different at effectiveness of visitor management.
different times, with some temporary and response
characteristics.

17
A Study on Tourist Management in China Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

The Challenges of Chinas needs to be considered fully from the servicing


Tourist Management facility design. Not only that the Chinese scenic
area tourist management often lacks the unifica-
Although the managers of scenic areas have tion on the plan and the management, but also
considered visitor management as an important majority of temporary emergency processing
part of business management, the development of pattern are absent. The only started the related
visitor management has been in a relatively short mechanism on the tourist quantity during the gold
period and now is faced with a series challenges week celebrations. Thus, it can be seen that one
in three aspects: of the challenges of the tour is how to promote
the strategic management stratification plan, carry
1. Less awareness, neglects tourist manage- out efficient management, as well as the entire
ment, only paying attention to economic process in reverse afterwards.
benefits.
3. Independent of each other, the need for
As mentioned above, visitor management systematic and urgent integration.
philosophy has yet to be known to all managers
attractions and accreditation. In majority of sce- As mentioned above, both the international
nic spots, there are conflicts and contradictions and domestic meaning of tourist management is
between strict management and the short-term in- recognized. These contents can be divided into
terests of scenic spots. Implementation of modern several modules. The existence of these modules
management strategies may reduce the number is to coordinate the protection of scenic resources
of tourists and increase the input of scenic spots. and the environment in the improvement of the
To this end, the economic interests of the scenic quality of tourist experience, as well as the relation-
spots are prioritized at the expense of the number ship between the correlations. However, Chinas
of visitors. In particular, the growth focuses on tourist attractions in tourist management appear
sustainable contemporary development, this kill to be relatively independent, more with a lack of
the goose that lays the golden eggs style can be integrity and relevance, such as the number of
considered detrimental to profits. For this rea- tourists attractions in building control systems,
son, strengthening the training of managers and guided systems, behavior and security manage-
enhancing management awareness and capability ment system, the management tools and technical
is urgent. methods of relevance, lack of effective integra-
tion. As a scenic area manager, only through the
2. The number of visitors for the emergency integration of certain visitor management in the
control of multi-mode, lack of prior forecasts various modules with the technical means can we
and ex-post control. really expect to play out its effectiveness.

The tourist quantity control is the core element Interdisciplinary Research to Deepen
of tourist managers as well as those of scenic Visitor Management, the Program
area directors. However, from the standpoint Still Lacks a Workable Scheme
of overseas tourists, this should be taken as a
whole. Not only should there be a correct vision In recent years, with the continuous development
on tourism management, but it also it should start of visitor management, more and more scholars in
right at the planning stage of construction of the other disciplines began to get involved in tourism
scenic areas. For example, behavior characteristic attractions management fields, such as cross-

18
A Study on Tourist Management in China Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

disciplinary approach with the tourists on the POTENTIAL ANALYSIS OF RFID


scenic area management issues research, and had TECHNOLOGY AND ITS USAGE IN
achieved certain results and progress. Qiu yanqing, SCENIC SPOTS MANAGEMENT
et al (2010) analysed passenger traffic within the
scenic tourist season spatial and temporal varia- RFID Technology
tions; built sites for load balancing mathematical
programming model; and from dynamic forecast- RFID (Radio Frequency Identification technol-
ing scheduling provides the analysis of tourists ogy) is the use of an object (typically referred
streaming ideas in the Jiuzhaigou scenic spot in to as an RFID tag) applied to or incorporated
Sichuan province. Zhang Jianhua, et al (2007) into a product or document for the purpose of
analyzed the environmental impact of tourists identification and tracking using radio waves. It
based on the environmental impact of building a is through the radio frequency signal that RFID
tourist function, and explored the function based automatically recognizes a target and accesses
on the environmental impact of tourist attractions relevant data. Through the use of RFID technol-
visitors control measures. Researchers on Chinese ogy, the identification of the work without hu-
tourism will undoubtedly enrich the management man intervention can be conducted in a variety
theory and methodology, but the research is still of harsh environments. The first application of
in its theoretical stages and lacks maneuverability. this technology can be traced back to identifying
Evidently, some scholars had put forward a the enemy during World War II, but because the
view on the technical part of the visitor manage- application of the technology was expensive, it
ment system. Ma Bin, et al (2009) proposed the was not immediately applied to other areas (China
design and implementation of programs based on Ministry of Science, 2006).
radio frequency identification (RFID) and ARM Since RFID has a non-contact feature and can
Intelligent Visitor Management System (IVMS). simultaneously identify multiple objects in the
The program mainly targeted tourists behavior operation, it can provide a variety of management
and safety management, with the update of visitor service functions, such as identity recognition,
information, automatic division, and left behind traceability and other functions. Specifically,
alarm functions. An Wenkui, et al (2005) directed based on RFID technology, the following main
against tourists in the visitor team management, a functions can be achieved:
form-based RF transceiver solutions for wireless Identity recognition function. Acceptance
communication systems, equipped with suitable of service for each object or item to set a unique
identification, automatic division, start to remind, identification code, therefore, in the radio fre-
left behind and other tips of alarm functions. quency identification systems, object-related
The design of these systems has a certain role in goods and services can be automatically identified
promoting Chinas tourist attractions innovation so as to provide personalized service. The uses
management. However, these studies are only for of electronic tickets at hotels and scenic spots
certain specific groups of tourists whereas taking as well as in biological research field of animal
the tourists in the management module as a whole identification are typical examples.
research and technical analysis has not yet been Track back trajectory function. The radio
successfully conducted. frequency identification technology has the unique
identification of properties. Thus, reading the
device with a range of information can describe
relevant goods and services to clients in the pro-
cess of receiving the flow path and travel status.

19
A Study on Tourist Management in China Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

Such feature is more for the food safety control Reading and writing in the electronic transceiver
and management as well as document tracking module interaction, the relevant information was
management. recorded, and passed through the information net-
Space positioning function. When RFID work to the main control unit. In fact, the process
technology and geographic information system is on the non-contact data memory read, write, or
GIS technologies are combined, a more precise delete processing operation.
spatial orientation function can be achieved. From specific technical terms, RFID technol-
This means while waiting for a clear identifica- ogy is mainly used for electronic transceiver main
tion of each individuals specific spatial location body identification. Its two parts: one is for the
information, a better organization of services and RFID radio frequency, and the second is for an
resources is possible. ultra-thin RFID chip antenna loop. RF parts as
the only identification code, and the antenna is
Hardware-Based RFID Technology used in the electronic transceiver and the transmis-
sion of information between the reader units.
The RFID technology system structure is divided Based on RFID technology, using transceiver
into hardware and software. Software is the use frequency and power supply electronics, RFID
of RFID technology related management applica- technology can be divided into low frequency,
tions, such as logistics management information high frequency and ultrahigh frequency (UHF)
system and hotel access control system. The hard- and other types. The different types have differ-
ware is composed of two parts, namely, read-write ent performance characteristics, such as in ultra
unit and the electronic transceiver. In practical high frequency RFID technology the distance of
applications, the read-write unit electromagnetic its read-write characteristics can be 10 meters,
pulse is sent through the antenna while the elec- as well as the exchange of data. For electronic
tronic transceiver receives the electromagnetic transceiver, can be divided into passive and active
pulse is stored in the transceiver unit of information type according to its power supply.
sent to the reader response, shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Module structure of RFID technology hardware

20
A Study on Tourist Management in China Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

Compared with bar code technology, magnetic On the usage of RFID technology in tourist
stripe and other ID technology, the advantages of attractionsmanagement in China, with continuous
transceiver technology and the transceiver to read deepening of digital services and items, the most
between the wireless links are: read-write unit and commonly used electronic access control system
transceiver do not require contacts between the or intelligent ticket management system is the
visual. It can be completely integrated into the construction of scenic areas. In addition, visitors
interior of the product. The electronic transceivers in guided tours and team management using the
on the net and mechanical impact of environmental RFID application have been developed. Ma Bin, et
factors are not sensitive to a very high reading al (2009) tested a group of tourists in the manage-
reliability with fast data acquisition capability. ment process. The team introduced visitors with
In comparison with the global positioning system RFID technology identification and provided each
GPS, RFID technology has the added advantage guide a handheld PDA reader, which uses radio
of being relatively low-cost. frequency identification technology. The visitors
were held on the non-contact characteristics in the
Potential Analysis on RFID implementation of specific services and manage-
Technology on the Scenic ment. Based on RFID technology, An Wenkui, et
Spots Management al (2005) designed an intelligent guide system for
tour guides and team interaction between visitors
RFID application has been gradually understood provided identification. It included left behind
and valued in the tourism industry. In accordance alarm, reminder and auto-start functions by name.
with technology usage, it can be generally applied It may be inferred that in the current RFID
and shaped to the scope of conventional applica- applications in China tourist attractions manage-
tion. The conventional transceiver is an electronic ment: electronic ticket is the manner most com-
application form for card-shaped objects, usu- monly used. There are more theoretical studies
ally a credit card. The profiled application is an on density control in personnel and it can be
electronic transceiver can be integrated in other traced back to food safety, whereas management
forms of goods. Conventional applications such as of tourist attractions is rarely involved (Yunhui,
access control system in a hotel, has been used on 2008). With the management concept of tourist
RFID technology, like RFID access control cards attractions and visitor management, the attention
and the electronic transceiver modules together. of modern information technology and radio
In addition to the conventional card-type RFID frequency identification technologies, radio fre-
technology, many countries in the tourism indus- quency identification technology will provide a
try have also introduced a special form of radio wider range of applications.
frequency identification technology. The Great
Wolf Resorts Inc. is the largest indoor family-
oriented entertainment company that provides SCENIC SPOTS MANAGEMENT
holiday events services. The RFID wrist band MODULE CONSTRUCTION
system was been used in Pennsylvania Pocono BASED ON RFID TECHNOLOGY
Mountains resort area in 2006. Customers wearing
RFID wrist bands do not need to carry cash and The main purpose of resources environment
keys to open the door of their lodging cottages and scenic tourist management experience is to
or rooms. They can purchase food and souvenirs coordinate the specific content of foreign tourists
and can pay for game activities. The wrist strap is management. In general, it can be summarized in
also for customer identification (Yunhui, 2008). the following areas: control and management of

21
A Study on Tourist Management in China Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

environmental capacity, visitor behavior manage- The Capacity Monitoring And


ment, line up and demand management, and visitor Adjustment Module Of A Scenic Area
safety management. As the visitor management
characteristics of the object is an independent The main function of monitoring spot capability
individual tourist, RFID technology is used in the aims to coordinate the number of visitors and the
management of scenic spots. Visitors can fill the scenic space capacity.As visitors tour the scenic
existing management system for their own matrix, area, the position in space is constantly changing
relatively independent of defects. This research which gives challenges on volume control and
will have as a basis the RFID technology which management of tourist attractions. Spatial loca-
is the proposed tourist management system model tion information is usually collected for the global
for the management of technological innovation. positioning system approach (GPS), however, the
It is expected to provide reference and inspiration corresponding technical equipment is expensive
to a scenic area. and difficult to spread universally in the scenic
Tourists management with reference to the area. To this end, using geographic information
content management system can be classified system (GIS) and radio frequency identification
into the following main modules: electronic ticket technology (RFID) can give the number of space
function module, the scenic area of capacity moni- tourists information processing (Rong, et al, 2007)
toring and adjustment module, tourist spending (see Figure 3).
behavior characterization module, and intelligent Its main principles are: first, to build a scenic
queue management module. area of geographic information system, make
digital major attractions based on scenic spots of
Electronic Ticket Function Module the different districts. Next, in the different re-
gional and major scenic spots, set the UHF radio
Electronic ticket function module is the basic frequency identification reader unit so the entrance
component for the function of RFID technology, statistics of tourists numbers can be summarized.
which assists visitors to access entrance informa- In the end, the capacity threshold of the scenic
tion. Whether visitors choose to purchase tickets environment of prior studies and a real-time
on the network or the ticket office, they can collect evaluation of the number of tourists from differ-
the basic information that can be identified with ent regions, is more objectively accounted for
the RFID system. This enables visitors the exact with the relationship between space capacity. With
corresponding information of travelers and their some management tools, the behavior of tourists
behavior. In addition, the module should be able and sightseeing activities are dynamically ad-
to connect to the scenic spots within the external justed.
marketing system, and settlement systems to
exchange data effectively. Usually, on building Tourist Consumer Behavior
blocks of electronic ticket system, the transceiver Characterization Module
will be integrated in the scenic area of electronic
tickets, and the main entrance in the scenic area As the RFID system can invisibly record action
setting up the appropriate read and write devices work completed, along with the information back
unit, to monitor visitors in and out within a state function, the system can assist in understanding
scenic area. Please refer to Figure 2. consumer preferences and behavior of tourists.
In turn, this will optimize product features and
improve management as well as enhance the tour-
ism experience. Specifically, the overall number
of scenic spots by construction, the shopping and

22
A Study on Tourist Management in China Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

Figure 2. Electronic ticket function module

leisure outlets, the tourist attractions and other queue management. Fairness and effectiveness of
places to set the RFID reader modules, the differ- queue management will directly affect the visitors
ent tourist attractions in the scenic area within the experience in the scenic area. Hence, with the help
parameters of lodging, consumption and other data of high technology, improving the scenic RFID
in real-time acquisition, combined with tourism smart queuing system will be the main function
would give information on a relatively complete of queue management module.
database of behavior characteristics of tourist With RFID technology, the uniqueness of
spending. With the establishment of the database, visitor identity offers the possibility of a practi-
the system will provide a more accurate and cal and smart queue management. Visitors only
comprehensive record of all visitors in the scenic need to have their personal information in the
area and can help managers understand the tourist electronic ticket. That information can be passed
attractions and a variety of products and services to the database of its visitors queuing system,
needed than the traditional survey (Xilin, 2009). which can be fed back out of the waiting time for
tourists that offers visitors more time flexibility
Intelligent Queue and avoid waiting time.
Management Module Therefore, in the scenic area of visitor man-
agement, RFID technology can fully integrate
Following the development of mass tourism, more tourists information and tourist attractions for the
and more scenic spots began to face the problem of delivery of visitor management solutions more

23
A Study on Tourist Management in China Based on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Technology

Figure 3. Inner structure diagram of capacity monitoring and adjustment module

effectively. However, achieving the scenic area China National Tourism Administration Official
management system depends on the number of Website. (n.d.). Retrieved from www.cnta.com
building support, while hardware and software
Chinas Ministry of Science. (2006). A White
will also demand higher requirements. For that
Paper on China Radio Frequency Identification
reason, tourist attractions, first need to properly
(RFID) Technology Policy [R], 8-12.
recognize and manage the content and objectives,
then the basis of long-term planning, system Gimblett, H. R., Richards, M. T., & Itami, R. M.
layout-related hardware, and ultimately achieve a (1998). A Complex Systems Approach to Simulat-
systematic information management experience. ing Human Behavior Using Synthetic Landscapes.
This will finally result to the achievement of the Complexity International (6).
purpose of tourist attractions.
Goossen, M., & Langers, F. (2000). Assessing
Quality of Rural Areas in the Netherlands: Find-
ing the Most Important Indicators for Recreation.
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26
27

Chapter 3
Key Issues in the
Implementation of Electronic
Customer Relationship
Management in the Australian
Hospitality and Tourism Sector
Chad Lin
Curtin University, Australia

ABSTRACT
The hospitality and tourism sector is one of fastest growing sectors in Australia and in the world. In
order to become more efficient and effective in delivering products and services to customers via the
use of ICT, hospitality and tourism organizations have to rethink the ways in which they build relation-
ships with their customers by initiating electronic customer relationship management (eCRM) projects.
Inappropriate eCRM decision-making and implementation can result in multi-million dollar losses, which
can translate into a loss of competitiveness. Therefore, the case study approach was conducted to: (1)
identify potential ICT costs and risk factors involved in eCRM initiatives in general; and (2) identify
and examine key issues in the implementation of eCRM in the Australian hospitality and tourism sector.
The contribution of this book chapter is two-fold. First, it offers hospitality and tourism executives with
a more realistic insight about the impact of their eCRM investments on their business. Second, potential
key issues, costs and risk factors associated with eCRM implementation are presented to assist these
organizations in dealing with these challenges.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch003

Copyright 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

INTRODUCTION sions (Ernst and Young, 1999). Needless to say,


providing good pre-decision information to
The hospitality and tourism sector is one of fast- senior managers becomes critical as inaccurate
est growing sectors in Australia and in the world. evaluation processes may reward and encourage
However, global information and communication suboptimal ICT investment projects (Rose et al.,
technology (ICT) spending as a percentage of total 2004). Thus, there is a need to identify potential
organizational expenses by hospitality and tour- risk factors and key issues for the implementation
ism organizations has been predicted by Gartner of eCRM so as to offer management with a more
Research to increase only marginally from 3.9% realistic insight about the impact of their invest-
in 2009 to 4.4% in 2010 (Potter et al., 2010). In ment on their business. Therefore, case study was
order to become more efficient and effective in conducted to: (1) identify potential ICT costs
delivering products and services to customers and risk factors involved in eCRM initiatives in
via the use of ICT, many hospitality and tourism general; and (2) identify and examine key issues
organizations have started to rethink the ways in in the implementation of eCRM in the Australian
which they build relationships with their custom- hospitality and tourism sector.
ers by initiating electronic customer relationship This chapter first reviews relevant literature
management (eCRM) projects (Jang et al., 2006; with respect to history and characteristics of
Singala, 2008). According to Karakostas et al. CRM/eCRM. The literature review section also
(2005), a 5% increase in customer retention can presents some important factors to consider before
result in an 18% reduction in operating costs. implementing eCRM as well as difficulties and
Although there have been widespread agree- challenges in identifying relevant eCRM costs and
ment that CRM/eCRM has a direct and indirect risk factors. Key findings and issues from the case
impact on customer satisfaction, loyalty, sales and studies are then presented. The chapter examines
profit, key issues in the implementation of eCRM these findings and issues in light of these hospital-
have not been well researched (Feinberg et al., ity and tourism organizations eCRM implementa-
2002). It has been reported that stalled or failed tion and management practices, and concludes by
CRM projects are often the result of organizations a section of discussion and conclusions.
lacking a thorough understanding of what CRM
initiatives and implementation entail (Chen and
Popovich, 2003; Hendricks et al., 2007; Krigs- CUSTOMER RELATIONSHIP
man, 2009). Moreover, many studies reported that MANAGEMENT
CRM implementations do not return the expected
ROI (Foley, 2002). For example, CRM failure Customer relationship management (CRM) is a
rates conducted by various research institutions comprehensive business and marketing strategy
(e.g. Gartner, Bulter, AMR, Forrester Research) that integrates technology, process and business
between 2001 and 2009 varied widely, ranging activities around the customer (Anton & Hoeck,
from 18% to 70% (Krigsman, 2009). CRM ranked 2002). The objectives of a CRM process are to
in the bottom three categories among 25 popular shape customers perceptions of the organization
tools evaluated for customer satisfaction in a Bain and its products through identifying customers,
& Company survey of 451 senior executives in creating customer knowledge and building com-
2001 (Mello, 2002). mitted customer relationships (Ragins & Greco,
The high eCRM/CRM failure rate might be 2003). A well-designed and well-resourced CRM
due to the fact that senior management tends could be used to flag up potential problems and
to be myopic when considering their ICT deci- assist in resolving them (Easton & Araujo, 2003).

28
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

It is a broad term that has evolved from systems tions with customers, suppliers, or prospects via
such as Marketing Information Systems, Database one or more touch points such as a call center,
Marketing, Decision Support Systems, Call Centre sales person, distributor, store, branch office, Web,
Management, and Transaction Support Systems or e-mail for the purpose of acquiring, retaining,
and can cover a wide array of technologies and or cross-selling customers while Kim et al. (2003)
business processes (Woodcock & Starky, 2001). have described it as a managerial tool or effort to
CRM is also a term for methodologies, processes, manage business interactions with customers by
systems and software that help an organization to combining business processes and technologies
manage customer relationships in an organized that seek to understand a companys customers.
and effective manner (Bernett & Kuhn, 2002). Chen and Ching (2004) have pointed out that a
The aim is to create loyal customers so that the CRM is an ICT process or methodology that helps
relationship can flourish over a long period of an organization to retain customers in order to to
time (Kohli et al., 2001). enhance the effectiveness of relationship market-
CRM software vendors seem to use the word ing practices. On the other hand, du Plessis and
indiscriminately to refer to any system that fa- Boon (2004) have defined CRM as the building
cilitates better relationships with its customers. and managing of customer relationships on an
This can be at a number of levels, ranging from organizational level through understanding, an-
facilitated transactions, higher retention rates, bet- ticipating and managing of customer needs, based
ter marketing, and lower transaction and service on knowledge gained of the customer, to increase
costs. It is emerging as an important technology organizational effectiveness and efficiency and
tool that is used by many businesses as a way to thereby increasing profitability.
maximize existing business models, create new Furthermore, Zablah et al. (2004) have stated
revenue streams, and increase new growth in that CRM is a continuous process that involves
existing markets (EPS, 2001). Traditionally, a set the development and leveraging of market intel-
of CRM software and systems is generally imple- ligence for the purpose of building and maintain-
mented to support organizational functions by: (a) ing a profit-maximizing portfolio of customer
analyzing customer data gathered throughout the relationships. Effective CRM implementation
business; (b) automating and streamlining sales is assumed to lead to bottom line benefits for the
and customer support functions; (c) managing the organization (Tschohl, 2001; Wilson et al., 2007).
flow of information in and out of the centers that It has been found that eCRM implementation ef-
handle customer transactions; and (d) planning forts by organizations correlate with the perceived
and managing marketing and sales strategies and degree of eCRM received from the organiza-
campaigns (CIO, 2000). tion and this can often translate into customers
Several researchers have attempted to define loyalty (Lee-Kelley et al., 2003). The goal of
CRM. For example, Nargundkar and Srivastava CRM is to optimize revenue, profitability, and
(2002) have defined CRM as a process which customer satisfaction by organizing the businesss
can span end-to-end operations thus integrating processes toward providing high quality service
all relationships from suppliers to the consumers to the customer (Bernett & Kuhn, 2002). A good
and each business entity in this value chain can understanding of the businesss CRM strategy is
be viewed as the preceding businesss customer, important as a guiding framework in all stages
transforming the value chain into a chain of of the development and implementation of a or-
customers. Similarly, Goodhue et al (2002) have ganizational customer-centric business strategy
defined CRM as an application or initiative that encompasses all activities of the organization
designed to help an organization optimize interac- (Nargundkar & Srivastava, 2002; Tan et al., 2002).

29
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

History of eCRM and arranging delivery, and providing post-sales


support (Steinmueller, 2002).
The development of CRM applications began in In addition, eCRM is capable of extending the
the early 1990s (Bernett & Kuhn, 2002). The first traditional CRM methods and techniques by in-
generation of applications was single-functions tegrating technologies of new electronic channels,
solutions designed to support a specific set of em- such as Web, wireless, and voice technologies,
ployees such as a helpdesk, the sales, and market- and combines them with e-business applications
ing departments. The second generation of CRM into the overall enterprise CRM strategy (Pan
applications began to increase the functionality and Lee, 2003) and the source of customer data is
of the software to include a suite of interoperable normally collected from the customer interactions
modules that included marketing, sales, analytics, with the Web and Internet-based systems (Kara-
customer service, and call centre support functions. kostas et al., 2005). Moreover, it usually involves
The goal was to enable corporate employees to a combination of hardware, software, processes,
provide a full range services to customers by using applications, and management commitment
a common set of CRM-integrated databases and (Fjermestad & Romano, 2003). Hence, eCRM
third-party applications (Bernett & Kuhn, 2002). is generally considered to be a subset of CRM,
In recent years, CRM has shifted more into the meaning that eCRM is one more channel through
forefront of ICT spending as the percentage of IT which an organization can deploy its customer
budgets spent on specific business and technology relationship management strategy (Dyche, 2001).
initiatives increases (Sechrest, 2003). Advances in eCRM differs from CRM is three important ways
IT have provided businesses with an opportunity as it: (1) includes email, wireless channels, and
to deliver CRM functions more effectively. The web; (2) supports marketing, sales and service,
use of such technologies to deliver CRM has lead and is often integrated with Enterprise Resource
to the emergence of electronic customer relation- Planning (ERP) systems; and (3) is enterprise-
ship management (eCRM) and specialist software ready rather than focused on departments or call
vendors in the marketplace. This new generation centers and extends to cover partner channels
of customer relationship management products such as extranets (Dyche, 2001; EPS, 2001; Pan
is called eCRM because it supports the multiple & Lee, 2003).
electronic channels that are now available to
customers (Bernett & Kuhn, 2002). The e is Characteristics of eCRM
usually dropped when speaking about eCRM when
it refers to CRM that has technology-facilitated eCRM is essentially database technologies, offers
interfaces with customers in a broad electronic opportunities for interaction with the customer
commerce context which goes beyond the web and for records to be kept of this interaction,
(Chen & Chen, 2004). It is commonly referred to and has the potential for mass customization for
as one element of CRM that specifically focuses customers (McKay & Marshall, 2004). It also
on new digital channels of communication (web allows organizations to learn more about their
and wireless) and uses the web to create a holistic customers through acquisition and analysis of
approach to internal and external communica- customer data as well as to customize their prod-
tion (EPS, 2001) or as a collection of methods ucts and services in order to satisfy the needs of
and techniques which are adopted to capture, their customers (Moon, 2000). In general, eCRM
retain, analyze, and productively utilize informa- falls into three main types: operational, analytical
tion about customers (or potential customers) for and collaborative (Fjermestad & Romano, 2003;
the purposes of pre-sales support, making sales Hewson Consulting, 2000).

30
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

Operational eCRM is concerned with the cus- distinct characteristics (Zeng et al., 2003): (1)
tomer touch points such as automating sales force Relationship management the features include
while the analytical eCRM requires technology items such as instant service response based on
to process large amounts of customer data and to customer input and customer service centers that
analyze customer data (Fjermestad & Romano, help customer solve their questions; (2) Salesforce
2003; Sigala, 2004). Collaborative eCRM is a automation the functions include automation of
business model based upon an enterprise architec- sales promotion analysis, automatically tracking
ture designed to meet organizations complex and a customers account history for repeated sales;
dynamic environment and it focuses on creating (3) Use of technology it includes enabling new
a real-time eCRM infrastructure for enterprise technology and skills to deliver value and to
sales, service, marketing, and product develop- merge the information with eCRM solutions, and
ment to better support customer requirements to provide key performance indicators; and (4)
(eBest, 2003). In the long run, analytical eCRM, Opportunity management the features include
operational eCRM, and collaborative eCRM will the flexibility to manage unpredictable growth
move closer together to overcome the complexities and a good forecasting framework to integrate
and breadth of components required in order to sales history with sales projections.
collect better customer data to improve the qual- The most popular eCRM applications include
ity of customer service, and, as a result, increase database marketing, telephone call centers, and
customer satisfaction and loyalty. Disconnects web marketing (Goodhue et al., 2002). Executive
between analytics and operations may result in approval for these applications are often easier to
negative customer experience and the loss of op- obtain and the costs and risks are relatively low
portunities for the organizations. Nelson (2001) (Goodhue et al., 2002). Most organizations first
described that 75% of customers who defect to implement these applications at the local level
a competitor claim that they were satisfied with as they are often not ready to integrate all their
the organization from which they have defected. systems together (Deloitte Consulting, 2003;
eCRM can also be classified into four types Ward 2001). According to Ab Hamid (2005), the
(Karimi et al., 2001): (1) customer focused eCRM most popular e-CRM tools used by organizations
businesses these systems enable organizations to facilitate the provision of customer service are
to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of emails and websites containing product reviews.
customer service, marketing online sales by On the other hand, the infrastructure that supports
automation; (2) operations focused eCRM busi- eCRM applications play an important role in suc-
nesses these systems benefit organizations in cessful implementation of eCRM. Needless to
supply chain management, order management say, an organizations eCRM strategy will only be
and service field by using database information successful if its infrastructure supports it (Book,
to forecast demand, reduce overall production 1999). IT infrastructure in electronic commerce
costs and improve lead time/quality at a lower initiatives such as eCRM has been shown to be
cost; (3) both operational and customer focused critical to successful implementation (Kumar,
eCRM businesses; and (4) businesses that do not 2004; Lewis & Byrd, 2003). The infrastructure has
focus their eCRM development at either front. two components: (1) a technical IT infrastructure
Additionally, a well-designed eCRM system which is a set of tangible, shared, and physical
address all the following three important eCRM IT resources and capabilities; and (2) human IT
components to certain extent: (1) applications; infrastructure which includes the necessary indi-
(2) infrastructure; and (3) transformation (Good- vidual skills and knowledge required to develop,
hue et al., 2002) and shares the following four maintain, and support organizations in their abili-

31
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

ties to leverage the technical infrastructure (Chen The Employees


and Chen, 2004; Chen and Ching, 2004).
The up-front costs for the eCRM infrastructure Employees are the often-neglected stakeholders
can be a lot higher than the individual eCRM in the success or failure of an eCRM initiative
applications although the benefits are also (Dailey and OBrien, 2003; McCalla et al., 2003).
higher (Goodhue et al., 2002). Most successful A study by Fjermestad and Romano (2003) has
organizations approach electronic commerce ap- found that the limited success of eCRM imple-
plications such as eCRM as a complete business mentations can be attributed to perceived usability
strategy, in which non-technical factors such as of the systems and resistance by the employees.
philosophy, people, processes and technology are However, when one factors in relationship man-
all organized around delivering superior value to agement practices that engage employees in the
customers (BrainSell Technologies, 2003; Chan change process, one can circumvent significant
and Swatman, 2003; Zablah et al., 2004). In order resistance and actually speed up implementation
to become a truly customer-centric organization, (Dailey & OBrien, 2003).
a major organization transformation is required. Knowledge on customers will have to be man-
This often involves careful management of or- aged to ensure that what the services organizations
ganizational changes and an extensive shift in provide will address customer needs (du Plessis
organizational business practices and culture & Boon, 2004). Hays and Hill (2001) have found
(Goodhue et al., 2002; Kennaugh, 2000). The that higher levels of both employees learning
payoff can be high but the transformation can also and motivation/vision positively affect perceived
be expensive, slow and painful for organizations service quality. Human resources-related IT appli-
to undertake and is fraught with opportunities for cations enable companies to deposit and distribute
failure (Richards, 2001). knowledge and training materials over the Internet
and provide employees to utilize the virtual space
Common Factors to Consider or channel as a means or a supplement of learn-
before Implementing an eCRM ing (Andreua & Ciborrab, 1996). Akbar (2003)
shows the link between knowledge creation and
eCRM is more than IT and software packages. It is individual learning by examining differences in
about business change and this often involves with levels of knowledge and their relationship with
people, processes, technology, and other factors, creativity and knowledge creating behaviors.
which are paramount to successful implementation Therefore, organizations need to leverage and
of eCRM (Fjermestad & Romano, 2003). Some manage existing employee knowledge and motiva-
of the major factors that need to be considered tion to accelerate implementation by: (a) moving
before the implementation of eCRM initiatives managers and employees to quickly buy-in to
are as follows: eCRM implementation (Alt & Puschmann, 2004);
(b) reflecting productively on what actions or new
The employees; behaviors need to be adopted by organizations
Change management; (e.g. teamwork and decision-making) (Dailey and
The customers; OBrien, 2003); (c) having clear job description,
The business goals and measurements; common motivations and goals, and good reward
The integration factors; mechanisms for employees (Frazer-Robinson,
The IT, organizational and EC infrastruc- 2001; McKay & Marshall, 2004); and (d) giv-
ture and capabilities; and ing proper and necessary training to everyone
The management. involved in the eCRM implementations as high

32
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

levels of participation and involvement can have ing trading partners and customers in your eCRM
a significant influence on the success of IT or e- program (Fingar, 2003; Steinmueller, 2002); (f)
commerce project implementation (Brendler & providing timely and accurate information to all
Loyle, 2001; Foley, 2002; Power, 2004; Terry & stakeholders; (h) have a phased implementation
Standing, 2004). Indeed, eCRM should become approach (Kennaugh, 2000; Steinmueller, 2002)
every employees job (McKeen & Smith, 2003) or split long-term eCRM projects into manageable
and involvement of users with a participative cul- subprojects (Alt and Puschmann, 2004); and (g)
ture for the eCRM project can be more effective speeding up the eCRM learning process (McKeen
than solely investing in training programs (Power, & Smith, 2003).
2004). Organizations are more likely to succeed if It is important to ensure that those who are on
they properly educate their employees about the the side of changes move forward and those who
business benefits of eCRM and train them to use are undecided or anti move out because changes
it properly (Mello, 2002). will only happen successfully if everybody wants
it (Frazer-Robinson, 2001). After all, the senior
Change Management management has the overall responsibility to
educate everyone with respect to CRM and the
Electronic commerce technologies such as eCRM, role it will play in the organization (McKeen &
data mining, intelligent call centers and the like Smith, 2003).
introduce profound changes to business processes
in enhancing customer relations (Kotorov, 2002). The Customers
Significant business change occurs when there is
a change in the way that things are undertaken. eCRM implementations can only be successful if
The decision-making and planning processes have it meets customer needs. Organizations should en-
to keep up with the business needs to implement sure strategies, processes, and eCRM application
changes by embracing a new culture of adopting functionality are aligned (Stifler, 2001). According
eCRM (Goodhue et al., 2002). to Kiely (2001), 50% of customers did not want
The success of change management depends to have a relationship with organizations and only
largely on the level of user resistance and sys- 8% of customers felt they have benefited from the
tems usability issue can often be related to user implementation of eCRM. Therefore, organiza-
resistance (Markus, 1983). According to Tan et al. tions have to manage knowledge about customers
(2002), the more commitments from stakehold- and adopt a good customer-centric strategy so it
ers to the transformation of business strategy, will improve their ability to acquire, serve and
the more likely eCRM implementation succeeds. retain the best customers and to increase their
Therefore, strategies should be formulated to loyalty and spending with the organizations (Chen
promote acceptance on eCRM initiatives (Jiang and Chen, 2004; Mello, 2002). In addition, orga-
et al., 2000). The chance of change management nizations must be fully mindful of the customers
being successful can be increased by (a) getting current status and history, and they must be equally
top management support (Foley, 2002; Wixom & in tune with the nature and style of the relationship
Watson, 2001); (b) having users involved in the (Frazer-Robinson, 2001). It is important to think
design process (Kohli et al., 2001; Lin and Shao, eCRM as an ongoing, ever-changing business
2000); (c) designing a system that responds flaw- program that is an integral part of organizations
lessly to users requests (Fjermestad & Romano, overall corporate, customer-centric business strat-
2003; Tan et al., 2002); (d) bringing systems in egy. Organizations should assess and understand
within budget and time; (e) embracing and includ- customer satisfaction (McKeen & Smith, 2003).

33
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

Finally, customer priorities should be set along a 18% of organizations had fully integrated their
cost to serve rationale which develops hierarchies eCRM systems although three-quarters of all
of customer service levels aligned with customer responding organizations cited this as their top
lifetime values (Frazer-Robinson, 2001). priority (Ward, 2001). Hence, it is important for
organizations to choose an eCRM solution and a
The Business Goals and vendor that can integrate their different systems
Measurements and deal with historical and current data and chan-
nel integration issues because it impacts business
Effective eCRM involves clearly articulated and processes as much as technology (Deloitte Con-
prioritized goals and proper measurements for sulting, 2003; Kos et al., 2001; Peppard, 2001).
the customer experience and commitment start- Furthermore, the IT sections must work with their
ing at the very top (Alt and Puschmann, 2004; business partners to produce an eCRM architecture
McKeen and Smith, 2003; Ragins and Greco, in order to: (a) identify the components of the
2003). eCRM solutions should be evaluated in eCRM strategy; (b) map these components into
terms of effectiveness and efficiency in order a integrated plan; and (c) order these components
to identify opportunity improvement areas at all into a priority sequence (McKeen & Smith, 2003).
levels of the organization in order to achieve the Finally, a good integration with other enterprise
expected return (Pan and Lee, 2003; Stifler, 2001). systems such as enterprise resource planning
Measurable business goals need to be established (ERP) and supply chain management (SCM)
as it is important to define the specific business allows organizations to offer good quality and
benefits that an organization expects its eCRM low price products through speedy distribution
project to deliver (Croteau & Li, 2003; Iacovou channels, obtain good demand forecasting and
et al., 1995). Moreover, many eCRM projects do delivery designing information, and enhance the
have significant intangible benefits/costs which integration between front-end electronic com-
can only be quantified on a best guess basis merce capability and back-end IT infrastructure
so they have to be measured and dealt with ef- (Tan et al., 2002; Zhu, 2004).
fectively (Hewson Consulting, 2000). Finally,
organizations should also monitor and track the The IT, Organizational, and EC
systems effectiveness, with an eye to continuously Infrastructure and Capabilities
improving performance (Foley, 2002; Kennaugh,
2000; Tan et al., 2002). As mentioned, the IT infrastructure (such as
networking and storage / data management) that
The Integration Factors supports eCRM applications plays an important
role in successful implementation of eCRM. Effec-
Good integration of organization and practices are tive eCRM implementations require appropriate
generally regarded in the literature as essential on organizational infrastructure to support it (Tan
successful eCRM as they will provide visibility et al., 2002). For instance, a well planned data
to customer and supplier data and allow online warehouse can assist organizations in mining the
information sharing and transaction execution historical data to identify sales trends and new
across the value chain (Alt and Puschmann, 2004; opportunities as well as to offer easier and timely
Barua et al, 2004; Pan and Lee, 2003; Steinmuel- access to key customer information (Goodhue et
ler, 2002). According to Adebanjo (2003), three al., 2002; Tan et al., 2002). Furthermore, organi-
key dimensions of eCRM integration are required: zations electronic commerce capability is also
technical, functional and cultural. However, only critical in the success of eCRM implementation

34
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

which will lead to improved operational and eCRM projects success (Iacovou et al., 1995).
financial performance (Barua et al., 2004; Zhu These processes should be carried out to identify
& Kraemer, 2002). Finally, the eCRM systems areas for continuous improvement for organiza-
have to be set up in the way that both customers tions (Kohli et al., 2001).
and users within organizations perceive them to
be of some use to them (Chen & Chen, 2004). Difficulties in Identifying eCRM
Costs and Risk Factors
The Management
The concept of eCRM is at the heart of an or-
Top management support and good management ganizations ability to extract benefits from its
practices were found to be related to the realization customers, employees, and business partners.
eCRM benefits (Pan and Lee, 2003; Sigala, 2004). According to Chen and Chen (2004), organiza-
Organizations should ensure that eCRM projects tions implement eCRM for different reasons
and the four important infrastructures strategy, and its implementation brings both tangible and
process, technology and change management are intangible benefits to the organizations. In fact, a
managed properly and effectively. The selected Gartner survey of retail companies indicated that
business and customer strategy should drive the 52% of respondents rated eCRM as one of their
underlying processes, which should in turn influ- highest business priorities (OConnor, 2002).
ence the technology selection and customization, However, as mentioned previously, eCRM had
and they should all be rolled out together as a single received a lot of attention on extremely high fail-
change management initiative that involves user ure rates, unhappy customers and wasted money
training on both the new processes and technology (Feinberg et al., 2002; Fjermestad and Romano,
(Alt & Puschmann, 2004; Foley, 2002; Hewson 2003). While most eCRM vendors promised lots
Consulting, 2000; Kennaugh, 2000; Rigby et al., of benefits and dramatic return on investment
2002). A good management for customer process results, it is difficult to substantiate their claims
should integrate all customer touch points (Fingar, without proper evaluation. For example, an Ac-
2003). Additionally, senior managers should en- centure global study of government agencies in
sure that business plans and customer strategies are 15 countries found that 90% of the respondents
aligned with company vision and goals, and these said their agencies have not yet delivered superior
are effectively communicated to all employees customer service (eCRM Guide, 2003). Another
with the organizations (Brendler and Loyle, 2001). research conducted by Capgemini indicated that
After all, eCRM success and benefits realization 52% of organizations surveyed could not measure
depends on the development of effective eCRM their eCRM investments in terms of costs and
strategies and adoption of strategic orientation risks (Capgemini, 2004).
(Pan and Lee, 2003; Sigala, 2004). Furthermore, While most eCRM vendors promised lots of
senior executives should ensure that they provide benefits and dramatic return on investment results,
sufficient management leadership and obtain it is difficult to substantiate their claims without
necessary organizational commitment towards proper evaluation process by organizations. It is
the eCRM projects (Chen and Chen, 2004). Ef- not a software product organizations can simply go
fective management of employees can result in out and buy without proper evaluation beforehand
effective implementation of electronic commerce (Fingar, 2003). In fact, a study found that around
initiatives (Power, 2004). Finally, proper evalu- 20% of business executives claimed that eCRM
ation and allocation of sufficient organizational, initiatives had damaged customer relationship
financial and technical resources are critical to (Kekoe, 2002). Therefore, organizations need to

35
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

carefully assess the costs and risks that can be area that is of direct relevance. Secondly, the
brought in by the implementation of eCRM initia- use of the term eCRM to describe wide-ranging
tives. In any case, the goals of measuring eCRM software systems has led to confusion over its
are to increase customer satisfaction, identify and precise meaning (Kotorov, 2002). Thirdly, the dif-
reduce costs and risks of customer interaction, ficulty in measuring eCRM stems from an unclear
promote sales and create effective marketing understanding of where the organizations started
campaigns, and increase overall organizational and what the measure for customer management
efficiency (Bulusu & Paracha, 2001). performance was before these investments were
Despite the plethora of IT investment evalua- made (Steinmueller, 2002). It is difficult to at-
tion research undertaken, the availability of many tribute increased revenue, for example, to one
evaluation methodologies, and the huge spending specific cause, and it is also difficult to relate
on IT projects (e.g. eCRM), many organizations financial returns and costs to any customer service
still do not know how to conduct proper evaluation improvements (Capgemini, 2004).
of these types of investment (Lin et al., 2005; Lin Another difficulty is to identify the potential
and Pervan, 2003; Standing and Lin, 2007). The risks of investing in eCRM as well as defining ap-
nature of electronic commerce technology (e.g. propriate costs to measure because investments in
eCRM) makes it financially and technically more most eCRM systems have been taken as a matter
difficult for managers to identify and measure costs of faith (Hewson Consulting, 2000). Costs and
and risks in eCRM projects (Kleist, 2003; Lin et risks are important factors to identify and evaluate
al., 2007). The less precisely bounded environment when organizations pursue their eCRM strategies
of electronic commerce technology such as eCRM (Kim et al., 2003). By critically comparing the
adds more complexity to the IT measurement risks, costs and benefits of each project with the
problem as this type of investment is physically key issues, explicit decision can be made about
distributed between suppliers and customers, which to approve, which to terminate, and which
making the evaluation process of identifying to amend. However, many eCRM costs, and risks
costs and risks even more difficult (Torkzadeh are difficult to quantify or identify. They need to
and Dhillon, 2002). Consequently, many service be examined in the context of strategic alignment
organizations (e.g. those in hospital and tourism with respect to organizational eCRM strategies
industry) are faced with a dilemma, that is, how to and operations.
manage the performance of an enterprise system Although several studies had attempted to
that has both an internal and external focus and evaluate eCRM, almost all of these studies evaluate
thus adds value for stakeholders (Dibb, 2001; Lin only some aspects of eCRM. For example, Jutla et
et al., 2005; Tsao et al., 2004). In many cases, al. (2001) measured only eCRM readiness using
evaluation is often ignored or carried out inef- a comprehensive customer-focused evaluation
ficiently or ineffectively because it is deemed an framework while Verhoef and Donkers (2001)
elusive and complex process (Serafeimidis and attempted to predict and evaluate customer poten-
Smithson, 2003). tial value in insurance industry. Stamoulis et al.
There are several difficulties associated with (2002) appraised customer interaction in the com-
the study of such a link. Firstly, whilst factors af- munication channel. Kim et al. (2003) assessed
fecting the depth of such relationships have long the effectiveness of eCRM from four perspectives
been studied in the marketing field, the idea of only: customer knowledge, customer interaction,
looking at the impact of technology on relation- customer value, and customer satisfaction. Mc-
ships is relatively new (Rigby et al., 2002). Con- Calla et al. (2003) analyzed employees behavior
sequently, limited literature exists in the marketing through the inclusion of emotions. Mendes-Filho

36
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

and Fontes (2004) measured eCRM usage in investments. Some of these organizations custom-
the Brazilian Health Insurance sector. As these ers were also interviewed. At least two interviews
studies only examined some aspects of eCRM, were conducted for each organization.
senior executives within organizations still face The questions asked during the interview
with difficulties in identifying and measuring the were related to these organizations eCRM proj-
intangible, indirect costs and potential risk factors ects, the objectives, benefits, costs and risks of
of eCRM implementation. Therefore, a research implementing an eCRM project, IT investment
study is warranted to identify costs and potential evaluation methodologies deployed, benefits
risks of eCRM implementation. realization process used, and change manage-
ment. Company documentation such as internal
reports, eCRM project reports, and eCRM analysis
RESEARCH OBJECTIVES reports were also obtained and analyzed. During
AND METHODOLOGY the analysis process, the researcher compared and
contrasted the findings with the literature, taking
As mentioned earlier, the key objectives of this into account both the positive and negative find-
book chapter are to: ings. The researcher also conducted the analysis
through integrating and triangulating facts from
identify potential ICT costs and risk fac- the above-mentioned data sources (e.g. interviews,
tors involved in eCRM initiatives in gen- observation, annual reports, project reports). The
eral; and company documents provided some useful means
identify and examine key issues in the of corroborating data from the other sources (e.g.
implementation of eCRM in the Australian observation and interview data) and expanded
hospitality and tourism sector. on details in order to eliminate or minimize the
weakness of human memory when dealing with
The study reported in this paper utilized the history. Moreover, participants interviewed were
case study research approach. According to Re- from different levels of management and therefore,
menyi and Williams (1996) and Tellis (1997), case should provide different perspectives. Further-
study is one of the most frequently used research more, tracing the conclusions to the interview
methods in information systems research. Case data was maintained as the chain of evidence.
study utilizing semi-structured interviews (tape- The qualitative content analysis was then used to
recorded), observation, and document review analyze the qualitative data (Miles & Huberman,
were employed for this research, since the need 1994). Hopefully, these steps should enhance the
for using multiple sources of data arises from the construct validity, reliability and overall quality
ethical need to increase the reliability and validity of the research (Yin, 1994).
of the research processes (Tellis, 1997). Before
case study was commenced, initial understanding
of the eCRM implementation process was synthe- RESEARCH FINDINGS
sized from the literature to provide an initial basis
for study. Issues, problems, costs, and risk factors Costs and risks are important factors to identify
affecting eCRM implementation were identified. and evaluate when hospitality and tourism or-
A series of interviews were conducted with senior ganizations pursue their eCRM strategies. By
managers and key personnel from 8 hospitality critically comparing the risks and costs of each
and tourism organizations to gain an overview of eCRM project with the potential benefits, explicit
the business processes and issues of their eCRM decision can be made about which to approve,

37
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

which to terminate and which to amend. Several and tourism organizations appeared to have dif-
costs and risks for eCRM implementation have ficulties in identifying and determining indirect
been identified in this study. The eCRM costs costs or were ignorant about the potential costs of
have been classified as direct and indirect costs implementing eCRM systems. When asked about
(Table 1) while two types of eCRM risks have the costs for implementing eCRM, one senior
been identified: technical and business (Table 2). manager said: The system has to be maintained
by someone. I do not know the details as I am only
eCRM Costs involved in selling the products and in using the
system, not administration of the company. The
It is often difficult to assess the true costs of a most obvious direct costs mentioned were costs of
particular ICT investment (e.g. eCRM) as many the eCRM system and its hardware accessories,
approaches have difficulty in identifying and maintenance costs, and employees training costs.
assessing all costs, especially the indirect costs Indirect costs mentioned by the organizations were
(Peacock & Tanniru, 2005). Direct costs are those largely related to the costs of data conversion and
that can be attributed to the implementation and change management initiatives to overcome user
operation of new eCRM technology (e.g. hard- resistance.
ware, software and installation costs) whereas
the indirect costs associated with the adoption of eCRM Risks
eCRM are often more significant than the direct
costs and are generally more difficult to control Delivering value of eCRM begins with defining
and determine (e.g. system integration costs) the expected high-level outcomes before a project
(Love et al., 2005). The results revealed that those is approved and continues through the identi-
hospitality and tourism organizations which had fication, profiling, tracking and embedding of
more success with their eCRM were those which benefits. This also involves assessing risk against
had considered fully their direct and indirect costs the proposed outcome to confirm how value can
before the implementation. best be achieved as working with new technology
This study had found that most hospitality and always introduces certain levels of risks. Most or-
tourism organizations had difficulties in identi- ganizations regard eCRM as extremely important
fying indirect costs. Most of the costs of imple- for achieving business success (Chen & Chen,
mentation an eCRM system mentioned by these 2004), and to achieve the success risks have to
organizations were direct costs. Many hospitality be managed effectively. Assessing the impact of

Table 1. Direct and indirect eCRM costs


Costs of eCRM
Direct Costs Indirect Costs
Administration Customer complains and dissatisfaction management
Consultancy and staff Data management and conversion
Data and hardware maintenance Employee time and workload
Employee training Lost productivity
Hardware and accessories Re-engineering and user resistance
Security System integration
Software and hardware installation Systems configuration
Software and licenses Time pressure

38
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

Table 2. Technical and business eCRM risks


eCRM Risks
Technical Risks Business Risks
Data accuracy and timeliness Lack of clear business objectives
Data backup Lack of customer/user involvements
Data integration and software incompatibility problems Politics and vested interests
Inappropriate evaluation practices Poor implementation
Inappropriate speed of change Poor planning and management of eCRM
Security and privacy issues Users/employees resistance

risk for the eCRM systems is important as risk is Process vs. Software Driven
inherent in the benefits, in the assumptions used to
solidify intangibles, and in the eCRM investment The biggest myth for any IT implementation is
itself (Richards, 2001). Therefore, identification that technology alone can deliver the biggest
of risks in implementing eCRM is important and return (Capgemini, 2004). Surprisingly, many
it can assist organizations in understanding and organizations allowed some of their business
minimizing them during the implementation of processes to be turned into software driven by
eCRM applications. Several categories of risks their eCRM systems. Some were driven by the
have been identified in the literature (e.g. Parker software rather than their own organizational
et al., 1988). For the purpose of this research, processes. Much of their existing processes were
eCRM risks have been classified into two cat- altered in an attempt to make their eCRM system
egories: technical and business (Goodhue et al., work without realizing that IT should be used
2002; Rigby and Ledingham, 2004). only as a key enabler of their customer manage-
ment strategies. For instance, several respondents
Key Issues stated that the software had provided some of the
best practices for organizations to follow. Many
Almost all hospitality and tourism organizations organizations had difficulty in implementing an
interviewed saw the implementation of eCRM effective eCRM application because they allowed
systems as a vehicle for bringing benefits to them- the eCRM software to drive their approaches to
selves and to increase customer satisfaction but customer management and to force them to retrofit
many of their users were unhappy about using the customer strategies to match their CRM packages
eCRM systems. A closer look revealed that most of (Park and Kim, 2003).
these organizations failed to understand and proper In addition, not all participants believed that
manage the changes required for implementation business must drive eCRM implementation. The
of eCRM systems. They also failed to undertake more successful organizations would insist on
proper pre-project justification and evaluation business driven approach. Those who initially
processes for their eCRM systems. Moreover, thought that the eCRM was the solution to their
no process was established by the responding problems were disappointed. For example, one se-
organizations to ensure that the expected benefits nior sale consultant indicated: The eCRM system
were realized after the implementation of eCRM. is not well integrated with other systemthere
Some of the key issues identified in this study are lots of complains about the eCRM system from
with respect to the implementation of eCRM by myself and other staff members This system is
hospitality and tourism organizations are presented really a time waster as it crashes very often. IT
in the following sections. is just one enabler of process change (Grover et

39
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

al., 1998) and it only enables or creates a capabil- pitality and tourism organizations interviewed. In
ity to derive benefits. The insistence of process general, customer related benefits (e.g. improved
driven would force the eCRM vendor to provide customer satisfaction, relationship and services)
the products not on the merits of technology or were most often mentioned benefits by these
broad integration, but on the products ability to organizations. Other benefits mentioned by the
affect performance or deliver expected benefits respondents were: improved information response
(Fingar, 2003). More importantly, as one interview time, consolidate customer information/data, and
participant pointed out that it had to continuously to ease of review of customer contact information
gather user requirements and modified the eCRM before making sales calls. Better understanding
systems accordingly. Indeed, the business process of customers and markets segmentation, reduced
must supersede the application as the organizing costs of providing product and service, and time
concept for eCRM software (Fingar, 2003). saving were also mentioned by many organiza-
tions. According to Ward (2001), only 50% of the
Requirements of eCRM vs. responding organizations were happy with their
Job Responsibility ability to existing customers and 33% were happy
with their level of customer services. Responding
The use of the eCRM system within an organiza- organizations were most unhappy with their abil-
tion depended on the job responsibility. Different ity to segment customers as well as to cross-sell
people (depending on the positions they held) had and up-sell to customers (15%) (Ward, 2001).
different needs of eCRM system and used it differ- The finding here confirms that the ultimate factor
ently. The top management tended to use eCRM that determines an Internet application (such as
more often and considered the strategic benefits eCRM) success is providing a satisfactory user
when using it. For example, the operation manager experience (King and Liou, 2004).
of a hotel said: the eCRM has allowed us to keep Increase accuracy and simplified sales forecast
proper accounting records, sales information and call and report preparation was also mentioned by
customer data. We can also use it to do useful many organizations. The eCRM was not seen as a
planningit also saves us some costs. On the tool to quickly provide information to customers;
other hand, the middle-level managers and low- rather it was used to increase sales by using it to
level users tended to look for benefits arising from track customers. In addition, increases in revenue
eCRM from the tactical/operational perspectives. and profitability were not high on most organiza-
Other stakeholders and users would use it more tions expected benefit lists. Most hospitality and
widely and effectively if the benefits expected tourism organizations did not see eCRM as a tool
could be related to them. The office supervisor of that would enable to increase their profits and
the same hotel said: I still believe that the new revenue in the short term. Furthermore, most or-
system is not as flexible and versatile as the old ganizations interviewed used eCRM because their
system. I am still more comfortable using the old competitors were already using it or to improved
manual system. customer services, instead of implementing it to
gain competitive advantages.
Linkage between the Outcomes
and Organizational Objectives System Integration

There was a lack of obvious linkage between the Most of the hospitality and tourism organizations
expected outcomes of the eCRM implementation interviewed either had decided not to integrate
and organizational objectives in most of the hos- their eCRM system with other functions or had

40
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

difficulties in doing so. They implemented eCRM the executive director might be responsible for
just to obtain gains promised by the vendors. For doing the evaluation. While almost all of them
example, one coordinator of a hospitality and tour- thought it would be worthwhile to do it, most of
ism organization said: no, eCRM is not going to them simply did not do it or relied on their intuition.
be integrated with our other functions at the mo- This is consistent with finding by Karakostas et
ment. It is going to be used for quick enquiries. al. (2005) where most of the respondents did not
Proper integration of eCRM and other functions have an universal acceptance of metrics and failed
of organizations clearly required a lot of mana- to evaluate the performance of their eCRM. The
gerial, financial, and technical resources as well following factors were mentioned by organizations
as organizational capabilities. The opportunities interviewed that had affected an organizations
for cross-selling and up-selling were hence been ability to evaluate their eCRM: IT resources,
hampered by the lack of integration with other organizational resources, change management,
functions. Furthermore, only larger hospitality pressures from customers and competitors, nature
and tourism organizations which had more sophis- of business / industry, complexity of eCRM, use
ticated eCRM and had been using it for a while of eCRM / acceptance by users and customers,
had seen the integration of various functions as a and size of the organizations.
main benefit. In fact, only one organization had
its eCRM extensively integrate with other func- Lack of Benefits Realization Process
tions within the organization. This is consistent
with the finding by Steinmueller (2002) in which Virtually no formal benefits realization meth-
most organizations did not seem to be moving odology or process was adopted by any of the
towards higher levels of integration in the short responding hospitality and tourism organizations.
term and integration occurred in a piece-meal and Those who indicated some process existed were
incremental fashion. The strategies employed were actually referring to the informal evaluation
mainly towards getting tangible short-term gains mechanisms such as KPIs. No formal IT benefits
(Steinmueller, 2002). realization methodology (such as the Cranfield
Process Model of Benefit Management (Ward et
Lack of Project Evaluation Process al., 1996)), technique, or process was mentioned
or specified by any of the participants or in any
Less than one quarter of the hospitality and tour- available documents. Only one hospitality and
ism organizations interviewed had an evaluation tourism organization had used some sort of in-
process (ie. Scorecard, KPI analysis, qualitative formal benefits realization process on its eCRM
and quantitative analysis). The rest were simply project. Overall, the result is consistent with other
relied on their senior managements impressions research whereby IT benefits realization process
or gut feeling/intuition. When asked about the was not adopted by most organizations (e.g. Lin
evaluation process, one participant said: I have and Pervan, 2003; Ward et al., 1996). The fact
said to myself how much time it takes and what the that no hospitality and tourism organizations had
efficiency is? If it can give me nil gain or plus gain a benefits management methodology or process
thats good. If it gives me negative gain then I am was not really surprising as much attention ap-
not interested. Most organizations indicated that peared to be centered on ways of justifying the
they did not have the capability and resources to implementation of eCRM projects and systems,
do so or they did not know they had no evaluation with little effort being extended to ensuring that the
process. One senior project manager even did not benefits expected from these projects are realized.
know about the evaluation process and suggested

41
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

Usage of eCRM interviewed said they were not extensively


consulted beforehand and were not involved in
According to Kumar (2004), it is important to the designing and implementation of the eCRM
consider IT usage when evaluating any IT ini- systems. For example, when asked about her
tiatives such as eCRM since value depends on involvement of the eCRM project, one senior
usage of IT and not on investment alone. Almost account manager said: I am not too sure as I am
all of the hospitality and tourism organizations really not involved in the initial implementation of
interviewed agreed that the adoption of an eCRM the system..I am not very knowledgeable about
system was an important factor for the future suc- the system. The best person to speak to is probably
cess of the organization. However, these systems our sales manager..our IT person is responsible
were not used widely and effectively in most of for implementing the system. I am responsible
these organizations due to several reasons. While for maintaining the system as an account man-
all respondents indicated that it was important to ager. It is surprising that the account manager
utilize eCRM, only a handful of them indicated was responsible for maintaining the system but
that they had utilized it effectively. Many organi- was not involved in the implementation of the
zations stated that they had insufficient technical eCRM project. Those organizations which kept
and financial resources to implement the sort of the users and customers in the dark would tend
eCRM system they required. to have low usage for their eCRM. Furthermore,
The other often-cited reason for not using many benefits expected from the implementa-
eCRM by system users was that they were often tion of the eCRM projects were mainly tailored
forced to use the eCRM systems without much for the customers and the senior managers. Very
incentive. When asked about the incentives given seldom the benefits for the users were considered
by the organization to use the eCRM system, one thoroughly. For example, although usability of
system user indicated: I dont think we were the system was mentioned by almost all of the
encouraged or asked to involve in the designing organizations interviewed as one of the most
and implementing of the systemthe system important factors considered before implement-
was not easy to use Those organizations who ing the eCRM, they were often considered from
were more positive about their eCRM system had the perspective of the top management, not the
implemented more sophisticated eCRM which employees and other users.
provided employees with timely and accurate
information as well as necessary training. Senior Gap in Theory and Practice in Risk
management had to use the systems themselves Assessment by Most Organizations
first and assessed the employees performance
based on the eCRM reports. Several senior manag- Almost all hospitality and tourism organizations
ers indicated that careful information requirements admitted that issues such as managing employee
determination process and getting stakeholders resistance to change, over-reliance on eCRM
involved early on were important for the success system, inadequate evaluation, and poor imple-
of eCRM implementation. mentation of eCRM were the potential risks for
having an eCRM system. In addition, several
Lack of User Involvement respondents interviewed were concerned about the
data backup or data conversion process from the
The use of eCRM was generally forced upon other systems to the eCRM. There were also some
the employees by the senior management. Many concerns about the security issues with eCRM by
stakeholders and users within the organizations many organizations interviewed. Agents in travel-

42
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

ling organizations, for example, were extremely Yes, I think the system is very successful and all
concerned about the currency of the data within staff members are happy with the system.
their eCRM systems. This was because they did Although most senior managers knew good
not want to share their customer data with their change management was a critical part of suc-
colleagues. Furthermore, most organizations cessful implementation of eCRM, it appeared
admitted that eCRM success and failure were that there was some resistance by users during
often defined based on by their managements the implementation of these systems. Very few
impressions or gut feeling rather than evidence organizations had taken steps to manage the
via proper evaluation. There was also some rec- change and to involve users in the designing and
ognition of the lack of clear business objectives implementation phases. Many employees and
for implementing the eCRM for most organiza- users complained about not being consulted and
tions when confronted with the question. Despite informed about the eCRM implementation as well
all these potential risks, only two organizations as about not being involved in the early selection
indicated that they had carried out decent risk of the eCRM systems. They were unhappy about
assessments before the implementation of their being forced to use the system. When asked about
eCRM systems. Most organizations did not do the consultation given about using the eCRM
proper risk assessments of their eCRM systems. system, one system user: I think from what we
For example, one senior sales consultant said: have seen there is a lot of information required
No, I do not think we have ever tried to evaluate to input into the system to make it work. I can-
the system and its potential risks. We are thinking not see how staff are going to see it as a posi-
to use other eCRM systems but have no financial tive..At the moment it sounds just so easy
resources to do so. You dont know how much time it is taking you
and how mandatory fields you actually have to
Lack of Proper Change Management complete to make it successful. Moreover, they
by Many Organizations hoped that senior management would spend more
time getting user requirements, instead of telling
According to Alter (2004), 63% of the organi- them that they just had to use the eCRM system.
zations indicated that CRM systems required a Those organizations which had more successful
major culture change. In addition, it is clear that implementation of eCRM were those ones which
complementary organizational resources such as had managed the changes better.
change initiatives interact with IT in the process
of value generation (Melville et al., 2004). How-
ever, according to the interview data, it appeared DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
that most organizations top management was not
aware that there was some dissatisfaction among The eCRM has generated a lot of discussion about
their employees or users regarding the implemen- its effectiveness and risks among many organiza-
tation of eCRM. It was a bit surprising that to find tions and researchers. eCRM remains a priority for
that employees reaction about implementing the organizations, even as economic conditions cause
system was not taken into account by most orga- IT budgets to be scrutinized. The results show that
nizations. One senior sales manager said: But I objectives/reasons for implementing the eCRM
have to say that I still prefer the old system. I am systems by hospitality and tourism organizations
accustomed to the old system. However, when varied greatly. The objectives mentioned by most
asked about whether there were resistance about organizations were basically customer-related
using the system a senior executive of a hotel said: benefits (e.g. improving customer satisfaction) that

43
Key Issues in the Implementation of Electronic Customer Relationship Management

were expected to be delivered by the eCRM sys- building customer relationships and continuously
tems. However, most organizations interviewed evaluating eCRM initiatives. The evaluation and
appeared to fail in some ways to conduct a proper benefits realization mechanisms can expedite the
assessment of business needs before implement- organizational learning process and help make
ing eCRM. Pre-project planning and justification eCRM work to the benefits of all customers and
processes were not properly carried out to assess external partners, whether viewed from a narrow
the needs and feasibility of the eCRM projects. buyer/seller perspective or a broader supply chain
Most users were not involved in the initial phases perspective (McGaughey, 2002).
of implementing eCRM systems and the use of The major limitation of the present study relates
eCRM was generally forced upon them by the to the generalizability of the research findings. The
senior management. This was often done without study involved only eight hospitality and tourism
any incentives to the users. Those organizations organizations in Australia and the findings are
which were more positive about their eCRM based on the Australian context. Therefore, the
and had implemented more sophisticated and results need to be read in this context and can-
business-driven eCRM had provided employees not be readily generalizable beyond this study. It
with timely and accurate information as well as would be interesting to conduct the research in
necessary training. other countries and in different industries.
In addition, the extent to which the eCRM
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51
52

Chapter 4
Advanced Technologies
and Tourist Behaviour:
The Case of Pervasive Environments

Eleonora Pantano
University of Calabria, Italy

Rocco Servidio
University of Calabria, Italy

ABSTRACT
The chapter provides an overview of the most advanced technologies for tourism sector, with emphasis on
pervasive environments, which represent innovative systems based on an efficient integration of virtual
reality and affective world. The aim is to show how tourism industry might exploit the current advances
in Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), such as virtual reality, web-based technologies,
mobile devices, etc., to catch tourists attention and gain competitive advantages over competitors. In
particular, these technologies are capable of promoting touristic destination in a global perspective and
affect potential tourist decision-making process, by investigating the main characteristics and possible
integrations. Moreover, especially pervasive environments are efficient tools to entertain and attract
tourists interest, by showing potential destinations in an innovative and exciting way capable of influ-
encing users decision-making process.

In addition, the chapter outlines the possible implications for both marketers and tourists.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch004

Copyright 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

INTRODUCTION and effective way for communicating the touristic


products to consumers and, as a consequence, for
The increasing competition among territories influencing their final choice; on the other one,
forces the tourism industry to develop new they offer to managers the possibility to both
marketing strategies capable of spreading the monitoring the tourists behaviour and prefer-
touristic potentiality of the territory, in order to ences, and exploit it for the development of new
attract more touristic flows (Dwyer et al., 2009; efficient communication strategies.
Zhang et al., 2009; Pantano and Naccarato, 2010). The first part of the chapter focuses on the
Form a tourists point of view, the industry tries most advanced technologies for tourism sector, by
to develop the offer which best fits consumers investigating on one hand the state of the art of the
needs, whereas from a managerial point of view, current ones used in the field (i.e. virtual reality,
the industry tries to develop new strategies capable web based tools, etc) for attracting new touristic
of maximizing the profitability of local business, flows, on the other one on the previous studies
of optimizing the impact of tourism by ensuring on tourists acceptance of these technologies, as
a sustainable balance between economic benefits well as on their emotional response; whereas the
and socio-cultural and environments effects, of second part focused on the analysis of pervasive
improving the quality of life of the local popula- environments and on their application to a par-
tion (Buhalis, 2000). ticular territory (Calabria Region, Southern Italy),
In recent years the innovation in the touristic with emphasis on the promotion of its historical
sector, in terms of new kinds of tourism (i.e. gastro- resources thought this technology, in order to point
nomic tourism, beer tourism, etc.) and innovative out the effectiveness of the pervasive environments
technological tools (i.e. recommendation systems, and their usage scenario, as well as their implica-
virtual reality, etc.) has both reduced the cost of tions for both marketers and tourists.
products/services delivering (Shaw and Williams,
2009) and modified the traditional components of
the marketing mix in order to gain competitive BACKGROUND
advantages. In this scenario, innovative strate-
gies must take into account the communication Virtual Reality
potentiality of the advanced technologies with the
purpose to maintain existing visitors and attract A large deal of research highlighted the new
new ones. Therefore, the key issue is the identifi- advances in Information and Communication
cation of the most performing tools for promoting Technology (ICT) might affect the tourism sector
and revaluating the territories. (Buhalis and Molinaroli, 2003; Buhalis and Law,
To achieve this goal, it is possible to exploit 2008), in terms of enhancing the collaboration
the current advances in Information and Com- between tourist operator and traveller, by involving
munication Technology (ICT). In fact, previous tourists in the product creation process (Ingvar et
studies has showed the relationships between al., 2007), and providing more detailed informa-
tourism and advanced technologies from different tion about the destinations offer. In this context,
standpoints (Buhalis and Law, 2008), as mobile the most used tools are web-based communities
devices (Cutr et al., 2008; Kemperman et al., and portals, and mobile devices. Especially the
2009), virtual reality (Guttentag, 2010), adaptive web tools play an important role on the diffusion
museum guides (Pianesi et al., 2009) and latest as of tourist information to wide targets (UNWTO,
pervasive environments (Pantano and Servidio, 2001). Since there is a rapid increasing of ITCs
2009). In one hand, these tools offer an innovative

53
Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

in tourism, new technologies would be utilized to represents the crown virtual reconstruction. In
extend the current business models. this way, users may play the crown as in a video-
These technologies are mainly based on the game and, as a consequence, understand better
virtual reality applications which are capable its meaning, thus they are able to exploit the
of providing virtual reconstructions of the real potentiality of the game as useful learning tool
destinations capable of improving the human (Ke, 2008; Paraskeva et al., 2010). Accordingly,
feeling of presence. In fact, these reconstruc- archaeological parks and findings can be pro-
tions provide a more realistic representation of moted in a global perspective and are capable of
the environments, by focusing on the integration catching the interest of a wider part of population
of virtual agents (Gutirrez et al., 2008; Brunetti (Fritz et al., 2005; Pantano and Naccarato, 2010).
and Servidio, 2010). Furthermore, the reconstruc- According to Pantano and Servidio (2009),
tion may refer to a single object, a building, a virtual reality promotes tourism resources by
landscape and it becomes very effective in the supporting:
case of archaeological ruins. In this case the re-
construction allows to both compare a virtual view The creation of innovative customized
of the original state of the object and the current touristic products. Virtual reality tools sup-
one, and virtual touch and manipulate the object port the developing of new digital environ-
without damaging it, as well as it allows to achieve ments, such as interactive scenarios, where
more information on the ancient use, involved humans may find interactive and useful
materials and so on (Alfano and Pantano, 2010; information about the destinations. These
Cutr et al., 2008). Figure 1 shows a meaningful environments consist of landscapes, par-
example of comparison between the real object ticular areas such as museums, parks, and
and the reconstructed one, available at the web so on. The interaction with the environ-
site: http://www.virtualmg.net. ments allows tourists to ease achieve the
The left part of the image shows a picture of needed information in an entertaining and
a gold crown founded in the zone of Crotone fast way, improving the touristic commu-
(Southern Italy), belonging of the treasure of the nication process.
goddess Hera Lacinia (IV cent. B.D.). It is cur- The visitors experience. The high level of
rently preserved in a reliquary in the Museum of interactivity of the virtual environments
Crotone (Southern Italy). Instead, the right part improves the link between entertainment

Figure 1. A finding from the Hera Lacinia treasure (on the left), and its virtual reconstruction (on the right)

54
Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

and education, by providing a more en- the touristic destinations and, as consequences,
gaging touristic and educational experi- of motivating individuals to really discover the
ence. In fact, visitors are exposed to differ- place (Arnold, 2005).
ent attraction stimuli together, capable of
catching their interest and influencing their Web Based Tools and
expectations. Mobile Devices
The design of new marketing strategies to
promote touristic landscapes. The virtual Concerning the online context, web communities
scenarios are detailed and rich of infor- and web portals dedicated to promotion of tour-
mation, available for a large part of users ism attractiveness or local heritage offer to users
though ease and useful tools. Hence, vir- the possibility to browse in the virtual scenarios
tual reality introduces new tools capable (Figure 2), play with the virtual reconstructions of
of both supporting tourists during the de- objects, enjoy the enhanced learning experience,
cision-making process, by providing high as well as share experience and ask for sugges-
customized information, and involving tions to other users. In fact, users can access to
them emotionally during the digital explo- the archaeological sites through an Internet con-
ration of the reconstructed scenarios. nection, and discover the potential destination by
their own place. Furthermore, integrated online
In this way, virtual reality tools enrich the recommendations system support users in the
users consciousness of the touristic destination, choice of the best touristic package, by focusing
due to their ease diffusion via web and users on his/her own profile.
mobile devices. Especially in the field of cultural heritage,
Although virtual reality offers important issues museums, arts galleries, archaeological parks are
for the tourism sector, there are some limitations exploiting these tools to catch potential visitors
which should be taken into account. For instance, interests, by developing new web sites which
some researches demonstrated that virtual reality makes an extensive use of the virtual reality. For
might reduce the need for travelling (Williams and instance, the National Museum of Science and
Hobson, 1995), due to the offer of digital electronic Industry (London, UK), has created a website
experiences, whereas other one maintain that this (http://www.ingenious.org.uk/), which collects
technology is capable of better communicating images and texts of cultural significance and al-

Figure 2. Example of visualization of virtual reconstructions though mobile devices

55
Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

lows users to create their web galleries or their was a personal traveller guide. Meaningful ex-
favorite visiting tours. Other noteworthy examples amples are the MoMa (Museum of Modern Art,
are the British Museum (http://www.britishmu- New York) and the Chateau de Versailles (France)
seum.org/explore/explore_introduction.aspx) and which allow to free download though both the
the Louvre (http://www.louvre.fr/llv/dossiers/ web site (http://www.moma.org for MoMa; http://
liste_ei.jsp?bmLocale=en), which realized an e- en.chateauversailles.fr/application-iphone-en for
version of the offline museums, with the aim of Versailles) and iTunes Store applications for iPod
diffusing cultural contents by allowing the 3D with all information capable of supporting and
online exploration of museum collections. In fact, helping tourists during the visit to the museum.
users might choose their preferred objects, virtu- The available contents for MoMa are related to
ally play them, ask for more information, as well collections (paintings, photos), design, archi-
as create their own digital tour. tecture, temporary and permanent exhibitions.
Therefore, online destination discovering be- Concerning Versailles, the application supports
comes an entertaining and interactive experience, tourists during their visit of the famous gardens.
and the users feel involved in the creation on the In fact, it has been developed especially to be
best package for their own requests. As opposed used remotely or while in the gardens. During
to the web based tools, the mobile devices pro- the remote virtual visit, the application includes
mote the destination in situ. In fact, tourists may several videos, rich of detail on the dcor, hidden
really access to the place of interest and ask for parts of the chateau, different perspectives and so
more information through his/her own mobile by on. Furthermore, a satellite view zoom in linked
particular mobile applications (Cutr et al., 2008) to a commentary related to the objects (fountains,
(Figure 2). statues, etc.) provide an interesting virtual visit
Figure 2 shows an example of mobile applica- of the place; whereas the interactive tour of the
tion for the archaeological park of Lokroi (South- gardens allows users to find the favourite path
ern Italy). Visitors accesses to the site (left), runs through the geo-positioning systems and get
the mobile application, focuses the camera on his/ customized information. In particular, the system
her location and visualize the virtual reconstruction identifies the users position and the most interest-
of the original state of the current ruin (right). Since ing object close to him, thus it starts a film which
the difficult contextualization of current ruins in explains in details the history, the functioning, etc.
a historical scenario, these applications become of the object. In addition, the application Vision+
very efficient for the promotion of archaeological allows user to insert the world of enhanced real-
heritage. For instance, in the case of archaeologi- ity in order to start filming whats around him/
cal parks, several applications allow tourist who herself. Especially the rapid diffusion of iPad
accesses to the site to point the mobile camera on might rapidly become the most used mobiles for
an object and visualize its virtual reconstruction on delivering touristic information and overview of
the display, as well as an integrated system for the the possible packages, due to their high quality
geographical position recognition indentifies au- of display and computational efficiency.
tomatically user position and display information Hence, the benefits for territories which devel-
related to that place based on these information. oped similar mobile applications are numerous:
Tourists can download podcasts (file directories
for iPhone, iPad, iPod), and use the mobile devices The interactivity of the application is ca-
as a touristic guide, which provides explanatory pable of enhancing the visiting experience,
audio and video on the potential touristic tours. becoming more completing and enjoy-
Hence, consumers follow their own mobile as it

56
Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

ing if compared to the traditional touristic process affects their expectations. Indeed, these
guides. systems present the visual information of the
Discovering and learning processes in situ touristic place in a more efficient way, so that
become more exiting and amusing. consumers can prefer these ones rather than the
The innovativeness of these technologies traditional touristic guides (Chiou et al., 2008).
is capable of attracting also that part of Buhalis and OConnor (2005) outlined how the
population usually not interested in cul- use of Internet-based virtual reality applications
tural heritage or in archaeology. is capable of enhancing tourists experience, as
well as of becoming a practical tool for gaining
The availability of these applications for a a competitive advantage for territories.
limited number of destinations might influence Most of the researches focused on the users
consumers decision making, who may prefer a acceptance of a technology make an extensive
destination which offers this innovative service. use of the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM)
For this reason, many territories are developing this mainly devoted to the tourists acceptance to
kind of application in order to gain a competitive use web tools to achieve more information on a
advantage over their competitors. touristic destination, which involves a quantita-
tive analysis with final users. This model is based
Tourists Acceptance of mainly on four variables (Davies, 1989): perceived
New Technologies ease of use, perceived usefulness, attitude and
behavioral intention. Its aim is to investigate the
Most of the current studies on tourism behaviour users attitude towards a new technology, as well
are focused on the use of the web tools to buy as their acceptance in terms of intention of use
touristic product, by investigating the consum- and affective use (Hossian and de Silva, 2009;
ers loyalty and trust in the shopping online of a Hsu and Lin, 2008; Kwon and Wen, 2010). In
touristic package (Kim et al., 2009; Wang and fact, the model is based on the previous Theory
Wang, in press; Kim et al., in press). In particu- of Reasoned Action and Theory of Planned Be-
lar, they are aimed at the investigation of users havior (Fishbein and Ajzen, 1975). In particular,
evaluation of web sites in terms of usability and perceived ease of use represents the degree to
ease of use (Morosan and Jeong, 2008, Servidio which users believe that the use of the technology
et al., 2009; Law and Buhalis, 2010). To date, requires no effort (Chung and Tan, 2004; Davis,
only few researches direct their awareness on the 1989); whereas perceived usefulness represents
real tourist intention of using the most advanced the degree to which users believe that the use
technologies like adaptive museum guides (Pianesi of the technology enhances their performance
et al., 2009), or on the effect that virtual reality (Chung and Tan, 2004; Davis, 1989).
might have on their behaviour (Wang et al., 2008). Despite the large numbers of researches on
These studies outline the importance of involve- users acceptance of technologies, there is still a
ment in the service creation for the acceptance lack of study concerning how the tourist accept
of the technology, as well as the weak influence the new technologies like virtual environments,
of tourists attitude towards art on the choice of and how these technologies supports decision-
using the technology. making of a destination.
Virtual environments promoted via web
make the memorization of touristic information
easier (Wang et al., 2008); as a consequence this

57
Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

Tourist Computer Interaction technologies offer innovative and entertaining


way to deliver touristic information. For instance,
Several studies connected to the application of the quality of the images becomes an influenc-
advanced technologies to tourism focused on the ing factor in the decision-making process, due to
development of new tools capable of improving their key role on the motivational and emotional
users interaction, with emphasis on the best users mechanisms involved in the tourists behaviour.
interface. In fact, in the virtual scenarios the de- Furthermore, an important field of research
sign of a correct interface plays a key role, due to connected to the HCI is related to the development
the cognitive aspects related the communication of efficient Graphical User Interface (GUI), which
modalities between user and computer involved. aim is to design the best system for interacting
The Human-Computer-Interaction (HCI) field with a computer though graphic manipulation of
provides the framework of this research (Hewett objects. In fact, it focuses on the basic manipula-
et al., 2009). HCI is a multidisciplinary approach tion idea, which enables user to ease interact with
which enables new technologies to consist of an the displayed objects.
ease and pleasant design. It requires a creative Virtual reality aims to facilitate the user-to-
design of new products, as well as knowledge user communication making the visualization of
related to how the new technological solutions the touristic scenario more realistic. Concerning
might improve the potential users life style the virtual reality techniques, they might be bet-
(Carroll, 2000; Sears and Jacko, 2009). HCI pro- ter understood as broad framework including a
vides correlations between the field of Industrial computer-mediated and multisensory experience,
Engineering and Cognitive Psychology, with which facilitates the access to the information
the purpose to develop user-friendly graphical in a different way. More in detail, virtual reality
interfaces, which can exploit the advances in the refers to a computer simulation that creates an
vision, speech recognition, 3D graphics fields image of a world that appears to our senses in
(Thompson and Azvine, 2006). much the same way we perceive the real world,
At beginning, the research in HCI was more or physical reality (Craig, Sherman, and Will,
focused on the analysis of the technological as- 2009). Moreover, the development of innovative
pects of these correlations, by mainly focusing on interactive virtual environments should include
computer interfaces. Recently, literature proposes new tourist-computer interaction modalities,
more approaches, focused also on the organiza- which combine latest communication ways more
tional, social and cognitive aspects, with the aim efficient in catching visitors attention.
to support and facilitate the interaction between In this scenario, several researches showed
user and system interface. Since many travellers how the objects rotation improves the percep-
use Internet to search information or explore tion quality of the interface, with influence on
touristic destination, HCI has become an interest- the subsequent purchasing behaviour. In fact, the
ing topic also for tourism researches focused on objects rotation allows consumers to perceive the
the development of best web systems capable of properties of the product affecting the three types
influencing tourists choice, with consequences on of responses (Park, Stoel, and Lennon, 2008):
the emerging of new interdisciplinary sectors like (1) cognitive (how the consumer perceives the
the eTourism (Buhalis and Law, 2008; Buhalis and information related to the product), (2) affective
OConnor, 2006). Hence, the high spread of the (mood involved in the emotional responses), and
ICT services has been influenced by the increas- (3) conative (personal attitude which influences
ing availability to share traditional user interfaces the consumer behavioural intention).
with other systems like mobile devices. The new

58
Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

MAIN FOCUS OF THE CHAPTER Greek colonisation, which has come to be known
as Magna Graecia. In fact, many products and
The focus of this chapter is to describe how ad- artefacts recall ancient Greek traditions and often
vanced technologies, with emphasis on pervasive reflect the finds in the region from the ancient
environments, might influence tourists behaviour. Greek era which ran from the VIII Century B.C.
In fact, the current advanced in technology aim at to the 1st Century A.D..
fulfils tourists curiosity by giving them the oppor- Nevertheless, Calabria has a very strong arts
tunity to see a realistic preview of the destination and crafts tradition involved in the production of
place. Consequently, the visual representation local food specialties (such as salami and other
of the touristic places plays a significant role in pork products, various kinds of cheese, liqueurs
aiding decision-making process, by influencing made from locally grown plants and herbs) as
individuals beliefs. well as gold jewelry and musical instruments,
Understanding the most effective tools for at- while there is a strong growth in the production of
tracting tourists is an emerging issue. To achieve cultural goods and services led by local museums
this task, advanced technologies propose new suc- and the universities. In fact, it is possible to exploit
cessful tools based on the idea to create a strong Calabrian strengths, due to the particular atten-
territorial image capable of influencing tourists tion shown by foreign tourists: indeed, according
destination choice. These ones support tourists to a recent research carried out by the Tourism
in creation of a cognitive image of the territory Observatory for the Calabria Region, Calabria is
attractiveness. perceived by foreign tourists as a place where it
This chapter shows a comparison among the is still possible to enjoy the flavors of different
most used technologies tourism sector, by un- local traditions; moreover the research carried out
derlying their main characteristics. The chapter that the 24.7% of the people interviewed associ-
highlights how the pervasive environments have ated Calabria with gastronomy and local products
the potentiality to catch more tourists, due to and this figure was even higher concerning the
their innovativeness. In addition, it is important Japanese tourists at 31.8%.
to outline the main implications for both tour- Despite these elements, Calabria region needs
ists, in terms of influences on their behaviour, to be presented in a touristic perspective capable
and marketers, in order to develop new efficient of attracting different touristic target and promote
destination marketing strategies. its resources in a global perspective. Therefore,
especially the pervasive environments are ca-
pable of presenting the region as an interesting
THE FOCUS ON CALABRIA REGION and fascinating for Italian and foreign tourists, in
order to outline unique characteristics capable of
We chose the case of Calabria region (Southern attracting several audiences and give them the tool
Italy) due to its particular attractiveness in a tour- for deeply understanding the territory.
istic perspective. In particular, the region possess
an enormous inheritance from the point of view
of art, culture, nature, history and archaeology,
which has the potentialities to catch the attention
of an international audience but which is not fully
known.
For instance, the resources of major interest
and importance are those dating from the period of

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Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

THE ROLE OF PERVASIVE Design. These system support designer in


ENVIRONMENTS the developing of new products (i.e. cars,
buildings, etc.), as well as to virtual evalu-
Pervasive Environments ate their impact in the environment.
Architecture
Efficient pervasive environments can be real-
Currently, the most advanced technologies can be ized by exploiting the stereoscopic tools, which
represented by the pervasive environments. These consist of a special screen connected to a computer
systems are based on a decentralized computing which allows the combination of two images of
landscape (Hansmann et al., 2003), and consist of the same object from two different points of view,
a digital world (a virtual reconstruction of objects, which creates the 3D effect. In this way, tourists
scenarios, etc.) and the real users who have the visualize 3D images through the use of glasses
feeling of immersion in the digital context by the with polarized lens. Figure 3 shows a scheme of
ad hoc interface (Steventon and Wright, 2006). the stereoscopic system for visualization of 3D
The pervasive environments can be applied suc- environments.
cessfully to several fields (ibid., 2006): From a touristic point of view, pervasive en-
vironments provide users the possibility to virtu-
Supply chain, through the use of Radio ally discover the touristic destination, by exploit-
Frequency Identification (RFID), which ing the virtual reality tools and integrating in an
consists of tags attached to the goods, efficient way several input and output devices, in
which allows to ease monitoring the good order to make the user-computer interaction more
movements, with many advantages for the comfortable and improve their usefulness and
supply chain management. ease of use perception. In particular, tourists may
Environmental monitoring, through a con- explore the environment and interact with the 3D
tinuous monitoring of the environmental objects and scenarios by living a realistic experi-
variables, in order to evaluate environmen- ence capable of enhancing the visit. The system
tal changes. They are especially used in the might recognize their position and movements by
monitoring of coastal erosion. identifying the shadow or the body direction
Leisure experiences. Pervasive environ- through a camera, and so on. Based on these data,
ments can be exploited to develop more system modifies the displayed images by giving
interactive and exciting museum or trav- users a more realistic feeling of presence. These
eler guides, as well as to create new leisure multimodal interactions improve the level of in-
experiences such as situated games. teractivity, and as consequence it may affect the
Healthcare in order to ease and fast moni- users satisfaction. These interactions provide an
toring the health of patients for diagnostic immersive experience in the virtual environment,
and preventive aims. by both supporting the visualization of 3D objects
Emergency response, in emergency situ- and scenarios, and allowing them to manipulate
ations which require rapid and detailed the scene, by simulating a real context. Hence,
information; they have the possibility to virtually explore the
Intelligent car to support drivers (parking, attractiveness of the touristic place as it is real.
drive in dangerous situations such as in bad These powerful interactions are capable of affect-
weather, etc.). ing tourists decision-making process, by influenc-

60
Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

Figure 3. Stereoscopic system for visualization of 3D environments

ing the creation of a detailed mental model of the in terms of quality of delivered information, pos-
destination. sibility to taste in advance the destination, in-
Moreover, current researches in the tourism novative way for achieving useful information on
sector are focusing on the developing of more the destination. In particular, users may be more
realistic virtual environments based on the use of attracted by these tools than a traditional touristic
intelligent agents and systems capable of improv- guide.
ing the touristic experience. For instance, these
systems can be very effective for the promotion Main Characteristics
of territories characterized by a high archaeologi-
cal value. A meaningful example is the Calabria The purposes of the application of pervasive
region. Previous studies (Pantano and Naccarato, environments to a territory are several. They can
2010; Pantano and Servidio, 2009) outlined the be summarized as follows:
usage of these tools for promotion of Calabrian
archaeological heritage. Figure 4 shows a mean- The pervasive environments solicit an
ingful example of reconstruction of the two ancient original and global vision of the territory
statues Bronzes of Riace (V cent. B.D.), which as an attractive touristic destination, with
represent the symbol of the region itself (Pantano many consequences for the local economy.
and Servidio, 2009). The pervasive environments allow to deep-
These preliminary studies (Pantano and Nac- ly understanding the territory from several
carato, 2010; Pantano and Servidio, 2009) high- points of view, by proposing the most ex-
lighted the tourists interest on these environments, citing local amenities and places.

61
Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

Figure 4. Stereoscopic visualization of Bronzes of Riace

The pervasive environments provide use- Mobile devices, web based systems and per-
ful knowledge on the history and culture vasive environments have the common charac-
of a territory, in an ease and interactive teristic to provide virtual reconstruction in a fast
way, with consequences for the learning and ease way. In fact, though these technologies
process. user can explore, interact and play with the vir-
The pervasive environments allow tour- tual reconstructions of objects, environments,
ists to live a new and engaging experience, buildings, by accessing to the needed information
which can motivate them to force others to in an interactive and innovative way, by exploring
live the same one. the environment though a personalized tour.
Furthermore, the targets can be several. In Hence, users might achieve high customized in-
fact, these system can be attractive for seg- formation, enhancing the searching process.
ments of population with different inter- Furthermore, in the case of mobile devices, a
ests, due to the characteristic of providing system for the geographical position recognition
a wide range of information (archaeology, allows the mobile application to propose different
landscapes, museums, etc.), furthermore tours or new information on the users current
their innovativeness of the environments location, whereas the web portals are capable of
become an attractive elements for the suggesting possible tours or touristic packages on
young part of population more interested the base of users profiles (in terms of past behav-
in new technologies. iours, needs and preferences, and so on).
In opposite, pervasive environments provide
In conclusion, it is possible to summarize the also a multimodal interaction capable of improving
main new technologies adopted in the sector with the realism of the visited scenario, though several
the related characteristics (Table 1). input devices and interaction modalities. Conse-

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Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

Table 1. Most used technologies and related characteristics

Mobile devices Web portals Web-based Pervasive environments


communities

Virtual reconstructions X X X X
Interactivity X X X X
Recommendations systems - X - -
Customized information X X X X
Personalized tours X X - X
Recognition of tourists geographical position X - - -
Multimodal interaction - - - X
Supporting decision making X X X X
Supporting learning X X X X

quently, all these systems provide useful informa- various associations made by tourists dur-
tion for tourists destination choice, capable of both ing the experience.
influencing the user decision-making and learning
process, though the innovativeness and quality of Accordingly, the introduction of advanced
information displaying. As a consequence, per- technologies such as pervasive environments
vasive environments offer several options for the might affect the traditional decision-making
choice of the best alternative, though innovative process based on five steps: need recognition (1),
and more attractive tourism contents. search for information (2), pre-purchase evaluation
(3), purchase/consumption (4), post-consumption
Impact on Tourists Behaviour evaluation (5) (Solomon, 2010; Blackwell et al.,
2006).
Advanced technologies, and especially pervasive In particular, it is possible to analyse how
environments might affect tourists perception of these innovative technologies influence the dif-
destination. In particular, they might affect the ferent steps in order to understand their possible
three main aspects of the process (Solomon, 2010): influence on tourists behaviour;

Exposure. The technologies present the 1. Need recognition. Pervasive environments


product in an innovative way, by giving us- support potential tourists in the virtual
ers the possibility to focus on some details discovering of the possible destinations,
or to make comparisons. by showing the main attractions and char-
Perceptive selection. Potential tourist pays acteristics. As a consequence, they propose
attention to some stimuli rather than oth- alternatives capable of stimulating the
ers, the technologies can influence this as- emerging of new needs;
pect by catching users attention on some 2. Search for information. Pervasive environ-
particulars rather than others. ments provide fast and useful information
Interpretation. On the basis of information on destinations, by allowing users to focus
provided, users attribute a particular mean- on the one which best fits their interests.
ing to the stimuli, which are influenced by Furthermore, they provide the possibility to
ease make a comparison among territories;

63
Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

3. Pre-purchase evaluation. On the basis of ments. Indeed, this option might generate positive
the achieved information, tourists have attitudes towards both this technology and the
sufficient elements to make the choice. In suppliers who provide this system (Reinders et
this way, pervasive environments support al., 2008).
consumers decision making process;
4. Purchase/consumption. To date, pervasive
environments do not support the online pay- IMPLICATIONS
ment, nor the possibility to automatically
calculate the total amount of the touristic Implications for Tourists
package or to choose among different pay-
ments options. However, further develop- The results of our study provide several impli-
ment might integrate these functions in the cations for both the application of pervasive
pervasive systems, in order to improve the environments to promote territorial assets and
consumers shopping experience and the to direct subjects attention towards a particular
subsequent satisfaction. destination. Since the competition among ter-
5. Post-consumption evaluation. The provided ritories is growing, tourism industry is forced to
information on the destinations reduce the design and develop innovative tools to make more
risk related to the choice and, as a conse- attractive the touristic experience. New electronic
quence, improves both the quality of the devices and virtual environments devoted to the
immersive experience, and the loyalty to promotion of a positive territorial image are more
the supplier who provided the service (i.e. focused on to emphasize the authenticity of the
travel agencies, archaeological park, Public touristic place. In fact, they allow to the potential
Administrations, etc.) and to the region. tourist to reveal the users intention to visit the
Since the users active participation in the place and to return again there. In this way, these
production of the touristic package and in- services improve territorial image and authentic-
formation service (Bharadwaj et al., 2009; ity formation, tourists satisfaction, by providing
Grant et al., 2010) the total service quality several detailed information in an innovative way.
improves. In fact, the high level of inter- Since these advanced technologies provide new
activity which characterizes the pervasive and high customized information, increasing the
environments, as well as the multimodal probability to purchase the best touristic package
interaction allows users to ease interact with by reducing the risk connected to the purchase.
both the objects and the provided information Hence, tourist expectations regarding the
in order to get a more customized service. destination reflect both the virtual experience and
Furthermore, the speed, the quality, and the promotional messages provided by suppliers
the richness of the service allow users to through this channel. Since the choice of a par-
save time. Therefore, the decision-making ticular destination depends on the attractiveness
process becomes an entertaining experience of the provided messages likely to be drawn, the
with positive influences on tourists buying suppliers inferences on these technologies are
behaviour. capable of affecting tourists behaviour. In fact,
positive expectations may represent indicators of
Furthermore, there are some issues which a positive image of certain destination (Kolar and
should be taken into account: tourists may choose Zabkar, 2009). These remarks can be considered
to exploit or not the available pervasive environ- an emerging attempt to investigate empirically the

64
Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

influence of advanced technologies on tourists Hence, the territories which exploit the use of
decision-making process. advanced technologies could achieve competitive
Despite several researches carried out a advantages and a larger market segment.
negative effect of an excess of the information
amount (Sicilia and Ruiz, 2010), the fun provided
by these technologies might mediate this effect. FUTURE RESEARCH DIRECTIONS
Furthermore, tourists can live new engaging ex-
perience which can be available also for people Although there is a large deal of research in the
with disabilities, in order to make destinations users acceptance of advanced technologies for
more accessible also for this part of population. achieving touristic information, there is still a
lack concerning the best integration of different
Implications for Marketers technologies for the creation of a new one which
best satisfies consumers needs and capable of
Managers can use these results in order to develop better influencing their choice of destination.
new efficient strategies based on the use of ad- Further researches might focus on the compari-
vanced technologies for promotion of territories, son of the use of the same technology for different
as well as tour operators and touristic agencies territories in order to deeply understand how the
might take into account the potentialities of these most efficient for each kind of territory. Different
ones to catch tourists attention and interests. quantitative analysis might be based on sample of
Managers should take into account the key role different ages, in order to understand which target
played by the fun provided by these interactive is most influenced by one technologies, and how
media which are capable of influencing users the is more efficient for a particular range of age.
evaluation of touristic product. Due to the strict Moreover, the use of pervasive environments
link between the attractiveness of the messages related hotel booking promotion is still underde-
and the choice of that product, they should focus veloped. In fact, many studies services carried out
on the development of new technologies for the the influence of e-word-of mouth communication
best communication and interaction modality. through virtual communities, social networking
In fact, these findings are important in interac- systems, blogs etc. (Ye et al., 2010; Xiang and
tive technologies where managers might exploit Gretzel, 2010), but the effect of virtual exploration
the opportunities to involve users in the touristic on tourists choice is not totally investigated yet.
package creation process. Therefore, they need to Hotel managers could take into account the
consider the effect of a high level of interactivity possibility to create virtual tour, iPad/iPhone
and innovativeness on the possibility to add much applications related to the rooms and facilities in
more advertising to the touristic information pro- order to give users the possibility to discover the
moted by these technologies, which are capable hotel attraction before the booking and reduce
of moderating the negative effects caused by an the risk involved in the choice. With the same
excess of information. purposes, it is possible to give travel agencies
In fact, managers should identify the best mes- already equipped with systems for stereoscopic
sages to be promoted via these technologies and visualization virtual reconstruction of rooms and
the territories which can achieve more advantages, amenities in order to allow users to discover and
by exploiting also the tools offered by the new test the hotel offer through an immersive and
advances in 3D computer graphics. The territories interesting experience.
can be promoted in a global perspective, and easy In addition, touristic consumption of virtual
catch the attention of foreign potential tourists. destination might become a social experience,

65
Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

hence consumer could prefer creating and consum- be exploited to create innovative applica-
ing their favourite touristic package in the virtual tion for delivering touristic information.
scenario than a traditional one, thus marketers Develop a touristic repository of digital
should identify how exploit pervasive environ- contents. The current technological infra-
ments also in loci, in order to understand how tour- structure provides a good level of inno-
ists make use of these systems and which factors vation capable of managing an enormous
affect their participation to the virtual scenarios. amount of information.
To design experimental research by using
these contents. In other words, these tools
CONCLUSION might supply the creation of a common
touristic system, which manages different
The advanced technologies like virtual reality, collections of cultural assets and objects.
web-based technologies, mobile applications,
and pervasive environments provide new effec- In conclusion, the purpose of the pervasive
tive tools to communicate touristic products in environments is to increase the destination at-
an innovative and interactive way. Since these tractiveness by providing informative contents in
technologies offer interactive, ease of use, use- an exciting and innovative way. In this process,
ful tools for searching information related to the both quality of the images and interactive system
touristic destination, the tourist choice might be functionalities influence the service quality of
influenced by these factors. In fact, tourists have delivered touristic contents.
the possibility to achieve fast and customized Indeed, pervasive environments represent an
information, as well as to virtual explore the innovative way to communicate touristic contents,
destination offer, in order to reduce the perceived attract new touristic flows, and develop tour-
risk toward the destination. Hence, in one hand ists loyalty towards destinations, by improving
these technologies are powerful tools for tourists both. Hence, tourism industry needs to identify
decision; on the other one they provide information alternative way to communicate the enormous
on users preferences and need which managers amount of authenticity and attractiveness of the
can exploit to develop new efficient strategies for touristic places.
better communicating the territory.
Noteworthy characteristics of these systems
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Nielsen, J. (1999). Designing Web Usability: The
Ghiani, G., Patern, F., Santoro, C., & Spano, L. D. Practice of Simplicity. Indianapolis: New Riders.
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Multi-Device Museum Guide. Interacting with Norman, D. A. (2004). Emotional design: why
Computers. doi:10.1016/j.intcom.2009.06.001 we love (or hate) everyday things. New York:
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Gibson, J. J. (1979). The Ecological Approach
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Advanced Technologies and Tourist Behaviour

Tonta, Y. (2008). Libraries and museums in the digital world (a virtual reconstruction of objects,
flat world: Are they becoming virtual destinations? scenarios, etc.) and the real users who has the
Library Collections, Acquisitions & Technical Ser- feeling of immersion in the digital context by ad
vices, 31(1), 19. doi:10.1016/j.lcats.2008.05.002 hoc interface.
Tourism Behaviour: Study of the human be-
haviour from a touristic perspective. In particular,
it investigates the motivational mechanism con-
KEY TERMS AND DEFINITIONS
nected with the desire to travel and the particular
Destination Marketing: Particular kind of behaviour showed with travelling.
marketing which considers the destination as the Tourist Technology Acceptance: The degree
product to be promoted, in order to promote the of which a tourist accept to use the particular tech-
territory, attract more touristic flows and gain nology. It can be evaluated through the Technology
advantages for the local economic development. Acceptance Model (Davis, 1989), mainly based
Graphical User Interface (GUI): The user on the variables: perceived ease of use (how users
interfaces which allow people to interact with think the use of the technology enhance the job
computer programs by using visual modalities. performance), perceived usefulness (how users
Human-Computer Interaction (HCI): It think the use of the technology doesnt require a
concerns the study of design, evaluation and mental effort) of the technology, attitude (users
implementation of interactive systems for hu- feeling related to the technology), behavioral
man use (Hewett et al., 2009), by exploiting the intention (by the use of technology).
advances in the vision, speech recognition, 3D Virtual Reality: Technique which allows
graphics fields (Thompson and Azvine, 2006). to digital reproduce and display objects and
Pervasive Environments: Systems based on scenarios, by exploiting computer graphic tools.
a decentralized computing landscape, consist of a

71
72

Chapter 5
Factors of Spatial Distribution
of Recreation Areas in
Peri-Urban Beijing
Jiaming Liu
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, China

ABSTRACT
With the increase of disposable income and leisure time, recreation has become an important lifestyle
of urban residents in China. Peri-urban recreation areas, as the important one, could not only meet the
outdoor recreational demands of both tourists and residents, but also contribute to sustaining urban
ecological security. Rational spatial patterns for recreational land use will mediate the contradictions
between urban sprawl and natural preservation, and, economic growth and social development. Based
on the case study of peripheral urban areas in Beijing, this chapter aims to identify the factors which
will influence the spatial distribution of peri-urban recreation areas, by analyzing the collected data
from questionnaires, online survey, documentation and field investigations. In order to achieve sound
information, relevant data from different management departments, owners and land-use types involved
in the case study area is collected. A sampling database for peri-urban recreation areas in Beijing is
established, and GIS spatial analyses as well as statistic analyses are applied. The result indicates that
spatial distribution of recreation areas is majorly influenced by four factors, e.g. tourism attractions and
environmental conditions, policy and spatial governance, consumption demand and preference, land price
and availability. The influencing mechanism of each factor towards different type of recreation areas is
various. Tourism attractions and environmental conditions are dominant factors for public recreation
areas. Commercial recreation areas are highly related with accessibility. Agricultural recreation areas
are usually attached to special farmlands near large-scaled scenic areas. Meanwhile, recreational

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch005

Copyright 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

business clusters have appeared in suburbs influenced by mass recreation market growth. Controlled by
the land price, commercial recreation areas are differentiated on their scales and developing intensity.
Policy and spatial governance have made arrangements of recreation areas more balancing and more
human-oriented. A peri-urban recreation area model is therefore established on basis of this analysis,
which can guide urban planning and designing, land-use planning and recreation resource development.

INTRODUCTION each type are identified by the methods of spatial


division and statistical analysis, so as to provide
Peri-urban recreation areas, as the main outdoor significant guides for Chinas urban tourism and
playing places for tourists and urban residents at recreation resources management and planning.
leisure time, are important components of urban In contrast to the hundreds years development
recreational system. In the last two decades, with on empirical study in western countries, literature
the rapid expansion of urban built-up area in China, on tourism and recreation literature is still weak
the isolation between human and nature turns in China. Researches on recreation areas involve
to be distinct, and the conflict between leisure multi-disciplines, e.g. tourism, geography, urban
demands and recreation supplies becomes more and landscape sciences. Geographers and urban
and more acute. The tendency of metropolitan scholars began to showcase their concerns on the
residents who escape from their routine life and recreation phenomenon from the mid and later
touch the nature in peri-urban areas on weekends 19th Century. They have pointed out a number of
and holidays has turned to be a popularized. Rec- theories concerning the distribution of recreation
reation areas could be divided into three types: areas, which have been applied to urban planning
public recreation area, commercial recreation and construction. At the end of 1950s, the United
area and affiliated recreation area, according to States initiated a park movement and Central Park,
suppliers, operators and objectives of land use New York, which was proposed by F.L.Olmsterd
and its service functions (Figure.1). Based on the who pushed the movement to the summit. In the
case study of Beijing metropolis, the influencing early of the twenties century, Wilderness Protec-
factors of different types of peri-urban recreation tion Regulation was enacted and implemented in
areas are analyzed and the dominant factors for national parks. These theories and practices as-

Figure 1. Classification of recreation areas in suburbs

73
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

sured that western countries kept harmony between product differentiation (Wang & Guo, 2000; Yang
human and nature in the process of urbanization. & Liu, 2001); (3) recreation area per capita and
Functionalism urban planning, sprang up at the ideal model of recreation areas distribution (Liu
early stage of World War II, put the distribution & Wang, 2009), Wu and Han (2003) proposed
of recreation areas on a very important position. the spatial model of tourism as semi-circle belt
After World War II, a number of researchers began around seaport metropolis, such as Dalian city.
to focus on recreation opportunity. Since 1960s, Based on Gunns urban-to-remote destination
based on the tourist behavior investigation, re- concept (Gunn, 1988), Zhang & Zhao (2005)
searchers tried to divide the tourism space around pointed out that the distribution of recreation
the urban into different circle layers according to areas in urban suburbs illustrates the multi-layer
visiting probability. Wilderness Planning Manu- rings; (4) driving forces of spatial patterns of
al recorded a relatively formal zoning method in recreation areas. Wu (2001) put forward that the
the early time. In 1962, Outdoor Recreation Re- formation of ReRAM was controlled by land price
sources Review Commission (ORRRC) proposed and demand. Wu suggested that accessibility and
a 6-division system. In 1982, the United States scenic spots agglomeration index had significant
Forest Service drew up the 6-division system for effects on the special flows of recreation in urban
Recreation Opportunity Spectrum, which is per- suburbs. Bian (2003) indicated that urban tourism
ceived as a widely used classification for tourism space layout is influenced by resources, location,
space: primitive, semi-primitive non-motorized, market, social economy and tourism traffic, etc.
semi-primitive motorized, roaded natural, rural Lands for recreation in suburbs can be divided
and urban. In 1977, Tourism and Recreation De- into three categories and they were regulated by
velopment was published and its theory was ap- planning, land policy, land price, demands and
proved and widely applied by tourism planners consumers preference. (Liu & Wang, 2007). The
all over the world. It classified tourist destinations allocation mechanisms of these three categories
in suburbs according to capacity and described are distinguished (Wang & Liu, 2010).
their features from the perspective of urban Researches on recreation areas has a history
population, outdoor recreation behavior and types over one hundred years in western countries,
of tourist destination. whilst in China, the study in this field is still in
With the expansion of urban population and the emergence stage. On the one hand, due to the
economic growth in China, the distribution is- inconsistent cognition of recreation areas from
sues of recreation areas distribution have been different perspective of several subjects like
gradually aroused attention. Temporal and spatial landscape, tourism and urban, it is difficult to
differentiation of recreation areas was empha- describe the real pattern of urban recreation areas
sized by tourism researchers in the exploration from a single view. On the other hand, most of the
process of planning theories. The major study researches focus on macro-perspective but lack
fields include: (1) geographical differentiation of microcosmic study, because of the lack of data
of recreation areas in suburbs, especially spatial support. Therefore, this paper aims to identify the
structural models on Recreation Belt Around influencing factors of recreation areas by means
Metropolis (ReBAM), which classified recreation of investigating the situations of Beijing suburbs.
areas in suburbs into several circle layers in view Finally, the objective of this paper is to establish
of demand and supply (Wu, 2001). Over 60 jour- the foundation for figuring out the optimization
nal papers have been published in the ReBAM approach and allocation rule of recreation areas.
area since 2001; (2) recreation land-use policy,
recreation activities, and recreation landscape

74
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

MATERIALS AND METHODS Press, 1990), Beijing Tourist Attractions (Rural


Reading Materials Press House, 2000), Bejing
This paper adopts Beijing as the study area. It Suburb Tourism Map Collection (Celestial Map
has a population of 16.95 million in 2008, and Publishing House, 2001), Beijing Suburb Scenery
covers about 16410 square kilometers. Currently, Tour Guidance (Chinese Forestry Press, 2001),
Beijing has 26 national or municipal scenic areas, Tourism and Leisure Guidance of Beijing and
hundreds of resorts and cultural villages, which Suburbs (Shandong Map Publishing House, 2007),
provide urban residents with a number of recre- Beijing Living Map Atlas (Sinomaps, 2008) and
ation sites and various activities. Furthermore, Exquisite and Theme Itinerary of Beijing Tour
the complicated and diversified topographies Series which is published by Beijing Tourism
in Beijing suburbs offer plenty of elements for Bureau(2008). All the data above-mentioned are
analyzing the influencing factors of distribution. updated at the end of 2007.
GIS spatial analysis is a major method that we Public recreation areas have definite area,
used in this paper. The municipal map of Beijing, explicit boundary and lower economic threshold
published by Sino-maps Publishing House, at a for tourists. It belongs to landscape and scenic
scale of 1:290 000, was adopted as the working spots, urban Greenland and park land use with
base map. Basic map database is established by government as their operator. Commercial recre-
arcgis9.2, and information layers include back- ation areas are operated by enterprises and institu-
ground layer (grid image), administrative division tions; affiliated recreation areas have not changed
layer (planar data), contour layer (striation data), their purpose of land use as farmland and rural
lake layer (planar data), river layer (striation data), residential area, but recreation function is added
railway layer, national highway and provincial to make them become a complementary type for
highway layer and county road layer (striation the specific recreation areas. Affiliated recreation
data). Artificially digital is adopted in every data areas are operated by township government or
layer to precisely locate the geographical position. local residents who are collective ownership.
Scenic attractions are obtained from the offi- This paper chooses 161 public recreation spots,
cial websites of every countys Tourism Bureau, 114 commercial recreation spots and 222 affili-
relevant published materials and public maps. ated recreation spots (Table.1). Every sampling
Commercial recreation areas have been con- spots spatial location, scale and the other land
firmed by telephone in order to make sure their information is recorded. The spatial position of
operation situations. Reference books consist every recreation spot is accurate to administrative
of Beijing Tourism Graph Collection (Science village level (Figure.2).

Table 1. Samples of different tourism and recreation areas

Types of Recreation areas Sub-types of Recreation areas Samples


National or municipal scenic areas 26
Historic and cultural relics spots 19
Public recreation areas
peri-urban parks 76
Forestry recreation areas 40
Commercial recreation areas Resorts, sports areas, skiing areas, etc. 114
Affiliated recreation areas Agricultural recreation gardens 222
Total 497

75
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

This paper is an empirical study based on area whether possessing both natural and human
the previous researches. According to resources scenery, functioned as peoples travel, leisure and
background, policy, demand of residents and law scientific research base. Public recreation areas,
of land supply (Liu and Wang, 2007), the influenc- which are mainly comprised of national and
ing factors of spatial distribution for three types municipal scenic spot system, cover more than
of recreation areas are verified one by one and the 13% of Beijings territory and build up the basic
major influencing factor of every type is identified. framework of urban recreation areas. Scenic spots
are mainly designated in the western and northern
mountain areas and there are no scenic spots in
FINDINGS AND RESULTS southeast plain area. Commercial and affiliated
recreation areas dont have obvious relation with
There are various factors influencing the spatial topographies.
distribution pattern of recreation areas, among
which tourism attractions and environmental con- Commercial Recreation Areas and
ditions, policy and spatial governance, consump- Water Bodies
tion demand and preference, and land price and
availability are the four major factors, according Beijing city possesses five water systems: Yong-
to our preliminary study. ding River, Chaobai River, Wenyu River, Juma
River and Ju River. Juma River is located at
Tourism Attractions and southwest part of Beijing city and it flows through
Environmental Conditions Fangshan district, while the famous Shidu national
scenic spot is a section of the Juma River basin.
Tourism attractions and environmental conditions Yongding River, where Miaofeng Mountain and
are the primary factors and have strong positive Baihua Mountain are located, is flowing from
correlation with recreation sites distribution. It is Langfang district through Daxing district, to
found that all the three types of recreation areas Shi Jingshan district and Men Tougou district.
have high relations with tourism attractions and Wenyu River flows from Tongzhou district to
environmental conditions, but they are exposed Shunyi district and Changping district, and it
to different influencing strength and mechanism. was the north starting point of Beijing-Hangzhou
ancient Grand Canal. Chaobai River runs through
Public Recreation Areas Shunyi district, Miyun county, Huairou district
and Topographies and Yanqing district and a lot of famous national
and municipal-level scenic spots, recreation and
Public recreation areas, having positive relation- vacation facilities are concentrated in this area.
ship with tourism attractions and environmental Ju River is flowing inside Pinggu district and lots
conditions restricted by topographies, are mainly of leisure and agricultural facilities,are allocated
allocated in the western and northern mountain on the two sides of the river. Besides, Beijing has
areas of Beijing city (Figure 2). Beijing Urban two water based recreation areas the Ming Tombs
Development Strategy has positioned the western reservoir tourism and recreation areas and the Qing
and northern areas as an ecological belt, which is Longxia tourist resorts, and three water resource
mainly used for tourism, recreation activities and protection zones, i.e. Miyun reservoir, Huairou
ecological industries. The designated principle reservoir and Guanting reservoir.
of national or municipal scenic spots, which are According to the investigation in the 114 resort
important public recreation areas, is to judge an villages and recreation sites, some results could

76
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

Figure 2. Basic data layers and sampling points of different tourism and recreation areas

be got by correlation analysis with water system. water bodies. Miyun reservoir area has an average
About 43% of the commercial recreation areas density of a sampling point /19.4 km2, Ming
are located at the 2-kilometer buffer area near Tombs reservoir area has an average density of
water system (Figure 3). The total area in the a sampling point /7.1 km2, and Wenyu river area
2-kilometer buffer area is up to 1939km2 and the has an average density of a sampling point/ 33.5
average density of commercial recreation areas km2. Therefore, commercial recreation areas
is a sampling point /45.1 km2. However, the aver- mainly locate near water bodies and have appar-
age density outside buffer area is a sampling point ent hydrotaxis.
/215.9 km2, which is less than 1/4 of the 2-kilo-
meter buffer area near water system. Moreover,
there are several areas which have apparent cor-
relations between recreation site number and

77
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

Figure 3. Connection between commercial recreation areas and water system

Affiliated Recreation Areas and persimmon picking, and promoted organic


and Agricultural Planting vegetables planting and poultry rising. Meanwhile,
village-based resorts have also been established
Agricultural recreation areas can be divided by providing accommodation, entertainment and
into two types: picking orchards and cultural the other recreation activities. Benefiting from its
villages. Picking orchards are closely related location to conduct agricultural industrialization,
with traditional urban agriculture products and considerable traditional agricultural areas, like
qualities. Miao Fengshan Town, Men Tougou Miao Fengshan Town, have established the urban
District, owing the highest density of agricultural agriculture development model facing to leisure
recreation sites, is famous for its long history of market of urban residents. The other agriculture
fruit planting (Cao et al., 2006). Benefiting from recreation sampling points, which have the same
its natural attractions as Miao Fengshan and development mode, are centralized in Beiwu
cultural attractions as Tan Zhe Temple, this town Town in Shunyi District, Xiji Town in Tongzhou
has developed a number of picking agro culture District, Caiyu Town and Pang Gezhuang Town
activities, such as cherry picking, pear picking in Daxing District.

78
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

Policy Factors and made as the development tasks of green space


Spatial Regulations in The Master Planning of Beijing Land Use
2006-2020. In order to modify the uneven status
Considering ecological security and spatial regula- of Beijing recreation areas distribution, which
tion, spatial distribution of recreation areas is also is attributed to the characteristics of terrain, the
significantly influenced by policy factors. Urban southern and eastern part will be developed as
planning plays a leading role in organizing urban public recreation areas that combine agricultural
functions. Methodologies of urban planning, tak- landscape with artificial Greenland and artificial
ing Howards Garden City and Modern Urban Gre- theme parks. With the influence of policy and
enway Movement for examples, have made vital planning, the uneven status of public recreation
effects on allocation of recreation lands in suburbs. areas distribution has been improved.
Howards Garden City Theory was put forward
at the end of 19th Century and the beginning of Public Recreation Areas Form the
20th Century, facing with the conflicts between Backbone of the Recreation Pattern
urban and rural isolation. It emphasized that green
land should be maintained around the city in order The concept of matrixpatchcorridor elicited
to restrict urban expansion and promote part of from Landscape Ecology is widely used in urban
the urban function transition from central city to greening construction in China. Rural environment
satellite cities. Central city and satellite cities were that supports urban development is the natural
isolated by the permanent green land. Meanwhile, matrices, urban constructed areas are artificially
the permanent green land began to take on the interfered patches. For the purpose of keeping
responsibility of recreation function in industrial the properties of landscape, corridors should be
cities to provide residents with opportunities of constructed in the patches in order to break up
getting close to nature. Western urban construction the isolation between patches and matrices.
has practiced and proved this theory. Therefore, corridor construction has become
one of the most important ways of improving
Policy and Planning Modifies urban landscape patterns. Singapore, New York
the Uneven Status of Public and London have planned to build up ecological
Recreation Areas Distribution corridor network (greenway) covering the entire
cities so that natural area could communicate
Public recreation areas make significant contribu- with urban core. Beijing public recreation areas
tion to shaping the urban function. Firstly, public have the similar development trend and currently
recreation areas have infrastructures that supply they are in the stage of transferring from belt
recreation sites for urban residents. Secondly, structure to network structure. The scenic spots
public recreation areas are functioned as barriers in Beijing suburbs are regarded as matrices of
of maintaining urban ecological security. There- regional landscape. The constant expansion of
fore, establishing an adequately and reasonably urban constructed area has resulted in the isolation
distributed public recreation areas system is one between central city and matrices. By means of
of the targets of urban planning and management. spatial cluster analysis, urban parks and suburb
Beijing has constructed two urban isolated green parks illustrate circle belts distribution. Firstly,
belts and several green wedges ranging from peri-urban circle recreation belt for residents
suburbs to central city. The planning goal of Two emerges between 5th ring road and 6th ring road.
isolated green belts, three green corridors, eight 30% of peri-urban parks are located in this circle
water systems and nine agricultural zones was zone and the peri-urban parks in this range, such

79
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

as the Fragrant hills park, the Badachu park, the Consumption Demand
Water park in Shunyi District etc., possess the Growth and Preference
highest visiting frequency. Furthermore, all the
newly built suburb parks emerge in this circle Distribution of recreation areas is the compromise
layer and they are making up the latitude lines result between land supplier and demander (Wu
of Beijing recreation network system. Secondly, B.H., 2001). Income increase, holiday system
urban parks are centralized along the four traffic alteration, pursuit of health life and eager of
arteries as Jing-Shi highway, Jing-Shen highway, getting close to nature have stimulated the rapid
Jing-Cheng Highway and Badaling Highway. The growth of urban residents tourism and recreation
traffic artery recreation corridors are organized as demands, while urban tourism and recreation sites
the longitude lines of Beijing recreation network and facilities are too scarce to meet the tourism and
system. Therefore, a recreation corridor network recreation needs (Liu and Wang, 2007). World fa-
structure is tentatively built up. Thirdly, Beijing mous parks, as Temple of Heaven and Beihai Park,
green belt planning goal of two isolated green are crowded in holiday, and still undertake double
belts, three green corridors, eight water systems responsibilities of tourism and recreation for
and nine agricultural zones, based on water residents. Investigation shows that the increased
systems (eight water systems) and main traffic visitors in Tao Ranting Park mainly come from
arteries (two isolated circle green belts, three local residents who own annual pass cards (Niu,
green corridors), help to build up the peri-urban 2005). This phenomenon indicates the vigorous
recreation areas framework. demand for tourism and recreation in metropolis
and the lack of recreation spaces and facilities.
New Countryside Construction The two-day weekend short vacation system was
Stimulates the Rapid Development put into practice in 1995 and the first three Golden
of Agricultural Recreation Areas Week long vacation system was executed in 1998.
The new vacation system implemented in China
The primary driving force of folklore-hamlet has 4 smaller Golden Weeks. According to the data
construction and development comes from from 221 Action Plan research report, more than
policy. Central government and Beijing govern- 2/3 of Beijing urban families visit suburbs every
ment advocate the peri-urban agriculture tourism year in purpose of travel and leisure and 16.9%
development as an important way of alleviating of these families visit suburbs 3 to 5 times. 80%
poverty and developing a platform of agricultural of Chinese urban residents travel destinations are
industrialization and they provide countryside centralized in the 500 kilometers far away from
with governmental support from the aspects of downtown, 37% are allocated in the 15 kilometers
capital investment, infrastructure construction, far away from downtown, and 24% is allocated in
staff training, procedures, taxes and marketing the range from 15 to 50 kilometers (Wu, 1997).
(Zou, 2005). Agricultural recreation areas are Visiting rate of residents in metropolis gradually
amphibious, because they can be used as both farm reduces with the increase of distance, accord with
land and tourism destination with their agricultural the principle of distant decay. However, there is an
environment. Most of the agricultural recreation anti-decay phenomenon that tourists increase with
areas in Beijing suburbs are apparently pushed the increase of visiting distance. The distance from
by relative policies, especially the policy of New the intersection between the visiting-increasing
Countryside Construction (Long et al., 2010). area and visiting-declining area to downtown is
the threshold distance. Distant decay phenomenon
appears when it surpasses threshold distance.

80
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

From the perspective of recreation areas structure, traffic lines. The commercial recreation areas
recreation sites are relatively centralized around centralize along 5th ring road and 6th ring road
the threshold distance while recreation sites are has become an extremely apparent phenomenon.
dispersed outside the threshold distance. Furthermore, other several highways, as Badaling
Highway in northwest direction, Airport Highway
Commercial Recreation in northeast direction, Jing-Cheng Highway and
Areas and Traffic Arteries Jing-Shi Highway in southwest direction, radiating
from downtown area through suburbs are actually
The reason that why threshold distance occurs in functioned as tourism and recreation corridors
recreation areas distribution is originated from of urban residents (Figure 4).
residents pursuit of Tourism Utility Maximiza-
tion, which can be attributed to different traffic Commercial Recreation Areas and
conditions (Wu, 1996). The operator of commer- Cluster Distribution
cial recreation areas is enterprise whose aim is
accumulating commercial profits and cultivating Another reason why threshold distance occurs
tourist markets. From the perspective of geo- in recreation areas distribution is recreation sites
graphical space, it means that the enterprises are clustering around the famous scenic spot. A large
inclined to get close to main traffic line in purpose number of holiday villages are clustered around
of reducing the time and spending cost of tourists. Miyun reservoir and tourists could enjoy plenty of
Among the 114 sampling points, 40 of them are recreation activities, including hot spring, sports,
located inside the 2-kilometer buffer area along picking and whiff. Without doubt, the attraction
main traffic lines, possessing 35% of the entire of Miyun reservoir is the core of these existing
sampling points. In Beijing city, the average den- holiday villages. Furthermore, the cluster effect
sity of commercial sampling points is a sampling of these holiday villages raises the attraction and
point/151.4 km2. The whole area of commercial amenity of Miyun reservoir. Industrial cluster
sampling points inside the 2-kilometer buffer development could bring advantages to enterprises
area along main traffic lines is approximately on market and information sharing. As above men-
4131km2 and its average density is a sampling tioned, commercial recreation areas are distributed
point/103.2 km2. The average density of com- along main traffic lines and a lot of recreation
mercial sampling points outside the 2-kilometer centralized distribution areas have appeared, tak-
buffer area is a sampling point /177.4 km2. The ing Badaling Highway area, 5th ring road area, 6th
average density of commercial sampling points ring road area and Wenyu River area for examples.
in the 2-kilometer buffer area along the outer part By means of density analysis of sampling points
of 5th ring road is a sampling point/56.8km2. The (Figure 5), the Western Hills between northwest
average density of commercial sampling points of 5th ring road and 6th ring road, Qinglong Gorge
in the 2-kilometer buffer area along 6th ring road area, Yanxi Lake area, Xiao Tangshan Town at
is a sampling point/48.2 km2. The average density the north bank of Wenyu Rivers middle part and
of commercial sampling points in the 2-kilometer Lucheng Town Canal area in Tongzhou District
buffer area along Badaling Highway is a sampling are the most centralized commercial recreation
point/17.3km2, only 10 percent of the outer zone. areas in Beijing. Bai Hebao reservoir area, Badal-
Recreation sampling points are obviously central- ing Town, Tanzhe Temple area, Miyun reservoir
ized along main traffic lines. Therefore, we can area, Yudu Hill area, Jinhai Lake area are also
predict a trend that recreation sampling points in commercial recreation centralized destinations.
Beijing suburbs have strong correlation with main Finally, Pang Gezhuang Town of Daxing District,

81
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

Figure 4. Connection between commercial recreation areas and transport

Wangping Town of Men Tougou District, Cuan Shidu Town of Fangshan District, Ju Yongguan
Dixia Village, Lingshan area, Huairou reservoir Great Wall area of Changping District and Mu
and Shen Lingyu area are in the early stage of Tianyu Great Wall of Huairou District. Shidu
commercial recreation clustering. Development Town, relying on famous scenic area nearby, have
of commercial recreation clusters could enlarge developed folklore accommodation product for a
tourism and recreation market according to the long time, and now possesses six special folklore
above analysis. hamlets. The history and mode of agricultural
recreation development both in Ju Yongguan
Agriculture Recreation Areas and Great Wall area of Changping District and in Mu
Famous Scenic Spots Tianyu Great Wall of Huairou District is quite
similar with that of Shidu Town. They are mainly
By density analysis of agriculture recreation areas providing tourists with folklore accommodation
in Figure 6, we could find out that the recreation product. Some affiliated recreation centralized
areas with the highest density are near famous development areas with the same function include
scenic spots, such as Miaofeng mountain Town, Hanhe Town in Fangshan District, Si Matai Great

82
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

Figure 5. Density analysis of commercial recreation areas

Wall area in Miyun District, Badaling Great Wall Land Price and Land Supply
area in Yanqing District and Ju Yongguan Great
Wall area in Changping District. Resorts, sports, The distance decay is one of basic principles in
healthy, recreation sites, small-scale amusement geographical sciences. It is also existed in geo-
parks and tourist facilities have a trend to cluster graphic differentiation of recreation activity, site
near famous scenic spots. In this way, they could density and intensity. The recreation land value
take advantages of the scenic spots, Superstar in different locations is different. The farther the
brand effect and tourist market and provide the distance is away from downtown, the lower the
scenic spots with accommodation and catering land price as well as visiting probability are. As
services. As the complimentary element of hotels, a result, the land development intensity is reduc-
agricultural recreation areas are based upon their ing and the quality of recreation environment is
own resources to develop unique reception and increasing (Figure 7). The change of recreation
services in purpose of catering tourists demand. value leads to the changes on recreation product
types and scale. In China, the land price in met-
ropolitan suburbs is sharply decreasing, because

83
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

Figure 6. Density analysis of country resorts in Beijing

the ownership of urban land and agricultural land area reaches to 200 ha, which is equivalent to that
are different. In 2010, the new towns in Beijing of Beijing Botanical Garden. Holiday villages are
suburbs require that the investment intensity of relatively smaller and they usually possess sev-
industrial project should be higher than 60 million eral ha to tens of ha.
yuan per hectare; as to the suburbs or exurb like In view of the distance from downtown, ski
Daxing, Fangshan and Changping, the restriction arena is the farthest recreation areas, the next is
is 40 million yuan per hectare; as to mountainous holiday village, and golf course, turf and tourism
exurb, the restriction reduces to 30 million yuan real estate are the nearest to city center (Figure
per hectare. Therefore, the intensity of recreation 8). The average distance of ski arena to city cen-
areas is gradually decreasing from city to suburbs, ter is 58 kilometers. Among all the ski arenas,
and to exurb.\ Yongding ski arena is the nearest with a distance
In view of the area size and investment scale, of 27 kilometers and Yun Foshan ski arena is the
golf courses, ski arena and turfs belong to large- farthest with a distance of 70 kilometers. Holiday
scale commercial recreation areas. The average villages are most extensive and common in Bei-
site area of golf course is 97.5 ha and the largest jing suburb, and occupy the biggest percentage

84
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

Figure 7. Distance attenuation rules of recreation areas

of the recreation sampling points, but they show DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSION
disperse distribution with an average distance of
49 kilometers. However, most of the holiday vil- Peri-urban recreation areas have shown differ-
lages are generally allocated in the distance from ent types in terms of the influences of the four
20 kilometers to 100 kilometers. The average distribution factors. Beijing city can be divided
distance of amusement parks is equal to holiday to four circle zones: inner city recreation zone
villages. Golf course, ski arena and tourism real (within 15 kilometers), suburb recreation zone
estate are located around 30 kilometers. With (15-30 kilometers), middle suburb recreation zone
the increase of distance, land price gradually (30-50 kilometers), exurb recreation zone (50-100
decreases. Therefore, under the absolute control kilometers). The inner bound of suburb is the 5th
of market mechanism, the recreation areas which ring road and the first isolated Green belt, where
earn strong profit ability will be distributed in urban parks, suburb parks and second homes
the suburbs. Otherwise, they will be located in are distributed in sequence. Golf courses, turfs,
the exurb. From the research result, resort villa, holiday villages, agricultural recreation orchards
golf course, turf, restaurant and hotel, amusement and folklore-hamlets are the primary types of
park, holiday village and ski arena are distributed recreation sites in the middle suburb. Other types
in sequence from downtown to exurb. Real estate of land-use such as amusement parks, ski resorts,
and golf courses are distributed in urban suburbs; scenic spots, cultural villages and themed farms
the next is ski arena, amusement park and holiday are distributed in sequence in exurb (Figure 9).
village, and holiday villages are mainly located
in urban exurb. So it is consistent with the law of
distance decay for recreation areas.

85
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

Figure 8. Statistics of average area and distance of commercial recreational areas (Left: Average area,
Unit: ha, Right: Average Distance, Unit: km)

Influencing Factors of Peri-Urban The Dominant Factors of Different


Recreation Areas Distribution Recreation Areas Types

The distribution of peri-urban recreation area is The four influencing factors have different influ-
influenced by tourism attractions and environ- ences towards various types of recreation areas
mental conditions, policy factors and planning (see Table 2). Public recreation areas are inclined
regulation, road accessibility, demand and land to be quasi-public goods and they are signifi-
supply. This paper has identified the above items cantly affected by policy factors, and the same
by adopting spatial analysis on the three types of phenomenon could be found in western countries
recreation areas. Resource background, demand (Geoghegan,2002;Maruani & Cohen,2007). Dis-
and land supply are natural factors, while policy tribution of commercial recreation areas shows its
is a human factor which can be manipulated to feature of apparent hydrotaxis except for demand
adjust market malfunction of recreation areas. and supply factors. Affiliated recreation areas have
high correlation with tourism attractions, environ-
mental quality, policy, demand and supply factors.
They are inclined to distribute near famous scenic
spots and they are usually promoted by policy.

86
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

Figure 9. Distribution rules of recreation areas in Beijing

Existing Problems in Distribution leads to low efficiency of recreation land uses.


and Development of Peri-Urban Beijing national and municipal scenic spots pos-
Recreation Areas sesses 13% of the total areas, however, the open
spaces which could satisfy with residents recre-
Firstly, recreation areas are generally distributed ation needs are mainly distributed in the remote
in sequence but partially conflicted with demand. area of low visiting frequency. Meanwhile, most
As abovementioned, the products in Beijing peri- of them are forested land and farmland, only a
urban recreation areas are differentiated with minority of the land has been used as the actual
distance. The easily accessible zones within 50 ki- recreation areas. The accessibility and leisure
lometers from downtown are mainly dominated by facilities construction should be improved, that is
high-grade recreation projects, like golf courses, to say, development of commercial and affiliated
turfs, luxurious resorts and holiday villages, only recreation areas should be encouraged. Thirdly,
upper class people can enjoy these recreational urbanization stimulated by real estate appeared in
facilities. Public recreation areas are a small num- the development of commercial recreation areas
ber of urban parks and peri-urban parks. However, and agricultural recreation areas. Second home,
excessive land occupation, low efficiency of land a kind of commercial recreation sampling points,
use and high economic threshold has occurred to is for holiday use, not for daily residential use.
golf courses, turfs and resort villas. Therefore, the Nevertheless, it is an obvious trend that the sec-
lack of contribution to public recreation needs is a ond home is transformed into the first home. The
problem. Secondly, even though recreation areas features of lower floor area ratio, holiday villas for
occupy a large amount of land, facility shortage non-daily use and timesharing apartments are not

87
Factors of Spatial Distribution of Recreation Areas in Peri-Urban Beijing

Table 2. Influencing factors of peri-urban recreation areas distribution

Type Sub-type Influencing factors


Attractions Policy Demand Land supply
Public recreation areas Scenic spots *** *** * *
Urban parks * *** * *
Forestry recreation areas ** *** * *
Commercial recreation areas Holiday villages, ski arenas, etc. ** * *** **
Affiliated recreation areas Agricultural recreation areas * * ** *
(Notes: ***, very important; **, important; *, less important)

existed in peri-urban real estate projects. Instead, be encouraged to develop tourism and recreation,
residential quarters with high floor area ratio, with forms of agricultural picking gardens and
which has caused urban population to move to native-product-themed agricultural villages.
suburbs disorderly, are distributed in suburbs. The Combined with new countryside construction,
over-concentration of population has destroyed the villages which are around famous scenic
the substrate landscape of suburbs and has led to spots should be encouraged to develop catering
the disorder expansion of built-up areas. services, middle and high-level accommodation
facilities to satisfy the demands of tourists and
local residents in scenic spots.
THE POLICY IMPLICATIONS

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91

Chapter 6
Two Tickets for Paradise:
Gaming and Tourism

Ashleigh K. Shelton
University of Minnesota, USA

ABSTRACT
While popular commentary about information technologies rages, little academic inquiry has actually
sought to understand and explain advergames as either an extension of travel information seeking be-
havior in general, or as a unique phenomenon. The use of digital media speaks to larger issues in cul-
tural, psychological, and behavioral studies, and so this chapter also should be relevant not just to new
media scholars and social scientists, but to a range of those working in the hospitality industry as well.

This chapter begins by identifying linkage points between advergames, tourism and three major mass
communication theories/approachesmedia dependency theory (Ball Rokeach & DeFleur, 1976; DeFleur
& Ball-Rokeach, 1989), uncertainty reduction theory (Berger & Calabrese, 1975), and uses and gratifi-
cations theory (Blumler & Katz, 1974). These will serve as examples of how advergames and hospitality
can be integrated into theories and models attempting to explain the impact of information technologies.
They will also provide a springboard for considering the nature of advergames with regards to tourism.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch006

Copyright 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Two Tickets for Paradise

INTRODUCTION Within each of these sections/research areas,


attempts will be made to identify concepts related
Travel and hospitality is an important sector of our to advergames (e.g., persuasion, knowledge acqui-
economy. According to the United Nations World sition) and discuss their place in the tourism and
Tourism Organization (UNWTO), tourism (e.g., hospitality industry. In addition, future directions
lodging, restaurants, attractions, transportation, for research involving the relationships will be
and cruise lines) accounts for the worlds largest laid out. Ultimately, this chapter will highlight
industry, generating more than $852 billion in the importance of advergames to considerations
2009, and is expected to provide 296 million jobs of tourism, and in doing so it will shine new light
by 2019. Today, the business volume of tourism on different strategies and approaches for those
equals or even surpasses that of oil exports, food working in the industry.
products or automobiles. Tourism has become one
of the major players in international commerce,
and represents at the same time one of the main VIDEO GAMES
income sources for many developing countries
(UNWTO, 2010). With business booming, travel Not unlike the internet and cellular phones, video
websites have become increasingly prevalent and games are such a predominant part of our popular
are commonly used by those planning trips and culture that it is hard to imagine a time before they
vacations. existed. Originally seen as an experiment, novelty,
While popular commentary about information or toy, video games were created in the early 1970s
technologies rages, little academic inquiry has and developed into a product of mass consumption.
actually sought to understand and explain online They quickly expanded into a multi-billion-dollar
environments (e.g., advergames) as either an ex- industry by the mid-1980s (Wolf, 2001), and this
tension of travel information seeking behavior in was just the beginning. The popularity of video
general, or as a unique phenomenon. The use of game entertainment has boomed in recent years;
digital media speaks to larger issues in cultural, in 2008, the game industry reaped colossal profits
psychological, and behavioral studies, and so this of $21.4 billion in the U.S., up a record-shattering
chapter also should be relevant not just to new 19.4% from $18 billion the previous year (NPD
media scholars and social scientists, but to a range Group, 2009). According to a 2005 Nielsen En-
of those working in the hospitality industry as well. tertainment study, individuals are now spending
This chapter begins by identifying linkage more money on video games than on music, and
points between advergames, tourism and three more Americans play video games than go out to
major mass communication theories/approaches the movies (NPD Group, 2009), lending support
media system dependency theory (Ball Rokeach to the suggestion that video game play is displac-
& DeFleur, 1976; DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach, ing other media use (Slocombe, 2005). Yet, what
1989), uncertainty reduction theory (Berger & do we actually know about online gaming (e.g.,
Calabrese, 1975), and the uses and gratifications advergames) in regards to tourism and hospitality?
perspective (Blumler & Katz, 1974). These will
serve as examples of how advergames and tour-
ism can be integrated into theories and models ADVERGAMES
attempting to explain the impact of information
technologies. They will also provide a springboard There is a growing awareness in the corporate
for considering the nature of advergames with world of the pervasiveness and importance of
regards to tourism. virtual consumption, or the way players behave

92
Two Tickets for Paradise

when consuming in-game products and services of the games attempted to educate children about
(Drennan & Keeffe, 2007). Large corporations nutritional and health issues. Conversely, Pempek
such as Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Sun and Calvert (2009) examined how advergames af-
Microsystems, Adidas/Reebok, Toyota and Star- fect the consumption of healthy and non-healthy
wood Hotels have rapidly been entering the virtual snacks by low-income African American children
worlds of Massively Multi-player Online Role- and found that this marketing strategy can actu-
Playing Games (MMORPGs) through advertising ally promote healthier food and beverage choices,
and participation (Siklos, 2006). Many types of which ultimately could help to stave off the obesity
organizations are starting to use advergames as epidemic. Additionally, Jin and Bolebruch (2009)
a part of their marketing strategy. Their aim is to investigated the effects of spokes-avatars physi-
improve branding, to boost product awareness, and cal characteristics in terms of humanness (versus
collect detailed data about existing and potential non-humanness) on consumers evaluation of their
customers, clients, and supporters (Winkler & physical attractiveness and the information value
Buckner, 2006, pp. 24). of the advertisement message (pp. 51). They
Gaming provides an interactive platform for found that avatar-based advertising in Second
companies to communicate with target audiences Life leads to increased product involvement and
in a much different way than traditional media positive attitudes toward a product.
(Adweek Media, 2009). In fact, a recent Nielsen Although only a handful of studies concerning
Game study revealed that 36% of gamers who were the effects of advergames on consumers attitudes
exposed to an in-game advertisement purchased, and behaviors and childrens eating habits exist,
discussed, or researched the item (Beirne, 2008). one cannot deny the popularity of gaming and
However, few studies to date have examined its importance in interactive advertising now and
the relationship between the tourism industry in the future. Previous examinations have been
and advergames, or the delivery of advertising successful at incorporating marketing strategies
messages through electronic games [ which] and consumer behavior, and by posing impor-
aims to build brand awareness, to offer product tant questions and tackling relevant topics, past
information, and to provide a means to compare work on advergames has created the stepping
similar products (Hernandez, Chapa, Minor, stones for further examination of a flourishing
Maldonado & Barranzuela, 2004, pp. 117). How area of research. Nevertheless, no prior research
could this new and exciting technology impact has empirically tested the impact of advergames
the hospitality industry? on tourism, and little attention has actually been
Several studies explored the level of recogni- directed towards uncovering the relationships
tion/recall of products, brands and companies in between mass communication literature and the
advergames and whether product placement af- tourism industry. This is a valuable consideration
fects consumers attitudes towards advertising, the for media scholars and anyone else interested in
game and the product (Hernandez, Chapa, Minor, the ability of advergames to affect outcomes of
Maldonado & Barranzuela, 2004; Chaney, Lin & tourism website use. A full consideration of link-
Chaney, 2004; Nelson, 2005; Winkler & Buckner, ages between hospitality and gaming is beyond
2006; Wise, Bolls, Kim, Venkataraman & Meyer, the scope of this chapter, but it will illustrate how
2008). Lee, Choi, Quilliam and Cole (2009) dis- three prominent mass communication theories
cussed how marketers use advergames to promote relate to the industry and attempt to explain the
food, specifically candy, gum and products high impact of advergames.
in sugar, to children and found that fewer than 3%

93
Two Tickets for Paradise

MEDIA SYSTEM DEPENDENCY, The dependency relationships people develop


GAMING AND TOURISM with the media are contingent upon two factors:
an individuals goals (understanding, orientation,
According to media system dependency (MSD) and play) and the resources (gathering, process-
theory (Ball-Rokeach & DeFleur, 1976; Ball- ing, and disseminating) provided by the media
Rokeach, 1985; DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach, 1989), (DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach, 1989).
people have preferred media for acquiring in-
formation about different topics, and the more Goals
they use those media the more persuasive those
technologies become. Understanding when, why The types of media dependency interactions that
and how the media influence an individuals feel- people develop are motivated by three important
ings, beliefs or behavior is based on the level to goals: (1) understanding, (2) orientation, and (3)
which the individual depends on the mass media play. In terms of gaming and the tourism industry,
as an information source. understanding simply means the desire to use an
A general area of great interest to media schol- advergame on the travel website to learn more
ars is dependency, and this well-known theory about a location. What is this place like? What
(MSD) has often been applied to mass media are the cultures, rules, customs, people, etc. like?
research studies. Morton and Duck (2000) studied What am I like in comparison?
the relationship between social identity and media Orientation refers to an individuals behavior.
dependency in the prediction of safe sex attitudes What should I do if I go there? What attractions
in the gay community. Another scholar (Switzer, should I see? What do I eat? How can I interact
1985) used the MSD theory to observe the role with the locals? What is appropriate or effective
of the press in segregated South Africa. A further behavior/communication in this place?
example of research using MSD is Tosun and Play refers to enjoyment, stimulation, or relax-
Lajunens (2009) study examining young adults ation. What can I do for fun when I visit this place?
passion for and obsession with Internet activities. What activities can I enjoy with my family? By
Schulz, Zeh and Quiring (2005) looked at German myself? Where can I go to relax? It is important
citizens media use and dependency and the impact to note that none of these goals, or any additional
it had on voter behavior. Additionally, MSD was ones, can readily be achieved without access to
used to evaluate several crisis situations, including recourses, particularly information.
the eruption of Mount St. Helens (Hirschberg, Dill-
man & Ball-Rokeach, 1986), the SARS epidemic Resources
in China (Tai & Sun, 2007) and the 9/11 attacks
(Matsaganis & Payne, 2005; Kim, Jung, Cohen & DeFleur and Ball-Rokeach (1989) posit that the
Ball-Rokeach, 2004). Unfortunately these studies media controls three types of dependency-
only focus on very specific and limited situa- engendering information sources, to which others
tions and do not necessarily link back to larger have to have access in order to attain their goals
questions regarding society, the user, levels of (pp. 303). These three recourses are information
potential uncertainty, etc. Looking at impacts of (1) gathering/creating, (2) processing, and (3)
and responses to advergames on tourism websites dissemination. For example, people rely on the
could potentially fill these gaps. resources, or information, that travel agencies
control in order to attain their personal goals.

94
Two Tickets for Paradise

The travel agency must first send someone out UNCERTAINTY REDUCTION,
to gather information about particular locations, INFORMATION SEEKING,
vacations, amenities, etc. that an individual needs GAMING AND TOURISM
to know or is interested in learning about before
booking a trip. When planning for a vacation, individuals often
Information processing refers to the transfor- experience high levels of ambiguity or uncertainty.
mation of raw information that has been gathered Brashers (2001) explains that uncertainty exists
or created (DeFleur & Ball-Rokeach, 1989, pp. when details of situations are ambiguous, complex,
303). During this step travel agencies process, unpredictable, or probabilistic; when information
develop and manage a travel agents accounts so is unavailable or inconsistent; and when people
that they can fit into a story on their website. feel insecure in their own state of knowledge or
Lastly, travel agencies main goal is to disseminate their state of knowledge in general (pp. 478).
the gathered and processed information, which According to uncertainty reduction theory (URT),
could be accomplished through an advergame feelings of ambiguity can motivate people to
on their website. engage in information seeking behaviors in order
Of course its important to mention that media to reduce doubt and alleviate anxiety (Berger &
dependency is a two-way street. Travel agencies Calabrese, 1975). A lack of information may also
have their own goals and need to make money, produce a feeling of loss of control and associated
to be considered legitimate, and to remain stable. stress. In these unstable or unknown situations,
These companies rely on people to purchase their a primary means of obtaining information and
packages, recommend them to their friends, etc. knowledge is through the mass media, and per-
Without these recourses from individuals, travel haps technologies such as advergames could help
agencies stability and economic welfare would minimize feelings of anxiety by showing specific
be severely jeopardized (pp. 305). attractions/locations, providing information about
What exactly does all of this mean for the certain packages, offering ideas about recreational
tourism industry? According to Ball-Rokeach, activities, etc.
Rokeach and Grube (1984) the greater the media Ramierez, Walther, Burgoon, and Sunnafrank
dependency, the greater the level of attention dur- (2002) argued that people seek out information
ing exposure, the greater the level of affect toward in their attempts to maintain cognitive harmony.
the message and it senders, and the greater the Uncertainty is an inherently uncomfortable state,
likelihood or post exposure communication about and information seeking is a common cognitive
the message and thus, the greater the probability strategy when that uncertainty is directly related
of message effects intended (pp. 13). Specifically, to a perceived threat. An individual is motivated
tourism services can use interactive strategies by a lack of information, and they convert this
like advergames to aid in knowledge acquisition motivation into a goal-driven task. Subsequently,
and persuade people to take certain vacations, interactions with different sources of information
upgrade to more expensive packages, engage are required in order to obtain the needed informa-
in recreational opportunities, etc. Additionally, tion and eliminate uncertainty. At this point, they
if hospitality services build a reliance on online can assess their progress and determine whether
information, they can develop a profile of who or not they received sufficient information, or if
will be more persuaded by information in that they need to search further.
forum and they can customize and market certain The majority of uncertainty reduction and
travel packages accordingly. information seeking research focuses on inter-
personal relationships, healthcare, the workforce,

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Two Tickets for Paradise

and crises. URT, originally conceptualized by allows them the opportunity to become involved
Berger and Calabrese (1975), offered insight into with the information messages, and should lead
the ways people deal with the beginning stages to a greater sense of comfort and certainty.
of interpersonal relationships. Parks and Adelman
(1983) took it a step further and studied the com-
munication patterns of romantic partners. URT USES AND GRATIFICATIONS,
has also been used to explain uncertainty in the GAMING AND TOURISM
workplace: uncertainty about how to do a job,
what to expect in performance appraisals, and how In the mass communication field, the uses and
to manage relationships with others (Brashers, gratifications (U&G) perspective (Blumler &
2001, pp. 479). The healthcare industry draws on Katz, 1974), has been applied to examine the
URT, noting that patients who have severe and motivations behind peoples choices in media
life-threatening illnesses tend to actually avoid use and the success of these choices in meeting
seeking out information (Case, Andrews, Johnson underlying social and psychological needs. More
& Allard, 2005; Leydon et. al., 2000). Additionally, specifically, the U&G perspective states, in part,
URT was used to evaluate information seeking that people perceive a variety of problems and pos-
behaviors in those who were victims of several sible solutions to those problems. Based on their
crises, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks (Lach- perceptions, people develop different motives for
lan, Spence & Seeger, 2009), Hurricane Katrina gratification-seeking or problem-solving behavior,
(Lachlan, Spence & Griffin, 2009; Spence, Lach- which they meet through media consumption or
lan, Burke & Seeger, 2007) and the 35W Bridge non-media-based activity (Lucas & Sherry, 2004,
collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Lachlan, pp 502). This model assumes that media use (and
Spence, Nelson & Shelton, 2010). other activities) plays a functional role for people.
There are obviously numerous outlets for People are goal-oriented in their behaviors and
acquiring travel information: friends, family mem- they actively engage in activities in order to try to
bers, websites, books, brochures, travel agents, etc. achieve desired goals. For example, some people
Yet visiting a hospitality website and playing an may browse the internet to stay updated and to
advergame may lead to better results, not neces- search for information; others may play video
sarily in regards to information gathering, but in games to meet their need for entertainment.
overall feelings of contentment and comfort for The U&G perspective has been used in several
the user. Research shows that more participation in studies to develop taxonomies of motives for why
the decision making process leads to higher levels people use technology and new media (Sherry,
of satisfaction (Wheeless, Wheeless & Howard, Lucas, Greenberg & Lachlan, 2006; Song, Larose,
1984). Participation in making decisions involves Eastin & Lin 2004; Stafford, Kline, & Rankin,
more than an individual communicating to others 2004). Papacharissi and Rubin (2000) found five
about the trip. It is important that the advergame distinct motivations for using the Internet (inter-
actually addresses the areas of uncertainty that personal utility, pass time, information seeking,
exist and allows people to realize and attempt to convenience, and entertainment). Other research-
alleviate areas of uncertainty by playing the game. ers have identified different needs that prompt the
Reducing uncertainty when planning a trip has use of various new media innovations and content
applicability in order to allow individuals to feel such as: VCRs (Cohen, Levy, & Golden, 1988;
more satisfied with their decisions. By playing an Rubin & Rubin, 1989), videotext (Atwater, Heeter,
advergame, an individual is actively participating & Brown, 1985), remote control devices (Perse
and choosing their next step. This technology & Ferguson, 1993), newspapers (Berelson, 1949;

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Two Tickets for Paradise

Elliott & Rosenberg, 1987), radio (Herzog, 1940, CONCLUSION


1944; Mendelsohn, 1964), email (Dimmick, Kline,
& Stafford, 2000), and video games (Sherry et al., This chapter highlights the potential for ad-
2006). Most recently, Shelton (2010) developed vergames and the tourism industry to work in
a list of nine motivations specifically geared to- tandem. Advergames may not only positively
wards users of Second Life, a unique MMORPG impact enjoyment of the searching process, but
with a thriving economy where virtual goods and also other positive outcomes such as persuasion
services are purchased with real money (fantasy, and knowledge acquisition. Future research should
customization, role-playing, relationships, so- attempt to link these outcomes to media theory,
cialization, escapism, relaxation, advancement/ tourism websites and advergames. This will help
challenge, and competition). advance knowledge of how travelers are affected
Games and tourism websites require audi- by emerging popular media. Given the plethora of
ence members to become active media users. content available in on tourism websites, future
For example, users may actively play an online research should attempt to delve further into how
game or search a website for company informa- exactly the advergames are being used. Indeed,
tion by clicking on hyperlinks. This suggests that there are a host of content areas from traditional
advergames and websites are more goal-oriented media effects research that can be examined in
mediums than traditional media and that the us- the new domain of advergames.
ers are aware of the needs they are attempting to Bearing in mind the standing video games
gratify. It is important to remember, however, that culturally occupy it cannot be ignored that social
tourism websites and advergames compete with effects are present. Future work should address the
other sources of need satisfaction (friends, family many possible outcomes of advergames used in the
members, books, brochures, travel agents, etc.), tourism industry in an attempt to better understand
therefore these offerings need to be as informative this important and increasingly popular feature of
and entertaining as possible. video game technology. However, since effects
Motivations for engaging in advergames would cannot be inferred from content, surveys and ex-
seem to be a fruitful avenue for tourism research. periments should also be conducted. Surveys can
In line with the U&G perspective, gratifications examine motives for advergame use, knowledge
sought, coupled with media use, will determine acquisition through the site, and related measures,
whether or not those gratifications are met. Vincent while experiments can address the cognitive,
and Basil (1997) also explain that this perspective affective, and behavioral effects of advergames.
predicts that the medium used is also determined As with many forms of new media, advergames
by viewers motivations and satisfactions with are in a continual process of evolution and change,
previous use of that medium (pp. 382). The and future research should attempt to track trends
next step would be to model user motivations as in the development and use of these technolo-
an outcome of various predictors so that these gies. Advergames are indicative of how young
results will have more practical implications for people are relying on digital media technologies
advertisers in the hospitality industry. A uses and in increasing numbers, and these are obviously
gratifications perspective seems ideal to apply to important to them, but will these technologies
future research in this area, however, one might remain popular in their current form? Or will they
want to adopt different behavioral theory ap- become more virtual, like the burgeoning Second
proaches (e.g., the Theory of Reasoned Action) Life online gaming community where individuals
in the future as we move ahead in this vein. can use their avatars to travel? Time and research
will provide answers to these and other important

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Two Tickets for Paradise

questions. Although the relationship between ad- Berelson, B. (1949). What missing the newspa-
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102

Chapter 7
The Role of Architecture
on Tourism Industry:
The Problem of (Mis)use of Building
Technology and Language of Heritage

Murat etin
King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, Saudi Arabia

ABSTRACT
This chapter aims to shed light on the nature of architecture, its technological and cultural ramifications
on tourism industry. It elucidates the background of issues regarding the interaction between the fields
of cultural production (architecture) and cultural consumption (tourism). The chapter argues that power
of tourism industry has reached, under the pressure of global economics, to a capacity to turn even daily
architecture into instruments of touristic show. In this context, technology is utilized as an instrument
to produce such iconography only as a surface articulation. Thus, architecture becomes a commodity
of touristic consumption in this current socio-economic and cultural context. The pressure of tourism
industry seems to create a significant split between the architecture and its location in terms of specific
cultural roots. This tendency is discussed as a potential threat to sustainability of tourism industry itself
since it damages its own very source, that is to say, richness of cultural differences.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch007

Copyright 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
The Role of Architecture on Tourism Industry

INTRODUCTION the viewpoint of sociological impacts of tourism


activity on the cities it is performed (Ockman,
Within the framework of the relationships among 2005). On another yet parallel line, architecture
tourism management, approaches, global tourism has taken the lead in tourism as the main object
trends and technology, this chapter aims to cast of touristic activity and has recently generated
light on the status of architecture and its techno- a specialized type called architecture tourism
logical as well as cultural ramifications on the whereby specialist trips are organized around the
ongoing tendencies in tourism industry (Adorno, cities worldwide to visit contemporary buildings
1991). The main focus of this chapter is on the designed by well-known architects as well as his-
use of global building technologies at the peril torically important or traditionally characteristic
of local architecture which is a cultural asset for buildings (Kahvecioglu & Ciravoglu, 2007).
tourism (Bourdieu, 1993). In other words, building Tourism movement, which boomed par-
technology is tackled as a means which interferes ticularly during 1980s, introduced a very dense
in between tourism and heritage, and disturbs their and over urbanization causing; not only major
natural, or rather, organic relationship (Fowler, damages to coastal zones via massive construc-
1993). Along this purpose, the economic, social, tions, but also to local life by means of conver-
cultural and philiosophical background of this sion of local economies for only tourists, which
disturbance is elucidated with specific reference gradually resulting in the decline of these towns
to the field of architecture (Lasansky, 2004). during off-seasons, and eventually destroying
Tourism, as one of the most rapidly growing both local economy and social life. Nonetheless,
sectors in the world in regard to economical, despite many negative consequences, tourism
technological and social transformations, fa- activity continued its growth and became the
cilitates significant interactions and transactions center of global social, cultural and economic
among different countries (MacCannell, 1999). life. Therefore, the phenomenon of tourism, in
After various successive stages of evolution and which diverse parameters play complex roles,
self-criticism in regard to the issues of exces- necessitates an intense interaction among sec-
sive consumption (Slater, 1999) and thus loss of tors and disciplines. Among these disciplines,
natural and cultural resources, targets of tourism architecture stands out as a leading actor since it
has started to be shifted from an industry that not only facilitates investments, synthesizes the
was developed along the axis of 3S (sun, sand, requirements of comfort and entertainment or
sea) mass tourism which has been isolated from organizes activities, technologies and spaces, but
the culture and economy of the loci, towards one also creates identities and produces the imagery
that is organized along the axis of 3E (education, and iconography associated with branding of the
entertainment, environment) under the influence tourism investors. Today, hence, tourism industry
of increasing concern for issues such as sustain- and architecture are in a comprehensive and very
ability, conservation of both heritage and nature, close interaction.
etc. (Ellul, 1997). Thus, impact of tourism on As a matter of fact, authentically historical
tangible and intangible assets of cultural heritage architectural edifices have always triggered
has been placed to the center of tourism industry tourism (Stoller, 1989) by their values as either
(Chambers, 1997; Pickard, 2001). In that regard, being witnesses to historical events, or repre-
relationships between tourism, city planning, senting various phenomena, or merely by their
heritage conservation, restoration and architecture monumentality, originality or other assets. These
(Baud-Bovy & Lawson, 1998; Var & Gunn, 2002) unique masterpieces or contexts used to render
have gained utmost importance particularly from certain destinations more advenageous over the

103
The Role of Architecture on Tourism Industry

others. Thus, relatively disadventageous locations recreation areas, skyscrapers to panoramic towers,
in terms of touristic attractions have developed private houses to museums etc. Doubtlessly, such
various strategies to overcome their position by phenomena could easily be explained by mate-
the utilization of architecture again (Donald, rial aspects. From economical viewpoint, to start
2007) due to its representation capacity. One of with, one may suggest that although demand is
these strategies has been to create their own iconic assumed to create the supply according to classical
symbols through contemporary architecture and economics, demand can be artificially created and
its new forms by well-known designers, who are stimulated in order to maximize the profitability
promoted as celebrities, while the other strategy of the capital. Space and time appear as two ma-
being to simulate unique buildings and cities in jor obstacles for the circulation of global capital
these inopportune places which has no relevance (Yirtici, 2005). Space and time, in conventional
to the location of the original. Recently, tourism terms, are bounded by local context, that is to
industry seems to be promoting not only fake say, by geography and its specific spatial charac-
copies of historically important or well-known teristics and own rhythm of time. Nevertheless,
buildings, cities but also their kitsch and eclectic global economy requires such a local resistance
collage, such as monuments, pyramids, palaces, to be eliminated simply because homogeneity
urban plazas and even the whole city of Venice will increase the fluidity of of global capital (Bau-
in resorts. The consequences of this trend, which man, 1997). Therefore, the currently dominating
is referred as Las Vegas effect or WoW effect, economic system seeks various ways not only
will be discussed below. Regarding the other, and to break the links with locality, time and space
relatively more ethical strategy, such contempo- but also to reconstruct them in an abstract level.
rary architectural edifice itself can transform its Along this goal, it utilizes building technology to
location into a magnet of touristic attraction by its materialize this deconstruction and reconstruction
own very existence. The most typical example og of space-time relationship. Manifestations and
this sort is the town of Bilbao in Spain becoming a ramifications of these radical transformations will
touristic place by the construction of Guggenheim be discussed below.
Museum building by Frank Gehry and radically Therefore, this section will address the issue
transforming towns economy, which is defined of technology in tourism, and particularly that
in literature as Bilbao effect (Zulaika, 2003). of building technology, as a socio-cultural issue.
As a result of this strong connection and inter- The argument developed in this section is cen-
action between architecture and tourism, tourism tered on the notion of authenticity, its vitality for
industry gained a remarkable power over archi- sustainability of local economy, and thus, local
tecture. In this context, having gone way beyond everyday life.
the reasonable touristic demand to experience
architecture in its original location, this power
has reached to a capacity to be able to turn daily TOURISM, CULTURE AND
architecture into instruments of touristic show. ARCHITECTURE
More precisely, tourism, when reached to the
required level of demand, can have the power to Tourism has originally stemmed from the human
transform buildings totally or partially. That is to need to other cultures, to experience heterogeneity
say, touristic demand can easily force develop- of life and the diversity of its cultural products,
ers, owners, local administrators, governers and artefacts on earth (Giddens, 1991). Thus, the
finally architects to convert, for instance, religious travels, which used to be real adventures due to
buildings to art galleries, parliament buildings to problems regarding transportation difficulties,

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The Role of Architecture on Tourism Industry

safety and cost issues, had gradually started to able (Erkal, 2007). The border which seperates
be encouraged by technological advances par- them first blurs, then finally collapses. Thus, the
ticularly in transportation during 19th century. In global world envisaged by those who favoured
other words, tourism, which started as a cultural its homogenization becomes merely touristic;
enterprise, still places cultural activity onto its entertaining on short-term basis yet monotonous
center no matter how much it is also associated in the long run. On a similar note, Hannerz (2006)
with disciplines such as economis, logistics, etc. suggests that tourists are becoming a significantly
Franklin (2003) defines tourism not only as a influential social group to shape the city social
cultural activity but also as a part of the phenom- life and public realm due to increasing mobility
enon of globalization. The difference of tourism, in the age of fast travel, information technology
today, is its homogenizing effect which occurs in and global economy. Referring to Culler (1989)s
two mutually interacting channels. Firstly, tour- studies on semiology of tourism, he emphasizes
ism industry supply tourists everywhere with the point that tourist as people staying in a place
more or less similar services, uniform catering, too short to assess their environment through nei-
hosting, and even the same artificial climate as ther function nor context but rather throughtheir
well as standard packages to the extent that they guidebooks, cameras, and thus, images, icons and
provide them even with similar physical and associated events. This type of short-term percep-
spatial settings. The aforementioned Vegas or tion and assessment which eventually exerts power
WoW effects are polarized manifestations of on the city to turn everything into a spectacular
such homogenization of the globe through tourism. show for tourists through signs (Barthes, 1977)
Secondly, tourists, in return, develop a behavior including spaces they experience. In other words,
in which they are interested more in the artificial for tourists, sign value of an architectural edifice
experiences, simulations and pseudo-local gift merits more than its use value. Thus, function,
items (that are mostly produced in China) than as one of the essentials of architecture, becomes
the genuine, authentic and salient features of the suspended and reduced to the level of an object
place and its people. that is consumed visually (Alsayyad, 2001). How
Holiday villages are typical examples of this architectural product looks for a tourist gains more
where guests, whose only contact with local cul- importance than what it is produced for and what
ture is gift shops either pre-arranged by the tour it contains. In this context, architecture inevitably
agency if not another in the duty-free just before becomes a part of the whole tour package disposed
they leave the place at the end of their vacation, for pleasure and entertainment. Consequently,
are isolated from the everyday, real surrounding it is no longer part of its local culture although
of their destination. In an age of violence, crime tourism is based on the idea of selling culture
and terror, the underlying fears of people yield a significant part of which is characterized by its
in such a degree of isolation and artificialization unique architecture that is conditioned by local
even in vacations, which defeats its initial purpose social dynamics.
of tourism that was to discover, encounter and Nonetheless, contemporary architecture with
interact with the other (Giddens, 1991). its new technologies and new language seems to
Thus, this homogenizing behavioural cycle and be replacing the authentic local products of archi-
the superficial interest in local culture develop a tecture. Thus, tourism of architecture, which has
state-of-mind of their own. In other words, being a siginificant shares in the global tourism activity,
tourist becomes an (ephemeral, distancing, super- is overemphasized so much that architecture of
ficial) attitude towards life in general. Eventually, tourism is considered as a field of specializa-
everyday life and touristic life becomes inseper- tion within the discipline of architectural design.

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The Role of Architecture on Tourism Industry

Particularly, considerable amount of tourism in cannot sustain even itself, not only local life, by
developed countries is oriented towards products relying purely on creating shows and temporary
of architecture, some of which create attraction settings unless some effort is made to revive the
due to their historical value whereas most of culture through conservation and rehabilitation.
which attract due to their capacity to represent In regard to the relationship between tourism and
contemporary architecture. architecture, technology could only be judiciously
Architecture, particularly for tourism, becomes and critically applied to serve the rehabilitation
a commodity of consumption (Appadurai, 1988). of the disturbed balance between tectonics and
By the same token, architecture is considered as a skin, building and facade, real and fake, actual and
global asset in a world of intense communication virtual, signified and signifier, content and form,
through help of technology. So, administrations meaning and icon, in sum, between architecture
and developers compete with eachother to create and show. Therefore, the issue of misinterpreta-
their own architectural assets for increasing their tion is tackled on two fronts; visual language and
share from the tourism market if they do not already building technology. The following successive
have their own existing architectural stock to be sections address these two interrelated issues
marketed through tourism sector. In this process, respectively.
the use and value of architecture as tourism object
are reduced to temporary stage sets for being re-
placed with new icons (Hughes, 1991) to surprise MIS-INTERPRETATION
the spectator and signs for every new show that OF CULTURE AND ITS
is to be staged to satisfy the demands of rapidly ARCHITECTURAL LANGUAGE
growing tourism industry. Such a consciousness
and desire to produce architecture as show even- This section argues that pressure of tourism
tually result in an inflation of iconic buildings industry and consumerist misinterpretation of
and promotion of kitsch buildings against the local cultures (Slater, 1999) and their architec-
real value of genuine architectural products that tural languages seem to have created a peculiar
reflect the true culture of a loci. At this point, the type of urban-architectural forgery that is usually
issues of heritage conservation and renewal arise reduced to skin-deep faade mimicry of local
as mechanisms of safeguarding the sustainability architectural features which results in distorted
of local cultures. eclecticism of Disney Architecture or Las Vegas
Having repeated that building technology is Strip Architecture, background, sources, roots and
discussed here as a cultural issue, this chapter aims of which are different from socio-cultural
argues that concepts of technology and language context of cities at stake. Therefore, the city
are mis-interpreted in architecture, particularly of collective memory (Boyer, 1996) seems to
when its relation to tourism industry is considered. have been replaced by the postmodern condition
While the language is conceived as a mere iconog- (Lyotard, 1984; Jameson, 1991; Harvey, 1991)
raphy devoid of its cultural components; from its of city becoming a place of show and display
production processes, from social, geographical (Debord, 1967). The architecture as show and
or climatic factors, the technology is conceived display can so easily and quickly be consumed
as an instrument to produce this iconography as that global cities which are in competition to at-
if it is merely a surface surface articulation like a tract more tourists have to produce new shows,
stage set for a show. That is why the architectural new signs and icons new buildings serve for that
literature takes a critical stance towards what is purpose (Urry, 1995). Thus, seductive outlook of
called Vegas Effect. As a matter of fact, tourism

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The Role of Architecture on Tourism Industry

their new icons have to fascinate the minds of the manner to make the show more interesting for
new tourist population. tourists that the end product is not more than
Although monuments gradually lose their kitsch. This trend not only affects the exterior
power on the collective memory, the demand for image but gradually space program and content
new icon buildings does not decrease. That is the of the building as well. Thus, architecture loses
reason why bigger buildings, with strange sculp- its grounds by becoming a skin (Semper, 1989),
tural forms as enigmatic signifiers (Jencks, 1995) a mask or a cover rather than what it exists for.
are still being built by stararchitects (as celebri- Consequently, a process which turns office sky-
ties and even superheroes) as remedies (Figure scrapers to watchtowers or worship spaces to
1) for all the ills of the contemporary city that galleries is being witnessed.
is rapidly losing its past, heritage and thus char- Architectural product accommodates two types
acter. After economic success of Bilbao effect, of values; use and meaning (Guzer, 2007). While
developers demand has profoundly increased for premodern era was characterized by the fact that
iconic despite various socio-cultural concerns and meaning was collectively produced by the society
drawbacks. Thus, these iconic buildings multiply (Rapoport, 1982) modernity defined the meaning
through mimetic processes (Blackmore, 1999). value over its use value (Perez-Gomez, 1983). In
In a world and time dominated by technology other words, a rational link or correlation between
and media; the ambiguity and speculations cre- the tectonic existence of an architectural edifice
ated by iconic architecture has gradually been and its formal and artistic expression was inquired
accepted as a means of being mediatic. Not only until the end of the twentieth century. However,
ambigous sculptural forms (Gelernter, 1995) but together with post-modern consumption society,
also language produced by techniques of copy these two values are divorced and new value
and collage turns into architecture a spectacular judgements started to influence architectural
show and display. These techniques are imple- products, too, as in all channels of consumption
mented in such an exaggerated and distorted objects. Consequently, aspects of meaning and

Figure 1. Buildings for tourism as enigmatic icons and star architects as superheroes; A collage of
Guggenheim Museum building silhouette in Bilbao, Spain guarded by architects Frank Gehry and Zaha
Hadid ( 2010 Murat Cetin)

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The Role of Architecture on Tourism Industry

identity have started to compete and challenge in the fields of cultural production (architecture)
the functional aspects of buildings. Thus, today, and cultural consumption (tourism).
aspects of meaning and identity, which once was This section will address the issue of techno-
the contribution of architect, directly became a logical advances and their impact on architecture
program input defined clearly by developers, on two channels; first one is IT based technologies
investors, corporate institutions or governments the other is construction technologies. Both types
particularly in tourism industry to boost up the of technologies are discussed from the viewpoint
economy of a city. The manifestations of refunc- of their pressure on the transformation of culture
tioning of architecture as an instrument of prestige and architecture as one of its subsets.
and economic generator could be observed in a
wide spectrum ranging from Mitterands Paris Impact of IT and Media on the
Effect in Europe to Dubai Effect on the Middle Reality of Architecture
East region.
Doubtlessly, functional flexibilities brought by As a matter of fact, all commodities (including
technological advances and the resulting physical space) needed continuously changing faces in
and spatial transformations have an accelerating Post-Fordist production systems. Technology is
impact on the process of the divorce between use utilized to enable commodities to change very
and meaning values. Therefore, the next section quickly. Particularly, IT based technologies and
will elucidate the advances of technology that media technologies were favoured to overcome
paved the way for such a radical cultural trans- the sheer physicality and materialty of real life
formation in the way we built our environment. which stand as major obstacles in this context of
rapid and frequent changes occurring in high-speed
(Virilio, 1998). Thus, simulation and virtual reality
MIS-INTERPRETATION OF found their ground to flourish in such a context
BUILDING TECHNOLOGY (Baudrillard, 1994). They served the demands of
economic system so well that they have finally
In addition to obvious and direct relation between become an addiction today. Most aspects of life
building and technology, there is a very subtle and are shifting towards simulated spaces in todayss
indirect relation between tourism and technology. post information society. Within the current
The advances in technology profoundly change euphoria of information technologies such as 4G
not only the way people live but also how they telecommunication, worldwide web, electronic
perceive. This gradual transformation may eventu- trade, electronic state, virtual social networks etc.,
ally shift human cognitive schemata which would our living and perception have been significantly
lead to a new phase, and thus, state of human altered since the 19th century, particularly in the
existance. No matter how far and distant such a last few decades. Architecture is not an excep-
phase may seem, consequences of abrupt leaps in tion to this transformation; and neither is tourism
this transformation process that are implemented industry (Pease et al., 2007).
through our fascination with technology might de Ucar (2007) draws attention to a 19th century
destructive since our biological and mental ties invention and comments on its influence of the
with reality, nature, location, culture and tradition development of tourism; La Nature coup dil,
have not yet been totally removed. Therefore the or widely known as Panorama by Robert Barker
relation between these strong ties and evolving (Parcell, 1996). He suggests that although they
technology should be re-considered particularly disappeared in 20th century, it can be considered
as an evolution because they are still in our daily

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The Role of Architecture on Tourism Industry

lives as a notion of virtual reality. Interactive skin (Till, 1999). Market demand for such dis-
cameras and web-based programs to combine our guise seems to have reached almost to a level of
photographs provide us with panoramic images fetishist obsession with newer forms (Pietz, 1993).
with 360 degrees views. In fact, panorama in the Hence, architecture has recently started to serve
19th century was more than a device to provide as a new package in order to market the products
360 degree images, but was more of a studiously of corporate building sector. Marketing through a
choreographed magical stage performance to new package necessitated the use of a new media
puzzle the viewer (Oettermann, 1997). The tech- (Ramonet, 2002). In a society which has dogmatic
niques developed by panorama had paved the belief in media, the arts have also been pumped-up
way for advances in photography and movies. by the media and its related technologies. What is
Similar to present times, the rising demand for unfamiliar, interesting (no matter how strange it
knowledge in an age of information boom follow- could be), has become the most wanted feature in
ing the widespread dissemination of books had this tv/video/internet oriented media (McLuhan et
created an intellectual aura of experiencing this al., 1989). Hence, new types of spaces have been
new information about others. No matter how emerging with the strangest possible forms and
difficult, expensive and dangerous the travel was, iconographic language.
the demand to see other places, people, cultures, Radical leaps in technological advances,
landscapes, buildings, food, artifacts etc. was profoundly transform the way people conceive
met by bringing those locations to the people art (Mitchell, 1994). The concept of simulation
through this new technological initiative what (Baudrillard, 1994) with the help of increased
is later called in North America as Cyclorama. ability of computation seems to have enabled the
This need was intended to be satisfied with a creation of a marketable imagery of space (Fou-
unique technology based on providing virtually cault, 1973). Although this new visual revolution
realistic images. It was achieved by applying is welcomed by the profession, the real problem
principles carefully derived from the disciplines was the possibility of realising this abstract image
of painting, optics, theatre and architecture with in concrete with the current building technologies.
the available technology of the time. So, first Moreover, further production, re-production and
seeds of todays architecture as a mediatic show re-presentation of this new space unavoidably (yet
or icon were planted by invention of panorama magically) blurred the borders between real and
in the 19th century. virtual (Mitchell, 1996). Inevitable consequences
Under the pressure of the demand for con- of this phenomenon were manifold. It was meant
tinuously changing faces in the current economic to weaken the tectonic conditions and traditions
system, architecture, thus, is in a difficult position in which architecture is evolved. Its seductive
between the masses as its consumer and corporate nature was meant to cause one to discard its true
sector as its financer. Therefore, architecture seems assets simply because of its market value. Its
to have developed a double-faced attitude with the popular merits seem to have pushed its social
help of image-oriented cultural infrastructureand responsibilities aside. The question is whether it
technological superstructure in order to overcome is architecture any longer.
this paradox caused by the sudden and radical
shift in capital ownership. The new power (of the
corporate capital) and her (artistic and spatial)
weapons should be disguised in a seducing new

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The Role of Architecture on Tourism Industry

Impact of Building Technology on All of these developments have rapidly and


the Materiality of Architecture totally altered the very nature of architecture as
a functional and aesthetic shelter into a display
Another channel in which technological advances shell. Like the billboards of Las Vegas strip, the
make significant impact on architectureof tourism tourism architecture has turned into a circus where
is the building technology. Traditionally, building jugglers of archirtecture perform their skills of
activity and architectural language as its cultural acrobacy of forms and images with buildings
expression were conditioned by the limitations in shape of; for instance, boats, transatlantics,
of material, available workmanship, principles spaceships, burgers, cakes, toys, animals, plants,
of economy, and conventions of construction fruits, hills, rocks, clouds, daily devices, instru-
techniques that were lenient with forces of nature. ments, iPods, tv screens or buildings as replicas of
Currently, on the contrary, construction technol- Topkapi Palace, Kremlin Palace, or of Venice with
ogy has been usuriously pushed in a direction to its water canals, or Moscow with its plazas etc. In
enable architects and enginners producing images sum, architecture has turned into artistic creation
to satisfy this aforementioned demand of touristic of interesting objects that also accommodates hu-
consumption. Production of steel in vast amounts man functions, that is to say, buildings that look
as well as advances in steel construction has ini- like anything but architecture. In this context,
tially started the process of a reform in architecture emergent building technology encourages creation
starting from the 19th century onwards. of fake facades which may look like traditional
During the 20th century, developments in architecture. Moreover, contemporary materials
glass technology enabled to go beyond the exist- and techniques allow architects to produce mim-
ing limitations of construction. Recently, glass icry of history through forms and figures borrowed
technology is developed into such a level that arbitrarily from past without any reference to its
it is no longer merely a material that provides context or constituent conditions. Nonetheless,
transparency, view and light through windows, this anachronistic attitude as well as flattening
but an intelligent environmental control shell, of whole history and its associated aspects into a
and moreover, a structural component of build- skin-deep cosmetic surface treatment will serve
ings. In parallel to these developments, inventions nothing but to terminate the existing weak ties and
and advances in material science engouraged the connections of humans to their roots in nature,
use of various alloys, compositions, chemicals, place and culture. By the same token, this will,
plastics and special fabrics in building industry. soon, result in tourism industry to sabotage its own
The increasing use of these materials in com- resources that are mainly embedded in the cultural
bination with various forms of steel structures content of localities unless an alternative strategy
also initiated a shift from load bearing systems is established regarding the relationship between
to tensile systems in construction of buildings. culture and tourism. Development of strategies for
Furthermore, the remarkable progress in the field sustainability of local cultures requires an empha-
of electronics, nano technology, artificial intel- sis on the thorough and rigorous study of genuine
ligence, remote communication systems paved cultures, their multi-faceted aspects and contexts
the way for the age of smart buildings (Seltzer, rather than its visual replication. Therefore, at this
1992). Consequently, conventional tectonics of point, the emphasis must be given to the issue of
building was replaced by the tectonics of skin architectural heritage and its conservation.
architecture largely determined by the use of a
wide variety of curtain wall faades.

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The Role of Architecture on Tourism Industry

GENUINE CULTURAL ASSETS production of this fake history through WoW


AND CONSERVATION OF effect created by these theme hotel chains.
ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE The objective of tourism industry should focus
on contributing to local culture by architecture
Although tourism industry may invest on other as- whether it is a restoration or conservation of a
sets to increase its profit, historical and traditional product of authentic culture or a construction of
context is the most valuable and sustainable asset a new product of Bilbao Effect, but definitely
for tourism industry (Maciocco & Serreli, 2009; not by promotion of replicas which will degrade
Ulled Merino et al., 1986). The first and the most the originals.
important salient feature of this asset, that is to say, Architectural edifices, particularly master-
traditional context is its originality. The priority pieces have always attracted attention. Therefore,
of tourism industry must not only to provide a they play a major role in the tourism income of
certain level of comfort to its customers but also their region as well as their country. The impor-
assure the sustainability of this vulnerable cultural tance of Eiffel Tower or Louvre Palace for Paris,
asset both as a means of protecting its own invest- Big Ben Clock Tower and Buckingham Palace
ment as well as a social responsibility. Genuinely for London, Hagia Sophia Museum, Suleymaniye
traditional architecture is the main element in the Mosque and Topkapi Palace for Istanbul is crucial
manifestation of this cultural asset (Singh 2007). for their tourism potential. Nevertheless, none of
Authentic architectural heritage should not be these edifices stand out individually, on the con-
sacrificed for the artificial architecture of theme trary, as an integral part of the pattern constituted
hotels via kitsch replication of the genuine in ir- by the cultural assets of the city in which they
relevant locations and contexts with fake materials are located. Moreover, they acquire their value
and false proportions. The objectives of tourism through time as a historical asset whereas the cur-
industry to generate new virtual environments to rent buildings are immediately put into the center
stimulate tourists fantasy world through these of attention via marketing strategies right after the
theme hotels seem to have followed the easiest moment after their production if not during their
path and inevitably ended up with production of planning and production phases. Unfortunately,
very cheap and non-creative images via various new architecture, when conceived as a tool for
packages. The profits accumulated through this tourism, has become a part of a process which
populist initiative can neither justify the damage homogenizes and monotonizes the environment
given to cultural assets nor legitimize the extra at the peril of genuine qualities.
cost paid by communities have to pay to sustain Therefore, tourism industry should seek ways
their everday lives and cultural existence (Lefe- of collaborating with the discipline of conservation
bvre, 1991). Furthermore, the enormous cost that of architectural heritage in addition to sponsoring
will be required for these buildings to be removed and managing the restoration of cultural heritage
or replaced once their fake imagery is outdated that is under the threat of deterioration (Orbasli,
must not be forgotten. Similar to the damages 2000). Nonetheless, conservation merely for tour-
tourism investments caused during 1980s via the ist is not a favourable or sustainable solution either.
destruction of nature, forests and coasts, the cur- Instead, local communities must be supported
rent developments will create damages that are to maintain their living and producing to enable
not only very hard and costly to compensate but them sustaining themselves without the help of
also irreversible in terms of socio-cultural rami- tourism during off-seasons. Therefore, tourism
fications. Thus, any investment that is intended industry should take initiatives in boosting local
to serve tourism industry should discourage the economies and take measures against sweeping

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The Role of Architecture on Tourism Industry

effects of global economy simply to ensure the Disneyworld or Las Vegas Strip, which too, might
continuity its base of existence. Along this path, attract tourists in specific context since they are the
ties with local history, local nature, local materi- authentic products of the (space-time) context they
als, local arts and crafts and local rituals should are formed within. However, other cities should
be enhanced with integrated strategies. Only avoid replicating this type of populist products.
then, the devastating effects of tourism on culture They rather should keep them in a distance to
could not only be prevented but on the contrary be highlight their own assets.
reversed towards serving the local communities Particularly, this difference is blurred in societ-
and sustainability of cultures around the globe so ies where critical culture is not very well estab-
that tourism could sustain itself without inventing lished (Guzer, 2007). In other words, buildings that
and investing on new shows forever. are pumped up with exaggerated scale, material
and formal expressions as well as naively direct
references to history could easily be confused
CONCLUSION with avant-garde architectural experiments. Such
an attitude not only creates a conflict between the
This chapter elucidates the impact of tourism on real functional or tectonic values of building and
social and cultural values and assets with specific its sign values (Baudrillard, 1981) but also renders
reference to its strong mutual interaction with architecture as an exaggerated product of fashion
architecture. This interaction is tackled from the or daily values of taste(lessness) rather than a
perspective of the conservation of cultural heritage product of special design process. The major dif-
and its sustainable development. It is argued that ference, however, lies in the following distinction;
this interaction is threatened by economic and between creating an attractive architecture and
technological pressures and needs for an urgent using architecture to attract people, or between
shift from the current reduction of cultural assets turning architectural product into a sign and using
and traditional features into superficial icons or existing signs to make architecture.
surface articulations towards conservation of au- Doubtlessly, the use of architecture as an in-
thentic character and genuine products to assure strument of prestige can and should be considered
its own sustainability. as a positive ground for architecture. However,
As discussed above in detail, tourism industry is productive use of this ground for architecture is
undergoing a rapid expansion causing the breakage only possible through widespread establishment
of its link between space, time under pressure of of the critical culture, that is to say, through not
capitalist economics to either create or stimulate only a certain distance from easily consumable
the demand (Harvey, 1985). Along this line of direct references to history but also a process of
homogenizing action, it utilizes architecture as a abstraction and interpretation of existing knowl-
means to globally create artificial and exaggerated edge rather than that of instant products made
settings for its spectacular shows legitimizing the up of popular signs and icons. Hence, space is
promotion of populist and kitsch culture at the essentially a public commodity, and therefore,
peril of locality and genuinity. Misplacement of it can be monopolised neither by the capital nor
place-specific assets or features to create these by the architect. On the other hand, a new vision
new spatial settings causes cultural confusions. and understanding the ontological transformation
The fact that genuine urban-architectural language that architecture is undergoing is also needed
which reflects this harmony of space and time for the discipline of architecture (Yirtici, 2007).
is very attractive for tourist seems to be usually For architecture to become the subject rather
subdued in favour of architecture that looks like than object of the current social reality in which

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The Role of Architecture on Tourism Industry

architecture exists, architecture has to develop Boyer, C. (1996). The City of collective Memory;
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known phenomena so far. Consequently, tourism
Chambers, E. (1997). Tourism and Culture: An
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Applied Perspective. New York: State University
split between the architecture and its location in
of New York Press.
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and Its Institutions. Norman, OK: University of
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116

Chapter 8
Emerging Trends in Tourism
Industry in Oman
Neeta Baporikar
Salalah College of Applied Sciences, Sultanate of Oman

ABSTRACT
Tourism industry is the largest industry world wide and is the main source of economic development
of countries like Singapore, Bangkok and Dubai. It is also the main source of income generation for
countries like Mauritius, Spain etc. Oman being the second largest country in the Middle East possessing
wealth of natural resources has everything to offer to the tourists. It has a long coastline with pristine
beaches, beautiful mountains, and worlds best deserts with rolling sand dunes. With breath taking
Khareef festival of Salalah, Musundam in the Khasab region which is referred to as Norway of Arabia
and Bhala with its forts and castles being listed in the UNESCO world heritage monuments, Oman is
one among the best ten countries of the world for tourists to travel (International Travel Magazine). This
chapter attempts to review the strategic approach adopted for tourism development, gives the SWOT
analysis for the tourism industry and discusses the emerging trends of tourism and related sectors like
hospitality, travel and aviation, training and education with special reference to Sultanate of Oman.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch008

Copyright 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

BACKGROUND lenges those confront it and then to provide the


basis for an action plan, and a set of strategic de-
The importance of the tourism system for eco- velopment interventions, to assist tourism service
nomic development in Oman has been clearly providers, and to maximize the impact of tourism
acknowledged in the development strategies and development within Oman.
plans. Despite the recognition of the potential
significance of the tourism system for economic Questions for Investigation
development there have been few detailed and and Research Approach
comprehensive studies of the structure, dynamics
and potential opportunities of tourism develop- The research questions to be addressed here
ment. Moreover, the research that has appeared are directly related to the above objectives. The
tends to be extremely narrow in sectored and/or research approach and research outputs relate to
spatial focus. This in turn renders it unhelpful in the core questions of the investigation and the
terms of a more general understanding the trends research approach begins from the basis that at
and the need of the strategic approach for tour- the national level a growing body of research has
ism management in Oman. In the context of such been undertaken on the general issues concerning
limitations and in particular the lack of detailed tourism development in Oman.
research covering the tourism sector as a whole, The research approach that is used involved
strategic management of tourism is difficult to several stages of analysis:
undertake.
First an outline of the importance of tour-
Purpose of the Project ism as an economic activity in Oman is
provided.
To gather relevant data to understand the Second, the current policy frameworks
trends and dynamics of the tourism econ- that guide tourism development in Oman
omy in Oman and the challenges that con- are analysed and a review of the domestic
front it. tourism structure is made.
To provide the basis for an action plan and Third, a detailed description and analysis
a set of strategic development interven- of current tourism trends, with specific at-
tions to assist tourism service providers, tention to international and domestic tour-
and to maximise the impact of tourism ism is considered, a macro-analysis and
development. profile of the tourism economy in Oman is
made and an analysis is given of the key
Objectives: features of the most important role-players
in the Oman tourism system.
1. Understand the trends and effectiveness of Fourthly, the fallout of tourism develop-
government policy, ment namely need of trained manpower
2. Identify impact on growth of related business. leading to creation of educational institu-
3. Gaps in implementation of tourism policy tions thereby facilitating the national ob-
jective of Omanisation is also discussed.

The core objectives of the research are first, to


gather relevant data to understand the trends and
dynamics of the tourism of Oman and the chal-

117
Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

Data Sources and Methodology INTRODUCTION

As compared to other economic sectors, such as The Sultanate of Oman occupies the south eastern
agriculture, manufacturing or mining for which tip of the Arabian Peninsula - 300,000 sq. km pos-
there is considerable official data at the national sessing about 1,700 km of coastline having most
level, the tourism sector is distinguished by the diverse landscape including fjord-like rugged
poor state of official data collection. It is, therefore, mountains in the far north, magnificent tracts of
not surprising that there is minimal official infor- desert and a lush south possessing rich variety of
mation upon which to provide a macro-analysis flora and fauna together with panoramic beauty of
of the tourism sector. Given this context the first mountain ranges. Evidence of a glorious ancient
major task of this investigation was to collect past is spread all over the country boasting more
and compile relevant data. This information was than 500 forts, castles, and towers. The varied
collected from the information offices of the lo- geography makes for a wide range of climatic
cal authorities and Tourisms web-directories. It conditions. The best time of the year to visit Oman
has to be noted that the methodology used might is between October and April, when the weather is
have led to certain tourism information or data pleasant, warm in the day and cool in the evening.
being over-looked. On the other hand, however, The average temperature is 25-35 degree C dur-
the methodology works on the same basic search ing the day which plummets to 17-19degree C.
behaviour of potential tourists and tourism sector. Oman enjoys many unique features of rich
This data was augmented with survey material culture and traditional lifestyle in almost every
collected during March and April 2009. aspect. People are friendly and offer incomparable
This chapter also examines how many regions/ hospitality. Historically, Oman is a seafaring na-
communities have been able to improve their tour- tion. Prior to discovery of oil in 1967, the countrys
ism levels effectively in recent years. It particularly economy was based mainly on agriculture and
focuses on the Oman (GCC countries) strategy for fishing. Oil production has significantly changed
tourism in the past few years and how it has ac- the economic and social characteristics of the
complished its goals. It analyzes their strategic plan country and provided the resources for rapid
according to the insights and trends identified in a economic development and rise in the peoples
critical review of the peer-reviewed and scholarly income levels, especially since His Majesty Sultan
literature. The further analysis presented is based Qaboos bin Said took over the throne in 1970.
on informal discussions with tourism officials and Omanis are followers of Islam and tolerant
tourism product providers/enterprises. In terms of with a great sense of humour. Oman is a safe,
the tourism enterprises the focus of the discus- inexpensive country in which to travel to, with
sions was upon the organization, development much to see and a lot to experience (McQuillan,
and problems of tourism enterprises operating in 2001). In contrast to many other countries in the
all spheres of the provincial tourism economy. region, an important feature of Oman for continu-
In doing so, a deliberate attempt has been made ing its development of international trade including
to get as many views as possible so as to capture tourism is its tolerance of foreigners, religions
as wide a range of opinions as possible on core and lifestyles, social beliefs, customs, and its
issues surrounding the tourism sector. traditional Arabic flavour. Two of the slogans used
in promoting Oman are The Essence of Arabia
and bring a friend to Oman. The slogans refer
to the nature of the Omani people and promising
the visitors that they will experience something

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

unique and different. Oman has been identified by their privacy and, in particular, their religion should
a leading travel magazine Conde Naste Travel- always be observed. Modesty is the keyword in
ler as one of the ten best countries in the world how to dress. Women should wear loose, long
for tourism. Tourism Industry is relatively new garments, ensuring that their shoulders and knees
to Oman. A lot of new tourism and hospitality are covered. Men should wear long trousers and
projects are coming up throughout the country. tops with sleeves. Swimming costumes are fine
This has enhanced the employment opportunities for the beach or the pool. During the holy month
in the industry. However, the awareness among of Ramadan, all Muslims fast during the hours of
the Omani public has to improve to consider a daylight. Visitors to the country should remember
career in the tourism industry. that eating, drinking and smoking is not allowed
in public at this time.
His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said is Omans
COUNTRY PROFILE OF OMAN ruler. He acceded to the throne in 1970 and in
the span of 34 years has transformed the country
The Sultanate of Oman is located on the south- into one, which boasts of modern and advanced
east of the Arabian Peninsula and has an area of healthcare systems, education, telecommunica-
approximately 309,5002 km. It is bordered on tions networks and a stable economy. Although the
the west by Saudi Arabia, to the northwest lie Sultan has ultimate power in governing the country,
the United Arab Emirates and to the southwest various ministries perform the daily administra-
is Yemen. The east coast meets with the Arabian tion of the land. The Sultan is a well-respected
Sea and the Gulf of Oman. In the south of the Sul- leader, both at home and in the international arena.
tanate is Salalah, the administrative capital of the In recognition of his role in Middle East peace
Dhofar region. The capital of Oman is Muscat, a keeping, the National Council on US-Arab Rela-
cosmopolitan, but relaxed city, free from the hustle tions presented him with the International Peace
and bustle found in many of other capital cities in Award in 1988.
the gulf. Oman is a surprisingly a green country,
particularly in Dhofar, due to its location on the Culture
monsoon paths. Landscaping and beautification
are priorities of the municipalities, and gardens, The majority of Omanis are Ibadi Muslims, fol-
parks and grassy knolls line the main highway. lowers of Abd Allah ibn Ibad. Around 25% are
The countryside is varied, from rugged mountain Sunni Muslims and live primarily in Sur and
ranges to desert sands, to green and, lush wadis the surrounding area and in Dhofar. The Shia
(riverbeds). The climate in Muscat is markedly minority lives along the Al Batinah coast in the
different from that in Dhofar: during the winter, Muscat-Matrah region. Ibadism is an outgrowth
Muscat enjoys temperatures of, average, 30 De- of the Kharijite movement, a variant form of Islam
grees Celsius, and dropping to around 18 Celsius practiced by descendants of a sect that seceded
at night. However, in the summer, Muscat bakes from the principal Muslim body after the death of
in 45-48 degree Celsius, while Dhofar cools down the Prophet Muhammad in A.D. 632. Adherence
in the light monsoon rain. to Ibadism accounts in part for Omans historical
The Omani people are friendly and welcoming isolation.
to visitors. Although Arabic is their main language, The research showed that the differences in
English is spoken frequently and is often used as regions of Oman represent a challenge for policy-
the lingua franca. Despite their relaxed air, the makers seeking to introduce sustainable tourism
Omanis are quite conservative people and respect development initiatives into a potentially fragile

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

and sensitive cultural environment. However, the Increase the level of employment of Omani
Oman Tourism Strategic Plan is comprehensive nationals in the sector from current 37% to
and ambitious initiative designed to provide all 90% by the year 2010.
regions with a wide range of developmental Increase average annual growth rate of
programs that can serve to promote employment income from tourism by about 7% for the
and living standards for the large percentage of period 2005-2010, and be responsible for
indigenous people living there. The research also the promotion and marketing of Oman as a
showed, though, that such development initiatives tourist destination.
must be approached thoughtfully to avoid harming
the very things about a particular region that make Tourism Development Plans
it attractive to niche travelers in the first place,
and this is especially the case with the people of The governments detailed master plan, called the
the Oman today. Tourism Priority Action Plan, identifies integrated
tourism development projects for five regions in
Tourism and GDP Oman together with a marketing programme for
each of these regions, which will present a new,
The development of tourism has become one of clear and distinct national brand, Oman - The
the key objectives of Omani development plan- Essence of Arabia (MOT). The focus will be on
ning, as it is particularly suited to creating jobs eco-tourism, sun, sea and sand facilities, cultural
for young Omanis. Omans development plan and heritage attractions, adventure tourism, coastal
concerning tourism is focused on attracting foreign resorts and leisure retreat resorts. Plans to estab-
investment in projects such as hotels, golf courses, lish an alternative destination different from the
and theme parks. This industry offers a variety of commercial throng of Dubai on the Gulf tourism
employment opportunities for a rapidly expanding map are considered to offer quality tourism to both
Omani workforce, but is dependent on develop- GCC and nationals of farther countries with more
ing education and training institutions to support sedate and culturally-enriched experience (MOT).
growth (MOM). The current limit on tourists is The Interior regions also boast many historic
set at 50,000 a year, but the government plans to structures perhaps the best known is in the city
expand that number to 100,000 in ten years, and of Bahla whose fort is on the UNESCO World
728,000 by 2020 which can be accomplished Heritage list. Other cities in the interior such as
through easing of visa rules. All of these must be Nizwa, Salalah, and Barka each are also distinct
accomplished while balancing Omans delicate for their traditional industries such as Jewellery,
environment as only 1% of Omans land is under
cultivation and hence resources such as water and Tourism Development Strategy
land must be used wisely.
The tourism sector in Oman is solely man- The government of Oman has developed a strategy
aged by the government. The newly established to create national economy based on increasing
Ministry of Tourism has been entrusted with four private enterprise. The strategy is based on using
key objectives aiming to: its oil revenues (which are small by Middle East-
ern standards) to finance its initial modernization
Increase the tourism sector contribution to of basic infrastructure and education. All of this
the GDP from current 0.8% to about 5% by was overseen by a Development Council which
the year 2020. is currently in its Fifth Five Year Development
Plan. Development has been focused on three

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

areas, the first is basic industry mainly in the these hotels there are budget hotels, apartment
mineral sector in which Oman has rich deposits hotels, camps, youth hostels and guest houses
of gold, copper, chromites, asbestos, manganese, throughout the country.
gypsum, limestone, marble, and coal, the second
area is agriculture and fishing and the third sec- Demand and Supply
tor is tourism. (MONE) Omans development
plan concerning tourism is focused on attracting As predicted by the Ministry of Tourism, there is
foreign investment in projects such as hotels, golf shortage of 1000 rooms. This shortfall in the rooms
courses, and theme parks. This industry would will be met by the upcoming new hospitality proj-
offer a variety of employment opportunities for ects in the country. There is also a lot of demand
the rapidly expanding Omani workforce who is in the aviation sector as the national carrier Oman
dependent on developing education and training Air started new international routes and permitted
institutions to support growth. The visa restric- other international airlines to operate. This can be
tions on tourists were eased starting in 1987 as the seen by the expansion of the Muscat international
Omani government has sought to slowly expand airport. The ministry of civil aviation and transport
tourist numbers as infrastructure and facilities is planning to open new airports in the industrial
are expanded to meet increased demand. The city of Sohar, tourist wilayt of Ras-al-Hadd.
current limit on tourists is set at 50,000 a year A large number of cruise liners call on Sultan
and the government plans to increase this number Qaboos port in Muscat and in the port of Salalah.
to 100.000 in ten years, and to 728,000 by 2020. During the current season, it is expected that 40
to 45 ships with about 25,000 tourists would be
Omans Hospitality visiting the Sultanate. Hence, there is requirement
Industry on the Move for local transport, meal on land in the leading
hotels or restaurants.
The tourism sector had plenty to celebrate in recent According to World Tourism Report (2002)
years. Hoteliers enjoyed strong profitability in the tourism sector has:
2007 with remarkable increase in the number of
GCC business travelers, European leisure guests Accounted for 10.6 percent of world GDP
and Meeting Incentive Conferences and Exhibi- Employer of 200 million people or 7.8 per-
tions (MICE) business. With a number of five star cent of global work force
resorts opening up in Oman, there is no doubt this Travel and tourism will support the cre-
is designed to encourage further development of ation of more than 5.5 million jobs per year
the tourism sector. With highest occupancy rates during the 2000s
ever the trend is going to gather momentum in Leading producer of tax revenues.
subsequent years. Oman can boast 10, 000 hotel
rooms with 1,500 at five-star level, all of which Tourism in Oman
are in Muscat, (Appendix 1).
The fast-expanding portfolio of hotels and From the above we can see the vast potential in
hotel apartments posted very encouraging per- the international tourism industry, and in Oman
formance in the past two years. The occupancy also there is lot of scope to rise to the international
rates in all the hotels are continuously on the rise levels. Apart from these, especially during certain
as a result of new tourism projects and expected periods like the Khareef season in Salalah it is dif-
to reach occupancy of 100 per cent. Apart from ficult to get accommodation and to meet out this

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

demand there are a lot of new upcoming projects for the economies world wide the sector generates
there. How planned development of tourism is not only revenues but is also a great provider of
promoted by the ministry of tourism? What are employment. Approximately 77 million people
the special categorized tourism activities unique are employed in the industry worldwide (Allan
to Oman and how tourism is likely to be Omans Collier).
largest industry from the point of - both employ- Oman with many unique features of rich culture
ment and revenue generation? and traditional lifestyle in almost every aspect,
and people being friendly who offer incomparable
Few people really understand tourism, but that hospitality, is also rightly eying the tourism de-
does not seem to stop them from commenting on it velopment as a means for economic development.
and telling willing audiences how tourism should Omanis are followers of Islam and tolerant with a
work. Indeed, tourism is one of those activities that great sense of humor. Oman is a safe, inexpensive
produce an inordinate number of instant experts country in which to travel to, with much to see
who confuse emotions and feelings with fact. and a lot to experience (McQuillan, 2001).
(McKercher and Du Cros, 2002) In contrast to many other countries in the re-
gion, an important feature of Oman for continuing
Tracing the evolution of tourism and hospitality its development of international trade including
industry, one can clearly see that it was started on tourism is its tolerance of foreigners, religions
a very small scale. Most hospitality establishments and lifestyles, social beliefs, customs, and its
like inns, motels, restaurants etc, were entirely traditional Arabic flavour. Two of the slogans used
managed by family members. This is how one of in promoting Oman are The Essence of Arabia
the worlds largest industries today had a humble and bring a friend to Oman. The slogans refer
beginning. In olden days the number of people to the nature of the Omani people and promising
travelled was less, due the affordability of travel the visitors that they will experience something
which was once considered as a luxury and it unique and different. Oman has been identified by
was only for the people of high society. After a leading travel magazine Conde Nast Traveller
the industrial revolution the life style changed in as one of the ten best countries in the world for
Europe and it spread to rest of the world. Then tourism yet tourism as an industry is relatively
when transportation developed it became more new to Oman. A lot of new tourism and hospitality
convenient and easier for people to travel both long projects are coming up throughout the country.
and short distances thereby creating more tourists This has enhanced the employment opportunities
as the number of people travelling increased tre- in the industry. However, the locals lack awareness
mendously. Then with stress levels increasing due and this need to be improved.
to pressured jobs, touring and travelling became a Before highlighting clearly as to what are the
leisure seeking activity and the volume of business current trends, some discussion of how tourism
saw an exponential growth. This compelled and works needs be to be embarked upon. Next few
brought about the change in the operations of the paragraphs highlight what the key characteristics
tourism and hospitality industry, the resultant being of tourism are, how it is that attractions drive
professionalism of tourism sector - the need for tourism, and that there are a number of factors
professional approach in managing the industry. that impact upon visitation levels.
This has had a snow ball effect of demand for the
new discipline of studies in the area of tourism and
hospitality world wide. Today, travel and tourism
has become part of the peoples regular activity,

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

KEY CHARACTERISTICS entertain. Even museums and art galleries whose


OF TOURISM IN OMAN ostensible rationale is to provide education and
cultural enlightenment have recognized that they
Tourism is a commercial activity: Businesses enter are de facto in the entertainment business and
the tourism sector to profit from those who travel. have arranged their displays accordingly. The
States and provinces advance tourism because it reason is that only a small number of tourists are
generates new money for their jurisdictions. Whilst really in search of learning. Most are travelling for
the tourist travels to satisfy inner needs such as pleasure, or to satisfy escapist impulses, reasons,
escape, rest, recreation, status, or learning, the and therefore wish to enjoy. Some account for
product providers aim at profits. Tourism is unique this phenomenon as being a manifestation of the
in that the bulk of revenue is generated by facili- modern consumerist lifestyle; tourism is an end
tators of experiences rather than by experience in itself and not, in the first instance, a means to
providers. The tourism industry enables tourists any loftier goal.
to consume experiences, but does not necessar- Tourism has both positive and negative effects:
ily provide the experiences themselves. Indeed, One of the great myths promoted by sector tourism
only a small fraction of the cost of a tour is spent agencies and NGOs is that by controlling supply,
at what can be termed designated attractions; the the adverse impacts of tourism can be controlled.
rest is spent on transport, accommodation, food, Although this may be true at an operational level
drink, tips, sightseeing and commissions to the where undesirable elements can be refused entry
travel trade. Yet, it is the attractions that draw or forcibly removed, the global history of rampant
tourists to a region in the first place, enabling the tourism development, even under a supply-driven
rest of the benefits to accrue. approach, illustrates that this policy rarely works
Tourism involves the consumption of experi- on a regional or national basis. The great chal-
ences: Tourists satisfy their personal needs by lenge for any destination is to control the genie of
experiencing enjoyable activities tourism is tourism once it is let out of its bottle. The history
thus a form of consumption. Unlike most other of spontaneous development and the resultant
economic activities that enjoy a virtually exclusive social and environmental costs associated with
hegemony over the use or consumption of their it attest to the challenge faced by any destination
resources, tourism resources are typically part of that seeks to promote tourism. The best that gov-
the public domain or are intrinsically linked to the ernments can do is hope to influence the direction
social fabric of the host community. tourism will take.
Tourism is entertainment: Tourism experi- Tourism is a demand-driven activity that is
ences, especially the culturally - or event-centered difficult to control: Tourism is fundamentally a
variety, have their bases in entertainment. To be demand-driven activity that is influenced more
successful, and therefore commercially viable, the by market forces (tourists and the industry that
tourism product must be manipulated and pack- seeks to satisfy tourists needs), rather than by
aged in such a way that it can be easily accessed governments that try to control or manage it.
by the public. Tight tour schedules, limited time Tourism, tourists and the industry itself behave in
budgets and the need to process large numbers a manner similar to a bottom-up, self-organizing,
of visitors mean that the product must often be living ecosystem that cannot be controlled using
regulated to match fixed consumption times in traditional supply systems. Further, it has been the
order for the experience to be a guaranteed one. experience of many researchers that advocates of
Clearly the experiences may incorporate an ele- supply-side controlled tourism are often elitist in
ment of didacticism, but their primary role is to their attitudes. They assert that encouraging the

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

right type of development will attract the right attract significantly larger numbers of visitors
type of provider, which will appeal to the right than more distant attractions.
travel distributor who will reach the right type Time availability influences the quality and
of tourist. This person is usually posited as an depth of experiences sought: Most tourists are
affluent experienced traveller who is aware of travelling on finite time budgets, with many having
and sensitive to local culture, its heritage and their time strictly controlled by tour operators, or
natural ecosystems, and who will want to stay in personal commitments. They have only a limited
local accommodation, eat locally produced food, amount of time available at any one destination
and be content with very basic facilities all this and, being rational consumers, will choose to
while paying high tariffs. The problem is that this spend that time in the most cost-effective manner.
type of person represents only a tiny portion of As such, many tourists will seek to consume as
the travelling public. How does one satisfy the many experiences as possible during their stay
needs of the vast majority of tourists, those who and will show a predilection for those activities
do not fit this ideal description? They are not go- that can be consumed quickly and effortlessly,
ing to stop travelling: they will continue to make and where they feel their experience is a guar-
demands for affordable services and facilities. anteed one. Especially when cultural tourism
participation is an incidental aspect of a trip, the
Factors Influencing Visitation Levels amount of time a tourist is willing to allocate to
relate experiences will hinge on the amount of
Access and proximity dictate the potential num- discretionary time available and the number of
ber of visitors: Demand for tourism products competing uses for that time. Those experiences
are influenced by a range of factors, including that entail large chunks of time will tend to be
distance decay, market access, and time avail- avoided if an attractive alternative exists. It has
ability. The distance decay theory suggests that to be kept in mind that in tourism terms, large
demand for tourist attractions varies inversely blocks of time are reckoned in hours, and not
with distance travelled; that is, demand declines days. A useful way of looking at time budgets,
exponentially as distance increases. Similarly, proximity and their implications for the type of
market access states that demand is influenced leisure tourism people are willing to engage in,
by the number of similar, competing products or is given by Strydom (1994) in Table 1.
destinations available between the tourists home
base and the prospective product or destination. Strategic Context
Time availability has been shown to accentuate or
minimize the effect of market access and distance His Majestys Vision of Tourism in Oman:
decay. The proximity of an attraction to a large
population base, a major tourist destination, or a The tourism industry is well qualified to offer
gateway will influence its potential visitation and career opportunities to Omanis. It is well capable
consequently how the asset is to be used. Demand of serving the aims of regional development, since
influences the revenue generation potential for the its benefits will cover all regions. On this basis
asset, which should, in turn, have a bearing on the we should prepare a new strategy to develop this
levels of development and investment. The basic sector so it can stand on its own feet in a severely
rule of thumb is that attractions that are located competitive, flexible and diversified international
close to large populations or tourist centres will market. (Speech of his Majesty Sultan Qaboos
bin Said - 29th National Day)

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

Table 1. Time-budgets and travel distances


Number of Visitors increased.
Free Time Travel Distance Direct and indirect employment in tourism
One day 30-80 km
industry increased.
Weekend 160-250 km
Accommodation/hotel rooms increased.
Short holiday (less than two weeks) 640-1000 km
There is significant potential within the
city and its sub-regional hinterland which
Long holiday (more than two weeks) 1600 km
is partly being met, but which can be de-
Source: Strydom (1994)
veloped much further.
The investment record in the past decade
Recent government policy stresses the potential has been substantial and continues to be
contribution of the sector to the Oman economy: at a high level especially from the private
Tourism and the whole of the hospitality industry, sector.
together, hold out the prospect of phenomenal
growth, both in the number of people employed The strategic weaknesses tend to lie in the
and in the massive financial investment which broad areas of image, marketing, management
can be attracted. The Ministry of Tourism also and presentation, all of which can be addressed
recognizes tourism as a key part of developing effectively. A SWOT analysis is prepared in detail
the Oman economy. As per Ministry of National for the Tourism Sector (Appendix 2).
Economy, the tourism industry is to generate 5% If Oman does not want to miss the opportunity
of GDP by 2020, compared to 1% in 2000. The and encash the potential of growth in tourism in-
Development Strategy hence must recognize the dustry world wide then the tourism vision should
country and regions as a major tourism develop- be to: Create a vibrant international country in an
ment opportunity and policy should be directed to: attractive environment, embracing also a vibrant
To realize the potential contribution of tourism sea, rugged mountains and rural area, all with a
and leisure to the economy, building the role of welcoming user-friendly tourism infrastructure.
this region both as a tourism destination in its own This vision embraces that of an historic nation with
right and also as the regional hub and gateway to an acknowledged world status; of a cultured city
middle east. noted for its hospitality, performing arts and of a
The strategy must also promote Oman as a key tourism centre essential to the exploration of
major tourism destination and gateway based on and experience of the Middle East.
the international attraction of its deserts, wadis The primary appeal of Oman will be based on
and heritage resource its historic essence and on its key location. The
discerning domestic and overseas tourist will find
Where Are They Now? it essential to have visited the area and experience
the developing quality tourism products. A well-
Review of the performance of the tourism sector managed environment both urban and rural will
in Oman country reveals that: be coupled with a variety of new and refreshed
products, delivered by enthusiastic and well-
So far Oman has performed credibly well as trained staff and giving good value for money.
a tourism destination in the past five years
as reflected by the baseline indicators:
Tourism spend has increased.

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

How to Get There? and where duplication of effort is possible. Iden-


tifying clear market gaps is essential.
The guiding principles for the development of Targeted Marketing. It must be stated that
the strategy and the future management of the this has to be a clear guiding principle, although
industrys development are widely accepted and it is necessary to point out that this principle is
based on the following core beliefs: demonstrably already in place. However, com-
Sustainable Tourism. The worldwide accep- placency should be avoided especially as fast
tance of this concept is an essential principle changing delivery mechanisms become the norm,
of all future tourism development. The future through the continual change in IT capabilities.
management of natural, man-made and human The choice of markets, products and segments
assets is critically important for the long-term for the future must not be assumed to be as it is
sustainability of any tourism industry in general today. A continuous review process is necessary to
and Oman in particular. Developments which determine the appropriateness of the products in
adversely impact the environment, which are short- the area and the type of tourism sought. The rate of
term, high volume, and opportunistic in nature change elsewhere may render a product obsolete
should be avoided. Key aspects of a sustainable much more quickly than the provider thinks. An
tourism policy include land use; management of outward looking industry well informed of trends
the physical environment; conservation of natural and new products is essential for future success.
and cultural heritage sites; development of market Public Private Sector Partnership. It is gener-
led products; and investment in human resources. ally recognized in the tourism world that successful
Profitability. The tourism industry in Oman destinations are those where a partnership has been
has had poor investment returns for many years built up between the public and private sectors.
and only in the past decade particularly the latter Partnership may however need to extend beyond
half has there been a welcome rise in profitability. marketing and into strategic planning / develop-
Businesses must derive an adequate profit to ensure ment issues. It may also need to develop a more
continued expansion through investment. Profit- effective two way process to ensure that the balance
ability needs to be improved through increased of risk does not seem to lie disproportionately on
utilization of the assets within the sector for any side public or private.
example increased occupancy rates of accom-
modation providers or more visitors through an Principles into Action
attraction. Profitability can be assisted through the
introduction of greater efficiencies for example To achieve a substantial and sustainable increase in
co-operative marketing, or through ensuring that tourism revenue while reflecting the five guiding
increases in volume sales are not achieved on low principles, there is a need to take strategic action
price competition strategies. in four key areas. They are:
Selective Investment. Future investment strate-
gies will need to be highly selective and clearly 1. Product development. To ensure the contin-
targeted. In an area where there has been sub- ued development of the range of attractors
stantial investment by both the public and private within the area and provide new things to
sector and where there is currently more taking do for the visitor. Much of the effort in this
place, care must be exercised in the direction and will be focused into improving the existing
scope of what is to follow. So too is the issue of attractions to make them accessible and to
comparison with investment priorities across the fulfill their tourism role as magnets for the
Border where differing regimes may be in place

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

area. Some accommodation work will also Thus what is the tourism potential emerging
be required. trends which will contribute to the development
2. Marketing. To continue to develop the strategy in the light of the current tourism system
destination marketing capacity and other needs to be understood.. This part highlights what
support agencies to ensure that best practice draws tourists, to which areas they are so drawn,
continues, while implementing changes that and the types of tourism products that might most
an All Oman approach may require. Beyond productively aid the development of the tourism
destination marketing lies the need for the in Oman.
existing attractions to devote the appropriate
effort and budget to undertaking their own Food Availability
marketing role.
3. Quality assurance. To ensure that the qual- Everything required for an international tourist
ity of the product delivered lives up to the is available here. The social life is good for all
expectations of the visitor. In a world that religions. Food of variety including leading in-
is so competitive for tourism this becomes ternational fast food chain of restaurants, coffee
increasingly important. This is true of the shops namely, MacDonalds, K.F.C, Pizza Hut,
public, private and voluntary sectors and Dominos Pizza, Hardee, Chilis, Altazaj, Star
embraces issues ranging from signposting, to Bucks, and Costas is available as these interna-
litter, to unhelpful staff and to opening hours. tional brands have their outlets throughout Oman.
This is an important issue in the delivery of Halal meat and all variety of fish are available. In
tourism growth in a sub-region surrounded addition, quality vegetarian food is also available
by high quality competition. throughout the country.
4. Management and co-ordination. Though the
achievements of the Ministry of Tourism Special Categorized
have been notable and substantial, there Tourism Activities
is however a gap in the tourism delivery
mechanism, in that the development role in 1. Adventure Tourism
tourism must be addressed. The links with Cave Exploration, Cave Jumping.
other agencies and new departments are Oman offers some of the most hair-
now more complex than ever and therefore raising cave exploration in the world
co-ordination for tourism must be given a for experienced and fit cavers. One of
higher priority and resource. the most famous caves is the Majlis
Al-Jinn; the second largest under-
ground chamber in the world. This
OMAN: TOURISM TRENDS is an extremely difficult cave to ne-
(POTENTIAL) gotiate, and it is important that the
expedition is not undertaken lightly
World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) fore- and without professional guidance.
casts Omans Travel & Tourism Economy GDP A popular cave for the less intrepid is
to reach OMR 2,265 million by 2018, contribut- Al Hoota Cave which comprises an
ing to 11.1% of National Accounts and demand underground cavern and subterranean
would witness 5% real growth (annualized) over lake system. Many caves in Oman
the years 2009-18. are, essentially, underground wadis.

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

Diving- Scuba Diving, Snorkeling. over boulders in the gorge between


With 1700 Km of coastline, and clean, two cliffs, to eventually come out at
unpolluted waters, Oman is one of the Al-Zamman. . The only light in this
best in the diving world. The waters cave is that coming from the mouth of
of Oman represent an underwater the cave. Indeed, the whole journey
paradise for diving and snorkeling is both a physical and a mental chal-
with its wide variety of marine flora lenge and thus, should not be taken
and fauna. Oman has good sea con- lightly. Its like a roller coaster ride,
ditions with an average visibility of or like white water rafting without
20-30 meters. There are many superb the raft. One will never know what to
dive sites around the capital area, in- expect. Once the walk is completed,
cluding Cemetery Bay, Fahal Island one feels a sense of achievement.
and Dimaniyyat Islands. The sea-life Physical fitness does not have to be
is abundant regardless of chosen site a prerequisite for crossing the gorge.
with a variety of hard and soft corals Mountain Biking in Oman. Travel
present and shoals of spectacular fish deep into the Hajar Mountains on re-
everywhere. The Gulf of Oman pro- mote trails through traditional Omani
vides for excellent tropical Coral Sea villages where the locals show true
diving and is home to 85 genera of Omani hospitality and provide a wel-
hard and soft corals and 900 species come resting place with platters of
of fish. Night dives are popular due fresh fruit grown on the green pla-
phosphorescence in Omans waters. teaus of the mountain range which
Wahiba Sands. The Wahiba Sands, reaches some 3000m. Stunning single
a romantic desert with rolling sand track, challenging terrain, beautiful
dunes, varying from deep red to a rich scenery and seldom visited villages,
honey color, is stretching to a very thats what this holiday is all about.
vast area in this region. It is the tra- This is pure Omani mountain biking
ditional home of the hardy Bedouin at its very best.
community who survive in these 2. Health and Sports
harsh desert conditions and moving Rock Climbing. There are many
sands? The moving sands can be pro- craggy mountains and steep sea cliffs
moted as a tourist attraction. in Oman to tempt the rock-climber.
Canyoning. Canyons in Oman include The Sultanate provides everything
some abscaling, scrambling over and to an interested climber: from sports
around rocks. There are small 20 me- climbing and rigging to multi pitch
ter drops to long hundred meter multi routes bolted or traditional where
- pitch drops as in the Majlis Al Jinn the rocks are high as 250 M.
Cave. Some of the wadis have pools. Trekking. Above 1,900 m altitude
The tourists who seek adventurism trekking is possible all year round;
can undertake canyoning. however, the season is generally from
The Snake Gorge. The Snake Gorge September to May with peak period
walk actually entails three kilome- being October to April. The country-
ters of walking, wading through side is mostly rugged and the trails
pools, swimming, and scrambling are loose, but trekking is by far the

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

best way to enjoy Omans spectacular (Wahiba) Sands in ASharqiya


mountain-landscape. Region to the Omani section of the
Bull Fighting. In the bull fighting are- massive plains of Al-Ruba Al-Khali
na at the Fort of Barka, bloodless bull (Empty Quarter) in Dhofar; by 4WD
fight takes place. Bulls of similar size or on camels. Camel Safari is a new
pitted against each other in a boister- service in Oman. Safaris go Bedouin
ous battle. The fight is fairly short, but style, riding and living in the desert
enthusiastically received by the audi- properly with guides.
ence, and the bulls suffer little or no Dolphin & Whale Watching. Dolphins
injury, unlike in Spanish bull fighting. are popular in Omans coastal wa-
Generally, they are held on holidays ter and whales are occasionally
and celebration days, either early in seen. Fahal Island is a good site to
the morning, or late afternoon, when spot Dolphins in hundreds roaming
it is cooler. The popularity of the bull- around or following the tuna. Spinner,
fighting sport has increased in recent Common and some Bottlenose dol-
years which can attract the tourists. phins are the main types.
Camel Racing. The camel is a vital
part of the fabric of Omani Society, Travel and tourism is emerging as one of the
for it represents a deeply appreciated main pillars of the Omani economy, and hence
and highly valued tradition, which of the Omani governments seventh 5-year plan
justifies the high appraisal of camel (2006-2010). With regard to tourism, Omans
racing in this part of the world. Camel Vision 2020 revolves around five areas of focus -
races are held at tracks in almost all establishing Oman as a regional travel and tourism
country regions. The races are gener- hub, increasing the contribution of the industry to
ally held on public holidays and dur- GDP to not less than 3%, increasing the participa-
ing the annual National Day celebra- tion of the private sector and activating its role
tions. Camels are carefully bred for in the development of various tourism activities,
racing and undergo intensive training attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) and
in order to compete at national and in- increasing the Omanisation percentage of the
ternational levels. industry to 80%. On a regional front, the Middle
Game Fishing. The Gulf of Oman is Easts investment in travel and tourism is expected
rich in marine life including Marlin, to skyrocket over the forecast period, as at least
Sailfish, Yellow fin Tuna and Dorado. US$1 trillion is to be injected into hotels, resorts,
Those who are interested in game attractions and associated infrastructure between
fishing can really enjoy it here. 2007 and 2020. Oman holds a considerable share
Sindbad classic international com- of this capital injection, as HM Sultan Qaboos bin
petition is held every year at Muscat. Said and the Omani government has allocated an
This year winners were from Sidab appropriate budget to take the sultanates tourism
fishing Community. objectives forward. The governments budget-
3. Leisure ary efforts were further complemented with the
Desert Safari. The immense desert amending of a number of laws and regulations
landscape of Oman is welcoming to attract FDI into the vibrant travel and tourism
the tourists and locals alike to ex- industry, where all such efforts are part of Vision
plore. From the dunes of Sharqiyah 2020.

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

With the motto Tourism Enriches in place, Cruise Control


Oman is moving forward with its seventh 5-year
plan and Vision 2020 with a strong focus on the The cruise line category is picking up again and
fledgling travel and tourism industry. The govern- has been developing strongly in recent years, in
ments focus on travel and tourism is driven by the spite of the complete drop off in 2003, largely due
objective to diversify its sources of income, taking to the war in Iraq. The sultanates virgin cruise
into consideration the economys over-dependence category has been the focus of world-leading cruise
on oil and gas. With full government backing, a lines that started adding Oman to their schedules.
recently established Ministry of Tourism, with This list includes Silversea, Costa Crociere, P&O
effective marketing and promotional campaigns Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Oceania Cruises, and
overseas, and an attractive FDI environment, the others. As for domestic tourism, various dhow
Omani travel and tourism industry is reaching excursions are available from Salalah to the Mu-
new heights. The most recent emerging trends sandam Peninsula.
in tourism are:

Luxury Travel RECOMMENDATIONS

Luxury travel is emerging as a major segment in From the above, it is clear that there is ample
Omani tourism, and in light of the developments scope for development of sustainable tourism
underway, the greatest focus will likely be on the and related industries in Oman. The growth in the
countrys resort accommodation. The sultanates Tourism and Hospitality industries has been good
resorts cater for almost every luxury need, ranging in the past few years since Oman is an attractive
from small hotels to large facilities. The industrys tourist destination apart from being very safe for
up market resort segment will most likely continue tourists. However, to accelerate the expansion
to be shaped by two distinct types of experience and provide further impetus to tourism sector the
- the boutique resort and the fully-fledged hotel. following are the recommendations:

Cleared for Take off 1. Increase the awareness among the citizens
regarding the tourism sector, the difference
With the government fully backing the carriers between services and servitude, respect for
expansion plans, Oman Air is heading towards a tourism professionals, especially in interior
complete makeover during the forecast period. places.
The major catalyst at Oman Air in 2007 was the 2. Develop basic infrastructure and amenities
governments move to re-capitalize the airline in the tourist spots, proper location maps and
by injecting OR37 million, thus taking its stake road pointers including road signs need to be
in the airline from 33.8% to 81% and providing there on highways and junctions to facilitate
the much-needed funds to pursue the airlines travellers.
expansion strategy. This move was followed by 3. Good and decent restaurants of varying price
further developments across the board like pull- range to cater to all classes of tourists serving
ing out as a shareholder from Gulf Air, extending authentic Omani food need to be developed.
long-haul flights to Europe and Asia, working on 4. Expose youth to tourism aspects at schools
an extensive re-branding exercise and setting a so that they can seek career opportunities in
new benchmark in service and comfort with its Tourism and Hospitality sector in future.
new aircraft.

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

5. The Omani youth should be encouraged CONCLUSION


to learn more foreign languages especially
English, German and French etc so that they The tourism industry in Oman is comparatively
can be professional tour guides, with good new and a relatively small part of the total economy
communication skills. but has been growing quite rapidly. The major-
ity of tourists arrives in Oman from other GCC
The support sectors like local transport, foreign countries and therefore has reason to think it will
exchange facilities, tourist guidance centres etc be impacted less by the global financial crisis
should also be well developed otherwise these than most other destinations. According to H.E,
will have a negative impact on tourism sector if Rajha Abdulamir, Omans Tourism Minister,
the quality of support service is not maintained. foreign investors have given assurances to push
Oman has great opportunity and vast potential to on with tourism projects in Oman despite the
be a prime tourist destination, a development that global credit turmoil. All foreign investors, who
would significantly grow the emerging economy. are building resorts or planning to do so, have
To date, though, the tourist potential is largely pledged to continue with their projects as this
untapped and hampered by improper focus and projects are important in their contribution to the
lack of planning. But there is movement afoot to economy and the government is committed to
change this situation. Oman should set out to ag- give its support, she added (Newswire Reuters).
gressively and strategically promote the nations Oman has allocated around 15 sites for tourism
riches in cultural attractions through various developments it estimates will cost US$20 billion
communications mediums reaching external au- over seven years, as part of plans to lure visitors.
diences (strategic marketing). Moreover, because Projects include the $400 million Muscat Golf
the population in certain nations or regions will Course, theUS$7 billion Blue City, the US$2
have greater affinity or interest in travelling to billion Salam Yiti resort by Dubai Holding and
Oman - for various reasons - the strategic market- the Murya resorts project, planned by a unit of
ing efforts should focus particularly on reaching Egypts Orascom Development Holding. Oman
these markets (international and regional markets attracted some 650,000 tourists in 2007, 12 percent
promotion). If long-term tourism policy is to be more than a year earlier. The goal, set in 2002, is
successful, there is a need to re think. A more to reach one million visitors in 2009. According
strategic approach for tourism development is to the latest figures, in 2008 tourism accounted
required and building large five-star establish- for just fewer than 4% of Omans GDP. However,
ments on the beachfront, owned by large foreign the Sultanate plans to target wealthy niche tour-
corporations is not the way forward. The invest- ists by focusing on cultural, environmental and
ments in tourism should come from within. The adventure packages. The government also intends
government has the opportunity to team up with to upgrade tourism infrastructure and increase its
the banks and help finance and underwrite smaller overseas advertising, with a particular focus on
and locally driven tourism projects. Hence, in the EU, the US and Asia. The exploration of a
my view, the smaller projects will have a less tourism development is dependent upon a number
destructive impact on our environment and will of different inputs. These include the institutional
also spread the benefits of tourism to all parts of environment in which tourism enterprises func-
the country thus giving rise to a local supply and tion, the profile of the tourists in terms of personal
demand chain, a vital ingredient for job creation characteristics and associated tourism needs and
and also help to achieve the goal of Omanisation. desires, and tourism products on offer. However,
one cannot afford to ignore the impact of tourism

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

on hospitality industry which will have a snowball Cluster Consortium. The. (1999). The South Afri-
effect for generation employment for locals. This can Tourism Cluster: Strategy in Action. Unpub-
in turn calls for further strengthening tourism lished report prepared for the Tourism Clustering
education and training. Hence, the tourism sector Initiative, Johannesburg.
will need to carefully chalk out its strategy and be
Department of Environmental Affairs and Tour-
adaptable to the demands of the evolving global
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economy based on the emergent trends.
Strategy 2004 to 2007. Pretoria: Department of
Environmental Affairs and Tourism.
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journal/
Le Tourisme, N. M. (2003). Tourism communica-
Euromonitor International.(2011). Retrieved from tion plan for Oman. Muscat: Ministry of Com-
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Oman Information Center.(n.d.). Retrieved from McKercher, B., & Du Cros, H. (2002). Cultural
www.omaninfo.com/ tourism: the partnership between tourism and
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Ministry of Information. (2010). Retrieved from Melian-Gonzalez, A., & Garcia-Falcon, J. M.


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tinations. Annals of Tourism Research, 30(3),
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Ministry of Commerce and Industry. (2001). Fi-
Market Research. (1999). Retrieved from www. nal priority action plan for tourism development
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Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Directorate
General of Tourism, Muscat.
REFERENCES Ministry of Commerce and Industry. (2004). An-
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Allan Collier. (2008). Principles of Tourism. New and Industry.
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Ministry of National Economy. (2001). Develop-
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Chhetri, P., Arrowsmith, C., & Jackson, M. (2004).
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Rogerson, C. M. (2002). Driving developmental Urban-Econ. (2004). Free State Economic Profile.
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APPENDIX 1 (TABLE 2)

Table 2. Hotel star ratings

S.No Name of the Hotel Category Location Number of Rooms


Al-Bustan Palace 5 Star Muscat 250
Muscat Inter Continental 5 Star Qurum Beach 265
Grand Hyatt 5 Star Qurum Beach 280
Sheraton Oman 5 Star Ruwi 230
The Cedi Muscat 5 Star North Ghubra 151
Hilton Shalala 5 Star Salalah 157
Crownne Plaza Resort 5 Star Salalah 153
Bar-Al-Jissah Resort and Spa (Shangri-La) 5 Star Qantab 680
Al-Husun,Al-Waha,Al-Bander
Crowne Plaza-Muscat 4 Star Qurum 200
Holiday Inn Medina 4 Star Ghala 87
Holiday inn Muscat 4 Star Al-Khuwair 123
Radisson SaS 4 Star Al-Khuwair 156
Al-Falaj 4 Star CBDRuwi 143
Ramada 4 Star Qurum Beach 92
Ramee 4 Star Qurum Beach 92
Haffah House - Muscat 4 Star Ruwi 120
Haffah House - Salalah 4 Star Salalah (Dhofar) 63 rooms,
46 beach villas
Golden Tulip Seeb 4 Star P.O. BOX 69 PC 111 177
Al-Sawadi Beach Resort Other Star Al-Sawadi (Al-Batinah 100 spacious chalet-style
guest rooms
Sohar Beach Hotel Other Star Sohar (Al-Batinah)
Sur Plaza Other Star Sur (ASharqiyah 108
Nizwa Hotel Other Star Sur (ASharqiyah 123

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Emerging Trends in Tourism Industry in Oman

APPENDIX 2 (TABLE 3)

Table 3. SWOT Analysis

STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES
1. Historic City 1. Uncertain image
2. Possible world heritage site 2. Conservative
3. Sea location; 3. Mixed marketing message
4. Proximity to Deserts, Mountains 4. Attraction availability
5. Recent and current investment 5. Sea unused
6. Culture and tradition 6. Rural area underused;
7. Events and festivals 7. Lack of identification
8. Pleasant rural hinterland
9. Friendly People
OPPORTUNITIES THREATS
1. The ability of the area to appeal to the various market segments 1. The overall level of popularity and demand from outside the
by providing appropriate attractors, services and accommodation country.
in order to compete effectively with other destinations; 2. The prevailing exchange rate;
2. The competitiveness of the area in terms of value based quality 3. The level of stability and perceived level of peace in the com-
delivered for the price paid by the visitor; munity;
3. Marketing effectiveness in attracting visitors to the area. 4. Demand for day trips and holidays within Oman and GCC
reflecting the state of the economy, life style patterns and the
socio-demographic mix of the population

135
136

Chapter 9
Sales Force Technology for
the Hospitality Industry
Ruth Rios-Morales
University of Glion,Switzerland

John C. Crotts
College of Charleston, USA

ABSTRACT
Advancements in Sales Force Automation (SFA) is rapidly changing the landscape in how meeting plan-
ners and hotel sales professionals do business with one another. This chapter highlights where those
changes are occuring, why they are occuring, and what they mean to both buyers and sellers. The intent
of this overview is to inform hotel owners and investors who are considering such an investment as to
the benefits that can potentially be derived from SFA. Furthermore, our intent is to provide hospitality
educators insights as to how SFA is changing the workplace of both meeting planners and hotel sales
professionals so they can provide their students a realistic view of the software aids they may need to
master to be successful in their careers.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch009

Copyright 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Sales Force Technology for the Hospitality Industry

INTRODUCTION improve a sales forces effectiveness in reaching


and converting new customers. In additional, SFA
Sales Force Automation (SFA) technology as systems designed specifically for hotel chains
applied to group sales departments of hotels and field sales forces has enabled companies to form
convention centers is the focus of this chapter. The deeper cooperative relationships with their key
group sales process has changed dramatically over customers where one salesperson can meet all
the past two decades, evolving from paper bound their meeting and event requirements within their
filing systems for individual properties to fully chain of properties.
integrated software solutions for multiple proper- Not all commercial lodging and events facili-
ties stretching from the prospecting, to contracts, ties may find the investment worthwhile. Small
then on again to the execution of the events and boutique inns and special events facilities can get
billing systems. The intent of this chapter is to by just fine using a standard suite of Microsoft
provide readers a broad overview of current SFA Office combined with a good website. However,
functions and the potential benefits for investing today most larger group hotels, as well as chains,
in such technology. consider SFA tools are not an option but a neces-
There are many producers of SFA dedicated sity for business success. In 2007, the worldwide
to hotel, resort and convention center group sales investment on SFA tools was $3.2 billion and
which vary widely in cost and functionality. is expected to reach $9 billion in 2012 (Cascio
Managers considering such an investment should 2009). However, ask a hotel Director of Sales,
reach out to multiple SFA vendors, take the time and most will acknowledge that most companies
to carefully explain their business processes to do not maximize the full potential of their SFA
them, and review each SFA vendors proposed tools. Acceptance of technology investment at
solutions. No one system fits all, where most both the management and sales force levels is at
SFA systems can be packaged and scaled to each best mixed in the hospitality industry. A long line
clients needs. of research in the information systems literature
has been focused on explaining the adoption and
acceptance of such aids (Cascio 2009, Mallin
WHY MAKE THE INVESTMENT? & DelVecchio 2008, Williams & Plouffe 2007,
Schillewaer, Ahearne, Franbach & Moenaert 2005,
Investments in SFA usually require high capital Jones, Sundaram & Chin 2002).
outlays and should always be made as to its return Perhaps the best model for predicting and ex-
on investment, as measured in gains in efficien- plaining why some companies and sales persons
cies and effectiveness. Todays SFA packages are readily accept technology, while others do not, is
interfaced with property management and catering the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) (Ven-
management systems elimiating the need to re- kates, Morris, Davis & Davis 2003,Venkatesh &
key in information on an event from the original Davis 2000, Davis 1989). According to TAM, the
sales proposal to the clients final billing. The time acceptance of software aids is determined by two
saved is but one measure of efficiency. Effective- beliefs: the perceived usefulness (i.e., the extent
ness refers to the SFA system to increase sales. to which the company and/or salesperson believes
The growing use of E-bid systems (electronic the system will improve his/her job performance)
request for proposals) among meeting planners, and perceived ease of use (i.e., the extent to which
where the first hotel to respond with an attractive a company and/or company considers the system
and competitively priced offer often wins the to be free of effort).
business, is but one example of SFA abilities to

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Over the years, research has supported the facilities. Then we will discuss catering sales and
basic premise of TAM but has also added to it, management systems. Though both processes are
suggesting that the following factors also play generally handled by the same software system,
important roles: users tend to specialize in their areas of respon-
sibility. For example, a hotels group sales staff
competitive pressures, will use only those aspects that involve selling
customer influences, guestrooms and services to prospects, while
personal innovativeness, and catering will use the system to plan, monitor,
abilities in using a computer. and manage catering events. In this chapter are
screenshots from one of the leading hospitality
Customers expect from salespersons timely and sales automation systems MICROS systems
accurate information, prompt answers to requests, OPERA-- to illustrate each function.
and marketing expertise. Moreover, research has
shown that the most important dimension of a
business satisfaction with a supplier is having CONTACT MANAGEMENT
satisfactory interactions with the suppliers sales AND SALES PROPECTING
managers (Boujena, Johnston & Merunka 2009).
Sales people today are using SFA tools to enhance On any given day, a hotel sales persons schedule
their performance in five main ways (Ahearne, will have appointments, follow-ups, and other
Jones, Rapp & Mathieu 2008, Avlonitis & Pana- tasks to perform. Sales people are also responsible
gopoulos 2005, Agnihothri, Sivasubramania & for responding to inquiries and Requests-For-
Simmons 2002). They are increases in: Proposals (RFPs) or E-bidsand doing so quickly.
For small properties, all this can be performed
Productivity with a well designed website supported by a
Information processing manual system that is well thought out and well
Communications effectiveness managed using schedulers, ledgers, and both
Perceived competence, and historic and teaser files. However, SFA tools not
Customer relationship quality only automates the process, but offers features
through which a salesperson can stand out from
Because of these influences and potential for the competition.
competitive advantages, young computer-literate
hospitality sales professionals wishing to make Account Management
their mark in the industry may be at an advantage.
Technology and the internet are changing the rules All sales offices organize their sales managers to
and landscape of hospitality and the meeting in- cover the marketplace by assigning each to either
dustries. Its impact has gone beyond influencing a geographic territory or a specific market segment
its business strategies, but has been transforming to develop. Within this territory or segment, the
the social structure of the global business com- sales manager will have existing accounts made up
munity. So much business is being done through of businesses that have traditionally re-purchased
e-commerce that the technologically savvy have a or re-booked with their hotel or convention center.
strong edge over their technophobic counterparts. The sales managers initial task is to familiarize
We have organized this chapter as follows. themselves with each account and organize them
First, we will describe hospitality sales automation into an appropriate contact management system
software used in selling guestrooms and meeting in order to serve and develop the account.

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Sales Force Technology for the Hospitality Industry

In recent years sales managers have increas- attention given that they provide a firm a recurring
ingly moved away from the view that all customer stream of business that it wants to preserve and
accounts should be treated equally, accepting the where possible expand. Next a communication
reality that customers vary in terms of the value plan is agreed to with the Director of Sales as to
they provide (and can potentially provide) the how frequently and what means the sales person
selling organization (Richards & Jones 2009, uses to stay in contact with the client. Over time
McNeil & Crotts 2005, Hunt & Morgan 1995). a sales manager will discover how and when each
After carefully reviewing each account, they are client prefers being contacted and adjust their plans
labeled into one of several groupings such as: according. A manual filing system, or use of the
contact management software found in Microsoft
A accountsestablished accounts that Office, can help one stay organized in staying up
generate a high level of business to ones with these account management responsibilities.
firm. These accounts warrant greatest at- However virtually all SFA technologies enable
tention in the form of staying abreast of the staff to perform at a much higher level of efficiency
clients full range of business needs, moni- and effectiveness.
toring how well your company is meeting The world of meeting and events planners
their needs and expectations, and generally grows more complex year after year, where their
trying to strengthen and expand the busi- employers are requiring them to achieve greater
ness relationship. Through personal sales productivity in planning and managing more
calls and telephone and email communi- events at lower costs. SFA technologies not only
cations, you stay in frequent contact with allows a sales manager to keep current contact
these clients. information on each meeting planner, it also allows
B accountsconsists of high-potential them retain and retrieve quickly the customized
accounts. They may be established ac- service requirements of all their former events
counts that are already providing a reason- (see Figure 1).
able level of business, but have a potential The Account Management aspect of a SFA
to provide more (for example, by winning system allows a sales manager to view all past,
other pieces of their business away from present and future business of the client in a
competitors). These may warrant your at- single window, both at his or her property as well
tention at the same frequencies as A ac- as within their hotel chain. In addition, the system
counts, perhaps even more. allows the sales manager to check guest room and
C accountsconsist of potential new ac- meeting facilities availability at any hotel within
counts or established accounts with medi- their hotel chain organization, including room
um potential. Staying in contact is impor- type availability, minimum acceptable rates, and
tant but scheduled less frequently. citywide information. All this allows the sales
D accountscomposed of potential new manager to quickly respond to a customers re-
or established accounts with low potential. quests with reliable and accurate information
Follow-up on these accounts comes last saving both the client and sales manager time and
after all other accounts have been handled. effort. Such advancements in SFA capabilities
have enabled Marriotts Sales Force One program
The purpose in organizing ones accounts this to succeed, where meeting planners have one sales
way is to help a sales manager allocate his or her person they can go to in satisfying all their needs
time time in such a way that they meet their sales within Mariotts corporated owned and managed
goals. Again, A accounts should receive the most hotels and resorts.

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Sales Force Technology for the Hospitality Industry

Figure 1. Example of Account Management dashboard allowing sales managers to manage tasks and
track all events scheduled at their property

Lead Capturing and Sales Channels cannot meet their needs. The lists can be upload
into a contact management system (described
A sales managers role also involves pursuing new in the previous section), partially out the list of
customers, requiring prospecting and the use of propects to be contacted across the list of daily
lead capturing systems. Traditionally, the most tasks. The most advanced systems will merge
productive way of generating leads was through new contact lists with existing contacts in an ef-
networking, tradeshows, and making cold-calls. fort to eliminate any duplicate leads. Moreover,
Though these are still valuable, a variety of inter- SFA systems designed for hotel chains both sort
net based sales channels have been added to the and exports the leads to properties that can meet
salespersons arsenal. the meeting planners requirements honoring the
List brokers have emerged that today can pro- list brokers commitment to the meeting planner
vide the sales manager with the names, contact and sales manager that the lists meets the needs
addresses, and meeting requirements of meeting of both parties.
and events planners unheard of a decade ago. In the last few years, a number of sales chan-
Meeting planners generally input their meeting nels have emerged allowing meeting planners to
requirements into such databases to avoid be- be more proactive in identifying hotels that can
ing called on by sales managers who facilities meet their needs and sending them a request-for

140
Sales Force Technology for the Hospitality Industry

proposal (RFP) or E-bid. Just like consumers who selling to delivering the goods. In a hotel,
have been able to logon to websites to check price that means ensuring that the customer gets the
and availability of hotels at a destination, systems right guestrooms and, where necessary, that all the
like Cvent, Starcite and MeetingBroker as well events and catering activities go off as planned.
as a host of intranet systems designed for Helms- On the guestroom side, the SFA system passes
Brisco or Conferences Direct meeting planners, the inventory management task off to the hotels
provides meeting planners an efficient means to property management system (PMS), but the event
identify suitable options before sending an RFP. management and catering side is managed within
The use of such sales channels has to date been the sales and catering system.
adopted by the experienced corporate meeting Event management and catering, in this con-
planner who knows their groups requirements, text, means everything from reserving the needed
and often sees little value in interacting with a function space for a group, to ensuring that the
hotel sales managers in their initial research. The space is correctly set up and that the necessary
ability to research all hotels in a geographical meals, audio-visual equipment, computers, and
area and send the selected hotels an RFP, saves everything else the group needs is there on time
the meeting planner time and effort in narrowing and properly charged for.
possible options of hotels in which to negotiate. In many ways, this can be seen as the most
These systems though efficient, often frustrate complex part of a sales and event management
hotel sales managers since they provide them little system. The hotel must manage innumerable ele-
opportunities to consult directly with the meeting ments of a meeting, right down to the last detail,
planner. However, in such an environment the sales in an accurate and efficient way. The catering and
manager must reel in their consultative selling convention services managers using this part of
instincts and provide the prospect a reasonable the sales and catering system, are responsible for
price based upon the requirements provided. Here generating a high volume of extremely accurate
again, SFA technologies allows the sales manger work on a production basis every day. In addi-
to build an attractive proposal and return it as tion, detailed forecasting and reporting on final
an email attachment with relative ease. Speed is results is of great importance to management.
important to such E-bids, underscoring the hotel The efficiency of the sales and catering system
sales adage that the first to respond is the first is critical to productivity and profitability in this
in line to win the business. In this circumstance, department.
the experienced meeting planner has a clear There are 5 key components in the event
understanding of their budget and for efficiency management and catering portion of the system:
purposes will book with a facility that can meet
their requirements and price points (see Figure 2). the function diarythe efficient, auto-
mated version of the big physical book
which used to manage the function room
EVENT MANAGEMENT AND inventory;
CATERING SYSTEM event management,which manages all
elements of an event to be held in a func-
The key difference between hospitality sales tion room;
force automation and virtually any other kind the banquet event ordera dynamic con-
of sales automation (finance, pharmaceuticals, tract with the customer detailing what the
manufacturing, etc.) is that hospitality sales au- hotel will provide at the event and what it
tomates the whole process from prospectingto will cost;

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Sales Force Technology for the Hospitality Industry

Figure 2. Example of an E-Bid or web proposal

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Sales Force Technology for the Hospitality Industry

Figure 3. Example of a function room display or scheduler

the banquet checkthe final bill for an view of that specific event. Events may be edited
event; and by clicking and dragging or double-clicking and
various forecast and production reports opening an editable detail form. There are several
that make it possible to manage the depart- key parts of any automated function diary.
ment profitably.
The Function Room Display
The Function Diary
This is where you can review all the attributes of
The automated function diary provides a real-time, a function room, from ceiling height to capacity
up-to-the-minute function room inventory for with various set-ups. You also select and sort sets
a single property or any number of properties in of function rooms, showing just the rooms in a
a hotel chain. certain wing or specific hotel, perhaps. This is
The function diary, sometimes called a sched- particularly important in a hotel cluster where sales
uler, is used by the sales manager to display func- managers reviewing availability could quickly find
tion space, functions, and guestroom availability suitable space, even though they may not know
for any selected property. The diary can be viewed a specific hotels function space characteristics.
by a specific day of the week, or weeks to identify The ability to search for suitable space is further
function space availability. The colors and sym- enhanced by features that offer access to room
bols on the event bars vary and can display status, photos, layouts, and links to the corporate meet-
setup, combinations of rooms, etc. If the cursor is ing planning website for the chain (see Figure 3).
placed over an event, the window shows a detailed

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The Event Display The event display also shows events with an
option on the space, if the current event is can-
This is where users create and edit events, obligat- celled or moved and events which are still pending
ing the appropriate function room inventory as they (PEN). On a daily basis, the catering or function
go. The automated function diary allows the user space manager checks the TBA queue using the
to draw an event from start-time to end-time on-screen or printed reports to properly assign
in the desired function room. If the event has a the events (see Figure 4).
Definite status, (usually an event with a signed
contract on file) the space is firmly obligated and Guestroom Availability Overview
cannot be used by anyone for any other booking.
A Prospect or Tentative event might not obligate When checking on whether the hotel can ac-
the space: a Definite event would be allowed to commodate a group on a certain date, it is often
book over it. Catering managers can move an necessary to check for guestroom and function
event or change the event start and end times by room availability at the same time. The function
just dragging and dropping the bar for that event. room diary optionally shows various the remain-
Users can also view or edit event details from here. ing availability of guestrooms.
When changes are made here, there is no need to
update information anywhere else. One change
changes it in all places.

Figure 4. Example of an event display

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Sales Force Technology for the Hospitality Industry

Configuration OptionsViews the type of event will have been established;


a room will have been assigned; and,
Many kinds of users do many types of tasks in the attendance will have been estimated,
the function diary, from checking availability to though the catering services manager may
managing function room inventory. Users can later enter a more exact figure, or even a
modify the diary as they go, to meet their needs. guarantee.
They can create named views of specific sets of
function rooms for use as needed. They change So now, the catering manager will establish the
the range of dates being viewed. The colors and setup and detail the other catering services to be
text can be changed to show the information provided, such as meeting materials, audio-visual
considered most important at the moment (event support, coffee breaks, or full meals.
status, conference name, which properties are One of the most powerful catering benefits
visible, etc.) of automating is that all the catering items used
by the hotel are stored in the system and can be
Event Management efficiently selected for use in specific events.
If the lists of catering items are built with care,
Each individual event in a group booking requires then they will be displayed as desired on Banquet
detailed attention to ensure that clients get just what Event Orders (BEOs), as well as creating an ac-
they expect. Effective event management starts curate forecast of future catering revenue with a
with setting up the system at installation time. The minimum of effort.
Director of Catering establishes the item types Throughout the planning period, while working
(Food, Beverage, AV, Labor, Computers, etc.) most with the client to determine menus and other needs,
appropriate for that hotel. These item types can the catering manager can select, edit, and replace
then be grouped into the revenue categories needed catering items as needed. When the time comes
by management and the accounting department for the client to approve the BEO, everything is
for forecasting and production reporting. Finally, close to being settled.
the DOC identifies the types of events most com- The software can make specific or universal
monly needed at that hotel (Meeting, Breakfast, changes. For example, suppose a group will be
Morning Break, Lunch, etc.) and determines the in-house for a meeting for four days. The Catering
normal revenue pattern for each type of event. Manager created the event entries when the book-
When this initial set-up is done with care, the ing was confirmed. Now the group is finalizing
property will have a reasonable catering forecast. their plans and has decided that for all of their
How? Because, when a sales manager or catering breakfasts they will have the same items. Instead
manager creates an event of a certain type, the of entering this change four separate times, the
system automatically forecasts the income from Catering Manager can tell the software to change
that event. This is the forecast the hotel uses until all breakfasts for the group. Once this is done,
the actual event details are added, which might all items will be displayed on the merged BEO.
be at a much later point.
When it is time to detail the events for a
booking, key elements of the event will probably
already have been defined:

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Sales Force Technology for the Hospitality Industry

Banquet Event Orders (BEO) and comment and, then, when each BEO is final,
for printing and signaturea far more efficient
The activity of the catering office revolves around process.
creation of the BEOs, which serve not only as the
contracts with the client, specifying every detail, Making Changes Efficiently
but as the internal communication about events,
used by every department in the hotel. The four After a BEO is created, it will change frequently.
key tasks of successful BEO automation are: The catering manager can quickly substitute one
item for another, quickly merge the BEO again,
with minimum fuss, making the BEO look and see the result. A change log is often part of
just right for the client, the BEO to track all of the changes, who made
sending it to the client, them, and when resulting in an automated trail
making changes efficiently (since BEOs of changes.
change constantly, until the event actually
happens), and Making It Efficient for the Hotel Staff
making it easy and efficient for the hotel
staff to use. The property has the option of creating a differ-
ent BEO laid out for the chef, banquet services,
The BEO must be attractive and understand- and other staff. This can be e-mailed or printed,
able to the customer. Some items will be priced depending on the state of automation in the hotel.
a la carte, others on consumption, others as part It can also be posted to an internal web site that
of an audio-visual package, and other items will allows the various departments to review and
have no price at all. Some items will need a special organize their BEOs on-line and print them as
annotation (Set-up at the back of the room). Oth- needed. They can also see, either on-line or in
ers will need bold-face type or some other special reports, just the catering items of concern to them,
emphasis, such as highlighting (see Figure 5). making the whole process much more efficient
An automated BEO provides the opportunity than the paper-based process was.
to create as many types of BEOs as might be Many of the managers that are part of BEO
neededone for weddings, another for group distribution are responsible for staffing depart-
meetings, etc. In addition, it allows the catering ments like banquets, bartenders, and wait staff. The
manager to create most BEOs without further automation of all items associated to a BEO offers
editing, but still allows direct editing on the BEO an on-screen diary of events and corresponding
to provide special notes and highlighting as items. This makes it easy for staff charged with
needed. Then, as changes are made to the BEO setup of audio-visual equipment (for example),
and new data is merged into it, these edits are to know how many staffers are needed and how
retained. many projection systems will be needed in the
next seven days.
Sending It to the Client
Banquet Check
It used to be necessary to print and fax or over-
night the initial BEOs and each of the changes The banquet check is the final bill for a specific
to the client a time-consuming process. Now, BEO. At this point, the sales and catering system
in an automated BEO, the catering manager just almost becomes an accounting system. After an
e-mails the set of BEOs to the customer for review event is completed, the banquet captain makes

146
Sales Force Technology for the Hospitality Industry

Figure 5. Example of an SFA generated banquet event order

147
Sales Force Technology for the Hospitality Industry

any final adjustments to the items the client con- RECENT INNOVATIONS
sumed (how many bottles of wine, any additional
AV equipment, etc.) and prints a banquet check Recent innovations to hospitality SFA include are
for the client to sign. When the group departs, numerous. They include:
all these banquet checks are combined with all
other charges for the conference into a master Web-based BEOs. BEOs historically in-
bill for the client. volved a lot of paper where the client was
required to send back an original signed copy;
Catering Reports and annotated copies of the BEO are copied
and passed around the hotel, etc. Today, the
Producing hotel sales and catering reports have signed BEO is posted to the web for client
been among the most time-consuming tasks in comment and approval. Then the completed
hotels. Data often got pulled from a variety of BEO will be available on the web to hotel
systems and re-aggregated in a variety of ways departments.
for various purposes. Now, with the newer auto- Wireless Events Management and Catering.
mated systems, will a simple click of a button all Wireless catering applications are now avail-
relevant data is automatically retrieved, analyzed, able in many systems that allow events and
and presented for frequently used reports. Options catering managers to see everything they
for ad hoc or modified reports are available as need for an event from a PDA anywhere,
well (see Figure 6). any time.
Campaign Management. Most all SFA sys-
tems contain a simple mail merge function
where customized letters and emails can be
personalized for a targeted distribution list
of clients and prospects. The most advanced

Figure 6. Example of an SFA generated catering report

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Sales Force Technology for the Hospitality Industry

systems today allow a sales manager to CONCLUSION


customize newsletters, brochures and cou-
pons for their distribution lists that can be SFA technology provides several ways in which
distributed in HTML or CSV formats. Once to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of
distributed, the sales managers contact man- hospitality sales managers. However, such SFA
agement system is automatically updated software should be considered a sales tool and
showing when the client was contacted as a not a replacement of sales activity. In addition,
part of the promotional campaign as well as for such systems to work effectively, they must
when they opened and viewed the campaign be maintained constantly. Management must
document on the internet. Future advances determine if the investment in SFA is worth the
on the horizon will allow for customized financial cost in acquiring and maintaining such
campaigns of this nature to be delivered to a system as well as their staffs time and effort in
individual guests. Each campaigns revenue learning how to use it. We encourage companies
code will allow for efficient tracking of rev- to consider the future in choosing the best course
enue derived from each campaign as well of action.
(see Figure 7).

Figure 7. Example of a campaign management feature from the design to finished brochure ready to
be emailed

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Sales Force Technology for the Hospitality Industry

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Chapter 10
Tourism Revitalization of
Historic District in Perspective
of Tourist Experience:
A Case Study of San-Fang Qi-
Xiang in Fuzhou City, China

Jiaming Liu
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, China

ABSTRACT
Presently, similar development mode and analogical tourist experience as two key problems have ap-
peared to tourism development in domestic historic districts. This chapter discusses the new thought
of tourism revitalization in historic districts in the perspective of tourist experience. Firstly, based on
the deep analysis of tourist experiences essential elements in historic districts, 6E experience mode is
established to summarize the tourist experience, which includes Estheticism and nostalgia, Education
and culture, Entertainment and leisure, Exchange and communication and Emotion sublimation.
Meanwhile, how to build up and enhance every single experience of 6E model in tourism revitalization
of historic district is also explained. Secondly, the application of 6E model is demonstrated elaborately
in the case of Conceptual Planning of Tourism Development in San-Fang Qi-Xiang Historic District
in Fuzhou City. Considering the hierarchy and comprehensibility of tourist experience and combined
with site environment analysis, San-Fang Qi-Xiang historic district is divided into four function divi-
sions: Nanhou old street mall, Warmth and leisure lane, Antai water-front zone and Residential blocks
for minority customization. The four divisions are distinguished by degrees of bustling and tranquility
as well as the hierarchy of experience. This chapter concludes that it is beneficial to utilize 6E model
to segment function division and plan products in tourism revitalization of historic districts, because
it helps to revitalize and create a fresh appearance with historical continuation in cultural, social and
economic aspects. Therefore, it is perceived as a sustainable thought of development.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch010

Copyright 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Tourism Revitalization of Historic District in Perspective of Tourist Experience

INTRODUCTION (Chang, 2005; Lui, 2000). Some researchers


pointed out two developing models which were
The multiple inner values of historic districts, host and guest amalgamation model and low
including aesthetic, artistic, historic, cultural and density, high quality model in the perspective
humanistic value, have made them become sig- of tourist consumption experience and historic
nificant cultural heritage. With the contradiction district protection (Shen et al, 2003). However,
of rapid economic development, historic district only a few theses have been focused on the study
protection and residents living demand, tourism of historic district revitalization in terms of tour-
revitalization has been regarded as an efficient ist experience. By building up specified model,
way of embedding historic district into the mod- some foreign researchers put forward that tourism
ern city in terms of spatial and temporal pattern. product and services should be supplied according
Tourism function was introduced to historic district to tourists involvement and place attachment in
reconstruction and renewal in western countries in order to meet tourist expectation (Gross, 2008).
the early time and tourism has become a leading Some domestic researchers suggested that hu-
role in historic district protection and economic man involving activities and the form experience
revitalization (Cleland, 2002). Since 1960s, tour- should be placed attention on in the process of
ism revitalization has been widely practiced in historic district revitalization (Zhang, 2002) and
domestic historic districts and this way has been the idea of shaping commercial characteristic in
approved by some researchers. However, some Qing Hefang historic district of Hang Zhou was
problems, including similar development mode, proposed based on the investigation of field work
analogical tourist experience and tourism product, (Wang & Chen, 2008). The previous study mainly
have occurred in tourism development of historic emphasized on general tourist experience and
districts and destroyed both their unique value and discussed the reuse of historic districts. How to
urban individuality. With these problems, tourism analyze tourism revitalization from the perspec-
revitalization could not meet tourist demand to tive of the tourist experience in historic districts
some degree. Because of its specialty of tourism and put forward some new thought of tourism
resource, historic district development is always function allocation and product design is the key
placed in an extremely sensitive environment point of this paper.
which is influenced by so many complicated fac-
tors. This paper will discuss the new thought of
tourism product design and function allocation in TOURIST EXPERIENCE AND
historic districts, in order to reduce the contradic- 6E EXPERIENCE MODEL
tion between protection and development as well
as to fulfill the tourists satisfaction. Definition and Characteristic
Currently, most of the researchers have focused
their studies on demonstration and analyzed Basically, experience is a period of time that
how to use cultural heritage, attract tourists and people spend in an individual way and earn a
facilitate urban rejuvenation (Tiesdell & Heath, series of memories worth remembering (Pine &
2006). How to balance social benefit with eco- Gilmore, 2002). Experience is natively existed
nomic benefit and how to resolve the conflict in travelling and it is perceived as an inherent
between protection and development has been feature of tourism, because people travel for a
paid close attention (Tiesdell, 1995; Sim, 1996; pursuit of unforgettable tourism experience and
Caffyn, 1999). Principles of tourism exploita- memories (Li, Zhang & Zheng, 2005). Therefore,
tion and tourism product design were concluded tourism experience can be described as a process

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Tourism Revitalization of Historic District in Perspective of Tourist Experience

when tourists participate in observing, admiring, the one-stop experience demand of tourists (Yang
associating and consuming, so that their feel- & Lui, 1998), that is to say, tourists need to fulfill
ings, physical strength and consciousness reach all their demand in a specific area where servicing
to a specific level and combine to be a splendid facilities are concentrated (Zheng, 2008). Espe-
experience. cially, with the new trend of tourism consumption,
Hierarchy and comprehensiveness can be experience comprehensiveness has been paid more
regarded as two of the most important features attention in the process of building up tourism
of tourism experience. (1) Tourism experience destination. Nowadays, the way of developing
hierarchy is mainly affected by tourists subjec- tourism resource has appeared diversification and
tive preferences, including the differences of comprehensiveness.
tourists personality, knowledge and experience.
Meanwhile, it is also influenced by preexistence, The 6E Tourism Experience
interference, action and result (Yu & Zhang, 2005). Model of Historic District
According to the degree of participation of travel-
ing activities, tourism experience can be divided Pine II and Gilmore generalized the tourism
into three layers: surface layer, middle level and experience as 4E (Figure 1) according to de-
deep layer (Huang, 2004). Mr. Li Jinglong intro- gree of participation and the relationship with
duced Maslows theory of requirement level to circumstance: entertainment, education, escape
identify the hierarchy of tourism experience: foot and estheticism. At present, 4E model has made
of mountain, peak and plateau. The experi- a significant influence in the tourism experience
ence of foot of mountain can be described as a research field (Li, Zhang & Zheng, 2005) and
flash of absolutely happy and a feeling of self- this model can be applied to general tourists in
affirmation, which is a kind of general emotion; general tourism destination. Nevertheless, 4E cant
Peak is a point that tourist could make full use cover the entire experience element of tourists in
of his potential and obtain the feeling of strong, historic district with the special tourism value and
confidence and self-domination; Plateau is a the new trend of tourism consumption concept in
placid reaction to a fantastic, awesome, holy and the age of experience economy. This paper man-
powerful tourism situation and to an existence ages to put forward a 6E experience model which
value (Li, Zhang & Zheng, 2005). Experience generalizes the tourists experience in historic
hierarchy demonstrates the experience distinction districts (Table 1).
of different tourists according to their degree of
activity and emotion participation. It also reveals Estheticism and Nostalgia
the degree of challenge that tourists have to put
effort on in order to receive the corresponding Estheticism is the most straightforward feeling
experience: deeper experience, bigger challenge. that tourists obtain when they are visiting the
And the degree of challenge is laid on individual historic buildings and streets. Nostalgia, which
difference of tourists and tourism product design- distinguished with the other types of tourism
ing method. (2) Comprehensiveness is another ob- attractions, usually accompanies with estheti-
vious feature of tourism experience, as experience cism experience in historic districts. Nostalgia is
quality depends on so many complicated factors, peoples psychological need of chasing for historic
including catering, accommodation, transporta- memories in the perspective of space and time, so
tion, sightseeing, shopping, entertainment and that they could gain psychological satisfaction.
the other uncontrollable factors. Furthermore, the We should follow two pieces of principles
theory of tourism function system also explains while creating estheticism and nostalgia experi-

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Tourism Revitalization of Historic District in Perspective of Tourist Experience

Figure 1. Experience model of 4E

ence: (1) Creation of place spirit. Place spirit can on the object. As to the portray of authenticity,
be defined as the sense of direction and identity to we ought to emphasize both physical dimension
a specific group in a specific space which is en- and unphysical dimension. On one hand, street
dowed with certain culture and history (Fei, 1999). texture and architecture style should be concerned;
People could engender sense of belonging, sense on the other hand, the local humanistic life style
of security and sense of nostalgia by interacting and living atmosphere should also be emphasized.
with certain places. The above mentioned sense
that tourists earn in historic district is obviously Education and Culture
distinguished from the estheticism experience of
general tourists in general tourism destinations. When tourists visit historic heritages, old build-
From the perspective of planning and designing, ings and museums, they proactively participate
the utilization of spatial pattern, building eleva- in absorbing new information and conducting
tion, street and furnishings decoration are essential self-enhancement. In this way, tourists achieve
in the creation of place spirit (Zheng, 2004). (2) education and culture experience. Compared with
Portray of authenticity. Authenticity is the basis of general tourism activities, education and culture
estheticism and nostalgia experience. Wang Ning experience is the most important feature of heri-
classified authenticity into two parts based on tage tourism. Because heritage resources could
the relationship between tourism experience and provide tourists with profound history, unique
landscape: objective authenticity and constitutive estheticism and artistic value, plentiful knowledge
authenticity (Wang, 1999). Constitutive authentic- and information and humanistic anecdote and they
ity is the key point in portraying authenticity of could cater tourists thirst for knowledge and the
historic district, as it is produced by the projection pursuit of elegant culture enjoyment. Museums
of tourists and tourism manufactures imagina- and exhibition halls are commonly and repeat-
tion, expectation, preference, belief and capability edly used in the creation of education and culture

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Tourism Revitalization of Historic District in Perspective of Tourist Experience

Table 1. 6E model of tourist experience in historic district

Experience Behavior Core attraction Material carrier


Observation Spatial texture
Historic buildings
Estheticism Yearning Architectural style
Reconstruction of previous time
Seeking Place spirit
Study Historical event
Museum
Education Investigation Anecdotes of celebrity
Former residence of celebrities
Ponder Regional culture
Involvement Leisure circumstance Shops
Entertainment Enjoyment Joyful activity Dining services
Recreation Recreation Entertainment show
Role conversion
Retiracy Transposition Site for theme experience
Escape Fresh experience
Seeking for novelty Creative industry
Theme activity
Association Public space Commercial club
Exchange Communication Social stie Business club
Esteem Esteem and honor Private space
Movement Harmony of feeling with scenery
Image of landscape
Emotion Self-identity Spiritual resonance
Reshaping of history and culture
Self-promotion Place characteristic

experience, but this way could not satisfy tourists significantly influences the transformation of
taste any more. In the practice, we need to pay tourism consumption concept. Nowadays, more
attention to points: (1) Improving the diversity of and more sightseeing tourism product has been
culture transmission and education method while replaced by leisure and entertainment activities.
avoiding single business industries. (2) In line with The spiritual enjoyment from the consumption of
the market demand, transforming the culture and environment and site is much more attractive than
education resources to recreation product with the material enjoyment of substance consumption. In
consideration of culture, economy and leisure. the design of leisure and entertainment, two points
should be placed attention to: (1) Making full use
Entertainment and Leisure of the spirit of historic district and introducing
diversified commercial industries, like leisure and
Entertainment and leisure experience is infil- entertainment, to create an integrative recreation
trated in the entire process of tourism activities. space gearing to the market. (2) Placing restric-
Tourists passively receive external information tions on the scale of entertainment industries and
and response with a happy reaction. They could preventing the cultural and historic context from
joviality body and mind, refresh spirits and relax being destroyed.
oneself by participating to entertainment and
leisure activities. Even though historic districts Escape and Retiracy
possess rich culture, its unique feature of place,
sense of nostalgia and long history provides urban Escape and retiracy is a status that people tem-
tourists who are chasing for new, compensation porarily leaves his place of usual residence and
and disengagement with a distinguished cir- stays in a totally new tourism environment. In
cumstance for leisure and tourism. Meanwhile, this way, tourists could find out fresh experience
economic development and globalization also and acquire spiritual peace by playing a role

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Tourism Revitalization of Historic District in Perspective of Tourist Experience

which is totally different from his real identity. Emotion and Sublimation
The architecture style and residents living style
of historic districts are brightly contrasted to real Emotion and sublimation is the highest degree of
daily life. However, this contrast is rightly the fresh objective experience. It is the status that human
experience that tourists chase for. Two ways of being deeply ponder over in historic district by
constructing escape and retiracy experience: (1) observing the real landscape, deliberating history
Providing tourists with the memorable experi- and culture and thinking deeply about the value
ence of life elsewhere by creating comfortable, of nation and nationality. Therefore, tourists
peaceful and glamorous theme environment, like could acquire self-promotion and self-fulfillment
theme bars, dining rooms and cinemas. (2) With when their emotion and landscape combines and
the combination of culture, history and creative reaches to resonance. In this situation, emotion
industries, constructing cultural experience space and sublimation experience is similar to pla-
and applying diversified methods to deepen sense teau experience: a placid reaction to a fantastic,
of history and culture, like Impression display. awesome, holy and powerful tourism situation
and to an existence value. Substantially, emo-
Exchange and Communication tion and sublimation experience is distinct from
estheticism and nostalgia experience, according
Actually, a journey is an experience of exchange to the following reasons: Firstly, in terms of the
and communication. Tourists in historic districts degree of experience hierarchy, estheticism and
usually have strong desire to communicate with nostalgia still stays at the surface stage, like
local residents in order to learn more about regional visual sense and auditory sense, while emotion
culture and their living style. Furthermore, more and sublimation experience helps humankind
and more people are inclined to get together in conduct rational cognition on history, culture and
the tea houses or bars in historic districts to en- national spirit in the status of self-promotion and
joy social life, as the unique environment could self-fulfillment. Secondly, in terms of the length
provide people with comfortable and respectable of experience duration, emotion and sublimation
atmosphere. For example, bars and tea houses experience could keep a much longer time which
have become the best places of hosting younger exceeds the entire travel time or even reserves in
generations dates, relatives home parties and ones remaining years. Finally, in terms of the
business chatting. Exchange and social activity in difficulty of experience obtaining, it is quite hard
historic district is the reflection of human beings for tourists to acquire emotion and sublimation
communication need in nature. It is also regarded experience because they have to possess plentiful
as the conversion of human beings living style personal experience, enough historic and cultural
and social life in new age of economy. Two points knowledge and sensitive perceptual ability. At
that we have to pay attention to: (1) Constructing same time, whether tourists could earn emotion
public space in line with the texture of historic and sublimation experience is also influenced by
districts. Utilizing square and waterfront area and the existence of place spirit and some occasional
building up social spaces which could concentrate factors. Therefore, the construction of emotion
tourists. (2) Gearing to the demand of the market and sublimation experience will take more chal-
which mainly contains white collars and business lenges and put on more efforts: (1) Enhancing
elites, club houses and parties can be allocated to the portray of place spirit. Emotion expression
establish private social spaces. and artistic design concept should be applied to
reconstruction and regeneration of old buildings,
old streets and landscapes, in order to create a

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Tourism Revitalization of Historic District in Perspective of Tourist Experience

perfect harmony of feelings with the scenery. (2) Resource Value and Market Analysis
Remolding and enhancing the theme of history
and culture. History or culture could remind hu- At present, 28 cultural relics protection units, 34
man of their memories in the old days, by means preserved buildings and 97 historic buildings are
of art performance. preserved in San-Fang Qi-Xiang. These heritages
endow this area with both significant protection
value and distinguished resource value: (1) The
CASE STUDY: SAN-FANG QI-XIANG complete and distinctive fishbone pattern is
perceived as living fossil of urban construction
Background and Current Situation in ancient China. (2) A large number of well-
preserved old buildings make up a Museum of
Background of Revitalizaton Ancient architecture. (3) Diversified and restful
space is outstandingly represented the traditional
San-Fang Qi-Xiang, located in city center of Fu- residential pattern. (4) The ancient architectures
zhou, is 40.2 hectares. It was established in Jin and are possessed with very Fuzhou characteristic.
Tang dynasty and thrived in the late Qing dynasty. (5) Abundant human resource is the evidence of
From the Republic of China to after liberation, development of Modern History of China, the
San-Fang Qi-Xiang gradually developed to be centralized reflection of urban spirit, the complex
commercial center and residential area. However, of folk culture as well as the carrier of Fujian and
due to historical and human factors, a lot of long- Taiwan cultures.
time old buildings have been severely destroyed. The reconstructed San-Fang Qi-Xiang mainly
Furthermore, the government of Fuzhou signed face with two markets: one is tourists from the other
an agreement with a company called Min Chang cities, the other is local residents for recreation.
in 1993, who earned the land use right of San- In the new era of leisure, tourism consumption is
Fang Qi-Xiang and utilize the land to conduct inclined to be more diversified and more recre-
real estate development. Unfortunately, the first ational (Wang, 2006). The single way of displaying
phase project seriously damaged the architectural for culture and history couldnt satisfy modern
appearance and only two Fang and five Xiang tourists demand and tourists begin to place more
were preserved. In 2005, facing with the crucial attention to the consumption on historic space
moment of retrievable protection for San-Fang and life style. As a result, tourism product system
Qi-Xiang, government terminated the agreement should be enlarged with the principle of increasing
with Min Chang company and withdrew its land participation, experience and enjoyment.
use right. With this background, Conceptual
Planning of Tourism Development in San-Fang Strategic Positioning
Qi-Xiang Historic District in Fuzhou City, as a
core mission, was included into Promotion Plan As to the development strategy position of San-
For Tourism Development in Fuzhou, in order Fang Qi-Xiang, we need to elaborate from multi-
to build up a brand new San-Fang Qi-Xiang dimension. Firstly, Fuzhou tourism industry is
which will become 5A tourism area and elegant in the critical stage of breaking bottle-neck and
residential community. conducting fast development. Urban tourism
should take on the responsibility of developing.
Secondly, San-Fang Qi-Xiang is located in the
commercial and cultural center of Fuzhou city
(Figure 2, Figure 3). It has become the most

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Tourism Revitalization of Historic District in Perspective of Tourist Experience

Figure 2. Cultural circle of Fuzhou and the location of San-Fang Qi-Xiang

potential area in RBD system because of its loca- finally San-Fang Qi-Xiang will come into a typical
tion advantage and distinguished resource value. historic district with plentiful Fuzhou-style ancient
Thirdly, experience tourism product is a new trend buildings and cultural characteristic. Meanwhile,
of tourism market demand and it is also the blank San-Fang Qi-Xiang will take on the responsibility
of Fuzhou tourism product system. Fourthly, with of developing tourism industry and make a big
the consideration of San-Fang Qi-Xiangs strong contribution to urban revitalization.
desire to declare world heritage, the residential
function and ecological condition should be Function Division and Product
preserved. Fifthly, the profound historical lesson Design on the Basis of 6E Mode
and expensive protection cost requires San-Fang
Qi-Xiang to seek a way of combining heritage Based on the protection demand of historic district,
protection and economic independence. Above all, the analysis on the culture and history of San-Fang
the overall strategy position of San-Fang Qi-Xiang Qi-Xiang, the evaluation of the demand of tour-
should be described as following: Residential ism market and considering the degree of tourists
function plays the most important role in San- participation, the six experience elements could
Fang Qi-Xiang while culture, leisure, commercial be classified into three layers (Figure 4): surface
and tourism industries will gradually develop and layer, middle layer and deep level.

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Tourism Revitalization of Historic District in Perspective of Tourist Experience

Figure 3. Commercial circle of Fuzhou and the location of San-Fang Qi-Xiang

According to the hierarchy and comprehensive- estheticism and nostalgia activities in order to
ness of experience, combining with the analysis satisfy general tourists needs. Warmth and leisure
of environment, under the guidance of the theory lane is not as bustling as Nanhou old street mall.
of place spirit and the theory of tourism function It could provide tourists with an experience be-
system, 6E mode can be applied to conduct func- tween surface and middle layer. Education, cul-
tion division and product design in San-Fang tural and leisure product are located in this area.
Qi-Xiang. Considering the degrees of bustling An Tai river is relatively tranquil and it could
and tranquility, the hierarchy of experience, spa- provide tourists with an experience between
tial pattern and environmental analysis, San-Fang middle and deep layer. Escape, social and enter-
Qi-Xiang historic district is divided into four tainment activities are the most important product
function divisions (Figure 5, Figure 6): Nanhou of this area. Residential block for minority cus-
old street mall, Warmth and leisure lane, An Tai tomization is the most tranquil division in San-
water-front zone and Residential blocks for mi- Fang Qi-Xiang which could meet a minority
nority customization. Nanhou old street mall is a markets need. Escape, social, emotion and sub-
surface experience zone, which is the most bustling limation activities are located in this division.
area with a large variety of entertainment, leisure,

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Tourism Revitalization of Historic District in Perspective of Tourist Experience

Figure 4. Hierarchy of tourist experience

Figure 5. Function division of San-Fang Qi-Xiang based on tourist experience

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Tourism Revitalization of Historic District in Perspective of Tourist Experience

Figure 6. Function layout of every division

Nanhou Old Street Mall: Entertainment estheticism and nostalgia product. Wax museums,
and Estheticism folk culture museums and tea museums are the
core attractions of education and culture product.
Nanhou old street is the most bustling area in
San-Fang Qi-Xiang, because it has a commercial Warmth and Leisure Lane:
history of a thousand years. Even though it pos- Education and Leisure
sessed a large variety of commercial industries,
the renewal for all of the traditional industries is The five lanes are located between Nan street and
not consistent with tourists experience demand Nanhou old street, so its not so bustling as Nanhou
in the modern age of leisure. The reconstructed old street. Many former residences of celebrities
Nanhou old street, with a theme of Mall, will comprise of the profound history and culture of
mainly develop cultural, commercial, sightsee- this area. However, the way of developing muse-
ing and leisure industries. The mall will provide ums in the former residences of celebrities is not
general tourists with entertainment, leisure, consistent with tourists demand. With the theme
estheticism, nostalgia, culture and education of warmth and leisure, the five lanes are classified
experience. Boutiques, galleries, restaurants are into two function divisions: Cultural display and
the core attractions of entertainment and leisure leisure zone and private living quarter. Cultural
product. The ancient hotels, lantern festival and display and leisure zone, where is in the north of
night market in old street are the core attractions of Huang Xiang, will build up book stores, museums

161
Tourism Revitalization of Historic District in Perspective of Tourist Experience

and galleries to display the profound culture and ence. Yi Jin Fang, Wen Ru Fang and Guang Lu
supply education experience to tourists. Private Fang are placed from north to south in this area.
living quarter is located in the south of Huang It is also famous for a large number of historical
Xiang. With the concept of private life, private heritages, like OuYang garden, the former resi-
bookshops, private restaurants, private museums dence of Chen Chengqi and so on. On the basis
and private gardens will be allocated in the area of the social demand of high-end consumers,
to create leisure and escape spaces for tourists. three Fang is developed as a residential block for
minority customization which includes a large
An Tai River Water-Front variety of club houses and creative industries. Yi
Zone: Entertainment, Jin Fang only preserves its northwest part and it
Estheticism and Exchange will become a creative industry zone, in which
4D theme performance and creation base will be
An Tai River water-front zone is functioned as allocated, to fulfill the needs of sublimation and
the green belt between San-Fang Qi-Xiang and emotion. Wen Ru Fang will be constructed as a
the outer urban space. It occupies the biggest club house zone, where personal clubs and liter-
potential of building up public and leisure space ary salons are allocated to provide tourists with
because old bridges, old trees, river and old archi- exchange and escape experience. Guang Lu Fang
tectures are centralized in this area. Combined the is a high-end hotel service zone, where spring
pleased water-frond landscape and the social and hotels and high-end hotels will be allocated to
consumption demand of tourists, An Tai River is cater tourists vacation need.
divided into two belts: Water-front architectural
belt and Water-front landscape belt. Water-front
architectural belt is the western part of the river CONCLUSION AND DISCUSSION
and the previous spatial texture will be well pre-
served. Tea houses, concerts, pleasure boats and The demand of tourists in historic district is
cafes should be built along this belt to create an obviously differentiated from general tourists
architecture axis of escape and estheticism experi- in the other tourism destinations. Based on the
ence. Water-front landscape belt is the southern analysis of tourism experience element in historic
part of the river and there are many inconsistent district, this paper put forward a 6E experience
buildings in this area currently. Therefore, the first model which includes Estheticism and nostalgia,
step is to reconstruct the inconsistent buildings, Education and culture, Entertainment and leisure,
increase the green space and renovate the water- Escape and retiracy, Exchange and communica-
front space. Bars, cafes, galleries, spring heath tion, Emotion and sublimation. It also pointed
center and theaters will be established to create out how to create every experience in historic
a leisure axis for general tourists. district by means of product design and functional
allocation. The hierarchy and comprehensiveness
Residential Block for Minority of tourism experience has a significant applica-
Customization: Exchange and Emotion tion in the division segment and product design.
The hierarchy of tourism experience makes sure
Three Fang is the most tranquil area in San-Fang that every division can be distinguished accord-
Qi-Xiang historic district, so it is easily created ing to the different demand of different market.
to be a vision full of escape and emotion experi- The comprehensiveness of tourism experience

162
Tourism Revitalization of Historic District in Perspective of Tourist Experience

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Parks of Cultural Tourism Based on One-stop
Taking the Case of Investigation of Hefang Street
Experience. Tourism Tribune, 23(9), 4953.
in Hangzhou. Huazhong Architecture, 26(6),
149153. Zheng, X. (2004). An Analysis of the Design of
Chunxi Road Commercial Pedestrian Mall Based
Wang, N. (1999). Rethinking authenticity in tour-
on Place Theory. [Social Sciences]. Journal of
ism experience. Annals of Tourism Research, 26(2),
Southwest Jiaotong University, 5(6), 139142.
349370. doi:10.1016/S0160-7383(98)00103-0
Wang, Q. (2006). Ten trends of tourist consumption
in leisure times. Tourism Tribune, 10(21), 79.

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165

Chapter 11
A Classification of Mobile
Tourism Applications
Stan Karanasios
University of Leeds, UK

Stephen Burgess
Victoria University, Australia

Carmine Sellitto
Victoria University, Australia

ABSTRACT
This chapter introduces mobile technology and discusses its emergence in the tourism industry. As has
been the case with other Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), tourism has manifested as
one of the most well suited sectors to mobile technology and mobile applications. In contrast to other
ICTs in the tourism domain however, mobile applications are capable of enhancing the tourist experi-
ence at the destination, creating a paradigm shift in how information is accessed and digested, and
transactions performed. Nonetheless, little is known concerning how mobile technologies are changing
the landscape of tourism and tourist behaviour and the content offered by tourism applications. In or-
der to address the scarcity of research in this emergent area this paper focuses on mobile applications
in the tourism industry and based on a literature survey proposes a framework for evaluating mobile
tourism applications.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch011

Copyright 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
A Classification of Mobile Tourism Applications

INTRODUCTION cations. In contrast to other ICTs in the tourism


domain however, mobile applications are capable
Information Communication Technologies (ICT) of enhancing the tourist experience at the destina-
have become a critical element of the tourism tion, creating a paradigm shift in how informa-
industry, forming the info-structure (Buhalis tion is accessed and digested, and transactions
& Law, 2008) and the foundation of information performed. Werthner and Ricci (2004) suggested
access and use. Mobile phones, in particular, are that tourists expect to get access to services and
changing the tourism landscape and the modus information from various devices, whenever
operandi of destinations, attractions and traditional and wherever they need it. Others have reasoned
tourism information sources, as they seek to match that smart-phones have improved the traveller
the evolving needs of tourists, who demand high- experience (Mamaghani, 2009) and that mobile
speed access to relevant information and media travel will soon become a must-have utility for
content on the move. In 2008, the number of travellers (Langelund, 2007 p. 286). Supporting
mobile subscribers worldwide reached over four this, analysis of tourist backpacker trends reveals
billion (ITU, 2009a). Amongst the proliferation that tourists desire mobile applications that match
of mobile phones, the smart-phone in particular the capabilities of their smart-phones (Pearce,
offers advanced capabilities, comparable with Murphy, & Brymer, 2009).
PC-like functionality, often equipped with features Destinations management organisations, aware
such as keyboards or touch screens (Charlesworth, of visitor behaviour, are developing mobile ap-
2009; Park & Chen, 2007). plications in order to differentiate themselves
Before discussing mobile technologies and from other destinations and cater to tourism
applications in the tourism sector, it is useful to demands. Hyun, Lee, & Hu (2009) argued that
begin by examining the overarching historic re- value-added mobile services through destination
lationship between ICT and tourism. Tourism has management organisations should be strategically
long been recognised as an information-based, and developed to enhance awareness of a destination,
information-intensive industry, well suited to ICT satisfy travel experience, and create destination
(Inkpen, 1994; Poon, 1993; Sheldon, 1997). Over loyalty. Further, it has been suggested that large
the last ten years in particular, there has been an and mid-sized travel suppliers and intermediaries
increase in research concentrating on the Internet are likely to launch mobile services in order to
and small and large scale operators (Buhalis, 2004; stake a claim for their brand in the mobile sphere
Carroll & Siguaw, 2003; Karanasios & Burgess, (Langelund, 2007). Nonetheless, little is known
2008), government tourism boards (Raventos, concerning how mobile technologies are changing
2006), and tourist behaviour (Davidson & Yu, the landscape of tourism, tourist behaviour and
2005). Furthermore, research has shown that the experience in relation to the content delivery of
preferences and behaviour of tourists have shifted tourism applications.
away from standardised packages, designed by In this paper we propose a frame of reference
tour operators, to individualized products, spe- for the categorisation of mobile tourism appli-
cifically tailored to customer needs and interests cations and a framework for evaluating mobile
(WTO, 2001), leading to a higher involvement of tourism applications. This paper is organised as
customers in the planning process (Buhalis, 1999) follows. The next section discusses the emergence
of which the ICT becomes an important part. of mobile tourism applications and the cumulative
Given the suitability between ICT and tourism, research in the field. Following this, we outline a
it is no surprise that tourism has emerged as one means to categorise mobile tourism applications
of the most well suited sectors for mobile appli- based on their inherent characteristics. Building

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A Classification of Mobile Tourism Applications

on this we then propose a framework that can conceptual or prototype phase, and it is unclear
be used to evaluate mobile tourism applications if they have experienced any live deployment or
based on their characteristics. We then outline commercialisation. One reason for the lack of
our future study in which we will validate the appropriation and success is due to the lack of an
proposed framework and expand knowledge on in-depth study and design from the perspective
the characteristics of mobile applications in the of the specific characteristics of tourism. Rather,
tourism domain. design has taken place in deterministic and techno-
centric fashion. Along these lines, Chalmers (2003)
and Schwinger (2002) suggested it is the social
LITERATURE SURVEY ON MOBILE aspect of leisure, or its context, that may be the
TOURISM APPLICATIONS most important yet most challenging to support.
And despite the ability of context-awareness to
The extant literature informs us there is already provide timely information in context and dynamic
some use of mobile tourism applications and in- adaptation the early literature suggests that it
novative mobile data use such as mobile cultural has not been embedded in tourism applications
guides (Alfaro, 2005), use of mobile information (Schwinger, et al., 2002). Moreover, there are a
systems at sporting events (Peters, Piazolo, Koster, range of privacy and invasive repercussions asso-
& Promberger), mobile check-in (Mamaghani, ciated with the technology. In fact, the emergence
2009), mobile positioning data to track tourists of mobile location services have paved the way
movements (Ahas, Aasa, Roose, Mark, & Silm, for potentially intrusive marketing strategies and a
2008) and the use of mobile technology in order range of trust issues (Giaglis, Kourouthanassis, &
to receive payments (Karanasios, 2008). More Tsamakos, 2003; Xu & Gutierrez, 2006). Another
broadly, mobile phones have been used for some factor of relevance is that while we have seen an
time as a communication medium to coordinate exponential increase in the number of mobile
tourism activities. A review of the grey literature devices around the world, smart-phones are not as
also reveals a variety of innovative navigation, widely diffused in many parts of the world. Mov-
entertainment and travel mobile applications ing forward towards 4G and mobile broadband,
available on the market. According to Gartner we are likely to see a greater mismatch of mobile
(2009), Symbian accounted for 49 percent of devices and applications and network technology.
worldwide smart-phone operating systems (OS) Despite this, these emergent mobile broadband
market share in the first quarter of 2009, down technologies will further transform the tourism
from 57 percent share in the first quarter of 2008. sector, although this has not featured heavily in
RIMs smart-phone OS market share reached 20 the tourism literature. Buhalis and Law (2008)
percent in the first quarter of 2009, up from 13 mentioned the potential of emergent technologies
percent share in the first quarter of the previous such as WiMAX (Worldwide Interoperability
year. The iPhone OS accounted for 11 percent for microwave Access) in the tourism domain,
of the market, up from 5 percent market share in which is a mobile broadband technology offering
the first quarter of 2008, however it is clear that higher speeds than 3G or Wi-Fi, vehicular use,
the iPhone, and in particular its iTunes platform, triple play services and improved connectivity
continues to reshape the mobile market landscape. (Roh & Yanover, 2009). This is important as it
Mobile applications as a whole have expe- is widely expected that mobile tourism applica-
rienced limited success in the tourism domain. tions are likely to grow. Juniper Research (2006)
Moreover, many tourism applications reported predict that the total global market for all forms
in the academic literature appear to be in the of mobile leisure, mobile sport, and information

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A Classification of Mobile Tourism Applications

data services (content and messaging), including A CLASSIFICATION FOR


alerts, SMS and MMS messaging/information TOURISM APPLICATIONS
services, chatting, wallpaper and images, video
clips, streamed video, is estimated to grow to A review of the extant literature reveals that mobile
around $9.5 billion by 2011. tourism applications have covered a wide range
Most existing mobile tourism solutions either of tools and functionality. This has suggested a
represent of-the-shelf applications with rigidly degree of confusion in the mobile application
defined content or involve portable devices with sector, as the unmanageable number of diverse
networking capabilities that access tourist content functionalities and devices continue to grow. In
with the requirement of continuous wireless net- order to help distinguish between tourism ap-
work coverage (Kenteris, Gavalas, & Economou, plications a frame of reference is required that
2009). Most of these are a combination of down- accounts for the range of characteristics of the
loadable applications with online capabilities, or applications. Kenteris (2009 p.104) categorised
are operated from a web enabled website. Location existing commercial applications and research
and context-aware applications remain the killer approaches in the field of mobile tourism within
application, and many tourism related applica- three main categories:
tions are bundled with some form of location aware
feature. Dey (2001 p. 5) define context as any Tourist or museum guides with pre-in-
information that can be used to characterize the stalled applications that cannot be custom-
situation of an entity. An entity is a person, place, ized according to user preferences.
or object that is considered relevant to the interac- Mobile devices used to access mobile web
tion between a user and an application, including portals to browse tourist information.
the user and applications themselves. Therefore, Mobile electronic guides devices using
context-aware mobile tourism applications are either wireless or mobile network connec-
concerned with the convergence of location, activ- tions to access context-aware services.
ity, identity and time in order to provide adapted
information and services. For example, Murshid There is an unclear distinction however
an application for tourists visiting the United Arab between an application in the sense that it is
Emirates embodies context-awareness, sensing downloaded on the mobile device and the access
the users context, analysing it, and providing the of a mobile enabled website from the handset,
most suitable guidance accordingly. The system due to the overlap between the two. Furthermore,
uses a context model that includes the user loca- beyond mobile tourist guides, there is another
tion, user profile, current date, event information, distinct group of tourism related applications
and user interaction (Echtibi, Zemerly, & Berri, that have emerged alongside the proliferation
2009). At the same time, research has pointed of smart-phones. These include location-based
to the absence and lack of user familiarity with services such as navigation and orientation tools
context-aware services, as many context-aware (i.e. Google Maps), and a range of other travel
applications exist only as conceptual research tools such as translators (i.e. iPhone translator),
prototypes (Goh, Ang, Alton, & Lee, 2009) and currency converters (.i.e. iCurrency Converter),
existing systems provide only trivial information flight trackers (i.e. flightview.com), and context-
(Schning, Hecht, & Starosielski, 2008). aware restaurant recommenders (i.e. ZAGAT To
Go). These can be described as complementary
mobile travel tools, and are distinct from tour-
ism guides and range in their sophistication. For

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A Classification of Mobile Tourism Applications

example, a currency converter can be described We propose a two tier categorisation of mobile
as a dressed-up calculator, while flight tracking tourism applications: destination guides and travel
applications have more sophisticated capabili- tools. However, whilst we distinguish between the
ties. Further, many of these tools are distinct as two sets of mobile tourism applications, there is
they can be used in everyday life, not just in the potential for considerable overlap. For instance, a
travel scenario. The literature concerning this later destination guide may have a restaurant finder or
group of mobile travel applications reveals little. navigation feature built into it. We also form a dis-
Consequently, there is scarcity of understanding tinction between downloadable applications and
concerning these applications, despite their ability mobile web enabled applications. Much debate has
to transform the travel experience. Google Maps, centred on the downloadable applications versus
unsurprisingly, has featured in the literature to solely browser based application, and which will
some extent. For instance, Riegelsberger and succeed as the dominant platform. For instance,
Nakhimovsky (2008) from Google discussed a pre-installed applications in the main cannot be
two-week field trial of Google Maps for Mobile updated and therefore suffer the same problems
(in London, Manchester, Hamburg, and Munich); as books and other traditional sources. Figure 1
however, they examined the application through sets a taxonomy based on general principles of
the lens of Human Computer Interaction (HCI), the applications.
rather than an analysis of the characteristics and
delivery features.

Figure 1. Taxonomy of tourism applications

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A Classification of Mobile Tourism Applications

EVALUATION OF MOBILE TOURISM the mobile application research and development.


APPLICATIONS Studies have also developed frameworks in order
to measure usability of the physical artifact (Heo,
The previous section outlined a frame of reference Ham, Park, Song, & Yoon, 2009), the user inter-
for categorising tourism application. Beyond this, face (Ismail, Osman, & Wahab, 2009; Lee, Hong,
there is also a need to understand and evaluate Smith-Jackson, Nussbaum, & Tomioka, 2006),
mobile applications, for a number of reasons. heuristics, prototypes and design (Economou,
From a design perspective, unlike windows-based Gavalas, Kenteris, & Tsekouras, 2008; Kenteris,
applications there is no standard user interface for et al., 2009), and how mobile applications can add
smart-phones and a range of competing devices value to destinations and tourists alike (Nielsen,
and thus capabilities and functions, resulting in 2004). However, a review of the literature reveals
a lack of standardization and different directions little concerning how actual applications may be
of innovation. Therefore, it is difficult to develop evaluated based on their characteristics.
applications for the mobile environment that will Internet frameworks that have been developed
behave in a similar manner on all devices and in and used in order to categorise virtual market
different environments. From a theoretical per- spaces created by the Internet, such as Angherns
spective, mobile technologies have challenged (1997) ICDT model, while successfully applied
existing theoretical frames of information access to Internet and tourism (Karanasios & Burgess,
and use by transforming the spatial and temporal 2006), become problematic when applied to
context. From a tourism perspective, it is clear mobile technologies. This is because mobile tech-
that for destinations and operators alike there is nologies have introduced a new frame of reference
a fundamental need to understand how mobile concerning how information and communication
applications work in order to adapt strategies is exchanged, and therefore a new paradigm is
accordingly to meet the needs of potential visi- required that captures the spatial and temporal
tors. Further, as mobile broadband subscriptions changes facilitated by mobile technologies.
overtook fixed broadband subscriptions in 2008 Some authors have classified mobile ap-
(ITU, 2009b), there is a need to understand the plications based on navigation, information,
characteristics of mobile applications and how advertising, tracking, billing and emergency
they are utilized in order to shape the next wave features and their underlying technologies and
of mobile tourism applications and best prepare services (Giaglis, 2003), or based on transaction
actors in the tourism industry. management, content delivery and telemetry
Previous attempts to evaluate mobile applica- services (Senn, 2000). Varshney & Vetter (2002)
tions have focused on mobile tourist guides and developed a more detailed scheme that classified
applications and investigated specific issues at mobile applications based on activity, such as
the prototyping and pilot stage, such as support product location and shopping, mobile advertising
for maps or mobility issues, the kinds of services and distance education amongst others. Andreou
which were offered and how these services are et al., (2002) suggested that one way to classify
delivered to the end-user (Eisenhauer, Oppermann, mobile services and applications is based on the
& Schmidt-Belz, 2003; Grn, Werthner, Proll, functionality they provide to the mobile users. This
Retschitzegger, & Schwinger, 2008; Kray & kind of classification results in two major classes:
Baus, 2003). Against this backdrop, there is also the directory and the transaction-oriented services
significant inquiry into mobile technology from and applications. The major distinction between
the perspective of HCI (Kjeldskov J., 2004; Uden, these two classes of services is that in the case
Valderas, & Pastor, 2008), which has informed of the former a mobile user performs only read

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A Classification of Mobile Tourism Applications

requests to the directory, whereas in the latter a of interests (POIs). The framework is based on
user performs read and write requests to the trans- three delivery factors: Service Delivery, Service
action server, although they do acknowledge that Initiation and Service Customisation and is il-
there is an overlap between both classes. Others lustrated in Figure 2.
have sought to use benefit related categories of There are three dimensions to the framework.
mobile technologies, in order to categorise mobile The delivery dimension includes information (that
application features (Clarke, 2001; Sheng, Nah, & may be accessed), transaction (reservations, book-
Siau, 2005; Siau, 2001; Turban, Leidner, McLean, ings and ticketing), community (social integration
& Wetherbe, 2006). These usually include notions and networking) and distribution (receive digital
of ubiquity, convenience, flexibility, interactivity, products) activities that may be undertaken using
personalisation and or localisation. However, a mobile application (Grn, et al., 2008). The
whilst useful in understanding some generic ap- customisation dimension refers to the extent that
plications, such structures are overly simplistic, information sent to the user is customized, char-
and provide little basis for understanding dynamic acterized by the awareness of the current user
tourism applications. Further, benefits such as situation (considering context factors such as
ubiquity and convenience are now a given in device, user profile, location or time) and by the
the sphere of smart-phone technology. Grn et notion of adaptation of services with respect to
al., (2008) developed a framework that considers the context (Grn, et al., 2008). The following
the services offered to tourists during their on-trip two examples provide some delineation between
phase and the delivery aspects of these services in context and adaptation:
terms of customizing information around points

Figure 2. Tourism application delivery mechanisms, adapted from Grn, et al. (2008)

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A Classification of Mobile Tourism Applications

Table 1. Mobile tourism application evaluation framework

Framework Feature Criteria used to evaluate smart phone application


Dimension
Information User receives information about objects of interests
User is able to initiate a tourism transaction via the smart phone application. For
Transaction
Service Delivery example booking a flight, restaurant, etc*
User is provided with opportunities to participate in real-time feedback allowing
Community
tourism operators to be rated, reviewed (blogs) etc
The awareness of the current users situation considering context factors such as
Context
Customisation device, user profile, location or time
Adaptation Adaptation of services with respect to the context
Push Information is automatically sent to user without any explicit request
Initiation Requested user-triggered search process for specific information. Includes user
Pull
triggered or opt-in push services
Applications that are downloaded to the phone, directly over a mobile network or
Pre-installed Live
from a computer that once initiated access to mobile network
Applications that are downloaded to the phone, directly over a mobile network or
Application type Pre-installed -Static
from a computer that once initiated do not access the mobile network
Mobile applications that are not downloaded but are accessed through the mobile
Web based
phone browser (therefore requiring some download)
Source: Adapted from Kenteris (2009) and Grn, et al. (2008),
* Refers to transactions made through the application, not where there is a link to another tourism service mobile website

1. Context factors. Plain tailored content de- ter is the mobile tourism application prototype
livered to a user based on location or basic CRUMPET, which gives pro-active unobtrusive
user profile, for example, where to eat based tips to the user when they neared a sight that
on users current location or postcode. may be of interest (Schmidt-Belz & Poslad, 2003).
2. Adaptation. Based on location, user profile
(preferences) and pre-stored trip information
a user may be advised where to eat based on, THE STUDY
food preferences, current location, nearby
restaurant opening times, public transport In order to augment our understanding of mobile
information, and five-star rating. In many applications in tourism in the next phase of our
ways, this acts as a recommender service research we will evaluate the characteristics of a
based on the users personal interests and number of tourism mobile applications, using the
the current location (Schmidt-Belz & Poslad, framework proposed in Table 1 below. Similar ap-
2003). proaches have been used by other authors (Grn, et
al., 2008; Schwinger, et al., 2002). The framework
The initiation of delivery dimension can be is based on the categorisation of mobile application
classified into either pull (user-triggered search proposed and the model developed by Grn, et al.,
processes) and push services (automatically de- (2008). Unlike, Grn, et al., (2008) we have om-
livered information, without explicit user request) mited Distribution as a Delivery feature, as there
(Grn, et al., 2008). The former may be improved is little basis for delivering products via a mobile
by including contextual information that may be phone. Furthermore, it is a confusing distinction,
automatically retrieved. An example of the lat- as the information delivered to mobile phones

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is dynamic and may be in many forms. Grn, et DISCUSSION AND


al.(2008) also found that no mobile applications CONCLUDING REMARKS
delivered information products and services.
Other studies that have applied the ICDT model It is unequivocal that mobile applications repre-
(Angehrn, 1997) to tourism and the electronic sent the next wave of information access and use,
space have omitted the distribution space reason- altering the way many people interface with and
ing there was no electronic product to distribute experience a destination. In this paper we presented
(Karanasios & Burgess, 2006). In order to select a a discussion on the emergence of mobile applica-
representative sample of applications we propose tions in the tourism sector and proposed a frame
the following selection criteria: of reference that can be used to categorise the
diverse range of applications available. Further,
1. The applications should be a Business-to- we presented a framework for evaluating mobile
Consumer application that can be used during tourism applications and outlined our future study.
travel rather than during post or The next phase of our research will validate the
pre-travel. relevance of the framework and provide a better
2. The application should be designed for use understanding of mobile tourism applications and
on one or more smart-phone type, therefore their characteristics.
a qualifier is that it should be mobile web It is important to place some limitations on the
based or a downloadable application, rather embryonic work presented in this paper. First, we
than an SMS or voice based service. have generalised the service delivery elements to
3. In order to include a sample of a range of refer to the maximum capability of an individual
travel tools the applications should represent feature of a mobile tourism application. Similarly,
a range downloadable applications and web in some cases not all the functions may be available
enabled applications for comparison and on all types of smart-phones. We will attempt to
include a spread of tourism activities i.e. counter these limitations by evaluating the applica-
flights, restaurants, accommodation, visiting tions across a number of smart-phone platforms,
attractions and so forth. where applicable. Further, the framework is only
capable of examining the characteristics of the
We make a clear distinction between smart- tourism applications that are identifiable through
phones and WAP enabled phones. Whilst some its use. It is beyond the exposition of our analysis to
applications may be accessible on WAP phones, capture the HCI elements, technical specifications
we are predominately concerned with smart-phone or issues relating to information behaviour. These
technology. Other studies have shown that certain however, provide fruitful areas of future research,
applications designed for smart-phones have not particular those relating to information behaviour
been realized for extremely limited devices such and mobile applications from the perspective of
as WAP phones (Schmidt-Belz & Poslad, 2003). the user. A further limitation of our study is the
At the same time, we recognise some applications temporal constraint, this is because the applica-
may be designed for more than one platform. Table tions will increase in sophistication, as will the
1 outlines the evaluation frame of reference that handsets and network technologies. Therefore,
will be adopted for our study, which has been we will capture a snapshot of the tourism mobile
derived from Figure 1 and Figure 2. application panorama. Nonetheless, the evaluation
framework proposed is representative literature
and will suit the purpose of our exercise.

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178

Chapter 12
Personal Tour:
A Multi-Agent Recommender
System of Travel Packages

Fabiana Lorenzi
Invenio Software Inteligente & Universidade Luterana do Brasil, Brazil

Stanley Loh
Invenio Software Inteligente & Universidade Luterana do Brasil & Universidade Catlica de Pelotas,
Brazil

Mara Abel
Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil

ABSTRACT
This chapter describes the Personal Tour: a multi-agent recommender system designed to help users to
find best travel packages according to their preferences. Personal Tour is based on the collaboration of
multiple agents exchanging information stored in their local knowledge bases. Based on the paradigm
of the Distributed Artificial Intelligence, a user recommendation request is divided into partial recom-
mendations handled by different agents, each one maintaining incomplete information that may be useful
to compose a recommendation.

INTRODUCTION Commerce Web sites. These systems are being


applied in different domains (Gunawardana &
Users of e-Commerce Web sites still face the Meek, 2009).
information overload problem. Recommender Multi-agent recommender systems are being
Systems (RSs) have been proposed and developed used for managing information from different
to cope with this problem (Resnick et al., 1994), sources in domains where the knowledge is
and more in general to support the information distributed. Agents are able to retrieve, filter and
selection and decision making processes on e- use information that may be relevant to recom-
mendation decision process.
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch012

Copyright 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Personal Tour

This paper presents Personal Tour, a multi- user. It has 4 different agents: UserAgent, that is
agent recommender system that helps users to find responsible for the communication between the
travel packages according to their preferences. user and the system; the PlannerAgent, that is
Agents can exploit knowledge about previous responsible for planning the travel; the Webbot,
recommendations in order to determine solutions that is responsible for searching information in
that suit the wishes and needs of a customer. They Internet; and the CoachAgent that acts like a
are able to aggregate information and match the coach for the group of agents, controlling them
recommendations with the information that the and assigning tasks to them. The agents are able
user is looking for. to store the generated plans as cases and use these
Personal Tour has features that help to generate cases to build new plans.
better recommendations, such as: The disadvantage of MAPWEB is the fact that
the CoachAgent controls and manages the tasks
Agents are able to perform parts of the rec- and it controls the possible communications and
ommendation (for example, locomotion indicates who must help who. Moreover, there
ways) in order to cooperate for presenting is no process to validate the knowledge of the
the final recommendation to the user (the agents. Agents may work with outdated informa-
whole travel package); tion during the planning process generating bad
Agents are able to exchange information recommendations. In Personal Tour there is no
with other agents from the community central knowledge or task manager, so the divi-
when necessary; sion of tasks is made by common agree among
Agents become experts in specific part of the agents in the system and according to the
the recommendation; specialty of each agent.
Agents have specific knowledge (for ex- SmartClient (Torrens et al., 2002) is another
ample, alternative flights from different multi-agent system applied in the tourism domain
companies) and they are able to search for that helps the user to plan a flight route by repre-
information needed for the recommenda- senting the space of solutions (recommendations)
tion in their own knowledge bases. as constraint satisfaction problems. Users define
the departure city, the cities they want to visit
This paper is organized as follow: presented and the travel dates. With these preferences in
first is the related work in multi-agent recom- hand, the system builds a constraint satisfaction
mender systems, followed by the Personal Tour network able to exploit the possible routes. This
and its components, then some experiments done approach has a couple of disadvantages. First, it
in order to validate the system are discussed and collects route information from the server only
finally, the last section presents some conclusions once to avoid several costly accesses. That limits
and future work. the search space because and it is not possible for
the user to modify the preferences and to refine the
query. Secondly, the domain variables involved
RELATED WORK in the constraint network are fixed by the system
and it is not possible to explore solutions that are
Multi-agent models have been applied to retrieve, not originally in the search space. In Personal Tour
filter and use information relevant to the requested users may criticize the recommendation received,
recommendations. MAPWEB (Camacho et al., refining the query through the modification of the
2006), for example, is a multi-agent approach that informed preferences.
plans travels according to the preferences of the

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Personal Tour

MAPWEB and SmartClient differ from Per- ences from the user through the main interface
sonal Tour in three aspects. First, in Personal Tour, (step 1) for each travel service (flight, hotel and
an agent is fully autonomous and it can decide attractions). These preferences are used to cre-
which task it will perform according to the specific ate the tasks of the recommendation that will be
knowledge it has. Second, agents are able to be- performed by the agents of the system (step 2).
come experts in some part of the recommendation In step 3, agents choose tasks to solve (accord-
through their confidence degrees. Third, agents ing to their confidence in each travel service)
are able to assume information during the recom- and from this moment they start to perform the
mendation process in cases of missing information tasks searching for the information necessary to
necessary to generate a recommendation. compose the recommendation. Agents have two
ways of searching information: local, when agents
search in their knowledge base (step 4a); or in the
THE PERSONAL TOUR community, when agents cooperate, communicat-
RECOMMENDER SYSTEM ing to each other to get the information (step 4b).
The local knowledge base is composed by
Personal Tour is a multi-agent recommender historical data from other customers travels, stor-
system designed to help users to find best travel ing each recommendation presented to the cus-
packages according to their preferences. It is based tomer (information about flights, hotels and at-
on the collaboration of multiple agents exchanging tractions generated by the system to each request
information stored in their local knowledge bases, of the user). This information is structured as
following the Distributed Artificial Intelligence cases following the Case-based Reasoning ap-
paradigm. proach, where the description of the problem is
This multi-agent recommender system was the users request and the description of the solu-
projected to be used in travel agencies where travel tion is the recommendation presented by the
agents have to deal with specific customers needs agents.
and broad knowledge about tourism options, have After the task is solved, agents change the status
to exchange information among them and many of the performed task (step 5) and the results of
times they have to suppose information about all tasks are returned to the interface (step 6) that
customers in order to generate recommendation is responsible for presenting the whole recom-
of a travel package. Due the multi-agent feature, mendation to the user (step 7). To complete the
the system may be used for different travel agents cycle of recommendation, the user evaluates the
at same time, solving several recommendation recommendation received and this evaluation is
requests in an asynchronous way. stored in the agents knowledge base (step 8).
A user recommendation request is divided into The combination of agents with the decomposi-
partial recommendations (different travel services) tion of the customer request in small parts (tasks)
handled by different agents, each one maintain- is a feature that allows Personal Tour to present a
ing incomplete information that may be useful to complete recommendation to customers and this
compose a recommendation and accomplishing is an important feature to a recommender system
part of the whole task. applied in the tourism domain.
After receiving the customers preferences,
Cycle of Recommendation Personal Tour creates the list L of tasks and the
available agents are able to choose tasks to per-
A cycle of recommendation in Personal Tour, as form. An interesting feature of Personal Tour is
shown in Figure 1, starts collecting the prefer- the fact that the available tasks are interdependent

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Personal Tour

Figure 1. A recommendation cycle in Personal Tour

but agents may perform them asynchronously. travel service informed in the main interface and
For example, tasks of hotel and attractions are it is represented by U t {i1, , im } where each im
dependent of the flight information and they represents a preference.
should be performed after receiving the infor- Every time the customer asks for a new rec-
mation provided by flight task. However, agents ommendation, the current preferences are stored
have an assumption component that helps to deal in a new XML file. This file is named with the
with this issue (this will be further explained in customer name and the current date. The set of all
the section Assumptions). XML files of the customers compose the customer
profile and may be used to infer information about
Customer Profile the customer when necessary. Figure 2 shows an
example of the XML file with a request of the
The customer model in Personal Tour is composed customer.
by the preferences of the customer for each

181
Personal Tour

Figure 2. Example of the XML file with a customer request

Agents performed. The knowledge is stored in the


knowledge base as cases and each custom-
Personal Tour consists of a set of agents defined er request generates 3 cases (a case of
as C = {a1, a2 , , an } , where we assume that flight, a case of hotel and a case of
agents work in a cooperative way and they know attraction);
each other. Assumptions. An agent is capable of assum-
An agent is able to perform a part of the rec- ing some information in order to perform a
ommendation in response to a user query. Figure task. These assumptions are related to the
3 shows the agent architecture with its main data that is not available as the time the
components that are: agent needs it during the recommendation
process; for example, agent1 is perform-
Knowledge. An agent has its knowledge ing a task of hotel and it needs information
base where it stores all recommendations about the flight (that is being performed by

182
Personal Tour

Figure 3. Architecture of the agent

agent3). If it does not receive the informa- The Request of the User. The query is the
tion from agent3, if may assume this infor- set of needs and preferences chosen by the
mation in order to solve the task; user.
Specialization. Agents become experts in The Recommendation. The recommenda-
some type of task and this specialization tion generated by the agent to the travel
helps agents to decide which task they service.
should perform during the recommenda-
tion process. Assumptions

When an agent does not have information As tasks are interdependent, some of them should
necessary to complete the chosen task, we say that be performed before others. However, as the agents
agents cooperate. In Personal Tour, this coopera- work asynchronously, sometimes the order of tasks
tion is considered a capability of the agent and is not respected by the agents and it may cause
it is given by the communication among agents lack of information during the recommendation
that exchange information in order to complete process. Assumptions allow agents to reason with
its part of the recommendation. incomplete information (by making guesses), i.e.,
they represent knowledge that the agent supposes
Local Knowledge/Case Base to believe.
When an agent is performing a task that
Each agent has a case-base where all the tasks depends on the result from another one, it may
performed are stored as cases. Each case is com- assume information rather than waiting for the
posed by the description of the problem (that is information from other agent. For example, if
represented by the set of preferences informed agent1 is performing hotel task, it needs informa-
by the user) and the description of the solution tion about the flight in order to know which hotel
(represented by the recommendation generated by is better to recommend but the flight task is being
the agent and the evaluation given by the user to performed by agent2. It may happen that agent2
this recommendation). take too long to solve its task or it may become
Each case is composed by: unavailable during the recommendation process.
These problems can generate a large, even more

183
Personal Tour

than expected, delay in the answering time which each travel service (flight, hotel and attractions).
is not good for the system. These confidence degrees represent how much the
In order to use assumptions during the recom- agent is expert in each travel service and agents
mendation process it is necessary to formulate use them to choose the tasks to perform.
the set of assumptions that agents may access. The confidence degrees of each agent are up-
We propose two different methods to generate dated according to the new evaluations received
the set of assumptions during the recommenda- from the customer. The new evaluation may
tion process: increase (if the customer liked the recommenda-
tion presented by the agent) or decrease (if the
The most popular option in the community customer did not like it) the agent confidence
of users. If the customer has no profile in degree for the travel service.
the system yet, then the agent sums the If the users evaluation was positive, then
number of occurrence of each option for the confidence degree will be increased which
each attribute in the past travels of all cus- means that the agent will become more expert in
tomers stored and the most popular option the travel service. On the other hand, if the users
will be used by the agent as assumption; evaluation was negative, the confidence degree
Similar Cases. The agent searches for the will be decreased.
most similar customer in its case base and
uses the options to the new customer. In Customers Evaluations
order to find the most similar customer, the
agent uses the similarity measure, compar- The customer has an important role in the recom-
ing attributes of the new customer with all mendation process evaluating the recommenda-
customers in its knowledge base. Here, it tions presented by the system. After receiving the
is necessary to define a threshold that rep- final recommendation, the customer evaluates
resents how much the case is similar to the each item of each travel service with a rate: I
new customer. like it (represented by 1) or I did not like it
(represented by 0). This evaluation is used to
In Personal Tour the hotel and attraction tasks update the confidence degrees of the agents. The
depend on the information from the flight task. confidence degrees are increased or decreased
Regarding the hotel task, for instance, the agent according to the received evaluations.
needs information about the arrival time in order Thus, the evaluation model is represented by
to accomplish its recommendation. { }
a vector E = e (i1, r1 ), ..., e (i m , rm ) , that
The use of assumptions in the recommendation
describes the evaluation of the user about the
process guarantees that agents are able to complete
recommendation item received (rm ) , considering
their tasks even when there is lack of information
during the recommendation process and in an ac- the preference informed by the user in the query
ceptable time for the user, without jeopardizing (im ) . The final evaluation rate to each travel
the performance of the system. service is a value between the range [0, 1].
Equation 1 shows how the final evaluation
Specialization rate (v ( t n )) is calculated to each travel service,
where m is the number of attributes for the travel
In Personal Tour, an agent may become expert in a
specific travel service during the recommendation
cycles. The agent has one confidence degree for

184
Personal Tour

service and e (i j, rj ) is the evaluation rate for the T tn ai, ai returns a value between 0 and 1, where
attribute i j . 0 represents the minimum confidence degree of
a i in the travel service t and 1 represents the
m maximum confidence degree of a i in the travel
v(t n )=
j =1
e(im , , rm )
(1) service t . T has to be set according to the number
m
of days () the evaluation lasts.
An important feature of the specialization ap-
We consider good recommendation when
plied in Personal Tour is that when updating the
v tn = 0.5 , i.e., when user has rated as I liked confidence degrees in each agent it considers that
it at least half of the attributes recommended. most recent evaluations have more influence than
old evaluations.
Updating the Confidence Degrees
Cooperation
The task evaluation is then used in the agent
confidence degree computation so that the agent In Personal Tour, agents are able to cooperate with
increases the confidence regarding a travel service each other, exchanging information during the
when it solves the task in a better way. recommendation process. When an agent does
As the confidence degree represents how much not find in its knowledge base the information
an agent is becoming an expert in a specific travel necessary to generate the recommendation re-
service, it is used by the agent to choose the task quested in the task, it may communicate with
it will perform. Thus, agents consider their con- other agents, asking for the information. For
fidence degrees when they choose the next task example, if a 3 is solving an attraction task and it
to perform. When L is available, the agent will
does not have information about attractions in
choose one task that belongs to the travel service
Lisbon City, it may ask to other agents in the
with the greater confidence degree. For example,
community.
if its confidence degree is 0.4 in flight, 0.6 in hotel
In this cooperation process, the agent sends a
and 0.2 in attraction, the agent will choose a hotel
message to all available agents in the community
task to perform because it has more expertise in
asking for the information. Then, it chooses the
hotel tasks than others.
first agent that answered and stores the received
We use Equation 2 to update confidence de-
information in its knowledge base.
grees where:
However, it might happen that nobody in
the community has the information and nobody
z is the number of evaluations received for
will answer. In this case, the agent will starts its
the travel service t n performed by a i ; assumption component in order to generate the
is the number of days elapsed since the recommendation. We defined a waiting time of
evaluation; 30s, before uses assumptions.
T is a constant that defines the weight of
the evaluation v ( t n ) in the update of the
confidence degrees of the agents. EXPERIMENTS

z Experiments were done to validate the Personal



(t )
tn
(vx n e )
T ai , ai
= x =1
z
(2) Tour. The first step was the knowledge acquisition
x =1
e where 300 cases were obtained from real custom-

185
Personal Tour

ers of a travel agency, to create the case-bases of Personal Tour where agents will generate a new
the agents. Each case represents one travel and is recommendation according to the negative rates
composed with flight, hotel and attractions infor- of the user and update the user profile. Next,
mation that corresponds to 900 performed tasks. we asked the customers to evaluate the recom-
As different users may use the system at same mendations received (the travel package) and to
time, more than 3 agents are necessary in the indicate which one they prefer to buy (with the
system to have a good performance. In our experi- rate I would like to buy it or I would not like
ments, 10 agents were created in the community. to buy it).
The cases obtained from the travel agency were Thus, the number of recommended travel
randomly stored in the knowledge bases agents. packages that the customers would like to buy
The agents are not seen by the user and they run was considered as a metric. From the 73 travel
background in the system. packages recommended by the Personal Tour, 66
Figure 4 shows the main interface where the travel packages were rated with I would like to
user interacts with Personal Tour. In order to gen- buy it, i.e., and 61 travel packages recommended
erate a recommendation, agents need to know the by the expert were indicated as I would like to
needs of the user, such as, destination, departure buy it which represents 83.56%.
date and number of passengers. In this first ver- Table 1 shows the percentage of purchasable
sion, only one destination may be selected. This travel packages during the experimental months
issue is being worked for the next version. of Personal Tour. We can see that agents had per-
As mentioned previously, a travel package formance superior to the expert in the generation
must be composed by three travel services: flight, of the recommendations.
hotel and attractions (but the customer may choose We claim that the results of the purchasable
which travel services he wants in the travel pack- travel packages using the system was better due
age). An important feature of the Personal Tour the fact that the specific knowledge is distributed
is that these preferences are dynamic and the user over agents that are capable of cooperate and as-
may insert a new feature in the request moment. sume information during the recommendation
The Personal Tour was run in a travel agency process. In real travel agency, the recommendation
for 2 months (June and July/2010) in order to is performed by only one human travel agent, in
validate the recommendations generated by the a centralized way. Distributing the knowledge in
agents. During these experimental months, the different agents and letting them become experts
recommendations requested by the customers were in travel services improve the quality of the rec-
generated in two ways in parallel: by a human travel ommendations.
agent (the expert of the travel agency) and by the
Personal Tour (by the agents of the system). The
human travel expert is a travel agent that works CONCLUSION AND FUTURE WORK
in a travel agency for more than 15 years and is
expert in travel packages recommendations. This paper presented a multi-agent recommender
Both recommendations were showed to the system, called Personal Tour, applied to the tourism
customers that evaluated them. As shown in the domain in order to recommend travel packages.
Customers Evaluations section, the user evaluates A recommendation is divided in tasks and each
all the attributes of the recommendation with a rate agent is responsible to perform some tasks. Agents
0 or 1 (negative/positive), in each travel service work in a cooperative way to recommend travel
(flight, hotel and attractions). The evaluation by packages to the user.
attribute will be used in future improvements of

186
Personal Tour

Figure 4. Personal Tour main interface

Agents become experts in a specific travel the fact that agents have their knowledge bases
service over time. We can say that agents become and they cooperate during the recommendation
travel agents, where each one has specific knowl- process.
edge and the cooperation among them results in Decomposing the problem and distribute it
good recommendations. This feature helps the to several different agents that become more and
system to mimic what happens in a travel agency more specialized can yield good recommenda-
where each travel agent has specific knowledge tions, even when applied to tourism that is a
about a travel service and the cooperation among complex domain that needs specific knowledge
all them generates the final recommendation to distributed over different sources. Personal Tour
the customer. is applied in the tourism domain but we believe
Personal Tour has an assumption component that the approach may help customers in other ap-
that enables agents to assume information during plications that deal with dynamic and distributed
the recommendation process when there is lack knowledge to generate recommendations.
of information to generate a recommendation. As future work we want to develop a mecha-
The system was tested in a real travel agency nism to validate the assumptions used by agents
and the results obtained after two months of use in the recommendation process. In this version
showed that Personal Tour is capable of improving of Personal Tour, agents generate and manipulate
the recommendations presented to customers, due assumptions but we do not consider what happen

187
Personal Tour

Table 1. Percentage of purchasable travel


REFERENCES
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ACKNOWLEDGMENT Macho, S., Torrens, M., & Faltings, B. (2000) A


multi-agent recommender system for planning
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188
189

Chapter 13
Management of World
Heritage Sites:
An Integrated Sustainable
Marketing Approach

Deepak Chhabra
Arizona State University, USA

ABSTRACT
This study seeks to determine sustainable efforts by the world heritage sites (WHS). By gauging the effec-
tiveness and efforts of the WHS to convey viable social, environmental, and economic use of their resource
through the medium of website marketing, effort is made to highlight the extent to which sustainability
initiatives are visible in the vision and mission and signature websites. In doing so, it makes a significant
contribution in heritage tourism literature and communicates a critical assessment of sustainability
initiatives to the WHS management and respective states. Mixed results are presented. Although, the
World Heritage Convention supports an exhaustive list of site-centric heritage sustainability initiatives
associated with conservation and authenticity, other aspects of sustainability such as host community
concerns, social and viable economic impact considerations to date have received less attention.

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch013

Copyright 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Management of World Heritage Sites

INTRODUCTION measure of quality, trademark, and an authenticity


stamp for the heritage tourist (Rakic and Cham-
In the recent years, the world heritage sites have bers 2007: 146). The UNESCO (United Nations
witnessed a phenomenal growth in visitation num- Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)
bers (Li, Wu & Cai, 2008). Despite the emerging aims to facilitate the identification and conserva-
significance of world heritage, it continues to tion of cultural and natural heritage across the
share a dialectic and complex relationship with globe that is considered to be of outstanding value
tourism (Boyd & Butler, 1997). A divide exists to humanity. This is embedded in the Convention
between scholars of cultural heritage and scholars concerning the Protection of the World Cultural
of tourism on heritage tourism impacts. According and Natural Heritage (adopted by UNESCO in
to Lyon, the practitioners involved in the design 1972). In brief, the UNESCOs World Heritage
of heritage as a visitor attraction face professionals mission is multifold:
whose interest is focused on the resource and its
protection rather than on the question of public to encourage countries to sign the World
access (2007:62). From a tourism perspective, Heritage Convention and to ensure the
heritage is a commodity purposefully designed protection of their natural and cultural
to satisfy the needs of contemporary audience. heritage;
In line with this view, Taylor (2001) maintains to encourage States Parties to the
that heritage tourism is motivated by monetary Convention to nominate sites within their
benefits. It has been suggested that dialectic re- national territory for inclusion on the
lationship between tourism and heritage can be World Heritage List;
nurtured through the use of strategic tools such as to encourage States Parties to establish
certifications and sustainable marketing (Chhabra management plans and set up reporting
2010; Lyon 2007). Although sustainability is at the systems on the state of conservation of
forefront of the ideology behind the world heritage their WHS;
movement today (Aas, Ladkin & Fletcher 2005), to help States Parties safeguard World
it offers limited value due to its somewhat narrow Heritage properties by providing techni-
focus on conservation and authenticity thereby cal assistance and professional training;
denying a broader and integrated approach. provide emergency assistance for WHS in
In the light of the emerging significance of an immediate danger;
integrated perspective of sustainability in heritage to support States Parties public aware-
tourism, this study seeks to use an integrated ness-building activities for World Heritage
sustainable marketing paradigm to determine if conservation;
a predetermined set of important indicators from to encourage participation of the local pop-
the model are visibly implemented by the world ulation in the preservation of their cultural
heritage sites (WHS). More specifically, the aim and natural heritage; and
is to suggest add-ons to the heritage conservation to encourage international cooperation in
principles so that a holistic and integrated sustain- the conservation of our worlds cultural
able paradigm of heritage tourism can be devised. and natural heritage (UNESCO 2010).
In the recent decades, the global/world form of
heritage has received unprecedented attention in The appreciated UNESCO honor has also
heritage tourism, more so because it brings with surfaced as a major marketing tool in the recent
it a celebrity UNESCO status to the heritage site. years for the world heritage site managers (Lyon
The accolade has become a reference point and a 2007; Rakic & Leask, 2006; Rakic & Chambers,

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Management of World Heritage Sites

2007). That said, it has also been posited that the Highlighting issues related to a heritage site
concept of World Heritage has drifted from its (Angkor) as associated with archaeological
original purpose. It has become an accreditation preservation, urban growth, and tourism develop-
scheme, used either to serve the purposes of the ment (Winter, 2007: 32), the author stresses on
tourism industry or for the purposes of nation the need for an integrated holistic examination of
building (Rakic & Chambers, 2007: 146). multiple factors to promote sustained use of heri-
The intention of the original idea was to tage sites. Parallel to the aforementioned concerns
bestow unique and universal value to selected and impacts has emerged an established need for
heritage and advocate support for its conserva- alternative measures to plan, develop and promote
tion. However, recent motivations have extended sustainable use of the sites and their surrounding
to nation building, identity and an attraction environments. Evidence exists of efforts to seek
towards the potential economic numerations by a compromise between heritage and tourism and
promoting tourism at these. Several authors note use of tourism as a tool to promote and conserve
that the conservation of heritage sites is being heritage (Coetzee et al., 2006; Nuryunti, 1996).
compromised today for financial gains (Bregalia It has been postulated that ultimately, heritage
2005; Drost 1992; Hede, 2007; Winter, 2007). and tourism are mutually dependent partners in
Much blame rests on the tourism industry in that that operators and destinations can use them
it continues to tap the marketing potential of this to add value to their products and local services
designation and as a result, the world heritage which, in turn, generates greater income from
has become commodified and is being exploited tourists while the heritage sites achieve higher
for contemporary hedonistic pursuits. This view revenues (Fyall & Rakic, 2006: 162). The use
is supported by Winter (2007) in his study of the of such iconic sites is often deemed indispens-
Angkor Heritage Site. The author reported that able to the marketing of destinations. The WHS
the political elite are eager to maximize the World can be used as landmarks to enhance destination
Heritage Listing status as a cash cow for tourism image by marketing managers to lure both domes-
development (Winter, 2007:32). tic and international tourists. Also, such images
Much of the documented literature, thus, re- characterize dominant and reminiscent symbols
ports that heritage shares a problematic relation- of a countrys identity. Being endorsed with the
ship with tourism in regard to the WHS (Hede, UNESCO logo, for example, not only embodies
2007). The reasons can be attributed to conflicting a sign of quality but also captures the atten-
aims (Drost, 1992). For instance, the goal of a tion of potential tourist markets. Nevertheless,
heritage organization is to protect and preserve the application of tools to promote WHS such
whereas tourism objectives are slanted towards as tourism marketing has been condemned for
commercial gains. Conservation and maintenance its partial approach towards growth and neglect
efforts are affected by wear and tear of increased of externalities on natural, social, and cultural
tourist visitations (Lyon, 2007). Other issues environments (Jamrozy, 2007).
include increased site deterioration and inconve- Guerin (2000) holds that heritage practitioners
nience and intrusion for the surrounding host com- are skeptical about the usefulness of marketing
munities (Breglia, 2005). Also, misuse of heritage in the promotion and preservation of authentic
has been reported in terms of the tension between heritage. This view is strengthened by the limited
the universal and the national, which implies that focus in this field of study. For instance, Colli-
there is a conflict between local values bestowed son and Spears (2010) conducted field research
on the site versus universal values imposed by the and used secondary data to figure out marketing
United Nations and international tourism. strategies to attract cultural and heritage tourists

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Management of World Heritage Sites

to the Marshall Islands. Implications of these any organization that supports tourism (Aguilar,
strategies on sustainability were remiss. Fullerton, 2009) and they serve as a starting point to highlight
McGettigan and Stephens (2010) have called for the key functions of an organization. Therefore,
marketers to create a balance between visitation a list of sustainable development indicators can
impacts and preservation of cultural and heritage help gauge effectiveness of sustainable promotion
resources. Fullerton et al. (2010) suggest demar- efforts in the mission statement and the textual
keting strategies to attract selected group of tourists content of the signature websites.
or reduce visitations to protect the heritage sites. The aim of this chapter therefore is to identify
Demarketing can thus be used as a tool to enforce gaps between mission statements and the website
sustainable marketing guidelines. marketing content and suggest how WHS can
For viable use of heritage sites, it is therefore use website marketing in a sustainable manner to
important that sustainable marketing strategies achieve viable economic, cultural, and social ben-
are devised. The sustainable perspective calls efits for the site and the host community. In other
for a holistic, unbiased, and responsible view of words, online information can generate awareness
marketing (Haywood, 1990; Walle, 1998) which and sensitivity towards the visited site. In fact,
takes current and potential impacts of tourism the effect of online digital information on image
into consideration. According to Kilbourne, formation is being increasingly recognized by the
responsible marketing needs to extend beyond heritage tourism industry (Choi, Lehto & Mor-
microenvironments and promote sustainable con- rison 2007). Current trends have shifted towards
sumption and quality of life and expand the domain the use of website texts and pictures to promote
of inquiry to include technological, political and and advertise destinations. Thus, the underlying
economic benefits and costs of consumption, thus purpose of this study is to advocate sustainable
challenging the paradigm itself (1998: 642). In development of tourism through the use of mar-
other words, it is implied that marketing strategies keting tools. In sum, the underlying objective of
should be guided by natural, social, and cultural this study is to review the marketing strategies
environments. Sustainable tourism marketing utilized by the WHS based on a predetermined
can be defined as a form of marketing that takes set of sustainable indicators.
cultural, social, economic and environmental
perspectives into consideration (Chhabra 2010;
Fullerton et al. 2010; Sirakaya, Jamal & Choi LITERATURE REVIEW
2001). It has been pointed out that sustainable
measures can enhance marketing competitiveness A plethora of studies suggest sustainable tourism
in heritage tourism. guidelines for the WHS. For instance, Coetzee,
To date, few studies have examined marketing Niekerk and Saayman (2006) suggest adherence
strategies employed by the WHS from a sustain- of economic guidelines to promote responsible
ability perspective although they suggest use of tourism at a WHS. Their study focused on different
sustainable measures in marketing. Also, a holistic stakeholders of tourism (such as the government,
and integrated perspective is required. This paper communities, product owners and investors) and
aims to fill this lacuna by examining marketing examined their commitment towards viable eco-
efforts of the WHS through evaluation of mission nomic impacts in a rural region in South Africa.
statements and signature websites to gauge the They suggested viable economic measures such
extent to which sustainability is embraced. The as integration of economic impacts in the tour-
mission statement is important because respon- ism development plans; maximization of local
sible strategies have to form the foundation of economic benefits by diminishing leakages and

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Management of World Heritage Sites

increasing linkages in the region; involvement of sues associated with achieving effective symbiosis
local community in the decision making process between stakeholders of heritage management and
and ensuring they benefit from tourism; ensuring tourism development were unveiled.
responsible marketing strategies are employed; Another study by Li, Yu and Cai pointed out
and providing equal business opportunities to all that there are conflicts between heritage manage-
stakeholders of tourism. ment and tourism development and stated these
Coetzee et al. (2006) surveyed forty-three were more pronounced in developing countries
stakeholders of tourism from the accommodation, (2008: 308). Key threats identified are excessive
recreation, and retail sectors and their results indi- demand and use through increased visitation.
cated that the stakeholders are not concerned with Garrod and Fyall (2000) noted that the heritage
social and economic viability although evidence site managers are often challenged in their efforts
showed that they were environmentally sensitive. to achieve sustainable outcomes such as balanc-
Coetzee et al. (2006) called for emphasis on fair ing conservation goals with financial objectives.
trade, training and education, and high multiplier Excessive visitation challenges sustainable goals
effects to promote economic health of the local of the site and delicate equilibrium is needed
communities. between visitor use and conservation (Li et al.,
Wager examined Angkor heritage site and 2005). A report by UNESCO identified three
noted that zoning plan can assist in promoting major challenges to successful management of
sustainable development of natural and cultural heritage sites in North America: respect for cultural
resources and can help obtain a balance between diversity and intangible heritage, involving host
strict protection of archaeological sites and communities in the decision making process and
planned development of tourism and urban and sharing benefits with them, sustaining traditional
rural development in a rural zone (1995: 515). cultures and economic benefits and protection of
Aas, Ladkin and Fletcher (2005) investigated the biological diversity (UNESCO 2002).
relationship between heritage management and Yet another study by Saipradist and Staiff
tourism development at Luang Prabang (a WHS in (2007) on a world heritage site (Ayutthaya) in
Laos), based on five aspects: communication chan- Thailand reinforced the significance of effective
nels between heritage and tourism stakeholders, and authentic interpretation to generate apprecia-
income generation for heritage, local community tion for the cultural and heritage values of the
involvement in the decision making process and site. The authors called for an ongoing examina-
tourism activities, and an evaluation of the extent tion of interpretive content used at the site. Lyon
of effectiveness of stakeholder collaboration. The (2007) analyzed three sites in the United Kingdom
authors (2005) highlighted numerous issues asso- and demonstrated the significance of value-led
ciated with collaboration such as lack of dialogue participative management and conservation.
between the private and public sector, poor direc- Hede (2007) examined the relationship between
tion and leadership to pursue sustainable goals, heritage and tourism at WHS in Australia and
issues connected to the user pays principle, and New Zealand and brought to the forefront issues
local community involvement. The authors found associated with the associated status such as threat
that the right to participate did not translate into to the heritage brand, threat to conservation of
an ability to participate. The major challenge was heritage, how to engage tourists in a meaningful
seen to lie in raising the capability of stakeholders manner, and meaningful co-operative strategies
to participate in a meaningful manner. Despite the between stakeholders. Boyd and Butler (1997)
barriers, a somewhat hopeful picture is portrayed highlighted maintenance of partnerships, learning
due to emerging initiatives although inherent is- environment, conservation and authenticity to

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be the key challenges for heritage organizations marketing of green products, social equity in terms
involved with tourism. of benefit for society and promoting non-profit
In light of the aforementioned evidence, some measures for a fair community environment, and
recurrent themes can be identified as crucial for advocacy of healthy and clean natural environ-
sustainable use of the WHS. These are conserva- ment. In other words, the sustainability locus
tion, authenticity, economic viability, stakeholder rested on a triple bottomline approach.
collaborations and effective partnerships, and host Du Cros (2001) presented a two-dimensional
community involvement in the tourism develop- scale: conservation and commodification. The
ment process. It is important to note that these author created a matrix thereby implying that
have appeared in a somewhat fragmented manner. dynamic relationship exists between conserva-
Evidently, there is a lack of integrated plans to tion and commodification in terms of heritage
embrace sustainable measures on a holistic scale robusticity and market appeal. According to the
by custodians of heritage tourism. Nevertheless, author, within the matrix, heritage places can be
they unravel some legitimate concerns with regard plotted based on their appeal to tourists and their
to the use of heritage for tourism purposes. These robusticity or ability to withstand high levels of
obviously need to be addressed as tourism can still visitation. Helia (2007) emphasized on collabora-
play a significant role to provide social, economic tions between different stakeholders of tourism
and cultural benefits to the host communities. for the success of strategic sustainable market-
Sustainable marketing is one way to resolve ing. The author maintained that heritage tour-
these problems. Against the notion that sustainable ism involves an amalgam of service offerings
marketing is an oxymoron and delusion (Clarke, (Helia, 2007:255). The underlying argument for
2002), recent studies support the use of market- this crucial approach is the broad interest appeal
ing to promote sustainable use of heritage sites. tourism holds for a variety of stakeholders, both
Although few marketing paradigms have appeared public and private. Examples of organizations
is heritage tourism literature, extended inferences include intermediaries, suppliers, competitors, the
for this study can be drawn from general sustain- government and the cross-sector organizations.
able marketing frameworks. Sustainable tourism marketing model presented
by the author called for equilibrium between
Sustainable Marketing Paradigms environmental and socio-economic perspectives.
Chhabra (2009) presented a sustainable mar-
Jamorozy (2007) suggests the need to shift from keting model (SHTM) which she later modified
economic driven goals toward sustainable promo- based on her study of several heritage institutions
tion in his new sustainable marketing paradigm. across the globe. Her initial model highlighted the
His model was based on the sustainable develop- significance of the mission statement and com-
ment criteria established by the Brundtland Report munication mix, market segmentation, macro and
(WCED 1987). The author argued that a sustain- micro environments, partnerships and research.
able marketing philosophy needs to incorporate The author implied that marketing decisions
societal, consumer, and environmental schools should be based on conservation principles and
of thought. His model was triangle shaped with local community involvement and benefits. Her
three dimensions of sustainability: economic later body of work highlighted additional ele-
viability, social equity, and environmental protec- ments for successful sustainable marketing: visitor
tion (Jamorozy, 2007: 124). The author argued mindfulness, interpretation authenticity and viable
that marketing needs to maximize by focusing on economic to the model (Chhabra, 2010). Chhabra
all three dimensions and focus should center on tested her modified model on museums, historic

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houses, heritage hotels, and festivals and made Aguilar maintains that indicators are a response to
further additions to the model associated with the anticipated risks associated with the key assets
enterprise management and civic engagement. of a destination and provide summary informa-
Fullerton, McGettigan and Stephens (2010) ex- tion on the levels of effort being made to plan or
plored the potential role of marketing in visitor protect the destination (Manning, 1999 cited in
management. The authors maintained that careful Aguilar). According to Manning (2007), indicators
management of tourists through marketing can should have the following characteristics: specific,
minimize impacts and help to retain authenticity objective, reliable and replicable, and sensitive to
of heritage. visitor use as level of use changes. Additionally,
Responsible marketing strategies are thus re- their measurement must be easy and cost effective
quired for long term heritage health of sites (McK- and be monitored regularly.
ercher et al., 2004). It is argued that sustainability Specific guidelines for indicators were sug-
emphasis can make an organization competitive. gested by Sirakaya et al. (2001) and these were
Additionally, a perusal of literature identifies the inclusion of all levels of society to enable con-
following indicators in heritage tourism which sideration of a broad range of socio-economic,
can help to measure sustainability levels: cul- cultural, natural and political environments;
tural, economic, ecological, social, partnership, manageable and easy application to diverse en-
and heritage (in the context of conservation and vironments; reflection of local community views
authenticity). It has been noted that the traditional and involvement; strategic vision, that is, taking
heritage institutions continue to use the objective long term benefits in to consideration; organized
version of authenticity. Objective authenticity is development of indicators to ensure that they are
often described as traditional, genuine, pristine, strong, quantifiable, affordable and capable of
flow of life, not interfered with by the framing providing and integrated analysis of definite and
of sights, sites, objects, and events for touristic general conditions of the sustainability of the
purposes, by various overt markers (Cohen, 2007: destination and its natural and cultural resource
76); and cool (Selwyn, 1996). It is argued that (Aguilar, 2009: 21).
the heritage suppliers should embrace sustain- Also, it has been argued that the sustainability
able development by using a strategic marketing indicators should be divided into subsets to enable
perspective. Furthermore, Chhabra (2010) pointed measurement at the micro level because sustain-
out the significance of a holistic approach to pro- ability can have broad connotations. A plethora
mote both intergenerational and intra-generational of studies have confirmed that the majority of
equity. Use of sustainable indicators is one way the externalities to tourism attractions occur in
to gauge sustainability and suggest future course the social, cultural, ecological, and economic
of action. environments (Marsh 1999; Carbone 2005; Choi
& Sirikaya 2006). A sub-set of indicators for each
Sustainable Indicators externality category can help measure extent of
impacts in an ongoing manner. Ecological indica-
Sustainable indicators are important in that they tors relate to a diverse set of items which define
can serve as a pathway of principles that form environmental sustainability centered on efforts
the core mission of the heritage sites and their to reduce negative impacts on the environment
sustained use in tourism. According to the United (Carbone 2005) by ensuring compatibility with the
Nations-World Tourism Organization, the indica- vital ecological processes and biological processes
tor development process can help respond to risks (Mill & Morrison, 2006).
triggered by the negative impacts of tourism.

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According to Aguilar (2009), social and cul- Australia, and Stonehenge in the UK. The signature
tural sustainability refers to efforts to conserve Websites and mission statements of approximately
and protect traditional rituals and customs, so 130 WHS were examined to determine the ex-
they are not impacted by demonstration effects tent to which sustainable measures are pursued
such as the tourist lifestyles. Also, is included the and visibly implemented. Efforts were made to
need to reduce any possible conflicts that may include at least one from each country. The end
arise from unequal distribution of tourism benefits data resulted in 100 countries. The mission state-
(Carbone 2005). Although culture evolves and is ments and signature websites of the WHS were
not static, it is important to control harmful effects, examined using the content analysis method and
and educate tourists to behave in a responsible evaluated based on four fundamental tenets of
manner so that the local culture is not vulnerable sustainability: socio-economic benefits, heritage
to demonstration effects. The underlying efforts and cultural integrity, environmental integrity and
of social and cultural sustainability are to ensure institutional benefits (see Figure 1). Also, certi-
that tourism development strengthens community fication documents of the WHS were scanned to
identity (Mill and Morrison, 2006) in addition to identify sustainable marketing indices.
improving the tourist and host relationships and
interactions. Retaining authenticity and conserva- Indicators
tion of heritage belongs to the heritage category.
Economic sustainability advocates equity of Mission Statement Indicators
economic benefits both for the current and future
generations (Mill and Morrison, 2006). As pointed in documented literature, the mission
statement is a brief statement defining the core
purpose of a business or organization. It is an
METHODOLOGY important statement because it defines the busi-
ness and provides an overview of its objectives.
Approximately 911 heritage sites currently exist For an organization to be sustainable, it is crucial
in the world and these are marked on UNESCOs for the mission statement to emphasize on sus-
World Heritage List. Of these, 704 are cultural tainable contributions. Literature has suggested
sites, 180 are natural sites and 27 are mixed. These the inclusion of following terms to reinforce a
are distributed between 151 countries (State Par- promise and commitment towards sustainability
ties) across the globe and include internationally (Aguilar, 2009; Chhabra, 2009; Lyon, 2007):
renowned sites such as the Taj Mahal in India, heritage, cultural, social, economic, and environ-
Statue of Liberty in the United States, Uluru in mental. This study defines a mission statement

Figure 1. An integrated sustainable marketing model

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Management of World Heritage Sites

as promoting sustainability if it strives to make generate income for locals and produce employ-
contributions towards the local economy and the ment benefits; and promote investment in the
host community in addition to producing viable local region.
social, cultural and environmental impacts and
promoting site heritage in the context of conserva- Heritage and Cultural Indicators
tion and authenticity and striving to use effective
interpretation to inform the audience so that they For the purpose of this study, the following
can behave in a sustainable manner. site heritage sustainability indicators are used:
maintain authenticity; conservation of cultural
Website Indicators heritage; interpretation for cultural education.
Cultural indicators are defined by the following
Ecological Indicators: A variety of environmental measures: respect for local community heritage;
indicators are presented by previous literature and advocacy of culturally appropriate activities
such as biodiversity; maintenance of natural and behavior.
state; maintaining carrying capacity, and adopt-
ing recycling practices (Choi & Sirakaya, 2006; Social Indicators
Manning, 1999). For the purpose of this study, the
following ecological indicators are used: carrying Several social sustainability measures are pro-
capacity and recycling practices. posed by documented literature such as aligned
with the community vision, community control
Economic Indicators and plans to check intrusion, maintaining spiritual
and aesthetic values, and quality of life (Harris and
Tangible measures of economic sustainability Nelson 1993). Other indicators include monitor-
have included assessment of employment op- ing of social relations and changes in subsistence
portunities and income distribution (Nelson & activities, family structures and decision making
Payne, 1993). Carbone (2005) also refers to the strategies in the allocation of resources (Nelson
extent additional income is provided to locals as & Payne 1993). Choi and Sirakaya (2006) also
compensation for intrusion and inconvenience due present an extensive list of indicators such as
to tourist presence. Harris and Nelsons (1993) list social cohesion, community health and safety
of economic indicators include local ownership, and quality of life. For the purpose of this study,
gender equity, ethnic equity, local employment and based on the corpus of existing information, the
training and support, emphasis on strong linkages. following social indicators were used: mention
Choi & Sirikaya (2006) identified a similar set of of social costs such as intrusion, crime, demon-
indicators such as local employment including stration effect, and improving quality of life and
employment growth and unemployment rate, standard of living.
income distribution/capital leakage and linkage,
capital formation in the community/investment, General/Institutional Indicators
percentage of repeat tourists, seasonal nature of
tourist visitation, economic well-being in terms In addition to the foregoing indicators, some indi-
of comparable wages, new GDP (measure of eco- cators cross over to multiple categories and hence
nomic welfare), economic stability of the hosts, are often grouped under Institutional indicators.
nature of labor and labor conditions and income Most recurring measures of sustainable tourism in
earned by the local government. This study uses documented literature as summarized by Miller
the following indicators: increase in local wage; (2001) are the ones which: maximize economic

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Management of World Heritage Sites

benefit, self-regulatory, observe carrying capac- nerships; local community involvement; customer
ity, promote intergenerational equality, make satisfaction; local resident satisfaction; emphasis
efficient use of resources, utilize the technology on ongoing research; code of ethics for tourists;
based approach, take a long term view, enable and educating/training the local community.
local involvement, encourages local revitaliza-
tion, improve level of natural capital stock, ensure
resident satisfaction, ensure customer satisfac- FINDINGS
tion, maintain levels of natural capital stock, and
contain well developed tourism plans. Aguilar Mission Statement
(2009) stressed on five priorities based on Millers
study: strategic view, carefully planned tourism The examined WHS are found to actively em-
development, efficient use of local resources, fa- brace the vision laid down by the World Heritage
cilitate local community involvement and maintain Convention by highlighting the need for enhanced
existing levels of natural capital stock. training and expertise of site personnel, strategic
Hassan (2000) also advocated cooperation management plans, protection and conservation
and partnership between the public and private of culture and heritage, and international outreach.
sectors as a core purpose of a sustainable model As Table 1 reveals, the majority of these mission
and emphasized on building relationships and al- statements of the WHS strive to promote con-
liances to strengthen local community resources servation and cultural sustainability of the site,
and produce viable economic benefits in a way thereby endorsing the core criteria laid by the
suitable to the local environment. The underlying World Heritage Convention.
objectives of Hassans model were: (1) to educate Close to 50% also emphasize on maintaining
all stakeholders of tourism of the significant objective authenticity of their site. This is followed
relationship between tourism development and by efforts to promote social and environmental
environment sustainability. (2) to promote equi- sustainability in terms of minimizing social costs
table opportunities between local and non-local and reducing tourism impact on the site environ-
tourism developers (3) to strive to provide best ment. One third of the mission statements highlight
quality service to the tourists. (4) to generate significance of effective interpretation. Least at-
support for the host community (5) to enhance tention is given to local community concerns and
local quality of life and life style (6) to ensure a efforts to promote viable economic benefits. No
balanced approach by taking into consideration mention of stakeholder collaborations was noted.
the economic, social and environmental neces- Based on these findings, the vision and mission
sities in the tourism planning and development of the majority of the WHS can be best defined
programs (7) to determine thresholds of social and as profoundly site-centric in terms of protection,
environmental carrying capacity of the destination conservation, authenticity, expertise, and interna-
(8) to measure impacts on the ecology in an ongo- tional outreach.
ing manner (9) to conserve the local culture and
support local heritage and values (10) to develop Signature Website Indicators
training and educational programs so that human
resource skills are enhanced. Economic and Ecological: Approximately 86 of
For the purpose of this study, the following the 130 WHS featured economic and/or ecological
institutional indicators are used: long term view/ indicators. As Table 2 illustrates, with regard to the
survival; well developed tourism plans; intergen- presence of economic measures on the signature
erational equity; stakeholder collaboration/part- websites, approximately 60% emphasize on in-

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Management of World Heritage Sites

Table 1. Mission statement indicators


and surrounding areas which provide a passage
Indicator Frequency to their entry. Increasing visitation numbers to
N=130 these sites and their peripheral areas will con-
Social 41.0 tinue to impose a drain on the natural resources
Economic 13.8 (Li et al. 2008).
Local Community 20.7 Cultural: cultural indicators are defined as
Conservation 65.5 measures that promote authenticity and conser-
Authenticity 48.3 vation of cultural heritage presented at the WHS.
Interpretation 31.0 Also, included under this umbrella are indicators
Cultural 70.0 which promote respect for the host culture and
Environmental 40.0 promote culturally appropriate activities for the
local communities. Authenticity and conservation
were emphasized in 90% of the websites. Also,
crease in investment through donations. However, the other cultural indicators are significantly
this interest is site-centric and does not extend to highlighted throughout the website content.
secure funds for the benefit of the surrounding As Table 3 shows, maximum emphasis is
environment and host community. placed on cultural preservation indicators be-
A substantial percentage, although less than cause these form the underpinnings of the WHS
half, of the websites demonstrate efforts to gener- nomination criteria. Similar results were reported
ate income for the local community through by (Hede 2007; Winter 2007). However, most of
tourism and less than 10% illustrate evidence of the WHS websites demonstrate less attention and
providing employment benefits for the surround- sensitivity towards the host community culture
ing communities. As is evident from Table 2, least because there is no mention of code of behavior
emphasis is given to recycling practices and car- or information about the host community culture.
rying capacity. It appears that economic viability Social: With regard to social indicators, the
measures are still in their infancy stage. Coetzee majority of the websites failed to feature concern
et al. (2006) concur with these results and suggest or efforts to minimize social costs generated by
that the economic health of the host communities tourism on the host communities. Approximately
should be taken into consideration for successful 21% of the evaluated websites are found to men-
sustainable efforts. Visible adherence to a variety tion one or more of the listed social indicators.
of ecological indicators is required to obtain a Only 16% highlight the need to generate local
harmonious equilibrium between use of the site employment to enhance quality of life or seek to
advocate increase in local wage so that the standard
of living of the host community may be enhanced.
Table 2. Economic and ecological indicators These results confirm the lack of social sustain-
ability attempts reported by previous studies
Economic Frequency (Wager 1995; Li et al. 2008).
N=86
Institutional: This section included a variety
Generate income for locals 39.5
of measures that can help gauge sustainability
Employment benefits 9.0
initiatives of the WHS through website market-
Increase in investment 60.6
ing. The findings report pronounced emphasis
Ecological
on stakeholder collaboration and partnerships.
Recycling practices 13.9
A further analysis of the website content shows
Carrying capacity 12.8
that the majority of the websites promote stake-

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Management of World Heritage Sites

Table 3. Cultural indicators


Further Explorations
Indicator Frequency
N=130 Efforts are made to identify the WHS with the
Authenticity 93 highest and lowest level of adherence to the ma-
Conservation of cultural heritage 90.7 jority of the sustainability measures under consid-
Respect cultural heritage 80.2 eration. Additionally, efforts are made to gather
Culturally appropriate 80.2 information on the political environments, other
site-specific particularities and type of stakeholder
involvement at the site. For instance, an insight
holders associated with the tourism businesses was gained into the political status of the country,
such as lodging, transportation, restaurants, and the urban or rural nature of the site location, type
retail (see Table 4). Also, a substantial number of ownership, and specific characteristics of the
(50%) of the websites mention coordination or surrounding community.
partnerships with stakeholders whose interests are The sites that rank high on the overall sustain-
centered on conservation, education, architecture, ability index (in order) are kocjan Caves (Slo-
and research. venia), Tongariro National Park (New Zealand),
Well developed tourism plans were found to Kizhi Pogost, (Russia), and the Historic Centre
be site-centric. That is, the documents down- (Old Town) of Tallinn (Estonia). The kocjan
loaded from the website show that management Caves have gained worldwide recognition and the
strategies focus on visitor traffic and site manage- state has committed itself to doing everything in
ment issues. Although other sustainability criteria its power to conserve and protect this outstanding
were emphasized, they were mostly concerned natural site. In addition to crafting programs for
with the site resources and interests. Involvement the protection and development of the Park, the
of the host community in decision making pro- site authorities monitor and analyze the status
cesses was minimal and code of ethics for tourists of natural and cultural heritage in an ongoing
as a guide to appropriate behavior were remiss. manner. Other tasks include promotion of the
caves, research, education, and infrastructure
maintenance. Co-operation with local residents is
considered important. Location specific attributes
include being in a developed and democratic
Table 4. Institutional indicators country, mixed nature of stakeholders, and active
involvement of the local community.
Indicator Frequency
N=125 Tongariro National Park was established in
Stakeholder collaboration/partnership 83.7
1887 and became the first national park in New
Well developed tourism plans 74.4
Zealand. It is recognized as a dual World Heritage
Local community involvement at the site 73.2
area because of its unique cultural and natural
value. It is a living evidence of Maori culture, has
Intergenerational equity 70.9
outstanding volcanic features and is also home to
Long term survival 69.8
many native creatures. Its distinct characteristics
Customer satisfaction 61.6
include location in a developed and democratic
Education/training for the community 61.6
country, mixed nature of the stakeholders, and
Emphasis on ongoing research 58.1
evidence of active involvement of the Maori
Local resident satisfaction 38.4
community.
Code of ethics for tourists 19.8

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Management of World Heritage Sites

Kizhi Pogost is an open air museum located on a terrain which is very steep for vehicles and
in Russia which has a democratic government accessible through rail only. Next, Fortresses
now. This WHS has received paramount attention and Group of Monuments Cartagena is a large
because of its efforts to preserve its prized collec- city seaport located on the coast of Colombia. It
tions. Education and research are also emphasized was founded in 1533 and was a main center of
by the site managers. The next WHS, Tallinn is early Spanish settlements in the Americas. It is
famous for its historic center and was nominated known for its defense strategy - a walled military
as the European Capital of Culture for 2011. This fortress to protect the city from pirates. The Cuban
honor is part the European Union initiative to capital Havana was founded by the Spanish and
provide European cities with an opportunity to is recognized as one of the oldest cities in the
showcase their cultural offerings at an interna- contemporary world. It is known for its trading
tional level. Tallinn is well known for its creative port and its strong fortifications. It also contains
works, ecological souvenirs and spiritual/cultural an important shipyard. Common finding to these
connections with the seashore. It is located in a aforementioned sites is that they are all located in
democratic and developed country. Evidence also developing countries, lack evidence of host com-
exists of pronounced emphasis on learning and munity involvement, and emphasize engagement
advancement in technology. The host community with tourism stakeholders only.
also plays a prominent role in the planning of
events in the old town. Stakeholders listed on the
website were found to predominantly belong to CONCLUSION
the tourism industry.
Minimum sustainability emphasis is noted in The World Heritage Convention supports an ex-
the following sites (in order): Historic Centres haustive list of site-centric heritage sustainability
of Berat and Gjirokastra (Albania), Sewell Min- issues associated with conservation and authentic-
ing Town (Chile), Port, Fortresses and Group ity. However, less attention appears to be directed
of Monuments in Cartagena (Columbia), and to the other crucial aspects of sustainability.
Old Havana and its Fortifications (Cuba). The Content analysis of mission statements, website
two historic towns of Berat and Gjirokastra are content, and certification documents support this
located in central Albania and are recognized as view. Host community concerns, stakeholder col-
a rare example of Ottoman style of architecture. laborations, social and viable economic impact
Berat is witness to the coexistence of various considerations receive comparatively less or ineq-
religious and cultural communities. It features a uitable attention in most of the WHS. This paper
castle, citadel, and several mosques. Gjirokastra analyzes the mission statements and signature
features a collection of unique two-story houses, websites to gauge visible efforts of sustainable
a bazaar, a mosque and two churches. They bear management based on presupposed indicators
witness to the wealth and immense variety of urban related to social, economic, and environmental
and architectural heritage. The cultural integrity responsibility. Additionally, it looks at the certi-
and authenticity of the two towns is retained but fication documents of the WHS. It breaks ground
a series of illegal constructions in the late 1990s by using an integrated approach and highlights
has compromised its sanctity. More commercial apparent hiatus to stir further scholarly interest
emphasis appears to shadow sustainable planning. (McCool, Moisey and Nickerson 2001). Several
Sewell Mining Town has the largest copper limitations exist with regard to the measurement
mine in the world and was built by the Braden Cop- technique employed to gauge sustainability and
per Company in 1905. The town was constructed this study was unable to evaluate other promo-

201
Management of World Heritage Sites

tional collateral beside the signature websites is complimentary to the world heritage site and
due to budgetary and time constraints. However, the host community culture. What is required is
this study makes an important effort and useful a code of ethical operations in addition to the
inferences for future investigation can be drawn expected code of ethical behavior expected from
from the results. the visiting audience. Also, strategies such as
First, the mission statements are examined. It high price theory or demarketing can be pursued
appears that the World Heritage Convention has to attract selected audience who seek meaningful
trained its members to conform judiciously to the and sustained experiences. In this way, carrying
heritage conservation and authenticity guidelines capacity guidelines can be reinforced for both the
whereas other indicators of sustainability fail to WHS and its surrounding environments (Wager
feature prominently in the sustainability equation. 1995). Integrated and strategic sustainability of
Moreover, insofar as the website analysis reflects, heritage tourism is thus crucial to maintain the des-
the themes are visibly couched mostly in terms tination attractiveness and enhance prospects and
of the priorities set by the convention. competitiveness in the long term (Wager 1995).
Few websites advocate links with NGOs, A number of conclusions can be drawn in
social and community interest groups in addition the light of this study. It is important to remem-
to demonstrating weak sustainable supply chain ber that each WHS is a separate entity and is
initiatives and extended stakeholder collaborations bestowed with distinct features specific to its
and partnerships between the public and private location and host community environment. It is
sectors. Similar results are reported by Aas, Ladkin also tremendously impacted by the political and
and Fletcher (2005), Saipradist and Staiff (2007) cultural values and other related particularities of
and Hede (2007). Also, very few sites provide the host country. Hence capturing its essence and
evidence of ongoing research to monitor visitor magnitude through a limited set of heritage and
impacts and include programs to education to intangible indices limits its existing and future
tourists, stakeholders and the host communities. value. Its purpose needs to extend beyond the
Li et al. (2008) also concur with these findings guidelines set by the World Heritage Convention.
and confirm the need for ongoing monitoring It is crucial to employ a glocal (a mix of global
to detect critical levels of carrying capacity in a and local) perspective to understand and gauge
timely manner so that further amelioration of the successful growth and vitality of heritage tourism
site and its surrounding environment is prevented. initiatives and promote a value-laden educational
Hassan (2000) suggests inclusion of criteria such experience.
as a reinforcement program for the preservation Although symbiosis between heritage manage-
of the culture/heritage of the sites and the local ment and tourism development is besotted with
communities and argues for substantial efforts inherent challenges, efforts can be made to strike an
to meet the expectations of citizen/civic groups, equilibrium between protection and conservation
tourism stakeholders, NGOs, and the non-tourism and planned development of heritage tourism so
private sector. Heritage tourism guidelines should that a level-playing field can be designed (Wager
thus incorporate long term interests of the host 1995). A discussion of development issues is also
communities. For instance, Wagers (1995) study required to raise the knowledge and understand-
suggests a zoning plan for the Angkor World ing of varied stakeholder views and constraints,
Heritage Site to integrate tourism efforts with which in turn can lead to a wider collaboration
conservation and local community interests. and formulation of alliances (Aas et al. 2005:45).
Furthermore, heritage tourism planning should Also, mounting pressures such as carrying capac-
focus on a themed tourism environment which

202
Management of World Heritage Sites

ity, budget deficit, and political ambitions need Caserta, S., & Russo, A. (2002). More Means
to be handled in a strategic manner. Worse: Asymmetric Information, Spatial Dis-
In sum, this study suggests avoidance of site- placement and Sustainable Heritage Tourism.
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sustainability is much more than a function of
Chhabra, D. (2009). Proposing a Sustainable
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Marketing Framework for Heritage Tourism.
concept embraces a much broader socio-economic
Journal of Sustainable Tourism, 17(3), 313320.
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be compatible with the environment to main its tural and Heritage Tourism. London: Routledge.
market competitiveness (2000: 242). Integrated
Choi, H., & Sirakaya, E. (2006). Sustainability In-
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tourman.2006.03.002
Coetzee, W., Nierkel, M., & Saayman, M. (2006).
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207

Chapter 14
Research Review of OWOM:
Chinese Cases

Tao Chen
Harbin Institute of Technology & Nanjing Normal University & SanJiang University, China

Zhiming Zhu
Hohai University, China

Tienan Wang
Harbin Institute of Technology, China

ABSTRACT
Internet has been an important communication tool. The population of netizens has become the largest
all over the world. Online shopping is regarded as a fashion in china. Online word-of-mouth has signifi-
cant influences on shopping. Chinese researchers did researches on OWOM (Online Word-of-Mouth),
discussed the connotation, communication process and communication effect, and practical application,
and put forward some managerial suggestions. This chapter reviews those researches, summarizes and
describes the future research direction and hope that it can instruct and contribute Chinese researchers.

INTRODUCTION the improvement of internet consumer environ-


ment, more and more users are involved in online
Internet has been one of the most important tools shopping. The number of netizens with online
among people. According to the recent statistic shopping experience has reached over 100 million.
data from CNNIC, the population of Chinese The total value of online shopping has reached
netizens, surpassing that of USA, has reached 238.3 billion. Ecommerce which has been listed as
to 253 million by the late of June, 2008. 25% of one of the 10 leading internet application is being
those netizens are fond of online shopping; by accepted by netizens gradually for its low price,
the end of 2009, the number has reached to a new rich products and flexibility(Fu,2008).
peak of 384 million, with an annual growing rate According to the survey of China Internet
of 28.9%, and annual popularity of 28.9%. With Information Center (CNNIC) 2009, 53.9% of
online users will search and read related online
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-041-5.ch014

Copyright 2012, IGI Global. Copying or distributing in print or electronic forms without written permission of IGI Global is prohibited.
Research Review of OWOM

comments of each product before purchasing deci- online community, newsgroup, BBS and so on.
sions are made; 78.9% of online users will search Bi, Hu (2010) thinks that divergences of the name
and read related online comments before buying of WOM through the media of computers are
most of the products; more than 90% of netizens existed, for examples: Internet Word-of-Mouth,
will issue comments on the websites from which Online Word-of-Mouth, Word-of-Mouse, Elec-
those goods were bought. Word-of-mouth has an tronic Word-of-Mouth, Virtual Word-of-Mouth
increasingly important role in online consumption. and so on. Zhang,Li (2008)claimed that recent
Online word-of-mouth plays an important role concerns on the formation of OWOM could be
in the consumers decision-making process and divided into two groups. The first group regarded
behavior transmissions. More and more enterprises the rating the online products or services of con-
have realized the business opportunities. Online sumers as OWOM, which is simple in form, easy
word-of-mouth marketing practical activities are to be quantified, and has already been adopted by
increasing gradually. Researchers both home and most researchers; the others tend to regard the
abroad did lots of researches from different aspects words or comments issued by the consumers on
and gave many valuable suggestions. This paper the internet as OWOM. The differences between
summarizes current Chinese OWOM research these two methods lies on the form of OWOM,
situation in order to arouse more concerns. and there connotations are the same, which means
the informal communication and exchange of
the features, using experiences and ownership of
CONNOTATION OF OWOM products or services though internet.
In a word, the definition and connotation of
Definition of WOM OWOM remains no difference with the traditional
WOM. The key is the media being used and the
WOM (word of mouth) is the exchange and communication advantages brought by OWOM
communication of information about the attri- (Bi, Hu, 2010). The number of Chinese literature
butes, experiences and suppliers of products or of OWOM is still very small, and the definition
services between consumers. WOM is regarded still needs unification.
as one of the most important factors influencing
consumers buying (especially for the imitators). Features and Factors of OWOM
Compared with other information channels, such
as advertising, WOM is believed more credible Features of OWOM
by consumers; as a result they are more easily
to be accepted by the consumers. Availability of Traditional OWOM is communicated through
internet enables customers to collect the product mouth to mouth. The core definition between
information and related comments when browsing current domestic research and traditional OWOM
web pages. And customers can share their own remains the same, which means the informal
experiences, opinions and related knowledge communication of the recognition, attitude and
about certain products, which consists of WOM comments of products and services between
(Fu, 2008) consumers(Fu, 2008). But there are still differ-
Fu (2008) regarded OWOM, which can be ences between them. Compared with traditional
transferred to the masses through the internet, as communication pattern, OWOM possesses the
the positive or negative comments about products following features(Zhang, Li, 2008):
or companies from potential, final users or previ-
ous customers. OWOM can be transferred through

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Research Review of OWOM

1. Bidirectional. Through internet, organization The differences between OWOM and tradi-
and consumers can achieve bidirectional tional WOM (Zhang, Dong, 2009; Bi, 2009) is
communication. Not only can organizations summarized in Table 1.
and product information be transferred to
consumers with low cost and unprecedented Factors of OWOM
large scale. Whats more, consumers infor-
mation can be known directly by organiza- Current research (Fu, 2008) thinks that factors
tions through internet for the first time. of OWOM include: 1) senders, referring to the
Producers can monitor the consumers feed- consumers who initially publish his or her opinions
backs any time, thus can know consumers and comments on some products or services, and
opinions about products or services in time also referring to those who reprints others com-
and accurately so that to respond promptly ments; 2) information, referring to the digital files
to consumers. of words, sound and video, that can be searched,
2. Easy measurable. Before the application attained and understood; 3) receivers, referring
of internet, WOM is usually transferred by to those people who get initially or passively get
words, which is invisible, and difficult to those information.
grasp. It is difficult and time consuming to
measure, and is impossible to realize most of
the time. Producers and researchers cannot CONTEXT OF CHINESE OWOM
measure not even to say make quick respond
to those WOM information, and make use The media rather than the essence of OWOM and
of WOM to do effective marketing. While traditional WOM is different, thus the research
during the era of internet, the development framework of OWOM is the same as that of WOM.
of internet change the transfer of WOM into Differences only lie on the concrete factors. At
visible, and provide immense conveniences present, Chinese researchers mainly did their
for researchers and producers. Because of researches from the information senders, receiv-
this process, WOM based on internet has ers and information (Lai, Zhu, 2009). Through
been a research hotspot as well as hot mar- the analysis of recent literatures, future research
keting and public method. directions are summarized as seen in Figure 1.
3. Large in scale and number. For consumers,
the cost of issuing their own consumption Communication of OWOM
experiences is very low; consumers can is-
sue its own experiences at any time, at any Communication Motivation of OWOM
places, which create the large scale and large
number of OWOM online. By learning traditional OWOM communication
4. Good controllability. The anonymity of motivation, many researches of OWOM involve
internet makes it possible for the produc- motivation analysis, and discussed the motivation
ers to manipulate the OWOM information. categories. Fu (2008) thinks that communication
Because of the virtuality of the internet, motivation is an important aspect of OWOM
producers can issue fake WOM information research. Social intercourse desire, economic
on the internet to harm competitors or raise motivation, concerns on other consumers and im-
its own reputation. This may mislead the proving ones own values are the main motivations.
purchasing decision of consumers. The communication motivation of OWOM
can be divided into positive communication

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Research Review of OWOM

Table 1. Differences between OWOM and WOM

WOM OWOM
Spreading scale and speed Slow and limited by location Fast and without the limitation of space and time
Form Mainly conversation, with the aid Mainly words, and also sounds, pictures, video and so on, with
of gestures. Without the media of diverse and vivid patterns.
internet.
Social relationship Information is from acquaintances. Information is from strangers.
Measurability Difficult for consumers to know the Easy for consumers to know the quality and quantity of informa-
quality and quantity of information. tion.
Controllability Without controllability With compared controllability
Quantity and scale Small large

Figure 1. Framework of Chinese OWOM researches

motivation and negative communication motiva- revenge and searching advices. However, social
tion, the differences between which, Fu (2008), intercourse desire, economic motivation, caring
Bi and Hu (2010), other domestic researchers other consumers, and self-enhancement, are the
mainly agree with the foreign research. Positive main communication motivations.
motivation includes: product involvement, self-
enhancement, information platform assistance, Searching Motivation of OWOM
releasing negative mood, social benefits, helping
to promote enterprises, caring other consum- Fu (2008) thinks that the most fundamental mo-
ers, economic motivation and so on; Negative tivation of concerning OWOM information is to
motivation includes: altruism, reducing anxiety, shorten decision-making time, reduce decision-

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Research Review of OWOM

making risks and get desirable decision-making OWOM has already covered almost all social
results. The concrete searching motivations are fields that include commercial consumption
as followed. First, search information to support activities. It encourages cooperation of average
buying decisions. Second, search information consumers, and is a double-edged sword, which
to support his or her past purchasing decisions. has both constructive and harmful function to
Third, search information just for fun. On the internet culture and social environment.
basis of Technology Acceptance Model and
OWOM literature, Bi (2009) established a TAM Influencing Factors of
OWOM model. This model includes three aspects: OWOM Communication
individual attributes, perceived OWOM aspects,
origins of OWOM and introduces 7 variables. Many researches begin to focus on the effect of
consumers features on OWOM communication.
Information Features of The main focus is as followed:
OWOM and Approaches
1. Relationship Strength. There are two con-
Interests of OWOM can increase the audiences ac- trary results: one is that relationship strength
ceptance and involvement of information. OWOM between information senders and receivers
information possesses the media features, thus is a key factor that affects information com-
information features should be researched from munication effect (Bi, Hu, 2010). Studies
media features. Besides, the quantity, evaluation have showed that the stronger the relation-
direction and dispersion of OWOM also affect ship strength is, the better the OWOM effect
the communication effect of OWOM. The larger is, and the better the communication effect
the quantity of OWOM is, the more possible the is OWOM communication origins can be
consumers know the information (Bi, Hu, 2010). divided into two kinds, strong connection
Compared with the WOM, OWOM has internet and weak connection. The more they know
as its interact platform (such as email, online each other, the stronger their relationship
community, blogs, BBS, searching engine and so strength is. Wang (2004) did research on
on). Gao, Ma (2010) discussed communication the influences of individual specialty and
approaches, mainly focusing on blogs, profes- relationship on consumer buying decision
sional websites, online community. taking the emails as an example. He found
that relationship has greater influence on
Communication Effect of OWOM services compared with products. Liu,Yang
(2008)thinks that the stronger the relation-
Communication effect of OWOMas consum- ship, the higher the trustworthiness is and
ers information exchange, should be researched thus greater influences on consumers buying.
more than its communication process. Com- However, OWOM communication mainly
munication effect refers to the psychological or occurs between senders and receivers with
behavioral reaction of consumers, and its effect weak relationship. However, Jiang et al.
to enterprises. Zhang, Sun (2008) and Liu, Yang (2010) finds that relationship between
(2008) summarized western OWOM commu- senders and receivers have little influences
nication effect or negative OWOM separately, on consumers buying through reliability
and mainly did research from consumers and analysis, validity analysis, correlation analy-
enterprises. With the increasing socialization sis, regression analysis. The reasons may
of OWOM and internet (Zheng, Xiong, 2008), be that traditional researches are conducted

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Research Review of OWOM

between friends and acquaintances; however, 4. Internet Involvement. Han (1997) thinks that
consumers usually exchange ideas between the deeper of a persons self involvement
strangers, whose relationship has little effect in an event, the more difficult he or she ac-
on OWOM effect. cepts opposite opinions, the greater his or
2. Trust. There are two contrary research results. her discrimination ability, and the bigger of
Liu,Yang (2008)think that trust not only play OWOM communication effect.
an important role in relationship marketing, 5. Specialty. It includes both senders and re-
but also is an important indicator in ecom- ceivers specialty (Fu, 2008;Bi, Hu,2010).
merce profit. On the basis of trust, under Different receivers may have different opin-
the high independence and involvement ions on the same OWOM. Compared with
information exchange pattern, perceived senders communication ability, receivers
risks and uncertainty can be reduced ef- communication ability have greater influ-
fectively. During the process of OWOM ences on communication effect and is the
communication, the higher the consumers main determining factors influencing com-
trust tendency is, the closer the relation- munication quality and consumers buying
ship between consumers and websites, the decisions. Factors that affect receivers
higher the trustworthiness of the websites, ability include individual features, education
then the greater the influence of OWOM background, and specialty knowledge and
on consumers buying decision. Zhang, Li so on.
(2008) think that the trust of consumers on 6. Product Types. Zhang, Li (2008) thinks
OWOM is very important. The indepen- that the effects of OWOM are subjected by
dence has a positive relationship with the product types from recent researches.
inner motivation to search OWOM and thus 7. Re-Communication Intention. Chen, Zhang
the OWOM information is easier to be ac- (2008) thinks that re-communication is the
cepted by consumers. The others think that only motivation source, whose determine
consumer individual trust tendency has little factors is the core of mechanism of WOM
influences on consumer buying decision communication research. According to
(Jiang,et al.2010). The reason may be internet communication convinces theory, empirical
technological vitality and high anonymity. studies on influencing factors of OWOM,
Virtual internet environment has weakened which is conducted from origins, content, and
the influences of consumers individual trust acceptance of WOM, shows that trustwor-
tendency on OWOM effect. thiness of the origins, interests of contents,
3. Perceived Risks. Dong et al.(2005) pointes altruistic motivation of WOM accepters and
that prior literatures concerns little on online self-enhancement motivation are key factors
shopping perceived risks and he thinks that of OWOM re-communication. Interests of
internet retailers core service risks, online OWOM information is the most important
shopping risks, individual privacy risks, factors that affecting re-communication
fake goods risks are the main factors that intention. The trustworthiness of WOM
influence consumers. Liu,Yang (2008)thinks source has significant positive effect on re-
that perceived risks reflect the consumers communication intentions, while specialty
dependence of consumers. The higher the and objectivity has little effect. Altruistic
consumers p