An investigation into destination management systems website evaluation theory and practice
Sourak, N. (2015) An investigation into destination management systems website evaluation theory and practice, no. 259.
The main aim of this thesis is an investigation into Destination Management Systems (DMS) website effectiveness and evaluation in the tourism domain from both academic and industry (destination management) perspectives. This thesis begins with a comprehensive review of the literature about theories, concepts and methods used for DMS website effectiveness evaluation. The future direction of DMS website evaluation in tourism and a conceptual framework that defines the contemporary theory versus practice of the DMS websites evaluation is elaborated. The research employed first three rounds of Delphi study to generate an up-to-date definition and aims of DMS. The Delphi study also generated an up-to-date comprehensive set of dimensions and criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of DMS websites. The research then employed structured interviews as well as online survey sent to forty-six official destination websites to review how industry is evaluating their DMS websites. What approaches they use in addition to the criteria and dimensions when evaluating the effectiveness of their DMS websites is explored. This thesis also reviews additional aspects related to the in destination evaluation. The findings of the Delphi study indicated that there is a rising emergence of social media as a new important component related to DMS. The findings also suggested additional aims to previously identified aims of the DMS. The new additional aims of DMS found in this research are: support sustainable destination management; empower and support tourism firms; enable collaboration at the destination; increase consumer satisfaction level and capture consumer data. Further findings also indicated compared with these established by previous researchers there are new additions to the evaluation dimensions of DMS websites proposed which are: sustainability, marketing, collaboration issues, and goals of the website. The findings of this thesis indicated that there is a congruence and consensus between academic experts and industry in terms of the most dimensions that are crucial for DMS websites evaluation. The findings, however, indicated that there is limited parallel between criteria identified with the Delphi study and those found and used by destination management practitioners. This thesis calls for additional research to develop a support system to ensure a focused involvement between academia and industry in the area of DMS website evaluation. This thesis contributes to knowledge by generating an up-to-date and comprehensive set of dimensions and criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of a DMS website. This thesis also contributes to knowledge through the identification of the current dimensions, criteria, and evaluation approaches used by industry practitioners. This research adopted a strategy in presenting the literature review that enhanced the understanding of the DMS websites and their comprehensive evaluation in tourism. This research is one of the first studies in the tourism field that reviews and sheds light on and compares and contracts contemporary thinking on both academia and industry evaluation of DMS websites.