ICT is a universal feature of tourism and hospitality industries. This is due to the fact that the two industries largely depend on communication hence modern technological development is a prerequisite for the effective running of the premises. For example, flight tracking has become an exceedingly popular form of travelling technology that enables people to access various tourist destinations from their computers. This form of technology got introduced in the market a few years ago and is gaining presence as the preferred form of tourism. Indeed, it should be noted that it remains a significant milestone in the era of globalization given that travelling from one part of the world to another may be too cumbersome for most people. From this prospective ICT has come in handy to apply and utilize modern technological ideas in making the world a truly global village. At the moment, the technology can be said to be opening opportunities for enterprises and tourism in general. It has also triggered demand for adjunct knowledge considering that professional training may be necessary for one to handle the business. As a result, the wide market creates for most tourist destinations in the universe; there has been a tremendous growth of these destinations with a view to serving the global family. In the meantime, the effects on the global economy are just becoming evident in the vast number of employment opportunities that gets created by involvement of ICT. Many firms nowadays are moving fast to using the ICT system since its helping in raising the firm’s productivity. Some of hotels in London have adopted the ICT in their system. In the case study, Parkwood hotel well be discussed which has used ICT for its customers to make online bookings. However, application of ICT has not been perfectly smooth for these forms as they face lots of challenges in the market. For example, it has been difficult to incorporate new communication models with a view to coming up with a competitive business approach. This has significantly hampered services offered from the tourism and hospitality industries. In addition, it has been difficult to integrate modern form of technology into individual industries that have been operated without complex machines and computers as these tends to be viewed as additional costs of no value. Therefore, there is always a need to come up with skills that would allow general acceptability of ICT in the market. In most cases, a new development in the sector gets abandoned because people fear the ideas that are utterly strange to them. At the moment, efforts can be made to give ICT a professional approach by using specially designed marketing strategies that will undoubtedly make it popular in tourism and hospitality hence the development of e-tourism. Thus, development of e-tourism has itself caused evolution of the tourism sector.
In the developed countries, integration of ICT in tourism has taken a prominent stride, and this gets epitomized by the existence of e-tourism and e-commerce. To begin with, ICT incorporation into tourism industries created a highly substantial number of online employments compared to any other industry. Hence an appreciable contribution to global economic development, for example, according to statistics on the United States, a branch of ICT, e-tourism accounted for over 30% of total internet sales in the United States in 2005. Since then, the figure has consistently risen, reaching around 45% at the moment. The market takes advantage that most families consider tourism an essential part of their lives thus, find easy access to information by the online services offered due to ICT development. Thus, when they draw their annual budgets, they also set aside funds for the purpose of visiting a tourist site. It must be noted that choosing the tourist site presents an enormous challenge to most people, and online marketing that tends to be currently adopted by the industry makes their work significantly easier. Thus, with a click on the mouse one can assess the suitability of several tourist sites and make an informed decision based on the information obtained from the internet (Patricia, Robert & Jing Yuan 2011). The sector also takes advantage of the widespread adoption of modern technology. Virtually every adult has access to the internet, and obtaining online information may not present any challenges to people. In Austria, local hotels have adopted online marketing strategies to tap on the available customers. These hotels understand that the country has several tourist attraction sites where people stream into every year. Thus, they set out to provide these tourists with adequate accommodation for the period they are in the country. Indeed, they have been making good profits by focusing on online services, especially people from oversees coming into the country. Of all the businesses that have adopted online marketing in the country, the industry of tourism constitutes over 90%. This shows the extent the online tourism has grown to and immense support to other related industries that it provides. One can only imagine how much money usually gets generated by these tourists considering that most of them stay in the country for several weeks.
The tourism industry currently looks at the internet as a strategic marketing tool that can significantly bolster their chances of economic success in the market. Noticeably, almost all tourist attraction sites are setting up their websites with a view to reaching the international market. It will not come as a surprise to see someone come from the United States to visit a small tourist site in a given locality due the sufficient information provided. While people visit key attraction sites known internationally, ICT has widened the scope of tourism as well as diversified the tourism sector. It is the reason why every country is trying to prepare its sites with a view to attract the international market. Indeed, it has not been an easy task opening up the sector. However, the respective governments have been instrumental in renovating every site that has a potential to attract international tourism. Notably, economists argue that countries that have adopted the use of ICT in tourism have recently registered a significant surge in their economic growth. Even in the developing world, the improvement has been noticeable, with most budgets rising much higher than anticipated. Europe is also currently boasting the online businesses that significantly make contributions to the economic growth of the countries. According to international economists, over 30% of Europe’s online trade gets contributed to by the tourism industry that has been bolstered by information technology (Miltiadis, Patricia & Ernesto 2010). It is attributable to high levels of awareness that has been created over time by foreign countries seeking to promote their countries as a desirable tourist destination. In fact, some countries spend lots of money on these promotional activities, much more than they spend on other forms of trade or advertisement. It can be determined by understanding that online tourism is a long-term investment as tourists will always troop in as long as their security can be assured. They only need to know that certain tourists sites exist and can present a good experience that tourists expect. As a matter of fact, these given factors have been instrumental in promoting tourism as a valuable business, making ICT an enjoyable adventure in the world.
Noticeably, use of ICT has remained out of reach of several small businesses due to the nature of financial demand presented by the business. Its integration into the tourism industry requires enormous investments considering that it uses technology as the main tool. For example, firms have to protect their websites from hackers who risk doing business on their behalf and divert funds to their own accounts. Cybercrime presents a significant challenge to use of ICT considering that the tourism sector will then operate entirely on the internet services. It should be noted that there tends to be only a few countries have tight internet control laws, leaving cyber criminals to do their business without abandon. They believe that they can do anything they want to any business as long as they have the right technology. This causes businesses to spend lots of money to pay technology experts to prevent hackers from taking over the operations of their websites. In the process, the cost of doing online business rises significantly, thereby, causing the businesses to charge exorbitant prices with a view to maintaining the integrity of their businesses. According to financial analysts, pressure will soon mount on governments to take charge of their internet security in order to avoid the colossal expenditure by online firms in preventing cyber-crime. In fact, there are countries that are already feeling the economic pinch of cyber-crime and get certainly threatened with closure. Thus, although entry into the online market is quite easy, most industries are not able to sustain it because they cannot afford the expense of maintaining the integrity of their websites (Gary 1998). They simply try to avoid a situation where their customers get robbed off their hard-earned cash by people masquerading as agents of the online firms. This has been a prevalent problem that has scared prospective businesses from adopting online marketing. However, the impact made on tourism and hotel industry has not been that extreme given that the industry can generate enough money to fund its cyber protection initiatives.
There tends to be a lot of research and study has been carried out on the sustainability of e-commerce with particular focus on tourism. The general concession is that training of personnel to act as reliable representatives of firms in the online trade since the overall success depends on people’s technical know-how as well as the degree of honesty. In online trade, especially in marketing, marketing teams are given the responsibility to use the websites and design them with a view to penetrating new markets. In fact, most firms have resorted to social sites like Twitter and Facebook to promote their products to the international community. However, marketing representatives have been accused of using unorthodox means to generate information about prospective customers. For instance, there have been cases of marketers taken to court by account holders in these sites because of trying to view their profiles. Whether they did it for good reasons or with sinister motives, such cases lead to protracted court battles because such intent is hard to disapprove. Eventually, the concerned firms end up using lots of money to pay for their fines. This presents an immense burden, especially considering that online marketing itself is an expensive venture for most firms in the market. It is the reason why most businesses still shy away from fully utilizing the potential of online business to emerge victorious in the market. However, most businesses have begun negotiating with their governments to implement policies that are related to electronic commerce with a view to making it affordable for all firms, and not only large ones. For example, there has been an emphasis on government subsidies to e-commerce with a view to promoting the business. The argument has been that integration of ICT into tourism does not only create international awareness of their countries, but they also create marketable brands that the international community associates with their mother countries. It is, therefore, clear that ICT has several dimensions as it seems to benefit individual firms, as well as their countries.
The fast rate of development in information, communication and technologies and the extension of the internet services have drastically changed the tourism industry in the world. This can be exemplified by the Parkwood hotel in London. Parkwood hotel is a small gracious hotel, which tends to be only across the road from the Hyde Park at the Speakers Corner. Parkwood hotel is usually a smoke free hotel. It tends also to be a Grade II historic building that gets listed. This usually means that the hotel do not have lifts and elevators, meaning for one to get to the bedroom he or she have to climb the staircase. There is a good strategy to attract customers which says that if one does not feel they can manage the stairs they can make some early bookings have lower rooms preserved on a lower floor. Booking can be usually made through the hotels website, which is http://www.parkwoodhotel.com/. The hotel management has embraced the ICT technology in their business. Parkwood hotel has a page in the facebook social media, which is Parkwood hotel. The hotel can also be searchable through Google the rooms in the Parkwood hotel are usually not air conditioned, but in every room there is a fan. However, they do not allow pets. Most of the bedrooms in the hotel have been redecorated recently with pretty papers and prints. They also have satellite television, radio alarms and tea and coffee makers.
As it can be noted above, the main aim of this paper is to study well the determinants of ICT or adoption among small hotels in London. The study of this paper is also to analyze the impact the usage of ICT has on the hotels performance. In this paper we test whether ICT adoption get associated significantly with the hotel sector, the size of the hotel, the workforce skill and whether adoption of ICT gets associated positively with higher input in the hotel. ICT adoption is a variable that is qualitative, and that takes discrete values. The research of the paper gets done using journals, books articles and websites, which usually covers the ICT for travel and tourism. The paper has covered hotel services and marketing services offered by the ICT in the hotel industry.
There are numerous hotels and apartment reservation services offered in the hospitality industry in the United Kingdom courtesy of the House Trip online services. This service seems to be tremendously effective and thus helps the tourists in booking the hotels before they travel. This has been made possible through high technological development that ensures full time operating system in the reservation services. The hotels that can be offered under this online system are of varied type, and tourists are free to choose according to the comforts needed. House Trip’s services are always terrifically handy especially when there are activities taking place in London such as Olympic Games where tourists throng the city and the need of accommodation becomes overwhelming (Soo 2011). These services tend to be highly secured and customers are assured of benefitting maximally from the services offered. The booking of the hotel apartments can be done in any location and at any time. The online booking can be done on the House Trip website: www.housetrip.com. This gives the tourist information on the available apartments and the cost of each and the direct link on booking the rentals. This is evidence on how the incorporation of the ICT in the tourism industry has made it easy to book accommodation while people are at the comfort of their homes without incurring any travelling expenses. The online services offered by the House Trip are on a full time basis, which is twenty four hours operation each day.
In the hotel services mode of payment is also another striking feature of the technological development, this is mainly achieved by the presence of VISA cards that allow tourists to have the ease of travel as they do not need to carry a lot of cash floats when travelling. It also serves as a safety indicator for the travelers.
This is also another significant feature in the ICT development and in the United Kingdom; this is a highly well illustrated feature in the tourism industry. Most importantly, it is applied by the House Trip United Kingdom in the attraction of their customers. The House Trip is an online holiday rental allocation and reservation system that, in addition, offers to its customers the tour operator links. It has various specific travelling agents that operate at a given cost-effective price since they have a business pact and therefore, it serves to the advantage of the tourists. Example of such travelling agencies include the travel bite United Kingdom which also offers high quality travelling services across the United Kingdom while the tourists are assured maximum security and integrity in the stay in the United Kingdom. There are several conferences that have been organized to ascertain the benefits of ICT to the development of the tourism industry and the house trip rentals have been of valuable information and show the stride that technology can assist in tourism development.
Use of the internet offers a wide market opportunities for the business operations, and this can be achieved by the website House Trip which guarantee’s their customers a call on the day of arrival to check into their apartments, total security services and an environment as exciting as a home. These offers attract a wide range of customers and also ensure total services provision. ICT, therefore, plays a vital role in the tourism industry hence a powerful economic development can be realized. Reports at the organized conference indicated supremely significant development as a result of ICT incorporation in the tourism industry. The conference emphasized that market players in the tourism sector, who were still hesitant to adopt the internet as an indispensable marketing tool for their services stood to lose. They said that such businesses should move with speed to serve international tourists, who log into the internet daily to look for travel solutions, as well as other holiday services. In particular, the Managing Director of House Trip UK informed the audience that people in Western countries were gradually beginning to rely on the internet sources to learn more about their destinations and make informed choices instead of relying on middlemen, who usually do not present the right information. Online businesses are more beneficial in this regard as they provide prospective customers with pictures of the desired sites as well as a preview of the services that one should expect when revising the United Kingdom. According to him, travelers had even formed their own websites where they hold discussions about tourism destinations in the world in order to give help to one another in making the right choices (Demetrio’s 2003), and they also had a strong link with other travelling agencies. Thus, by providing adequate information on the internet, these efforts would be supported because the information arising from the discussions would be confirmed easily by the tourists by reading from the respective websites. He noted that international blog points had become awash with issues concerning tourism, maintaining that businesses should seek to augment these efforts by adopting online trade. The conference also talked about the potential that online sites have in bolstering online trade given that usually more than half of the total global population currently has access to social sites. In this regard, it is clear that businesses that adopt online trade will soon control the market as those that do not are rendered obsolete. It was also clear due to various services offered by House Trip utilized the full potential of ICT in tourism attraction and should seek to improve for maximal economic gain.
Creation of Online Employment
As discussed above it is also true that the incorporation of ICT has led to increase in the economy. This is largely seen in the creation of online jobs. There are various jobs in this category. These include travel agents, online customer care services, tour operators, business marketers and the accommodation services. For example, the House Trip Corporation has more than one hundred and thirty employees. This is an economic gainer in society, and it directly helps in the job creations.
The Role of ICT
In this particular company, business operations rely on the information technology to an appreciable percentage. The marketing of the rentals, booking and payment services, are all technology-based. It outlines with the greatest precision the advantages that can be accrued by the integration of the ICT into the tourism industry (Dimitrios 2010). The enterprise advertises its services online where depending on the information provided by its online markets various customers contact the premise and the online bookings are thus feasibly done.
As indicated, tourism is one of the largest world industries. It proceeds to support a good percentage of a national economy. It forms a part of the country’s products, a source of employment and aids in the infrastructural development in a nation. Tourism is an extremely information intensive industry and the role of hospitality are also paramount. It forms the greatest part of leisure enjoyment hence almost every individual during holidays contributes in the tourism industry being either domestic or foreign tourist. The tourists need information before setting out for a trip to help them strategize on what places to visit and how much to spend on the trip. They also need information while travelling and at the destination for a comfort stay and maximum service equitation. In modern societies, the use of ICT has been of considerable benefit as it increases the chances of the travelers for getting access to precise, reliable, timely and relevant information essential to help them make the appropriate selection for the journey. Therefore, in the tourism industry, the greater chance of apparent risk in a pre-purchase milieu, the greater the consumers urge to seek intensive information hence the role played by the ICT. The description of a given tourism service forms its attractive point. Tourism occurs in a static geographical setting hence the tourist has to physically travel to the predestined place and consume the product in order to have a feeling of what he/she is purchasing. As described in the above case study of House Trip holiday rentals, for tourists to get the services, they have to travel to the apartments or the hotel offered. As a result of massive technological development access to this apartment when one is going to tour the United Kingdom or other country he/she has the House Trip service which can have the full information regarding services online. Tourists can choose and book the rentals pre-travelling to their destinations. Meeting the demands of customers is not an easy task, but ICT has made this feasible, the above enterprise, in addition to accommodation, offers services and tour guide on existing tourist attracts these services are offered to depend on the customer’s demand and are well displayed on the business brochures. While tourists are residing on the rentals, they offer a wide variety of meals of which silvery services to the rooms are feasible and practical. It is thus beginning to appear that the role of ICT in the hospitality and tourism industries is inevitable especially in developed countries. It is also pertinent to say that ICT integration into the tourism industry has seen the birth of electronic-tourism commonly known as e-tourism. Therefore, ICT has the greatest effects in the E-tourism. These effects can be illustrated as follows: business to business trade, innovation of ICT and its application has enabled business to the business link. This can be evidenced by the above House Trip that offers hospitality reservation system for hotels and rental apartments to tourists, due to its direct link with other service industries such as travel services or museums. It also offers those services to its clients at lower cost by its business association with those other businesses. ICT also enhances the rate of reaching the consumers. The tourism firms need to be known by their esteemed customers. This can only be achieved by creating customer awareness. Technological mediated environs such as the Mintel, CompuServe and to a greater magnitude internet provide the means of reaching a wide range of consumers and online marketers. This has usually led to the actual development of information mall. This occurs when online business predominates. Public sector also plays a hugely pivotal role in ensuring the use of ICT in the tourism and hospitality industry. The government through the policies and laws enacted tend to act as the regulator, promoter and educator of the public in embracing the ICT invention in the tourism industry and other fields. It is also the responsibility of the public sector to promote and sustain the electronic market, which largely depends on honesty. Therefore, currently the use of ICT by the public enhances dispatch of the information that is required for the business development. It is thus crucial to note that innovative application of ICT in the tourism industry has targeted mainly three areas, which include corporate customers and business travelers, individual customers and a group of people. The enterprise technology impresses the level of services that gets offered to customers and the competitiveness
A tourist who would resolve to utilize the internet to aid in the preparation of a journey to the holiday setting would find several information sources. The World Wide Web is a provision to numerous servers unfolding the services offered by various nations, tourist sections offers and travel suppliers (cruise lines, airlines, hotels as well as rental car companies). Therefore, to access this information the server location is essential, and this requires the knowledge and tips on how to access these internet services. This can always be achieved by the use of various searching mechanisms with varied level of information. This has created an existence of the internet mall that ensures supply of basic and detailed information required by the tourists in their trips. Thus, it is always possible to accrue maximum benefits of the ICT development. These create an online shopping experience to customers who have varied choices on the services they want. Incorporation of ICT into tourism and hospitality industries is thus a positive adventure.
As illustrated, tourism is an informative industry which backbone of thriving entails well organized and planned system of marketing. It is thus necessary to ascertain the fact that a profession is shaped by its tools. The role generally played by ICT in the tourism industry is virtually indispensable as every aspect of tourism entails the use of information either directly or indirectly. As indicated before, tourists planning their journey need information on the location, cost of adventure and the accommodation services. As in the case of Parkwood hotel in London, some hotels have adopted the ICT technology where the hotel bookings can be made online. This hotel has got a website where one can research about it and can also be researched through Google All this information can only be achieved based on the extended systems of technology that exist. Thus, technology has brought the world into a global village where tourist can even have images of the sites they are planning to visits. The marketers working in various tourism industries should also try to acknowledge the electronic evolution. The speed of the development of the circulation channels and the lack of comprehensive source of information about these features show that the tourism industry is currently a reactive industry in the technological world, and soon it will fully endow technological services in virtually all cadres of its services offering. It is thus vital to note the inter-organization system that utilizes ICT, therefore, enjoys the integration of services between suppliers and customers, customization through the creation of a travel mall and proactive customer services.