Integrating social media into website performance evaluation : theory and application to hotels in Hong Kong

Pao Yue-kong Library Electronic Theses Database

Integrating social media into website performance evaluation : theory and application to hotels in Hong Kong

 

Author: Leung, Yiu Chung Daniel
Title: Integrating social media into website performance evaluation : theory and application to hotels in Hong Kong
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 2012
Subject: Hotels -- Computer network resources.
Hotels -- China -- Hong Kong.
Web sites -- Evaluation.
Social media.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: xiii, 451 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2551275
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/6787
Abstract: Modern travelers are increasingly reliant on the Internet for searching and purchasing tourism products. As such, the Internet is widely recognized as one of the most influential technologies that have changed the structure of the tourism industry (Buhalis & Law, 2008). In addition, an increasing trend in establishment of hotel websites has drawn hospitality researchers' attention to examine the performance of hotel websites. Considering the paramount importance of website content in engaging customers' interest (Law & Hsu, 2006) and hotel revenue generation (Jeong, Oh, & Gregoire, 2003), a number of hospitality research efforts have been made to evaluate functionality performance of hotel websites. However, previous tourism and hospitality website evaluation studies generally fell short of incorporating the perceptions of all website stakeholders (i.e. , hotel customers, hotel managers and IT professionals). Besides, despite the proliferation of integrating social media into hotel website content, previous researchers seem to underemphasize their significance to website functionality evaluation model. Through integrating the prevalent social media as a new dimension and incorporating the perceived importance of all functionality dimensions as well as their associated attributes provided by hotel website stakeholders, this study develops a modified hotel website functionality performance evaluation model to redress the two limitations in prior studies. Furthermore, the model developed quantitatively evaluates the performance of hotel websites in terms of the richness of information they contain. After two rounds of focus group interviews with twelve website stakeholders, a modified model with 52 functionality attributes under six dimensions was formed. Drawing on the analysis on ordinal data from a mass survey with 354 website stakeholders, "Hotel Reservations Information" was found to be the most important dimension in determining functionality performance of hotel websites. The prevalent "Social Media" was considered as the fourth most important dimension, ranked after "Hotel Contact Information" and "Hotel Facilities Information". The rankings of the dimensions and associated attributes in the current study were generally similar to those in previous research on hotel website evaluation, but some discrepancies were identified.
Applying the modified evaluation model, the functionality performance of 113 Hong Kong hotel websites were assessed and contrasted. "Hong Kong SkyCity Marriott Hotel" performed the best among 113 hotel websites; whereas the websites of "Newtown Hotel Hong Kong" required significant improvement in terms of website information richness. In comparing the dimensional and overall functionality performance among all analyzed hotels, results from the nonparametric Kruskal-Wallis tests and Mann-Whitney tests revealed that there is a statistically significant difference in website functionality performance across hotel ratings and hotel brand affiliation. As one of the first attempts to integrate social media and incorporate the perceptions of all hotel website stakeholders into the model development as well as empirical evaluation process, the findings in this study would contribute to the literature by presenting a more complete, up-to-date and all-rounded set of hotel website evaluation criteria from website stakeholders' perspective. Moreover, utilizing the modified model developed in this study, website developers and hotel practitioners would have a set of standards to benchmark when they try to improve hotel websites.

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