Usage of Internet technologies by touristic service providers
Communicating straight with customers, in an efficient and effective manner is still a desideratum for small, medium and large companies alike. With the rapid development of ICT technologies, including Internet, Web-based communication, and recently Social Media, the number of possibilities to interact directly with customers has grown event larger. For small and medium companies in general and those in the touristic industry in particular, direct communication with customers has been always seen as an enabler for massive direct sales. However, these expectations are still to be fulfilled. In this talk we analyze the causes of this failure and propose a solution on how effective and efficient communication for touristic industry should be realized. We perform an empirical analysis of the usage pattern of Internet technology in the touristic domain. We introduce first the challenges faced nowadays by touristic service providers in terms of online and mobile booking, commission payments and social media. We then have a look at key technologies and communication channels that touristic service providers must use in order to be highly visible online including static, dynamic, sharing, collaboration, social media, fora, vocabularies, semantic formats, etc. We analyze the uptake of these technologies and channels by hotels, hotels chains, destinations and booking channels and point out on one hand how well intermediaries i.e. booking channels (e.g. booking.com, hrs.de, etc.) are using them, while on the other hand, touristic service providers are failing. Finally, we show how these technologies and communication channels should be used for effective direct marketing in the touristic industry by means of a real pilot developed in collaboration with the touristic association of service providers located in the city of Innsbruck and its surroundings i.e. Tourismusverband Innsbruck (TVb).