Original publication: November 2015
Partners: NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, Netherlands: Ondrej Mitas, Marian van der Ent, Paul Peeters
Lead institution: The Institute of Transport & Tourism, University of Central Lancashire, United Kingdom: Richard Weston
Short link to this post: http://bit.ly/2sK0rmt
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The Digitisation of Tourism Enterprises

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Tourism is an important global economic force driven by customers’ information search and decision-making processes, which increasingly take place online. Numerous technological platforms have reshaped the landscape and distribution of tourism information for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Europe.


The objective of the analysis is to support the Parliamentary debate on the promotion of the digital innovation and its development in micro-enterprises and SMEs.


The tourism industry as a whole is undergoing a dramatic change in which technology empowers consumers to perform functions previously fulfilled by intermediaries. Customers participate in the co-creation of their information, booking, and experience processes through new information streams, social media, user-generated content and location-based services. Trends in tourism production are also visible, including data analytics, increasing collaboration between tourism sub-sectors and shifts in booking time, space and price facilitated by technology. In this environment, there is rapid consolidation as innovation cycles shorten dramatically. A few large companies such as the Priceline group, Expedia, and Google2 grow increasingly dominant. These changes pose existential risks to tourism SMEs using traditional business models, but create opportunities for new ones; especially those focused on technical solutions, data analytics or highly personalized customer experiences. Success stories show an intersection between technical innovation, sensitivity to customer behaviour and creativity.


Key recommendations for EU policy include encouraging research, education and cooperation. Ultimately, the most effective policies will bridge the gap between traditional tourism business models and technological innovators.

Link to the full publication: http://bit.ly/563-420

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Figure 1: Overview of relationships between ICT effects on SMEs and tourism policy challenges

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