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“The digital transformation of the tourism industry. The case of Thessaloniki online presence.” MSc thesis submitted to International Hellenic University by Stavros Papadakis and Kostas Tsakirakis (Thessaloniki, November 2019).

Technology is experiencing exponential growth. This results in the transformation of various sectors, such as tourism. In the context of the shift to digitalization, tourism has now taken on a new form, e-tourism. This concept refers to the integration of technology and telecommunications into every tourism process. This MSc thesis focuses on social media and their penetration into the tourism industry. In this context, the advantages, and disadvantages of social media in tourism are analyzed and an overview of a modern trend in tourism (influencer marketing) is also included. The intensive use of the internet in the tourism industry has become clear. 82% of bookings in 2018 were made online. This has brought about several changes in this area. Some of them are the access of visitors to a huge amount of data, the minimization of costs and the increased satisfaction of tourists. In this thesis, two main tourism website models were presented. According to the first (Model of Internet Commerce Adoption), there are three levels of tourism websites: the first that deals with the basic presentation of tourism services, the second that provides some interactions with the user and the third that offers the completion of all processes through internet. Based on the second model (Web site quality assessment criteria toolbox), websites are evaluated based on some characteristics, such as usability, reliability, architecture, or performance. In addition, both the advantages and disadvantages of online tourism are analyzed. Benefits include increased efficiency, access to more data, cost savings and consistency of public ratings. On the other hand, some disadvantages are the loss of jobs, corporate rivalries, and privacy issues. Influencer marketing has also been mentioned as one of the trends that has dominated in recent years. The main reasons that a tourism service provider should use this type of marketing is to boost the brand, to reach a broader public or even to make sales through this way. The advantages that social media bring to the tourism industry include, among others, user-friendliness, cost reduction, free access to information and reliability. However, there are some disadvantages such as the protection of personal data and the reduction of human interaction.