Information Technology & Tourism

, Volume 16, Issue 4, pp 413–433 | Cite as

In-destination tour products and the disrupted tourism industry: progress and prospects

  • Alex Yang-chan Hsu
  • Brian King
  • Dan Wang
  • Dimitrios Buhalis
Original Research

Abstract

Established inbound tour operators (ITOs) are being challenged by emerging competitors that have embraced technology-enabled innovations, including aspects that are associated with the collaborative or sharing economy. A variety of suppliers across the supply chain are now able to form a direct connection with customers through platform websites, thereby providing tech-savvy tourists with the capacity to create customized trips. Incumbent ITOs are now competing with emerging entrants that are responsive to customer needs because of their digital expertise. As the various provider categories have become less clear and as barriers to entry have fallen, tour service suppliers must consider the contemporary tourism “ecosystem” when formulating strategies. In the face of declining consumer demand for standardized tour products, there is an urgent need to consider changing tourist habits or tastes when introducing new in-destination options. In exploring the evolving features of the inbound tourism ecosystem, this paper draws upon the recent literature to focus on the distinguishing characteristics of innovative tour service and experiences. It identifies how tour suppliers respond to competitor actions, or embrace these features themselves. The authors adopt a multiple case study approach and assemble evidence from 17 examples of tourism start-ups in Taiwan. The paper concludes with implications for practitioners and suggestions for future research.

Keywords

Product innovation In-destination tour products Disrupted industry structure 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Hotel and Tourism ManagementThe Hong Kong Polytechnic UniversityKowloonHong Kong
  2. 2.Department of Tourism and Hospitality, Faculty of ManagementBournemouth UniversityDorsetUK

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