Government urges tourism firms to improve online operations

Tourism firms need to understand the importance of e-commerce and adopt new ways of working if they are to make more effective...

Tourism firms need to understand the importance of e-commerce and adopt new ways of working if they are to make more effective use of their online activity, a government report has advised.

The “E-Commerce Impact Study for the Tourism Sector” report, carried out by consulting firm PwC for the Department for Culture Media and Sport and UK Online for Business, said the tourism industry must utilise online technologies to overcome the difficulties caused by the tough economic conditions.

“This report demonstrates why e-commerce is crucial to the future of the tourism businesses throughout the country,” said tourism minister Kim Howells. “Now is the time for the industry to grab hold of new technology and the benefits it brings - improved efficiency, increased profits and competitive advantage in a tough market.”

The report said firms should integrate their e-commerce strategies into their overall business plans, rather than viewing technology as an add-on. For example, it said, systems need to be integrated to allow real-time online booking and payment.

In addition, the report said, CRM systems need to be exploited more effectively - only 16% of those firms interviewed said they analysed customer data collected from their website.

A joint industry and government action plan has been drawn up to help tackle the barriers identified by the report, based on four core themes: promoting the benefits; business advice; skills; and infrastructure.

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