Future mobile data services for tourism: barriers and enablers for adoption of a mobile tourist guide in the tourism industry of Norrbotten

We are currently experiencing a paradigm shift in mobile telecommunication technology as the third generation (3G) of mobile telecommunication networks are being rolled out and mobile phones and other portable devices are becoming more advanced. Due to this technological evolution, it is in many actors’ interest to identify future attractive mobile data services and to investigate how future business models can be designed. One industry that is expected to benefit from the introduction of 3G technology is the tourism industry, and one region that is believed to significantly rely on tourism in the future is Norrbotten. The initial research area for this thesis was therefore stated as: How can the introduction of new mobile data technology enhance the value creation process of actors in the tourism industry in Norrbotten.

Drawing inspiration from current mobile data applications within this field, a mobile tourist guide was selected as an appropriate service to evaluate. The mobile content value map, which highlights seven interrelated enabling roles that must be adopted by actors, in order to deliver content to mobile devices, was also used as a theoretical foundation. The value map can basically be seen as the integration of the value maps from two separate industries – those of the mobile voice and the media/content industries.

Against this background, the research problem was stated as: How can the content value map for a mobile tourist guide in Norrbotten be characterised? In order to approach this problem, two supporting research questions were formulated as: How can the structure of the tourism industry in Norrbotten in the context of a mobile tourist guide be described?, and how can enablers and barriers for adopting roles in a future value map for a mobile tourist guide in Norrbotten be characterised?

Snowball sampling was used to delineate the structure of the tourism industry in Norrbotten and also to identify actors whose opinions would be valuable to gauge. Eight interviews were conducted in total. The results of the interviews indicated that none of the tourism organisations had a prospective attitude towards introducing new technology, but that many saw themselves as fast followers once an innovation had proved itself elsewhere. Cost reductions and effectiveness in information gathering were identified as factors that would encourage adoption, whereas lack of financial means, start-up costs, employee time to maintain a mobile tourist guide, and organisational readiness were identified as factors that would impede adoption.

Author: Paajarvi, Mats

Source: Luleå University of Technology

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