The development of an assessment framework for Etourism capability in Scotland
Reino, Sofia Pardinas
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Reino, S. (2009) The development of an assessment framework for Etourism capability in Scotland, no. 544.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) are claimed to provide businesses with a competitive advantage, to the extent of reshaping entire industries. In tourism, an information-intensive activity and the impact of ICT has been extensively documented at the industry, destination and business level. eTourism Capability refers here to the contribution of ICT to tourism business performance. Therefore, the work is based within the Tourism domain. However, its methods are mainly emerging from the adapted combination of previous research in business and eBusiness. Previous work has urged for the development of wide-angle studies, assessing the eTourism Capability of a destination. However, existing research addressing this issue, tends to place the focus on only one specific aspect of technology adoption, it is not sector specific and/or does not take into consideration the different levels of contribution to performance made by systems. In order to develop an eTourism Capability Assessment Framework for Scotland, and to provide the baseline for its strategic benchmarking with other tourism destinations, the work included an extensive literature review of Tourism and eTourism, developed of a conceptual framework. This supported the selection of key tourism industry stakeholders, i.e. the accommodation sector within the established context. An electronic questionnaire enabled the data collection. Through a mix of statistical techniques, the data treatment provided answers to the research questions, which related to the most suitable approach for ICT indexing in the accommodation sector, the level of contribution to performance by the different ICT elements, patterns describing the impact of business characteristics on ICT uptake, and the predictive models for this uptake. The results suggested the suitability of IT-based indexes for assessing the ICT uptake of this sector. Additionally, the results suggested important differences in the contribution that each system makes to business performance. This even varies across systems supporting similar business functions. Furthermore, the results emphasised the influence of the individual ICT on their own adoption, and suggested several dimensions to describe systems, which underlie the association between business characteristics and ICT adoption by the accommodation sector. These are compatibility observability, physical accessibility, verticality of systems and whether these support standardisation of processes across branches. Since the influence of business characteristics on ICT uptake seem to be system-specific, the predictive models are developed for each individual system. Finally, recommendations for further research have also been made.