The business world is a transformational field, the dynamic nature of which incorporates technology, business strategies, processes and decisions. Despite different approaches taken by business people and organizations, variables that determine the fate of a business include customers and the nature of services offered by the business. Depending on diverse needs of customers, it is difficult for business people to understand appropriate strategies and processes that work towards the satisfaction of customers and benefit businesses. One such situation is the tourism industry, which comprises several elements and variables that differ from one another in terms of geographical location, the nature of governments, business trends, and the capability of businesses in regard to technology. The world has been shifting from the use of traditional methods to digital methods of conducting business activities. In this case, an organization that is involved in the tourism industry looks forward to serving clients from different parts of the world with different tastes and preferences. However, depending on the diversity of these personal needs, the tourism industry faces problems of implementing strategies that address needs of every client in its platform. As a part of embracing changes, organizations dealing with the tourism industry have been still installing technological measures to maximize their reliability to customers and register a steady growth. To evaluate problems facing the tourism industry, this paper discusses needs and constraints, with which organizations are faced. E-business strategies applied to various platforms are discussed to emphasize the need for satisfaction of customers and the maximization of profits by organizations.
When people hear or talk about tourism, most think in terms of foreigners visiting local resorts and tourism destinations. The notion of these people is correct, but majorities do not know benefits of tourism and underlying problems facing it. Since the beginning of the 21st century, tourism has been one of the world’s leading moneymaking activities that benefit a good number of nations. This business that takes place in many countries contributes to GDPs of these nations. Apart from war-stricken nations, tourism is a worldwide business. It is estimated to reach new heights by the end of 2010s as it gains more popularity.
Tourism is an industry that incorporates various variables and types of business activities regarding the diverse nature, in which it is promoted, conducted and/or sustained. However, inspite of various stages and business levels that tourism encourages or supports, it is a form of the global activity that generates revenues like other businesses. In this case, it is important for organizations to conduct research on the diversity of tourism and the amount of inputs that are required to run the industry properly. As an industry, there are also many problems, challenges, and opportunities that a businessperson investing in the tourism industry will have to consider. To simplify the need for going into details on such a broad topic, this research focuses on tourism from an organizational perspective as opposed to the industry.
Mobile devices and handheld computer platforms are technologies that the digital era presents to most current businesses. In regard to doing business, businesspersons are people, who embrace these new technologies as means of conducting businesses. On the other hand, clients use these technologies to their advantage in booking, ordering, and buying stuff over their service providers’ networks. E-business is an installment that comes with the digital era, when people do not have to be physically in various places to enjoy what is offered in such areas. Concerning the importance of networks and computer-based applications, tourists can assess, judge, and select tourist destinations depending on their tastes and preferences.
In the business world, it seems that tastes and preferences are not the only variables emphasized by customers. Personalized needs are issues that clients need to address in their day-to-day lives in order to get full satisfaction. However, current technological systems and architectures do not allow such personalized needs, causing partial dissatisfaction for clients. In the world that sponsors, promotes, and develops innovations, it is improper for organizations to fall short of customers’ expectations in terms of service provision. Business platforms dealing with tourism are expected to deliver an all-round package to their customers to satisfy their personal needs. In this case, e-business strategy management is used as a model of operation that steers and fosters the use of reliable means to satisfy clients.
E-business is an ability and mechanism of information delivery and services through the virtual world. The virtual world includes computers, handheld computers, mobile phones and PDAs. The use of it is to simplify the tedious and error-prone manual execution of duties. It is easy to assess services and products included in tourist resorts, however, for a client to be fully satisfied, personalized services are required. The tourism industry suffers from the shortage of innovation and the implementation of quick personalized service packages.
The research on the applicability of e-business has shown that the world has been transforming in terms of technology, but not precisely e-business. E-commerce has been in use for some time, since many people bank and pay bills through cellular and Internet means. However, the efforts to develop a concise, reliable, fast and all-serving service package through e-business have not been in the interest of many researchers. The development of a precise architectural platform has been faced with challenges, as researchers are keen on addressing issues that affect the tourism industry. On the other hand, investors have not discovered the importance of personalized service packages in terms of embracing technology. In micro- and macroeconomics, an organization, whose major expertise is to provide a range of services, is required to conduct a product and customer research. Very few organizations dealing with tourism have done this, and therefore, they do not manage to stay focused (Rekhter, et, al. 2002).
A business focus is derived from the need served by the business, and the need is encouraged by the set of objectives and goals of an organization. Policies are elements that encourage the organizational management to focus on objectives. The only thing that matters to investors is to make profits, while for management is to create surplus. On the part of customers , an organization providing services is supposed to evaluae customers’ money. However, as it has been discovered by business management students of HarvardUniversity, many organizations operate hoping that customers are satisfied with services they offer (Holbrook, & Reynolds, 1998). Operation models of these organizations use collective data to draw conclusions on the levels of customers’ satisfaction. However, the origin of the problem is that organizations do not differentiate acceptance from adaptation. A tourist taking a cruise by ship to tour tourist sights around the globe may not be satisfied with the service of that cruise ship. In comparison with what a customer looks forward to attaining, he/she takes the only cruise ship that almost offers his or her preferred services and products. Since there is an organization behind the chosen cruise ship, clients will adapt to negative sides that they do not find relevant making management believe they are satisfied.
Technology is the application of automatic assistance using machines, devices, and services that are provided in a computer-based platform. If the world embraced technology to its full potential, less manual work would be required from workers, and clients would be served in a satisfying manner meeting their preferences. However, such potentials have not been attained, since technology is expensive and takes time to be fully implemented (Curtin, 2010). In addition, an organization has to set a precise and reliable customer target for services it tends to offer. Strategic management in terms of conducting business activities is important, because it aims at satisfying needs of all involved parties. With technology evolving at a lightning speed, organizations find it hard to make right decisions in terms of implementing changes. On the other hand, organizations are worried that technologies available at this moment will not be reliable in the future. According to Curtin (2010), “it takes less than a month for people to get used to certain technologies and less than a week for inventors to discover new ones.”
E-business strategies and processes are drivers of e-commerce and important installments for business platforms. In the tourism industry, organizations provide a few services required for e-commerce, limiting a potential of their customers and their realization of objectives. Some of the most recognized services offered by organizations to customers include the provision of information regarding booking, available hotels, space, and payments through electronic means. Strategically, e-business should offer personalized services that allow flexibility and not adaptability, satisfaction and not compensation, and durability not fate in the line of service provision (Gorodetski, 2005).
Identification of Problems
The level of reliability of the tourism industry does not address various issues in terms of service provision. Customers would like to be free to make decisions without restrictions of any nature. Restrictions for customers are presented by the need to do one thing, while the available means do not allow or do not satisfactorily address the issue. Limitations imposed on customers, involve low levels of flexibility and an unsatisfied need to utilize as many services as possible. Customers, who visit various resorts, need to get as much experience as possible relative to the value of their money. Restaurants, hotels, tours, means of transportation, room attendance, and meals can be accessed through a unified technological platform and payment for such services made from a particular platform. Information provided by organizations offering these services helps customers make choices what resorts to visit. Reservations can be altered, but with the current embrace of technology, precise and cost-effective means to do so have not been implemented.
In regard to technology, services provided by the tourism industry make very little use of the e-business platform. E-business is simply the use of electronic means to access products and services, and to do business within networks. As a part of the e-commerce industry, e-business services do not allow customers enough flexibility in terms of satisfying their needs. Booking for restaurants and tour services can be done by swiping credit cards. However, the personalization of such services is impossible as packages provided by an organization are predefined and limit the freedom of a client. On the other hand, the current technology implemented by organizations does not allow the formulation of data representing client’s views. With the lack of applications on the web that allow customers to specify their needs, organization’s management feels inconvenienced when clients have to make changes on their arrival (Wang, 2010).
The use of the Internet as a means of communication and a platform for doing business has significantly improved e-business. At the same time, the over-reliance of the available Internet applications has led to laxity by organizations. Organizations design services and products that they are certain of in terms of customers’ responses. However, services provided at the physical level do not match those provided or expected at the virtual level. In this case, the Internet provides clients with information in terms of ads and offers that convince customers to choose them in place of other service providers. However, as much as the Internet is a reliable source of information, very little has been done to maximize its reliability concerning providing satisfactory, precise, and highly competitive services that promote e-business.
Nature of the Tourism Industry
The nature of any business platform is defined by the set of variables that constitute the operation of businesses and business trends that take place. Organizations that deal with tourism services are not involved in ground operations at tourism resorts and service providers. This case makes the tourism industry a dynamic one with various players serving the central entity, namely the customer. Tourism organizations research, organize, and manage schedules for clients as well as specify destinations for them. Most of this work is done by organizations that organize tours placing control in their hands. Customer plans and specifications are handled by organizations, while services are provided by other parties. Concerning information in the Internet and brochures, clients are likely to change their preferences on the ground to place orders of services that match their tastes. As a business organization, such changes are unavoidable as much of information in the Internet and adverts tend to be misleading at times.
The tourism industry hosts various cultures that place values in various areas of their social lives. Organizations involved in the hotel tourism industry provide services to meet different tastes of clients. A tourist resort in the coastal line of Qatar will be run by an organization that has some experience on the kind of services, which tourists seek there. In this case, outdoor activities are most likely to be numerous and billed as a part of the tour. For those tourists, who tour for the first time, making a concise choice is a hard thing, as most of them tend to change their minds regarding better package offers, which they are presented with. Making payments or requests through catering organizations becomes a tiresome duty when done through a traditional way. Besides, making decisions on how to enjoy a vacation depends on a number of considerations: the amount it costs to be in one place in comparison with the other; opportunity costs, depending on how appealing one destination is; how much money are needed to use one package in place or on the top of another. Regarding information systems and a method of accessing this information, a good number of clients make uninformed decisions. For an organization dealing with such clients, blame should not be placed on clients, but rather on an organization. Technology use in the business setting helps people make fast and precise decisions, which in turn save time on the tedious manual work (Books LLC, 2010). In this case, embracing technology is a joint effort that customers should be prompted to adapt to by involved organizations. Service providers, namely credit card trackers and online product researchers, provide applications that have an ability to assist clients in making their decisions to avoid mishaps (Baase, 2008).
The Internet is the most resourceful information provider and interface, which businesspersons opt to use (Singh, 2009). The usage of the Internet depends on the needs, which one requires to serve, and their level of urgency. Internet users who are not interested in finding information on the platform can subscribe to services that provide information they need. Depending on the nature of the tourism industry; traditional means, brokers, and service databases are connected to form a precise Multi-Agent Information System (MAIS). The MAIS is a web or a network of information resources that are connected together to provide clients with information. The importance of the MAIS is in its ability to give specific data to clients regarding their tourism needs. However, although the MAIS is an important tool providing information to clients through the Internet, one shortcoming is eminent: the MAIS does not connect all information sources together, and different agents can form various MAISs. It complicates the customers’ duty of selection (Krishna, &Madon, 2003).
The Internet is simply a network or networks, and therefore, it is not regarded as a precise source of information, when it comes to searching of specific information. As an attempt to curb this Internet menace, web-based applications have been used to specify and provide precise results for customers with intentions to tour various places. Web-based applications are importat, because they use the Knowledge Query and Manipulation Language (KQML). This language is useful, since it makes applications result-oriented, filtering less important information provided by various databases (Al-Qirim, 2006). Operating through the Internet service provided or local networks, web-based applications outsource information from one or a few specified databases guaranteeing relevance and reliability of information to clients. In spite of the reliability of a web-based application and the language of programming used in writing them, the availability of these applications makes them less reliable. With various databases accessed by each application, it is hard for customers to rely on the information given by a single application (Bryman, & Bell, 2007).
Back in the 1960s, computers were a dream that people had not started to dream yet. In the 1970s, companies that had resources started to research and put up the first generation computers. During the 1980, industrialization hit a mark and many businesses sprung up to utilize technological advances and available markets (Saunders, et, al. 2009). During this era, the use of computers to do business gained popularity giving telecommunication companies an assignment to provide services that allowed communication between these devices. With the Internet, customers cannot only perform business transactions, but also to move around with Internet capable devices in their pockets. The relevance of this historical background check on the usability of computers is to draw a basis for the revolution of the need and the usability of computer-based platforms. Multiple business applications are available and compatible with various devices. This shows that people do not need computers to contact business: it calls for awareness that customers do not need to use telecommunication services to transact businesses.
Most websites provide searching clients to enable visitors to access what they are looking for within short periods. In this sense, search applications have been developed to enable customers to downsize their search criteria by the application of relevance and specified requirements. Criteria-based applications are used as a means of creating time and space for a client to include and exclude relevant and irrelevant information. These criteria-based applications minimize the occurrence of constraints and satisfy a paradigm of Constraint Satisfaction Problem (CSP) (Singh, 2009).
The conduction of business through a virtual platform takes a number of variables that affect its efficacy. User interfaces used by customers include mobile gadgets, computers and other network-enabled devices. However, besides user interfaces that people choose to use in their day-to-day business activities, platforms that their devise uses determine how effective business transactions are. Services offered through the Internet depend on platforms used by browsers and the types of web-pages generated according to user interfaces on devices. Computers and mobile devices use various platforms in terms of operating systems and so do applications supported by these devices. Capabilities of operating systems support peripherals and usability applications, such as the Adobe Flash Player. Flash players are important for the execution of commands and the display of content for high definition websites. With capabilities of these applications, e-business applications support interactive user interfaces to maximize user’s experience and enhance security. The importance of interactive web-applications is the ability to render multiple pages within short durations and execute commands that do not prompt the user to enter multiple entries in one web-page. The relevance of this architectural design is to ensure that e-business is conducted in a safe platform, and that it locks crawler programs and spyware from assessing compact data in cases of flawed security measures.
In the tourism industry, e-business is a single-phased operation as commands are executed in one phase. By this, it means that multiple entries and criteria of searching assume a to-and-from type of execution. Such commands as credit card swiping, billing and booking are done through a single platform, whereby the organization behind billing conducts transaction that credits its reserves confirming to the client that transaction has been made. On a multiphase program, a credit card provider, a mobile service provider and banking systems, the client uses all responds in unison to alert that a transaction has been made. The importance of this multiphase program ensures that the client can make payments from different levels using the same or different means. Mobile banking and access to banking services allows clients to pay bills and settle payments by using integrated services provided by the banking sector and the communication sector. The multiphase program that allows the synchronization of several levels of transaction can be categorized as a Collaborative Travel Agent System (CTAS). The analysis of this technology shows that a multiphase program integrates mobile and Internet services together to provide a safe, flexible and scalable service to clients (Baase, 2008). As an e-business strategy, it does not aim to serve tourist organizations, but rather to serve clients. It is logical to give clients the power of flexibility; this serves an organization in terms of attracting more transactions and creating surplus (Al-Qirim, 2006).
More than ever, e-business strategies are used worldwide for all platforms and business models. Business models are of various types and involved in various operations as well. Concerning a type of models, in which e-business is used, a platform does not change in that, transactions are made and information is accessed from the Internet through various mediators. Utilities that put e-business strategies in the forefront before any other form of business model include Material Requirements Planning (MRP), Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP). These utilities are used and applied at the organization and client levels as a part of the steps involved (Bryman& Bell, 2007). Material Requirement Planning is a utility that is used by both clients and organizations. It is through the exchange of data and information from organization’s databases that the client can choose services of that organization. MRP is a platform that links communication between the client and the organization. For clients, access to data helps them make informed decisions, while at the same time an organization gathers information regarding preferences of clients.
Electronic Data Interchange is a utility that allows a client, an organization, an electronic card, a bank, and a service provider to link up with each other depending on the nature of transactions. Depending on it, an electronic card reader sends data to a bank and funds transacted into reserves of an organization. When this happens, the organization confirms that transaction is successful. If a client is subscribed to a mobile service provider, a part of the transaction that is important for financial needs of the client and forwarded as a copy through short message service. The EDI is a connection platform that automatically exchanges data relevant to a client from one end to another in respect to real time transactions (Wang, 2010). This utility provides a basis for the application of the MAIS and defines e-business strategy management.
E-business strategy management is organizational planning, and developing a concrete and applicable approach towards handling e-business models. As a utility, the ERP organizes, plans, and sustains the development of organization-based services in terms of information, accessibility, target groups, customer responses, and performance-related data. The ERP is a formulation utility that gives organizations virtual management assistance in dealing with electronic-based data. The ERP is similar to the Web Analytics program, but it does not involve tallying of hits per page, but rather transactions per certain period. The ERP coincides with the CTAS as it combines services offered by an organization and presents them in a smooth and simple manner that an organization management can understand and make adjustments for customized service provision (Krishna, &Madon, 2003). The relevance of the utilities discussed above to the case study and context of this research is based on the fact that they provide assistance in the management of e-business strategies applied in the case study.
E-Business Strategy Management
In simple terms, management is the process of organizing, planning, developing, assessing, and implementing. Strategy management is the process of organizing and planning strategies in response to their applicability. E-business strategy management is simply planning or formulating strategies that affect e-business in order to maximize the potential and limit risks (Books LLC, 2010). Risks are involved in any business model and may cause a business fail to get any profit even after its management invests millions dollars to produce or promote a product. On the other hand, even if an organization makes profits, it does not mean, it is not incurring risks: expectations of an organization to get a certain amount of money from profits may not be a practical case and may hinder plans of an organization (Baase, 2008).
Management is a duty aimed at creating surplus in the production line and result in profits. An organization that does not accrue any profit is said to be operating at a loss. Loss may be directly caused, if some products are damaged and not covered by the insurance company. It may also incur indirect losses through the influence of competition: an organization may have products to sell or services to offer and fail to make a sale. Despite the fact that it retains its products, no profit is made and operations to deal with in new financial years may fall short of a budget (Krishna, &Madon, 2003). The relevance of the above point with the context of this research is that e-business strategies offer opportunities to an organization for its benefit. However, in order to maintain a sustainable growth, e-business strategies are managed to avoid overlaps and the loss of focus by an organization.
In the tourist industry, clients and booking fill up a supply chain. It is almost ironical how the service industry can have a supply chain. A supply chain in the tourist industry does not exist in the traditional business environment. However, in e-business strategies, supply chain management is a common phenomenon. Consider the fact that customers keep inquiring for vacancies and some are willing to wait until they can get a change to visit certain places. The purpose of the supply chain would be to create a mechanism that takes requests and prompts customers, when their requests have been processed. Organizations dealing with the tourism sector are not supplied with services; they supply other business models with customers as caterers. In this case, such an organization keeps supply chain management as a dual faced activity, since it supplies other business with customers, while it is supplied with orders and queries on services it offers (Saunders, Lewis, and Thornhill, 2009). Considering the problem of researchers in the case study, it is clear that there is the lack of researching as dragged e-business in spite of the availability of sound technological backbone.
Tactical operation alignment is a management tool for e-business strategies that deals with the operation of organizations in terms of connecting employees, employers, services and products, clients and stakeholders. However, the relevance of this management tool to e-business is to diversify the traditional sphere of business by hastening business activities and providing overhauled versions in dimension and definition of businesses around the world (Gorodetski, 2005). With the usage of the Internet, Intranet, cellular networks, and other digital technology one can pay for services over the Internet, access online advertising, and get involved in on-line trading and auction deals. The importance of this management tool is to generalize the e-business strategy by synchronizing organizational activities with customer’s needs.
Electronic business processes take a format of a multiphase program, as a number of stages and processes are executed one after another or at the same time. From a business perspective, electronic business starts with personal assistance in terms of finding relevant information. Information is a backbone of electronic business, because customers and organizations use this information to get through to each other. Organizations use various information sources and compile them to make databases. These databases are used as personal assistants for an organization. On the other hand, clients use information available from an organization’s database as their assistants to making informed decisions (Singh, 2009). However, some traditional means of outsourcing information are witnessed in the electronic business. A client can hire an agent to find relevant information about a specific topic, in which he/she is interested. Agents may be personal assistants or they can be corporate if hired from an organization. The importance and the role played by personal assistants and corporate agents is to easy the work of finding information. The quicker a client is supplied with sufficient information, the quicker he or she can make decisions (Baase, 2008).
Information and service resources are parties or databases that a customer can find information from and use it to make decisions. Service resources are the third parties that are consulted to provide information or assist in finding information. Most of these resources are online service providers aiming at assisting tourists with travel planning and outsourcing of relevant information. The placement of information and service resources is in the multi-layered infrastructure of the CTAS. The multi-layered CTAS infrastructure gives a precise chronological order of events and processes that take place in typical e-business architecture. Planning is a major step in the installment of the multi-layered infrastructure, as it provides the client and the system a time-sensitive chronology of events and processes. A tourist information system is provided to the client through planning, whereby stages, processes, and schedules are managed for him or her. Systems are not necessarily provided by organizations that arrange and plan tourists’ service packages; they can be arranged and provided by affiliate or hired. Concerning the processes discussed above, a multi-agent information system (MAIS) is developed to make e-business processes a pattern that allows different parties, services, and installments to work in unison to provide a flexible, fast, scalable, and intelligent information service to clients and organizations (Wang, J2010).
Belief, desire, and intention (BDI) agents are computational models that monitor and update their information on environmental changes. BDI agents are proactive in achieving their goals, while adapting to new environmental changes to provide up-to-date information. The accumulation of experience by dealing and associating themselves with previous interactions with the environment makes BDI agents flexible and goal-oriented. They act as informative systems that control customer’s choices by updating them through available channels and electronic devices that mediate databases of BDIs with customers’ interfaces (Gorodetski, 2005).
Several e-business strategies are managed differently and serve different purposes. Various strategies are applied through different platforms and are meant to serve specific purposes. Platforms are simply fields, in which an application, a mechanism or a strategy works best. Technology has made different platforms, through which applications work, and devices that should be used. Operating systems define a type of applications and capabilities, which can be rendered by an application in terms of flow, security, display, and user experience. With the Internet as one of the most resourceful interfaces, clients use it as a medium to interact with databases. Applications that enable devices to make connections are used. The use of applications is almost adapted by all users; however, languages, in which these applications are written help e-business transactions to be relevant to the parties that use them (Rekhter, et, al. 2002).
Some technologies come in the form of programming languages. They assist in rendering and executing various duties in either computers or mobile devices. Some of these technologies include OWL, XML, HTML, UTML, HTTPS, DAML-S, KQML and W3C. Most of them are programming languages and formats for orienting, rendering, presenting, and filtering information on devices and web-pages. Some languages are connected with formats to enable smooth rendering and presentation of web-pages. Among the most common formats and web-protocols there are HTTPS, UTML and HTML. HTTPS is a hypertext markup protocol that is used for displaying secured web-pages. The latter are pages that do not use data from various databases; they only use data from specified databases and at times reformat other websites for hosting within a secured console. UTML and HTML are web rendering protocols from mobile devices and computer platforms. The difference between them is in the way they render pages and the amount of traffic loaded per page (Rekhter, et, al. 2002).
The connection between the W3C, OWL and XML is that the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has adapted the Web Ontology Language through an extended Markup Language format to define web-ontologies. It means that the OWL is a useful language and the most important component among these three. The OWL describes classes, properties and their instances and logical semantics for the derivation of consequences. As a description language, the OWL manages primary e-business processes of information rendered for clients and request processing for organizations. As an MAIS approach, the KQML is a multi-agent-based kiosk that provides customers with information from the Internet on specified categories of hotels, shopping centers and cinema’s. The KQLM is a primary interface that can be integrated into applications to provide restricted search results and relevant results to influence informed decisions of clients. Its inclusion in e-business strategies helps organizations and clients maximize needs and benefit from e-business processes.
DAML-S was designed to serve as the basis for presenting descriptions of inverses, unambiguous properties, unique properties, lists, restrictions, cardinalities, pair-wise disjoint lists and data types. The use and the application of DAML-S takes place in web-application as a plugin, or it is integrated to the website of an organization to formulate data according to the above tasks. As a plugin or as integrated to web-sites, DAML-S sorts out data according to their types and renders them according to a type of platform used by clients. The importance of this language is that is can be executed to go through an application or can be linked with a website to limit numbers of clicks and traffic. One shortcoming of this technology is that it favors specific types of platforms and singles out recent technologies. This technology is not a recent one. Therefore, it is limited to information rendering rather than processing: a factor that e-business does not operate well on.
Card-reader on the go
Signing up e-business is as simple as registering personal information someone a website or service provider and one is ready to go. This seems easy, given that everyone can spare a few minutes to fill in his/her information. Finding information in the Internet can be done through various means without the need to register accounts or giving out credit-card numbers. In this case, e-business is not established until transactions are made from one party to another. As a solution to the slow pace of payments, credit card readers should be used to analyze and authenticate barcodes. The above method seems simpler, but it requires buying of card readers. It is easy for a tourist to spent months in the Caribbean Sea on a cruise ship. Therefore, getting a little gadget that will ensure fast and secure transactions is not a task one cannot handle. After all, does anyone doing business over the network or the Internet have to risk his or her account numbers (Holbrook, & Reynolds, 1998)?
ID login mechanism
Take for example a couple travelling across the Atlantic to South Africa expecting to experience a bright sunlight and clear beaches. It is almost unimaginable how much these people will be looking forward to getting their vacation started. Money for tourists is not a problem, but rather a type of transactional means and modes that are involved. As an IT solution to the problem of imprecise and slow transactions, tourism organizations should adapt a system that delivers safe and fast services through available networks. An ID login should be a method that organizations provide their clients with to enhance a high speed of transactions. Buying books and movies on Amazon requires a tedious registration process and provision of bank or credit account numbers. In this case, a tourist visiting South Africa and using Organization X to cater for him/her does not need to register accounts that require bank or credit card numbers. Instead, by using a card reader, a client can be supplied with a unique ID login to enter the website of an organization serving him or her. In this case, any time an ID login is entered into the card reader on the go, the system is ready for transaction. This provides the power to change, define, and control ones transactions on the part of a client (Books, 2010).
The Internet, as it has been discussed earlier, is a network of networks. This means that networks that are operating at different locations are connected with others through the Internet making a web of networks. Organizations and online service providers are known for asking for classified information from clients in order to process transactions or to verify them. Through the Internet, according to the nature it is created, a hacker can join and leave a network anytime he/she would like. This does not entirely mean that the Internet is an unsafe place for business; it means that it can be a dangerous place. Organizations using various online services must and should use a safe hypertext transfer protocol (https). It means that online transactions can be safe and secure in addition to being faster.
Information Filters and Isolators
Registering personal information online is not always successful when there are transactions to make. The social media allow people to register free profiles and manage their own privacy modules. Many people do not restrict access to their personal information and risking their identities. E-business registrations can be linked with the social media and controlled by e-business. This way, sensitive information, which is freely accessible to the social media, can be restricted to the public; therefore, it secures identities of clients. Filtering information on the Internet is a solution for the problem of identity theft. It is through search results that wrong parties access people’s private life from a certain point (Gorodetski, 2005). Most online businesses guarantee their clients secure and safe handling of sensitive information. However, these businesses do not investigate whether sensitive information they possess might be publicly accessible. Security is an expensive installment that many organizations struggle to pull off. However, the safer and keener an organization’s service is, the better response from customers such an organization gets (Wang, 2010).
Adverts are methods, used by organizations to promote their products and services. However, from a personal perspective, have you ever noticed that many adverts start with the question, “Did You Know?” Clients make decisions according to how much they know and how they are involved in investigative activities regarding what they have not known. Among things that these customers do not know there is a fact that credit card numbers are safe in the hands of e-business organizations, only if organizations do not have unscrupulous individuals working for them. Banks are not safe either, as attendants who serve people on a daily basis may steal from clients. What everyone knows is that everyone else looks forward to making as much money as he or she can. Something that some people and clients do not know is that ethics in an organization is not always observed, when it comes to the privacy of clients. Therefore, the mechanism that is used in the ATM service can be applied through Card on the Go technology. Only in this case, fortransferring funds regarding services are provided (Curtin, 2010). To attain maximum security, safety, fast services, and flexible mechanisms, the power to control transaction variables should be placed in the hands of clients.
Visa Card is one of the most recognized cards in the world and can be used in almost every country and many organizations accept transactions paid by means of this card. It is easy to carry Visa across the world and even easier to lose it. To avoid the probability of losing a credit or debit card, a technology that allows the use of an alternative method can be a solution to this problem. In addition, most clients do not like the fact that they have to produce their cards making any type of payment. Electronic transactions are types of transactions that do not involve traditional methods of doing business. Walking to the ATM to withdraw cash is a traditional method of doing business; it is the same as walking to a bank and getting a check with solid cash. With the introduction of a barcode technology, a client will be recognized remotely by a system that links a client with a certain organization allowing hotels, tours, and other services of payment without the need to enter numerous digits. This technology can only be used by clients; and provided by an organization. It will ensure safety, swiftness of transaction and minimal usage of paperwork or bulky gadgets (Baase, 2008).
Website and Network Firewalls
HTTPS is a web protocol that integrates firewalls from the website-level and renders secure web-pages to a client. Firewalls are security measures used in networks to shield them from attacks or unsafe commands. Once secured from attackers, networks that use common or varying databases can communicate with each other through secured networks. In this case, clients, who emphasize security, will have their information secured on an e-business platform (Baase, 2008). The emphasis on security and the rate of transaction execution do not present security as a problem or basis of integration on an e-business platform.
Active Control Plugins and Technologies
Filtering information accessed through the Internet or local networks does not depend on the ability of a client, but rather on a service provider. Organizations that deal with tourism activities are responsible for providing secure platforms that filter and shield sensitive information from the public domain. Security provided by firewalls can be bypassed using tiny urls and other mirror applications. In this case, websites developed by organizations should be shielded from the public domain by the use of active control plugins and technologies. These are security measures provided by organizations to a client to access pages in order to shield suspicious behavior and searches originating from the public domain (Baase, 2008).
OUTLOOK AND CONCLUSIONS
The tourism industry is one of the most dynamic sectors in terms of growth and generation of revenue. The tourism industry is run by organizations that coordinate such activities as bookings, hotel selection, tour services, and provision of information regarding various tourism destinations. Depending on the nature, upon which tourism industry operates, traditional methods of doing business are not efficient enough to drive the future of tourism. On the other hand, e-business strategies have enabled people to contact businesses over the Internet, through cellular networks, and using digital gadgets. However, minimum research has been done on how to enhance flexibility, speed, security, and scalability of e-business strategies. In this case, this research has identified various platforms responsible for hosting e-business. Some of them include:
- Operating systems on various devices to allow access to information from the Internet;
- Applications that allow rendering web-pages at the client level for access to information;
- Devices that support various operating systems and applications acting as a medium between databases and clients;
- Management platforms that organize and plan various e-business strategies to work in unison and limit the risk of incurring uncertainties; and
- Universal programs applied to systems to coordinate interconnectivity between clients and service providers.
Depending on available platforms for conducting e-businesses, the management of strategies allows the elimination of slow transitory insecurity of networks, inflexibility by clients, non-scalable variables, and the lack of preciseness when finding relevant information. With a multiphase transactional interface, payments and confirmation of transactions are done in various analogous phases enabling smooth and fast transaction. On the other hand, information access is provided by various providers, both traditional and virtual. This architecture is known as multi-agent information systems (MAIS), and is complemented by Collaborative Travel Agent Systems (CTAS). However, the above architectures are more information- and research-oriented than flexibility- and reliability-oriented. Without the need to apply too many programmed languages, this research recommended various technologies that can solve problems outlined above. These technologies include:
- Card Reader on the go: a technology that allows clients to control business transactions on the go;
- ID login to organizations’ websites: an organization provides an ID login for accessing various services and products;
- Barcode transitory technology: a technology that connects transactions with parties in one scan or reading;
- Secured hypertext transfer protocol: an Internet-based service that renders secured web-pages that protect classified clients’ information;
Active Control Plugins and Technologies: technologies that allow censorship of classified information on public domains with the ability to trace transactions attempted from unfamiliar locations.