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Title: Fuzzy hierarchical evaluation of business website performance with applications to luxury hotels
Authors: Qi, Shanshan
Degree: Ph.D.
Issue Date: 2011
Abstract: The purpose of the study described in this thesis was to evaluate the usefulness of business websites through a fuzzy hierarchical evaluation approach. The importance of the Internet in hospitality and tourism has attracted considerable attention from both academic researchers and industry practitioners. Since the 1990s, many research studies on website evaluation have presented various approaches to improve the quality of commercial websites. However, very few investigations have evaluated website performance by employing formal algorithms integrating consumer perceptions with evaluation results. In addition, no existing standardized website attributes or guidelines incorporating web design and content are available in the hotel industry. Furthermore, the hotel website evaluation literature rarely compares and contrasts the perceptions of customers from different cultural backgrounds. Given China's large population and huge market potential in terms of travel service customers, investigating Chinese consumers' perceptions of travel websites is of paramount importance. To bridge these research gaps, this study's objectives were: i) to establish a comprehensive list of attributes for website functionality; ii) to develop a comprehensive list of attributes for website usability; iii) to integrate the applicability of these lists in the Chinese and international contexts; and iv) to assess the usefulness performance of different groups of hotel websites (those of China-based and international luxury hotels) by employing a proposed fuzzy hierarchical Technique for Order Performance by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) model based on user perceptions.
Both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies were used in this study. The methodology chapter is divided into two main sections. The first section begins by describing a pilot test that assessed the reliability and validity of website usefulness lists in the Chinese and international contexts. A qualitative study subsequently conducted, comprised of eight focus group discussions undertaken to discover new usefulness attributes and ensure the applicability of the newly established usefulness criteria. A survey was then conducted among luxury hotel consumers to determine perceptions of luxury hotel websites from the perspectives of Mainland Chinese and international users. Chinese and international online travel service users were then invited to evaluate 30 China-based and 30 international luxury hotel websites. The findings of this study resulted in five new usefulness attributes, thus adding to the newly developed website usefulness list. The list was used to determine international and Chinese users' perspectives on luxury hotel websites. The findings indicated that although both Chinese and international consumers seek hotel information online, Chinese consumers are more concerned about detailed hotel information. In contrast, international consumers prefer to explore online and pay more attention to web structure. The usefulness performance of China-based and international luxury hotel websites was also assessed. The results revealed that international hotel websites perform better than their Chinese counterparts. The preferences of Chinese and international online consumers were also investigated according to the best and worst-performed hotel websites selected and displayed. The major contribution of this study is to introduce a novel and potentially useful website evaluation approach that can be used to capture both Chinese and international users' perceptions. The new approach integrates both hotel website functionality and usability dimensions to evaluate the usefulness of luxury hotel websites from a holistic perspective. Luxury hotels are selected on the basis of their financial ability to establish competitive websites.
Subjects: Web sites -- Evaluation.
Web site development.
Web sites -- Management.
Hotels -- Computer network resources -- Evaluation.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Pages: xxiii, 453 p. : ill. ; 30 cm.
Appears in Collections:Thesis

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