User-based website design in tourism with a special focus on web 2.0 websites

by Brigitte Stangl

Institution: Vienna University of Economics and Business
Year: 2010
Keywords: RVK QQ 955, ST 520; eTourism / web 2.0 / website design / structural equation model
Record ID: 1031803
Full text PDF: http://epub.wu.ac.at/2793/1/diss_final1.pdf


Information systems literature calls for websites providing a site architecture that is as close as possible to the mental model of the user. To assure that users will be satisfied, website designers need to be aware that users interpret elements offered on a website based on their physiological and psychological factors. Creating a compelling online experience for diverse groups of e-customers is a challenge and of utmost importance for a website's success. However, in the field of tourism literature that discriminates between requirements based on motivational or cognitive aspects of certain user-groups is scarce. Therefore, the hypothesis examined in this dissertation is that there are differences between a priori defined user-groups regarding their satisfaction with web 2.0 websites. Further, this research is aimed at not only taking the demand side into account but also the supply side by asking whether the supply side is aware of the increasing importance of web 2.0 contents and its potentials for information presentation and market research. To bring the project into a coherent framework three more aspects are tackled. First, due to the fact that there is no existing typology for travel-blogs this dissertation tries to fill this gap by means of a qualitative approach. Second, an alternative, more parsimonious measurement approach for website performance is proposed. Finally, a study on measuring emotional mental models, a topic which seems to be neglected in information systems literature as well as in the field of tourism, is included. In order to investigate all these issues nine empirical studies are conducted. The approaches used include online surveys, content analysis, and quasi-experimental design. For data analysis methods such as Partial Least Squares Structural Equation Modeling, Covariance Based Structural Equation Modeling, and Artificial Neural Network Analysis are applied. The results indicate that there are differences between a priori defined user groups regarding their satisfaction with web 2.0 websites. For instance, the influence of motivational factors on the importance of website features differs between travelers who seek relaxation and those who seek adventure. Moreover, the main drivers for value and satisfaction for a goal-directed search are content quality followed by usefulness. These effects are attenuated for the experiential search. The study focusing on communication modes suggests that for verbalizers content is most essential while for visualizers the most important aspect is design. A further study, investigating the influence of hotel guest reviews on customer hotel preferences, reveals that in certain instances the subjects' willingness to pay is significantly higher than their reference price. Additionally, the findings indicate that people who read consumer reviews online do not belong to only one homogeneous group but perceive the importance of review categories differently. Pertaining to the supply side findings show that managers in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland…