Small accommodation providers and UGC web sites: perceptions and practices
Hills, J & Caincross, G 2011, 'Small accommodation providers and UGC web sites: perceptions and practices', International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 26-43.
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Purpose – This paper aims to understand the perceptions and practices of small accommodation providers regarding the growing area of user-generated content (UGC) web sites.
Design/methodology/approach – A total of eight small hospitality enterprise cases of four classifications were selected using a purposive stratified sampling procedure. On-site semi-structured interviews are the main source of information.
Findings – Empirical findings indicate that there is a divergence among small accommodation providers with regard to UGC web sites. It finds that small accommodation provider views are varied as to the influence of UGC web sites on traveller decisions. It also shows that some providers are using innovative, proactive practices to respond to UGC web sites, whilst others have limited awareness of the internet and are currently not responding.
Research limitations/implications – The generalisation of this research is limited by its sample size. The research implications are that more research using a more representative sample must be completed on the topic to verify findings.
Practical implications – With great diversity in the awareness and responses of small accommodation providers to changes on the internet for firms not to suffer a competitive disadvantage, they must, at least, stay abreast of developments on the internet, in particular fast-growing UGC web sites.
Originality/value – Minimal research has been completed on the perceptions and practices of accommodation providers regarding UGC web sites, despite the importance the web sites are thought to have on traveller decisions. This paper should be of interest to tourism hospitality practitioners as well as academic researchers to better understand how practitioners are responding to the emerging issue of UGC web sites.