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Self-Booking of High- and Low-Complexity Travel Products: Exploratory Findings

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With electronic markets emerging on the Internet, the travel agency has been characterized as the most endangered organization in the travel industry as potential travelers now have the opportunity to bypass intermediaries in the distribution chain. Customers are offered good opportunities for convenient and inexpensive travel bookings on the Internet, but at the same time they face many problems and limitations in this regard. This research empirically examines the issue of self-bookings in travel. It reports on a series of exploratory studies conducted in order to investigate the opportunities offered as well as the problems facing any consumer trying to make his/her own travel reservations over the Internet today, and especially the differences between high- and low-complexity bookings in this regard. Four hypotheses were uncovered that relate to the issue of the complexity of the booking task, all emanating from the intuitively realistic supposition that low-complexity travel arrangements are better suited for direct distribution over the Internet than high-complexity arrangements. Using reservation and survey data from samples of students, nearly all of which were experienced Internet users, little support was found for the hypothesized relationships.

Keywords: Ele; Key words: Disintermediation; Travel industry

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute for Advanced Management Systems Research, Åbo Akademi University, Turku, Finland

Publication date: 2001-03-01

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  • Information Technology & Tourism is the first scientific journal dealing with the exciting relationship between information technology and tourism. Information and communication systems embedded in a global net have profound influence on the tourism and travel industry. Reservation systems, distributed multimedia systems, highly mobile working places, electronic markets, and the dominant position of tourism applications in the Internet are noticeable results of this development. And the tourism industry poses several challenges to the IT field and its methodologies.
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