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E-MARKETING IN THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES
Information and communication technology has made the world go round. This is well recognized in the area of marketing by turning to e-marketing to help expand business growth. This can be said of tourism particularly in the area of hospitality. It has helped them to expand their business contacts and brings businesses to limelight and thereby making it more popular and more recognized. Therefore this study investigated the Prospects and Problems of E-marketing in hospitality industry. The research questions were: What is the prevalence of the use e-marketing in the hospitality industry in Nigeria? What are the reasons for the use of e-marketing in the hospitality industry in Nigeria? What are the impacts of e-marketing on the hospitality industry in Nigeria?
1.1 Background to the Study
The development of the internet has brought unprecedented development in new methods of conducting business and transaction which has affected different aspects of lives and professions including marketing. Different definition has been proffered for internet marketing. According to Chaffey et al. (2000) internet marketing involve the use of the internet and other digital technologies to conduct marketing activities. (Kotler&Armstrong, 2004) viewed internet marketing as consisting of activities which facilitate the sale of products and services and also promote customer relationships over the Internet. The application of Online marketing, which is also referred to as internet marketing, makes use of interactive, virtual spaces for the aim of promoting and selling goods and services. In fact, new synchronous, internet-based communication technologies introduce flexibility, speed of time and cost effectiveness in the conduct of business activities over the internet.
To gain competitive advantage in the demanding tourist market, it is important nowadays for a hotel company to have its own website, promote its products through social networks and mobile applications, use e-mail as a channel of communication with its business partners and customers, and apply all available information-communication technology (ICT). It needs to provide all information for potential clients in one place at any time of day, from anywhere in the world. That can be possible by using innovative ways of communication and by adapting business operations to demanding requirements of the modern tourist market. This imposes the innovation of practices and the implementation of new technologies in business processes. Therefore, there is a need for awareness about the necessity of applying ICT in the hotel business.
The online marketing is doubtless one of nowadays most powerful advertising methods. All companies, and notably in the Tourism and Hospitality industry, are fiercely competing to lead and overwhelm the online space in order to shift market shares from competition, increase their online traffic and make more profits. It is always required for any company wishing to succeed its e-marketing strategy, to ensure that all of its online space is well managed and that it is entirely under control. Moreover, updates and innovations in the online world are a must to attract customers and keep their interest constantly stimulated.
It is crystal clear that e-marketing in hospitality involves the dissemination information and creating awareness of the services rendered in hospitality. Some of the advantages of engaging in e-marketing transactions by the e-marketingsites include reduction of transaction and operational costs, maximising efficiency and convenience of receiving payments online, among many other benefits. The way an e-marketing hotel site handles the transactions goes a long way in determining customer trust, loyalty, retention and referral, which will further boost sales and profits.E-marketing in hospitality is not just about setting up computers and businesses, but encompasses a larger scope. It is about doing business with an entirely different mind-set, using a medium that challenges the very basic rules of traditional ways of doing business. E-marketing is all about a perfect interface between business management, strategy and technology with a view to serving the customers more satisfactorily.
According to an article published on the Nigerian Punch (February 7, 2016) titled ‘Prospects and Challenges of E-commerce in Nigeria,’ it was stated that many people have not yet fully adopted the new purchasing technology as according to a research, out of 70 per cent of respondents who know about e-Commerce, only about 32 per cent of them actually use it. Browsing and searching, 74 per cent, selection of a product, 56 per cent, paying online, 15 per cent, paying offline, 82 per cent and online checking of results, 43 per cent are most common online activities by Nigerians in percentage. These figures clearly show that although a huge percentage looked for information online, many of them are reluctant to pay online. The major reasons for this arefear of inadequate online security of their data when making payments and lack of trust in online retailers.It is in the light of this that this study aims to examine the prospects and problems of e-marketing in hospitality industry.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Lack of proper infrastructure, taxation, security issues, privacy concerns, high cost of shipping goods to and from Nigeria, low penetration of credit cards usually required to shop online (debit cards are the common payment cards available in Nigeria), unreliable distribution and delivery processes, residual distrust of paying online in a society where cash is the king, etc. All these issues are generally common with e-marketing in any other developing country including Nigeria. E-marketing in hospitality industry has faced numerous problems among them are: Lack of trust as online trust consists of consumer perceptions of how the site would deliver on expectations, how true the site’s information is, and how much confidence the site commands. Because of the increase level of cybercrime today, many customers are having doubt about the validity of internet marketing. Another one is lack of security and privacy; the issue of privacy constitutes a major problem involving the use of the internet. Many individual personal data are shared over the internet to other users .Customers’ data can easily be shared with other firms without their permission. Other important personal data such as usernames and passwords are not immune from hackers. This study will accurately provide adequate information on the prospects and problems of E-marketing in hospitality industry.
1.3 Research Questions
These are some of the questions the study is designed to answer:
i) What is the prevalence of the use e-marketing in the hospitality industry in Nigeria?
ii) What are the reasons for the use of e-marketing in the hospitality industry in Nigeria?
iii) What are the impacts of e-marketing on the hospitality industry in Nigeria?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The objective of this study is to investigate the challenges and prospects of e-marketing in hospitality industry in Nigeria. The specific objectives are:
i) To establish the prevalence of the use e-marketing in the hospitality industry in Nigeria.
ii) To examine the reasons for the use of e-marketing in the hospitality industry in Nigeria.
iii) To investigate the impacts of e-marketing on the hospitality industry in Nigeria.
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The research hypotheses to be tested include:
i) There is a significant difference between e-marketing and hospitality patronage
ii) There is a significant correlation between online booking and hospitality industry
1.6 Significance of the Study
The significance of the study is based on the fact that if findings of the researcher are well implemented, it will facilitate and improve the development of religion towards tourism. It is hoped that this study would answer some questions of what impacts religion have on hospitality and tourism industry. The study will also arouse researchers investigate ways of improving religion Tourism.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is limited only to Nigeria so that more in depth information could be obtained to propose proper recommendations to the Government for improvement and development of this industry.
1.8 Limitation of the study
The research work faced a lot of challenges but two of the challenges were memorable. One of it is the time constraint which limited the areas covered by the researcher. Another one was that the researcher encountered a lot of difficulties in gathering information from many hotels and customers who patronize them.
1.9 Definitions of Terms
The following terms were used in the course of this study:
Challenges:the situation of being faced with something that needsgreat mental or physical effort in order to be done successfully and therefore tests a person’s ability
E-marketing:refers to advertising and marketing efforts that use the Web and email to drive direct sales via electronic commerce, in addition to sales leads from Web sites or emails.
Prospects: a vision of the future; what is foreseen
Hospitality:the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.
Tourism:is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tours.
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