Internet has widely developed towards the consumer behaviour in travel and tourism industry. After the wide development of internet many online travel community are existed and used as a reliable source to find the information and acts as a marketing tool for marketers. Thus, it important to know that what makes the consumers to feel the positive intention towards the online community. What are the advantages and expectations to depend on online travel community? Is it the available information in online travel community to be trustworthy? The purpose of the study to determine and analyse the fundamental benefits of the members in an online community and to find how these benefits attracting the consumers and influencing to participate in an online community, and finally to know whether these benefits change the consumer intention to use the online community as their reliable source for information.
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4. Introduction and Background to Chosen Research Topic
Today's life cycle, internet is one of the main factors to use for everything to be done in a click away. In this context we are discussing about how technology helping tour operators to improve their business and how is it useful as a marketing tool. During starting of internet era the information broadcasted only in a single path but whereas now rigorous development has taken place and new trends such as web 2.0 and travel 2.0 launched so, the consumers can create, edit, view and suggest the travel related information Carrera et al., (2008) they also discussed how important the online travel community and its advantages. Litvin et al (2007) argued that today most of the travellers depends on search engine to locate and gather information before they travel. Kim et al (2006) argued that the latest research studies by NFO plog stated that internet plays an important role to gather travel information online and the organisation has been successful due to providing the quality of information to the customers. Buhalis and Chung (2008) discussed about the quotes of Rodgers & Sheldon, (2002) it is well fact that internet usage is increasing to meet people online to share their views, expressions and information showing a keen interest to keep in a touch with personalised travel communities and blogs and also author mention that peer to peer communication is improved by using social networking sites (LinkedIn, Facebook). The online community plays an important role and becoming famous to both marketers and customers. For travellers it is one of the most reliable sources and for suppliers it provides the space for marketing and advertising activities. (Armstrong and Hagel, 1996; Armstrong and Hagel, 1997; Kozinets, 1999; Xiang and Gretzel 2009; wind et al 2002)
5. Statement of Research Problem
To find the benefits of online travel community in internet and how these benefits are attracting towards consumer expectations in tourism industry?
6. Briefly outline why this is a research problem, making reference to relevant literature in the area.
Many consumers try to use tourism products and services in a traditional way (such as through agents). But now internet has developed and could find wide range of sources of information. Many of the consumers are unaware of benefits and advantages of online travel community. This research will provide various factors which influencing for real value, loyalty and benefits towards consumer expectations which are one of the important factors for online travel community.
7. Research Questions or Hypotheses
What kind of advantages and benefits expected by consumer in a travel community?
Is it the available information in the online travel community to be trustworthy?
What are the factors influencing the consumers to feel the positive intention towards the online travel community?
Is it online travel community real value to the user?
Does the online travel community have demand in market?
8. Short Literature Review
Literature review has three main parts to review my project topic, such as web 2.0 and its components such as social networking, Rss, blogging, online videos, online communities, podcasting and tagging used in the application of Web 2.0 technology being discussed. Second part to discuss about information search process which contains EWOM (electronic word of mouth). Thirdly how tourist making decisions in tourism industry.
Here briefly giving the ideas of what is web 2.0 and its components:
ICT: ICT stands for information and communication technology. Today's technology is rapidly developed with the sources of information and communication, Which revolutionised the tourism functions. Both ICT and tourism are dependent on each other where these components providing necessary tools to utilise the market needs of demand and supply with smooth and ease functions. Tourism has increased the use of ICT for the better growth and development in consumer world.
Web 2.0: web 2:0 has its popularity of its applications among the web users throughout the world. Web 2:0 was adopted technology in the tourism industry and web world which started getting positive response from the consumers in travel community.
Blogging: blogging is the new trend where consumer could express their thoughts and comment on different issues in any particular subject. The blogs are an interactive technology which is encouraging by posting comments, discussions, critics and reviews by others internet users where the topic is discussed.
Travel blogs are same as web 2.0 where travellers can share their suggestions and views among other travellers.
RSS and Social networks: RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. This plays an important role in tourism industry where travellers can send request about any topic(place or destination) then live RSS will send back the data and information of the particular data requested by the user.
Social networks are latest trend in the market where it is created by youngsters. In social network users can build their own profile and groups and socialise among the online users. Wayne is one the travel community network where travels feels and express their opinions, ideas and views about the places to travel.
Online videos, online communities, podcasting and tagging are also important factors in travel community which are depend on each other to meet the market needs of consumer's supply and demand.
Short Literature Review (continued)
The second part of literature review as follows:
EWOM: Litvin et al (2007) argued that social network and internet have combine joined with the new information and communication technology to share the information between business to travel consumer and travel consumer to travel consumer. In tourism and hospitality industry there is two sides communication of the products and services between sellers to consumer and consumer to among themselves Westbrook (1987)
With EWOM, the market share is stimulated to its best and great control over the environment.
Information search in tourism: According to the Fodness and Murray (1999) stated that contingencies and tourist characteristics were found due to unique information search strategies and quoted that the purpose of the trip leads to functional needs where using with multidimensional scaling they tried to find out that tourists searching for any information in online is categorised into 3 dimensions they are: 1. Internal and external experience of travel 2. Temporary and pre experience and operational.
Participation benefits model and information search model: any traveller going online to fulfil 4 basic fundamental needs such as psychological, functional, hedonic and social benefits also stated that users also go to online for variety of purposes depends on nature of business (Armstrong and Hagel 1996; Preece, 2000).
Bagozzi & Dholakia (2002) argued that goals of virtual and social may be functional like posting information and seeking information he also stated that hedonic goals also required to participate in virtual community such as interaction and gaining experience. These two are important in online travel community where functional goals are uses as travel community and hedonic goals are used as healthy participation in online with sharing opinions and experience of travel by virtual.
Finally, the third part of literature review consists of:
Tourist making decisions :( Gilbert, 1991) stated that gran model in 1960 enormously made a great impact on development of consumer behaviour and marketing strategies. But when coming to tourism the gran theory could not withstand and became weakness due to the gran model applied only for tangible goods rather than intangible goods and secondly the model was involved in individual consumer behaviour decision making rather than where tourism involves mostly in group or sociable decision making process. Even some of these models are inconsistent and not empirically tested in relation of intention, tourist behaviour and attitude. Many tourism researchers tried to transform the consumer decision making product in to tourism oriented product.
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