Hotel Websites, Web 2.0, Web 3.0 and Online Direct Marketing: The Case of Austria
Direct communication with customers in order to increase sales has become one of the most important marketing methods used by small, medium and large hotels alike. With the rapid development of ICT technologies, including the Internet, Web, and recently Web 2.0 and 3.0, the number of channels in which hotels can interact directly with customers has grown even larger. Being visible on all these channels and using these technologies has now become a requirement if effective marketing and massive direct sales are to be achieved. In this chapter, we perform a rigorous empirical analysis of the advances towards the employment of Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies in the tourism domain. We begin by presenting our methodology, including criteria and evaluation metrics, and follow by analysing the uptake of Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies for Austrian hotels. As this chapter demonstrates, despite the benefits of new Web technology for online marketing, the hotels in Austria are not using these technologies and do not follow the online developments. Since employing their use is a relatively cheap undertaking, a severe competence gap seems to emerge either directly in the touristic service industry, or in the industry providing them with their on-line presence.