The adoption of web based marketing in the travel and tourism industry: an empirical investigation in Egypt

Hussein, Rania (2010) The adoption of web based marketing in the travel and tourism industry: an empirical investigation in Egypt. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The main objective of this research is to increase academic understanding as well as provide managerial implications in relation to the determinants of the levels of web adoption for marketing purposes by small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Egypt. Web adoption is specifically defined in this research as the ownership of a website to communicate and/or deliver travel services to a target market. Providing facilities for inquiry, reservation, communication and booking are examples of adoption of the web to provide travel services. This research is thus interested in how the web is being used to interact with customers. Additionally, the levels of adoption represent the different levels that SMEs go through in their adoption process starting with not owning a website to being a simple adopter to being a sophisticated adopter. Non-adopters do not own a web site. Simple adopters own web pages that have facilities for information provision and communication whereas sophisticated adopters own web pages that have facilities for online booking and completing a full transaction online. It is worth noting that the levels of adoption are interrelated and are not static but are part of a process of eEvolution.

This research provides an empirical contribution by studying the tourism sector as an example of a service industry and investigating the relative importance of the factors that determine the different levels of web adoption by SMEs in the context of a developing country. In order to achieve this objective, the research integrates existing theories in order to develop a conceptual framework for the determinants of Web adoption in the tourism sector. Besides Roger’s model of innovation adoption, the Resource-based view of the firm, a theory that deals specifically with firm resources and capabilities, is used to provide valuable information about the firm-specific factors that are thought to have an influence on innovation adoption. The model developed in this research is based purely on existing research and it integrates different theoretical perspectives. In addition, the researcher empirically tests this framework using both qualitative and quantitative data from travel agents in Egypt.

This research is divided into three main parts. The first part (chs. 2 &3) introduces the literature where the concept of Internet marketing is presented and the key themes of research on Internet marketing are discussed. A literature review on Internet adoption by firms is then presented and the gaps in literature highlighted. The key literature includes defining the web as an innovation and organizational adoption of innovation. The different ways in which innovation adoption has been studied are discussed and a classification of the different factors influencing innovation adoption is made. A review of the existing research on the factors influencing technological innovation adoption by organizations is then provided. Finally, Internet adoption including the web by SMEs is discussed.

The main gaps identified are lack of research on SMEs adoption of the web from a level perspective (i.e. distinguishing between use for communication versus use for transactions), lack of research on innovation adoption in developing countries, too much focus on consumer adoption in comparison to organizational adoption of innovations, shortage of research on innovation adoption from a level perspective and a need to identify the critical factors that affect each level of adoption. A conceptual framework (ch.4) is then presented, based on integrating existing theories and literature, and a series of hypotheses derived.

The second part starts by discussing the tourism sector in Egypt (ch.5) which is selected to be the research context and then outlines the methodology (ch.6). This research relies on triangulation with a mixed methods research approach which combines both qualitative and quantitative analysis. The qualitative work provides depth to the analysis. It is used to compare with the proposed model in an attempt to provide a more complete picture of the investigated phenomenon. The quantitative work tests the hypotheses and indicates generalizability of the results. It consists of descriptive analysis, factor analysis and regression analysis. Both logistic and multiple regression were conducted in this research.

The third part of the research is concerned with the analysis of empirical results presented in four chapters. Chapter 7 deals with a small scale content analysis on travel agents’ websites to measure the evolution of services provided on these sites over a period of two years. Chapter 8 includes details of the qualitative work conducted in this research which consisted of 12 in-depth interviews with travel agents in Egypt and provided a basis for triangulating the findings from the quantitative analysis. Chapter 9 includes the descriptive analysis of the data as well as the reliability and validity tests on the measurement instrument. Chapter 10 presents the findings and the interpretations of the hypotheses testing.

The contribution of this research is a synthesis of Roger’s innovation adoption model with the Resource-based View of the firm (RBV) to produce a revised conceptualisation for the adoption of innovations which is empirically tested for developing country SMEs in the context of tourism in Egypt. The key findings of this research are that management factors are important for the initial adoption decision by firms whereas marketing capabilities are important for more sophisticated adoption. As for perceived innovation attributes, relative advantage and complexity were found important for the initial adoption decision whereas perceived risk was found important for more sophisticated adoptions. This suggests that different factors affect the different levels of adoption. The main contributions of this research to theory are: first,-innovation attributes are not the whole story when studying firms’ adoption of the web, firm resources also affect firms’ adoption decision. Second,-different factors affect different levels of adoption thus when studying innovation adoption by firms, it is important to consider the adoption process as a continuous process that consists of different levels rather than a dichotomous process of adopt vs. non-adopt.

The main contribution at the context level is that this is the first research to be conducted in Egypt which represents an important extension to the Web adoption studies that focused largely on developed countries. Additionally, the results of this research can be transferable to countries that share similarities with Egypt and may also be of relevance to SMEs in other sectors in Egypt as will be explained later.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Ennew, C.T.
Kortam, W.
Subjects: H Social sciences > HF Commerce
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > Nottingham University Business School
Item ID: 11125
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 14 Oct 2010 12:31
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 15:19

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