Staying close to the self-service traveller

Managing customer relationships in the era of self-service technologies

Authored by: Rosemary Stockdale

The Routledge Handbook of Tourism Marketing

Print publication date:  December  2013
Online publication date:  January  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415597036
eBook ISBN: 9781315858265
Adobe ISBN: 9781317936206


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The online environment has brought many challenges to the travel and tourism industry, such as developing new online business models and adjusting to an influx of new entrants to the market. A further challenge is developing strategies for the provision of self-service technologies (SSTs) for travellers. The use of SSTs has increased rapidly as organizations seek to reduce labour costs and raise efficiency in a progressively competitive market (Liu 2012). Consumers can now seek information, plan and book holidays, and check-in for flights online with little direct input or interaction from the organization. This has dramatically changed the role of travel intermediaries by moving the emphasis from selling products to facilitating information searches and supporting booking services (Buhalis and Licata 2002). The developing landscape has seen customers’ behaviour change; consumers display lower levels of loyalty to any particular organization, plan shorter but more frequent trips and are motivated to search for bargains (Bos 2004). These customers are relying more on SSTs, but have high expectations in terms of choice, value, customization and convenience (Wynn et al. 2001).

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