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Technological disruptions in services: lessons from tourism and hospitality

Dimitrios Buhalis (International Centre for Tourism and Hospitality Research, Bournemouth University, Poole, UK)
Tracy Harwood (Institute of Creative Technologies, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK)
Vanja Bogicevic (Department of Human Sciences, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, USA)
Giampaolo Viglia (University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK)
Srikanth Beldona (Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA)
Charles Hofacker (Department of Marketing, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, USA)

Journal of Service Management

ISSN: 1757-5818

Article publication date: 29 May 2019

Issue publication date: 4 October 2019




Technological disruptions such as the Internet of Things and autonomous devices, enhanced analytical capabilities (artificial intelligence) and rich media (virtual and augmented reality) are creating smart environments that are transforming industry structures, processes and practices. The purpose of this paper is to explore critical technological advancements using a value co-creation lens to provide insights into service innovations that impact ecosystems. The paper provides examples from tourism and hospitality industries as an information dependent service management context.


The research synthesizes prevailing theories of co-creation, service ecosystems, networks and technology disruption with emerging technological developments.


Findings highlight the need for research into service innovations in the tourism and hospitality sector at both macro-market and micro-firm levels, emanating from the rapid and radical nature of technological advancements. Specifically, the paper identifies three areas of likely future disruption in service experiences that may benefit from immediate attention: extra-sensory experiences, hyper-personalized experiences and beyond-automation experiences.

Research limitations/implications

Tourism and hospitality services prevail under varying levels of infrastructure, organization and cultural constraints. This paper provides an overview of potential disruptions and developments and does not delve into individual destination types and settings. This will require future work that conceptualizes and examines how stakeholders may adapt within specific contexts.

Social implications

Technological disruptions impact all facets of life. A comprehensive picture of developments here provides policymakers with nuanced perspectives to better prepare for impending change.


Guest experiences in tourism and hospitality by definition take place in hostile environments that are outside the safety and familiarity of one’s own surroundings. The emergence of smart environments will redefine how customers navigate their experiences. At a conceptual level, this requires a complete rethink of how stakeholders should leverage technologies, engage and reengineer services to remain competitive. The paper illustrates how technology disrupts industry structures and stimulates value co-creation at the micro and macro-societal level.



Buhalis, D., Harwood, T., Bogicevic, V., Viglia, G., Beldona, S. and Hofacker, C. (2019), "Technological disruptions in services: lessons from tourism and hospitality", Journal of Service Management, Vol. 30 No. 4, pp. 484-506.



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