di Tonino Pencarelli, Laura Bravi, Mauro Dini e Simone Splendiani (2020)

in Current Issues in Tourism

ABSTRACT

The study focuses on the adoption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) by traditional Travel Agencies (TAs) in the relationship with customers during the in-store purchase process. A survey has been developed on a sample of 2000 Italian TAs – reaching 255 respondents – interviewed during 2016. It aims to investigate the TAs’ perception of strategic options to proactively deal with the change that ICT has brought about in the relationship with the customer, including the ever-increasing use of technological tools for the presentation of products and innovative technological solutions in physical store in order to facilitate customer–agency interaction. The results of the research show not only that younger TAs are more inclined to new ICT adoption, but also that the tourists still appreciate using traditional tools – like paper catalogues – during their purchase decision process. So, TAs consider digital technologies as great opportunities to enhance customer purchasing experience but the need to integrate high-tech and high-touch perspectives emerges.