INTRODUCTION I This study makes an attempt to establish a standard for evaluating the design of hospitality websites through content analysis. The websites of leading luxury hotel in the world will be investigated and a comparison both between hotels’ home websites and hotels’ home websites (chain hotel website), as well as between countries/regions will be made. The study is based on the conceptual web site design model which identifies three features of websites: interactivity and communication, netsurfing simplicity and content.
INTRODUCTION IIDIFFERENCES BETWEEN HOTEL WEBSITE AND HOME WEBSITE HOTEL WEBSITE HOME (CHAIN) WEBSITE
OBJECTIVES RESEARCH QUESTIONS The main objective of this research is to analyze the websites of leading international hotels in order to decide which web design is more effective. Hence, this analysis will evaluate whether web sites communicate and interact with users satisfactorily in order to help tourism marketers maximize the efficiency of their websites. OBJECTIVE 1: Which is the level of interactivity and communication of each website? Are there any differences among home website (chain hotel website) and specific hotel website? OBJECTIVE 2: Which is the importance of netsurfing simplicity inside of each website? Are there any differences among home website and hotel website? OBJECTIVE 3: Which is the presence of specific content available in each website of the hotels analyzed here? Are there any differences among home website and hotel website?
BACKGROUND I TOURISM AND INTERNET Given the emergence of the Internet, the hospitality sector has found critical to apply new and innovative strategies to make the hotels more competitive (websites). However, the growing number of websites is making it more difficult for organizations to attract visitors to their website and to convert visitors into customers. In order to overcome this limitation, hotels redesign their websites in order to increase their competitiveness in the marketplace. Well-designed websites are becoming a crucial way for hotels to communicate with customers, attract more business, and generate repeat business.
BACKGROUND II WEB SITE DESIGN Research studies have shown three features on the web site design(Nielsen, 2000; Benbunan-Fich, 2001): Information content: quantity and variety of information. Surfing access (navigation features): how easy it is for users to visit the site once and again. Access speed and Web site adequacy. Interactivity and communication: human bidirectional conversations through a computer (human interactivity) or interface between users and website (machine interactivity).
METHODOLOGY I RESEARCH APPROACH The research approach used in this study is the quantitative analysis. The goal of any quantitative analysis is to produce counts of key categories, and measurements of the amounts of other variables (Edward, 1999). The method used in the research is content analysis. This method involves doing a numerical process. A content analysis has as its goal a numerically based summary of a chosen message set. It involves drawing representative samples of content, training coders and measuring the reliability of coders. Content analysis as a research method is consistent with the goals and standards of survey research. However, the units of data collection are different from those of the typical survey (i.e. messages rather than people).
METHODOLOGY II RESEARCH PHILOSOPHY Quantitative tradition of content analysis is based on the positivism andontology premises. Positivism. In the research, content analysis analyzes an objective reality or social facts (hotels websites) that can be observed, measured and analyzed. Content analysis emphasizes objective data collection in order to test the research questions. Ontology. This work examines the status of social reality. For example, social relations, interactions or communication between hotels and users through websites or internal social relations within the organization (relations with investors).
METHODOLOGY III RESEARCH STRATEGY A Web content analysis procedure will be adopted for the research. Content analysis may be brieflydefined as the systematic, objective, quantitative analysis of message characteristics (Neuendorf, 2002) . STEPS DESCRIPTION THEORY AND RATIONALE What content will be examined, and why? Do you have research questions? Hypothesis? CONCEPTUALIZATIONS What variables will be used in the study, and how do you define them conceptually (i.e. with dictionary-type definitions)? MEASURES The measures should match your conceptualizations (internal validity). What unit of data collection will you use? A priory coding scheme describing all measures must be created. Both validity and content validity may also be assessed at this point. CODING SCHEMES - Codebook (with all variable measures fully explained) - Coding form SAMPLING Is a census of the content possible? How will you randomly sample a subset of the content? TRAINING AND PILOT Training session in which coders work together and find out whether they can agree on the RELIABILITY coding of variables. Then, in an independent coding test, note the reliability on each variable. CODING Use at least two coders, to establish intercoder reliability. Coding should be done independently, with at least 10% overlap for the reliability test. FINAL RELIABILITY Calculate a reliability figure (percent agreement, Scott’s pi, Spearman’ s rho, or Pearson’s r, for example) for each variable.TABULATION AND REPORTING Figures and statistics may be reported one variable at a time (univariate), or variables may be cross-tabulated in different ways (bivariate and multivariate techniques).
METHODOLOGY IV METHODS OF DATA COLLECTION Population/Sample: leading international hotels. The sample for the analysis will be randomly selected. Unit of analysis: hotel website Secondary data review: Several virtual magazines and tourism websites were analyzed: “Travel and Leisure”, “Leading Hotels in the World”, “Top Hotels”, “Conde Nast Traveler’s”, “Virtuoso Collection”, “Relaix and Chateaux”,..
METHODOLOGY V SAMPLE SIZE In order to select a population for study, luxury variable is identified. A total of 300 different hotels are identified through secondary sources review. The sample size for finite population (e =2%) is 267. A total of 260-270 hotels’ websites will be analyzed. The number of home websites (chain website) is different. A total of 110 chains were identified. The sample size for finite population (e=2%) is 105. A total of 100-110 chains’ websites will be analyzed. CHAIN WEBSITES HOTEL WEBSITES STAGES First Analysis: Comparison 100-110 100-110 between hotels’ websites and chains’ websites Second Analysis: Analysis of 260-270 hotels’ websites TOTAL SAMPLE SIZE 100-110 260-270
METHODOLOGY VI ANALYSIS PROCESS: CODING SCHEME Before the final content analysis was conducted, a series of initial pre- tests were used to develop a coding scheme. These pre-tests were primarily aimed at identifying ways to measure the type of websites analyzed and the depth of detail each section contained. The first step of this research consisted of establishing a coding scheme for analyzing content, navigation simplicity and interactivity. The coders were trained to identify and code the presence of the categories in each website. Measurement was achieved using a nominal scale as to the existence of each category. Vales of “1” or “0” were assigned depending on the presence or absence of the category in the website (Neuendorf, 2002; Robbins and Stylianou, 2003).
METHODOLOGY VII ANALYSIS PROCESS: CODING SCHEME A questionnaire with three dimensions (content, navigation and interactivity/communication) and 50 attributes was developed. The questionnaire was designed taking into account measurement scales used in previous works, although their content was adapted to the specific context of the research. Content: 31 items Navigation simplicity: 6 items Interactivity and communication: 13 items
METHODOLOGY X VALIDITY AND RELIABILITY OF DATA A complete codebook was developed to ensure the validity of data. The codebook is a complete set of codes, with definitions of each item analyzed in the website. To ensure the reliability of the content analysis, the websites will be analyzed by two independent coders. Later, Intercoder Agreement was calculated using a reliability index (percent agreement, Holsti’s method, Scott’s pi, Cohen’s Kappa or Krippendorff’s alpha).
ETHICSEthical considerations have been identified in the context of online research: Research will ensure integrity, quality and transparency. The researches will exploit public domain. They will analyze the accessible information provided by the website. The research will assure the anonymity of organizations analyzed. That is, all identifying characteristics of organization should be removed from the research in the course of data collection. The study will contribute to establish quality of services and information, privacy and security or availability to amend or cancel reservations offered by hospitality organizations. The research will promote the relations of mutual profits between organizations and potential customers. The research will increase the reputation and market competitiveness of an organization.
CONCLUSION This research will provide evidence of current hotels’ web sites effectiveness and advice for its improvement in a specific luxury hotel sector. Specifically, the study will contribute to improve the effectiveness of luxury hotels’ websites bidirectional communication with users, enhancing a better exchange between organization and target audience. The findings from this study will provide useful insights to help internet retailers better understand their customers’ information needs and also to provide a self-assessment tool that can be used by internet retailers to assess their current performance in terms of satisfying consumer needs for relevant information.
INVESTIGATING A CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR HOTEL WEB- DESIGN EFFICIENCY ESTRELLA DIAZ CHRISTINA KOUTRA, Ph.D.
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