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Managing service innovations at online travel agencies: evidence from China

Yu Mu (College of Management, Sichuan Agricultural University, Chengdu, China)
Bart Bossink (Department of Science, Business and Innovation, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Tsvi Vinig (Department of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Amsterdam Business School, Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Suchuan You (Trip International, Ltd., Shanghai, China)

Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology

ISSN: 1757-9880

Article publication date: 25 June 2021

Issue publication date: 5 August 2021




Research on service innovation management of online travel agencies (OTAs) remains relatively scarce. This study aims to illuminate the detailed components of managing service innovations at OTAs.


An in-depth case study is conducted at Trip, the largest OTA in China. A coherent framework of managing service innovations at OTAs is proposed through refining an existing framework from new service development (NSD), and concerning the success factors of service innovation. Based on theoretical synthesis and empirical analysis, the NSD framework is adapted, restructured and refined for service innovation management at OTAs.


The proposed framework contains three facets and associated managerial elements: (1) resources, including stakeholders, technologies and systems; (2) contexts, including innovation strategy, structure and culture; and (3) ideation, including idea generation and idea application. Different success factors are attached to the managerial elements. The facets, managerial elements and success factors serve as the components in the framework.

Research limitations/implications

This study provides academia with an analytical framework to understand and interpret service innovation management at OTAs, which can be used as a point of departure for future research.

Practical implications

The analytical framework inspires OTA managers to adopt a structured approach in service innovation management, and policymakers to design related interventions.


This study offers a first step toward the investigation of service innovation management at OTAs, specifically in China. The proposed framework is potentially applicable to other industries.


目前关于在线旅行社(OTA) 的服务创新管理的研究相对贫乏。本研究旨在阐明OTA的服务创新管理的具体元素。


本研究以携程网(中国最大的在线旅行社)为对象进行深入案例分析。通过改善已有的基于新服务开发;理论(NSD), 以及综合服务创新成功要素的理论框架从而提出一项连贯的服务创新管理理论框架。基于理论综合以及实证分析,本研究改编,整合和改善了NSD理论框架从而为在线旅行社的服务创新管理框架所适用。


被提议的理论框架包括三个层面以及相关管理元素:1) 资源,包括利益相关者,科技和系统;2)应用环境,包括创新战略,结构和文化;以及3)构思能力,包括概念生成,概念应用。管理元素与不同的成功要素相结合。这些层面,管理元素和成功因素作为提出框架的组成部分。









Funding: This work is supported in part by 2020 Chengdu Planning Project of Philosophy and Social Science (grant number 2020BS003).


Mu, Y., Bossink, B., Vinig, T. and You, S. (2021), "Managing service innovations at online travel agencies: evidence from China", Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Technology, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 533-547.



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