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“Digital transformation: A case study of a medium-sized Greek travel agency”, MSc thesis submitted to International Hellenic University by Maria-Eirini Galani (Thessaloniki, June 2019).

Digitalization indicates a transition to different business models. An accelerating number of companies are reacting to emerging possibilities and challenges arising from digital technologies through the introduction of digital transformation policies throughout the company to actively tackle their digital transformation. This dissertation was written as part of the MSc in Management at International Hellenic University. The survey is based on a case study of a medium-sized Greek travel agency (Travellook) in Thessaloniki, Greece. Exploratory research on the digital maturity of the firm was carried out along with an investigation on the available digital and innovative technologies. The major objective of this study was to explore the applicable technologies in a travel agency that can contribute to its development and survival. A significant condition for the digital transformation of a Travel Agency (TA) is the high level of digital maturity and literacy as it is a decisive factor for financial investment in Information and Communication Technology (ICT). This is the reason why its digitalization level was measured. The outcome of this investigation confirmed the weak digitalization of Travellook. This highlights the difficulty in adjusting to the technological environment. However, the outcome of the study does not concern the whole industry as the data submitted concern only one case. Moreover, all the recommended innovative technologies are based on the needs of the firm regarding customization and online experience, but because of their advanced nature, they are not frequently seen in businesses and particularly in travel agencies. The last decade has seen rapid growth in research into the fields of digital inclusion and literacy. This dissertation’s theoretical framework highlighted the significance of digital transformation regarding TAs as it is a vital reason for continuing their existence. This challenging environment affects especially the role of travel agencies, because on the one hand the evolution in electronic distribution signifies the gradual elimination of intermediaries and on the other hand the available aggregators offer online a great range of combined services and products. The most important impact is detected in the relationship between the firm and the technological infrastructure with ICT as well as the high online content proliferation to shape a new era of activities within a travel company. Digital transformation generally brings new practices, new processes to organizations, and even new business models or structural changes. It involves cultivating new skills, developing new ways of thinking so much as changing attitudes towards their work. Furthermore, the way these skills and knowledge are acquired before all else, often depends upon a change, as traditional aged methods prove inadequate to counter the speed of transition. Having as a fact that the tourism industry is service-oriented, a large number of managers and staff have insufficient knowledge of ICT. However, in order to stay competitive, practitioners should explore the potential of IT and proactively identify technological capacity. In order to succeed in that, managers should support the development of adequate training plans to provide employees with new digital skills. Such training plans can enable the firm not only to recognize inefficiencies and necessities in existing and future skills, but also to examine the range of choices for resolving this chasm. Some of the solutions include recruiting external talent, outsourcing, e-learning, pooling resources and sharing the cost of training with similar training needs among SMEs. The problem is that although the focus is growing on IT use, many managers are still hesitant to integrate IT into decision-making procedures.