The changing value of travel agents in tourism networks: towards a network design perspective
In this paper the impact of information and communication technologies on the position of travel agents is discussed. A preliminary network design perspective is introduced and applied to tourism networks. Application reveals that the travel agent is installed in order to reduce the number of communication channels, and thereby the complexity of the network. Consequently, the added value of the travel agent is closely linked to its ability to reduce complexity in tourist networks. The increased use and accessibility of advanced information systems with which holidays can be browsed, assembled, and booked is argued to be a competing alternative for managing network complexity. The paper first introduces this perspective and applies it to the tourism industry. It then develops the argument, elaborates on a number of implications and discusses strengths and weaknesses of the approach.
KeywordsTour Operator Communication Channel Organisational Design Tourism Industry Network Level
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