|Chan, Suk Ha Grace
|Implementing revenue management in Hong Kong travel agencies
Travel agents -- China -- Hong Kong -- Management.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
|School of Hotel and Tourism Management
|xiii, 241 pages ; 30 cm
|Today's highly unpredictable and competitive global environment has had profound effects on the travel industry. Higher operational costs and reduced profit margins have caused many Hong Kong travel agencies go out of business altogether. Travel agencies are facing a crisis situation, and insufficient revenue is an industry-wide concern. In view of the features that this sector shares with traditional revenue management (RM) users such as the airline and hotel industries, travel agencies have the potential to enhance revenue by applying various RM techniques. Both traditional and non-traditional users of RM have benefitted greatly from the use of RM strategies. Travel agencies may learn from their experiences and modify existing RM practices to render them more appropriate for the travel sector. Previous studies on RM have focused primarily on hotels, airlines, cruise lines and theme parks. Research on RM practices in travel agencies and on identifying the barriers to their implementation remains scarce. This thesis highlights the RM strategies that are helping travel agencies to maximise profits and gain competitive advantage. In particular, revenue per available tour product (RevPATP) is invoked, both in the present modified typology of RM and in developing RM strategies for the travel sector. Once travel agencies understand their RevPATP patterns, they can develop strategies to deal with high-and low-RevPATP periods. An RM framework and strategies designed specifically for travel agencies are formulated herein. The study carried out for this thesis adopted a descriptive research design encompassing a qualitative approach in this study . It incorporated a systematic qualitative design model allowing for the simultaneous execution of data collection and analysis, as well as permitting the researcher to develop and modify theory, elaborate upon or refocus the research questions, and identify and address the RM strategies used in travel agency operations.
The study utilized data from in-depth interviews and participant observations. Ten such interviews were conducted with industry professionals, and data collection was terminated at the point of theoretical saturation. Purposive sampling was employed to explore the possibility of implementing RM in travel agencies. Secondary data sources, which were accessed to triangulate the interview data, included government and non-government department reports and company websites. The research process was carried out in three stages. The first stage focused on preparation, the collection of secondary data, formulation of the research questions and pilot testing. The second stage involved investigation and verification of the interview findings. Finally, further discussion and explanation of the findings was relegated to the third research stage. Content analysis was applied to the data, followed by data coding, categorization and synthesis. Various components of the research model were derived as appropriate based on the study's conceptual framework. The study's results reveal that travel agencies have little knowledge of RM, limiting themselves to profit maximization alone. Although the professionals interviewed were aware of the unpredictable nature of the environment in which they operated, most believed that only large travel agencies were capable of applying RM to their operations. A list of 27 current travel agency practices was compiled on the basis of the study findings. These practices were found to be dynamic in RM terms, thus suggesting that travel agencies have the potential to cope with RM implementation. The investigation also exposed five barriers to and 11 facilitators of such implementation. Seven of the findings presented herein are new to the literature, and the associated discussion and comparison with the findings of previous research helped to refine the study's conceptual framework and determine the feasibility of applying RM in Hong Kong travel agencies. Key recommendations include establishing an RM baseline; working to understand the causes of the current travel environment and customer behaviour and satisfaction; developing strategic plans to implement RM; and monitoring the outcomes of RM implementation in the travel sector. The recommended RM framework and managed strategic leverage will lead to a better understanding of RM amongst travel agencies.
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