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Destination management system

Destination Management Systems are systems that consolidate and distribute a comprehensive range of tourism products through a variety of channels and platforms, generally catering for a specific region, and supporting the activities of a destination management organisation within that region. DMS attempt to utilise a customer centric approach in order to manage and market the destination as a holistic entity, typically providing strong destination related information, real-time reservations, destination management tools and paying particular attention to supporting small and independent tourism suppliers.

Frew, A.J. and Horan, P (2007) Destination Website Effectiveness A Delphi Study-based eMetric Approach, Proceedings of the Hospitality Information Technology Association Conference, HITA 07, Orlando, USA

Following on from the above definition it can be seen that a DMS is far more than just a website or online booking system. It provides a complete set of tourism management, promotion and fulfilment tools with product, business and visitor databases as its foundation.

As a minimum, a DMS platform must provide the following core modules:

Product Management

Enquiry Management

Visitor CRM

Business CRM

Management Reporting

Web sites and Visitor Centres are the 2 most obvious channels through which tourism product is made available. However, in this increasingly digital world, applications are required to deliver visitor information through a whole range of other devices including kiosks, mobile handsets and hotel TV.

In order to support the full range of activities of a DMO, it has been necessary to develop a whole suite of additional modules that can be upgraded to as and when required. These are being added to on a regular basis as technology and our clients needs dictate.

Product management
The cornerstone of any DMO strategy is immediate access to rich and accurate data for all known tourism provider stock as this is the raw material with which you will market your destination across all media.

Therefore it is vital that each destination has a central repository of this data. The task of maintaining this information is considerable and continuous and it is imperative that you have the most advanced suite of tools to make the process as painless as possible.

At the heart of the DMS is the Tourism Product Database. This database holds information about all accommodation, places to visit, events and tourist facilities that are likely to be of interest to visitors planning a holiday in your destination.

The New Mind Product Management System (PMS) is a very sophisticated module not only covering the core provider types of Accommodation, Events, Attractions, Eating and drinking but the whole range of products in a destination, such as Conferences and Weddings Venues, Activities, Entertainment, Facilities, Retail, Transport, Towns and Villages and Beaches etc.

This module provides data stewards with unprecedented control, not only over the collection and maintenance of the provider data but also the many and varied means by which this data is published to the outside world.

Each record in the Tourism Product Database has a Product Type (Accommodation, Attraction, Event, Eating Out etc). Each Product Type has a set of information that makes up the full record - Description, Facilities, Contacts, Opening Hours, Prices and Images. The DMS allows you to directly input information on your hotel, B&B, attraction, event or tour etc., into one system that is then held in one database. This information can be updated at any time through a web browser interface.

Availability management and online bookings


An important goal of any DMO is to facilitate real-time online bookings for its providers and the key to this is up-to-date information about room availability. This information however is not necessarily available from a single source.

One of the key differentiators of our solution is the range and effectiveness of the online booking options available. There are actually 3 different methods that a provider can use to enter availability into the system. The one they prefer will depend on their individual circumstance but giving a choice greatly increases the participation of the trade in the DMS project.

The 3 methods are:

Allocated Bookings

When the accommodation provider has offered rooms on an Allocated basis, it means that the visitor can book the rooms in real-time without manual intervention.

Indicative Bookings

When the Indicative method is used, then the provider must first confirm electronically that the room is still available for sale before the booking can progress to its final transactional phase. NB. Bath Tourism used this facility in conjunction with Blackberry handsets enabling their providers to participate in online bookings whilst they were away from the hotel.

True Real-time Booking

The ultimate situation with online bookings is reached when the tourist board effectively has access to the entire inventory of the accommodation provider. The most advanced product of this kind on the market is the Frontdesk system from eviivo and New Mind has partnered with eviivo in order to make this system available to its clients as part of the overall DMS solution.

The eviivo Frontdesk product is an integrated system that enables a product provider to set-up and sell rooms through a range of online and offline channels without having to make any allocations.

In the Allocated and Indicative methods, the provider logs on to theAvailability Extranet and updates the rooms they wish to sell and at what price. The DMS and web sites are then able to sell these rooms, decrementing the stock as they do so. There is no syncing of data to be done here as the updating of availability is a manual process by the reservation manager at the establishment.

Where the provider is operating the frontdesk solution, the DMS polls the frontdesk central availability database. All instances of frontdesk are connected to this so the booking is actually made directly onto the providers own system in real-time i.e. no data syncing is required for the booking to occur.

accommodation online booking


A key part of being able to sell accommodation stock through a destination site is being able to access provider availablity. The DMS offers an availability extranet for providers to facilitate the gathering of this information.

Each accommodation provider has direct access to the Availability Extranet, allowing them to manually update their room allocation as required and therefore building up a repository of available stock. The provider can indicate if this is a guaranteed or indicative allocation. The former means that the rooms can be sold directly to the public through the site, without any interventions.

The indicative method requires the provider to confirm availability before the room can be sold, and offers a flexible approach for establishments who still wish to take advantage of this sales channel without having to commit guaranteed stock.

In both of these methods, the provider simply logs into the extranet and can then update number of units, cost and basis against each of their room types for the current week. This information can then be copied simply from one week to the next, so the updating process is made simpler.

payment and settlement


For the DMO

The DMS is typically integrated with a 3rd Party payment provider such as Secure Trading for the processing of credit card transactions. The system takes the card and payment details at the time of booking and stores them in an encrypted format ready to be verified and processed.

The system is typically set up to process online bookings in real-time and call-centre/tic bookings via a batch process, although this is entirely configurable to the way in which the DMI wishes to operate.

Similarly, payments for providers using the Availability Extranet can be set up with a number of different payment models e.g. % of first night, % of whole stay, full payment up front etc. In the case of the 2 former options, the DMO would take the commission up front and the balance would be paid directly to the provider on checkout. In the case where full payment was taken, then reports exist to notify the provider how much they need to invoice the DMO for payment, less the commission and booking fees applied.

For Providers

Payment, Settlement and Banking Services are part of the overall solution, providing product providers with access to true e-commerce services in a less onerous fashion and at competitive merchant rates. Each product provider is set up as their own online merchant and with a 100% online payment model, businesses will benefit from improved cash flow as they receive the full value of the booking only 2 3 days after the transaction. eviivo manages the payment and settlement of all fees and commission owed to other parties including the DMO, simplifying an otherwise complex and difficult process.

e-Tourism and Destination Management Organisations


by Professor Dimitrios Buhalis Apr 2008

Browse this article:


Summary Introduction Advancing technologies Market size Changes in the way the Internet is used Destination responses to e-tourism growth Destination Management Systems Other destination information online The future for destinations and e-tourism References About the author

Summary
This article looks at the effect of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) on Destination Management Organisations (DMOs). It outlines how recent developments in ICTs (and the Internet in particular) have changed the way tourists interact with DMOs, and gives details of how innovative DMOs are responding.

It covers:

market size for use of new technologies in gathering information and for booking travel the changes in consumers' use of ICTs and how new organisations and technologies are being produced to respond to these changes DMOs use of Destination Management Systems to help meet changing consumer demand what successful DMOs will need to do to meet the future of e-tourism.

Introduction
Developments in Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), and the Internet in particular, have led to dramatic changes in the business world in the last decade. Products have been reshaped, and more importantly the nature of the competition has changed. Where ICTs have a significant role in determining relative cost position or differentiation, entire industries are affected.

ICTs change the entire economic system dramatically, and organisations and governments need to constantly update their business models and enhance their competitiveness through new technological tools [1]. The digital revolution that was introduced by the Internet, Intranet and Extranets provides unprecedented and unforeseen opportunities for

productivity improvements interactive management dynamic marketing.

Advancing technologies
Significant developments include the proliferation of broadband connections, and the availability of wireless networks through WiFi, UMTS, Bluetooth and increasingly WiMax technologies. Adoption of these leads to a situation where technology will prevail over all organisational functions and human interactions. This gradually introduces a seamless environment of computing, advanced networking technology and specific interfaces which should:

be aware of the specific characteristics of human presence and personalities adapt to the needs of users be capable of responding intelligently to spoken or gestured indications of desire possibly even result in systems that are capable of engaging in intelligent dialogue. [2,3,4]

As a result, best operational and strategic practices are changing on a global level, altering the competitiveness of enterprises and regions around the world. Destinations, governments, organisations and citizens need to appreciate these developments. They will need to undertake a comprehensive review in order to understand the potential offered by new ICTs and reengineer their offering, data and processes to enhance their competitiveness [5].

Changes in tourism demand


Tourism demand is moving online and is increasing in sophistication. The Internet enables travellers to access reliable and accurate information, and make reservations using a fraction of the time, cost and inconvenience required by conventional methods. It improves the service quality and contributes to a higher tourist satisfaction.

ICTs are needed due to the rapid growth in volume of travellers, as well as the requirements for personalised, complex, specialised and quality products. Increasingly consumers use commercial and non-commercial Internet sites for planning, searching, reserving, purchasing and amending their tourism products. Internet users can also get immediate confirmation and quickly receive travel documents, which means prospective travellers can book at the 'last minute'.

The use of ICTs is therefore driven by the development of complex demands, as well as by the rapid expansion and increases in sophistication of new products, which tend to address niche market segments. There is evidence that e-tourism has already taken off in several countries.

Market size
The size of the online market has increased dramatically in the last ten years and most of the developed world is now connected. The 2007 Computer Industry Almanac [6] demonstrated that the worldwide number of Internet users surpassed 1.2 billion at the end of 2006, as demonstrated in table 1. This is up from:

only 2 million plus in 1990 45 million in 1995 430 million in 2000.

Worldwide yearly increase in Internet users is projected to be between 140 million and 145 million in the next five years, which means the 2 billion mark will be passed in 2011 or 2012. As most of the developed world is reaching a plateau, with penetration of more than 70%, much of current and future Internet user growth is coming from populous countries especially Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

In the next decade many Internet users will be supplementing PC Internet usage with Smartphone, mobile phone and mobile device Internet usage. In developing countries many new Internet users will be using these technologies.

Worldwide pattern of use


The US continues to lead with over 210 million Internet users at year-end 2006. The two most populous countries China and India are now in 2nd and 4th place in Internet users. Other populous countries such as Brazil, Russia and Indonesia have also moved into the top 15 ranking [7].

Table 1 demonstrates that still only 18.2% of the world population is connected. However as mentioned above, most of the developed countries enjoy penetration levels of about 70%, which means that if infants and the elderly are excluded it covers nearly the whole population. There is also a very high correlation between the level of Internet penetration per country and the number of outgoing tourists generated, demonstrating that developed countries with a large population of prospective travellers are now Internet enabled and supported. Table 1: Internet users worldwide in 2007 and penetration levels

Year 2007

Internet Users (M)

Share % of total Population (M) Penetration internet usage

1. USA 2. China 3. Japan 4. India 5. Germany 6. UK

210.2 131.1 90.9 67.6 50.3 39.7

17.3% 10.8% 7.5% 5.6% 4.1% 3.3% 2.9% 2.6% 2.6% 2.4% 2.3% 1.9% 1.9% 1.7% 1.5% 68.3% 100.0%

303.6 1332.9 127.8 1129.9 82.2 60.6 48.2 64.5 59.3 186.3 141.9 32.2 231.6 106.5 45.2 3952.7 6671.2

69.2% 9.8% 71.1% 6.0% 61.2% 65.5% 72.6% 49.6% 53.3% 15.8% 19.5% 72.4% 9.8% 19.3% 39.4% 21.0% 18.2%

7. South Korea 35 8. France 9. Italy 10. Brazil 11. Russia 12. Canada 13. Indonesia 14. Mexico 15. Spain Top 15 Countries WORLD TOTAL 32 31.6 29.5 27.6 23.3 22.7 20.6 17.8 829.9 1215.1

Adapted from: Computer Industry Almanac (http://www.c-i-a.com/pr0207.htm) and Wikipedia List of Countries by population (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_population)

Online travel sales


Online travel sales increased by 24% from 2006 to 2007 and reached EUR 49.4 billion in the European market in 2007 (see table 2) or 19.4% of the market (up from EUR 39.7 billion or 16% in 2006), as demonstrated in figure 1 [8]. During 2008 a further increase of about 18% to about EUR 58.4 billion may be expected (22.5% of the market). Table 2: Trends in overall online travel market size Europe 1998-2007 with projections to 2009

Europe Year 1998 1999 2000 2001

Market

Internet sales Internet sales Internet sales in % of market increase % 0.1% 0.4% 1.1% 2.3% N.A. 257% 216% 99%

(billion EUR) (billion EUR) 200 212 227 223 0.2 0.8 2.5 5.0

2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009

221 215 220 235 247 254 260 266

8.9 13.9 20.8 30.2 39.7 49.4 58.4 69.9

4.0% 6.5% 9.5% 12.9% 16.1% 19.4% 22.5% 25.2%

77% 56% 50% 45% 31% 24% 18% 15%

Source: Carl Marcussen, 2008, Trends in European Internet Distribution of Travel and Tourism Services (www.crt.dk/uk/staff/chm/trends.htm)

The European online travel market could increase by another 8.5 billion EUR or 15% in 2009 to reach EUR 67 billion. Figure 1 demonstrates that the UK accounted for 30% of the European online travel market in 2007, with Germany in second place at 19%. The direct sellers accounted for 65% of online sales in the European market in 2007, and intermediaries for 35%. Figure 1: Geographic breakdown for the European online travel market

Source: Carl Marcussen, 2008, Trends in European Internet Distribution of Travel and Tourism Services (www.crt.dk/uk/staff/chm/trends.htm)

In 2007 the breakdown of the market by type of service was as follows:

Air travel 57% Hotels (and other accommodations) 17% Package tours 14.5% Rail 7.5% Rental cars (and car ferries) 4% [9].

Changes in the way the Internet is used


Alongside the dramatic growth of the online market has been the change in quality of consumers' interactions with it. Tourists have become increasingly demanding, requesting high quality products and value for money.

New/experienced/sophisticated/demanding travellers rely heavily on the Internet to look for information on destinations and experiences, such as price and availability. They also use it to rapidly communicate their needs and wishes to tourism suppliers. The Internet provides:

access to transparent and easy-to-compare information on destinations, holiday packages, travel, lodging and leisure services information on real-time prices and availability.

New organisations
Experienced travellers are empowered by ICTs and use information and booking systems to improve their personal efficiency. A number of new organisations, such as Expedia, Travelocity, and Lastminute.com emerged in the late 1990s, empowering consumers to research their travel requirements. They gradually assumed a leading intermediation role on a global basis.

More recently the development of domain-specific search engines and meta-search engines such as Kelkoo and Kayak have introduced transparency in the marketplace [10].

Web 2.0
Perhaps one of the most interesting current developments is the development of Web 2.0, a term coined by O'Reilly (2005) that refers to a second generation of web-based services based on citizens/consumer generated content. These include social networking sites, blogs, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies, which emphasise online collaboration and information sharing among users [11].

Increasingly the Internet is becoming a platform of data, views, knowledge-creation and sharing which harness the network to get better information to all users. Consumer-generated content (through review portals such as Tripadvisor), multimedia sharing (such as panoramio.com), and blogs also develop content at an incredible speed and increase the level of information available on a global basis rapidly.

Relative use of information sources


In Europe, the Internet is now more than twice as important as travel agents as an information source, although the travel trade is still very important in terms of travel distribution, as demonstrated in table 3. According to IPK International's European Travel Monitor in 2006, the Internet was the premier information source used by European outbound travellers. Table 3: Information sources used by European outbound travellers

Source Internet Travel agency Friends/relatives Travel guide Travel brochure Newspaper Tourist office TV Other
Source: IPK Internationals European Travel Monitor in 2006

Percentage 45% 20% 17% 8% 7% 3% 2% 2% 5%

The effect on tourism organisations and destinations


Looking forward, successful tourism organisations will increasingly need to:

rapidly identify consumer needs interact with prospective clients by using comprehensive, personalised and up-to-date communication media for the design of products that satisfy tourism demand.

Destinations will need to use innovative communication methods in order to maintain and increase their competitiveness. They will also increasingly need to use Web 2.0 activities and engage dynamically with all the stakeholders who generate content for their regions and organisations.

Destination responses to e-tourism growth


ICT and Internet developments propel changes in the way local, regional, and national Destination Management Organisations (DMOs) interact with prospective travellers, businesses at destinations and distribution partners.

Public tourist organisations are traditionally involved in destinations' information provision and marketing. They:

undertake mass media advertising provide advisory services for consumers and the travel trade produce and distribute brochures, leaflets and guides both at destinations and at the places of origin of the tourists have the strategic responsibility of the entire destination.

DMOs need to take their role forward and use advanced ICTs to:

dynamically interact with consumers to provide advisories about their regions promote destinations globally handle complaints ensure that special groups such as disabled travellers are adequate served.

DMOs need to use ICTs to support tourist/customer experience before, during and after the visit. They can also be used to develop extensive value systems to engage all partners involved in the production and delivery of tourism. Co-ordination of all stakeholders at destinations is equally important.

DMOs also need to use ICTs to develop collaboration between public authorities and other governments to support better industry co-ordination. This will lead to a better understanding of each player's needs whilst enhancing the competitiveness of tourism operations at the macro level.

Destination Management Systems


In the last few years DMOs have realised that it is critical for competitiveness to develop their online presence. Tourists increasingly research their holidays online, so DMOs need to have an inspirational website that can encourage and facilitate tourist visitors. DMOs have been developing or using Destination Management Systems (DMSs) to undertake these functions.

Despite the fact that studies on destination-oriented systems have been traced back to as early as 1968 [12], it was not until the early 1990s that the concept of DMSs emerged [13]. DMSs support DMOs by administrating a wide range of requests and by providing information in an efficient and appropriate way [14].

Destinations can use Content Management Systems and powerful databases to manage information about their local resources and package them towards customer experiences. DMSs usually include a Product Database, a Customer Database and a mechanism to connect the two. The more advanced systems tend to include a number of additional services and features, as illustrated in table 4. Table 4: Features and services of destination management systems

Internal functions Customer/contact database management Customer relationship management functions

Customer Functions

Partner Functions

Information search - by Image library and PR category, geography, material for press keyword Itinerary planning for customer Publishing to electronic and traditional channels Access to third party sources, such as weather, transport timetables and travel planning, theatre and event ticket reservations

Market research and analysis

Reservations

Event planning and management Creation of themes Data editing and management Financial Management Performance evaluation Management information systems Economic impact analysis
Source: Based on WTO, 2001 [15]

Creation of marketplace

Ancillary services

Advantages of DMSs
DMSs increasingly use the Internet to provide interactive demonstrations of local amenities and attractions and to enable consumers to build their own itinerary based on their interests, requirements and constraints. In addition, DMSs facilitate the management of DMOs, as well as the co-ordination of the local suppliers at the destination level.

DMSs take advantage of database marketing techniques to identify and target profitable market niches and market-driven products for particular customers. Increasingly DMSs are used by many local, regional and national tourism authorities to manage DMOs, as well as to co-ordinate local suppliers at the destination level.

DMSs are seen as particularly important for small and medium tourism enterprises (SMEs). These lack the capital and expertise to undertake a comprehensive marketing strategy and rely on destination authorities and intermediaries to promote and co-ordinate their products [16,17,18,19,20].

At the organisational level, DMSs provide the essential infostructure (ie the ICTs that provide the infrastructure for organisations to operate) to enable a DMO to co-ordinate its activity and to provide sufficient information and direction to their overseas offices to promote the destination. DMSs can be seen as interfaces between destination tourism enterprises (including principals, attractions, transportation and intermediaries) and the external world (including tour operators, travel agencies and ultimately consumers).

Case study: The Finnish Tourism Board


The Finnish Tourism Board (FTB, www.mek.fi) infostructure provides an excellent example of ICT used to support DMO operations. FTB aims for all its information to be accessible via Internet Protocol systems for its:

employees (intranet) partners (extranet) the general public (internet).

FTB has pioneered the use of the Internet for developing a network for managing tourism in Finland as well as a tool for cross industry co-ordination. The system includes three systems.

1. 2. 3.

MIS: the FTB's Market Information System offers a data management and distribution system. Launched in 1992 and updated in 1997, this is the internal system for FTB and is distributed to all its offices internationally. The system allows FTB staff to manage and organise sales and marketing campaigns, co-ordinate their marketing and branding activities, and distribute documents and administrate the tourism board globally. Access is also allowed to other professionals. RELIS: the Research, Library and Information Service provides the backbone of the national travel research and product documentation. The service connects the travel industry to research and education organisations. PROMIS: the national database of Finnish travel products and services provides up-to-date information on travel products, services and contact information. External PROMIS partners, who provide and update data, include regional and city tourism organisations and other tourism professionals. Most of the information and images are copyright free and can be used for brochures and other promotional campaigns. The professional Marketing Information Service offers a tourism database covering the whole of Finland. Services for the tourist industry were improved considerably by opening an Internet connection to the PROMIS information system, which the FTB has developed together with the industry. Cooperation partners can now add and update information online. The Internet service was expanded, with eight new languages being added to the site [21]

DMS system providers


Several DMS system providers including Tiscover, World.net, Integra, and TouchVision have emerged in the last few years as the leading suppliers in the marketplace.

As demonstrated in figure 2, Tiscover has emerged as a commonly used Application Service Provider (ASP) for multiple destinations around the world. It uses a central database to distribute information about multiple destinations through a range of strategic distribution channels [22,23].

For example the European Portal visitEurope.com brings together 34 European destinations and creates a virtual window to the world where each destination both competes and collaborates online. Figure 2: Tiscover platform for destination management and promotion

Figure 3: Tiscover multi-channel distribution system

Other destination information online


It is not only DMOs that provide destination information online; there are a wide range of players [24]. This is set to increase further with the development of Web 2.0 and user-generated content.

Destination identity can be projected through the use of photographic imagery and narratives in an online environment, for example in marketing a fast-growing tourist destination such as Dubai [25]. Private sector organisations, in particular hospitality and transport, tend to be product oriented, and projected images relate primarily to the specific facilities and tourist activities on offer. In contrast, the destination marketing organisation focuses on the projection of cultural identity and heritage.

The future for destinations and e-tourism


Despite the conceptual development of DMSs since the early 1990s [26,27,28,29,30], in the past DMSs have concentrated on automating destination functions and have added limited value to the strategy of DMOs.

Barriers to the development of DMOs


The effectiveness of Destination Management Systems has been hindered due to a number of factors and barriers:

lack of adequate and affordable technology lack of standardisation of the industry and the early systems lack of ICT expertise by tourism professionals concentration of marketing efforts at the local markets relatively less intensive competition lack of strategic orientation inability to strengthen competitiveness of the local industry technology leading rather than following marketing strategies less integrated approach than appropriate inability to provide total services for tourism demand and supply limited geographical basis, which makes the system non-feasible premature innovation in a traditionally reserved industry lack of standardisation and compatibility withdrawal of public sector interest and funding product rather than demand orientation

domination of small and independent tourism enterprises around the world conflicting interests of different players in the tourism industry.

A high failure rate has been observed, as several DMSs failed to attract the support and commitment required from both the private and public sectors. DMSs have also failed to develop viable products. Competition from commercial organisations has meant that consumers often find DMSs inadequate to provide answers to their information needs, lacking in interesting and controversial insights and inadequate for the fulfilment phase of the purchasing process.

Challenges and dilemmas for DMOs


DMOs are increasingly faced with a number of dilemmas.

What level (local, regional, national, international) should DMSs be developed at? Should DMSs be developed, purchased or used on an ASP basis? Should DMSs emerge as individual enterprises and Strategic Business Units (SBUs) on their own? Should there be Private Public Partnership or should they be owned? How can DMOs catch up and support all technology platforms including mobile and digital television platforms? How can DMOs deal with threatened tour operators that often object to DMS development and may even threaten that if they are deployed they will take their interests elsewhere? How can interconnectivity and interoperability with other systems be supported? What business model should be followed and how should returns on investment be measured? How can DMSs collaborate with third party distributors? How can DMOs engage all SMEs in the development and operation of DMSs? Which stakeholders need to be satisfied more than others? Who takes priority? Should DMSs be inclusive of all (and hence wait until all are ready to join) or exclusively available to those who are capable? Should DMSs sell products online or not? Where does the DMS development budget come from? Should DMS development be considered as ICT or marketing development? Should brochures still be printed or not? Who is developing content and who pays for it? How do we address and control legal issues? Who is responsible for the branding of destinations online? How can DMSs provide tangible benefits and how should we measure performance?

These will need to be addressed if DMOs are going to effectively develop their DMSs and online presence.

Key lessons for DMOs


Advanced DMOs are realising that e-tourism revolutionises all business processes this includes the entire value chain as well as the strategic relationships of tourism organisations with all their stakeholders, including governments[31].

Innovative DMOs use ICTs to transform their best operational practices and provide opportunities for business expansion in all geographical, marketing, and operational senses. Advanced DMSs should enable destinations to develop their marketing function and to achieve differentiation by theming their products and targeting niche markets.

In addition, DMSs should assist local enterprises to increase their bargaining power over tourism intermediaries and to explore new and innovative distribution channels. They should also help improve the balance between the expectations and the perceived experiences for both tourists and locals. For example providing information on environmentally sensitive areas or particular sociocultural rituals can lead to a better understanding by locals and tourists, improving the tourism impacts in the area [32].

Only destinations that can demonstrate long term vision, commitment and strong strategic objectives will be able to take advantage of the emerging ICT and DMS opportunities. Competent DMOs around the world are gradually realising the strategic management opportunities and using technology to improve the management of their resources and stakeholders. They need to capitalise on DMS expertise and knowledge generated globally and make brave steps towards the development and implementation of these systems.

Eventually DMSs will become Digital Business Ecosystems and all tourism stakeholders will be able to plug and play, expanding the value system and developing extended networks of dynamic packaging at the destination level[33,34,35].

References
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www.crt.dk/uk/staff/chm/trends.htm Wber, K.W. (2006) Domain-specific Search Engines. In: Fesenmaier, D.R., H. Werthner and Wber, K.W. (Eds.) Destination Recommendation Systems: Behavioural Foundations and Applications, Wallingford: CABI, 205-226, ISBN: 0-85199-023-1. O'Reilly, T., 2005, What Is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Softwarewww.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web20.html) Archdale, G., Stanton, R., Jones, G., 1992, Destination databases: issues and priorities, Pacific Asia Travel Association, San Fransisco. Buhalis, D., 1993, Regional integrated computer information reservation management systems as a strategic tool for the small and medium tourism enterprises, Tourism Management, Vol.14(5), pp.366 378. Sheldon, P., (1993), Destination information systems, Annals of Tourism Research, Vol.20(4), pp.633 649. WTO, (2001), eBusiness for Tourism: Practical; guidelines for destinations and businesses, Madrid: World Tourism Organisation. Buhalis, D., 1993, Regional integrated computer information reservation management systems as a strategic tool for the small and medium tourism enterprises, Tourism Management, Vol.14(5), pp.366 378. Buhalis, D., (1997), Information technologies as a strategic tool for economic, cultural and environmental benefits enhancement of tourism at destination regions, Progress in Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol.3(1), pp.71-93. Buhalis, D., (1998), Strategic use of information technologies in the tourism industry, Tourism Management, Vol.19(3):409-423. Frew, A., OConnor, P., (1999), Destination Marketing System Strategies: Refining and extending an assessment framework, in Buhalis, D., and Scherlter, W., (eds) Information and Communications technologies in Tourism, ENTER 1999 Proceedings, Springer-Verlag, Wien:398-407. WTO, (2001), eBusiness for Tourism: Practical; guidelines for destinations and businesses, Madrid: World Tourism Organisation. WTO, (2001), eBusiness for Tourism: Practical; guidelines for destinations and businesses, Madrid: World Tourism Organisation. Buhalis, D., Krcher, K., and Brown, M., 2006, TISCOVER: Development and Growth, in Prideaux, B., Moscardo, G., Laws, E., Managing Tourism and Hospitality Services, CAB, London, ISBN 1845930126 pp.62-72. Krcher, K., Alford, P., 2008, Tiscover, in Egger, R., and Buhalis, D., e-tourism Case Studies, Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford. Buhalis, D., and Deimezi R., 2004, e-tourism developments in Greece, International Journal of Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol. 5(2), pp.103-130. Govers R., and Go, F., 2006, Projected destination image online: Website content analysis of pictures and text,Journal of Information Technology and Tourism, Volume 8 Number 3-4, 73-89. Buhalis, D., 1993, Regional integrated computer information reservation management systems as a strategic tool for the small and medium tourism enterprises, Tourism Management, Vol.14(5), pp.366 378. Buhalis, D., (1997), Information technologies as a strategic tool for economic, cultural and environmental benefits enhancement of tourism at destination regions, Progress in Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol.3(1), pp.71-93. Buhalis, D., and Spada, A., (2000), Destination Management Systems: Criteria for success, Information Technology and Tourism, Vol.3(1), pp.41-58. Pollock, A., (1998), Creating intelligent destinations for wired customers, in Buhalis, D., Tjoa, A.M., Jafari, J., (eds) Information and Communications technologies in Tourism, ENTER 1998 Proceedings, Springer-Verlag, Wien:235-248. WTO, (2001), eBusiness for Tourism: Practical; guidelines for destinations and businesses, Madrid: World Tourism Organisation. Buhalis, D., (2003), e-tourism: information technology for strategic tourism management, Pearson (Financial Times/Prentice Hall), London ISBN 0582357403 Nachira, F., (2002), Towards a network of digital business ecosystems fostering the local development, Discussion Paper, September, Brussels,http://europa.eu.int/information_society/topics/ebusiness/godigital/sme_research/doc/dbe_discussionpaper.pdf Nachira, F., (2005), What is an European Digital Ecosystem, European Commission, ICT for Enterprise Networking, Brussels, www.nachira.net/dedoc/doc/DE-summary-0205.pdf Pollock, A., and Benjamin, L., (2001), Shifting Sands:The Tourism Ecosystem in Transformation, DESTiCORP Limited, www.desticorp.com/whitepapers/TourismEcosystemwhitepaperWTM.pdf Buhalis, D., (1997), Information technologies as a strategic tool for economic, cultural and environmental benefits enhancement of tourism at destination regions, Progress in Tourism and Hospitality Research, Vol.3(1), pp.71-93.

About the author


Professor Dimitrios Buhalis is Established Chair in Tourism, Deputy Director of the International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research at Bournemouth University and Professorial Observer at the Bournemouth University Senate. Professor Buhalis is leading e-tourism research and is working with the Bournemouth team for introducing technology in all aspects of tourism research and teaching. He was previously Programme Leader MSc in Tourism Marketing and MSc in e-tourism, Reader in Business Information Management and Leader of e-tourism Research and member of the University Senate at the School of Management, University of Surrey.

He is regarded as an expert in the impacts of ICTs in the tourism industry, the management of tourism distribution channels as well as in strategic tourism marketing and management. Dimitrios has been involved with a number of European Commission FP5 and FP6 projects and regularly advises the World Tourism Organisation, the World Tourism and Travel Council and the European Commission in the field of information technology and tourism.