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How Perceived Website Interactivity Influence Hotel Booking intention: the case of NUO Hotel Beijing

Nyamweya is a Kenyan scholar who has done many years of research on a diversity of topics

Nuo Hotel in Beijin

Nuo Hotel in Beijin

Abstract

Enterprises in the global marketplace increasingly maintain their online presence for various reasons, but the main focus is to continue attracting and also retaining the consumers. Other reasons that drive organisations to create an online presence include marketing reasons to enhance the sales of their products and as a mode of enhancing customer relationship management. This research explored the impact of perceived website interactivity on hotel booking intention using NUO Hotel Beijing as the case example. The findings of the research show that the four constructs of two-way communication, responsiveness, perceived social presence and perceived ease of use have a significant impact on online booking intentions. These four constructs positively impact on the satisfaction of the consumer which can consequently cultivate loyalty that can promote future repurchase intentions. However, the findings show that failure to effectively implement the four constructs can negatively affect booking intentions. This research found that NUO Hotel Beijing faces a number of challenges related to the four constructs. Based on that, the research provides a number of ways through which the hotel can improve; the timeliness of shopping online, facilitation of convenience experienced during shopping, improving the trustworthiness and improving better information access and convenience in using the sites to book for services or to purchase products.

Key Words: Responsiveness, perceived ease of use, perceived social presence, two-way communication, hotel booking intention


Chapter 1. Introduction

1.1 Research Background

Enterprises in the global marketplace are increasingly maintain their online presence for various reasons, but the main focus is to continue attracting and also retaining the consumers (Yoo et al., 2010). Other reasons that drive organisations to create an online presence include marketing reasons to enhance the sales of their products and as a mode of enhancing customer relationship management (Yoo et al., 2010). As a result, Kuo and Feng (2013) note that the growth being witnessed in the internet usage can be attributed to the increased utilisation of smartphones, computers and tablets. Accordingly, companies are continually targeting to tap into this growing market to increase their presence. For instance, towards the end of 2016, the number of people using mobile for internet access surpassed the 700 million in China indicating the explosive growth of using mobile devices to continually access the internet for entertainment, education or shopping purposes. This data represents 95% of the overall internet users in China (eMarketer, 2017).

Nonetheless, as enterprises get more sophisticated in the manner in which they utilize internet to enhance their customer relationship, constructs such as the perceived difference of the online platforms are reduced. Ha and Stoel (2012) explain that the use of different online platforms can endanger an organisation’s operations as the distinctiveness of the website has been evidenced to be essential for its effectiveness. The differentiation of the websites has always proven to be difficult and challenging as rivals can often match the change easily and in real time, making it more difficult to sustain competition (Abdullah et al., 2016).

One of the developments that can be utilised to gain a competitive advantage is through development and strengthening of the websites interactivity. In achieving their interactivity objectives, firms can adopt several strategies to enhance their website interactivity in a bid to enhance customer relationship (Abdullah et al., 2017). According to Abdullah et al. (2017), firms can adopt an interaction-oriented approach which include adopting the four constructs of interaction capacity response, consumer value management and consumer empowerment. The focus of this research will be to examine how other factors of two-way communication, responsiveness, perceived social presence and ease of use will influence website interactivity and how it impacts their booking intention on such sites.

Firstly, two-way communication includes the extent and the manner in which the messages are all interconnected and their relations in addition to the user’s ability to received feedback from the site (Ha and Stoel, 2012). Secondly, in terms of responsiveness, this will refer to the speed to which a particular site gives responses to the request made by the users (Adbullah et al., 2016). This feature of the site is usually an external-based construct since it is a design or architectural functionality of the site. On the other end, perceived ease of use which can be viewed as an extension of the responsiveness of the site, is the extent to which the users feel that the site is not difficult to use in terms of the effort applied (Ye et al., 2017). Generally, perceived ease of use has been posited to have a positive influence on usefulness and the interactivity of websites for users. Lastly, social presence is defined as the extent to which a medium allows users to experience others being present psychologically. Social presence includes the ability to transmit both facial and non-verbal cues (Najjar, 2011). In line with the mentioned four dimensions of website interactivity, this research will examine how they influence online booking intention within NUO Hotel Beijing, which forms the case for this research.

The hotel's background can be traced back to 1915 when the Grand Hotel de Pekin was established and later renamed Beijing Hotel in 1954. It has managed to keep up with the current developments through restructuring of their operations. In 2016, the hotel was renamed Hotel Beijing Nuo (Nuo Hotel, 2017). Developed and restructured in collaboration with Kempinski Hotels. The hotel aims to provide novel attitudes and lifestyles of the modern China while also honouring and preserving the cultural heritage of the country in addition to supporting culture and contemporary art (Nuo Hotel, 017). In achieving its objective, the company has managed to integrate ICT into their operations to enhance the service delivery. The choice of this enterprise is to examine how the organisation has managed to establish their online presence with such new strategies

1.2 Research Reasons

Previously, past research studies have been carried out to evaluate aspects of website interactivity and how it influences its utilisation by users in addition to the overall influence on online shopping and brand perception. For example, Broekhuizen and Hoffman (2012) investigated the relationship between interactivity perception and preference of online newspapers. Nevertheless, while literature exist on the general examination of the website interactivity especially in relation to its utilisation within sectors such as the banking, fashion and retail sectors in other global markets, few have been carried out focusing on the tourism and the hospitality industry in the Chinese market. Therefore, this research will attempt to examine how website interactivity will influence online booking in the Chinese hotel sector, with Nuo Beijing Hotel being the case study.

Practically, the research results and findings from the research will be of significance to the hotel sector in China as it will provide information to enterprises on how to improve online bookings and visitations besides also ensuring that existing customers are retained by enhancing the efficiency in service provision. Additionally, since the findings of the research further contribute to the Technology Acceptance Model, the information provided will also be of relevance to future researchers keen to further delve deeper into this topic of research.

1.3 Research objectives

The aim of the research is to explore the impact of perceived website interactivity on hotel booking intention: the case of NUO Hotel Beijing. Accordingly, the specific research objectives will be as follows;

  1. To explore the impact of two-way communication on hotel booking intention in NUO Hotel Beijing
  2. To evaluate the impact of responsiveness on hotel booking intention in NUO Hotel Beijing
  3. To determine the impact of perceived social presence on hotel booking intention in NUO Hotel Beijing
  4. To analyse the impact of perceived ease of use on hotel booking intention in NUO Hotel Beijing


Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

This chapter seeks to examine the contributions of different scholars on the subject of website interactivity and how it influences online booking intentions by the consumers. Specifically, this chapter two will be organised as follows. First, the influence of two-way communication on hotel booking intentions will be examined. Secondly, the definition and the influence of responsiveness on the customers booking intention will also be outlined. Thirdly and fourth, the impact of perceived influence and perceived ease of use on online booking intentions will also be discussed.

2.2 Two-way communication and hotel booking intentions

2.2.1 Definition two-way communication

Two-way communication can be addressed using different terminologies such as reciprocal communication, direction of communication and perceived personalization. Hsu et al. (2012), reiterate that while this construct can be referred in different names, the basic concept of the dimension is similar. As espoused by Chiu and yang (2016), two-way communication revolves around the degree to which a site facilitates bilateral contact amongst the users who are either the seller and the buyer.

2.2.2 The influence two-way communication and hotel booking intentions

As espoused by Yoo et al. (2010), the conventional human interaction which has been common in the brick- and mortar organisations are continually and speedily being replaced by virtual-to human interaction platforms present online. In accordance with this development, Broekhuizen and Hoffman (2012) note that the interactivity of the websites allows the experience online to be replicated as that in real life.

Two-way communication on a site can be facilitated in two ways. Firstly, this can be achieved through communication with organisation experts through online live chats, which is likely to increase the user's satisfaction and will in turn increase recurrent future visit to find information, make purchases or bookings. Further, Wang et al. (2013) explain that the provision of online chats even amongst the consumers has also played a critical role in influencing the usage and visitation of websites. In agreement, Fang et al. (2016) opine that the present communication with other customers has been perceived to also increase more usage of a website as they are viewed as trustworthy in providing accurate information through reviews and testimonials on the products or service provided by the organisation.

Reciprocal communication influences the online shopping through a number of ways. For instance, Huang et al. (2013) opine that communication facilitates the development of trust on the brands and its products due to the information flow which creates openness between the involved parties. Additionally, Huang et al. (2013) reported that it enhances the convenience in accessing additional information and consequently improves the customers’ satisfaction towards the sites as portrayed by future visitations to purchase or making bookings. In agreement, Nguyen et al. (2016) noted that a bidirectional communication pathway will allow and enhance better information provision to the customers in forms of personal recommendations and provision from the expert advice.

2.3 Responsiveness and hotel booking intentions

2.3.1 Definition responsiveness

According to Aziz et al. (2010), responsiveness refers to an enterprises willingness to respond quickly to the client’s complaints inquiries or feedback. Differently, Hsu et al. (2012) defined responsiveness as when a receiver takes up the role of a sender and in some way replies to the source of the original message. On the other hand, Alassiri et al. (2014) define responsiveness as the probability to which a partner responds with respect to the proportions of the important sources and responses that match the demand for the elaboration that the speaker intended to elicit. From the different definition, four dimensions of responsiveness can be identified during an interaction and they include, the attention to the other partner in the communication line, comprehension accuracy on someone’s communication, the motivation to be responsive enough and possessing adequate response selections. Further, other dimensions with respect the aspect of an online presence include the probability of responding, the speed of response, elaboration of the response and relevance of the response.

2.3.2 The influence of responsiveness on hotel booking intentions

Various research studies have in the past pointed out the importance of responsiveness to the continuation of an interaction on an online platform. Broekhuizen and Hoffman (2012) explain that responsiveness is one of an enterprise relational maintenance approach towards its clients. In a similar agreement, Hsu et al. (2012) suggested that as an independent construct, responsiveness has some consequences on online shopping or site visitation as viewed in terms of both the process and the result of the interaction. First, as a process, responsiveness will affect the maintenance of the interaction with the focus leaning towards the efficiency of the communication, accuracy and the outcome of the communication and therefore influences the degree to which the objectives are attained. Ladhari et al. (2015) explain that effectiveness of responsiveness, influences the convenience to the consumers shopping activities and directly correlates to the satisfaction and willingness to return back to the website for similar endeavours. Kaptein and Parvinen (2015) stress that when responding to the client’s complaints, inquiries or feedback, experts should always be in a position to impose good personal interaction such as being courteous and provide assurance that such inquiries will be addressed as soon as they can. Other elements that can positively influence the consumers’ visitation to a website for online booking in the case of the hospitality industry will also include empathy and assurance.

Secondly, Alassiri et al. (2014) state that receiving a response to an inquiry will enhance the likelihood that the customer will post again and therefore responsiveness prompts the continued interaction and commitment towards the website. Therefore, in terms of the internet present on a website, responsiveness, as perceived by the users of the site, will revolve around the speed or time of response. Clients will measure the responsiveness of a system from the direct communication with regard to their inquiry, complaint or feedback through direct chats, calls or through email response. It is therefore related to how fast the enterprise or the experts operating the website will respond to the client's questions or request. Aluri et al. (2015) explain that a fast response will, therefore, elicit and promote a greater perception of the interactivity on the website and continued future utilisation for online bookings of repurchase through such sites. Barreda et al. (2016) noted that perceived responsiveness is closely related to the information timeliness. Quick response to the clients will be regarded as timely information to the clients. As espoused by Hamid et al. (2016), timely communication will also foster the concept of trust from the consumer towards the site and the brand.

An effective website responsiveness with respect to the timeliness of the responses given and the relevance of the information to the customer's inquiries will have a positive influenced on the service quality which will motivate the consumers to continue using the sites for repurchase or booking for services. Kucukusta and Law, (2015) also note that effective website responsiveness will also positively influence on the consumer satisfaction towards not only the site but also the brand and this will create a strong customer relationship which will foster loyalty that can push future interaction between the customer and the brand. Husein (2017) notes that while it is ideally expected that the website provides effective and fast responsiveness to the customer's inquiries, in reality, it is usually not expected for the consumers to received prompt services from the expected due to the high number of complaints that can be lodged at a particular time.

2.4 The impact of perceived social presence on hotel booking intentions

2.4.1 Definition perceived social presence

According to Najjar (2011), social presence refers to the degree to which a medium allows clients to experience other people as being psychologically available or present. Past research (Kuo et al., 2013, Chiu and Yang, 2016 and Abdullah et al. 2016) have characterised the social presence element of a medium as its capability to transmit information about posture, non-verbal cues, and expressions. Other elements of social presence can include the close relationship it has with the richness of information it provides the users and visitors to the media in addition to the psychological connection it provides to the users (Adbullah, 2016). In the context of website interactivity, the warmth that is provided through social presence is concerned with aspects such as human contact, sensitivity, and sociability (Ye et al. 2017).

With online media such as websites, features of the computer interface usually help impact the perception of the existence of a social presence. Ye et al. (2017) espouse that features such as gender stereotyping, politeness and personality responses are similar whether while interacting with a human being or through a computer interface.

2.4.2 Impact of perceived social presence on hotel booking intentions

Compared to the traditional offline shopping experience, the e-commerce shopping is viewed to lack the human touch and sociability since there is limited interaction amongst human via multiple sensory channels. For e-shopping through websites, the interaction experienced is less personal as it can possess a high sense of anonymity and automation as compared to the face-to-face commerce shopping (Najjar, 2011). Nevertheless, Kuo et al. (2013) note that the technology acceptance by an online media has been shown to influence the social presence. Cui et al. (2013) explain that instilling a sense of human touch and warmth and sociability can be reached through providing actual interaction with other people or through stimulating the imagination of user interacting on the online platforms.

Firstly, according to Wang et al. (2012), the social presence aspects can be provided in website through incorporation of website features such as email and after-sale service and support, creation of virtual groups and communities and chats, message board and human assistance online. In agreement, Jensen et al. (2014) explain that by providing a social connection among the users, this build up the trust as a cognitive relationship is established within the site which positively influences purchase intention or booking from the commercial sites. Jensen et al. (2014) stresses that it is therefore important to create a virtual shopping experience that will lure the masses, brands and their websites much engage the users both in the cognitive and social level.

Differently, Hu et al., (2016) note that other imaginary interactions that can be provided to the consumers to enhance more visitations to the sites include provision of rich social content through personalisation of greetings, human audio and videos and taking-face displays. Agreeing with Hu et al. (2016), Oberoi et al. (2017) explain that text and picture content can be used to convey a personal presence and the choice of picture and language will help in creating a sense of psychological warmth and closeness and encourage the users to engage more on the websites. For instance, Oberoi et al. (2017) suggest that texts that enhance and prompts the imagination of the users may evoke elaborate feelings of pleasure and fantasy involving the use of the products, which will, in turn, enhance the purchase and repurchase intention towards a service or product. Customers and website users are usually more willing to purchase products or service online when the emotive descriptions of touch properties are provided. Gao et al. (2017) maintain that pictures have a pronounced effect as compared to the text used to evoke a social presence. According to Miranda et al. (2015), the visual senses have been observed to have a more domineering effect on the human perception and this explains the influence of visual media and its impact on the social presence. Hu et al. (2016) research found that photographs that accompanied online articles were seen to increase its credibility. Similarly, Gao et al. (2017) found that player photos on an online game website were seen to evoke more social dilemma and cooperation among the players and website users. This explains why advertisement has for a long time relied on the imagery of friendly and attractive faces to develop a positive influence towards a service or a product. Oberoi et al. (2017) suggest that paying attention to a photos effectiveness, through either social display or emotionally, can be a key aspect to the success of electronic commerce. The perceived ease of use will refer to the consumer’s perception with regards to the result of their online shopping or booking experience and this can refer to the how easy it is to use the internet as a medium of shopping.

2.5 Perceived ease of use on hotel booking intentions

2.5.1 Definition perceived ease of use

As espoused by Maditinos (2013), in the Technology Acceptance Model, a user’s behavioural traits and intention to adopt or use a technology is usually determined by their perception of the technology with respect to their usefulness and its ease of use. Maditinos et al. (2013) define perceived ease of use as the extent to which an individual believes that using a specific system would require minimum effort. In the context of the online booking, perceived ease of use has been defined as the extent to which customers feel that the online booking is not difficult to adopt and is free from any effort in using it (Adbullah et al., 2017).

2.5.2 The influence perceived ease of use on hotel booking intentions

Shipps and Phillips, (2013) state that the perceived ease of use can be facilitated by an online platform through introducing different elements and tools that will make it easier to use a website. Shipps and Phillips, (2013 suggest that an individual will feel that it is easy to use a particular website when they are given easy access to information. Therefore, increasing the customer's access to online decision-making techniques and tools will increase the positive online shopping towards that site. The correlation between the two construct is that even when given full interactivity, the information quality will moderate the frequency of website visit (Renny et al., 2013). This means that if the customer perceives that they have can easily access any information, with the kind of information being sought to be readily available, the consumers will feel comfortable operating within that website.

Differently, Juniwati (2014) explains that the ease of use on an online platform can also be provided through availing tools for use. Particularly, Juniwati et al. (2014) opine that a website can make it easy to access the product or service through introducing the search tools of which type of information to be accessed about aspects such as the product features and the benefits sought. With such a tool, (Kucukusta and Law, 2015) the consumer can be able to seek a variety of information that can be used to examine the different alternatives before making a final decision on their preferred type of service or product to choose from.

Ease of use can further be created through making it easy for the consumer to understand any information being given on the site. Rodzi et al. (2016) noted that this can be reached through providing users with the option to choose any language they can use (e.g. English French, German, Korean or Chinese or Japanese) as a way of attracting and also accommodating international customers. Another option is to provide users with the ability to receive customised messages and information regarding specific products or events as a way of facilitating easy utilisation of the process of purchase of the product or navigation on the ecommerce platform (Rodzi et al., 2016). Finally, Cho and Saygynov (2015) assert that perceived ease of use has been strongly linked with the enjoyment of the consumers. Enjoyment in this sense refers to the degree to which using a system or technology is perceived to be fun in its own right.

In general, based on the two elements of information accessibility and search tools, convenience is a key factor that influences the consumer’s behaviour and attitudes within the online environment. According to the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), perceived ease of use has shown to have an effect on the consumer's intention to carry out their shopping online (Al-Qeisi et al., 2014). Al-Qeisi et al. (2014) observed that the direct approach can occur through perceived important because the easier the system is to use, the more significance it can be used. Bach et al. (2016) assert that with respect to online shopping, the dimension of convenience has been a primary motivation behind the consumer's behaviour to adopt online shopping. Hussein (2017) observed that the dimensions related to the convenience that online shopping provide the consumers include better access, possession and search and interaction all of which all these elements are related to the ease of use and speed to which the customers can engage or reach the retailer of their choice. It is therefore hypothesised that when the websites are easy to utilise and navigate through, this provides consumers with the intended and expected convenience to book.

2.6 Chapter Summary

Based on the literature review conducted, it is evident that the four constructs of two-way communication, responsiveness, perceived social presence and perceived ease of use have a significant impact on online booking intentions. Particularly, the four variables directly influence the intention of the consumers to use online booking platform through facilitation of convenience experienced during shopping, improving the timeliness of shopping online, improving the trustworthiness and improving better information access and convenience in using the sites to book for services or to purchase products. The four constructs positively impact on the satisfaction of the consumer which can consequently cultivate loyalty that can promote future repurchase intentions. Therefore, based on these findings this research will explore the impact of perceived website interactivity on hotel booking intention: the case of NUO Hotel Beijing.


Chapter 3 Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction

This chapter outlines procedures followed during the research on establishing the impact of perceived website interactivity on hotel booking intention. Specifically, the development of this chapter is anchored on Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, (2009), research (in figure one below), which provides guidelines on the development of methodology followed in a research.

Figure 1. Research onion. Source: Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill, (2009).

3.2 Secondary Data vs. Primary Data

Data used during a research can be broadly classified as either secondary or primary data based on the source the data is obtained from. Primary data refers to data originating for the first time by a researcher while secondary data source refers to data that is already collected for other purposes (Creswell, 2014). For this research the primary source of data will be used. This source is preferred for the research based on the fact that primary data will enable the research to achieve its objectives. Even though the process of obtaining primary data is tedious and time consuming as noted by Gifford (2016), it is the appropriate approach for this research because it will supply the research with data that is specifically collected for the purpose of determining the impact of perceived website interactivity on hotel booking intention. Secondary data is not applicable for this research because it will not enable the research achieve its objective based on the fact that secondary data as asserted by Gifford (2016), is collected for other purpose other than what the research seeks to achieve. Besides, this type of data is not appropriate for this kind of research because the data is outdated due to various changes that might have taken place between the time of collecting the data and the current time when this research is taking place.

3.3 Qualitative and Quantitative Research Approach

Depending on the research objective a research can either be qualitative or quantitative which in turn dictates the method or instrument of collecting data that can be employed during data collection (Smith, 2015). Qualitative research approach refers to a research that is exploratory in nature with the main objective being expanding and providing more understanding on a topic. On the other hand, quantitative research involves the use of empirical data which is statistically analysed to provide a meaningful information or a conclusion on a study question (Smith, 2015).

Quantitative research approach will be employed for this research because it will enable the research to collect data from a large sample thus enhancing the inclusiveness of the research findings (Marshal and Rossman, 2014). Additionally, quantitative approach is preferred for this research because achieving the objectives of this research requires that a relationship between two categories of variables (independent and dependent), be established which can only be achieved through the use of statistical techniques and this is in line with the quantitative research approach. The specific independent variables involved in this research which will be statistically analysed to determine how they impact customers booking intentions including two-way communication, responsiveness, perceived social presence and ease of use and booking intention. For this research qualitative research is not an option based on the fact that qualitative method will not provide a better mechanism of establishing the relationship between the identified independent variable and dependent variable while quantitative method through the use of statistical methods will enable the research to establish the relationship between the variables identified. However, as observed by Sekaran and Bougie (2016), interpreting the data obtained through quantitative method can be difficult but the fact that the conclusion of the research is backed by empirical data and has minimal bias and errors make the research reliable and credible.

3.4 Research Instruments

Research instruments are tools or techniques used in obtaining data from a sample (Obitz, 2009). From the various instruments of data collection, the technique used in a research mainly depend on the research approach adopted. For this research the study approach adopted is quantitative in nature hence questionnaire survey is used in line with this approach. Besides, questionnaire is as well compatible with the aim and objective of the research. therefore, questionnaire will enable the research to collect relevant data from participants that will assist in determining how the customers perceived hotel website interactivity impact on the customers booking intention. Because convenience sampling will be used, this makes questionnaire an ideal instrument of collecting data during the research. Lastly, as noted by Palacious and Evans (2013), the use of questionnaire enhances data collection from participants because it allows the participant to completely express themselves while maintaining an anonymous status. This as well minimises the chances of bias during data collection as participants are given their own private space to respond to the study questions thus enabling them to respond appropriately to the questions.

3.5 Data Collection

In order to establish the impact of perceived website interactivity to customers booking intention the research uses NUO hotel as a point of focus. The hotel is located in Beijing and it is preferred for the research because it is among the Hotels with well-established website that enables customers to view the services offered and even make bookings online (NUO Hotel, 2017). These characteristics with the inclusion of the fact that the Hotel support and encourage research aimed at improving service delivery in hospitality business makes it an appropriate case study for this research (NUO Hotel, 2017).

The survey objects entailed customers of NUO Hotel Beijing as their participation was deemed appropriate to achieve the research aim. To access the customers, the researcher logged in the social site of the hotel. Specifically, Sina Weibo was found appropriate as the hotel has many fans in that site. The research communicated with the fans through a private message explaining the research aim and objectives and then requesting them to willingly participate in the survey. Besides, the customers were assured that no personal information will be collected and the information obtained will be used for the purpose of this research and other use whatsoever. Using the same Sina Weibo platform, the researcher distributed the questionnaires to the willing participants, and then asked them to return them through the same platform, which offer the features to do that. Through this, the researcher was able to collect 160 valid questionnaires.

3.6 Data Analysis

The analysis of the data collected using questionnaire survey will be analysed using statistical methods. Statistical methods such as frequency, mean value and scatter plot analysis are utilised to analyse the data collected. Correlation analysis will as well be used to establish how the independent variables impact on the dependant variable. Frequency analysis will be used to analyse warm questions and demographic information of customers. In establishing the average number of people who make bookings in the hotel as a result of the interactivity of the website will be achieved using the mean analysis. Scatter plot diagram and correlation coefficient analysis will assist the research to establish the relationship between the independent variable of the research and the dependent variables thus enabling the research to achieve its aims and objectives.

3.7 Research Validity and Reliability

The validity of this research is anchored on the keenness to details that researchers are expected to adhere to during the research. The keenness is well evident with the techniques involved in doing the research particularly in the methodology chapter. Additionally, adopting quantitative approach of research and using questionnaire as an instrument of collecting data will enhance the accuracy of the data collected (Punch and Oancea 2014). Using statistical method of analysing the data collected will as well eliminate errors and bias during data analysis and interpretation (Punch and Oancea 2014).

3.8 Research Ethics

Throughout the research, ethical consideration continues to be observed and so is during data collection and analysis. Firstly, before the customers are involved in the research as participants, their informed consent will be solicited first in order to ensure that the participants are not involved in the research against their will. This will be achieved by disclosing the research aim and objectives to the study participants and ensure that they willingly participate without coercion. Besides, the information collected from participants will not be diverted to other uses apart from the sore use in achieving the research aim and objectives.

3.9 Research limitations

Various factors are likely to interfere with the successful completion of this research as planned. This research is faced with two limitations. Firstly, the research only collected 164 questionnaires and this sample size is not enough to adequately represent the huge number of hotels in China. As such, the small sample size will negatively impact the reliability of the research findings. Besides, this research relies on the questionnaire alone as the data collection tools. Even though this tool is effective in collecting large amount of data, the data collected is not intense as it lacks depth, which in turn negatively affect the validity of the research conclusion.

3.10 Summary

In conclusion, the research is quantitative in nature hence the technique used in sampling and collecting data are quantitative in nature. Questionnaire is the data collection instrument that is used in the research to collect the needed data. The instrument is preferred because it is in line with quantitative research approach design and as well is in line with the convenient sampling technique that will be used during the collection of data. Further, this research observes various ethics including informing participants of the research aim and objectives and requesting them to participate willingly. Nevertheless, this research shows some limitations including the use of questionnaire alone and the small sample size used to collect data.


Chapter 4: Data Analysis

4.1 Introduction

This chapter contains the key findings and sufficient analysis of the secondary data of the research on the impact of perceived website interactivity on hotel booking intention, using the case of NUO Hotel Beijing as a case example. The findings and analysis are based on the research objectives. The chapter concludes with a summary of the key findings.

4.2 Basic demographic information of the respondent

Figure 4-1: Basic demographic information of the research respondents

Judging from figure 4-1 above, the male respondents acount for a larger proportion compared the femaile counterparts. Secondly, from figure 4-1 above, it can also be found that the respondents falling under the age group of 26-35 years old were the most (accounting for 29.38% f the respondents). With regards to education level, figure 4-1 above shows that the majority of the respondents have attained masters. Lastly, as for monthly income, the findings in figure 4-1 above shows that the respondents with an income ranging between 30,001 and 40,000 RMB accounted for the largest proportion.

Figure 4-2: Booking NUO Hotel Beijing through a website

From figure 4-2 above, it can be argued that 160 respondents (who filled in the valid questionnaires) agreed that they had once or more booked NUO Hitel Beijing through their website in the past.

Figure 4-3: Reasons for booking hotels online

Based on figure 4-3 above, it can be argued that the aspect of convinience in NUO Hotel Beijing influences customers to book the hotel online the most more than other aspects such as curiosity, better price, and services not available offline.

Figure 4.4: How long consumers have used hotel websites to book for hotel visits

From figure 4-4 above, it can be noted that most customers had used NUO Hotel Beijing website to book the hotel visits between one to two years, followed by six to twelve months.

Figure 4-4: Thoughts on the hotel booking through websites

Based pon the findings in figure 4-4 above, it can be noted that customers believe that it is very trustworthy to book through NUO Hotel Beijing website.

Figure 4.5: Most paid attention aspects when booking hotels through a website

From figure 4-5 above, it can be noted that customers pay most attention to the aspect of service quality when booking NUO Hotel Beijing through websites. However, the company needs to improve on the other aspects, for example, brand awareness, hotel price, hotel products, and quality of online reviews in order to make its website more attractive.

4.3 Descriptive statistics analysis

4.3.1 Two way communication

Figure 4.6: Two-way communication

Based on the findings in figure 4.6 above on the aspect of two-way communication, the statement ‘NUO Hotel Beijing website allows comparison and testimonial by other consumers’ scored the highest mean, an indication that the company performs well on that aspect. However, the same figure shows that the statement ‘there is variety of information in the website of NUO Hotel Beijing’ scored the lowest mean, an indication that the hotel performs poorly on that aspect.

4.3.2 Responsiveness

Figure 4-7: Responsiveness

From figure 4-7 above on the aspect of responsiveness, the statement ‘customer inquiries are responded to promptly on the website’ scored the highest mean, and indication that NUO Hotel Beijing performs well on that aspect. However, the same figure shows that the statement ‘NUO Hotel Beijing website offers simplistic process for returning visitors’ had the lowest mean, an implication that the hotel performs poorly on that aspect.

4.3.3 Perceived social presence

Figure 4-8: Perceived social presence

From figure 4-8 above on perceived social presence, the statement ‘’there is a sense of human contact on NUO Hotel Beijing website’ scored the highest mean, an indication that the hotel performs well on that aspect. However the statement in figure 4-8 ‘users of NUO Htel Beijing website shares a common bond with other members visiting the website’ had the lowest mean, an indication that the company performs poorly on that aspect.

4.3.4 Perceived ease of use

Figure 4-9: Perceived ease of use

In figure 4-9 above on perceived ease of use, the statement ‘my interaction with NUO Hotel Beijing website is clear and understandable’ scored the highest mean, and indication that the hotel performs well on that aspect. However, the statement ‘I consider NUO Hotel Beijingwebsite as a user friendly website’ scored the lowest mean, an indication that the hotel performs poorly on that aspect.

4.3.5 Customer booking intention

Figure 4-9: Customer booking intention

From figure 4-9 regarding customer booking intention above, the statement ‘I will recommend to my friends to book NUO Hotel Beijing through their website’ scored the highest mean. However, the statement ‘I will continue to book NUO Hotel Beijing through their website in the future’ scored the lowest mean, an indication that the hotel performs poorly in influencing its customers to opt for website booking.

4.4 Trend analysis

4.4.1 The influence of responsiveness on customers’ hotel booking intentions

Figure 4-10: Correlation between responsiveness and customers’ hotel booking intentions

From figure 4-10 above, the horizontal axis (x-axis) is responsiveness, while the vertical axis (y-axis) is customer booking intention. According to the figure the scatter plots are evenly distributed along the black trend line, and equally important, at the two ends of the black trend line. This indicates that there is a strong linear, positive correlation between responsive and customer hotel booking intention. This correlation is illustrated in the form of this linear equation; customer booking intentions=0.621 responsiveness +1.248.

4.4.2 The influence of two-way communication on customers’ hotel booking intentions

Figure 4-11: Correlation between two-way communication and customers’ hotel booking intentions

From figure 4-11 above, the horizontal axis (x-axis) is two-way communication, while the vertical axis (y-axis) is customer booking intention. According to the figure the scatter plots are evenly distributed along the black trend line, and equally important, at the two ends of the black trend line. This indicates that there is a strong linear, positive correlation between two-way traffic communication and customer hotel booking intention. This correlation is illustrated in the form of this linear equation; customer booking intentions=0.895 two-way communication +1.293.

4.4.3 The influence of perceived social presence on customers’ hotel booking intentions

Figure 4-12: Correlation between perceived social presence and customers’ hotel booking intentions

From figure 4-12 above, the horizontal axis (x-axis) is perceived social presence, while the vertical axis (y-axis) is customer booking intention. Based on this figure, the scatter plots are distributed evenly along the black trend line, and equally important, at the two ends of the black trend line. This indicates that there is a strong linear, positive correlation between perceived social presence and customer hotel booking intention. This correlation is illustrated in the form of this linear equation; customer booking intentions=0.725 perceived social presence + 0.951.

4.4.4 The influence of perceived ease of use on customers’ hotel booking intentions

Figure 4-13: Correlation between perceived ease of use and customers’ hotel booking intentions

From figure 4-10 above, the horizontal axis (x-axis) is perceived ease of use, while the vertical axis (y-axis) is customer booking intention. According to the figure the scatter plots are evenly distributed along the black trend line, and equally important, at the two ends of the black trend line. This indicates that there is a strong linear, positive correlation between perceived ease of use and customer hotel booking intention. This correlation is illustrated in the form of this linear equation; customer booking intentions=0.234 perceived ease of use + 2.674.

4.5 Chapter summary

Most people in Beijing search for information in hotel company websites before booking hotels. The aspect of convinience influences customers to book hotels online because it allows customers to book hotels online at any time and place without the hustle of visiting travel agencies or making lengthy phone calls. Customers pay most attention to the aspect of service quality when booking hotels through websites. The level of perceived ease of use, responsiveness, two-way communication, and perceived social presence form a critical part in determining the level of website influence on consumers’ booking intentions in the hotel industry.


Chapter 5: Discussion

5.1 Introduction

This chapter provides a discussion for the empirical research and recommendations for NUO Hotel Beijing based on the evaluation and critique of the data collected and the predominant themes identified in the research on the impact of perceived website interactivity on hotel booking intention. The discussion is based on the research objectives. It concludes with a brief summary of the chapter’s key findings.

5.2 Discussion

5.2.1 Discussion of the demographic information of the respondent

Gender, Age, Education, and Income

Male respondents acount for a larger proportion compared the femaile counterparts in Beijing. This is attributed to the fact that male prefer eating in hotels while female want or prefer cooking food at their homes. Secondly, The respondents falling under the age group of 26-35 years old prefer more to visit or make hotel researvations compared to those in other age groups. This is attributed to the fact that most people falling into that age group are bachelors and spinsiters who may be having less time to cook at their homes due to work and studies or are in the age of dating and prefer hotels to their homes. With regards to education level, the majority of the respondents have attained Masters, followed by those with Degrees. The differences in education levels amongst respondents is a reflection of the characteristics of the entire Beijing population. Lastly, as for monthly income, respondents with an income ranging between 30,001 and 40,000 RMB accounted for the largest proportion. This is attributed to the fact that in comparison, the prices of foods and drinks in Beijing hotels are at middle level. It is also be attributed to the fact that the consumers with an income ranging between 30,001 and 40,000 RMB are the major customers in the hotel industry.

Booking NUO Hotel Beijing through a website

Most people in Beijing search for information in hotel company websites before booking hotels. As such, NUO Hotel Beijing should offer more comprehensive information in its attractive website in order to attract and maintain visitors because attractive, detailed, and comprehensive websites attract and influence visitors’ booking intentions.

Reasons for booking hotels online

The aspect of convinience in NUO Hotel Beijing influences customers to book the hotel online the most. This is for instance attributed to the fact that customers can book hotels online at any time and place without the hustle of visiting travel agencies or making lengthy phone calls. However, NUO Hotel Beijing should improve on other aspects such as curiosity, better price, and services not available offline which also influence visitors to book hotels online. For instance the hotel can set favourable prices for the hotel services and products in order to influence more online booking.

How long consumers have used hotel websites to book for hotel visits

Most hotel companies started using their websites to enable customers to book online in not more than 2 years ago. Currently, hotels need to focus on website to attract visitors’ booking intentions by for example, making it more attractive and appealing to viewers in terms of convinience, price, and curiosity, among others.

Thoughts on the hotel booking through websites

Customers believe that it is trustworthy to book a hotel through websites. This is for example, because the information provided in hotel websites reflects exactly what the hotel offers, and that the company cannot offer false information because it can risk closure or poor performance.

Most paid attention aspects when booking hotels through a website

Customers pay most attention to the aspect of service quality when booking through websites because the core reasons that influence visitors to book are service-related, for example; speaking to researvation officers or clerks, inquiring about hotel room rates, room availability, payment options, and privacy (not leaking personal information or details), among others. However, it is equally important for hotel companies to improve on the other aspects that companies pay attention to, for example, brand awareness, hotel price, hotel products, and quality of online reviews in order to make its website more attractive.

5.2.2 Discussion of the descriptive statistics analysis

5.2.2.1 Two way communication

NUO Hotel Beijing website gives the company a competitive two-way communication advantage in terms of allowing consumers to compare and testify their experiences, and the hotel’s services and products. For instance, the company’s website has customer reviews comparing the hotel’s experience with others and providing testimonials about their experience at the hotel. However, the company performs worst in terms of providing a variety of information in its website. This indicates that the hotel performs poorly on that aspect. It is therefore advisable for the hotel to ensure that it provides detailed, simple, and comprehensive information in its website in order to influence customers’ booking intentions.

5.2.2.2 Responsiveness

NUO Beijing Hotel performes will in the aspect of responsiveness in terms of responding to customers’ inquiries promptly on the website. This implies that the company has a dedicated customer care staff that operate in shifts to ensure that the customers issues or questions are responded promptly 24/7. However, the hotel performs poorly in the aspect of responsiveness in terms of offering simplistic process for returning visitors. Therefore, it is wise for the company to increase the number of visitors in its website by for example, introducing gamifaction techniques to make its returning visitors engaged and creating special incentives and deals to encourage them to reconnect with the hotel through customised discounts.

5.2.2.3 Perceived social presence

With regards to perceived social presence, NUO Hotel Beijing performs the best in terms of integrating a sense of human contact in its website. One of the reasons behind this is that the hotel’s website offers visitors an opportunity to interact with its staff and other visitors. However, the company performs poorly in terms of its website sharing a common bond with other members visiting its website. The hotel can improve on this by for example, using its website as an interactive dimension to ensure connectedness between its staff and visitors, and amongst visitors or including social presence aspects in website through incorporation of website features such as email and after-sale service and support, creation of virtual groups and communities and chats, message board and human assistance online. It can also be improved by by providing a social connection among the users, as this build up the trust as a cognitive relationship is established within the site which positively influences purchase intention or booking from the commercial sites.

5.2.2.4 Perceived ease of use

With regards to perceived ease of use, NUO Hotel Beijing performs best in terms of ensuring that its website is clear and understandable. For instance, the hotel’s website is simple and easy to be understood by its customers. However, it performs worst in terms of offering a user friendly website, an indication that the hotel performs poorly on that aspect. The hotel can improve on this aspect by, for example, ensuring that its website has well-formatted content or information that is easy to scan, and effective navigation to enhance website usability. It can also introduce the search tools of which type of information to be accessed about aspects such as the product features and the benefits sought or increase the customer's access to online decision-making techniques and tools will increase the positive online shopping towards that site

5.2.2.5 Customer booking intention

Most customers of NUO Hotel Beijing recommend to their friends to book the hotel through its website. This for instance attributed to the fact that the hotel has put in place promotions measures that enhances good word of mouth in its customers (referring families and friends to visit the hotel). However, it performs worst in terms of motivating its employees to book through the company’s website in the future. Based on this, it is advisable for NUO Hotel Beijing improve its customer website booking intentions by for example, ensuring effectiveness in its website in terms of responsiveness, perceived social presence, perceived ease of use, and two-way communication.

5.2.3 Discussion of the Trend analysis

5.2.3.1 The influence of responsiveness on customers’ hotel booking intentions

There exist a strong relationship between responsive and customer hotel booking intention. The ability of hotel companies to use their website to respond promptly to their customers’ issues and concerns enables them to positively influence their website booking intentions. On th other hand, failure to respond promptly to issues and concerns of customers can negatively affect customers’ company website booking intentions. These two statements match with the findings of Aluri et al. (2015) who explains that a fast response elicits and promotes a greater perception of the interactivity on the website and continued future utilisation for online bookings of repurchase through such sites. They are also echoed by Barreda et al. (2016) who notes that perceived responsiveness is closely related to the information timeliness and that quick response to the clients will be regarded as timely information to the clients.

5.2.3.2 The influence of two-way communication on customers’ hotel booking intentions

There exist a strong relationship between two-way communication and customers’ hotel booking intentions. This is because the extent and the manner in which the messages are all interconnected and their relations in addition to the user’s ability to received feedback from the site determine the level of influencing customer booking intentions. This postulation is supported by the findings of Huang et al. (2013) who reported that two-way communication enhances the convenience in accessing additional information and consequently improves the customers’ satisfaction towards the sites as portrayed by future visitations to purchase or making bookings. It is also echoed by Nguyen et al. (2016) who noted that a bidirectional communication pathway allows and enhances better information provision to customers in forms of personal recommendations and provision from the expert advice.

5.2.3.3 The influence of perceived social presence on customers’ hotel booking intentions

There exist a close relationship between perceived social presence and customers’ hotel booking intentions. For instance, hotel companies influence booking intentions by providing opportunities for customers to interact with staff and other customers through website features such as email and after-sale service and support, creation of virtual groups and communities and chats, message board and human assistance online. Other social interactive techniques include; provision of rich social content through personalisation of greetings, human audio and videos and taking-face displays. This is because such platforms build up the trust as a cognitive relationship is established within the site which positively influences visitors’ booking intentions. However, failure to provide such interactive features in hotel companies’ websites can negatively impact the booking intentions of visitors. These postulations are echoed by Wang et al. (2012) who postulate that the social presence aspects can be provided in website through incorporation of website features such as email and after-sale service and support, creation of virtual groups and communities and chats, message board and human assistance online. The discussion above are also supported by Jensen et al. (2014) who explains that by providing a social connection among the users, this build up the trust as a cognitive relationship is established within the site which positively influences purchase intention or booking from the commercial sites.it is also supported by Cui et al. (2013) who highlight that instilling a sense of human touch and warmth and sociability can be reached through providing actual interaction with other people or through stimulating the imagination of user interacting on the online platforms.

5.2.3.4 The influence of perceived ease of use on customers’ hotel booking intentions

There exist a strong relationship between perceived ease of use and customers’ hotel booking intentions. Hotel companies positively influence the booking intentions of visitors or customers by incorporating different elements and tools that make it easier for customers to use their websites. This may for example include; ensuring websites enable users to easily access information, providing language options on websites, and introducing the search tools of which type of information to be accessed about aspects such as the product features and the benefits sought. This statement is supported by Adbullah et al. (2017) who assert that the extent to which customers feel that the online booking is not difficult to adopt and is free from any effort in using it determines the level of influence a website has in terms of consumers’ booking intentions. It is also echoed by Shipps and Phillips (2013) who state that the perceived ease of use can be facilitated by an online platform through introducing different elements and tools that will make it easier to use a website.

5.3 Chapter summary

The four constructs of two-way communication, responsiveness, perceived social presence and perceived ease of use have a significant impact on online booking intentions. The four variables directly influence the intention of the consumers to use online booking platform. These four constructs positively impact on the satisfaction of the consumer which can consequently cultivate loyalty that can promote future repurchase intentions. However, failure to effectively implement the four constructs can negatively affect booking intentions.


Chapter 6: Conclusion

6.1 The influence of two-way communication on customers’ hotel booking intentions

There exist a strong relationship between two-way communication and customers’ hotel booking intentions. This is because the extent and the manner in which the messages are all interconnected and their relations in addition to the user’s ability to received feedback from the site determine the level of influencing customer booking intentions. Two-way communication enhances the convenience in accessing additional information and consequently improves the customers’ satisfaction towards the sites as portrayed by future visitations to purchase or making bookings. A bidirectional communication pathway allows and enhances better information provision to customers in forms of personal recommendations and provision from the expert advice.

NUO Hotel Beijing website gives the company a competitive two-way communication advantage in terms of allowing consumers to compare and testify their experiences, and the hotel’s services and products. For instance, the company’s website has customer reviews comparing the hotel’s experience with others and providing testimonials about their experience at the hotel. However, the company performs worst in terms of providing a variety of information in its website. It is therefore advisable for the hotel to ensure that it provides detailed, simple, and comprehensive information in its website in order to influence customers’ booking intentions.

6.2 Responsiveness

There exist a strong relationship between responsive and customer hotel booking intention. The ability of hotel companies to use their website to respond promptly to their customers’ issues and concerns enables them to positively influence their website booking intentions. However, failure to respond promptly to issues and concerns of customers can negatively affect customers’ company website booking intentions. A fast response elicits and promotes a greater perception of the interactivity on the website and continued future utilisation for online bookings of repurchase through such sites. Perceived responsiveness is closely related to the information timeliness and that quick response to the clients will be regarded as timely information to the clients.

NUO Beijing Hotel performes well in the aspect of responsiveness in terms of responding to customers’ inquiries promptly on the website. For instance, the company has a dedicated customer care staff that operate in shifts to ensure that the customers issues or questions are responded promptly 24/7. However, the hotel performs poorly in the aspect of responsiveness in terms of offering simplistic process for returning visitors. Therefore, it is wise for the company to increase the number of visitors in its website by for example, introducing gamifaction techniques to make its returning visitors engaged and creating special incentives and deals to encourage them to reconnect with the hotel through customised discounts.

6.2 The influence of perceived ease of use on customers’ hotel booking intentions

There exist a strong relationship between perceived ease of use and customers’ hotel booking intentions. Hotel companies positively influence the booking intentions of visitors or customers by incorporating different elements and tools that make it easier for customers to use their websites. This may for example include; ensuring websites enable users to easily access information, providing language options on websites, and introducing the search tools of which type of information to be accessed about aspects such as the product features and the benefits sought. The extent to which customers feel that the online booking is not difficult to adopt and is free from any effort in using it determines the level of influence a website has in terms of consumers’ booking intentions.

With regards to perceived ease of use, NUO Hotel Beijing performs best in terms of ensuring that its website is clear and understandable. For instance, the hotel’s website is simple and easy to be understood by its customers. However, it performs worst in terms of offering a user friendly website, an indication that the hotel performs poorly on that aspect. The hotel can improve on this aspect by, for example, ensuring that its website has well-formatted content or information that is easy to scan, and effective navigation to enhance website usability.

6.4 The influence of perceived social presence on customers’ hotel booking intentions

There exist a close relationship between perceived social presence and customers’ hotel booking intentions. For instance, hotel companies influence booking intentions by providing opportunities for customers to interact with staff and other customers through website features such as email and after-sale service and support, creation of virtual groups and communities and chats, message board and human assistance online. Other social interactive techniques include; provision of rich social content through personalisation of greetings, human audio and videos and taking-face displays. This is because such platforms build up the trust as a cognitive relationship is established within the site which positively influences visitors’ booking intentions. However, failure to provide such interactive features in hotel companies’ websites can negatively impact the booking intentions of visitors. The aspect of social presence can be provided in website through incorporation of website features such as email and after-sale service and support, creation of virtual groups and communities and chats, message board and human assistance online. By providing a social connection among the users, this build up the trust as a cognitive relationship is established within the site which positively influences purchase intention or booking from the commercial sites.

With regards to perceived social presence, NUO Hotel Beijing performs the best in terms of integrating a sense of human contact in its website. One of the reasons behind this is that the hotel’s website offers visitors an opportunity to interact with its staff and other visitors. However, the company performs poorly in terms of its website sharing a common bond with other members visiting its website. The hotel can improve on this by for example, using its website as an interactive dimension to ensure connectedness between its staff and visitors, and amongst visitors.

6.5 Customer booking intention

Most customers of NUO Hotel Beijing recommend to their friends to book the hotel through its website. This is attributed to the fact that the hotel has put in place promotions measures that enhances good word of mouth in its customers (referring families and friends to visit the hotel). However, it performs worst in terms of motivating its employees to book through the company’s website in the future. Based on this, it is advisable for NUO Hotel Beijing improve its customer website booking intentions by for example, ensuring effectiveness in its website in terms of responsiveness, perceived social presence, perceived ease of use, and two-way communication.


Chapter 7: Recommendations

7.1 Improving two-way communication to influence customers’ hotel booking intentions

The website NUO Hotel Beijing performs worst in terms of providing a variety of information. It is therefore advisable for the hotel to ensure that it provides detailed, simple, and comprehensive information in its website in order to influence customers’ booking intentions. It can also improve on the challenge through communication with organisation experts through online live chats, which is likely to increase the user's satisfaction and in turn increase recurrent future visit to find information, make purchases or bookings using the hotel’s website. Thirdly, the company can solve the challenge its has by providing online chats even amongst the consumers as this plays a critical role in influencing the usage and visitation of websites. The company’s website should also facilitate communication with amongst customers as this can also increase more usage of a website as they are viewed as trustworthy in providing accurate information through reviews and testimonials on the products or service provided by the organisation. Lastly, NUO Hotel Beijing should enhance convenience in terms of accessing additional information because this consequently improves the customers’ satisfaction towards sites as portrayed by future visitations to purchase or make bookings. Bidirectional communication pathway allows and enhances better information provision to the customers in form of personal recommendations and provision from the expert advice.

7.2 Improving responsiveness to positively influence booking intentions in hotels

NUO Beijing Hotel performs poorly in the aspect of responsiveness in terms of offering simplistic process for returning visitors. Therefore, it is wise for the company to increase the number of visitors in its website by for example, introducing gamifaction techniques to make its returning visitors engaged and creating special incentives and deals to encourage them to reconnect with the hotel through customised discounts. It can also enhance direct communication with regard to their inquiry, complaint or feedback through direct chats, calls or through email response.

7.3 Improving perceived ease of use to influence customers’ hotel booking intentions

With regards to perceived ease of use, NUO Hotel Beijing performs worst in terms of offering a user friendly website, an indication that the hotel performs poorly on that aspect. The hotel can improve on this aspect by, for example, ensuring that its website has well-formatted content or information that is easy to scan, and effective navigation to enhance website usability. It can also increase the customer's access to online decision-making techniques and tools or introduce the search tools of which type of information can be accessed about aspects such as the product features and the benefits sought or increase the customer's access to online decision-making techniques and tools to increase the positive online shopping towards that site. Ease of use can further be created through making it easy for consumers to understand any information being given on the site. For instance, this can be achieved through providing users with the option to choose any language they can use, for example, English French, German, Korean or Chinese or Japanese) as a way of attracting and also accommodating international customers. It can also provide users with the ability to receive customised messages and information regarding specific products or events as a way of facilitating easy utilisation of the process of purchase of the product or navigation on the ecommerce platform.

7.4 Improving perceived social presence to influence customers’ hotel booking intentions

With regards to perceived social presence, NUO Hotel Beijing performs poorly in terms of its website sharing a common bond with other members visiting its website. The hotel can improve on this by for example, using its website as an interactive dimension to ensure connectedness between its staff and visitors, and amongst visitors or or including social presence aspects in website through incorporation of website features such as email and after-sale service and support, creation of virtual groups and communities and chats, message board and human assistance online. It can also be improved by providing a social connection among the users, as this build up the trust as a cognitive relationship is established within the site which positively influences purchase intention or booking from the commercial sites. The other imaginary interactions that can be provided to the consumers to enhance more visitations and sharing common bonds to the sites include provision of rich social content through personalisation of greetings, human audio and videos and taking-face displays. NUO Hotel Beijing can also improve on the challenge by using text and picture contents to convey a personal presence and the choice of picture and language will help in creating a sense of psychological warmth and closeness and encourage the users to engage more on the websites. This is because texts that enhance and prompts the imagination of the users evoke elaborate feelings of pleasure and fantasy involving the use of the products, which in turn positively influence customers to make booking intentions online.

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