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Information Relevancy for Online Consumer Decision-making Essay

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Introduction
The emergency of Internet has largely changed the travelers’ decision-making process (Buhalis, 2007) and websites have become such an integral component of today's businesses that website effectiveness are of strategic importance to companies at large and hospitality and tourism businesses in specific. It has been a customary practice for hospitality and tourism companies to conduct business transactions to market themselves (Buhalis, 2003; Buhalis & Law, 2008; Wang, 2008) and to enhance communication between suppliers and consumers (Law, Qi, & Buhalis, 2009). As a result, website effectiveness has been a topical area that received sustained scrutiny from tourism and hospitality researchers. However, only a moderate level of success has been achieved (Law, Qi, & Buhalis, 2009).
Recent literature in tourism website evaluation have attempted to investigate this area from various angles including website design and functionality, consumer hedonic experiences and perception of information quality (Law & Bai, 2006; Law, Qi, & Buhalis, 2009). However, only limited research has been conducted in evaluating online travel agencies’ (OTAs) websites and travel agencies’ websites (Kaynama & Black, 2000; Chung & Law, 2003; Roney & Ozturan, 2006). The majority of existing studies in this area are conducted in the context of hotels or tourism destinations. Methodologies employed by these studies are mainly using survey questionnaires to measure the overall satisfaction level of online travelers, or other exploratory approaches such as content analysis or attribute/functionality counting against a predefined checklist (Law, Qi, & Buhalis, 2009).
It should be noted that most of the existing research tended to only measure the o...


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.../desire/action to make final booking.
2) Questions related to their perceptions how relevant the information presented at each webpage is in assisting their decision-making.
3) Questions related to their personal information.
Expected Contribution
Providing relevant and timely information at each page of a website can be crucial in supporting consumer decision making and therefore website effectiveness. This research would be able to identify specific types of information that online travelers would need at certain stage of their decision-making process. It will potentially provide recommendations to OTAs for online information optimization. Additionally this research could build academic linkage between traditional service industry where customer-employee interaction mostly occurs and online service industry where customer-computer interaction mostly occurs.



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