Both tourism destination marketing and the characteristics of holiday travellers have recently undergone radical changes driven by the rapid progress of computer technology. In particular, the advent of the Internet has had a great impact on holiday travellers as well as on the development of tourism promotion and distribution channel strategies. While holiday travellers benefit from the characteristics of Internet use, for example, unlimited information retrieval, flexible accessibility, and direct interactivity with destination marketing organizations (DMOs),the Internet provides DMOs with the critical factor of an increase in operational costs incurred by running all possible online promotional activities and online distribution channels. This paper attempted to discover which Internet functions are popularly used by existing/potential online travellers or which ones are not by testing the Canberra Tourism & Event Corporation (CTEC) web site. As a result, this research intends to provide CTEC with a way to operate its website cost-effectively, which can also lead to increasing the usage satisfaction of CTEC web visitors. Online travellers visiting the CTEC website were surveyed through non-probability self-selected web survey by using segmentation procedure; two key online travel groups: direct and indirect online access groups. Based on the research methodology, this study has discovered several findings. Firstly, CTEC web visitors preferred to use the CTEC website for the purpose of gathering travel information rather than that of online booking or reservations for travel products on the CTEC website. Secondly, comprehensive travel information tailor-made to online individuals was found to be desirable through interactive online activities, while the multimedia, booking, and comparability function were not significant in helping the CTEC online visitors choose the travel destination. Based on their preferences for particular Internet functions, it is evident that web visitors wish to have comprehensive and tailormade online travel information and interaction with the CTEC. Finally, it was revealed that the demographics of the CTEC web visitors were very similar to Internet users identified by previous researchers. Therefore, this study provides insights into website development strategies.
|Date of Award
|Josette WELLS (Supervisor) & Peter Putnis (Supervisor)