An Evaluation of the Impact of Social Networking on Travel Websites

As a response to changing business environments, and the aim of improving organizational performance and remaining competitive, businesses have made investments in IT projects (Gunasekaran et al. (2001). Travel businesses need to invest in Information Technology (IT) to remain competitive and increasingly sophisticated. For example, ‘fit for travel’ is a website that has been developed by the National Health Service, Scotland for the provision of travel health information for people traveling abroad from the UK. The site has gained immense popularity as travelers find the information provided highly valuable (NHS Scotland, 2009). Illum et al. (2009) suggested the potential of virtual communities in tourism research. Enhancing value creation and creation of brand identity were prerequisites in the creation of social networks in tourism (Lemmetyinen &amp. Go, 2009). Internet usage is driven by normative pressure and such coercive power could have a detrimental effect on trust. Perceived reciprocity is a prerequisite for committed relationships and avoiding negative consequences (Andreu et al., 2009).

The advent of “Web 2.0” has led to a series of new web services. Social networking has benefitted from new internet technologies and new user behavior to become the poster child of web services. Questions on social sites include how they create value for users and how users capture it. Studies have examined revenue generation on social network sites through advertising, subscription, and transaction models. Key-value drivers include user volume, willingness to pay, trust in peers and the platform (Enders et al., 2008). Research efforts have been directed towards understanding the behaviour of online customers. Bai et al. (2008) studied the impact of the quality of a website on customer satisfaction and intentions to purchase. They found that the quality of a website had a direct and positive impact on purchase intentions of customers. However, customer satisfaction has a mediating&nbsp.effect.&nbsp.

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