IUP Publications Online
Home About IUP Magazines Journals Books Archives
     
Recommend    |    Subscriber Services    |    Feedback    |     Subscribe Online
 
The IUP Journal of Management Research :
Developing and Validating an Instrument for Measuring Online Service Quality in the Tourism Sector
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The tourism sector is undergoing change with the growth of Information Communication Technology (ICT). These changes mainly affect the methods through which the tourism products and services are communicated and distributed to the customers around the world. Retention of the customers is a major challenge in today’s competitive market and unsatisfied customers can easily switch from one service provider to other service providers. So it is necessary to provide quality services to the customers. But it is not possible to serve customers only through traditional means of distribution. It is thus necessary to provide tourism-related services to the customers with the help of ICT. Hence, an attempt has been made in the current study to develop a model in order to study the factors affecting the use of online service quality in the tourism sector. Data has been collected with the help of primary survey. Exploratory Factor Analysis has been applied to analyze the collected data. Eight factors have been identified, namely, website design, informative, ease of use, reliability, responsiveness, empathy, security and system availability. Further, CFA was applied in order to validate the model. The results revealed that all the indicators had adequate item reliability, further establishing the validity of the constructs.

 
 

The contribution of tourism sector to the economic development of India has been recognized widely due to its contribution to the balance of payments and employment. Tourism sector is the second largest foreign exchange earner in India (WTTC India, 2012). But the Indian government very lately noticed a crucial role of tourism expansion for economic development. In 2002, the Ministry of Tourism (MoT) paid considerable attention by developing campaigns for the promotion of tourism sector, including, for example, ‘Incredible India’ campaign. Nowadays, India is one of the most important countries as far as international tourism is concerned.

Since the tourism sector is based on information, each tourism service provider must organize their data in an easily accessible and attractive way. Retention of the customers is a major challenge in today’s competitive market and unsatisfied customers may easily switch from one service provider to other service providers. So it is necessary to provide quality services to the customers. But it is not possible to serve customers only through traditional means of distribution. Therefore, many tourism organizations are going online to sell more services with the help of ICT. Moreover, they also expect to reach and persuade their potential customers through comprehensive, modified and up-to-date travel services via the Internet. Therefore, the tourism sector is changing with the growth of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and these changes mainly affect the methods through which the tourism products and services are communicated and distributed to the customers around the world for better satisfaction of tourists.

Further, “satisfaction is a person’s feelings of pleasure or disappointment resulting from comparing a product’s perceived performance (or outcome) in relation to his or her expectations” (Kotler, 2000). Customer satisfaction is a collective outcome of perception, evaluation and psychological reactions to the consumption experience with a product or service (Yi, 1990). In marketing literature, the disconfirmation theory emerges as the primary foundation for satisfaction model (Oliver, 1980; Churchill and Surprenant, 1982; and McKinney et al., 2002). According to this theory, satisfaction is determined by the discrepancy between perceived performance and cognitive standards such as expectations and desires. Thus, satisfaction is something related with post-purchase evaluation. Post- purchase intention implies that the consumer will purchase services and products again from the same suppliers (Zeithaml et al., 1996). On the other hand, customer satisfaction can be defined as a result of cognitive and affective evaluation where perceived satisfaction is compared to already set standards (Expectations). Figure 1 depicts a customer satisfaction model.

The customer satisfaction model shown in Figure 1 explains that when the customers compare their perceptions of actual products or services performance with the expectations, then the feeling of satisfaction arises. Any discrepancies between the expectations and the performance create the disconfirmation.

 
 

Management Research Journal,Information Communication Technology (ICT), Tourism products and services , Second largest foreign exchange, Ministry of Tourism (MoT) paid.