Online booking in the cruise sector: Determinants of online trust & implications

  • Alexis Papathanassis
  • Michael Breitner


Within the cruise sector electronic distribution channels are widely assumed to play a minor role. This contention is mainly based on the current demography of the cruise market and the corresponding stereotypical interpretations related to its online experience, purchasing behaviour and distribution channel preferences. In turn, this is reflected in the emphasis of cruise operators traditionally-focused on stationary retail and ‘offline direct-selling’. The assumptions supporting such a self-reinforcing paradigm are challenged in terms of their validity and relevance. Questions are raised with regard to the effectiveness of contemporary online distribution practices in the cruise sector. It is argued and supported by empirical examples that the current level of online-bookings is neither a deterministic fact, nor an endemic characteristic of the cruise segment. Lack of understanding, and to a certain extent misunderstanding, of the factors determining the propensity of consumers to purchase or book online, plausibly results in misguided e-commerce practices; particularly in terms of embedding trustworthiness in emerging online distribution channels. This article entails modelling online trust for the tourism sector and focuses the discussion on its application in the cruise domain. The focus of this contribution is exploratory. Secondary data, examples and case-studies have been systematically collected and utilised in order to test, refine and illustrate the applicability of the proposed model. Apart from enhancing this increasingly-relevant and challenging aspect of cruise management practice, a contribution of this kind serves as a starting point for further e-commerce research.


Distribution Channel Travel Agency Online Experience Affective Trust Online Booking 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Gabler | GWV Fachverlage GmbH 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexis Papathanassis
    • 1
  • Michael Breitner
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute for Maritime TourismBremerhaven University of Applied SciencesBremerhavenGermany
  2. 2.Leibniz University HannoverInstitute für WirtschaftsinformatikHannoverGermany

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