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Internet use, customer relationships and loyalty in the Vietnamese travel industry

Hoang Thi Phuong Thao (Faculty of Commerce – Tourism, Ho Chi Minh City University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and)
Fredric William Swierczek (School of Management, Asian Institute of Technology, Pathumthani, Thailand)

Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics

ISSN: 1355-5855

Publication date: 28 March 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate how small and medium‐sized travel agencies as business customers perceive the benefits and barriers of Internet use that related to the development of a positive relationships and loyalty with their service suppliers.

Design/methodology/approach

Relevant hypotheses were constructed and a self‐administered questionnaire survey was conducted in the travel industry. Factor analysis and regression analysis were used to test these hypotheses.

Findings

The major benefits of Internet use were interactional and transactional benefits. The main barriers of the Internet use were organizational weaknesses, poor IT infrastructure, mistrust of the Internet system and legal issues. While the benefits positively contributed to the service and social bonds, the barriers negatively impacted the development of these bonds. The interactional benefits play a major role to increase switching costs. The customer relationships and switching costs concurrently enhanced the customer loyalty.

Research limitations/implications

Cross‐sectional data were used to explore customer relationships while these bonds are basically a dynamic phenomenon that evolves over time. The travel industry in one country was examined in this study. This limits generalization to other contexts.

Practical implications

Guidelines for practical solutions to reduce the barriers to create business customer value and strengthen customer relationships and loyalty through the Internet were proposed.

Originality/value

This paper improves the understanding of the impact of benefits and barriers of the Internet use on customer relationships and loyalty in the travel industry.

Keywords

Citation

Thi Phuong Thao, H. and Swierczek, F.W. (2008), "Internet use, customer relationships and loyalty in the Vietnamese travel industry", Asia Pacific Journal of Marketing and Logistics, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 190-210. https://doi.org/10.1108/13555850810864551

Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited