Author: Hsu, Yang-chan
Title: Impacts of technology-enabled innovations on inbound tourism into Taiwan
Degree: DHTM
Year: 2018
Subject: Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Tourism -- Taiwan
Tourism -- Management
Tourism -- Technological innovations
Department: School of Hotel and Tourism Management
Pages: xviii, 290 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
Abstract: Technology-enabled innovations are driving profound progress across the travel business, propelled by scientific advances and entrepreneurial applications. The combined emergence of e-commerce, mobile applications, social media, data analytics, and platform business models offer a variety of mechanisms that challenge tourism distribution channels as they are traditionally constituted. In this contemporary business "ecosystem", in-destination suppliers have empowered "tech-savvy" consumers to co-create experiences and to bargain for "authentic," personalised, and value-added services. This has prompted intensified competition among inbound tour operators (ITOs) as demand has shifted. Technology companies which deploy novel business models, such as online travel agents (OTAs) and operators in the sharing economy, are continuously enhancing their competencies to link transnational suppliers and customers. This implies the prospect of further disintermediation for incumbent organisations within the global tourism value chain (GTVC). Barriers to entry across the inbound sector have become less easy to define as creative entrepreneurs have been encouraged to deploy technical expertise with a view to offering alternative travel solutions. Resourceful global companies have adopted diverse market penetration strategies which have acted to destabilise the established industry structure. These developments have disturbed the competitive environment for established ITOs and have implied a likely disruption in the sector. Destination-based companies which wish to prosper and even to survive will need to adapt to the new business environment.
The literature has pointed to a paradigm shift towards the service-dominant logic (SDL) and a smart tourism ecosystem that supports global travellers. However, a missing dimension is the perspective of business innovation within the tour operations industry that provides guiding and coordinating service activities. Noting that scientific progress has transformed the business scope of the ITO sector, this exploratory study investigates fluctuating industry structures. The researcher uses Porter's classic five-force competition framework under three theoretical streams - SDL, technology-enabled business innovation, and GTVC. A multitude of qualitative research methods were used to retrieve and triangulate the empirical data, namely content analysis, participant observation, case studies, and in-depth interviews from September 2015 to June 2017. The ITO industry structure is analysed with a view to examining the critical elements of tour operation in this "digital" era. The findings provide an overview of evolving competition across the sector. Based on their resources and competences as inbound tourism operators (ITOs), competitors draw upon their expertise to present various strategies to their market segments. While established ITOs are prone to collaborating with conventional tourism stakeholders in enhancing their value propositions (VPs), the activities of technology entrepreneurs signal an upcoming revolution in the industry. Though most have provided niche or incremental innovations that persist with the provision of sophisticated human elements to targeted customer segments, genuine micro-entrepreneurs that are less interested in following well-trodden paths have joined the business. There is a real prospect that disruptive technologies may pursue replacements for traditional tour components. Further integration between the established and the new may be anticipated within the sector, and dialogue will be needed beyond the confines of the tourism community as traditionally defined as destinations react to growing international competition. Longer term implications and potential directions for business leaders and stakeholders are discussed with prospective avenues to upgrade the inbound tourism sector.
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