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Title: Website evaluation of lodging facilities along the inner Saint James’ Pilgrim Way (North Portugal)
Other Titles: ATLAS Annual Conference 2017 - Destinations past, present and future
Authors: Joukes, Veronika
Rodrigues, Ana Paula
Vieira, Isabel
Cantante, Ana
Marques, Carlos Peixeira
Issue Date: Sep-2017
Abstract: Purpose: An increasing number of consumers use the Internet to plan and purchase their holidays. Thus, ever more people contact with the region they want to visit through the individual websites of lodging facilities. Consequently, if we want to enhance cultural and experience orientated entrepreneurship, than it is important that these entrepreneurs know how to promote and sell not only their own “primary” product, but their region as a whole and preferably tourism packages in which they themselves or the tourism services provided by other stakeholders are included. This article is based on a research exercise executed within the CULTOUR+ project (an Erasmus+ initiative with identifier 2015-1-ES01-KA203-016142), which studies the Saint James’ pilgrimage route that passes through the interior north of Portugal. The general purpose of this study is to explore the hotel website potential along this pilgrimage route. Specifically we wanted to determine the number of existing lodging facilities along this route (with and without websites); to analyse the quality of their websites in terms of some important dimensions (user-friendliness, site attractiveness, marketing effectiveness, F&B informativeness, wine information, spa information and pilgrim information); to verify if the lodging units website performance is different when compared to certain profile variables (location, size, among others); and to provide some improvement proposals to help hotel managers increase their marketing efforts. Design/Methodology/Approach: Departing from a balanced scorecard approach, a team of 30 trained students evaluated the websites in seven dimensions. Our approach favors a reflection on customer and marketing related aspects like user friendliness, attractiveness, transfer of information and does not deepen technical aspects. To evaluate the lodging units we used a quantitative approach based on uni and bivariate data analysis methods. From the 70 identified 187 lodging units, this study will only analyze 119 (as 68 units did not have a functioning website). Findings: User-friendliness was evaluated with 14 items. Globally, the evaluation of this dimension was positive. The web site attractiveness attributes are present in most of the observed lodging units with high scores between 75% and 94%. The lowest percentages refer to the efficient use of page space and aesthetic appeal. The higher percentages refer to the legibility and clarity of the text and to the contrast between background and text. As for the 50 marketing effectiveness features, too much critical information was missing on numerous websites. Regarding F&B informativeness, the majority of the websites does not have an online menu, vegetarian menus, food vouchers, information regarding high chairs for children, information on the composition of the breakfast, among others. Almost all the lodging unit’s websites simply did not mention attributes and features related to wine, spa and pilgrim tourism. Overall, the results revealed that the performance of websites measured with the selected set of dimensions is low, that is, the studied lodging units did not work out nor executed an effective online communication strategy. Implications: For tourism practitioners, the findings of this article can serve as a checklist to help them identify the strengths and weaknesses of their websites and possibly determine their relative position in the marketplace, but most of all can enable them to improve the quality of their website. For academic researchers this study is expected to inspire them to put the knowledge triangle into practice: share their findings with local communities and help implement good practice examples
Document Type: Conference Object
Appears in Collections:DESG - Livro de Ata de Conferência

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